Karen Curry Davis / ACE
Karen Davis currently serves as Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs’ (ACE) Strategic Initiatives Director. In this role, she directs ACE’s Women Investing in Successful Entrepreneurs (WISE) Initiative which is a $2.5 million revolving loan fund specifically for women entrepreneurs wanting to expand or start a business within Metro Atlanta and the North Georgia region. In addition to the loan funds, WISE offers business advisory support through individualized business consultations, business development seminars, speed coaching, and mentoring from high net-worth business owners. Karen is also the Principal Consultant of Curry Davis Consulting Group, LLC. Karen has more than 13 years of program management and community development experience and has made strides in her efforts to assist families with moving towards economic self-sufficiency, health and wellness.
Nancy Chorpenning / C-Suite Advisors
Nancy Chorpenning is Founder & Managing Director of Atlanta-based C-Suite Advisors, a business advisory practice. C-Suite Advisors specialty is advising women entrepreneurs whose businesses have emerged successfully from the startup phase and who are growing their firms into profitable, professionally-managed businesses prepared for selling in the future.
Nancy also leads peer-mentoring for women business owners, and offers webinars on planning, leadership, profitability and strategy among other business topics. In 2014, she launched two new program series exclusively for women entrepreneurs: CEO School for Women, an Annual Business Growth Program, and Taming Technology Workshops: Today’s Technology for Women Entrepreneurs.
From strategic discovery to organization structure and operations, Nancy’s mentoring of business owners is informed by her +20-year tenure as an executive in Professional Information and Education with Fortune 500 companies (Time Warner’s Little, Brown & Company Publishers) as well as high profile start-ups (WebMD). Combined with a superb graduate Marketing education from Northwestern’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management, she participates actively in local and national business organizations.
After serving on the Small Business Council for the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Nancy served on the Board of Directors for the Atlanta Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) for 6 years, including as Chapter President. She was appointed to the NAWBO Presidents Assembly Steering Committee (PASC) in 2012 with responsibility for 18 Southern Tier NAWBO Chapters, inaugurating a Leadership Bootcamp for NAWBO, and in 2014, became its Chair. Additionally, she was elected to the National Board of Directors of NAWBO where she presently serves. She was recently added to the Advisory Boards of the international company, “The Sellability Score” and Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE) in Atlanta.
LeeAnn Maxwell / Vixen Vodka
Vixen Vodka was conceived after a girls’ trip to St. Simons Island in Georgia. It was an idea that came to fruition after a few slightly dirty martinis and several sun-soaked hours lying by the pool. An idea that took root and took hold of friends who wanted to make a difference in their lives; it was their why not moment. After all, women like to hang out, chill out and drink vodka just like the boys. But research and focus groups showed that no vodka brand currently on the market tapped into targeting women. In fact, it was a boys’ club waiting for a revolution. So they decided to raise their glasses to toast an idea that eventually became Vixen Vodka. This award winning company is poised for national expansion and is the perfect marriage of a sexy flirty brand and the smoothest gluten-free vodka you’ll ever taste.
LeeAnn spent over 28 years in the financial industry and about as long in a marriage. Once both those chapters were over, she realized she wanted more out of life; to rediscover the woman she used to be and the one she wanted to become. Her varied experiences have contributed to an extremely detail-oriented work ethic along with a very savvy business acumen.
When LeeAnn sat down with a business consultant to review her initial business plan, he closed the document, told her how well written it was and then said, “You’ll never make it”. When asked why, he replied, “Because it’s the liquor industry, it’s all men, and they will eat you up and spit you out.” LeeAnn looked right back at him and said in her sweet Southern syrupy way, “Sugar, this could be a pair of pantyhose or a tube of lipstick, we’re creating a brand and we know what women want.” Intrigued? Learn how she took a brand from beach to shelf and disrupted a male dominated category along the way.
Courtney Smith / PNC Financial Services Group
Courtney I. Smith PNC Financial Services Group Vice President, Market Manager Community Development Banking, Greater Georgia Courtney I. Smith leads PNC’s community development efforts for the Greater Georgia market. In this role, Smith works with community organizations to develop programs and partnerships to support affordable housing, economic development and neighborhood revitalization. Smith joined PNC Financial in 2013. He brings many years of experience in creating community reinvestment opportunities, leading self-sufficiency programs, generating small business and micro-lending activities, and managing retail and commercial banking initiatives.
Prior to joining PNC, Smith served as vice president, community affairs with Regions Financial and as vice president, community development manager for SunTrust Bank. He is passionate about asset development initiatives and enjoys promoting financial literacy activities. Certified in the FDIC’s Money Smart curriculum, Smith regularly teaches financial literacy courses throughout the community. He is experienced in designing, implementing and monitoring Individual Development Account (IDA) Programs, including Youth and First-Time Homebuyers Programs. He previously managed a youth-based savings program with more than 1,100 participants and annual savings of over $65,000. Actively involved in the community, Smith currently serves on the board of directors for several local organizations including the United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Regional Community Investment and Community Engagement Committees (Chair); Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (Board Secretary); the Community Achievement Center; the KAPSI Foundation, and as Kappa Alpha Psi, Decatur Alumni Chapter, President.
Smith graduated from University of Tennessee in Knoxville, TN, with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. He received a master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of Memphis.