Taking the Leap into Entrepreneurship

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In 2018, women’s entrepreneurship has grown to historic rates. Today there are more than 9 million women-owned companies in the United States, and that’s just the beginning. Women-owned businesses create job opportunities, innovation, and economic growth that support stronger families and more prosperous communities, and even improve international relations and world peace.

Join us for a compelling talk with five Austin-based women entrepreneurs who decided to own their ambition and take the leap into entrepreneurship.

Chelle Neff, Founder & CEO, Urban Betty

Chelle Neff has been a leader in the U.S. salon industry since founding Urban Betty in 2005, and has more than 20 years of experience creating innovative practices in the salon and beauty worlds. Neff has successfully grown Urban Betty’s revenue year after year and today, has a space that houses more than 40 employees. Her first salon was so successful that expansion plans for a second Urban Betty, which will open this summer, are now underway. No stranger to innovation, Neff designed and developed her own app, FyleStyle, which allows stylists to track client information and color formulas, and in 2017, she launched her own series of educational classes called Betty Bootcamp. In addition to her work with Urban Betty, Neff is fascinated with Austin architecture. She and her husband, David J. Neff, created Austin’s Weird Homes Tour, and their first book, {Weird Homes: The People and Places That Keep Austin Strangely Wonderful}, was released this year.

Christie Zangrilli, Co-Founder, Party at the Moontower

A marketing professional by trade, Christie is the co-founder of Party at the Moontower, a design-forward event furniture rental company specializing in styles that capture the Austin spirit. Born into a restaurant-business family, Christie learned very early how creating a memorable experience through design and decor could determine a location’s success or failure. She particularly loves brainstorming with clients on how to elevate their guests experience through beautiful furnishings that helps them tell their brand story and vibe. Party at the Moontower has had the pleasure of crafting spaces with clients such as Create & Cutlivate, Tidal, Roku, Stumptown Coffee, Bunkhouse, SXSW and Whole Planet Foundation. Christie holds a Bachelors Degree in Communication Design from New York University and a Masters in Fine Arts in Design from The University of Texas.

Denise Hernandez, Lawyer and Co-Founder, Hustle for the Cause

Denise Hernandez is a lawyer and social impact entrepreneur. Denise planted her roots in Austin after graduating from Texas Tech Law School. Starting from humble beginnings in Houston, Texas, she is the first person in her family to obtain a college degree. This fueled her passion for community activism. After moving to Austin, Denise began working on social impact projects and was later nationally recognized for her community service efforts. As she continued to work on social initiatives, Denise recognized a need for event and content production that reflected underrepresented communities. This led Denise and her fiancé, Krista Cottingim, to start Hustle for the Cause. Since launching Hustle for the Cause, Denise has produced multiple social impact events including Chingona Fest ATX. Her vision is to produce events and content that empower and inspire young women to become ChangeMakers!

Allison Grossman, Co-Founder, The Seaweed Bath Co. 

Allison Grossman is the Co-Founder of The Seaweed Bath Co., an innovative, seaweed-based personal care line. The Seaweed Bath Co. harnesses the nourishing and detoxifying benefits of seaweed into effective body, skin and hair care products designed for all skin and hair types.

Veronica Garza, Co-Founder, President & Chief Innovation Officer, Siete Family Foods

Veronica Garza is a Co-founder, President, and Chief Innovation Officer of Siete Family Foods. Diagnosed with multiple autoimmune disorders since she was a teenager, Veronica adopted a grain-free, low inflammation diet, to combat the often-debilitating symptoms. Her entire family of seven supported and joined her on this journey, but as a Mexican-American family from South Texas, following a grain-free diet meant that family favorites like tortillas could no longer be enjoyed. To solve this problem, Veronica created grain free recipes her whole family could enjoy, including an almond flour tortilla that became the first product offering for the Austin-based, Siete Family Foods in 2014. Veronica leads product innovation at Siete, a family-owned, healthy Mexican-American food brand that offers chips, tortillas, and an expanding lineup of heritage inspired products. Veronica holds a BA from the University of Texas at Austin in Mexican-American Studies and an MBA in Digital Media Management from St. Edward’s University.

This talk will be introduced and moderated by Sharon Miller, Co-Founder and CMO at skinisskin.

Sharon Miller, Co-Founder and CMO, skinisskin

Sharon Miller is co-founder and CMO at skinisskin; a social enterprise who’s little lip balm is on a mission to end discrimination.  Magatte Wade and Sharon met on a plane a couple of years ago and after much discussion decided to create a skincare brand dedicated to nourishing skin and nurturing connections.  Sharon is a brand strategist by trade and has had her own consultancy, Fire Studios, working with companies like Whole Foods Market, Apple, Nike and Organic Valley to help navigate growth while maintaining values. The lip balm was born in Austin but is made in Senegal, Magatte’s hometown….giving talented individuals there a chance at independence.  The brand also developed a series of exercises scientifically designed to undo the habit of unintentional bias, that it shares with its brand community monthly.



Event Timeslots (1)

Inspiration Hall – Indoors

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