CUSTOMIZE YOUR EXPERIENCE // 2016 ACADEMY ROUNDTABLE REGISTRATION
Breakout Registration will open on Monday, July 11 at 7:00pm Eastern Time. We encourage you to study up before registration so you have a ranking of your preferences ahead of time.
MAIN STAGE SESSIONS & FACULTY
Below is a list of topics that will be covered from the Main Stage. While this is not a comprehensive agenda of our week (you'll get that when you arrive), it gives you an idea of topics that will be covered throughout the event. Use this as a guide to help you decide which breakouts are most important for you to attend.
+ An Alternative Imagination: How the Gospel Changes the Ideas we Pursue
+ Becoming a Creative Minority: What does it mean to be a Christian Entrepreneurs in a Secular Age
+ Knowing the World and Loving the World: What do we do when things get hard
+ Vocation: Advice to my 22-year-old Self from a 1st Employee of a Scaled Social Enterprise
+ A Theology of Sweat: Hard Work, Hustle, & Impact
+ The Spiritual Danger of Doing Good
+ Get Backed: Building Relationships to Fundraise for your Venture
+ Design Thinking: Empathy and Rapid Prototyping to move from "Just an Idea"
+ Co-Founders: How to Find Them & Structure Your Partnership for Success
+ Entrepreneurship & Addressing Significant Cultural Challenges: Racial, Social, and Socioeconomic Inequality & Startups
+ Imagination, Prayer, & Discernment: How do we Decide What to Do Next?
+ Ideation: How to Find an Idea Worth Working On
+ Entrepreneurship in All of Life: Lessons from one of Silicon Valley’s Top Venture Capitalists
+ With: Reimagining Your Work through How You Relate to God
We also encourage you to view the updated list of 2016 Faculty so you can study up and know more about their experience. These short bios of course cannot possibly capture all that there is to know about a person, but they'll give a starting point as you consider which sessions you'll want to attend. You'll also have opportunities to register on-site for "Roundtables" -- which give you time to personally connect with Faculty in a small-group setting.
Breakout I SESSIONS
Venture Formation: Starting from Scratch
With Evan Loomis, Nnena Ukuku, Anthony Flynn
We’ve all heard people claim “hey, I had that idea” when they see a cool new startup -- perhaps you’ve found yourself saying it. While many people are flush with great ideas, entrepreneurs are the ones who act on an idea. This session will focus on the ever-present “I have an idea: what next?” question. Moving from an idea to creating an organization that others can finance and join you in is one of the most difficult phases, and is often muddy.
Evan Loomis is a serial entrepreneur who has led the Praxis Business Accelerator the past three years. He is also a mentor for the TechStars Accelerator, and co-author of Get Backed. Evan will discuss moving the idea into a concept -- creating the language and story of the organization through a pitch deck.
Nnena Ukuku will bring years of expertise from Silicon Valley -- founding ventures of her own, and helping numerous startups incorporate as a Partner at Venture Gained Legal -- to share wisdom about legal, and investment structuring.
Anthony Flynn -- founder & CEO of Gifted, and author of The Execution Pipeline -- will share thoughts from his book about how to set goals and milestones to move an idea forward.
Storytelling for Startups: Beyond the Investor Pitch to Cultural Impact
With Allison Trowbridge, Jon Hart
While Shark Tank may imply that it’s “all in the pitch,” storytelling impacts every facet of the organization. From how you talk about yourself as a founder, to sharing what the organization really does (and will do), and how to attract talent and dollars -- it’s no wonder great founders are oft considered the best storytellers. In this session, we’ll share practical tips on how to craft the story, brand, and language of the organization.
Allison Trowbridge -- who built the brand at Not For Sale as they went from 2 employees to a global nonprofit with reach in the millions, has produced films, and consulted various social enterprises -- will share tips and best practices.
Jon Hart -- who has worked with dozens of entrepreneurs on their storytelling, executive produced a film, and chairs the board of a photography-storytelling nonprofit -- will bring a multidimensional perspective to the conversation. Jon is also “Expert in Residence in Storytelling” at the Catapult Incubator, and will share the framework he has taught to over 200 young aspiring entrepreneurs.
The $3 million Pivot: A Case Study on Design Thinking from Outbox and Able
With Evan Baehr & Dave Blanchard
Design Thinking has become one of the most revered tools for successful entrepreneurs and innovators. In this session, we'll take a deep dive by sharing a case study where the founders used design thinking to find a new idea. Outbox raised $5m on AngelList and were one of the most talked about startups in Silicon Valley. Just a few months later, they decided to shut down and pivot while they still had $3m in the bank. This session will take you through the journey of a failed idea and how they moved to their next idea, Able -- which was completely different, but has found a major problem to solve in the market.
Evan Baehr is co-founder of Outbox (now Able), who, with his partner Will Davis, led the pivot. Evan has an MBA from Harvard Business School and is co-author of Get Backed. He will share how his first company, Outbox, went through a major pivot after raising $5m+ and used design thinking to turn it into Able. Evan also brings his enthusiasm for scalable ventures that solve real-world problems and impact the masses.
Dave Blanchard -- founder & CEO of Praxis, MBA/MEM from Northwestern’s Kellogg School, and former principal designer at IDEO -- will share his broad expertise from his years working at world-renowned IDEO, and applying those principles to the 100+ ventures he’s worked with since founding Praxis.
Working Internationally: Trends, Opportunities, & Challenges
With Jena Lee Nardella & Paul Park
Many young people have a heart and ambition to go ‘to the nations’ and do work internationally. Whether in business or not-for-profits, the challenge of starting a venture or working internationally is filled with well-documented obstacles. So what does a young professional do? What questions should they be asking, and what are steps one can take to determine the why, what, where, and how of going international?
Jena Lee Nardella -- founder of Blood: Water Mission and Nonprofit Accelerator Lead at Praxis -- will share her journey of starting, and scaling an international NGO from the ripe young age of 22. She has experienced it all: from cultural barriers, to choosing who will do the work at how, to managing teams remotely and having to make difficult family and life decisions as a result of the rigorous travel schedule.
Paul Park -- Executive Director of First Fruit -- has a passion for International work backed by years of experience, having worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs around the globe. He authors a white paper on global trends and will share about what is happening in the space today and the best opportunities to get involved.
Career Discernment: Charting a Path Toward a High-Impact Career
With Kurt Keilhacker & Peter Greer
Part of the challenge for entrepreneurially-minded people is determining the career path toward starting a venture. For current founders: the ability to discern how much of life -- personally, emotionally, and financially -- to pour into your venture. For potential entrepreneurs: which path to take to become an expert in a given area and build relationships that will increase your chances of success when you decide to launch your first venture. This session explores these question in relation to your skills, interests, commitments, and calling.
Kurt Keilhacker -- founder of Elementum Ventures and Managing Director of TechFund Capital -- will bring over 20 years of experience working alongside top entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and beyond. He has also mentored hundreds of college students as they journey toward their highest calling in life.
Peter Greer -- CEO of HOPE International and author of The Spiritual Danger of Doing Good -- has reaped the benefits of Kurt’s mentorship in this area, beginning a relationship over ten-years ago when Peter was at the Harvard Kennedy School and deciding which direction to take in his own career. Peter has now mentored hundreds of young professionals in this area, and written numerous books on entrepreneurship, mission, and venture formation.
Entrepreneurship & The Church
With Jon Tyson & Scott Kauffmann
We've all heard the statistics and narrative of how millennials (and everyone) are leaving the church. More than ever, the church has to consider a wide variety of models outside of the traditional Sunday morning service. In this session -- led by two of the foremost thinkers in the space -- we'll discuss the implications of the questions around the church and entrepreneurship (and if we should even be asking them).
Jon Tyson is the founding pastor of Trinity Grace Church in New York City, which has grown from a group of people who moved to the city to plant a church, to over 10 parishes across 3 Boroughs. Jon is also the founder of City Collective -- a church planting and mentorship organization that seeks to see cities flourish in direct correlation with their churches -- and the Center for City Renewal, which convenes deep conversations on justice, civility, faith and culture in our pluralistic society. Jon is entrepreneurial and innovative at his core, and also works closely with dozens of Praxis Fellows.
Scott Kauffmann is a former Vice President at Redeemer City to City -- a leading global church planting organization based out of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. He spent years engaged in global strategy for planting urban churches, studying and implementing different models.
Breakout II SESSIONS
Media, Arts, & Entrepreneurship
With Allison Trowbridge, Jon Hart
As profiled in a recent Atlantic article entitled “The Death of the Artist -- and the Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur” -- the role of the artist has changed dramatically. How do we -- as Christians, bearing the image of God -- consider the cultural implications of this merger between the arts and business? How can the artists -- be it photographers, filmmakers, musicians, artisans or any type of creatives -- thrive while focusing on their craft amidst the pressures to make money?
Allison Trowbridge has served on the Board of Wedgewood Circle -- an angel investment group that focuses on Christian culture makers in film, music, and the arts -- and is a founder of the Copper Pictures film studio. She will share her perspective from hearing hundreds of pitches from artists of all kinds, and working on independent films with far-reaching culture-shaping potential.
Jon Hart is a founding board member and current Chairman of 100cameras and has been an executive producer of a successful independent film. He will share his experience working with artists who have used both venture formation and film production to express their point-of-view and pushback on negative cultural trends.
Your First Hire(s): Attracting Great Talent, Dividing Equity, & Building Organization Culture
With Kurt Keilhacker & Evan Loomis
Talent is consistently talked about as the most critical factor in whether a startup will succeed or fail. The Bible, too talks about this "without vision, the people will perish." The "cool startup" tales sound like our childhood dreams in a workplace -- pingpong tables, personal chefs, unlimited vacation days, and a dress code of hoodies & skinny jeans -- what really makes up the core of a successful team? This session will delve much deeper into this question beyond what is discussed in the "Co-Founders" short-talk from the main stage. From questions on if you should start a venture with a non-believer, to building strong relationships and identifying great talent, as well as structuring the partnership agreement and dividing equity.
Kurt Keilhacker -- who has 20+ years of Venture Capital experience and seen every type of founder-relationship go both good and bad -- has a knack for pairing talented people to start ventures that find a way to succeed, even if their first idea doesn’t work. Much of Kurt’s success is in his ability to attract, retain, and structure partnerships between founders. He will share key insights and practical tips.
Evan Loomis -- co-founder of both TreeHouse and Wedgewood Circle, and a former Investment Banker -- has a knack for his ability to work with founders through the good and the bad of their marriage-like partnerships. Evan will share his experiences from coaching dozens of co-founders from top startups in both the Praxis and TechStars Accelerators.
Ambition & Managing Life’s Priorities
With Evan Baehr & Peter Greer
Great entrepreneurs are notoriously ambitious, but as Christians -- striving for virtues like kindness, humility, and gentleness -- what are we to do with ambition? How do we prioritize between our visions of how the world might be better with our venture, and walk the tight-rope between family, civic, church, and communal responsibilities? Should Christians have more, less, or just different ambition? How do those leaders who are extraordinarily busy and connected -- yet still have families -- balance it all?
Evan Baehr is the co-founder of Able and travels the country speaking on behalf of the company as well as hosting workshops on “Get Backed” -- a book he co-wrote about fundraising for startups. Evan is married with two kids, and is heavily involved in various civic and social organizations as well as his local church.
Peter Greer has led HOPE International through a major expansion to be a $10m+ organization in over 30 countries -- all while writing multiple books, speaking around the country, and raising kids with his wife Laurel. Peter is also heavily involved with his alma mater, Praxis, other organizations, and his local church.
Collectively, we’ll debate how to foster a healthy, affirmative sense of ambition while also naming the idolatrous forms of this—including a bit of self-assessment to detect symptoms of self-deception.
How to Form and Retain High-Level Mentoring Relationships
With Jena Lee Nardella and Anthony Flynn
Mentoring relationships are critical for career success, and this is especially so for entrepreneurs who need to recruit the best advice, funding, and talent to make their venture work. Those who rise to the top have found a way to get the highest level, busiest people to invest their time in them; but how do they do it? This session will focus on best practices to getting introductions to great mentors, how to follow up, and be a great mentee to develop a long-term flourishing relationship.
Jena Nardella founded Blood: Water Mission when she was a senior in college; as she was building it to become a $4m+ organization, she became an expert on building mentoring relationships to invite the advice of others into the young, ambitious organization to help it scale well. Jena will share how she built a mentoring relationship with Gary Haugen -- founder & CEO of International Justice Mission, and one of the most respected and hard to get leaders -- that had an immense impact on her and the organization.
Anthony Flynn is the founder and CEO of Gifted -- a multi-dimensional mentorship program that seeks to find the best students from low-income neighborhoods and set them on a different path to break generational poverty. He has spent years learning about, and teaching mentorship. He is a product of great mentorship and opportunities -- having risen out of his upbringing and the entanglements he watched most of his childhood friends be trapped in, to work for major companies and then run two high-impact NGO’s. Anthony maintains mentoring relationships with CEOs of major corporations, who have helped him and Gifted immensely.
With Dave Blanchard and Bob Caldwell, Jr.
Perhaps your vision of what it means to be a “Christian entrepreneur” was shaped by a venture you were excited to find out is led by a fellow believer, or the opposite: it made you cringe. In this session, we’ll discuss how the gospel offers a transformative vision for a different kind of entrepreneurship: one that acts as a winsome witness to the culture. We will examine how the ancient and theological virtues act as a powerful and accessible framework for a strong organizational culture in a pluralistic culture.
Dave Blanchard -- founder & CEO of Praxis and former principal designer at IDEO -- will share insights he’s gained by working with over 100 Christ-following entrepreneurs doing some of the most cutting edge work around the globe. He will also share frameworks and practical ways to think about this complex topic.
Bob Caldwell, Jr. -- President of Grace Management Group and board member at both the Greenleaf and Bridgewater Foundations -- will share the story of a scaled business that lives out these principles through a for-profit structure. He is passionate about seeing young people pursue entrepreneurship in a way that can solve major problems and transform communities.
Developing a Voice: Impact through Speaking & Writing
With Scott Kauffmann and Jon Tyson
Whether you're an entrepreneur, looking to work at a startup, or just interviewing for a job, there is endless talk about the need to 'build your brand' or 'platform'. What are we to make of it as followers of Christ, who have an ambition to be a thought leader or be a positive force for good in the world? This session will both discuss the concept of making an impact through speaking, writing, and thought leadership -- as well as give practical tips on how to start.
Scott Kauffmann led Content Labs at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, where he helped Tim Keller become a major voice in society around the urban church, culture, and the gospel -- including multiple New York Times best selling books. Scott is also a longtime board member at Q -- where he helps them think about how Christians can thoughtfully engage in the most difficult topics of our time.
Jon Tyson is a thought leader on entrepreneurship and the church, and theology of work. He is a foremost synthesizer of ideas -- both in speaking and writing. Jon has been invited to speak around the globe, has authored one book and is working on his second. He has also worked alongside dozens of entrepreneurs in the Praxis Business Accelerator -- helping them think deeply about their theology, and how to winsomely communicate it to the broader culture.
On Thursday afternoon, we’ve created two workshops -- one focused around designing your life and vocational path; the other around designing your venture. Please read up on these and choose which you’d like to attend.
Design Your Life: Vocation, Calling, & Career Discernment
Led by Dave Evans, Stanford d.School
Based off of what Fast Company recently labeled the most popular course at Stanford, d.School Professor Dave Evans will guide a workshop that summarizes key principles from the “Design Your Life” course he teaches. This one of a kind workshop will focus on how to think about your multiple vocations as they relate to your career ambitions, and how that is connected to the joy and impact of your life.
Design Your Venture: The 4 Stages and 6 Elements
Led by Dave Blanchard, Co-Founder & CEO, Praxis
Based off the book “From Concept to Scale: Creating a Gospel Minded Organization,” co-author Dave Blanchard will guide a workshop on the beginning stages of starting a venture. Dave will use the 6 elements and 4 mindsets framework from the book -- that includes Design Thinking principles and examples he will share from his time at IDEO, and building multiple startups himself.