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Creating Conscious Collisions

Meet the Featured Entrepreneurs

The WOCCON 2023 Road Show events are invitation-only gatherings that bring together investors, allies, and policymakers with the aim of leveraging our collective energy and resources to propel women of color entrepreneurs farther and faster on their journey to entrepreneurial success. 

How can you help these amazing entrepreneurs?

"One Big Thing. One Small Thing. Doesn't Matter. Do SOMETHING."
Jill Johnson, CEO & Co-Founder at IFEL

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Additional founders will be added following each event. Please check back to see how you can help open doors.

Palo Alto Asks
Boston Asks

Road Show: Los Angeles

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Fria, Keep Your Cool

Sheilisa McNeal Burgess

Founder

Every woman is unique and experiences menopause differently. Our aim is to help all women embrace this phase of their life with products to make the transition simpler. While menopause marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years, it’s also the start of a new chapter in her life. Through education, engagement and encouragement, the Fria team wants women to have a positive perspective on their changing bodies. We endeavor to be a resource, safe space for sharing our journeys and a community of supportive friends. 

The Ask:

  • Capital​

    • ​Direct introductions to funders/Angel groups/individuals focused on CPG, Fem-tech, Women-led enterprises

  • ​Customer Acquisition

    • ​Warm intros to strategic corporate partners, companies with innovation labs (i.e., pharma/P&G/AARP), retailers who work with emerging brands

  • Manufacturing

    • ​US Based scaling opportunities (preferably Northeast region) metal coating and precision/micro steel cutting capabilities

  • Marketing/ Sales

    • ​Experienced in new product launches, social media, brand promotion, ability to develop strategic partnerships and reach target customers

Road Show: Los Angeles

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SIP Herbals

Orleatha Smith

Co-Founder

Orleatha Smith, M.Ed, is a serial entrepreneur with experience in a wide variety of fields with the most recent decade spent in wellness and now in eCommerce creating and growing Sip Herbals, an herbal coffee substitute company. She has served in the wellness community for over a decade and her true love is science. She holds an advanced degree in education and a biology teaching credential. She has also been featured in popular publications such as First For Women Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, WebMD, and has had appearances on various podcasts and television shows.

The Ask: 

  • Warm Investor/Angel introductions

  • Corporate and brand partnerships

  • Marketing ( social media, sales, print)

Road Show: Palo Alto

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Madison Long
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Madison Long

Co-Founder & CEO

Madison is the CEO and Co-Founder of Clutch where she drives the company’s vision of building a world where authentic, engaging work supports a more sustainable, equitable lifestyle. Her passion for entrepreneurship and helping the next generation thrive began in childhood including spending her high school summers creating a math mania programmatic instruction class for middle school students in need and working with youth advocacy programs in college.

The Ask: 

  • Intros to industry leaders looking to unlock short form video as a service

Road Show: Palo Alto

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Rebecca Alvarez Story
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Rebecca Alvarez Story

Founder

As a first-generation entrepreneur, Rebecca has
spent the majority of her life trailblazing. From
creating her own sexual wellness major at UC
Berkeley to being one of the few Latinas to raise
over 3 million for a startup, this wife to marketing exec, mom ot two independent girls, and sexologist has learned that healthy intimacy is the secret to a happy life. As the founder of Bloomi, she is on a mission to help improve the intimate lives of 1 billion people via inclusive products and sex education.

The Ask: 

  • Have a sexual wellness conversation this week

  • Introductions to Pipeline Angels

Road Show: Boston

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Adrienne Fudge

Founder & CEO

Arienne M Fudge's love for cooking developed after her mother was diagnosed with Lupus when Adrienne was just seven years old. At a young age she desired to help her mother make meals for her dad and sister.  Although Adrienne obtained a MA in Corporate Communication from Seton Hall University and worked in Corporate America for many years, she still yearned to feed people. After attending culinary school, Chef Fudge launched her catering business. She loves how her business has evolved, and feels that she is blessed to serve senior citizens and disabled adults throughout NJ.

The Ask: 

  • Marketing ( social media, sales, print)

  • Nutritionist

  • Managed Care Organizations

  • Medicaid/Medicare

  • Fleet Management/Logistics

  • Food Manufacturing

  • Medical Claims Management

Road Show: Boston

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Dianne Austin
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Dianne Austin

Founder & CEO

Dianne Austin, Founder & CEO of Coils to Locs, is a cancer survivor. In 2015, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and learned that her chemotherapy treatment would result in hair loss, along with the loss of her eyebrows and lashes. Coils to Locs mission is to provide high-quality synthetic wigs that cater to the unique needs of women of color with highly textured, tightly coiled hair and every range in between. 

The Ask: 

  • Customer Acquisition

  • Balancing inventory demand vs supply

  • Positioning Coils to Locs as a brand leader

  • Access to decision makers at Hospitals and healthcare

  • Fleet Management/Logistics

  • Food Manufacturing

  • Medical Claims Management

Road Show: DC

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Yamillet Payano
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Yamillet (Yami) Payano

Founder & CEO

Yamillet (Yami) Payano is a first-generation Afro-Latina. Currently she is developing the go-to-market strategy, fundraising efforts, and has written technical and business domain documentation for Sign-Speak. Her technical expertise spans a variety of domains, including data based statistical system and data science. Yami is passionate about Diversity and Inclusion, not just from the lens of race and gender but also from the lens of accessibility.

The Ask: 

  • Introductions to lobbyists that have experience with the FCC.

  • Introduction to the key leadership in the FCC (Jessica Rosenworcel & Geoffrey Starks). 

  • Introductions to customers in the financial industry or video conferencing platforms.

Road Show: NYC

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Ami Kumordzie

Founder & CEO

Ami, founder/CEO of Sika Health, a Stanford-trained physician and ex-BCG consultant, aims to revolutionize healthcare payments by enabling the use of HSA and FSA funds at checkout, bridging the financial gap in healthcare and empowering consumers to afford their health needs.

The Ask:

  • Help us meet our target customers - Skin Care, Baby Care, At Home Testing

Road Show: NYC

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Leslie Woodward

Founder & CEO

Chef Leslie Woodward, CEO/Creator of Edenesque, advocates for clean eating and local, seasonal foods, aiming to combat nutrition-related diseases while providing opportunities to underserved communities through wholesome food production.

The Ask:

  • Build partnerships with regional distributors I.E, Regional Access. 

  • Help finding a CMO-innovator thinker with CPG experience who sees what is possible at the rate at which the world is moving 

  • Support in advancing our technological infrastructure

Road Show: Los Angeles

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Dara Cook

Founder

Dara Cook captivated millions during her 20-year career at MTV, where she was Head Creative of the Video Music Awards, brand manager of Wild ‘N Out, Senior Vice President who launched MTV’s podcast and touring businesses, and named one of the Most Influential Minorities in Cable. At 20, she graduated cum laude from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Cook is an alum of Harvard Business School’s General Management Program where her Expect presentation won the strategy competition. Cook also serves as a Trustee of the Helene Fuld College of Nursing in Harlem.

The Ask: 

  • Health insurers & employer-sponsored benefits plans

  • Angels & investors interested in women’s health

Road Show: Palo Alto

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Dana Fry
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Dana Fry

Founder & CEO

With a bachelor’s degree from UCLA and Johns Hopkins and a master’s in leadership and management, Dana has directed large teams across major capital projects and multi-million dollar budgets. This experience shaped Ujamaa's fiscal vision. She puts this banking expertise, management experience, and financial acumen to work as CEO and Co-Founder of Ujamaa Financial.

The Ask: 

  • Warm Introductions

    • Angel Investors

    • Technical teammates

    • Potential sponsors

    • Partner banks

    • Channel and brand partners

  • ​Help With Achieving Better Visibility 

    • Social media interns

    • SEO experts

    • Print media coverage

    • Marketing strategists

Road Show: Palo Alto

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Lisa Michelle
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Lisa Michelle

Founder

Lisa Michelle is the visionary CEO and founder of Bridesquad, a groundbreaking mobile app revolutionizing party planning. With a remarkable technical acumen, Lisa's journey in crafting apps and websites began as a teenager, establishing her as a seasoned technical founder. The inception of Bridesquad stemmed from Lisa's personal experience, navigating the overwhelm of wedding planning in 2021.

The Ask: 

  • Partnerships 

    • Bridal/wedding industry leaders and businesses

    • Event planning professionals and businesses

    • Travel/tourism professionals and businesses

  • Warm Introductions 

    • Seeking active and passive investors

  • Knowledge Sharing

    • Expertise in Content Marketing

    • Referral for developers & our Advisory Board

Road Show: Boston

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Keeana Serene Saxon
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Keeana Serene Saxon

Founder & CEO

Keeana Saxon, Founder & CEO of Kidogo Productions, LLC is also an attorney, piano teacher, mom, and wife. She founded Kidogo Productions so that no Black child would be marginalized in children’s media. For the kids, for the culture. Kidogo Productions LLC, is a Boston-based educational media company with the goal “to connect with and have a positive impact on children from across the world through Black-centered curated videos, interactive activities, and live events.”

The Ask: 

  • Investor introductions 

  • Corporate and brand partnerships

  • Early childhood specialists and academicians

  • Board advisors with board members in children's media

  • Referrals to a possible technical Co-founder with experience in ed tech app design and gaming

Road Show: Boston

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Cindy Belardo
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Cindy Belardo

Co-Founder & CEO

Cindy Belardo, CEO and Co-Founder learned about the menstrual cup as an eco-friendly alternative to tampons. This started her journey in 2018 into period care, leading a team on a trip to India to introduce a town of women to menstrual cups. There, she learned about period poverty, period taboos and the need for honest education. Her passion for body positivity led to the start of her company.

The Ask: 

  • ​Warm Introduction to Angel Investors in Women's Health (Medical Devices, Sustainable Consumer Products)

  • Connections with mentors in Supply Chain and Retail. 

  • Take part in company socials and spread the word on Pre-orders!

Road Show: DC

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Deuce Inc.

Dr. Monique Ositelu

Founder & CEO

Monique O. Ositelu, PhD is a Nigerian-American woman who wears many hats from a founder, author, college instructor, keynote speaker, and former U.S. federal policy advisor.

Founder and CEO of DEUCE Inc., an early stage fintech startup that promotes an
ecosystem of collaboration by streamlining quick and secure payments for collaborating creators like social media influencers, musicians, and artists.

The Ask: 

  • Partnerships 

    • Creators & Brands as potential customers

    • Financial institutions such as sponsor bank and gateway processor

  • Warm Introductions to Investors 

  • Knowledge Sharing

    • Expertise in fintech

    • Referral for developers & our Advisory Board

Road Show: DC

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Karina Muller
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Karina Muller

Founder & CEO

Karina Muller has 20+ years of entrepreneurial and corporate experience in the health and wellness industry, caregiving management and stress management.  With her co- founder she created and launched Motivity Care, which offers an affordable, efficient, one point of entry, tech-enabled solution that alleviates stress, reduces mental burden, and gives the caregiver and their aging loved one’s peace of mind.

The Ask: 

Introductions to:

  • HR/Benefits Leaders

  • Senior living community Operators Investors  

Road Show: NYC

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Liz Shepherd

Founder & CEO

Liz, founder & CEO of Kidault, is a resilient entrepreneur and business leader with a strong background in the car service industry, leveraging her diverse experience as a credit analyst, ride-sharing driver, dispatcher, and app developer to build and grow a successful car service business, showcasing her unwavering drive, adaptability, and understanding of customer needs.

The Ask: 

  • I am seeking assistance in connecting with corporate companies and/or medical facilities in need of transportation services.

  • I am also seeking assistance in customer acquisition.

Road Show: NYC

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Melanie Samba

Founder & CEO

Melanie Samba is the visionary founder and CEO of Sproxxy, an AI-powered enterprise SaaS platform revolutionizing executive management at conferences. Recognized as one of the top 25 influential leaders in commstech and a Techstars entrepreneur.

The Ask:

  • Connections with investors, donors and potential clients interested in SPROXXY technology. 

Road Show: Los Angeles

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Dr Manju Dawkins
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Dr. Manju Dawkins

Founder & CEO

Dr. Manju Dawkins of a board certified dermatologist who  received her B.A. from Columbia University. She completed her dermatology residency and served as Chief Resident at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, NY. She is also the creator and co-founder of Thimble, the first easy, safe, and comprehensive solution for alleviating needle pain and stress. Needle aversion stops millions from participating in other forms of essential care, including early disease detection, blood donation and life-saving treatments. 

The Ask: 

  • Partnership:

    • Intros to decision makers at health systems, insurance companies, injectable drug makers, public health agencies  who can offer Thimble at scale

  • Create Awareness:

    • Intros to influential people in government, media, social media, etc who can help create a groundswell to impel change at the corporate level.

Road Show: Palo Alto

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Chelby Gill
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Chelby Gill

Founder & CEO

Chelby graduated from San Jose State University in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. Prior to founding Boummeringue I worked as an operator and information systems specialist for a growing disability services startup. We grew the company from 20 to 60+ employees in less than 2 years. At the very beginning of developing Boummeringue I built the first version of our product and published it to the Apple App store. That was a great way for us to get consumer feedback on what they like and dislike about the return process. 

The Ask: 

  • Warm Introductions to Investors

    • B2B/Enterprise Software

    • Supply Chain/Logistics Software

    • Circularity & Sustainability

  • ​Warm Introductions to Retail Executives

    • CEO, CFO or Board Members

    • Vice Presidents of E-Commerce, Operations or Inventory Management

Road Show: Palo Alto

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Shetti, Madhu
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Dr. Madhu Shetti

Founder & CEO

Dr. Madhu Shetti is a Bay Area Oncologist, 3x founder and Stanford GSB alum. Seeing the
painful Shingles like rashes her patients experienced during and after cancer treatment inspired her to found Balmere. In 18 months, her GSB women led, bootstrapped team developed and brought to market patent pending, clinically tested products with triple benefits: improve quality of life, improve overall survival and prevent secondary cancers. No FDA clearance required. Covered by FSA.

The Ask: 

  • Intros to Angel Investors.

  • Speaking opportunities to promote cancer education/awareness—(podcasts, Black
    sorority conferences, news/radio stations)

  • Marketing/Social Media collaboration.

  • Introductions to decision makers at hospitals/cancer center pharmacies and retirement communities.

Road Show: Boston

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Sesha Kadakia
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Sesha Kadakia

Founder & CEO

"I've spent my career in intense environments, from wall street trading floors to hedge funds in New York City and London and have been the only female in the room more times than I can count. We're removing roadblocks one step at a time." Sesha Kadakia is the Founder & CEO of Tangify, a technology company that is protecting IP all over the world. Take your first step to a patent and finding out if your tech can be patented in minutes, without disclosing confidential IP. 

The Ask: 

  • Introduction to high quality, diverse engineering talent

Road Show: Boston

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Michele Dalzon
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Michelle Dalzon

Founder

Michelle Dalzon, Founder of Katapulte, a company focused on working capital for segments of businesses that have been ignored. They're on a mission to disrupt the small-business online lending landscape and drive more equitable access to capital by focusing on business segments that have been left ignored and guarantee the lowest interest rates.  Michelle has been a boostrapped founder the past 4.5 years but is also an experienced Marketer with a demonstrated history of working in the advertising industry. 

The Ask: 

  • Introduction to investor bank partner (debt facility)

Road Show: DC

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Dr. Elizabeth Clayborne

Founder & CEO

Dr. Clayborne developed a novel nosebleed device, NasaClip, as a resident and in 2015 was awarded the NSF I-Corps grant which helped to launch her company.  Dr. Clayborne has been featured on several national interviews on networks such as CNN, MSNBC, CBSN and TEDx.  She looks forward to continuing her career as a practicing emergency physician, innovator and leader in health care policy and reform.

The Ask: 

  • Fundraising: Seed Round July 2023

  • Sales: NasaClip.com

  • Manufacturing: Scaling opportunities

  • Strategic Partners: Retailers, Sports, School Nurses, Urgent Care, Social Media Influencers

Road Show: NYC

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Stephanie Louis

Founder & CEO

 Stephanie Louis, the CEO of SOTRO Innovations, is an empowering entrepreneur and salon owner dedicated to revolutionizing at-home hair care for individuals with textured hair and hair damage. Committed to superior user experiences.

The Ask:

  • Help with Mexican Manufacturing - Injection Mold production contacts specializing in electrical appliances, Executive Staffing - US Based Chief Marketing and Chief Financial Officers,

  • Dedicated Technologist - XR Programmers specializing in AR platform development - Eventual CTO

Road Show: NYC

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Jessica Spaulding

Founder & CEO

Jessica Spaulding, founder & CEO of Harlem Chocolate Factory, grew up in an anti-sugar home, but there was one exception to this rule, CHOCOLATE, not just any chocolate, high-quality chocolate. Although being a chocolatier wasn't a supported career path, she never gave up on her dream. Merging her passion for chocolate with her love of Harlem is an experience she wants to share with everyone.

The Ask: 

  • We are asking for introductions to funders and those with experience in scaling CPG operations & retail travel operations.

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