YEI Speakers Bureau

The Speakers Bureau is an all-volunteer based team of business professionals who have graciously offered to share their expertise and speak to student groups in Northeast Ohio. They are passionate advocates for youth entrepreneurship education. If you are interested in booking an engagement with one of our speakers, please review their profiles for preferred subject interests, geographic location and audience. Please email speakers directly with your requests. For additional questions, please contact Wendy Wercion at

Julie Brandle

Metis Construction Services

My name is Julie Brandle, President and Founder of Metis Construction Services, a female owned and operated commercial general contractor located in Kent working throughout Ohio. Metis performs facilities maintenance, building renovations and ground up construction. This year we celebrate our 10th anniversary!

Julie enjoys speaking about marketing, advertising, public relations and how she started her business. She is open to speaking to students in school and after school programs across town depending on her schedule. Julie has available dates during evenings in March.

Please email Julie for her availability at

Elizabeth C. Brownlee

Entrepreneur, Independent Business Owner, ACN

Elizabeth is an 82 year young entrepreneur creating a winning culture for tomorrow’s leaders where they can be happy, wealthy, charitable, and free. She is on a mission to stamp out childhood hunger as she teaches people how to make and save money when their essential service bills are paid.

Elizabeth has always seen herself as the lender and not the borrower.  Even though she was born and raised in poverty she always knew that there was something greater.  So she became focused on being an entrepreneur.

She has done this through ACN where she has set new records and broken her own records in customer acquisition.  Leveraging the value of extensive networking has proven to be key in building strong relationships and promoting effective team building.

Her new mindset, her strong desire for excellence, her passion to serve and help others learn to make money work hard for them rather than them working so hard for money. This coupled with her strong faith in God is allowing her to live a life that could only have been a dream 70 years ago.

The journey of entrepreneurship is taking Elizabeth from project poverty to penthouse prosperity. She is determined not to travel solo.

Elizabeth enjoys speaking about the entrepreneurial mindset and the art of the elevator pitch. She prefers to speak to students 3rd through 8th grade and can be available to speak to classrooms and out of school programs across town.

Please email Elizabeth for her availability at

Carrington Chatman

Carrington Financials

Carrington Chatman, affectionately called CJ by family & friends, was born in Akron, Ohio. Chatman exhibited entrepreneurial traits at an early age; he started a popsicle stand at age 4, collected cans from ages 9-11 and founded his own landscaping business by age 12. As a student in Copley-Fairlawn City Schools he was selected to be a People to People Student Ambassador, which granted travels across the globe.

Chatman went on to graduate from Copley High School, where his athletic career earned him a full ride football scholarship at Walsh University. During his time at Walsh University, he was introduced to the financial world through his internship at Northwestern Mutual. Chatman earned his Life & Health Insurance license and was honored to be named one of the top 100 interns in the nation during his time with the company.

After graduation, Chatman went on to State Farm where he was an Account Manager, during which he earned his Property & Casualty license. In his free time he planned and eventually founded Carrington Financials LLC in December 2017, fulfilling a lifelong dream. The vision for Carrington Financials stemmed from Chatman’s want to give back to his community and help those in need, while also using the financial knowledge earned and experience gained throughout his life.

Carrington is currently involved with the United Baptist Church Scholarship Program, the Ready 2 Work Program, and many other business ventures that will come into fruition in the future.

Carrington enjoys speaking about igniting the entrepreneurial mindset and how to start a business. He is available to speak to students 3-12th grade both in school and for out of school programs across town.

Please email Carrington for his availability at

TerDawn DeBoe

Creative Thought Solutions

TerDawn DeBoe has had an affinity for music, creativity, and entrepreneurship all of her life. After finding a passion for graphic design and marketing, she became a full-time entrepreneur starting InnovativEdge Marketing (now known as Creative Thought Solutions) which has provided services for NASCAR, Tyscot Records/Warner Music Group, Caesar’s Casino,  and 100’s of other businesses all across the country. She has grown that business from a one-woman show to a team of six people specializing in finding creative solutions for companies and helping them accelerate their growth. She is considered the go-to expert when it comes to finding creative ways to bring a vision to life while assisting each company in reaching their goals.

In October 2016, TerDawn founded the Creative Entrepreneur Academy which teaches entrepreneurs how to start and accelerate the growth of their businesses. The academy offers live classes, home-study courses, and mentorship. Through the Academy, she has been able to reach close to 1000 Entrepreneurs in over 9 different countries.

TerDawn is also a partner of Dream Creative Complex, a creative co-working space located in Bedford Heights, OH.  She is an active Marketing committee member for the Women of the NAACP and the NBMBAA as well as a preferred marketing provider for The President’s Council, Ohio’s leading business chamber.

TerDawn enjoys speaking about creativity, the entrepreneurial mindset, marketing, advertising and how to start a business. She is available to speak to students 3rd through 12th grade both during the school day or for afterschool programs per availability. TerDawn prefers downtown or eastside locations.

Please email TerDawn for her availability at

Evan Delahanty

Peaceful Fruits

Evan Delahanty is the Founder and CEO of Peaceful Fruits, a social good snack startup that employs people with disabilities to make healthy, delicious, rainforest-friendly fruit snacks. Peaceful Fruits has been featured on NPR and ABC’s Shark Tank and is focused on scaling sales and production locally and nationally. Evan graduated from Walsh Jesuit High School (2003), then Cornell University (2007), before working in private industry in operations management. Prior to launching Peaceful Fruits, he served as a Community Economic Development Specialist for the U.S. Peace Corps in the Amazon interior of Suriname, South America.

Evan Delahanty enjoys speaking about the entrepreneurial mindset, the art of the elevator pitch and how to raise capital. He is available to speak to students 3rd through 9th grade during the school day across town.

Please email Evan for his availability at

Christen Dunn

Real World Scholars

After 20+ years in business, I turned my attention to entrepreneurship education. I promote entrepreneurial thinking and action in K-12 spaces, igniting young people’s understanding of how to create their own opportunities and forge their own career paths. I also enjoy engaging with K-12 educators where I can build their understanding of how to bring the entrepreneurial mindset into their classroom. I have spent many years self-employed including building and selling a retail store. My entrepreneurial business experience combined with my degree in education gives me a unique perspective to speak from. I am also writing a book for educators tentatively called: The Art of K-12 Shipping: How to Fit Entrepreneurial Thinking into Your Classroom Without Even Trying…and Why You Should!

Christen Dunn enjoys speaking about igniting the “entrepreneurial mindset”, the art of the elevator pitch, how to start a business, raising capital for a business, marketing, advertising, and public relations. She is available to speak to students 3rd-12th grades during the school day or in an after school program. Christen is based near Youngstown in PA and is willing to drive up to 2 hours for engagements. She is only available on Fridays.

Please email Christen at for her availability.

Tara Foote

Classroom Antics

Tara Foote has spent the majority of her career in marketing positions for small entrepreneurial companies and world known brands such as Hasbro, Rubbermaid, and Goodyear. She entered into her own business with her husband in 2007 when after having children of their own they realized that children needed stronger technology education than they were receiving in school. They formed Classroom Antics and have since offered high quality STEM education to over 10,000 students in Ohio, Kentucky and Michigan.

Tara enjoys speaking about igniting the entrepreneurial mindset, marketing, advertising, and public relations. She is available to speak to students 3rd-12th grade during the school day on the West Side.

Please email Tara for her availability at

Rick Freer

CLEORA Management LLC

Rick is an engaged learner curious about the world and seeks solutions to problems. He works in both the for profit and non-profit sectors laboring to unleash potential: improving operations, building into communities, and equipping people for success. Rick is a founder of small businesses, a school, and social ventures. Rick’s motto, “Invest in the City!”

Rick is interested in speaking about igniting the entrepreneurial mindset, the art of the elevator pitch and how to start a business. He is open to speaking to 3rd-12th grade students across town, in classroom settings and out of school programs. Please contact Rick at to schedule an engagement.

Joseph LaPlaca


As an Assistant Vice President and a Banking Advisor in the Cleveland market, Joseph LaPlaca provides private banking services to an assigned group of wealth management client relationships. He specializes in deposit and loan solutions tailored to high net worth clients and their families. Joseph works closely with a team of experts in investment management, financial and estate planning, and trusts to help clients achieve their financial objectives.

Joseph has an extensive background in the banking industry spanning more than 13 years. While most of his career has been concentrated in Private Banking, he has also served in a Branch Management capacity. Prior to joining PNC Wealth Management, Joseph was a Relationship Manager with the PNC Private Client Group.

Joseph has always felt the importance of actively participating in the community, which led to his pursuit of a local city council seat almost immediately after finishing school. He also has dedicated over 25 years of his life to the sport of wrestling and most recently has committed himself to volunteering at local youth programs teaching the fundamentals of the sport to children.

Joseph LaPlaca enjoys speaking about the entrepreneurial mindset, the art of the elevator pitch, how to start a business and how to raise capital. He is available to speak to students 3rd through 12th grade during the school day across town.

Please email Joseph for his availability at

Shanté R. Roddy

Intuitive Risk Management International

Shanté R. Roddy, Founder and CEO of Intuitive Risk Management International, is a highly respected business and community leader. She is a visionary consultant, educator, and mentor – capable of providing creative and effective solutions to the toughest problems in business. With over 20 years of management experience in information technology, business process services, healthcare, government administration, education and retail, Ms. Roddy was determined to launch a company where she could use her skills and experience to help companies focus on customer satisfaction, operational excellence and quality as priority drivers of strategies that differentiate them from the competition.

Ms. Roddy is a Project Management Professional (PMP) and Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. She holds a B.A. in Communication from Wilberforce University and an Executive M.B.A from Cleveland State University.

She is an empowerment speaker, event producer and talk show host who is dedicated to helping others discover their entrepreneurial path; and provide them with expertise, resources and tools that will help them launch, protect their assets, increase their wealth, grow their business and leave a legacy.

Shantè enjoys speaking about the entrepreneurial mindset, marketing, advertising, public relations and intellectual property. She is available to speak to students 9th through 12th grade both during the school day and for afterschool school programs in downtown or west side locations.

Please email Shantè for availability at

Brandy Smith

Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland

I am a dynamic after school coordinator that constantly ignites the creativity of the youth I serve. I am the Site Coordinator of the Heritage site. I have over 10 years of professional and personal experience. I am a recent college graduate who enjoys reading and volunteering for community programs when I am not thinking of strategies to keep young minds engaged.

Brandy enjoys speaking about the art of the elevator pitch, marketing, advertising and public relations. She is available to speak to grades 9th through 12th grade during the school day and 3rd through 12th grades afterschool in downtown and east side locations.

Please email Brandy for her availability at

Christopher Smith


Christopher Smith serves as the senior onboarding resource for applicants seeking services and/or investment from JumpStart and its network of partners. His role involves engaging with early-stage and small business clients, identifying their service needs, providing value-added feedback, maintaining continued engagement with clients and partners to track continued progress made and making referrals within JumpStart, within the NEO ESP Network and to our other external services partners.

Chris enjoys speaking about the art of the elevator pitch, how to start a business, and raising capital for a business. He is open to speaking to students grades 9-12th in school and after school programs across town depending on his schedule.

Please email Chris for his availability at

Rani Thakkar

Merrill Lynch

Rani Thakkar is a Client Associate for The Shultz Group at Merrill Lynch in Brecksville, OH.  She is also a Youth Regional Lead for the Midwest Chapter of BAPS.  BAPS is an spiritual, volunteer driven organization dedicated to improving society through individual growth by fostering the Hindu ideals of faith, unity, and selfless service.  Rani uses her passion, positivity, values, and leadership skills learned through her role as a lead for BAPS and brings it into the work environment in her role as an client associate to build, nurture, and maintain client relationships.

Rhani enjoys speaking about the entrepreneurial mindset, marketing, advertising, public relationships and how to develop leadership techniques in business. Rhani is available to speak to students 3rd through 9th grade across town, but only during the school day.

Please email Rhani for her availability at

Damonte Vales

Speedy iRepair

Speedy iRepair was originally started in 2014 by CEO and Founder Monte Vales at his mothers kitchen table in Akron, Ohio. With less than a few hours of repair knowledge and a few Youtube videos, Monte had fixed his girlfriends iPhone 4 and found a new business venture. Over the next two years, Speedy iRepair would operate out of a book bag and become known as the mobile iPhone repair company fixing phones all over Northeast, Ohio. Customers would call and drop their device off at Monte’s home, or he would meet customers anywhere that he could fix a phone. We have fixed iPhones inside of customers homes, jobs, our own vehicle, and even McDonald’s. We opened our first location in the Fall of 2016, and our second location in Barberton, Ohio was opened February 2019. Our goal is to fix every phone our customers bring into our locations, and we are always gaining experience within the cellphone industry. Our team is continuously growing, and seeking the most efficient ways to fix our customers smartphones. We only use high quality replacement parts, and offer a lifetime warranty on repair parts. We have fixed over 1,000 smartphones and counting. We really love what we do, and we go above and beyond for every customer!

Monte enjoys speaking about igniting the entrepreneurial mindset, how to start a business, marketing, advertising, and public relations. He is available to speak to students 3rd-12th grade during the school day in downtown Cleveland.

Please email Monte for his availability at