Co-CREATE LEADERSHIP TEAM
Leading the Pittsburgh Technology Council's Co-CREATE Creative Business Ignition Program, this team of advisers, mentors and partners will be working closely with the Co-CREATORS to assist them in the growth of their creative business.
Director, Creative Industries Acceleration, Pittsburgh Technology Council
Kim is the Founding Director of the Creative Industries Network, the annual CREATE Festival in Pittsburgh, and the Co-CREATE Business Ignition Program for Creative Entrepreneurs. She has been establishing programs and initiatives to support creatives at the intersection of creativity and innovation since 2008. An author and artist herself, Kim works to empower creatives of all kinds to realize their aspirations.
James V. Denova
Vice President, Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation
Jim has primary responsibility for the Foundation’s Education agenda in West Virginia and Southwestern Pennsylvania. In addition, he directs several economic development projects in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Jim holds a Ph. D. from the University of Pittsburgh with a concentration in social research, and has over 35 years of experience in nonprofit administration and philanthropy. Over the years, he has served on the boards of Philanthropy West Virginia, Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania, the Women’s Center and Shelter, Pittsburgh Filmmakers, the Andrew Carnegie Free Library, the Remake Learning Council, and the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute of Politics. He also lectures at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.
Executive Director, Chatham University Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship
Rebecca Harris is an entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience starting and growing companies and has, over the years, served as a strategic marketing specialist. She graduated from Northwestern University as a communications studies major, received her MBA from the Fox School of Business at Temple University, and is a member of the Leadership Pittsburgh XXVII class. Passionate about helping women start and grow successful businesses, Harris develops strategic programming to benefit women entrepreneurs and those working in regional businesses through the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University. The goal of the Center is to increase the economic vitality of the region by encouraging women-led business startups, business growth, and increased employment.
Senior Vice President, Pittsburgh Technology Council
Brian currently serves as the Senior Vice President of Operations and Strategic Services at the Pittsburgh Technology Council. Having joined the Council in 2001, Kennedy leads a multidisciplinary team that provides a wide array of services aimed at supporting the success of southwestern Pennsylvania’s emerging technology community. In this position, Kennedy has helped to bring innovative new services to the region’s technology ecosystem that accelerate the ability of employers to locate highly skilled talent, access national and international customers and secure the risk capital necessary to fuel their growth
Vice President, Communications, Pittsburgh Technology Council Jonathan oversees the PTC's publications, multimedia, marketing and communications strategies. He manages the PTC's TEQ and Made in PA newsmagazines, which cover southwestern Pennsylvania's technology and manufacturing industries respectively. Kersting also co-hosts TechVibe Radio on KDKA 1020 AM a weekly radio show detailing Pittsburgh's innovation economy. Over the past two decades, Kersting has championed the storytelling of Pittsburgh's tech sector company by company and entrepreneur by entrepreneur. Kersting started with the Pittsburgh Technology Council in 1997 as a writer/copyeditor after working as a reporter for several regional newspapers and has never looked back. Ever.
President and CEO, Pittsburgh Technology Council and 40x80
In her role as president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Technology Council, Audrey oversees an organization of 1,400 member companies and 270,000 member employees. Since joining the council in 2007, she has placed a strong emphasis on opening the organization up beyond what can be an insular community to show technology touches everything in Pittsburgh’s economy. Audrey is also a busy member of the broader Pittsburgh cultural and education communities, serving as Board Chair of the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh and a board member of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, Regional Industrial Development Center, and more. She is a graduate of Syracuse University with a Masters in Public Administration.
Jeff Kovacs, CPA, CGMA
Partner, Cohen & Co CPA
A Partner at Cohen & Company, a nationally recognized CPA and consulting firm, Jeff has spent his career serving as a technical guru on all issues relating to accounting, auditing and financial reporting. He helps private companies resolve complex issues related to revenue recognition, stock-based compensation, fair value measurements, business combinations, and debt and equity transactions and derivatives, among others. He also assists with capital sourcing, including angel, venture and private equity investments; and provides merger and acquisition guidance. While Jeff works with a range of industries, including manufacturing, real estate, construction, and automotive, much of his time is spent in the area of software, technology, life sciences and medical devices. Jeff is member of the Pittsburgh Venture Capital Association, Pittsburgh Technology Council, Association for Corporate Growth, and the Pennsylvania Society of CPAs and American Institute of CPAs.
Partner, Reed Smith
Barry concentrates his practice in matters relating to procurement, litigation and counselling related to intellectual property and technology. Barry has extensive experience in all aspects of patent related matters, including prosecution, counselling, opinion work, due diligence, licensing, and complex litigation. Barry also has extensive experience counselling clients on and litigating trade secret and antitrust matters. In addition to technology‐based patent and trade secret related work, Barry also works extensively in the areas of trademark and copyright related prosecution, litigation, counselling and opinion work, technology and software licensing, cybersecurity, and intellectual property due diligence.
Creativity Workshop Designer, Facilitator and Trainer
Jody is a former member of the innovation team at Nestlé Purina PetCare,
where she helped feed the company’s innovation pipeline, scouting for and
facilitating the generation of new product and business model ideas. Prior to
that, she spent 15 years working in advertising and promotions as a creative
director and copywriter.
Jody earned her Master’s of Science in Creativity from the International Center
for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State. She has presented at the Creative
Problem Solving Institute, the Creativity Expert Exchange, Weapons of Mass
Creation Fest and Florida Creativity Weekend.
Entrepreneur and Fundraising Expert
Todd Medema is a CMU alumni and local entrepreneur focusing on the intersection of technology, entrepreneurship and design. Most recently, he launched Expedition: The Roleplaying Card Game on Kickstarter to critical acclaim, raising $21,000 as a first-time game studio. He's also working to give back to Pittsburgh, helping local entrepreneurs successfully launch their own ideas.
Founder, Start Something Solutions
The founder of Start Something Solutions, Janelle Aslam, has an MBA from Cornell University and a Bachelors from Miami University (the one in Ohio). With over 20 years of sales and marketing expertise, including launching products and marketing campaigns under Nestle, SC Johnson, Claritin, Dr. Scholl's, Salonpas & Freshpet, she loves collaborating with her clients to solve their marketing issues. Janelle currently serves on the board of a few local companies and non-profits and teaches at various universities.
Principal and Media Strategist, Huwar Marketing
Meg Huwar has an extensive background in sales and marketing, including six years as a Senior Account Executive with KDKA-TV, a CBS Owned station. She was a top producer on the sales team, consistently generating over $5 million dollars in annual revenue. Before moving into television, she spent 12 years working in radio sales for 3WS, WDVE, WKST, WXDX and WPGB, where she was also a top producer and a President's Award winner. Early in her career, she sold print advertising for The Pittsburgh Business Times and worked on the agency side as an Account Executive with Ampersand Advertising
Community & Student Engagement Manager, Center for Women's Entrepreneurship, Chatham University
Prior to joining the Center, Nazli assisted small businesses with intellectual property, business, employment issues as a licensed attorney in Boston. During law school, she was a Project Associate for the Berkeley Small Business Counseling Clinic and a member of the Berkeley Technology Law Journal. Nazli holds an LL.M from UC Berkeley School of Law in Law & Technology, a J.D. from Suffolk University Law School in Intellectual Property Law, an Ed.M. from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a B.S. from Yale University.
George Skivington, SCORE Mentor and Consultant
George is the Principal of Skivington Imaging-a consulting company that specializes in reverse logistics and general management issues. Prior to forming his own company, Mr. Skivington held a number of executive assignments with Nukote International including positions in general management, sales, operations, and procurement. George is a member of the American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America. He is a certified mentor with SCORE.