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Startup Panel | Beyond the Business Plan: The Real-Life Entrepreneurial Experience

About the Session

Entrepreneurs often face unexpected challenges and setbacks that cannot be predicted in a business plan. The real entrepreneurial experience teaches us that adaptability and resilience are essential qualities. Instead of striving for a perfect plan, entrepreneurs must be prepared to pivot, learn from failures, and persevere in the face of adversity.

About the Moderator

Flagship Ad Astra Technology Summit Speaker Melissa Vincent2

Melissa Vincent

Pipeline Entrepreneurs, Executive Director
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Melissa Vincent

Pipeline Entrepreneurs, Executive Director

Melissa Vincent serves as the Executive Director of Pipeline Entrepreneurs. As a seasoned entrepreneurial leader with over 18 years of experience guiding diverse companies across the entire startup journey, she guides Pipeline Entrepreneurs in its mission to foster the growth and scalability of high-potential founders in the Midwest.

Melissa has successfully built several of her own companies and brings valuable leadership as an investor, board member and mentor to other startups and nonprofits. Melissa’s extensive track record of leadership building companies and communities has made her a natural advocate for those navigating the challenging terrain of entrepreneurship.

Beyond her professional pursuits, Melissa dedicates her time to championing causes close to her heart, contributing her expertise as a member of various nonprofit boards. She is also an investor & mentor and has been awarded for being one of Oklahoma City’s Forty Under 40 for her impact in the community as well as being nominated for Woman of the Year.

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About the Panelists

Flagship Ad Astra Technology Summit Speaker Chris Callen

Chris Callen

PLOT, Founder & CEO
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Chris Callen

PLOT, Founder & CEO

Chris Callen was born into construction but found a passion for technology. He grew up to build a career at the intersection of the two. After running the family concrete contractor for 4 years, Chris launched Grit which was acquired in 2017, and PLOT which just announced $2M in Seed Financing. Chris looks to share lessons learned, the good and especially the bad, with entrepreneurs so that they can avoid pitfalls and launch successful businesses.

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Flagship Ad Astra Technology Summit Speaker Maria Flynn

Maria Flynn

Ambiologix, CEO & Digital Health KC, Advisory Board Chair
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Maria Flynn

Ambiologix, CEO & Digital Health KC, Advisory Board Chair

Leveraging experience as an entrepreneur, executive, engineer, investor, and coach, Maria works with select emerging and high-growth leaders, companies, investors, and entrepreneurial support organizations, helping them make opportunity happen.

As CEO of Orbis Biosciences, Maria built a technology company that improved pharmaceutical manufacturing, won awards for its novel innovation, and was acquired by Adare Pharmaceuticals. As Managing Director of Techstars Kansas City, Maria invested in and coached companies across health tech, biotech, fintech, deep tech, and consumer tech. As a business growth guide, she has worked with founders from over 30 companies.

Maria was a Director at Cerner Corporation, where she held P&L responsibility for a life sciences business unit that provided drug safety software and services to pharmaceutical companies. She also created a new enterprise within Cerner for regional healthcare software.

Maria was named one of Entrepreneur Magazine’s Entrepreneurial Women to Watch and received the Pipeline Entrepreneurs’ Inspiration Award and Central Exchange’s STEMMy Enterprising Innovator Award. Maria serves on the Board of Directors of BioNexus KC and earned degrees from the University of Chicago, Stanford University, and Kansas State University.

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Flagship Ad Astra Technology Summit Speaker Steven Werner

Steven Werner

Lawn Buddy, Founder & CEO
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Steven Werner

Lawn Buddy, Founder & CEO

Steven Werner is a Passionate and driven individual who has made a significant impact in both the lawn care industry and the world of entrepreneurship. As a combat veteran with the United States Marine Corps, he brings a unique blend of discipline, resilience, and leadership to his endeavors. Steven’s military background has shaped his entrepreneurial journey and instilled in him a deep sense of dedication and determination.

In 2016, Steven co-founded Lawn Buddy, a Technology company that has revolutionized the way business owners operate their lawn/landscaping companies. His vision was to create a platform that seamlessly connects business owners with innovative technology, providing owners with convenience and peace of mind regarding the operations and advancements of their businesses. Under his visionary leadership, Lawn Buddy swiftly gained recognition as a trusted name in the industry.

Beyond his accomplishments with Lawn Buddy, Steven’s expertise and insights have earned him recognition in esteemed publications such as Forbes and Entrepreneurship Magazine. He has shared valuable advice and thought-provoking perspectives on entrepreneurship, guiding and inspiring aspiring business leaders. His contributions to the field have solidified his status as a respected figure and a sought-after industry expert.

The remarkable achievements of Steven and Lawn Buddy have not gone unnoticed. Their groundbreaking approach to lawn care earned them the prestigious distinction of being named one of the top 100 startups in the United States by Google. This recognition highlights the company’s innovation, impact, and potential for growth.

Steven Werner’s journey as a combat veteran, coupled with his entrepreneurial acumen, has been a source of inspiration for others. His commitment to service, innovation, and environmental sustainability continues to shape the lawn care industry and motivate aspiring entrepreneurs to push boundaries and strive for excellence. With a steadfast dedication to customer satisfaction, a passion for environmental stewardship, and a track record of success, Steven remains at the forefront of the technology revolution, making a lasting impact on the industry and beyond.

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