ABOUT

On Tuesday afternoon, the Academy Faculty will lead a series of breakout sessions which you will choose on-site (note: you do not have to go to the session you ranked as highest in your on-boarding survey).

Breakouts focus on three categories we believe are critical to developing as a redemptive agent of change; some are focused on specific skills or sectors, while others are more philosophical. All have a bent toward how the Kingdom of God shapes our hearts, minds, and practices. Categories are noted alongside titles:

ALTERNATIVE IMAGINATION (AI): How the Gospel changes our ideas and what we commit our lives to

DESIGN FOR RENEWAL (DFR): Building a skill set to put ideas into action

COUNTERSCRIPT OF THE REDEMPTIVE LEADER (CS): How the Gospel changes our way of life

All Breakouts Located throughout the Talbot East (TE) Building


2:00 - 2:45 PM: breakout I

VENTURE FORMATION: STARTING FROM SCRATCH (DFR)
Anthony Flynn, Jessica Kim // TE, 107

We’ve all heard people claim “hey, I had that idea” when they see a cool new startup – perhaps you’ve even found yourself saying it. While many people are flush with great ideas, entrepreneurs are the ones who take action and build something around the idea. This session will focus on the ever-present “I have an idea: what next?” question, and how to move from an idea to creating an actual venture. 

Jessica Kim is a serial entrepreneur who has started two venture-backed startups – one that raised $1 million before she graduated college. Jessica is now working on her third venture as an Entrepreneur in Residence at Charles River Ventures, where she’s been in the idea/concept stage of a new venture for a few months. She will discuss how to start moving an idea into actions. 

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. His experience includes years working in Fortune 100 companies prior to making the leap to start his own venture, coaching dozens of leaders, and leading workshops on how to put your ideas into action. 

DESIGN THINKING: CREATING SOMETHING PEOPLE WANT (DFR)
Jessica Munro // TE, P08

Design Thinking has become one of the most revered tools for successful entrepreneurs and innovators – and rightfully so. Creating something that people want is no accident; look behind the scenes of the most innovative companies and you’ll find design methodology and processes that emphasize finding problems and pain points of their customers, and a process to identify which problems their company might actually be able to solve. Solving problems is at the heart of the redemptive entrepreneur’s calling. In this session, we'll take a deep dive on two key areas: needfinding and opportunity identification. 

Jessica Munro has worked at the world-famous design consultancy IDEO, co-taught with IDEO founder David Kelley (who effectively invented the design thinking methodology), teaches courses on Design Thinking at Stanford, and launched her own consultancy, Entrepreneurs by Design. She’ll bring her expertise to bear in leading this interactive session. 

LOVING A BROKEN WORLD: PERSISTENCE IN VOCATION (CS)
Jena Lee Nardella, Steve Garber // TE, 108

In this session, old friends Steve & Jena will have an honest discussion about the challenges of staying committed to the causes God puts on your heart, in the midst of the joys, complexities, and inevitable discouragements that come across your path. They'll answer questions from the room and discuss the concept of continuing to love the world even as you learn more and more about its flaws, brokenness, and deepest injustices. 

Steve Garber has dedicated his life to being a student and teacher of the intersection of faith, vocation, and culture. He’s written two award-winning books sharing experiences and stories of people who have chosen to stay after it, even when their hearts are broken and hands have become weak. 

Jena Lee Nardella co-founded Blood:Water Mission after she met Steve and shared with him her ambitious plan to change the world. Steve introduced Jena to the band Jars of Clay, and they began a journey of starting a grassroots nonprofit to bring access to water to people in remote parts of Africa. Through setback after setback – alongside significant accomplishments – she had to choose whether she would keep after it, even when the work didn’t always love her back. 

DEVELOPING A VOICE: IMPACT THROUGH SPEAKING & WRITING (DFR)
Scott Kauffmann, David Bailey // TE, 113

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.' As followers of Christ with an ambition to be a positive force for good in the world, how can we approach this part of our vocation with integrity? This session will discuss how to make an impact through speaking, writing, and thought leadership – as well as give practical tips on how to start developing your voice.

Scott Kauffmann is the Content Lead for Praxis, overseeing the Praxis Course and Praxis Journal. He mentors all our Accelerator fellows in developing their pitches and “theology and culture essays” that connect their values to the ventures they create. Before Praxis he worked at with Tim Keller at Redeemer, acting as content strategist and lead editor, helping Dr. Keller to grow his impact around the urban church, culture, and the gospel.  

David Bailey is the founder of Arrabon, a ministry that helps churches and organizations live out the biblical vision of community and reconciliation through training, consulting, and implementation support. As a professional musician, worship leader, trainer, speaker, and author, David has extensive experience in shaping and communicating ideas that matter.
 

STORYTELLING FOR IMPACT & CRAFTING YOUR PITCH (DFR)
Jon Hart // TE, 109

The adage “he who tells the best story wins” speaks to the transcendent power of storytelling. While artists – filmmakers, writers, musicians – know, and often have an innate sense for this skill, entrepreneurs and innovators can sometimes struggle to translate their visionary ideas into coherent narratives that move people. In this session, we’ll explore key elements of a great story and translate them to a coherent investor pitch that works no matter what sector or type of venture you want to start. 

Jon Hart has worked with dozens of entrepreneurs on their storytelling and pitch decks, executive produced a film, and is a founding board member of a nonprofit that teaches storytelling through photography. Jon is also “Expert in Residence in Storytelling” at the Catapult Incubator, where he has taught and coached over 200 aspiring entrepreneurs on how to pitch. 

VENTURE CAPITAL & VENTURE PHILANTHROPY: CAREERS, TRENDS AND OPPORTUNITIES (AI)
Josh Kwan, Tom Blaisdell // TE, P07

We’ve all heard the cliche that “money makes the world go round,” and to entrepreneurs this can often be painfully true: the flow of capital can make or break a venture, whether it is a business or a nonprofit. We believe in the large-scale impact of entrepreneurship, which means we need to understand the funding models that drive this kind of impact. Venture Capital and Venture Philanthropy are critical financial components to understand – both from the perspective of those who deploy capital, and of those seeking to secure capital for their ventures.
This session will focus on three aspects of the VC/VP world: 

Careers: How might one chart a course toward VC or VP jobs?

Trends: What is happening in the industry, and what does the future look like? How do current trends shift job prospects, and what kinds of experiences are most valued? How might it shift how investments are made? 

Opportunities: What are best practices for creating opportunities with VCs or VPs to either land a job or an investment?

Josh Kwan spent seven years in high-impact philanthropy, granting over $25m, and has helped broker multi-million dollar capital investments in hybrid models (social enterprises). He will share his expertise on Venture Philanthropy, including current trends and what they are looking for, and what the difference is between traditional non-profit fundraising and this emerging category.

Tom Blaisdell spent 17 years in Venture Capital, most recently as a General Partner at DCM Ventures, where he made dozens of investments and heard thousands of pitches. He will share stories and advice on Venture Capital, from how to build relationships and navigate the muddy waters of connecting with VCs, to charting a career path in the industry. 

SILICON VALLEY, TECHNOLOGY, THE GOSPEL & THE FUTURE OF CULTURE (AI)
Kurt Keilhacker, Dave Blanchard // TE, 111

Silicon Valley is so culturally iconic that it's been handed a parody show on HBO, while its primary product – technology – increasingly promises us that we can be god-like (all powerful, all knowing, and omnipresent). What principles sit underneath its ethos? What does its ecosystem promise us? What are its creeds? In this session Dave and Kurt will have a conversation about how the gospel might be a disruptive force for good amidst the prevailing cultural currents. 

Kurt Keilhacker is a founding partner at Elementum Ventures, an early-stage investment fund that partners with great founders with a more integrated approach. Previously, Kurt founded and invested in more than 50 companies across the US and Europe through TechFund Capital. He’s also a student culture and interested in the far-reaching implications of startups that scale. 

Dave Blanchard has spent the past five years building Praxis, working alongside over one-hundred ventures and bringing leading theologians and cultural thinkers into the fold of the organization to both understand the times and to strategize how to respond.
 

3:00 - 3:45 PM: breakout II

RAISING CAPITAL FOR YOUR IDEA (DFR)
Kurt Keilhacker, Jessica Kim, Tom Blaisdell // TE, P08

From Shark Tank’s rise to one of TV’s top shows, to the dozens of podcasts, hundreds of accelerator demo days, school startup competitions, and thousands of blogs offering advice on how to pitch, there’s no shortage of advice on how to raise capital. But how do we separate the signal from the noise and find wise advice? Perhaps more importantly, how do we, as Christians, think differently about raising capital for our idea? This session will dispel some of the myths around fundraising and provide practical advice on how to build relationships and navigate the complexities of trying to raise capital. 

Kurt Keilhacker, a 20-year venture capital veteran who has invested or operated across dozens of technology oriented startups, from Cobalt (IPO / acquired by Sun for $2B) to Mailbox (acquired by Dropbox), is also a deeply clear theological thinker who always helps cut through the noise. Kurt will share some of his perspectives on how Christians might think differently about capital raises, from how they go about it, to who they bring on as investors, and how they divide their cap table. 

Jessica Kim, a serial entrepreneur who raised $1m for her first venture before she graduated college and went through a prominent accelerator and raised multiple rounds of capital from prominent investors in her second venture, will share best practices and stories of her experience. Jessica is also working on her third venture as an entrepreneur-in-residence at Charles River Ventures – with whom she built a long-term relationship during her second venture. 

Tom Blaisdell, an investor and operator who spent the last 17 years as a Venture Capitalist where he led a dozen investments that resulted in successful IPOs or acquisitions, will bring his deep expertise to the conversation. Tom has developed a passion for teaching along the way, and is now leading the Center for Private Equity & Entrepreneurship at the Tuck Business School at Dartmouth.

DEVELOPING HIGH-LEVEL MENTORING RELATIONSHIPS (CS)
Anthony Flynn, Dave Blanchard // TE, 107

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 getting introductions to great mentors, how to follow up, and be a great mentee to develop a long-term flourishing relationship. 

Anthony Flynn is the Founder and CEO of Gifted – a multi-dimensional mentorship program that finds the best students from low-income neighborhoods and sets them on a different path to break generational poverty. He has spent years learning about and teaching mentorship. He claims to be a product of great mentorship and the opportunities they provide – having defied the odds by rising out of his difficult childhood to graduate at the top of his program in college and land a job with a Fortune 100 company, then going on to lead two NGOs and write a book. Anthony maintains mentoring relationships with CEOs of major corporations, who have helped him, and Gifted, immensely. 

Dave Blanchard has built Praxis through an emphasis on community and mentorship. Not only has Dave’s design of everything Praxis does have an intense focus on mentorship, but he himself if the product of great mentoring relationships. From the pre-launch days, he was able to steward high-level introductions to key leaders and turn them into personal, ongoing relationships that he has maintained over many years and many miles. 

CALLING & PASSIONS: FINDING YOUR CHERISHED TOPIC (AI)
Scott Kauffmann, Jon Hart, Steve Garber // TE, 108

One of the most important contributions to the church in the last generation is the recapture of the biblical concept of vocation. We understand we are each called by God to pursue certain goals in the world; but how do we actually discern what those goals are? How do we decide what our unique abilities are, and what kinds of jobs and experiences to seek? In this session, we’ll explore practical ideas and exercises designed to point us to wise vocational discernment and action.

Jon Hart is the Academy Lead for Praxis, coaching our Emerging Founders, leading the annual Academy Intensive, and our school partnerships. He's passionate about helping the next generation of founders and aspiring entrepreneurs find their cherished topic and building ventures that matter. In addition, he is an adjunct professor at The King's College New York City, and loves informally coaching people on faith/work integration and living out their passions. 

Scott Kauffmann is the Content Lead for Praxis, coaching our Accelerator fellows to write “theology and culture essays” that connect their cherished topics to the ventures they create. Before Praxis he worked at Redeemer City to City, acting as lead editor for Tim Keller and coaching global city church planters. He also spent over twenty years as a mentor and career coach, first with Accenture and then with his private coaching and consulting practice.

Steve Garber has dedicated his life to being a student and teacher of the intersection of faith, vocation, and culture. He’s written two award-winning books sharing experiences and stories of people who have chosen to pursue their vocation over the long haul. From artists to entrepreneurs, he’s worked with top leaders studying how a deepening of their faith helps them form a deep sense of vocation.

WORKING INTERNATIONALLY: IMPLICATIONS, TRENDS, AND POSTURES (AI)
Jena Lee Nardella, Christy Vines // TE, P07

Many young people have a heart and ambition to go “to the nations” and work internationally. Whether in business or nonprofits, the challenge of starting or joining a venture overseas is filled with well-documented obstacles. So what does an aspiring international founder or professional do? What questions should they be asking, and what are steps they can take to determine the why, what, where, and how of going international? In this session, we’ll have a discussion led by two leaders who have years of experience (and lots of ambition!) with the joys and hardships of international work. 

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 and how, to managing teams remotely, to having to make difficult family and life decisions as a result of the rigorous travel schedule. 

Christy Vines has a passion for international work backed by years of experience, working with NGOs and governmental organizations in both the nonprofit and corporate sector. One such experience – especially pertinent to this session – was her previous role as executive director of the Center for Women, Faith & Leadership at the Institute for Global Engagement.

IMPACT MODEL & THEORY OF CHANGE: MISSION DRIVEN VENTURES THAT SCALE (DFR)
Josh Kwan // TE, 113

One of the most viewed TED talks of all time is Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why,” in it, he talks about mission driven organizations. We’ve seen a surge in socially conscious, mission-driven brands in both the for-profit (Patagonia, Warby Parker, The Giving Keys, etc.) and not-for-profit (Krochet Kids, Akola) space, and that’s just in the consumer space, lest we forget to mention non-profits like Kiva, HOPE International, charity:water, Pencils of Promise, and on and on. While this is all en-vogue with consumers, how does the organization measure if they are changing anything, rather than just creating another cool brand? What are the metrics and methodologies to creating change? And what about change that scales? In this session we’ll explore frameworks and a theory of change that has tested to work across all types of mission-driven organizations, whether for-profit, social enterprise, or non-profit. We’ll build on exercises in the “From Concept to Scale Section” of your event book. 

Josh Kwan is a co-founder and Partner at Praxis, where he has worked with over 100 organizations who are looking to scale their mission-driven organizations across all legal structures (including hands on help with Krochet Kids and Akola Project).. Previously, he spent 7 years in high-impact philanthropy and granted over $25m to innovative nonprofits. Josh will present a practical and implementable model on how to build a mission-based organization with intentional and scalable impact. 

MAKING THE LEAP IN A SERVICE OR FREELANCE BUSINESS (DFR)
David Bailey, Jessica Munro // TE, 111

According to a large-scale freelancing study conducted in 2016, 35% of the US workforce is now made up of freelancers. The vast majority of these are service businesses, which primarily require human capital to produce. While our minds may automatically think of gig-economy platforms like Uber, 99designs, or eLance – what happens when we have something unique to offer the world and are considering branching out on our own? Whether it’s speaking/teaching, photography, film, design, consulting, or any number of other options, how does one decide if they should make the leap to go full time. What are the upsides and downsides? How might one use this unique moment in history to be able to do multiple things and maximize their time (and is that even a good idea?!). This session will be led by two veterans who have launched out on their own with a service business. 

David Bailey is the founder of Arrabon, which has become a full-fledged organization with multiple employees who train, consult, speak, and create. David speaks and consults around the country in wide variety of environments. He started Arrabon after a lengthy vocational stage as a professional musician.

Jessica Munro has has over a decade of experience leading design work for Fortune 500 companies and startups alike; working at IDEO eventually led her to teach at Stanford, and to launch Entrepreneurs by Design. 
 

4:00 - 4:45 PM: breakout III

THE IMAGINATION OF THE ENTREPRENEUR: WHERE GOOD IDEAS COME FROM (AI)
Dave Blanchard, Steve Garber // TE, P08

As creatives and entrepreneurs, how do we find great ideas? We know that our imaginations are a creative gift from God, and yet we often find they are more shaped by the culture rather than the gospel. While the idea of supernatural participation in the work of entrepreneurship poses many issues, not least of which is an association with the prosperity gospel, how might we prepare ourselves to receive spiritual wisdom in the generation of ideas? What ways might God use revelation in the mind of the startup founder? We often think of innovation as a new creation from the future, but how might historic, ancient faith can give us an imaginative edge as we look to the future? We’ll tackle these questions in this intriguing discussion that will be both philosophical and practical. 

Dave Blanchard knows all too well how the culture can change the imagination of what is possible; he’s a serial entrepreneur that has started businesses ranging from sports memorabilia, sandwiches, music & technology, to Praxis. He was also a principal designer at IDEO -- consistently rated as one of the most innovative companies in the world. After starting Praxis, he has been deeply interested in how theology and ancient practices shape the imagination of the entrepreneur. 

Steve Garber has worked at the intersection of faith, vocation, and culture nearly his whole life. From artists to entrepreneurs, he’s worked with top leaders studying how a deepening of their faith helps them form a worldview that can lead to a deep sense of vocation -- and all of these are tied to the imagination and longings of the individual.  In addition, he’s been a part of the Catalyst group at Mars Corp., a think-tank tasked with developing a thesis known as “The Economics of Mutuality” -- and eventually seeing that turn into a business model that drives a multi-billion dollar business. That project garnered the attention of the Said Business School at Oxford University, where they are now doing a joint research study. Steve’s wisdom and own imagination will contribute to a robust discussion. 
 

DIVERSITY AND DESIGNING CULTURAL I.Q. INTO YOUR VENTURE (DFR)
David Bailey, Anthony Flynn, Josh Kwan // TE, 111

We live in an increasingly diverse world, yet in many ways we’re becoming more divided and polarized – and even leaders who want to be agents of reconciliation feel ill-equipped to do so. At the same time, in the business community there has been a movement centered on how organizations and communities can become healthier, more innovative, and more resilient when they take advantage of many forms of diversity. In this session, David and Anthony will build on David’s main stage talk to help us navigate the very real tensions of these two narratives – call them the “conflict / reconciliation narrative” and the “strategic diversity narrative.” As people of God working within organizations, how do we operate faithfully in this environment? What are practical and tangible steps that one can take to address issues of race and diversity in a way that engages rather than polarizes? We’ll discuss these and more in this important breakout for leaders of all backgrounds wanting to build their cultural I.Q.

David Bailey is the founder of Arrabon and spends his time speaking, coaching, and advising companies, churches, and nonprofits on developing the cultural intelligence and reconciliation practices to be a “foretaste of heaven” on earth. He continues to live out these practices though his and his family's commitment to a diverse, multi-ethnic neighborhood, intentional community, and church plant in Richmond, VA. He also founded and leads Urban Doxology, which helps build bridges through music that crosses boundaries in ethnicity, race, and class.

Anthony Flynn is the founder of Gifted, which works with low income and minority communities to build future marketplace leaders through a series of programs and skill building workshops from high school through college. Anthony has also worked at Fortune 100 companies and has seen how they leverage (or fail to take advantage of) opportunities for enriching their organizations through the development of diverse perspectives in the workforce.

A CONVERSATION FOR WOMEN IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP (CS)
Christy Vines, Jena Lee Nardella, Jessica Kim, Jessica Munro // TE, 107

While the past number of years have brought about more opportunities for female entrepreneurs and innovators, we have also seen serious allegations of sexual harassment in prominent technology startups and evidence of gender discrimination related to raising capital, showing us how far we have yet to go. Female leaders continue to face particular challenges – whether founder or employee, single or married, children or not, etc. – as they navigate the challenge of making it all work. This solution-oriented session is led by female entrepreneurs and spiritually wise change-makers who will share lessons and approaches to authentic leadership.

Christy Vines’ expertise lies at the intersection of religion and national security, global gender issues, and foreign policy. She was previously the executive director of the Center for Women, Faith & Leadership at the Institute for Global Engagement. Her experience advocating for women’s issues globally will bring a range and depth to this discussion. 

Jessica Kim is a serial entrepreneur who has held the simultaneous titles of founder, CEO, wife, and mother – including dealing with the pressure to raise series-A financing for her startup while pregnant. Her stories of achievements and setbacks will help contribute to a robust discussion. 

Jessica Munro balances being a founder and mother with the unique compounding challenge of being the wife of an entrepreneur. Additionally, she will bring a perspective from her experience working in prominent organizations (IDEO, Stanford). 

Jena Lee Nardella will help facilitate the conversation and share her own experiences, including founding and scaling Blood:Water Mission to become a multi-million dollar nonprofit, and growing her own family with her husband James (they welcomed their second child just a few months ago). 

AMBITION, STARTUPS, & LIFE MANAGEMENT (CS)
Kurt Keilhacker, Scott Kauffmann // TE, P07

Great entrepreneurs and innovators are notoriously ambitious, but as Christians – striving for virtues like kindness, humility, and gentleness – what are we to do with ambition? How do we relentlessly pursue our vision of how the world might be better with our venture, and yet strike a balance among family, civic, church, and communal responsibilities? Should Christians have more, less, or just different ambition? Is balance even an appropriate way of handling these tensions? We’ll discuss how to foster a healthy, affirmative sense of ambition while also naming the idolatrous forms of it. 

Kurt Keilhacker has been working with world-class entrepreneurs for over twenty years as an investor, and has personally worked with founders who have scaled ventures worth over $1b. Kurt is also notorious for being a voracious learner (he has degrees from Wheaton, the University of Chicago, Stanford, and Harvard), and serves on a number of boards for nonprofits and causes that he cares deeply about. He has a particular gift for working closely with founders in his role as a board chair.

Scott Kauffmann spent nearly two decades working at Accenture, a top management consulting firm, working with dozens of senior executives externally (as a consultant) and internally (as a chief of staff and program director) before joining Tim Keller to work on content and organizational strategy. He helped launch Redeemer City to City, a church planting and leadership development agency that has resourced and helped plant hundreds of churches globally. 

STORYTELLING FOR IMPACT & CRAFTING YOUR PITCH (DFR)
Jon Hart // TE, 108

The adage “he who tells the best story wins” speaks to the transcendent power of storytelling. While artists – filmmakers, writers, musicians – know, and often have an innate sense for this skill, entrepreneurs and innovators can sometimes struggle to translate their visionary ideas into coherent narratives that move people. In this session, we’ll explore key elements of a great story and translate them to a coherent investor pitch that works no matter what sector or type of venture you want to start. 

Jon Hart has worked with dozens of entrepreneurs on their storytelling and pitch decks, executive produced a film, and is a founding board member of a nonprofit that teaches storytelling through photography. Jon is also “Expert in Residence in Storytelling” at the Catapult Incubator, where he has taught and coached over 200 aspiring entrepreneurs on how to pitch.