Amish Shah is the president and CEO of Kem Krest, a Tier I automotive company supplier. In nearly two decades, Amish has created a $300+ million dollar company that services Fortune 100 companies globally, launched an EdTech company, and helped spearhead and support several youth nonprofit organizations. His professional recognitions include: Supplier of the Year Awards at General Motors, the state of Indiana Business Excellence Awards, Indiana Companies to Watch, Inc., 500/5000 fastest growing companies, and Michiana Forty Under 40 business leaders. Amish serves on IU South Bend’s Advisory Board, General Motors Supplier Diversity Council, Horizon Education Alliance of Elkhart County, and Junior Achievement of Elkhart County.
Kathy R. White
Kathy R. White is the sole proprietor of CircaArts Gallery, located in downtown South Bend, Indiana. She has owned and run the gallery since 2001. The gallery showcases fine art and crafts, representing over 20 local artists in the Arts & Crafts tradition. Kathy has a B.F.A. from Saint Mary’s College (1979) and a M.F.A. from the University of Notre Dame (1984). As an artist herself, her two mediums are painting and custom tile making. Kathy’s tiles are Arts & Crafts style with a Wabi Sabi twist. Her paintings are realistic with a cartoonish twist, including scenes of South Bend, cars, and whimsical Christmas cards.
Milt Lee is a South Bend native and graduate of Washington High School. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Ball State University where he studied Journalism with an emphasis in Advertising. Milt Lee currently serves as the Executive Director for Downtown South Bend, Inc., a non-profit extension of the city, charged with creating vitality and promoting a healthy economic environment downtown. Prior to assuming his role in the summer of 2018, Milt was Executive Director and CEO for the Food Bank of Northern Indiana for over 8 years. His other leadership experiences include nearly ten years as Director of Franchising for the South Bend Chocolate Company, and years as Executive Director with the YMCA’s Urban Youth Services. Lee’s earlier years of experience were in mall management and marketing with Simon DeBartolo Group at University Park Mall, which assisted him in shaping his skill set that lead to working for Downtown South Bend, Inc.
Jordan Richardson, the founder of Jungle Rose Cartel, started the company out of his mom’s living room after graduating from Indiana University South Bend with a finance major. Making bow ties to fill custom orders, Jordan began establishing the style of the urban debonair for which Jungle Rose would later be known. Today, Jungle Rose Cartel operates as an online store and specializes in bags, bow ties, hats, lapel pins, and handkerchief design.
Aaron McGuin is a senior at IU South Bend, majoring in Marketing and Advertising. His passion is innovation and product development. ArrowWay, Aaron’s business, makes wraps that have instructions on the wrap itself. This product has a utility patent, which gives him the opportunity to leverage the concept for use in sporting and medical applications.
Joe Abraham is a serial entrepreneur with startup and growth experience in manufacturing, tech, professional services, and youth sports ventures. He has served as investor and/or advisor to several high-growth startups across several industries. In 2008, he developed the BOSI Behavioral Framework— which led to the authoring of Entrepreneurial DNA (McGraw Hill, 2011)—his critically acclaimed book that sold out of its first printing and was named by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the top business books to read in 2014. His book and methodology are used around the world—from university classrooms to the Fortune 500 companies.
Winner of numerous awards for his impact on business growth, Joe has been featured on the TED stage, as well as on Fox News, CNN, network TV, and the Wall Street Journal as a subject matter expert in customer acquisition, entrepreneurship, and free enterprise.
Leslie Ann Waters Wesley And Derrick Wesley, Sr.
Leslie Ann Waters Wesley And Derrick Wesley, Sr. are wife and husband business partners in TDB Enterprises, LLC, a real estate investment corporation. The company was established in 1998. Mr. Wesley is also an agent and owner of State Farm Insurance—Derrick Wesley Insurance Agency, Inc. Mrs. Wesley is the executive director of Indiana Parenting Institute of St. Joseph County, Inc., a local nonprofit organization that provides parent education, out of school learning, and community wellness. Mr. and Mrs. Wesley also co-founded Reposition, Inc., a mission-based nonprofit corporation dedicated to helping others become economically stable through financial literacy.
Andrew Wiand received a B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of Notre Dame in 2011. As a senior, he led an innovative independent research project concentrating on antioxidant effects on growth factor pathways in breast cancer cells. Andrew then received his M.S. from the University of Notre Dame’s Engineering, Science, Technology, Entrepreneurship Excellence program in 2012. During a spring trip to Research Triangle Park, Andrew and other students formed the idea of a technology incubator in the South Bend-Elkhart region. In August 2012, enFocus, Inc., was founded to bring innovative solutions to regional businesses and drive economic development across the region. Andrew became the executive director of enFocus in 2014. During his time at enFocus, he led the development and implementation of more than 150 innovation projects that attracted over-and-above 500 students and alumni to the region and resulted in more than $70M in economic activity. The company has scaled into Elkhart County and seeks to become a national model for talent attraction and civic innovation. Recently, Andrew has incorporated a second business that is focused on chronic disease management for hospitals and health systems.
Sara Stewart is the founder and executive director of Unity Gardens, a nonprofit organization that provides healthy food and education to empower people to grow, cook, and preserve their own food. She has more than 16 years experience in business administration in the community health setting, specializing in third-party health care reimbursement and Medicaid. She has served as a professor of community health nursing. Congruent with her role as a public health nurse, Sara assesses the systems that will promote the health of the community and intervenes through the gardens to assure public access to fresh produce, social revitalization, and overall wellness.
Maria Gibbs has a Bachelors in Civil Engineering from Duke University and a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Notre Dame, where her research focused on developing a human-centered approach to wind mitigation of long span footbridges. She is the co-founder of INVANTI, a startup generator in South Bend which integrates entrepreneurial talent and emerging cities to create new companies tackling problems worth solving. Previously, Gibbs was the operations and research coordinator for the international non-profit organization Bridges to Prosperity, which creates access to healthcare, education, and markets by teaching communities how to build footbridges over impassable rivers. She also served on the board of directors for the organization.
Alan Steele is the Regional Director of the North Central Indiana Small Business Development Center (ISBDC), forwarding the organization’s mission to have a positive and measurable impact on the formation, growth, and sustainability of small businesses. Alan joined the ISBDC in 2008, after holding senior level business development and general management roles in both manufacturing and service industries. He has advised more than 1,000 small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs, while working with the ISBDC and was named the organization’s State Star in 2015. Alan was also named 2017 Alumnus of the Year by the Judd Leighton School of Business and Economics at Indiana University South Bend.
Dustin Mix is the co-founder of INVANTI, a startup generator in South Bend, IN. He, along with his co-founder Maria Gibbs, integrate entrepreneurial talent and emerging cities to create new companies that expand opportunity in communities across the US. Dustin previously worked for the University of Notre Dame in the ESTEEM Program, heading up recruiting and strategic initiatives. Dustin was also the co-founder of Engineering2Empower, an initiative that looked at innovative approaches to housing and homeownership in post-earthquake Haiti, built on work he did in graduate school. Dustin is a three-time graduate of the University of Notre Dame, holding a BS in Civil Engineering (‘10), a MS in Civil Engineering (‘13) and a MS from the ESTEEM Graduate Program in Entrepreneurship.
Benjamin C. Norris
Benjamin C. Norris is the managing member and founder of Norris Equity Partners (NEP). Ben founded NEP in 2015, following a successful career of nearly 15 years as a commercial banker. He oversees all of NEP’s investments and is responsible for managing the firm’s diversified portfolio. Ben drives the growth and overall strategic direction for the firm. NEP’s strategy is best described as “activist, but not adversarial.” He is a board member of the Penn-Harris-Madison Education Foundation and has volunteered his time with Big Brothers Big Sisters of St. Joseph County and the Arthritis Foundation. In addition to being a published business author with the Journal of International Banking Law & Regulation, Ben was named to the Forty Under 40 list by the South Bend Regional Chamber in 2012. Ben earned an M.B.A. with honors from Capital University’s School of Management, with a focus on business and economics.
David M. Findlay
David M. Findlay currently serves as president and CEO of Lakeland Financial Corporation and Lake City Bank, headquartered in Warsaw, Indiana. He also serves as a member of the board of directors of both the bank and the holding company. Lakeland Financial Corporation is a publicly traded (NASDAQ Global Select/LKFN) bank holding company with total assets of $4.3 billion and 49 offices located throughout Northern and Central Indiana. David has more than 30 years of experience in finance and administration. His background includes serving as senior vice president and CFO with Quality Dining, as well as vice president of the commercial lending group at The Northern Trust.
Shari Moss is an Author, Entrepreneur, Speaker and Film Producer who spent the first few decades of her career successfully climbing the ladder in Customer Service. Growing from direct client care to VP Sales and all the way to Business Owner in the Telecom Industry, Shari mastered the ability to produce exceptional service with timeless tactics, which served her well launching businesses in the culinary field and natural health later. Underlying Shari’s work is her never-ending desire for exploring the world and helping others. Being an avid world traveler has provided her an unique perspective on customer service. ‘Challenge’ is not a negative word, rather, a place to start.
Colleen Kielton earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Michigan State in 1987. She studied wellness techniques with an energy therapy called Reiki. She took an additional 55 credit hours in health science at IU South Bend to supplement Reiki training, as well as informal study of energy medicine and quantum physics. She earned a Master of Science in Strategic Communication from Purdue University in 2019. She has been seeing clients in her Reiki practice since 2013 and leads holistic development groups for those who have experienced incarceration, Veterans groups, and groups within organizational settings. Kielton is in the midst of developing an eight week educational/workshop series teaching participants how to restore and expand their holistic development.