Featured Speakers 2018


At our December lunch, Dan Issel, a retired professional basketball player and president of the Louisville Basketball Investment and Support Group LLC, shared highlights from his career and give an update on the “NBA 2 Louisville” initiative.




At our November lunch, Alan Grosheider, CEO of Blue222 and Director of Metro Startup Launcher talked about nontraditional ways to raise capital for startups, including equity investment crowdfunding. He explored crowdfunding regulations and the challenges startups may face when seeking alternative funding. He also shared some ways the nonprofit Metro Startup Launcher can help local startups gain traction for their capital raise through its equity crowdfunding resources and access to several large equity funds.



At our October lunch, Terry Gill, secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and Brian Mefford, executive director of the Cabinet’s Office of Entrepreneurship, shared how the Office is working to cultivate programs and support for the commonwealth’s entrepreneurs, small business owners and startups.



Our September lunch featured Sean O’Leary and Sterling Lapinski, who will share their career journeys as successful data entrepreneurs. The two were co-founders of Genscape Inc., a Louisville-based company that provides proprietary data and intelligence to global energy markets. Under their leadership, Genscape made the Inc. 500 list of the fastest-growing U.S. companies in 2004 and 2005, and both O’Leary and Lapinski were recognized as Ernst & Young Entrepreneurs of the Year in 2003. They sold the company to Daily Mail & General Trust in 2006 and went on to found other data-driven companies.


Our August lunch featured Tammy York Day, president and CEO of the Louisville Healthcare CEO Council, a nonprofit organization formed in 2017 to leverage the collective voice of Louisville’s top healthcare companies. She shared how the council is actively engaging in initiatives to improve the healthcare economy, both locally and nationally.


Our June lunch featured fashion, fitness and travel blogger Grace Wainwright of A Southern Drawl, www.asoutherndrawl.com. Wainwright shared the story behind her success as a social influencer, which now includes 174,000+ followers on Instagram (@a_southerndrawl). Her style tips center on timeless and affordable staples with a feminine twist, and she is never afraid to try (or start) a new trend.


Alli Truttman

Dustin McGehee

Nick Mattingly

At our April lunch, Venture Connectors hosted a panel of entrepreneurs who shared their successes and challenges in the years since they won local business pitch competitions.

The panel featured: Alli Truttmann, founder and CEO of Wicked Sheets, the Venture Sharks 2012 winner; Nicholas Mattingly, co-founder of Switcher Inc., the Venture Sharks 2016 winner; and Dustin McGehee, vice president of sales and marketing for Stinger Equipment, a 2015 Vogt Award winner.


Our March lunch featured a lively Q&A with Julian P. Van Winkle III, president of the Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery. His company is the maker of some of the world’s finest aged bourbons, including the legendary Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve brand. Van Winkle shared the history of the brand and what has contributed to a renaissance in its success, as well as his thoughts on state of the bourbon industry in Kentucky.


Our February lunch featured Justin Delaney, president of Menguin and Generation Tux, who shared the story behind how two competitors joined forces when Generation Tux acquired Menguin in September 2017 for $25 million. As a result of the acquisition, Generation Tux and Menguin now lead the online formal menswear rental market. Delaney also offered up some details on how he helped lead the integration of the two companies.


Our January lunch featured Jon Bostock, chief operating officer for Big Ass Fans, who shared his company‚Äôs journey from startup to success. He talked about its business model and values, growth to date and the company’s future plans. Bostock joined Big Ass Fans in 2016 as its first COO. He made an immediate impact by implementing a metric-driven corporate management system, an initiative that resulted in the company‚Äôs most profitable year ever.