Meet the talented, dedicated team who brought you the 2015 Urban Entrepreneurship Symposium (#UES2015).
Melinda Anderson, Event Coordinator
Melinda MeMe Anderson has managed and produced large-scale corporate events, weddings, and social occasions for 10 years, including events for the Detroit Opera House, Detroit Electronic Movement Festival, ESPN, Jay Leno, and Lee Iacocca. Committed to designing and understanding events in a way that few others do, Melinda always goes the extra mile to ensure the success of every event that she produces.
Karen A. Davis Burton, Social Media Marketing Director
Karen Burton is founder of Building Industry Resources LLC, a marketing and social media consultancy serving professionals and creatives who enhance the built environment. Karen finds the unique story and assists in increasing business through branding and communications. Encouraging people and firms to reach their highest potential and fulfill their dreams is her passion.
Barbara Fornasiero, EAFocus Inc., Media Relations Consultant
Barbara Fornasiero is the founder and principal of EAFocus, Inc., a niche public relations firm based in Rochester, Michigan. The firm is privileged to serve select clients in a variety of professional fields including law, public accounting, medicine, commercial real estate, governmental units and affinity groups such as the Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative. A native Detroiter and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Wayne State University, Barbara is active in the community and is a member of the Wayne State University, Irvin D. Reid Honors College Board of Visitors and Rochester Rotary, among others.
Saundra Little, Founding Partner, Centric Design Studios Inc., Venue Design Manager
As a founding partner at Centric Design Studio, Saundra Little has focused on sustainability, community planning, project energy assessments, urban design and merging architectural and graphic design in her practice. Saundra Little is a past President of NOMA Detroit for 2010- 2012, fostering communications and fellowship among minority architects.
Aniela Kuzon, Casting Director
Aniela Kuzon is a Business Development Manager at NextEnergy, one of the nation’s leading accelerators of advanced energy and transportation technologies. In addition to consulting for early stage technology developers, Aniela is responsible for developing and executing technology demonstration programs with partners including Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Qualcomm Technologies Inc., U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Transportation.
Brenda Perryman, “Video Vignettes” host
Brenda Perryman left a successful career in education to use the world as her playground. She’s the host of The Brenda Perryman Show and TableTalk with Brenda Perryman. She’s directed numerous theatrical productions and several short films.
Cynthia Respert, Event Planning Director
Cynthia has a passion for bringing people, resources and fine details together to curate amazing experiences. With over 17 years of experience, this passion drove her to start her own project management company, Marie Elan, LLC. After earning her BA from Michigan State University, she received her MBA from Wayne State University. Among varied productions, she is the Project Manager of Brand Camp Detroit and most recently, a part of the RE: Brand Detroit: Innovating Detroit Neighborhoods project team. This project was awarded one of the 32 grants in the national 2015 Knight Cities Challenge, endeavoring to change the narrative of underserved neighborhoods through the development of compelling brands to illustrate their stories.
Benjamin Seidman, Marketing Associate
Benjamin, NYC native who studied English & Entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan, graduated in 2013. Since, Benjamin worked in marketing and business development at NYC and Detroit-based startups. Now Director of Business Development at SPLT, a rideshare app that changes the way employees commute to work together in urban places, he loves building urban mobility systems and Benjamin certainly loves Detroit.
W. David Tarver, Executive Producer
Flint native and UEI founder W. David Tarver is an entrepreneur, engineer, corporate executive, community leader, and author of the book “Proving Ground: A Memoir.” He also lectures in the U-M Center for Entrepreneurship, Ann Arbor. See www.DavidTarver.com.
Damon Thomas, Centric Design Studio, Venue Designer
Damon has over 15 years of professional experience, serving in the roles of director of design, planning and construction document development. Damon oversees the daily operations for the firm’s creative and technical efforts. Damon is straightforward, detailed and attentive to customer needs. Damon’s experience in design development and construction administration make him a valuable to each of the firm’s architecture projects.
Michelle Watson, “Video Vignettes” Producer
Michelle Watson’s successful career in the automotive industry as an engineer and program manager for GM/Delphi Corporation, allows her now to pursue other interests. She currently is associate producer for local cable talk shows – The Brenda Perryman Show, & Table Talk, contributes her skill set to local independent film projects, and creates visual content for non-profit and small businesses through video/photography. Michelle and three partners are launching a consulting firm to support businesses with visual creativity strategies by 2016.