Think Big Partners would like to officially announce its Founding Advisory Board Members.
Thomas C. Brown has been practicing as a business attorney in Kansas City, Missouri for nearly four decades. During this time, he has counseled hundreds of entrepreneurs to organize and grow their businesses. Additionally, he has owned and operated a number of businesses as an entrepreneur himself, including restaurants, entertainment businesses and a promotional products company to name a few. Mr. Brown has been active in numerous organizations whose mission is to assist the start up and growth of new businesses. Chief among these are the SBA program in the Kansas City area, where he served as Chairman of the Missouri Women's Business Center and the Athena Powerlink program, which provides advice for women entrepreneurs. In 1996, Mr. Brown used his entrepreneurial talents to form (along with his mother) Smiles Change Lives, which is an international philanthropy whose mission is to provide access to orthodontic treatment for low-income children.
Mark Faber is Senior Vice President, Midwest Partnerships, for AEG Global Partnerships in Kansas City. Mr. Faber's primary responsibility is to manage revenue-generating components including the Naming Rights Partnerships (i.e. Sprint), Founding Partnerships, Suiteholders and Founders Club members in Kansas City. He also oversees regional and national sales for the AEG Global Partnerships division in the Midwest. Mr. Faber brings 20-plus years of experience in the sports and entertainment industry to his role at AEG. In 1989, Faber joined the Dallas Cowboys to help direct sales efforts for sponsorships, events, hospitality, and luxury suites at the Cowboys' Texas Stadium and Training Camp. In 1995, Mr. Faber left the Cowboys to pursue additional opportunities in sports with Liberty Media (now FOX Sports), and has subsequently held senior-level positions with Host Communications, Galles Indy Racing, PSP Sports, and Learfield Sports.
Lance Hemenway is an internet guru who has who has been involved in the founding and proliferation of some of the highest trafficked web properties in the world including MySpace, American Idol and others. Hemenway became the ninth team member of the venture-backed company Intermix Media when he moved to Los Angeles California in April of 2000. By fall of 2004, web traffic had increased to over 10 billion impressions a month, making Intermix the largest web-based entertainment network in the world. Hemenway was serving as the Vice President of Creative Development when the company was hired to do a series of web-based promotions for the Fox network. Interest in Intermix from Rupert Murdoch came to fruition in 2005 and the company was eventually sold to Fox Interactive Media for $580 million. Before MySpace, Hemenway was the Creative Director for American Media Group, an advertising agency in Kansas City. Lance supervised all aspects of commercial television and print production for hundreds of clients over the time of almost six years.
Joyce Hrinya assists CEOs of consumer businesses with customer-centric marketing approaches to profitable sales improvement. With 24 years in brand marketing, Joyce has extensive expertise in retail and consumer markets, particularly multi-channel marketing in apparel, accessories and sporting goods companies. Prior to founding A & R Strategy Partners, Joyce was Senior Vice President, Marketing and Customer Satisfaction for Helzberg Diamonds and held positions such as SVP, Marketing for Danskin, VP of Business Development for Liz Claiborne, VP of Marketing for Aris Isotoner, and Director of Business Development for Coach and Champion. Throughout her career, Ms. Hrinya has focused on growing discretionary consumer product businesses through new categories, channels and customers. Her experience spans ground-floor website development to initiating an entirely new business structure in Japan and Italy. She has manufacturing oversight experience in China for apparel and accessories.
Spencer joined Atwood & Palmer, Inc. in 2004 and is responsible for portfolio management, investment research and client service. He specializes in fundamental analysis with an emphasis in balance sheet and cash flow analysis and technical analysis with an emphasis in relative strength and Point & Figure charting. Before joining Atwood and Palmer, Inc., Spencer managed individual client assets and employee-benefit assets at UBS Financial Services in Kansas City, MO from 1995 to 2004. In 1996, he founded the Young Friends of the Zoo Group, "Supporting Active Friends and Raising Interest in the Zoo" (SAFARIZ). In 2005, Spencer spearheaded a friends' group for the Ronald McDonald Charities of Kansas City, "Friends of the House". Mr. Jones conceived of and helped create an interactive website to help raise money for the RMHCKC in conjunction with the Friends of the House. Mr. Jones also served on the board of the Hands and Hearts for Children, an auxiliary group for Children's Mercy Hospital.
Joe Kessinger is an entrepreneur, investor and workout executive with more than 25 years experience in high–growth business development and turnaround management. He provides expertise as a CPA, venture investor, business owner and consultant. Joe is widely recognized as a turnaround and startup expert who has advised over 100 businesses on alternative sources of capital. He has been employed by two Big 4 accounting firms (KPMG and Ernst & Young), managed venture capital portfolios, managed two technology business incubators and has started, owned and operated six different businesses, including an electronics manufacturing company and a medical device manufacturer.
Greg Kratofil provides legal counsel on a wide variety of matters for today's technology companies, including startup formation and venture capital financing, intellectual property based joint ventures, copyright and trademark protection, software development and licensing, as well as drafting and reviewing various hosting, consulting, procurement, network and systems development contracts. Mr. Kratofil's experience includes complex technology and commercial contracting transactions, technology and software-based mergers and acquisitions, as well as compliance with GLB, HIPAA, state privacy breach notification laws and other privacy directives. Drawing on his technology and business background, Kratofil takes on the role as general counsel for a number of the region's new and developing technology businesses.
Michael Mason's entrepreneurial background includes the founding of e-commerce site SpeedServe Inc., the predecessor of Buy.com. As a young entrepreneur, he was instrumental in taking the company from startup thru IPO. After exiting Buy.com, Mr. Mason went to work for a community banking organization, where he serves as a senior executive and member of the Board of Directors. Mr. Mason is a graduate of Southern Methodist University.
Joe Pindell has over two decades of experience helping firms achieve better performance through implementing innovative software solutions. In his current role with the Group Technology Office at Pitney Bowes Software, Mr. Pindell is focused on evolving and evangelizing the unifying product and solution vision for this $400+ million software division of Pitney Bowes. Previously, Mr. Pindell was a Solutions Sales Director and a Director of Technical Projects providing technical solution sales support across all vertical channels. He was a Managing Consultant in Professional Services at Group 1 Software when it was acquired by Pitney Bowes in 2006. Prior to joining Group 1 Software, Mr. Pindell spent three years at Sprint where he was a technical lead responsible for several enterprise service-based applications. This experience provided insights into the value of properly executed enterprise software.
Jene' Popper Hong brings over 20 years of business strategy, mergers & acquisitions and problem solving to her role at Business Transition Specialist LLC (BTS). Ms. Popper Hong is a seasoned executive leader, operator and deal maker having held multiple CFO roles in growth and turnaround situations. Jene' began her career in public accounting gaining experience in audits, tax, general accounting, and business valuations for both public and privately held companies, unions, nonprofits, trust and individuals. After 10 years she left public accounting to join a client as general manager and lead its organic growth from two healthcare related companies to a group of five companies. She led finance, accounting, IT, HR and operations growing revenue from $2 million to $15 million in three years. Ms. Popper Hong has worked to identify unprofitable segments of the business, restructure, cut cost, obtain financing, sell companies and segments of business, acquire companies and wind down operations.
Russell J. "Rusty" Rahm has accumulated nearly 20 years of electronic retailing and direct marketing industry experience. In addition, Rusty holds a significant portfolio of commercial real estate properties. His career began with Budget Marketing Inc. where he achieved early success as a sales representative and sales organizer. In 1996, Mr. Rahm founded Publishers Renewal Service Co in Shawnee, Kansas. He expanded his industry participation in 2000 with the acquisition of Budget Marketing Inc. in Des Moines. Recently, Mr. Rahm increased his industry holdings with the acquisition of two additional firms, Subco and Connexsus, LLC (formerly Call Center Enhancements). Connexsus, LLC is one of the nation's premier direct marketing service companies, providing telephony, data management, data consulting, call center and e-commerce services for domestic and international marketers.
Since 1994, Steven Revare has worked on the creative and strategic sides of interactive media for businesses across the country, now as the Creative Director of Egg Studios, which develops branded entertainment and content for businesses in the Midwest. He also founded Slugworth, Inc., which created apps and content for online and social media entertainment. Previously, Mr. Revare served as e-Business Marketing Director for Compuware Corporation. In early February of 2000, Compuware acquired BlairLake, a company co-founded by Mr. Revare. BlairLake developed creative Web and intranet solutions for major brands and organizations like Lee Apparel, Hostess, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, and American Century also includes several years as an award-winning writer/producer/editor for network-affiliated television stations.
Antonio Soave is the CEO of Capistrano Global Advisory Services (CGA). Within CGA, he has assisted a myriad of businesses to expand their operations abroad, establish joint ventures, and form strategic alliances. Antonio is also active in business restructuring consulting, as well as corporate turn-around. Mr. Soave also served as the Executive Director of the School of Business at Benedictine College, founded the Journal of International Business, and created the first International Business Advisory Council (I-BAC) as well as the Global Financial Summit (GFS) at Benedictine College in 2009. From 1988 to 2000, Antonio was founder and former CEO of RGI International and later teamed up with the WALT DISNEY WORLD® Resort in 1998 to create the World Youth Soccer Academy™ at Disney's Wide World of Sports® Complex.