Never stop learning.

RISE’10 is led by event chairs Roy Sosa and Bertrand Sosa, co-founders of NetSpend and the MPOWER Group, and Roy Spence, president and CEO of GSD&M Idea City.

RoySpence's picture
Co-Founder and Chairman, GSD&M Idea City

Roy Spence is co-founder and chairman of GSD&M Idea City, a leading marketing communications and advertising company. He is also co-founder and CEO of The Purpose Institute, a consulting firm whose purpose is to help people and organizations discover and live their purpose. Along with Haley Rushing, Roy co-authored the Wall Street Journal bestselling book, It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For: Why Every Extraordinary Business is Driven by Purpose.

Under Roy’s leadership, his agency has helped grow some of the world’s most successful brands like Southwest Airlines, Wal-Mart, DreamWorks, the PGA TOUR, BMW global, the U.S. Air Force, Hallmark and the Clinton Global Initiative. Roy has been a trusted advisor to legendary leaders including Sam Walton and Southwest Airlines founder, Herb Kelleher. His counsel has also been sought by U.S. presidents and leaders in the State Department and Department of Defense.

Roy has been named Ad Man of the Year and Idea Man of the Century and has been interviewed by The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the New York Times, BusinessWeek, U.S. News & World Report, Esquire, Fast Company, INC., Fortune and many cable news networks for his perspectives on marketing and finding and fulfilling an organization’s purpose.

Roy has been married 32 years and has three children. He is a member of the board of directors of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation and is a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Texas.

RoySosa's picture

Roy Sosa is a "social capitalist" committed to the empowerment of the underserved. In 1999 he co-founded NetSpend Corporation -- now the nation's largest prepaid debit card provider targeting the un-banked. In 2006 he launched MPOWER Ventures, a double-bottom-line venture capital fund created to make investments in early-stage companies innovating financial products and services for the underserved. The portfolio companies of MPOWER Ventures now span four continents and are providing affordable, accessible, and empowering products to underserved markets worldwide.

Roy is passionate about entrepreneurship and is one of the original founders of RISE. His vision is a world in which socially-minded capitalists harness the creativity and power of the market to solve our planet's most pressing problems.

Bertrand Sosa's picture

Bertrand Sosa is passionate about consumer branding, marketing, and entrepreneurship. In 1999, he co-founded NetSpend Corporation, now the nation's largest prepaid debit card company targeting the underserved. While at NetSpend, Bertrand oversaw the creation of the signature messaging and look that would define the All-Access card as "the end of no" for America's un- and under-banked. In 2006 he co-launched MPOWER Ventures, a double-bottom line venture capital fund created to make investments in early stage companies whose products and services financially empower the underserved. As President of MPOWER Labs, Bertrand oversees the portfolio's business strategy, including global management of product development, advertising, and marketing. Mr. Sosa is passionate about entrepreneurship and is one of the founders of RISE.

Suzi Sosa's picture
MPOWER Foundation

Suzi Sosa is the Founder and President of the MPOWER Foundation, a non-profit operating foundation dedicated to the empowerment of the underserved. Suzi is passionate about social entrepreneurship and social capitalism and seeks opportunities to harness the speed, scale, and creativity of the private sector with the compassion, transparency, and stakeholder models of the non-profit world. Her background in is international development economics, and she has a Masters in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School. She co-teaches Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Texas and is a Judge for the Dell Social Innovation Competition. She is a founder of RISE.

Philip Berber's picture
A Glimmer of Hope

Philip Berber is a leading social entrepreneur and innovator from the world of international aid. He and his wife Donna formed and funded A Glimmer of Hope in 2000 and were recently recognized as being among The 25 Best Givers in the world by Barron’s Magazine placing sixth on the list based on their impact and effectiveness. A Glimmer of Hope is engaged in humanitarian aid and development in Ethiopia and has developed a groundbreaking and effective model of helping the rural poor lift themselves out of poverty. Originally from Ireland, Berber worked as an entrepreneur in financial market technology start-ups in London and Houston before moving to Austin in 1995 where he formed CyBerCorp, an online trading firm that sold in 2000 to Charles Schwab. A Glimmer of Hope has improved the lives of around two million people in Ethiopia with 100% of all donations being used to bring clean water, healthcare, education and microfinance to some of the poorest people on Earth.

HeatherMcK's picture
Leadership Austin/Austin Equation

Heather is President and CEO for Leadership Austin, a non-profit organization where people of diverse backgrounds and experience come together to learn about civic leadership, engage in meaningful dialogue about important public issues, and collaborate to make a difference in Central Texas. Since 1979, thousands of individuals have graduated from the Leadership Austin Essential Class or enhanced their leadership capacities through its open enrollment programs. Heather is also Co-Founder of the Austin Equation - a community development intitiative dedicated to discovering what makes Austin unique, and how these unique traits build and sustain good stewardship of Austin's scenes.

Carol T's picture
The Thompson Group

After serving as CEO for Computerland in Austin, Texas, Carol founded The Thompson Group in 1993 to work with companies and organizations as a high-level, strategic marketing partner.

Carol has served on more than 30 professional, civic, and charitable boards, in Texas, including six years on the San Antonio branch of the Dallas Federal Reserve Board. In 1992, she chaired the board of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, a year during which 95 established companies visited Austin to evaluate expansion possibilities - 25 companies elected to do so.

Carol has been recognized by the Austin Business Journal as "one of Austin's 5 most powerful women" and named by the Austin American-Statesman as one of Austin's "top 25 tech players to know." She was on the cover of Digital South Magazine, which named her "A Real Hero of Southern Technology" and the October 2000 issue of eCompany identified Carol as one of the "Nine People to See in Austin." In April 2001, she received the Women in Communication Liz Carpenter's Lifetime Achievement Award. Additionally, Carol was presented with the Office Depot "National Award 2001."

In a slightly different direction, Bard Press of Atlanta and Austin recently published the book, Masters of Networking, co-authored by Carol Thompson, which debuted on the New York Times Best Seller list. Additionally, University of Texas Moot Corp. Director Gary Cadenhead discussed Carol and her company's FACE TO FACE Strategic Business Networking Event in his newly released book. In the book, entitled NO LONGER MOOT: The Premier New Venture Competition from Idea to Global Impact, Carol and her FACE TO FACE event are cited as the origin for the relationship that made the creation of the book a reality. In May 2002, Carol's perspective was featured in Tribeza magazine with her article "Of Leadership," highlighting the opportunities and challenges that must be met by emerging and existing leaders everywhere.

jessicashortall's picture
TOMS Shoes
Director of Giving

Jessica Shortall is the Director of Giving at TOMS Shoes, a fast-growing social enterprise that gives one pair of new shoes to a child in need for every pair of shoes it sells (www.tomsshoes.com). Her work involves building long-term, high impact partnerships with organizations around the world that can use shoes to prevent disease and provide access to education to the world's poorest children. Through her work at TOMS she is also focused on raising the profile of podoconiosis (podo), one of the world's most neglected diseases which affects more than 1 million people in Ethiopia, and many more worldwide, and is preventable by wearing shoes (http://www.tomsshoes.com/content.asp?tid=778).

Prior to TOMS, Jessica has been an entrepreneur, consultant, and operational nerd within social enterprises in the U.S. and internationally. She served in the Peace Corps in Uzbekistan; co-founded The Campus Kitchens Project (www.campuskitchens.org); received an MBA from Oxford University as a Skoll Scholar in Social Entrepreneurship; and spent several years in London working in the vibrant social enterprise scene there. She now calls Austin home.

ChelseaMcCullough's picture

In January, I decided to take the leap back into the the land of entrepreneurship and am happily founding my company and consulting with other start-ups. Everything is early stage so exciting news to come.

Prior to the big jump, I was Marketing Director at MPOWER Labs, Inc. where I focused on marketing strategy and execution for several portfolio companies that provide financial solutions for the nation’s underserved. My career path has always been about creating market solutions to societal challenges and includes marketing positions with the Texas Lottery and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. In 1999, I co-founded Vento Marketing, a full-service advertising agency.

One of the real joys of my career was serving as the founding Program Director for RISE. What started in 2006 has become a great tribute to Austin's entrepreneurial community. I am proud to be a part of it.

I'm also inspired by my work on the Board of DiscoverHope (a non-profit organization that provides on microcredit and entrepreneurial training to women in poverty), the Board of Seton Cove and being a member of the Leadership Austin Essentials Class of 2010.

I bleed orange and received my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Advertising from the University of Texas at Austin with concentrations in Hispanic Marketing, Corporate Social Responsibility and Account Planning.

goodlifeteam's picture
The GoodLife Team

Krisstina Wise is known for her uncommon ambition as a highly regarded leader, business owner, entrepreneur, visionary, national master trainer, business coach, mentor, advisor, role model, athlete, wife and mother.

Krisstina is an accomplished business woman in the domain of residential real estate. Her “uncommon” real estate practice is ranked in the top 1% nationwide. Her success comes as a result of advanced adoption of innovative technologies, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a far-reaching commitment to service – all uncommon for the real estate industry. Sprinting beyond the antiquated systems common in the tradition-bound world of real estate, Krisstina’s real estate business, The GoodLife Team, is a leader in marketing systems and internet lead generation through social media platforms. The GoodLife Team brand is recognized locally and nationally as a technology-based firm with a rich commitment to take care of the concerns of their clients.

In addition to leading her local real estate business, Krisstina is a national real estate speaker and trainer, is known as founder of two real estate technology start-ups and has just completed a business plan of her next company which addresses technology in the future of real estate brokerage.

In her free time, Krisstina is busy raising 2 teenagers with her husband and business partner, Garry, training for marathons and giving back to the community. In 2006, she joined the Board of Directors for Planet Cancer, a non-profit that helps young adults with cancer. In 2007, Krisstina chaired Planet Cancer’s annual fundraiser and was instrumental in increasing the event’s revenue by over 500%. In 2008, she accepted the position of Chairman of the Board of Directors of Planet Cancer.

tsinger's picture
NYP Speakers

Thom Singer is a speaking entrepreneur and the author of seven books on the power of business relationships and networking (and a seventh on presentation skills). He has spent over 19 years in sales, marketing, and business development roles with major corporations and AM LAW 100 law firms. He regularly consults with firms and individuals on how to cultivate their personal brands and establish professional connections that will lead to more referral business.

Singer is the co-founder of New Year Publishing and runs the company's NYP Speakers Division. He and his wife, Sara, make their home in Austin, Texas, and are the parents of two highly spirited daughters. More information is available at www.thomsinger.com

bijoy's picture
Bootstrap Austin
nedgington1's picture
Social Velocity

Nell Edgington is President of Social Velocity (www.socialvelocity.net) a consulting firm that accelerates social innovation by leading nonprofits to greater social impact and sustainability. Prior to launching Social Velocity, Nell led teams and strategic planning efforts, raised over $5 million annually, recruited and trained top talent and won national awards in nonprofit organizations in Oregon, Texas and Washington, DC, including PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) headquarters. She holds an MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University.

elmundodemando's picture
Cultural Strategies
VP, Engagement

Armando is the VP of Engagement at Cultural Strategies and Director of Community Engagement at United Way Capital Area/Hands On Central Texas in Austin, TX. Armando’s experience is deep rooted in the community and nonprofit sector. He specializes in building capacity & creating change with a focus on Hispanic Engagement, project management, leadership development & social innovation. Armando has over 12 years experience in community engagement, volunteerism & social media, and has developed innovative engagement strategies (grassroots to social media) & cultural programming for many nonprofits & businesses including, MPower Labs/RISE Entrepreneurship Conference Tate Austin Hahn, Lance Armstrong Foundation & ACTIVE Life. He serves on the national Points of Light/Hands On Network’s Neighboring Taskforce, is a frequent panelist/presenter at local & national conferences (United Way of America, Points of Light Institute/Hands On Network, OneStar Foundation, United Neighborhood Centers of America, Keep Texas Beautiful), and has been recognized in Austin American-Statesman’s Top Blogs & the Austin (Twitter) List, Austin Social Media’s Top 100 List and Austin Under 40 Awards. Armando writes for GivingCity Magazine, blogs at ElMundodeMando.com & TacoJournalism.com and has been featured in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, NPR’s MarketPlace, Austin American-Statesman and Austin Monthly.

RISE Austin
Program Manager