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.

Please email Julie for her availability at

Austin Briggs


This young entrepreneur is a native of Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Briggs was able to overcome a troubled youth by finding his calling in entrepreneurship. Briggs graduated Kent State University with a BA in entrepreneurship in 2010. During his time at Kent he received several awards and scholarships for his entrepreneurial achievements, and was recognized in publications such as ESPN, Fox, and the Wall Street Journal. After college, he went on to start several businesses in Real Estate, and education. With portfolio companies valued over $8M and growing, Briggs believes that the education system needs to include entrepreneurship and financial literacy starting in elementary school. Briggs has designed presentations to help motivate, inspire and build confidence in both children and adults. His entrepreneurial presentation includes topics related to the entrepreneurial mindset, the startup, team building, marketing, diversity and the use and integration of technology in the workplace. In addition to motivational speaking and entrepreneurship, he has presentations that address and predict the future of entrepreneurship, education, technology, globalization, social media, and parenting. These futuristic discussions are more designed for post high school and professional audiences. However, Briggs has presentations designed for middle school, high school, college and adults, but is most comfortable speaking to high schoolers aged 15-18. He travels a lot so prefers to have at least two a week notice before events and is able and willing to speak throughout Ohio in morning afternoon or evenings.

Please email Austin for his 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

Dr. Casen DeMaria

Drugless Doctors

Dr. Casen DeMaria gets to live out her dream job everyday as a chiropractor. As a registered massage therapist, Dr. Casen knew she wanted to continue to add value to the individuals she was helping each day, and enrolled at Life University where she received her Doctor of Chiropractic. Since joining The Drugless Doctors, Dr. Casen actively pursues new ways to reach and educate the community about the benefits of chiropractic, drugless care, and breast thermography, which includes successful partnerships with local businesses and women’s organizations. Dr. Casen enjoys speaking about how to follow your passion, what a career in health care looks like, how to represent your brand and simple strategies to improve your marketing and communication. Dr. Casen is available to speak to students at schools and non-profit organizations located in downtown and westside Cleveland.

Please email Dr. Casen DeMaria for her 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.

Anna Kelberg-Kim, Esq

Entertainment Lawyer

Anna Kelberg-Kim is an entertainment lawyer and represents a diverse roster of clients in music industry as well as literary artists, filmmakers, visual artists, performers and performing arts organizations. Anna combines business and legal knowledge of the industry to offer comprehensive representation to entertainment professionals on matters pertaining to Copyright and Trademark; Clearance and Licensing rights; Formation of Business Entity; and Contract Drafting, Review, and Negotiation.

Anna’s passion for helping people to build their careers in entertainment comes from her personal experiences as a musician and as being a parent of a music artist. Anna, classically trained violinist and pianist, grew up in an arts-rich environment – her family, professional music educators and music artists always stressed the importance and value of the arts as integral part of their lives.

Recently, Anna has expanded her practice representing independent music artists and composers for sync licensing. Anna believes that with the rapid change in the music industry, sync can be very instrumental for independent musicians in fulfilling their creative purpose.

Anna believes that one of the keys to professional success is continuous learning and keeping current with industry trends. She prefers to speak to students in 9-12th grade, and can be available to speak to classrooms and after school programs across town, depending on her schedule.

Please email Anna for her availability at

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

Rich Mazzola

Emerging Companies Practice

Rich Mazzola is a leader and co-creator of Skoda Minotti’s Emerging Companies practice, a start-up company advisory service. The practice is focused on removing the barriers most founders face from product launch to exit. The Emerging Companies team works with start-ups of all sizes to assist in strategic pivots during periods of accelerated growth and investment. He is also a member of the firm’s Exit Planning and Transaction Advisory niche practices. These practices focus on the succession and successful sale of privately-owned businesses. Skoda Minotti is a top-100 business and financial advisory firm dedicated to helping clients grow and achieve financial success.

Prior to re-joining the firm, Rich worked as the Director of Finance for a technology SaaS start-up where he focused on accelerating growth in operations and finance. Rich also dedicated much of his time in strengthening relationships with investors, strategic partners and banks.

Rich graduated from John Carroll University (2013). He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants, Exit Planning Institute and the Ohio Captive Insurance Association. Rich serves on the board of advisors for BackDraft, the leadership council of Engage! Cleveland, and serves on the finance committee of the Art Therapy Studio. Rich is also a licensed CPA in the state of Ohio.

Rich enjoys speaking about the entrepreneurial spirit and how that fosters out of the box strategic thinking, the art of pitching your unique value proposition, the impact your idea has on financial opportunities and the overall development of solving a problem in a specific vertical. Rich is available to speak to students 3rd through 12th grade during the school day or for after school programs per availability.

Please email Rich 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