Featured Projects

I’ve been committed to the work of economic development more than a decade. During this time, I have led various initiatives and projects that have fostered collaborations and resources for entrepreneurs to build community and grow their ventures. Many of these projects have elevated local entrepreneurs, helped attract and retain talent, assisted job creation efforts and created business opportunities throughout Volusia County and Florida.

These projects include:

The Florida Virtual Entrepreneur Center

The Florida Virtual Entrepreneur Center (FLVEC) is an online directory of resource agencies, events & activities and entrepreneur profiles. The program is powered by The Florida High Tech Corridor Council in partnership with local sponsors. New, existing and relocating companies can use the website to discover an ecosystem of resources ready to help them; find out about events and activities happening in their community; and connect with other entrepreneurs by reading their stories via short profiles. FLVEC was launched in 2004 in Volusia County and today includes all sixty-seven (67) counties in the state of Florida. I’m proud to have been a part of FLVEC for more than a decade and look forward to continuing for many more years to come.

TrepStarz Podcast

Launched in January 2017 in less than 45 days, co-host Chris Steffen and I were inspired after listening to a presentation by the Founder of PodFest, a conference uniting Podcasters from around the globe. We learned that Florida is a hot market for Podcasters with several of the world’s top Podcasts being hosted in Florida. Chris and I both agreed we wanted to get involved and realized our connections to the entrepreneurship ecosystem meant we would always have great content (entrepreneur interviews) and so the journey began. Each week we release a 30-minute entrepreneur interview on our website, itunes and other platforms.

The rapid adoption of social media platforms as a way to reach people caught my attention as early on as the days of MySpace. I recall MySpace helping to launch the careers of several musicians. With today’s platforms like Facebook and Instagram growing so quickly and the advantages of the marketing tools provided to businesses who want to advertise, there’s a lot of opportunity in this new market for companies to help other companies get noticed. After being asked often for help and advice and willing giving it, I decided to launch a social media management, training and speaking company in August 2015. Since then, I’ve been honored to work with companies in a variety of industries as well as providing consulting and hosting training workshops in-person and via webinar.

Every Wednesday I volunteer alongside other organizers to host an entrepreneurship meeting that attracts an average of 45 attendees for a one-hour session filled with inspiration, learning and building connections. Now in my third year serving this program, 1MC has become a staple in Volusia County’s entrepreneurship ecosystem and has resulted in people starting businesses, existing companies growing their operations, featured articles in the Daytona Beach News-Journal and recognition from the Kauffman Foundation as a best-practice example for other 1MC chapters around the country.

I’m proud to also serve as a volunteer organizer alongside several other individuals from the community to host this event with a goal to build more innovation and entrepreneurship opportunities in Volusia County. In only 54 hours, participants will go from an idea to an actual business. Keynote speakers, coaches and mentors and a professional facilitator provide the guidance and framework but the attendees do the heavy lifting to get ready to present their companies to a panel of judges. This event attracts a diverse group of individuals who will work together and leverage each others strengths. The event has been held twice in Volusia County during the month of November in partnership with Embry-Riddle. 

Somehow (secret: I’ve figured out how to clone myself!) I find time to also serve as a volunteer organizer alongside a team of leaders to organize and host the Elevate event as a way to build community through thought provoking speeches. Every Eleavate speaker is given the same 5 minutes and 20 slides that auto advance every 15 seconds format to deliver their message. Topics are the speakers’ personal and professional passions. This results in the audience engaging with the speakers and fellow attendees on the variety of speeches they just heard. We’ve held two events so far and each has featured 10-15 speakers and sold-out with 250 attendees.

I joined eight other amazing individuals who are passionate about our community to form a non-profit organization focused on building more innovation and entrepreneurship opportunities in the Greater Daytona Beach Region. We hosted 50 of our business leaders in a half-day workshop featuring an innovation expert, break-out activities and networking. The workshop inspired several entrepreneurship-focused events and activities to launch and raised the awareness regarding the importance of supporting all levels of economic development in Volusia County. The books Startup Communities and The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley provided the playbook for what could be done. Today, Innovate Daytona is attracting media attention to local entrepreneurship initiatives and stimulating conversations about how we can do more for our community, region and state.