Innovate State Speaker Series

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The Innovate State Speaker Series at MSU is a collaborative program designed to connect forward-thinking speakers with students and professionals interested in innovation and entrepreneurship. Topics include startups, new business creation, leadership and team-building, customer acquisition, fundraising and other special topics.

Held monthly through the academic year, this speaker series is held at 6 p.m. in the 300 Room of the MSU Innovation Center on Grand River Avenue. MAP

Attendees are asked to RSVP via the eventbrite links provided.

2016 - 2017 Series

September 13, 2016: Brad Hoos @bhoos | RSVP Today

Brad is the Chief Growth Officer at The Outloud Group. A proven marketing innovator, Bradley is responsible for developing client relationships and making new business models come to life.  Prior to The Outloud Group, Brad founded Grand Circus, a Google For Entrepreneurs Tech Hub and Coding Bootcamp Business in Detroit. Bradley also has experience in Venture Capital and Management Consulting. As a management consultant, Mr. Hoos supported the marketing strategy for leading organizations including Red Hat, Caterpillar, Accenture, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and USAA. Bradley holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a BS and MS in Engineering from Michigan State University and the University of Iowa, respectively.

September 20, 2016: Ari Washington @arinicolelife | RSVP Today

Washington received her bachelors in communication from Michigan State University. She interned for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat and American Airlines Arena, Youngstown Steelhounds (CHL) and worked in the front office for the men’s basketball department at MSU before founding the Double Coverage PR Group in 2010. 

October 4, 2016: Kyle Welch | RSVP Today

Kyle is the president & co-founder of Chicago Scoops, a Chicago based restaurant management company. Scoops is the largest franchisee of the Cold Stone Creamery brand. Kyle is also a franchisee of Little Caesars pizza. Kyle has scaled Scoops from zero to over 40 locations across 11 states in two years and a half. He holds a BA in Hospitality Business from Michigan State University. 

October 12, 2016: Gina Rizzi @GDRizzi | RSVP Today

Rizzi is the President of ARCUS Marketing Group, LLC, a business-to-business marketing firm which generates growth for Fortune 500 clients. She is the Co-Founder of IMPACT360 Group, a founding partner of a life sciences company, and owns a real estate management firm. Her passion is to help businesses drive financial performance while positively impacting society and the environment. She holds a MBA from the University of Notre Dame, a BA in Advertising from Michigan State, and a Cleantech Certificate in Sustainable Energy from Presidio Graduate School.

November 15, 2016: Dane Christianson @dchristianson2 | RSVP Today

Christianson is president and founder of Moving Parts LLC, a company that invents and manufactures brain games. He founded the company as a sophomore at Illinois Tech in order to sell his invention, the X-Cube, which is a modern twist on the Rubik's Cube. He's currently developing new games and twisty puzzles with his business partner, Neil Kane.

January 17, 2016: Alexandra Clark @BonBonBonChoc | RSVP Today

Alexandra Clark’s joy for confectionary started at an early age and was solidified during her studies at Michigan State University’s The School of Hospitality Business. With a series of impressive professional stints including The Detroit Athletic Club and Max Brenner in Boston under her belt, she embarked on her most incredible venture to date, opening Bon Bon Bon in 2013 in her hometown of Detroit. Known for mixing classic French technique with a bit of whimsy, Bon Bon Bon creates delightful chocolates flavors full of surprise and bursting with flavor. In early 2016, Clark was named one of Forbes magazine's "30 under 30," in the Food & Drink category, signaling her spot as a leader in the confectionary world. 

February 7, 2017: Marc Colcer @marccolcer | RSVP Today

From selling lemonade on the local golf course when he was eight to starting his own landscaping company when he was thirteen to becoming a co-owner of a teen nightclub, Marc's entrepreneurial efforts began at a young age. As a student at Michigan State University, he began promoting a Miami-based event company, Life in Color, worked as an event manager at an East Lansing bar & grill, and became the social media manager for his apartment complex and for a local gym. He also created SkyTime Volume, managing a local music producer and a singer/songwriter, and additionally created a collegiate apparel line called Wear Your Threads. After graduating from Michigan State, Marc worked full time on his management company and on his apparel line. 

February 27, 2017: Sarah Kunst @sarahkunst | RSVP Today

Sarah Kunst is the Founder and CEO of Proday.co, a website that keeps you up-to-date on your favorite sports, athletes, and sport-related news. She's an alum of Michigan State University, a contributing editor to Marie Claire, and an Investor Board Member for Venture For America. She previously won an award for being named on the 2015 Forbes 30 Under 30 list.

March 7, 2017: John Hill @techstarsjohn | RSVP Today

John is not only a MSU alum, but also a prior LinkedIn Higher Education Evangelist. He now works as a Network Catalyst for Techstars, located in the Boston area.

March 21, 2017: Ben Hatala @BenHatala | RSVP Today

Ben Hatala is the Chief Operating Officer, Co-Founder of Clicktivated Video; an interactive video platform allowing viewers to “click” directly within a video to learn more and shop their favorite products. He graduated from Michigan State University in 2010 and presently is a mentor in the MSU Entrepreneurship program. He was also the World’s Greatest Mascot “Sparty”, for three and half years during his undergrad tenure.

March 28, 2017: Lauren Aitch @Aitch45 | RSVP Today

Lauren Aitch is an athle­­­te, entrepreneur, designer, philanthropist, and Michigan State University alumna. She played for Spartans Women’s Basketball for five years before playing professional basketball in Copenhagen, Denmark, where she found a passion for fashion design. She has founded two fashion companies – Lady Aitch and Our Own – as well as a non-profit, The Aitch Foundation, which raises money for early detection of hidden cancers and holds the annual Hidden Key Fashion Show at Spartan Stadium. Lauren currently designs custom suits for Lady Aitch and is a designer-in-residence at The Runway, a Lansing-based fashion incubator. 

April 6, 2017: Brett Kopf @brettkopf RSVP Today

Brett Kopf is the co-founder of Remind, the largest K-12 education platform in the U.S. After he was diagnosed with ADD and dyslexia in fifth grade, Brett struggled with his learning disabilities until he met a teacher who changed the way he approached learning—and what he was capable of achieving. Since then, Brett's made it his mission to connect every student with their own Mrs. Whitefield. A native of Chicago and proud alumnus of Michigan State, Brett lives in San Francisco with his fiancée and loves visiting schools around the country.

April 18, 2017: Pat Gillespie | RSVP Today

Pat is known as the chief visionary, founder and president of Gillespie GroupGillespie Group has been at the forefront of development and asset management, and is recognized as a driving force for progress in Lansing and throughout the State of Michigan. He is a graduate of Michigan State University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in Construction Management. He is also a respected leader who is known for a creative approach to both new construction and development repurposing. His heartfelt mission is to motivate and energize Mid-Michigan communities.