Tales From the Trenches: The Truth About Running a Small Business
This session will be broken into two parts. Over this session will offer you a glimpse into the lives of several successful small business owners. In the first panel, hear from a group of successful entrepreneurs about what it really takes to run a small business…the good, the bad and the ugly! From startup, to marketing to hiring contractors or employees, benefit from their real experience, as they discuss the true challenges and rewards of being a small business owner in San Francisco. In the second panel, join the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and executives from three leading Bay Area companies that have taken the leap from small to not-so-small business. Hear insights and advice on how to take the next step and lead your company on a trajectory of growth.
First Panel: 2:45 - 3:30pm
Heidi Gibson | The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen
Heidi Gibson is and entrepreneur, a small business advocate and an experienced Internet product leader. Owner of The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen, a finance instructor at the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center and with 5+ years of experience in software/internet startups, currently VP of Product Management at Tanjarine, Heidi has a wide breadth of experience to share. After winning more grilled cheese competitions than anyone else on the planet it seemed obvious that this MIT grad should become a cook and open grilled cheese restaurants! With her first restaurant opening 4 years ago, and a second 1.5 years ago, she is now working on a 3rd location. In addition to her grilled cheese empire she is back to working in software at a restaurant technology startup and splits her time between the two ventures.
Jake Wall, Co-Founder + Chief of Creative Artful Gentleman | Fine Clothing for ALL
artfulgentleman.com -- facebook.com/artfulgentleman
Jake Wall is co-founder and Creative Director of Artful Gentleman. Inspired very simply by the idea that clothing should be designed to suit the individual and not the hanger, Artful Gentleman. offers a highly curated approach to style and mixes classical tradition with a modern touch and defiant spin. Jake, a 2013 ‘Designer In Residence’ at The Fashion Incubator San Francisco at Macy’s Union Square as well as one of 7x7 Magazine’s ‘Hot 20 2013,’ is a UC Berkeley Alum with an MBA and a penchant for good manners. In 2010 Jake had what he seems to affectionately call his very own “eat, pray, love” moment while traveling through Hong Kong and the Southeast Asia. To hear Jake tell it, he is nothing more than a tinkerer and maker who in having a classically tailored bespoke suit made one day got to thinking: What would happen if I never had to settle again? What would happen if one could get equal parts quality, comfort, fit, and style all in one package? That was all the spark Jake needed. Guided by these values, Artful Gentleman. was born. Producing fine made-to-measure suiting, shirting, separates and formalwear, Artful Gentleman. is addressing the fashion needs of all people who value individualism. Translating this into clothing, Jake has worked hard to make a space that champions customization with a process that offers up to 500,000 unique combinations so that no two suits or separates are alike. It is Jake’s personal mission to inspire others to express themselves and their true style through a well-fitted, stylish wardrobe. He is committed to the city’s LGBT community’s fashion sense and is a published author on gender construction, with a focus on gender roles in modern comic books. Artful Gentleman. suits were worn by folk rock band The Lumineers to the 2013 Grammy Awards and have been featured in San Francisco Chronicle, Gastronomique En Vogue, Tantalum Magazine, The Bold Italic, and Bay Area Reporter. Jake was also a feature designer at San Francisco Fashion Week 2012 as well as SFBA Fashion Network presents SNOW 4: an all white fashion experience in 2013. Artful Gentleman was the style curator for the nationwide 2013 “Modern Man: Art of the Suit” event, part of the Chivas Regal “Brotherhood” marketing campaign and “Suit Up for Equality: a benefit for the Human Rights Campaign.”
Brigitta Melendy, Skin City, LLC
Brigitta Melendy is a native San Franciscan and sole proprietor of Skin City LLC, a well-established urban skin care oasis located on the Divisadero Corridor in San Francisco. She has been working in the skin care industry for 21 years.
Ms. Melendy developed a passion for wellness and furthered her education of cosmetic ingredients, its applications and holistic health practices. Her initial attraction to skin care was to provide information, treatments and a solid home care regimen to correct problem skin. She realized early on that clear skin is directly related to a ‘clean’ diet. She firmly believes that what you eat and think, is ultimately who you are.
Since the founding of Skin City in 1995, her focus has evolved beyond skin care to becoming an advocate for the underserved. As a devoted business owner, she has become a supporter of various businesses in her community and consistently donates to local childcare centers, children’s schools, and battered women’s shelters. Her latest partnerships also include the Shanti Project and the Women’s Oncology Unit at UCSF. Skin City provides pro bono facial services for women diagnosed with cancer and those living with HIV/AIDS.
Ms. Melendy is currently studying to become a holistic nutritional consultant.
Second Panel: 3:30pm - 4:15pm
Moderator: Representative from Bank of America
Jeanine Cotter, President and CEO
Jeanine co-founded Luminalt to bring clean, reliable, local power to the Bay Area and create good jobs. Under her leadership, Luminalt has designed and built more solar systems in San Francisco than any other company. One of few women CEOs in solar, and one of fewer still who holds the company’s contractors license, she is widely considered an industry expert. Jeanine is on the Board of Directors of CALSEIA, California’s solar industry trade organization, serves on the Workforce Investment Board of San Francisco and is on several other national and local committees focused on establishing solar industry standards, renewable energy advocacy, creation of inner city jobs, small business and sustainable business practices. She is committed to creating pathways into solar for people underrepresented in the field and acts accordingly. Jeanine established Luminalt as the first workforce development certified solar company in San Francisco. Her work has earned her recognition from the CA Legislative Assembly, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and several nonprofits.
Russell Glass, CEO
Russell Glass is the CEO of Bizo, an online B2B marketing platform. Based in San Francisco, he founded Bizo in 2008 and has led the company's growth to over $40 million in annual revenue run rate in five years. Mr. Glass is a serial technology entrepreneur, having founded or held senior positions at four venture-backed technology companies. Prior to Bizo, Mr. Glass led the marketing and product management teams as a senior vice president and general manager at ZoomInfo, a business information search engine, where he honed his B2B marketing skill-set and developed his love for data. In 1999, he founded and led AGEA Corp., an interactive notification software company, until selling it to Avalon Digital Marketing in 2003, where he served as Vice President of Enterprise Solutions. Mr. Glass is a graduate of Duke University.
Eric Canupp, Director of Operations & Special Events
La Costanera Restaurant Group
Having worked in the Hospitality Industry for 20 years and counting, Eric has seen everything.from the Trenches, to the Front Line, and in the War Room. His career path has taken him on an adventure within San Francisco's vibrant restaurant and nightlife scene. He started out managing The Canvas, a café & art gallery space and booked nightly entertainment for the venue as well. He spent time managing San Francisco's most popular pub, The Irish Bank, where he organized The City's largest St. Patrick's Day Festival & Block Party to date. He worked in nightclubs as a General Manager & Talent Director, booking world class entertainment while also doing permit expedition to help new clubs obtain Place of Entertainment permits. He was Director of Operations & Events for the Murad Restaurant group from 2006-2010, with Medjool in San Francisco, Medallion in the South Bay, and Mansion, nightclub in Spain, managing a corporate client portfolio that generated millions of dollars in event sales for the company and even spent time in Spain as the managing partner at Mansion. Since then, Eric has held the position of Director of Operations & Special Events for the La Costanera Restaurant Group, which includes Mochica and Piqueos in San Francisco, 3 Sanguchon food trucks all over the Bay Area, and La Costanera, a two time Michelin Star destination restaurant just outside of San Francisco. Eric manages over 200 events a year, and in 2013 booked 70 wedding…