Maria is passionate about working collaboratively to build entrepreneurial communities. She heads the University of Missouri – Kansas City Innovation Center that supports thousands of community members every year in starting and growing businesses. Maria has developed a number of new resources for entrepreneurs in the Kansas City region including KCSourceLink, a network of 240+ resources in the region that help small businesses start and grow, Whiteboard2Boardroom, a program that connects research innovations to entrepreneurs, and Digital Sandbox KC, a proof of concept center. She leads efforts to make Kansas City America’s most entrepreneurial city.
The successful launch of SourceLink in Kansas City led Meyers and her team to take the network nationwide. From Seattle to San Juan, Maria has partnered with local economic development organizations to turn fragmented small business resources into cohesive and vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystems that attract startups, accelerate business growth and create jobs. She, along with co-author Kate Pope Hodel, has written about that experience in a new book, Beyond Collisions: How to Build your Entrepreneurial Infrastructure.
Meyers has held a position on the National Small Business Development Center Advisory Board to the U.S.SBA. She received Digital Equipment Corporation’s Circle of Excellence Award and the Westinghouse Signature Award of Excellence. She received Missouri Women’s Council Award of Distinction in 2013 from the Governor of the State of Missouri. KCSourceLink won the 2007 Excellence in Economic Development Award for Enhancing Regional Competitiveness from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration. She has been consistently ranked one of Kansas City’s 100 most powerful people by the Kansas City Business Journal and serves on the board of directors for MMC Corporation, a nationwide mechanical and construction company.
SBA Regional Administrator
Jeremy Field leads the economic development, small business initiatives and program operations for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Region X Office – also known as the SBA Pacific Northwest Region – which serves Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington state.
As SBA regional administrator and a political appointee, Field also supervises SBA district offices in the region and promotes the President’s and SBA Administrator’s policies, messages and priorities throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Prior to joining the SBA in January 2018, Field spent nine years in Pocatello, Idaho as the regional director and state grant coordinator for U.S. Senator James E. Risch (R-Idaho), the chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. The position allowed him to work with a congressional team, collaborate with local leaders on federal issues and evaluate policy impacts on Idahoans.
Prior to working for Senator Risch, Field was a staff assistant for former U.S. Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho) on the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging in Washington, D.C.
An Idaho native, Field has a master’s degree in public administration from Idaho State University, a juris doctor degree from University of Idaho, a bachelor’s degree in political science from Brigham Young University and an associate’s degree in mathematics and physical science from Brigham Young University-Idaho.
CEO, Women Conquer Business
Jen McFarland is the CEO of Women Conquer Business consulting and podcast. She ditched her comfy C-suite tech project management job in pursuit of freedom. Jen’s goal is to help business leaders like you vet ideas, take ownership of their projects, and incorporate digital marketing from day one.
President, Cropper Medical Inc.
Scott Shumway has spent his career developing the ability to see and detect things that limit throughput. Scott is a leader and teacher who enjoys helping others learn to see the unseen and then helping them create focus and order from those discoveries. His wide ranging manufacturing and leadership experiences have brought specific success to three different companies in the printing, real estate and orthopedic brace industries.
Scott uses, teaches and coaches the Theory of Constraints in order to get the most out of a business system. TOC along with his organizational skills help create focus and order in otherwise complex environments.
Scott is the president of Cropper Medical Inc., an orthopedic brace design and development and distribution company. He attended Brigham Young University and Utah Valley State College. Before Cropper Medical, He worked as a multi-family housing real estate developer in the Rogue Valley. Prior to that he worked at Suttle-Straus Printing Company in Waunakee Wisconsin where he held various positions including Vice President of production. That business grew from $3.2 million to $24 million in eleven years.
Scott enjoys baseball and backpacking. He and his wife Wendy have six children and live in Ashland, Oregon.
Klamath Falls, OR
Shari Fitzpatrick - Author & Entrepreneur
Berried in Chocolate
Shari Fitzpatrick is the creator of the world’s famous line of gourmet-dipped strawberries, the renowned Shari’s Berries. Shari’s love affair with strawberries began as a little girl in Klamath Falls, Oregon with a strawberry patch that her Father planted for her each summer. They quickly became her favorite fruit. Later while working as a mortgage broker in Los Angeles she began making potential clients handmade chocolate dipped strawberries. The incredible popularity of these memorable edible gifts soon outpaced the success of her original career.
In 1989, with a $1,500 cash advance, having just moved to a new town, Shari took her passion and hobby of chocolate dipping strawberries and turned it into a business.
An acclaimed inspirational speaker, and now author, Shari entertains audiences of all ages and backgrounds while sharing her down-to-earth, heartfelt business story. Appealing to anyone who has a dream, she’ll take your group on an emotional journey as she intertwines the successes in her life along with her mistakes. Shari’s new book, “Berried in Chocolate,” points out the importance of family, faith and fearlessness while revealing how God became her best business partner and that faith and street smarts can be just as useful as a college degree.
Today Shari’s new boutique brand of gourmet chocolate dipped gifts can be exclusively found at BerriedinChocolate.com and are shipped nationwide all year round.
For over 29 years, Shari’s story and her creations have attracted attention through appearances in O Magazine, In-Style Magazine, People Magazine, Chicken Soup for the Entrepreneurial Soul; on the Today Show, Food Network, The Apprentice, The Price is Right, Wheel of Fortune, QVC and HSN.
Executive Director, East Cascades Workforce Investment Board
Heather Ficht has over 15 years’ experience in workforce development ranging from the direct service in the field to working for local workforce boards. She has her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from University of Wisconsin Madison and her Master’s in Social Work from Portland State University. Heather has supported the start-up of several organizations as well as programs and has extensive experience with youth workforce programming and re-engagement strategies that launch young people on to careers.
Heather calls Bend, Oregon home where she lives with her husband and two daughters. Currently she is the Executive Director of the East Cascades Workforce Investment Board serving the ten (10) counties east of the Cascades Mountain range in Oregon.