Wisconsin Entrepreneurs Showcase

Thursday, September 28, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

While pre-registration is closed, day-of attendees are welcome. To register at the door, please plan to arrive between 5:00 – 5:15 p.m.

UW–Madison students, please bring your ID to be scanned to confirm attendance for any course or extra credit.

Doors open/check in: 5:15 p.m.

Speaker program: 5:30 – 6:45 p.m.; networking reception with appetizers and soft drinks to follow.

In-person, free, open to the public.

Location: Grainger Hall 1310, The Plenary Room, 975 University Ave.

Hear from UW–Madison founders and CEOs and connect with UW’s innovation ecosystem at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs Showcase. Three exceptional Badger alumni will share their entrepreneurial journeys, leadership insights, and how their UW experience set them on the road to success.

Free and open to students, faculty, staff, alumni and community. Pre-registration requested. If you need an accommodation to attend, please contact Lisa Collins by September 14.

Presented by the Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship, Startup Learning Community, and Discovery to Product (D2P).

Featured speakers:

Joel Baraka ‘22, Co-founder, My Home Stars; Project Engineer, CG Schmidt.
Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Baraka grew up in the Kyangwali refugee camp before moving to the U.S. and earning a B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from UW–Madison. Now a Project Engineer for CG Schmidt, Baraka is well-known for co-founding and growing My Home Stars, a non-profit that increases access to quality education for refugee children in Uganda. Baraka and his team applied an innovative mindset and learnings from UW entrepreneurship programs to build an impactful mission-driven organization. Baraka has been recognized as a Clinton Global Initiative University participant, Bezos Scholar, Queen’s Young Leaders awardee, and TED Fellow, and his recent TED Talk has earned more than 1 million views.

Steve Jacobson ’82, Founder & CEO, Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp.
Since founding Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation in 1996, Steve Jacobson has been one of the industry’s most innovative leaders. Fairway has grown to be one of the largest mortgage providers in the US with more than 6,000 employees and 680 locations nationwide. Fairway is privately held, and its unique culture stresses employee development, volunteering and philanthropy. This culture has resulted in Fairway winning numerous top workplace awards along with market and financial success. A Wisconsin native with a UW degree in business administration, Jacobson is the former co-captain of the Badger basketball team, where he joined as a walk-on and played for four years.

Jessie Mash ’07, Managing Partner, SonderCo
Jessie (Kalin) Mash is an Emmy award-winning producer and brand strategist. She recently joined the newly-launched SonderCo, an agency connecting next-generation brands with celebrity talent, IP, and other like-minded brands to create high-impact partnerships. SonderCo has worked with former U.S. presidents, Oscar and Grammy award-winning artists, Fortune 500 CEOs, and Olympic athletes. A UW–Madison Journalism and Strategic Communications alum, Mash previously headed up partnerships, brand strategy, and celebrity relations at Monica + Andy, developing partnerships into top customer acquisition tools and securing collaborations with Disney, Target and Glossier. As a producer, Mash worked with top-tier talent at The Oprah Winfrey Show and launched, produced and was an on-air style and deals expert for ABC Chicago’s Windy City LIVE.



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