Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Wednesday, September 18

GBETA Musictech & Music Accelerator Presentation

5:30pm – 1867 Bar

gBETA is a program of nationally ranked startup accelerator gener8tor. In this session, Adrienne Palm, Director of gBETA Musictech, gives us insight into the musictech and music accelerator programs, how gener8tor has successfully expanded the definition of entrepreneurship to include the music and art verticals, and the impact that has had on the creative community. We’ll also hear from alums from both programs-Prerana Dhawan, co-founder of Streo (https://home/lincolncalling.com/public_html.streoapp.com/user/home) and Lex Allen, a Soul Pop singer/songwriter based out of Milwaukee, WI.

gBETA Musictech, which is powered by Capitol Records, gener8tor, Motown Museum, and TechTown Detroit. gBETA Musictech works exclusively with startups building music-related products, services and content. This includes technologies related to sourcing, recording, production, distribution, marketing, touring, licensing and streaming as well as any technology or process innovations that could serve any component of the music industry.

The Backline Music Accelerator and the Motown Musician Accelerator help Milwaukee and Detroit-based musicians take their careers to the next level. The 12-week accelerator program includes a $20,000 budget/grant, one-one-on coaching and mentorship, and industry networking.

    Thursday, September 19


    Speak Easy: Building Civil Discourse and Bridging Ideological Divides

    4:30pm – UNL Student Union, Ubuntu Room

    Alex McKiernan

    Lydia Foundation for Social Engagement

    Alex is a vegetable farmer who can’t resist a good conversation, and laments the state of our current, unproductive social discourse. In the spring of 2019 Alex founded the Lydia Foundation for Social Engagement (lydia.foundation) in an effort to promote productive conversation by modelling it. The Lydia Foundation encourages discussion and engagement through the podcast “Science For the Rest of Us” and the public, moderated conversation series “Good Talks for the Good Life,” which premieres October 17th in the Nebraska Union with a discussion on medical marijuana.

    Jordan Soliz

    Professor of Communication Studies – University of Nebraska-Lincoln

    Jordan’s scholarship focuses on issues of communication, identity, and difference in personal (e.g., family, friendships) and community relationships. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on communication and identity including intergroup dialogue. Jordan is the past-Chair of the Intergroup Communication Interest Group of the International Communication Association.

    Hunter Traynor

    Former President of ASUN – Law Student

    Hunter Traynor is a first-year law student at the University of Nebraska College of Law. Hunter received his bachelor’s degree in political science from UNL in May. This past year, Hunter served as the president of ASUN Student Government and represented UNL on the Nebraska Board of Regents. During his tenure, ASUN Student Government pursued several policies related to free expression and civil discourse. In February, Hunter and two peers sat on a panel with Senator Ben Sasse and attempted to answer the question, “why don’t we get along?”

    Dr. Janell Walther

    Research Manager at the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center

    Her particular area of research interest is in civic engagement and science communication, including considerations of how to communicate complex ideas with policy makers and publics to improve decision-making. She has led training, conducted research, and written articles to help scientists, lawyers, and technicians communicate with public audiences in a variety of environments. Janell has gathered public input on policy through deliberation, dialogue, public and stakeholder engagement, and feedback-based focus groups. Key deliberative projects include measuring public perceptions of drone technology and nanotechnology, resident deliberations on city budgets, and community conversations on sustainability policy.

    Janell received her Doctorate in Communication Studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is the co-founder and president of a consulting business, WSA, which helps nonprofit organizations create, measure, and communicate outcomes. In addition to her work, she is a Leadership Lincoln Fellow (Class 30, best class ever) and served on the Board of Directors for the Junior League of Lincoln.

    Moderator: Dr. Kris L. Baack

    Director of Leadership, Center for Civic Engagement

    Kris is the Director of Leadership, Center for Civic Engagement. With her B.S. in speech pathology and audiology, her MA in speech-language pathology with an emphasis in language and learning disabilities and a doctorate in organizational management and leadership education. Kris teaches the Chancellor’s Leadership Class, a leadership class for ALEC, directs the Certificate of Civic Engagement program, and does around a 100 workshops a year. Being a trustee of her community is important to Kris. She is the past president of the Junior League of Lincoln, the Nebraska Speech, Language and Hearing Association, the Child Guidance Agency, Friendship Home and the Friends of Lied Board. She has served on numerous other boards of directors, including the Lincoln Community Playhouse, Tabitha Foundation, and Lincoln TeamMates and has had a TeamMate for 15 years. In addition, she has been an International Volunteer Leader for Gamma Phi Beta for over 30 years, and served on International Council for Gamma Phi Beta for four years. She is a graduate of Leadership Lincoln and the Lincoln Police Department 39’s Citizen Academy. Kris also was the Nebraska Yell Squad (cheerleaders) coach/advisor for five years, and the Spirit Squad (cheerleaders and dancers) coach for five years. Presently, Kris is on the board of directors for the Boys and Girls Club and Friendship Home. She loves teaching collegians and feels blessed to get up every morning to do work she loves.

    Git Up Git Out and Git Something: How to Turn Your Music Dreams into Reality, a Hip Hop Perspective

    5:30pm – Bodega’s

    Git Up and Get Out like the Outkast song! There’s no road map for success in music, especially for Hip Hop. Hear from artists, who regularly tour off their art, on how to start getting your music dreams in motion!

    Friday, September 20

    Fashion Your Own Way: From Nebraska Roots to National Success

    5:30pm – 1867 Bar


    Tracy Georgiou

    Tracy Georgiou is the Director of Merchandising & Marketing at Loeffler Randall, a New York City based contemporary accessory label. She has spent 11 years in New York building a career in fashion centering around buying, brand storytelling + partnerships & product development strategy. She has worked as the Senior Brand Buyer for both J.Crew & Madewell, as well as styling for the brand’s website. A Lincoln Nebraska native, Tracy graduated from UNL in 2008. She spends her free time participating in community musical theater productions & attending dance classes.

    Tuesday Bassen

    Tuesday Bassen LA is the eponymous shop of award-winning illustrator Tuesday Bassen. TBLA is an independently owned lifestyle brand that designs and produces clothes in sizes XXS-5X with an emphasis on adjustable fit for body diversity, as well as local, ethical production. We are proud to use deadstock vintage and California made fabrics whenever possible at our sweatshop-free sewing house in Los Angeles.

    Megan Hunt

    Senator Megan Hunt is an entrepreneur, activist, and parent elected in 2018 to represent District 8 in the Nebraska Legislature. She is passionate about public education, reproductive justice and gender equality, and reducing brain drain in the Midwest.

    As an entrepreneur, she co-founded Hello Holiday, a boutique in the heart of Dundee in Omaha, which harmonizes inspiration from designers, artists, activists, and strong women. In addition to providing the latest trends in clothing, shoes, and accessories, the boutique uses their platform as a business to influence policy and issues that affect women, people of color, those in the LGBT+ community, and those in other underrepresented groups.

    Megan’s work and impact has been featured in dozens of publications including Forbes, INC, The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, the Huffington Post, and others, and she is motivated by her goal of helping others translate their experiences into positive action and change in the real world.

    Amanda Valentine

    Amanda Valentine was born in Lincoln, Nebraska to a beauty queen/artist mother and world traveler/professor father. The youngest of five children found her voice at an early age by adapting the family’s old drapes and worn clothing into what could only be called… edgy children’s wear.

    After graduating from the University of Nebraska with a Clothing and Textile Design degree, Valentine joined older brother James in Los Angeles, where he was beginning his meteoric rise in music. After suggesting she shadow their wardrobe stylist on his band’s first music video (Maroon 5’s “Harder to Breathe”), Amanda fell madly in love with wardrobe styling and costume design, apprenticing under LA’s top fashion stylists. All while playing bass in a garage rock band in Silverlake clubs at night.

    After a few visits to Nashville, while living in LA, Valentine fell in love with the vibe of Music City (and also fried chicken) and made it her home in 2006.

    After co-owning a vintage shop, managing some of the city’s hottest boutiques, and playing in a couple of bands around town, Valentine returned to wardrobe styling and worked on countless music videos, photoshoots, commercials, and red carpet events.

    In 2013, Valentine was selected as a designer to compete on the 11th Season of Emmy Award-Winning PROJECT RUNWAY. After placing 8th and showing a collection at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, Valentine returned to styling and launched her clothing line VALENTINE VALENTINE.

    In 2014, Valentine was voted back by fans to compete on Season 13 of PROJECT RUNWAY where she placed 2nd and again showed a stellar collection at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.

    Amanda now runs her clothing line (produced in her converted factory space in Nashville and now under her name AMANDA VALENTINE), travels to fashion weeks across the United States each season, all while dressing rock bands. Someday she’ll start a band again herself.

    Moderator: Surin Kim

    Surin Kim’s professional focus has been innovative and high-growth product development, which she has successfully launched in the tech industry for the past decade. While completing her MBA at Wharton Business School, Surin used her study of Entrepreneurial Management to spearhead Ma.Chef, a successful Seoul-based startup offering personal chef services through online platform. She also served as a strategist within Innovation Management and CEO’s office at Korea Telecom; served as a consultant for Oracle; and excelled as a Senior Product Manager at Amazon.com, Inc. Currently, Surin develops research-based entrepreneurship education programs as an Assistant Professor and Entrepreneurship Specialist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and lead initiatives to build entrepreneurship ecosystems, including Youth Entrepreneurship Clinics and Crafting Culture. She is also a global traveler, traveling 52 countries in 7 continents so far.

    Get Rich or Die Tryin': a financial workshop with Javid Dabestani, CFP(R)

    5:30pm – Foundry 3rd Floor Conference Room

    Javid is a financial advisor who specializes in retirement plans and practices in Omaha, NE. He will discuss basic personal finance concepts and tips, and provide ideas to help put you on the path to building wealth. Javid has no products to sell you, and no affiliations with any big banks, mutual fund companies, or brokerage houses. There will be a brief presentation with Q&A to follow.

    Pints and Politics

    5:00 – Night Market Stage (14th and 0 st)


    • Nebraska Sen. Anna Wishart
    • Nebraska Sen. Adam Morfeld
    • Lincoln City Councilman Richard Meginnis
    • KLIN’s Jack Mitchell.

    We will have Zipline beer and Glacial Till cider to enjoy while discussing medical marijuana, gun violence, and #FakeNews.

    Saturday, September 21

    Closing the Gap - Facilitating Female Foundership in the Heartland

    6:00pm – Duffy’s Backlot

    These startup programs are organized in help by Nick Castner, host of The Commonwealth, a podcast that profiles entrepreneurs and disruptors. The Commonwealth premiers in September.

    Lizz Whitacre

    Lizz is the Founder and CEO of Pawlytics, a software company that helps pet rescues save more lives. Lizz is a serial entrepreneur with a serious passion for pets, innovation, and technology. Lizz founded her first company, a non-profit, at 19 to save pets while simultaneously founding a student organization at UNL to connect student volunteers with rescues in Nebraska. From there she worked to open a cat café in Lincoln but realized a pivot was necessary and founded Family Pet Project, a website dedicated to helping pets stay out of the shelter and find new homes. In 2015, Lizz was awarded the Inspire Award for Top Future Business Leader and won 3-2-1 Quick Pitch. In 2017, Lizz won 3-2-1 Quick Pitch again and graduated from UNL with a B.S. in Business Administration specializing in entrepreneurship and innovation. In 2018, Lizz won UNL’s New Venture Competition, completed Start Up School through Y Combinator and NMotion, a business accelerator based in Lincoln. Most recently, Lizz has been accepted as a 2019 Pipeline Fellow.

    Ali Schwanke

    Ali Schwanke is the CEO and Chief Marketing Strategist of Simple Strat, the marketing agency for B2B companies that are serious about growth. With nearly 15 years of marketing experience as both an in-house marketer and entrepreneur, Ali brings a unique data-driven perspective to marketing and sales.

    As an industry professional, Ali’s work focuses on helping companies develop and implement growth-driven marketing programs. She is a HubSpot Certified Inbound Marketer and content creator, speaking and contributing to a number of marketing publications, communities and events worldwide.

    Ali is also the co-founder of BrandPlan, a technology start-up focused on helping marketers better plan, visualize, and execute their marketing strategy. In her free time, she enjoys running, spending time with her husband and two boys, and making a mean batch of homemade granola bars.

    Aakriti Agrawal

    Aakriti Agrawal came to Nebraska from India in 2012 to study at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. Upon graduating with degrees in actuarial science and finance, she taught herself how to code. Working in the industry, she was able to see the lack of female representation in technology and STEM first-hand, and knew something needed to be done to end the vicious cycle! Aakriti co-founded Girls Code Lincoln, a grassroots nonprofit that helps bridge the gender gap in technology. Girls Code Lincoln runs weekly coding clubs for 50 middle-school-aged girls, free of cost, focusing on confidence-building and leadership development through computer programming. Girls Code Lincoln is entirely volunteer-powered – so everyone, including Aakriti, balances nonprofit volunteering with a full-time job – Aakriti is a Data Governance Analyst at Ameritas.

    Stephanie Luebbe

    Executive Director – Nebraska Angels

    Stephanie Luebbe is the Executive Director of Nebraska Angels, a network of 60+ local angel investors. Since 2006, the Angels invested over $27M in seed stage companies across the Midwest. The Angels’ portfolio consists of 44 companies, with two notable exits.

    Before joining the Nebraska Angels in 2018, Stephanie spent over a decade in business development roles spanning large retail corporations to start-ups and private companies. She is passionate about delivering results through developing consumer-focused strategies and providing a complete path-to-purchase mindset. She enjoys meeting innovative companies and connecting Midwest entrepreneurs to local funders. Stephanie and her husband live on a farm outside of Lincoln, often chasing two young toddlers.

    Megan Elliott

    Director – Johnny Carson Center for Emerging and Media Arts


    Megan Elliott is the Founding Director of the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is an award-winning entrepreneur, an innovator and a visionary. Prior to joining the UNL, Elliott co founded X Media Lab, one of the most forward-looking and distinguished media and entrepreneurship programs in the world. She traveled the globe taking X Media Lab to 14 countries and 22 cities. Elliott has been nominated by the Australian government as one of the “Global 50 – Australian Unlimited – Global Achievers,” and as one of the “Leading 50 Women for the Future.” She has deep ties to the emerging media industries across Asia and Europe. Now, she is leading the vision for the $57 million Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts and creating a global destination for students who reside in the future.

    Moderator: Christina Oldfather

    Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development


    Christina Oldfather is the director of innovation and entrepreneurship for the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development and interim co-managing director of NMotion, a startup accelerator in Lincoln, Nebraska. She dedicates her time to building entrepreneurial communities and helping entrepreneurs succeed with programs like StartupLNK and LaunchLNK. She also helped organize 1 Million Cups, Lincoln Startup Week, the JumpStart Challenge and serves as the chapter director of Startup Grind x Lincoln.

    Are you still using Styrofoam!?!?!!?!: Responsible Consumerism in Nebraska

    5pm – 1867 Bar

    Trevor Hall

    Clear Creek Digital

    Trevor Hall is the President of Clear Creek Digital, an investor relations consultancy working with junior mining and mineral exploration companies throughout the world. The agency specializes in social media management, grassroots investor outreach, and new media production for companies exploring for and developing projects focused on precious and base metals. Trevor also hosts Mining Stock Daily, a news briefing about junior resource investing and capital markets which is published every trading day before the open of U.S. and Canadian stock markets. Trevor received a Bachelor and Masters degree from the College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. He now resides in Denver, Colorado with his beautiful wife and 2 amazing children.


    www.miningstockdaily.com **coming soon

    Willa DiCostanzo

    City of Lincoln Waste Diversion Coordinator


    Willa DiCostanzo is the Waste Diversion Coordinator for the City of Lincoln’s Solid Waste Management Division. During her nearly ten years in public service at the City of Lincoln, Willa has worked on the City’s Cleaner Greener Lincoln initiative and most recently at the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department’s Environmental Public Health Division. Willa has a Bachelors degree in Environmental Science and English from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. She is driven by the desire to help our community members learn about the local system of waste while empowering consumers to make decisions that reduce the demand for our natural resources. “ Many people underestimate their role in reducing, reusing and recycling. Decisions are made every day that affect the waste you generate from the coffee you get in the morning to the dinner you eat at night. The power to reduce or even reject the waste that we consume lies in our own hands. I want people to understand what happens to the waste they generate so they can make informed and educated decisions about their daily routines.

    Gage Mruz

    Founder of Greenstain


    Greenstain is an environmental brand that provides eco-friendly solutions and plants a tree for every item we sell. As industry experts in sustainability, we put factual numbers to your impact so you can see the clear-cut difference you are making in the world.

    Curious about your environmental impact? We created a Carbon Footprint Calculator for you to better understand how your decisions are impacting the natural world around you. Our Eco-friendly apparel collection includes clothes made from 6+ recycled plastic water bottles and an eco-responsible manufacturing process that dramatically reduces the amount of resources used, saving roughly 490 gallons of water per shirt.

    Katie Jantzen

    Local Farmer


    Katie Jantzen is the founder of and farmer at West End Farm near Plymouth. West End Farm is a diversified specialty crop farm that direct markets nearly all of its products. The farm raises 40 different types of vegetables, herbs, melons, and berries, as well as honeybees. The majority of the produce is sold to local families through a CSA (community supported agriculture) program. Katie is a 5th generation farmer and chose to start her farm on her family’s land in order to continue her family’s farming legacy and to provide local food to her community. Katie previously worked in a variety of capacities to support local food access in Virginia and Indiana, and she currently serves on the Nebraska Food Council.

    Music Workshops

    Thursday, September 19

    Finding the Right Sound in the Studio: A Conversation with the Experts

    5–6pm – Bennett Martin Public Library – 2nd Floor

    Moderator: Tom Larson

    Recording artist, UNL Instructor, former studio owner

    Philip Zach

    Executive Producer, the Grid Studio


    Keith Rodger

    Make Believe Studios

    James Fleege

    Producer at Silver Street

    Doug Van Sloun

    Mastering engineer, Focus Mastering


    Friday, September 20

    Making Beats: Beat Making Machines (B.P.M.): A Conversation with the Pros

    5:30–6:30pm – Bodegas


    Ace Jinx




    “Elevator beat maker” Funkmammoth originally started as a DJ playing mostly French House music. After a few years of honing his mixing skills he decided to turn to production, where he began to upload laid-back beats to Soundcloud. Using artists like The Avalanches, Röyksopp, Daft Punk, and Vanilla as inspirations, he crafts sample heavy sounds with a hip-hop influence.

    Soundcloud: 3,100+ followers, 640,000+ total plays

    Spotify: 130,000+ monthly listeners, 7.5 million total plays

    Moderator: Caleb Wiedel

    Caleb Wiedel has been making and playing music for over 15 years. From thrashing the drums in his multiple bands to producing beats for beefy soundsystems under the moniker “Darkwood”. Caleb has released two EPs and a pleathora of singles under Black Magik, a collective of bass music DJs and supporters that promote, host events and release music. Caleb has started DJing in 2011 and started producing in Ableton Live in 2012. Since then, Caleb has had the opportunity to play 515 Alive Music Festival in 2019 as well as along side artists such as Glitch Mob, Manic Focus, Borgore and more.