Women Entrepreneurs Impress At Big Omaha Tech Conference

In addition to my duties at Lipstick and Politics I occasionally write for Silicon Prairie News (SPN), the organizers of   the Big Omaha tech conference. This year there was an excellent lineup of speakers at Big Omaha including Twitter co-founder Evan Williams (a native Nebraskan). I was particularly impressed with the effort to book women speakers.   SPN co-founder, Dusty Davidson recently wrote that the organization makes a conscious effort to find a diverse group of speakers - especially women.

I had the privilege of covering two, dynamic women entrepreneurs at Big Omaha.Ingrid, photo by Silicon Prairie News

Ingrid, photo by Silicon Prairie News

Ingrid Sanders

Sanders is the Founder and CEO of Popexpert, an e-learning company that she was inspired to create after taking a six month sabbatical.   She told us the unlikely story behind her company’s founding. On a personal level I had a few major take-aways from her talk:

1) Even if I can’t afford a six-month sabbatical, it’s important to retreat.   Rest and reflection are important for creativity. While taking time off Sanders recommends that you not think about what’s next and simply focus on the moment.

2) Follow your passion. Build a mission-based business that you’re passionate about. You’ll be more likely to attract talent that is as interested and emotionally invested in your business as you are. It’s also easier to put in the time necessary to be successful.

3) Learn something new. Popexpert is focused on learning. Almost everyone has at least one thing they’ve always wanted to learn.   For me, it’s a foreign language and I feel more inspired to go for it.

You can read my recap of Ingrid Sanders’ presentation here.  

Ellen Gustafson

She is not yet 35 and Ellen Gustafson has already founded multiple social enterprises. Among them are FEED Projects, LLC and Food Tank: A food think-tank. She is focused on improving food systems around the world and changing way we eat.

Gustafson was the final speaker of the conference and delivered a wake-up call. It is clear that she is very familiar with the Midwest and with agriculture. It's   also clear that she spoke at Big Omaha, at least in part,   because she believes that technology innovations around food systems are most likely to come out of the Midwest.

Gustafson was such an incredible speaker that she inspired comments like, “I think I just saw the second woman president!”

Watch her speech. I simply can’t do it justice!