What We Learned at TEDxWakeForestU: The Power of Curiosity

By Taylor Borden, Marketing and Communications Intern, Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship

We looked forward to the sixth annual TEDx conference with anticipation, and it absolutely delivered.

TEDxWakeForestU 2017: The Power of Curiosity took place on February 18th in Wait Chapel and brought eight thought-provoking speakers to campus to share their own curiosities in their personal fields of expertise.

Joseph Callahan
made a name for himself in the world of technology. As the CEO of Ciright Companies and TriState HVAC along with a history as an industrial engineer at Johnson & Johnson and General Motors, his delineation of what makes him the most curious is almost surprising. He shared that his grandmother got an infection during surgery, which led him to wonder how operating rooms could possibly be more sterile. “Mankind is at war with bacteria,” he announced, comparing bacteria to the military and stating that the air in operating rooms is not nearly up to par for 100% safe operations. This interest now permeates his daily work life and implored the audience to pursue what makes them tick.


Amelia Dunlop, a principal at Doblin, Monitor, which is Deloitte’s design-led innovation practice, spent her 18 minutes not describing how curiosity finds its way into the daily intricacies of her work, but rather how it finds its way into the intricacies of her heart. She became interested in the nature of love once she found a deep sadness overtook her: “We all feel sad at times, but we never talk about it. And how can you feel love if you only feel sadness?” This realization drove her to become curious about exploring that pain and overcoming it, and ultimately came to a strong realization: “The curious thing about love is that in order to love deeply, deeply feel it, you need to listen to your heart.”


Dmitry Sitkovetsky, a world renowned violin soloist and conductor, was born to two musical parents in Russia. He also followed a musical path but left Russia in his early 20s. He has been the Music Director of the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra since 2003. Easy to see why, during Sitkovetsky’s talk, he not only spoke about his personal musical and familial background, but he also pulled out his violin to play a little Bach for the audience. He left the stage with an interesting thought: “The orchestra is an incredible invention of our civilization: it knows no difference in age, sex, race, religion, and politics. When you get this group of people together… you are able to get to a level where no one can get individually. That is the power of music.” It is this power that drew him to explore his own curiosities and reach new heights.

Wrapping up the first half of the day, award winning documentary film director, Otto Bell, told his story of curiosity. He stumbled upon a beautiful photo on the BBC of a young girl and a golden eagle. Completely enraptured by her, he spent every last cent he had to travel to Mongolia and create a documentary about that very thirteen year old girl living in and challenging a male dominated society. That curiosity, coupled with absolute faith in it, brought about the most profitable documentary of the last year. It also won eight awards and is currently being remade into a 20th Century Fox animation film. He shared with the audience that he thought his purpose is to “project a microphone to the whispering voices of the world.”


“We don’t have the power to make life fair, but we have the power to make life joyful,” Ever Lee Hairston explained to the audience during her talk. She told the story of how she was born and raised in North Carolina to sharecropping parents and had to overcome adversity in the segregated south all without being able to see. She found that while her life was not fair, she could make it joyful by finding a way to help others in a similar situation. “I learned that life is tough, but apparently I’m tougher,” she announced, imploring the audience to embrace their own curiosities and strengths to prevail. She serves as the President of the National Federation of the Blind, working tirelessly to make sure that everyone, especially those that cannot see, can reach their full potential.


Jeremy Cage spends the majority of his time as an international businessman, working with companies like Procter & Gamble and PepsiCo. Considering this, you would anticipate Cage’s curiosities stem from business efficiency, but rather they stem from something closer to his heart: his love for sailing and his thoughts on dreaming. After sailing around the world, he’s come to several conclusions: he contends that “dreams are the most powerful force on the planet” and that “most people and businesses dream vaguely and dread specifically,” while they should be aiming to “dream specifically and dread vaguely.” He takes these themes and expounds upon him in his recently released book All Dreams on Deck—Charting the Course for Your Life and Work.

A beloved associate accounting professor here at WFU, Anna Cianci, then took the stage to discuss setbacks and suffering and how they can ultimately improve your life. She spoke about how certain setbacks often lead us down different paths and provide us with different curiosities, explaining why she earned her MA in psychology from Wake Forest as well as a MA in pastoral theology from Saint Joseph’s College. Her greatest piece of advice? “Sometimes WE can be the love that we long for in others.”


The last speaker was former NASA astronaut and current jack of all trades, Story Musgrave. Having been an astronaut, a marine, a landscape architect, and a Disney imagineer, along with accumulating seven graduate degrees, Musgrave has a storied life and plenty of wisdom to pass on. He describes how curiosities and interests constantly push him to the next career and the next imaginative adventure: like owning a palm farm, a sculpture company, and working as a professor of design. He talks about how his curiosities were cemented in him as a child and left the audience with an uplifting, inspiring thought: “When you learn something as a kid, it’s part of your heart and soul. That imagination always goes with curiosity… you have to have the imagination and curiosity to open that next door.”

Spearheaded by a fearless student team, the event was awe-inspiring and powerful. It was an afternoon filled with insight and ideas worth spreading. We are so proud of these students that worked tirelessly to make this event a raging success:

Hayden Lineberger ‘18, Executive Director

Emily Fitzgerald ’17, Assistant Director

Caroline Lewis ’17, Co-Director of Engagement

Arthur Willson ’17, Co-Director of Engagement

Julia Demorest ’19, Director of Talent Acquisition

Julie Gray ’19, Director of Operations and Logistics

Yossuf Albanawi ’17, Director of Hospitality

Garret Barnes ’19, Stage Manager

Johnny Thurber ’18, Director of Event Support/Volunteer Coordinator

Tommy Worcester ’17, Master of Ceremonies

We can’t wait to see what next year’s TEDxWakeForestU conference will bring, but for now, we will be working on our own curiosities and promoting a campus environment that encourages exploration of such.

Swimming in the DEAC TANK

By Taylor Borden, Marketing and Communication Intern, Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship


DEAC TANK is a Shark Tank-style competition where student entrepreneurs participating in the Deacon Springboard pitch their ventures to three knowledgeable judges in front of a large audience of other WFU entrepreneurship students in hopes of gaining valuable insight on how to improve their concepts and taking home a monetary prize.

The first annual DEAC TANK went off without a hitch on March 21! It featured six incredible student ventures and pitches, dynamic judges, and even an inspiring keynote speech by Michael and Laura Dweck, the co-founders of Basic Outfitters, a venture recently featured on the hit TV show, Shark Tank!

Tommy Worcester, a WFU senior, emceed the inaugural event. He recently emceed TEDxWakeForestU2017 and runs his own venture, Loopey Laces. He introduced the three judges, or “sharks”: Peter Marsh, a founding partner of Flywheel, Ben King, a seasoned WFU professor, and Steve Lineberger, a consumer retail professional.


After this quick introduction, the five minute pitches began:

Higher Art Galleries Brooke Einbender, Zanny Dow, Hanna Polizzotto

Higher Art Galleries is a dual purpose venture to support student artists and student art departments by providing an online platform that directly sells student originals and student art prints, with proceeds directly benefiting the student and his or her art department.

Pillotect Youssef Albanawi and Moises Castano

Pillotect is a new venture to help the fight against prescription abuse. It is a smart pill bottle that monitors medical intake through the detection of weight fluctuation.

SimpullCork Arthur Willson and Hannah Shows

SimpullCork is an innovative wine opening solution that uses an integrated loop system that allows the easy removal of wine corks without damaging the cork, allowing it to be reinserted in the bottle.

Ellis Bell Sophie Hollis

Ellis Bell is a clothing and design company that seeks to support the practical and modern woman by providing inventive clothing with useful and creative pockets, promoting gender equality even in clothing.

The Portal Pocket Tee Bailey Greenberg

The Portal Pocket Tee is a t-shirt with a decoy pocket that allows cancer patients easy access to their chest ports while receiving chemotherapy infusions.

UpDog Kombucha Lauren Miller and Olivia Wolff
UpDog Kombucha is a kombucha microbrewery. Kombucha is a fermented tea packed with probiotics, enzymes, and acids that support digestive health.


After these six short and impressive pitches took place and the judges began deliberations, Michael and Laura Dweck took the stage to share their story and words of wisdom with the participants and the audience.

The Dwecks developed Basic Outfitters after getting married in 2014. Laura realized there wasn’t nearly enough space to house Michael’s old and vast collection of socks and underwear in their tiny NYC apartment, so she tried to downsize and replenish his “basics” drawer but found it to be difficult, especially considering that one pair of underwear typically costs $28.

Understanding they must not be the only people with this problem, Basic Outfitters, along with their hit feature “Create-A-Drawer,” was born. They are able to provide Tommy Hilfiger quality basics at Hanes prices by “cutting out the wholesale middleman.”

They’ve garnered plenty of national attention, including being featured on Shark Tank. They admitted that their business has grown 1,000% since their Shark Tank appearance and described the experience as “grueling but incredible for us and our business.” They told the audience what they found their key principles to success have been thus far:

  • Smiling is contagious:” There is nothing you can’t achieve if you have the right attitude. Smiling seems to be, at surface level, a silly tip, but people are most likely to help those who are friendly and inviting.
  • When they zig, you zag:” It is important to differentiate yourself from the pack and the best way to do that is to think outside of the box and always go the extra mile.
  • Grit:” “We are willing to do anything to see our company succeed. Sometimes that means getting in the warehouse ourselves and fulfilling orders with handwritten notes from us, the founders, or doing our own PR pitches, sometimes it means having the most miserable week of your life—but it is those small moments that count.”

These tidbits of advice are so helpful and inspiring for our nascent entrepreneurs. Funnily enough, the Dwecks concluded by sharing how inspiring hearing our student pitches were for them, too:

“It’s amazing to see what you are all accomplishing at this age. In college, I feel I was very, very lazy,” Michael admitted. “We were just talking about if we would be willing to invest our own money in any of these and we came to an immediate agreement on every single one.”

The Shark Tank stars wrapped up with an essential insight: “You are at a pinnacle moment in your life where you can do anything.”


1st place $3,000: SimpullCork

“We’re growing a great entrepreneurial ecosystem here and we’re so proud to be a part of it” Arthur Willson

2nd Place, $1,500: UpDog Kombucha

3rd Place, $500: Ellis Bell

Shark Tank Stars’ Choice, $250: Portal Pocket Tee

We are so proud to be fostering and furthering that ecosystem with events like these! We are already excited for our second annual DEAC TANK event to take place next spring.

Bush & Hester: What We Learned

By Taylor Borden, Marketing and Communications Intern, Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship

Strengths of our program include learning by doing coupled with learning from the pros. On March 14, we were able to exercise the latter when we were lucky enough to hear from two different and exciting speakers, Lori Bush and Gordon Hester, about their own entrepreneurial experiences.

Lori Bush addressed a packed room of students about crowd sourcing and the digital age. She refers to crowd sourcing as a celebration of “the culture of agility,” or a way to successfully hit the market by direct selling with a flexible mindset, or rather, without staying tied to the legacy and infrastructure of traditional business. It took a village and a ton of moving parts bringing products directly to the consumer for Bush’s company, Rodan & Fields, to initially find success in the already saturated beauty industry. “We use this crowd sourcing or direct selling model as a way to be competitive in the marketplace,” Bush admits. She calls this social commerce.

By thriving on this idea of social commerce, Rodan & Fields absolutely became competitive in the marketplace and is now considered the number one premium independent skincare company in the United States.

Gordon Hester, a successful global business consultant, who has even dabbled in the direct selling business himself, applauds Bush.

He follows up her talk with an important takeaway: “The best lesson here is that business is about people.” He would know, as he helped develop one of the largest nutritional direct selling business in the world (Roberti Enterprises) as the CEO and now works his own consulting business focusing on the processes, strategies, and systems that will advance consumer-focused companies like Juice Plus.

His passion for entrepreneurship and the best business practices has taken him all over the world and he spent his time with our students relaying his thoughts on the key principles necessary for success as a nascent entrepreneur. Not only did he stress the importance of people, he shared anecdotes about having an adaptable mentality, forcing yourself to always be learning, and how much you accomplish when you choose to live in the extra mile.

Here are a few of our favorite thoughts shared during this speaker event:

  • “In business, we typically stay so goal oriented but with a fixed mindset. This mindset is tied to legacy so much so that we can’t pivot in an agile way. This is the fear zone and you can’t be stuck in the fear zone.” –Bush, on how she had the confidence to deviate from a standard business model
  • “In Tom Sawyer, remember how he got everyone to help him paint the fence? Well, simply speaking, I am the Tom Sawyer of the beauty industry.” – Bush explaining her process as simply as possible
  • “There is nothing stronger than the power of a network—it’s the people who know people who know people that help you reach your end goal.” – Bush
  • “When school ends, you think the learning stops, but that’s actually when it begins. In today’s world, you have to invest in relevancy.” –Hester, on why he constantly pushes himself to learn new things each day
  • “Success is more about mindset than mechanics. What do successful people have in common? They are so hungry to grow.” Hester, echoing Bush’s points about mindset
  • “To succeed you have to be willing to live in the extra mile. Not too many people do. If you don’t, you’re in the comfort zone. For me, the comfort zone is the death of my potential.” –Hester

Solving Problems- Changing Behaviors

Elisa Burton – Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship Program Coordinator


Do I pay attention to the problems around me?  Do I have what it takes to be a change agent? 

These are the questions that came to mind after hearing Kristen McClellan, founder of SnappyScreen, the world’s first touchless sunscreen application system that is changing how people apply sunscreen.  Students and faculty had the opportunity to hear from McClellan who was a guest speaker in Wake’s new Startup Lab on March 1, 2017.

Who knew that applying sunscreen was such a problem? 

Kristen heard the problems – people don’t like applying sunscreen, they can’t apply it to their own back, kids fuss about it, not enough sunscreen gets applied for full coverage and people get sunburned – and she took action.

Through coaching from advisors in her eLab class at Cornell University, McClellan, then a sophomore student, was encouraged to pitch her idea at an elevator pitch competition.  From there, she raised Angel funding and is currently pursuing Venture Capital funding.  Little did she know that her idea would one day change consumer behaviors.  Her passion, hard work and tenacity are reaping rewards.  Today, her revolutionary sunscreen sprayer, SnappyScreen, can be found at several luxury hotels.

Some takeaways from McClellan’s presentation:

  • Do LOTS of customer discovery. Talk to people and find out what they like and what they don’t like. McClellan discovered that customers want to be able to choose the SPF level, and select their height when using SnappyScreen.
  • Network. That person you talk to at a party or social event might be the friend or relative of someone who makes decisions that can move your idea to the next level.
  • Be aware of the space that you are creating. SnappyScreen went through four generations of changes before getting to the current model, which “fits in” with the environment and surroundings at the luxury vacation hotels.  
  • Press helps catapult your business to the next level. Getting some publicity in a newspaper or magazine helps to create legitimacy for your new venture.
  • Don’t discount Acting 101. When asked about the classes that helped prepare her for life as an entrepreneur, McClellan said that her acting class was very beneficial in teaching her how to manage emotions especially in the up and down nature of entrepreneurship.  You have to tune out anything negative and go into that sales call or investor pitch like everything is great or you’ll get nowhere! 

So, the next time you hear the same problem being repeated over and over, think about how you might create the solution!

You can learn more about SnappyScreen through their website.

Basic Outfitters: From Shark Tank to Deac Tank

By Taylor Borden, Marketing and Communications Intern, Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship

After getting married in 2014, Michael and Laura Dweck moved into a cozy New York apartment.

The only problem for the newlyweds?

There wasn’t nearly enough space to house all of Michel’s vast and old collection of socks and underwear. Laura wanted to rebuild a smaller collection of fresh, new basics for him, but found that one pair of underwear typically costs $28.

Wishing there was a simple process to just “buy a whole new drawer,” Basic Outfitters was born.

The Dwecks understood the white space in the market and built the company by selling quality basics at a reasonable price in modular packs, through a feature they call “Create-A-Drawer.”

Providing Tommy Hilfiger quality basics and Hanes prices is no easy feat—but their current success is already a testament to their idea and execution.

Basic Outfitters was just featured on the hit TV show, Shark Tank. .01% of interested business make it onto the show—which involves nine months of business boot camp, getting filmed, and then hopefully, getting aired.

.01% of interested businesses make it onto Shark Tank—which also involves 9 months of business bootcamp, getting filmed, and hopefully, get aired.

Their episode aired this January and has brought about an “incredible reaction,” even pushing the duo to begin working on a women’s version of Create-A-Drawer as well.

The Dwecks will be speaking at WFU’s very own Deac Tank on March 21 in Benson 401 at 6:00PM. They will share their journey, speak about their Shark Tank experience, and impart wisdom on our young entrepreneurs.

How to go from an Idea to a Company: Wake Forest’s New Startup Lab

By Taylor Borden, Marketing and Communications Intern, Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship

Every Wednesday, eight Wake Forest student teams with strong potential business ideas (Some who have even launched) meet together for over two hours in the Innovation Station for uninterrupted time to grow their businesses.

These cross-disciplinary teams of undergraduate students make up the first class of Wake Forest’s new Startup Lab, an entrepreneurial accelerator.

Dozens applied, and eight teams were admitted to the highly competitive and rigorous Startup Lab, which provides nascent student entrepreneurs with coaching, mentoring, seed funding, and most importantly, the opportunity to work towards launching a startup.

“To be accepted into Startup Lab, you need to have a good idea. In Startup Lab, we’re taking that good idea, and using principles of evidence based entrepreneurship, turning the idea into a concept, and then, possibly, a company,” Dan Cohen, one of professors spearheading this class, explains.

Cohen is an entrepreneurship and business professor in his second year at WFU. He started a similar accelerator program at Cornell, eLab, an acclaimed accelerator that Forbes cited as a major driver behind Cornell’s rapid ascent to a number four national ranking in entrepreneurship. Cohen is working in collaboration with WFU’s enthusiastic and knowledgeable Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Greg Pool.

“This is the hardest class you will ever take,” Cohen unapologetically tells his students. It requires the willingness to learn, along with the diligence and unadulterated entrepreneurial spirit to succeed. In Startup Lab, what you do in the classroom is only a fraction of what is required—the progress made outside of the classroom is what separates those who make real startup progress.

Students have been working on customer discovery, value propositions, air-tight business model canvases, branding, press releases, and their social media presence. These are necessary steps for taking ideas and converting them into companies.

Here’s an inside look at the ideas the teams are working on:

Puttr is an interactive golf-aid designed to help golfers of all levels improve the most difficult part of the game: putting. The iOS app provides golfers with interactive 3D greens that have contoured grid lines and color indexed elevation data. These easily accessible and easy to use models help the golfer more accurately read their putts and shave critical strokes off their game.

SimpullCork is an integrated loop system in synthetic cork which allows a consumer to open a wine bottle without the use of external tools and for the original cork to be placed back into the bottle and reused. Its goal is to revolutionize the wine opening experience.

Presto is a semi-autonomous nail art service powered by advanced nail printers. With Presto, customers can customize the color, pattern, or image to be printed on their fingernails. Its goal is to eliminate service and price discrepancy caused by human nail technicians.

Updog Kombucha is a local, small-batch kombucha microbrewery that produces an all-natural fermented tea. The kombucha is made using local and organic ingredients and is packed with naturally occurring probiotics, enzymes and acids that support digestive and immune health. Updog Kombucha is currently carried in 25 locations in North Carolina.

Niki’s Kitchen is a line of fresh, multi-use, refrigerated salad dressing inspired by family recipes passed down three generations. Their signature product, an Italian vinaigrette, has been validated locally at family restaurant locations for 15 years.

Buzz Band is a stylish band to be worn around the wrist of a parent and a child. The band is equipped with small GPS technology and vibration capabilities and allows parents to keep track of their children’s location via an app on their phone. The band also vibrates, allowing parents and children to reunite in the event of an emergency without the use of a phone.

Resilience Project works with financially disadvantaged cancer patients to design and produce a pair of socks; allowing each patient to bring their own personality to treatment. For each pair sold, Resilience donates half of net proceeds back to the patient to help them pay for expenses related to treatment.

Higher Art Gallery is an online gallery platform that supports student artists as well as university art departments. It markets and sells student work in the form of original or reproduction pieces, delivering quality, student-made artwork at affordable prices.

To read more about the Startup Lab, please click here.

TEDxWakeForestU 2017- The Power of Curiosity

By Taylor Borden, Marketing and Communications Intern, Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship

 The sixth annual TEDx conference is approaching! TEDxWakeForestU is an independently organized event that’s mission is to “highlight exceptional people and creative works, connect people across disciplines, [and] create conversations that drive action.”

This year, students, faculty, and community members are invited to Wait Chapel on Saturday, February 18th, from 12:30PM to 4:30PM to engage with eight impressive speakers.

The theme for this year’s conference is “The Power of Curiosity.” The speakers will give presentations on the importance of curiosity in their personal fields of expertise.

“Our team encourages you to come and be inspired about the curiosities of our world. It has often been said that curiosity creates an openness to unfamiliar experiences, while at the same time laying a foundation for greater opportunities to experience discovery, joy, and delight,” said Hayden Lineberger ’18, the Executive Director of TEDxWakeForestU 2017.

“We have an exciting speaker lineup, covering a vast array of thought-provoking topics. We hope that by attending you will be inspired to explore what makes you curious, in effect allowing you to transform everyday tasks into interesting and enjoyable experiences.”

These exciting speakers include Story Musgrave, a career astronaut, Ever Lee Hairston, the President of the National Federation of the Blind, and Dmitry Sitkovetsky, the music director of the Greensboro Symphony and violin virtuoso who will share his talents with us during his talk. For a full list of speakers, click here.

We applaud our student leaders who worked tirelessly to put on such a powerful event:

Hayden Lineberger ‘18, Executive Director

Emily Fitzgerald ’17, Assistant Director

Caroline Lewis ’17, Co-Director of Engagement

Arthur Willson ’17, Co-Director of Engagement

Julia Demorest ’19, Director of Talent Acquisition

Julie Gray ’19, Director of Operations and Logistics

Yossuf Albanawi ’17, Director of Hospitality

Garret Barnes ’19, Stage Manager

Johnny Thurber ’18, Director of Event Support/Volunteer Coordinator

Tommy Worcester ’17, Master of Ceremonies

To learn more about TEDxWakeForestU, please visit the website. To keep up with the event, follow along on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Don’t forget to register for the event!

Building and Financing Successful Entrepreneurial Ventures

By Taylor Borden, Marketing and Communications Intern, Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship

On Thursday, November 10, students and faculty gathered in the Magnolia room to hear from successful Raleigh based entrepreneur Scott Moody as he shared valuable lessons he’s learned in building companies, while investors Mark Rostick and Steve Lux, who have worked with Moody, shared their perspectives on the entrepreneur/investor relationship. The panel was moderated and organized by Dave Felman (‘79), who is a corporate attorney and shareholder in Moody’s business. Felman is also a member of the ICE Advisory Council.

Scott Moody is currently working on K4Connect, a mission based integrated technologies company geared towards empowering older adults and people living with disabilities. “Entrepreneurship is all about people taking a bet on a solution to a problem,” says Moody, which absolutely shines through in the mission and success of K4Connect.

This project has been in the works for several years, and investors Mark Rostick and Steve Lux expressed how excited they were to be a part of it. Both work for venture capital firms who are “looking for technology enabled companies to invest one to five million dollars in,” according to Lux.

c2cpanelWhen explaining the role of venture capital firms, Lux explained that entrepreneurs don’t jump directly to finding investors once a concept is developed: “You go to friends, family, and fools first to raise the capital.”

Once K4Connect reached the point of being exceedingly easy to use, it was ready for investors. All three men on the panel had several ideas on how this partnership is formed. Moody, as an entrepreneur, feels it is important when choosing investors that — one, they have to be on board with the mission, — and two, you need to really like them,” pointing out that you will most likely spend more time with these people then you will with your spouse.

Rostick, as an investor, agreed: “It’s a forced marriage. Selling part of your company to us is like sharing your child. You get two things when I invest in you: One, me, so you have to decide if that’s worthwhile. Two, intel and reach that other venture firms can’t touch, which helps to solidify a growing business.”

He then elaborated on how investors chose the ventures they partner with: “As an investor, my first question is who is your first customer and what are you selling them. There’s a lot more art in venture capital projections than science. When you’re talking to a couple guys with an idea… All you have is hope, no science, so how much is that hope worth?”

After delving into the specifics of these relationships, Moody left students with his best pieces of advice: “If you really want to be an entrepreneur, get a job. You’re going to learn more there and develop the tools you need to succeed. And don’t forget that a lot of entrepreneurship is about risk and management– but you still have to swing for the fences.”

The event came to a close with a reception, where students could speak individually to the panelists and learn more about what “swing[ing] for the fences” entails.


moodyScott Moody is the Co-Founder and CEO of K4Connect, which is an integrated solution company designed and developed to meet the evolving needs of the senior living market by way of creating “smart homes.” K4Connect is not Moody’s first venture; he is a serial entrepreneur of technology companies.
rostickMark Rostick is a Director at Intel Capital based in Raleigh, NC. He focuses on Intel’s investments in storage, enterprise/cloud computing infrastructure and software along with other areas like graphics, media processing, and digital media.


luxSteve Lux is a Managing Partner at Stonehenge Growth Equity Partners in Tampa, FL. His portfolio consists of high growth, small technology based ventures, two of which were started by Scott Moody.




Dave Felman ’79 is a Corporate Attorney and Shareholder at Hill Ward Henderson in Tampa, FL. He manages the corporate law practice at his firm and focuses on representing companies and investors in investment deals, including mergers and acquisitions. He also serves on the Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship Advisory Council.

Students Working to Better the Triad at the Discovery Forum

By Taylor Borden, Marketing and Communication Intern, Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship
discovery-forum-2016-triad-headerOn Wednesday, November 16, the Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship, in conjunction with the Institute for Emerging Issues at NC State University, hosted the Triad Discovery Forum, sponsored by BB&T.

At the event, held in the Kulynych Auditorium in the Byrum Welcome Center, nine talented teams both from Wake Forest and young entrepreneurs from the Triad area were allowed five minutes to pitch their idea or social venture to an audience.

The audience then voted on the top three ventures, which would be invited to an intensive leadership development weekend in the spring, where they will compete for up to $10,000 for the advancement of their venture. It was an evening of innovation, inspiration, and networking.

The top three teams continuing to the Leadership Symposium in Raleigh in March are: the Resilience Project, Fresh Food Haven, and GRPWRK.

jakeThe Resilience Project, which placed first, is a venture Jacob Teitelbaum (‘17) started while battling Refractory Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Teitelbaum and co-founder, Sophia Faltin (’16), partner with cancer patients to design a pair of socks in that patient’s honor, as an alternative to the standard no-slip hospital socks given to patients upon arrival. The socks are then sold online, with half of the proceeds going back to the family to help pay for treatment.

freshfoodhavenFresh Food Haven is another Wake Forest team placing in the top three. With this Winston-Salem focused venture, Claiborne Barnett (‘20) and David Deerin (‘20) want to ease the food desert problem in Winston-Salem. Their venture seeks to partner with farms to create boxes of locally sourced produce and deliver these boxes directly to schools, so children in need of this sustenance have access to it.

grpwrkAlso placing in the top three are Ashley Johnson, Paris Williford, Brittney Isbell, and Hali Shepard, who are four Winston-Salem based creative women who recognize there isn’t enough art-positive help in the area. Their idea, entitled GRPWRK, is a service-first creative entrepreneurship collaborative space or hub that would connect people, provide services and materials, and ultimately serve as a guide and beacon during any creative project development.

All nine teams are pursuing innovative, sustainable solutions to critical social problems, and we cannot wait to see where these ventures go. Best of luck to the top three in the next round of competition and to all nine teams in your endeavors!

The nine teams that competed included:

BetaBrake: Priscillla Djarbeng, Andrew Zeidell

Beyond Borders: Kyla Tucker, Kathryn Webster

Combatting Cosmetic Waste: Mingyue Yu, Hang Zhao

Cross & Dagger: Jalen Johnson, Makenzie Whichard, Danielle Patterson

Fresh Food Haven: David Deerin, Claiborne Barnett

GRPWRK: Ashley Johnson, Paris Williford, Brittney Isbell, Hali Shepard

Resilience Project: Jacob Teitelbaum, Sophia Faltin

Urban Growth-op: Sacha Blalock, Toriell Lewis, Suraya Crump, Kaylah Steveson, Xavia Edmonds, Chelsea Tubbs

WakeStorage: Sam Chason, Wubetu Shimelash

ICE sponsored speakers and events inspire and encourage us to pursue our passions

Inspiration abounds in the ESE classes.  What inspires you? 

heather-evans-smithOn October 20, students in Professor Jan Detter’s ESE 100 class had the opportunity to meet Heather Evans Smith and hear about what inspires her to create her award winning photography.

“How we see the world often determines our creativity. Heather sees the world through the lens of awe and mystification,” says Detter who encourages us to be ‘awake and alert’ to our own lives.

Evans Smith leads herself through creative exercises, a habit she learned as a child to fend off boredom.  Often times she is inspired through music.  She listens to a song and envisions images that she then creates through photographs.  She has produced a series of photographs called “My Beatles” from her favorite Beatles songs.

Her photos are meaningful to her but they resonate with others as well.  One of her award winning photographs, Let My Machine Talk To Me, was chosen for Canon and Ron Howard’s Project Imagination contest.  She found the subject for this photo – the robot – of all places in Jan Detter’s studio!

She is currently working on a series she calls “threading”, which is inspired by memories of her late grandmother and her grandmother’s love of sewing.  She has also done cover photos for several issues of The Wake Forest Magazine. Her portfolio can be found here.

Heather Evans Smith lives and works in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Her work reflects her southern roots, motherhood, womanhood and a whimsical imagination she relied on as an only child in a rural town. Smith’s work has been featured in solo and joint exhibitions nationwide, magazines, literary journals and online publications. She has been an invited guest lecturer at colleges, universities and photography conferences such as Australian Exposure in the Gold Coast, Australia. (Taken from Facebook.Heatherevanssmithphotography.)

Computer Science Department and ICE Program host Wake Forest alum and tech entrepreneur, John Quinn.

john-quinn-event-imageOn November 4, we heard from John Quinn ’95, co-founder of Storj.io, a blockchain based, distributed storage provider, who is responsible for sales, marketing, customer success, and capital formation.

John Quinn, who did his undergraduate work in Russian Studies and Economics, is a recovering investment banker from Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank, a former managing director of a $200 million private equity fund and lover of distributed systems that disrupt centralized services.

Storj.io is disrupting tech giants such as Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure.  Quinn says that anything centralized can be decentralized, using terms such as decentralization, sharing economy, trust list encryption, and P to P networks to describe what Storj is all about.  Think of the Uber and Airbnb model.  Do you want to rent space on your hard-drive?  Be the Cloud!  Check out Storj.io.

We got our DADA on!

Also on November 4, students in Professor Lynn Book’s ESEdada-10-31-announcement-image 100 classes helped transform the ZSR Library into a space that became part cabaret, movie theater, concert hall, and eatery at a public event celebrating the 100th anniversary of the highly influential art and design movement, DADA.

This was a collaborative event organized by Professor Book that included more than 60 WFU students, student ventures (including UpDog Kombucha), CreateWFU, a new student organization affiliated with the E-Society, and 15 WFU faculty from across 10 departments.  The interdisciplinary performance based focus of this event reflects what the Dada artists were doing 100 years ago.

2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of Cabaret Voltaire and DADA.  A burst of an idea in 1916, the art movement known as DADA gave birth to a new 20th Century creativity. It spread through and beyond the arts and reverberated in cities across Europe and the Americas.

DADA raised the bar for innovation developing new approaches to creative action and activism, setting the path for imaginative methods leading to unexpected outcomes.  DADA challenged everything – and nothing was ever the same.