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2020 Conference Speaker Highlight

The foremost conference focused on entrepreneurship education will showcase innovative entrepreneurship research, teaching cases, teaching exercises and also create a forum for center directors and affiliates to present programs and ask for ideas.

Get your New Orleans on, and bring your papers, exercises, programs and experiences to our annual conference for some Big Easy style fun.  The deadline for submissions is September, 10, 2019.


2020 Conference Speakers

 Deep Optimism: How Social Entrepreneurs Will Help Solve the World’s Biggest Problems.
Entrepreneurs are famously optimistic, seeming at times to see an empty glass as full. This results not from delusion but from knowing where to get the water! In this session, you will learn how to help your students find and channel their optimism to help solve the world's biggest challenges, from poverty to climate change. 

Devin is an author, speaker and educator. He calls himself a champion of social good. As a new-media journalist and founder of the Your Mark on the World Center, Devin has established himself as a champion of social good. As a Forbes contributor, with over 500 bylines and over two million unique readers, he has become a recognized name in the social impact arena. His Your Mark on the World show, featuring over 1,000 celebrities, CEOs, billionaires, entrepreneurs and others who are out to change the world, gives him a recognizable face as well.

Devin is founder of, school for changemakers. He previously served as an adjunct professor at the University of Utah and South China University of Technology. He is passionate about helping people learn to do good better.

He has helped nonprofits raise millions of dollars via crowdfunding. He hosts an annual 24-hour livestream via YouTube on #GivingTuesday, featuring more than 90 interviews with nonprofits in 2018.

Previously, Devin served as the CFO of the third largest company on the 2009 Inc. 500 list. He also founded and led an NASD-registered investment bank. After completing a degree in finance at the University of Utah, he earned an MBA from Cornell University.


Devin Thorpe  
Having lived on three continents and visited over 40 countries on six continents and with guests from around the world on his show, Devin brings a global perspective on purpose driven leadership to international audiences–from the UN to Nepal–empowering them to do more good and make their mark on the world. These lessons also enable them to change their personal lives and to drive positive change within their organizations. His books provide roadmaps to audiences on how to use money for good. His books have been read over 1 million times!

Today, Devin channels the idealism of his youth, volunteering whenever and wherever he can, with the loving support of his wife, Gail. Their son, Dayton, works in San Francisco. Frequently finding himself on airplanes, he is glad to be middle-seat sized.

Kerry Schrader and Ashlee Ammons are the dynamic Mother/Daughter duo behind Mixtroz; a software which creates community by increasing engagement and collecting data anywhere 50 or more are gathered. 

In this keynote they will take you through the ins and outs of how they built Mixtroz as “Quad Outsiders” – Black, Female, Non - Technical, Tech Founders including their road to become the 37th and 38th African American women to raise $1M+ in funding for the
IR company.


In November 2014, while living in NYC, co-founder Ashlee attended a conference. For a “networking’ opportunity during lunch, the event host suggested attendees “go up to someone with the same color dot on their name tag.” Ashlee deemed that networking activity awkward and enjoyed lunch with her smartphone, but made zero connections.


Kerry Schrader and Ashlee Ammons  

Later that same day, Ashlee shared this experience with her mother, Kerry, who ironically had had a similar experience that same weekend. The soon-to-be founders discussed at length the awkwardness of meeting people at live events.

And following a four hour conversation on November 9, 2014…

Mixtroz was born!


Kerry Schrader and Ashlee Ammons are a dynamic Mother/Daughter duo in the new wave of entrepreneurs who create services to make work and play simpler and more satisfying. Without formal tech backgrounds, they’ve blazed trails in the male-dominated tech startup space with their company, Mixtroz, which creates community by increasing engagement and collecting data.

Following remarkable progress in 2017, Team Mixtroz kicked off 2018 by joining Alabama’s prestigious Velocity Accelerator and starring on an episode of A+E®’s series “Rooster & Butch.” In May 2018, the duo was selected to pitch to AOL Co-Founder Steve Case during the Rise of the Rest® tour stop in Birmingham, AL and secured a $100,000 investment from Cases’ Revolution Fund. The team went on to close a $1M round of funding, making them the 37th and 38th black females to ever close a million dollar round of funding.

 Higher Education on the Precipice: Why Entrepreneurship Matters More Than Ever

Stephen Spinelli Jr., PhD, MBA’92 will be Babson College’s 14th president. A successful entrepreneur, academic leader, and scholar, Dr. Spinelli will assume the role of president in July 2019, guiding the College through its centennial year and into its second century.

A lifelong entrepreneur, Dr. Spinelli has spent his career at the intersection of academia, business, and philanthropy. He co-founded Jiffy Lube International and was chairman and CEO of the American Oil Change Corporation, helping to pioneer the quick-lube industry nationwide and turning Jiffy Lube into the nation’s dominant competitor with more than 1,000 service centers.

As a long-standing member of the Babson community, Dr. Spinelli spent 14 years of his career as a member of the College’s faculty, vice provost for entrepreneurship and global management, and director of The Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship. During his tenure at Babson, Dr. Spinelli played a number of critical and influential roles. He was an influential member of both the President’s Cabinet and the Academic Council, as well as chair of the entrepreneurship task force that contributed significantly to the College’s strategic plan. He led the charge to maintain Babson’s No. 1 ranking for entrepreneurship in U.S. News & World Report and to achieve, for the first time, the No. 1 ranking for entrepreneurship in Financial Times in 2006 (repeating in 2007). In 2011, Dr. Spinelli was inducted into Babson’s Alumni Entrepreneur Hall of Fame.

 Stephen Spinelli Jr., PhD

As vice provost, Dr. Spinelli was instrumental in strengthening and growing important initiatives including the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), the world’s largest collaborative research project studying entrepreneurship; the Entrepreneurship Intensity Track curriculum; Rocket Pitch and in doubling the entrepreneurship faculty. He also was responsible for expanding the Symposium for Entrepreneurship Educators (SEE) to an international program.

In September 2007, he became president of Philadelphia University, which later merged with Thomas Jefferson University to form the new Jefferson, where he was named chancellor in July 2017. As president of Philadelphia University, he established the unique Kanbar College of Design, Engineering, and Commerce: one of America’s first transdisciplinary colleges. He championed the Master of Science in Sustainable Design, an award-winning, transdisciplinary, collaborative degree program that is among the most recognized Sustainable Design graduate degrees in the world. Under his leadership, Philadelphia University enjoyed record enrollment and retention, with particular growth in graduate enrollment, continuing and professional studies enrollment, and online enrollment.

Dr. Spinelli’s work has appeared in journals such as The Journal of the Society for College and University Planning, Journal of Business Venturing, the British Management Journal, and Frontiers of Entrepreneurship. He also has been featured in such popular press as The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, The Boston Globe, Entrepreneur, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Economist, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Bloomberg Business Week.

He has authored numerous business cases, book chapters, and co-authored Disrupt Together:

  • How Teams Consistently Innovate;
  • Business Plans That Work; Franchising:
  • Pathway to Wealth Creation;
  • How to Raise Capital;
  • Never Bet the Farm;
  • The Casebook for Young Entrepreneurs; Entrepreneurship:
  • The Engine of Growth;
  • and New Venture Creation for the 21st Century, now in its 10th edition. 

He has consulted for or led executive education programs for corporations such as Intel Corporation, IBM Corporation, Allied Domecq, and Planet Fitness. He has served on a number of corporate boards and in leadership roles for community, business, and professional associations.

Currently, he serves on the board of advisors for the Berwind Corporation and the board of directors for Planet Fitness. He also has served on the boards of trustees of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Episcopal Academy, Greater Philadelphia Life Sciences Congress, and Ben Franklin Technology Partnership of Southeastern Pennsylvania. He has been invited to speak and lecture at numerous conferences and universities around the world, including Georgetown University, Villanova University, Ulster University, the Brazil Symposium for Entrepreneurship Educators, INMAX Annual Meeting, American Cities Foundation, Planet Fitness National Convention, the Union League of Philadelphia, New Jersey Technology Council, Young Presidents’ Organization, and The London Business School. Dr. Spinelli earned his PhD in economics from The Management School, Imperial College, University of London, his MBA from Babson College, and his BA in economics from McDaniel College. In 2016, he received the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from Ulster University in Northern Ireland. 

  Stoking the fire and banking the coals: Passion and entrepreneurship

Dr. Melissa S. Cardon is the Nestlé Professor of Management at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Melissa conducts research on unleashing human potential within entrepreneurial firms, including a dual interest in HR practices that maximize employee potential, and the emotional, cognitive, and behavioral aspects of entrepreneurs that contribute to optimizing their performance.


Recently Melissa’s research has focused on entrepreneurial passion and how entrepreneurs as individuals and within teams can unleash their passion to get the best results for themselves and their organizations. Her work has been published in journals such as Academy of Management Review, Journal of Business Venturing, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice,Journal of Management Studies, Journal of Management, Human Resource Management Review, and Human Resource Management. She is a Field Editor for the Journal of Business Venturing and on the Editorial Boards of Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, Journal of Management Studies, and Human Resource Management Review.  

Dr. Melissa S. Cardon   

 Entrepreneurial Music Business Education

Martin Atkins is the definition of entrepreneurial activity in cultural arts endeavors, his 35+ years in the music business spans across genres and borders and industries. He was a member of Public Image Ltd and Killing Joke.


He founded industrial supergroup Pigface, The Damage Manual, and Murder Inc., and has contributed to Nine Inch Nails (for which he has a Grammy) and Ministry. He is the owner of Invisible Records and Mattress Factory Recording Studios (est. 1988). He is the author of Tour:Smart, Welcome To The Music Business….You’re F*cked!” Band:Smart, and is the new Music Industries Coordinator at Millikin University in Decatur Illinois. Martin is a producer, drummer, documentary filmmaker, DJ, and father of four. Whatever the future of entrepreneurial music business education is, you can pretty much bet that he’ll be in the middle of it.

Martin Atkins 


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