Our Empower Lunch Series was formed to encourage entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship in our community. Once per month we will facilitate a friendly conversation with a business owner and/or executive and have them share their stories from the trenches with a select group of Emerging Leaders. From forming and funding, to operating, or even selling, you will walk away empowered with intelligence and confidence to start or strengthen your business.

Empower Lunch with Linda Olson

Fri., Apr. 27, 2018

Noon – 1:30pm

The Attic Cafè

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Featured Speaker
Linda Olson, President & Founder, Tampa Bay WaVE

As President and founder of Tampa Bay WaVE, Linda grew this non-profit to support over 150 early-stage technology ventures in its first 5 years. In 2012, she led a regional effort that was awarded a $1 million federal grant from the US Department of Commerce to launch FirstWaVE – a tech business accelerator program and an open innovation space in downtown Tampa. In 2015, she successfully led a second effort that was awarded another $500,000 federal grant to expand FirstWaVE to support even more startups. This 10,000 sq/ft FirstWaVE Venture Center provides dedicated office and coworking space for tech entrepreneurs, as well as event space for the local tech startup community. Since its opening in March 2013, FirstWaVE has supported more than 100 local companies, many of whom have collectively raised over $14 million in outside capital and have created and retained over 350 new jobs for the region.

Linda has been working with tech startups since 1999 when she joined yet2.com in Boston, a VC- funded tech transfer company, as their Controller/CFO. She has also founded several of her own technology ventures including Total Web Concierge and WOMbeat! In her early career, Linda managed ERP implementation projects for Fortune 500 companies as an Arthur Andersen consultant. She also was a Sarbanes-Oxley compliance pioneer, developing her own Big4-approved methodology and directing the company-wide Sarbanes-Oxley compliance efforts for The New York Times Company. Named to the founding leadership team of Startup Florida, Linda is one of the original Startup America Champions under the Startup America Partnership organization founded by the White House and Steve Case in 2011. She also serves on the board of Tech Start Tampa Bay, the charitable arm of the Tampa Bay Technology Forum.

Empower Lunch with Jamal Wilson

Fri., May 25, 2018

Noon – 1:30pm

The Hall on Franklin

Featured Speaker
Jamal Wilson, Owner, The Hall on Franklin

An alumnus of Tampa Preparatory School and Amherst College, Jamal Wilson played professional basketball in Europe before returning to Tampa in 2006. In that same year, he established both One Market Realty, a real estate company, and Leverage Financial, a mortgage bank. He sold Leverage Financial to GTE Credit Union in 2013 and took a two-year sabbatical from the industry. During that time, he formulated the idea for an innovative concept, The Hall on Franklin, which opened its doors in 2016. The Hall on Franklin was the first full service food hall in the country, offering guests seven concepts to choose from. A first of its kind hybrid between the modern food hall and the traditional restaurant experience. The Hall is on pace to be a $6 million restaurant in its inaugural year.