Women’s Entrepreneurship Conference
Make Empowered Connections with Women Entrepreneurs
Women Entrepreneurs (WE) Mean Business brings together thought-leaders and change-makers to share their stories, strategies, and transformational wisdom with entrepreneurial women.
You’ll also make connections to resources, mentors, and opportunities.
Come join us and connect with these trailblazing ladies and learn how you can empower women entrepreneurs.
Sandia National Labs’ Diversity and Inclusion in InVentorship and EntrepReneurship Strategies and Engagement – Women (DIVERSE-W) provides women researcher with resources to enhance their innovative contributions and promote economic and social progress.
These meetings are designed to connect, activate, and empower women entrepreneurs looking to launch and grow their business. These meetups are part of Arrowhead Center’s WE Network, a spin-out of the WE Mean Business conference. WE Coffee Meetups will be held on the 4th Thursday of each month online via Zoom.
Welcome to the WE Network, an online community where women entrepreneurs can connect, share insights and resources, and support one another as we grow our businesses! The WE Network is a continuation of the annual WE Mean Business conference.
For more than 20 years, Alexis Kerschner Tappan has crafted compelling messaging for a variety of non-profit, for-profit, and public sector organizations. As a partner in the 2540 Group, Alexis’s love for public relations helps others tell their stories. Her prior roles include serving as the Vice President of Public Relations at Rick Johnson & Company Advertising and as Director of Marketing and Special Assistant to the President at Central New Mexico Community College. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications and a master’s degree in organizational learning. She has served on the boards of the UNM Alumni Association, Explora Science Museum, Albuquerque Economic Forum, and Paws & Stripes.
Amanda has 18 years of experience as a C-level finance professional in venture capital and venture backed startup companies. Ten of those years were spent as CFO of a venture capital fund, Verge Fund, which invested in seed stage, high growth, technology companies. She has been involved in the raise and management of six venture capital funds, and has a depth of experience in scaling organizations from their earliest stages through hyper-growth. Currently, Amanda serves as a General Partner of ReAlign Ventures, a venture capital fund that invests in early-stage companies in communities located outside of Silicon Valley, Boston and NYC. ReAlign believes that many of the greatest innovations of our time will come from overlooked people in overlooked places.
Andrea joined the New Mexico Start-Up Factory in 2018 as the Company Creation Specialist and currently serves as the Vice President of Operations for portfolios I, II and III. She works with entrepreneurs and scientists to help commercialize their innovations, create investable companies and secure funding. Andrea also works closely with research institutions to source new and promising technologies for development within the Start-Up Factory’s portfolio. With a background in marketing, employee development, leadership and operations, Andrea plays an important role in taking technologies from idea to industry within the organization’s business model.
Andrea is the former the Vice President of the New Mexico Angels, where she worked to source high growth investment opportunities, while performing due diligence and managing the investment portfolio after an equity deal had been made. Andrea worked closely with entrepreneurs and companies seeking angel funding and mentored them through business development, marketing and the pitch presentation process. In addition, Andrea is also the Chief Operations Officer for ORC Tech, LLC, the Chief Operations Officer for GPER G-1 Development Group, the Chief Operations Officer for MNT SmartSolutions the Project Manager for TNeuro Pharma and the Business Development Director for Osazda Energy.
Dana Catron serves as Deputy Director and SBIR Program Director for Arrowhead Center, where she is the Director of Arrowhead’s accelerator programs, SBIR assistance program, NM FAST, and provides support on strategic planning, operations, grants, written communication, and program development. She also serves as Arrowhead Center’s northern NM liaison, where she represents the organization at events and functions, serves on advisory councils, presents on programmatic initiatives, and performs outreach. Dana received her bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from Washington State University and a master’s and Ph.D. (in progress) in Rhetoric and Professional Communication from NMSU.
Edie Dillman is CEO and co-founder of B.PUBLIC Prefab. As co-founder of a decidedly disruptive woman-owned Benefit-Corp., she is committed to systems change and the rapid adoption of solutions through innovation and collaboration. B.PUBLIC is a Prefab company offering design and systems for NetZero-ready new housing creation. As a B-Corp her company is centered on critical climate resilience, equitable workforce pathways, and pioneering off-site construction. In her previous work at Innovate & Educate, she worked nationally on systematic problems in the education-to-workforce field. This work led her to address the shortages and challenges of refilling the Trades after 30 years of “selling” BAs rather than training skills. By launching B.PUBLIC she is taking action on jobs training and refilling the trades with support from the State of New Mexico’s JTIP program. B.PUBLIC’s training and manufacturing facility is in Las Vegas, New Mexico, and the showroom and design studio is in Santa Fe.
Genevieve Chavez Mitchell
Genevieve Chavez Mitchell is an author, a local activist, a global citizen, a conscious investor, and an artist. In January 2024 she will be releasing her second book, Sacred Money: The Power of Heart-Centered Finance. Genevieve’s background includes business and non-profit consulting, natural health care, and portfolio management. She and her husband manage their modest investment portfolio by investing in people and businesses that create a healthy, sustainable world. She is a proud mother and grandmother to her four sons and her four grandchildren. She co-authored the book Prayers to the Goddess: A Moon Cycle Devotion, with Anne Key.
Genevieve loves live music, being in nature, and her big, beautiful family. She’s an avid photographer and delights in hot mineral baths, good food, good friends, and good conversation. She is committed to a just, thriving, kind, regenerative Earth community. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with her husband Paul.
Dr. Griselda Martinez is a proud native of Parral, Chihuahua, Mexico, with over 20 years of history living in the U.S. She brings over two decades of expertise in economic development and transformational coaching. Earning her Doctorate in Economic Development from New Mexico State University, she is recognized as a Certified Economic Developer by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) and a Certified Transformational Coach and Speaker.
In 2021, she launched Ascendo Strategies, epitomizing her dedication to positive change. As its founder and CEO, Dr. Griselda’s vision hinges on three pillars: 1) as an economic developer, partnering with local governments and non-profits to champion inclusive economic and community growth; 2) as a coach and mentor, working with aspiring women entrepreneurs to build their confidence and competence to help them launch their businesses; and 3) hosting “un-Expectedly Successful,” a podcast spotlighting successful women business founders sharing, their wisdom that will provoke her listeners to take their next step. She also recently co-authored the book “The Transformative Power of a Name.”
Jace Downey is Siarza’s Marketing & Research Coordinator. Navigating the dynamic landscape of communications for over 16 years, she is an enthusiastic problem-solver with a human-centered approach focusing on building connections and fostering collaborative environments. Known for her knack in simplifying the complex, Jace transforms in-depth information into actionable strategies, earning her nods from clients who dig her holistic style. When she’s not decoding data, you’ll catch her co-hosting “Stories, Success & Stuff,” the podcast where unfiltered stories meet the raw exploration of business, marketing and personal growth as she and host Kristelle Siarza stumble their way to success. Beyond the 9-to-5, you’ll catch her tearing up the dance floor or hitting the great outdoors with her dynamic furry duo, Charlie and Indiana. Whether she’s unraveling marketing mysteries or sharing dance moves, Jace lives the belief that success doesn’t need a script.
Kristelle Siarza is a multi-faceted professional with a decade of experience in digital communications and leadership. In 2014, she founded Siarza, a digital PR and advertising firm known for its innovation and creativity, now boasting over 20 global team members. She has consulted for various industries, assisting clients in generating millions of impressions and earning accolades for her campaigns. As a proud Filipina, Kristelle established the Asian Business Collaborative to support underrepresented Asian business owners during the pandemic, aiding over 300 businesses. She’s actively involved in her community, serving on economic development task forces and numerous boards, and recently she joined The Change Agencies, focusing on inclusive and authentic communications. Kristelle was honored as one of NM’s ‘Forty Under 40,’ and received the “Women of Influence” award. In her leisure, she enjoys golf, kickball, and crewing for balloon pilots, alongside her fiancé Spencer and son Johnathan.
LaNysha Tufuga Adams, Ph.D. (@edlinguist) is a First-Generation Scholar, 6-time Award-Winning Author of Me Power, and Founder of Edlinguist Solutions, an education consultancy. With 20 years of experience in education at school, district, and state levels, she is on a mission to revolutionize how people learn by co-creating tools and resources they need to lead their OWN development. She has been featured in The Roland Martin Show, Reader’s Digest, Fox Business, Speech Technology Magazine, Washington Business Journal, and DC Radio, to name a few.
Since 2016, Dr. Adams has worked with over 150 clients, spanning individuals, schools, state education agencies, nonprofit organizations, and esteemed research foundations. Her client roster boasts names like the College Board, New Mexico State Legislature, National Science Foundation, Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, and the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Adams holds a Ph.D. in Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies from the University of New Mexico, an M.A. in Applied Linguistics from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a B.A. in Linguistics & Rhetoric from California State University, San Marcos.
Leisha Martin, B.S., M.S., PhD. Began in the field of neuroscience, with investigations into potential genetic causes of schizophrenia and schizophrenic traits; the effects of alcohol and fetal alcohol exposure on the brain; and pathological pain. Her work included novel drugs, novel nanoparticle-based gene therapies, and nanoparticle drug delivery vehicles. She has also worked on magnetic and semiconductor nanomaterials for aerospace engineering, radiation detection, clean energy, and other biomedical applications. She has over 15 years of experience working with animal models including preclinical drug and vaccine development for disease, radiation injury, biological and chemical weapons countermeasures, and toxicological studies. She is the co-inventor of investigational new drugs and contrast agents for medical imaging. She is also an entrepreneur, directly contributing to the formation of four startup companies over the past 7 years. She is also a grants, toxicology, and business consultant for other tech and medical startups. She is the CTO of MNT SmartSolutions, a biotech startup commercializing a magnetic nanoparticle system for oral care and the CEO of LEI NanoTech, a semiconductor and magnetic raw materials company. She was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army after serving 8 years combined on active duty as well as in the reserves.
Mary Monson has over 25 years of management experience at Sandia National Laboratories in technology partnerships, intellectual property (IP), commercialization, and business development. She is the Senior Manager and ORTA Program Director for all technology transfer and business development activities at Sandia. This $30 million program fosters partnerships with industry, academia, government, and other laboratories and is responsible for deploying Sandia‘s IP portfolio of 3000+ patents/copyrights. Previously, she was responsible for managing and licensing Sandia’s IP portfolio. She established the business development capability at Sandia, now over 100 staff and supports all Sandia mission portfolios. Mary serves on the executive board of the DOE Technology Transfer Working Group (TTWG) and served as chair of the National Laboratories Technology Transfer (NLTT) executives. In support of economic development in New Mexico, she also serves on the board of the state’s Technology Research Collaborative and the executive board of the New Mexico Biotechnology and Biomedical Association (NMBio). Prior to joining Sandia, Mary worked for a decade in high tech companies including Unisys Corporation, Texas Instruments, and Digital Equipment Corporation.
Micaela Brown is the Founder of AI Discovery Group, a startup focused on leveraging AI for startups and entrepreneurs, CEO of Blush & Whimsy, mentor/advisor at Arrowhead Technology Incubator, mentor/advisor at Dept of State’s Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative, consultant at a Homeland Security Technology Company, and Adjunct Professor at NMSU. She provides consulting in the private sector for AI, ecommerce, digital marketing/advertising, branding, events, and product development.
Monica Jojola serves as the President of Montech Inc. Established by Jojola in 2011, Montech is an award-winning, certified U.S. Small Business Administration 8(a), Woman Owned Small Business, and American Indian Corporation that offers professional and technical support services for federal and state clients and commercial customers. Under the leadership of Monica Jojola, Montech – a New Mexico Corporation has nation-wide Federal contracts and personnel in New Mexico; Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, South Dakota, Wisconsin; Ohio; and Oregon. Jojola has more than 20 years of successful executive experience in federal contracting opportunities, including organizing manpower and dedicating resources for multi-million competitive federal contracts. Jojola’s company has been recognized for six consecutive years as a “New Mexico Fastest Growing Company.” Jojola’s company received a “2021 Patriotic Employer Award” by the Office of the Secretary of Defense for employing U.S. Veterans and U.S. Reserve members (serving Air National Guard and Army National Guard). Jojola’s other experience includes briefing commanding officers in the southwest to Assistant Secretaries for Manpower and Reserve Affairs (M&RA) in the Pentagon, Washington, D.C. Ms. Jojola’s community service includes the Board of Trustees for The University of New Mexico Foundation; Team Kirtland Wingman; Board of Directors for WESST; and Board of Directors for the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of New Mexico. Jojola is a graduate from The University of New Mexico with a degree in Political Science and Communication & Journalism. In 2017, Jojola co-authored “Indigenous Women Entrepreneurs of New Mexico: Surpassing Barriers and Stereotypes.” Monica Jojola is a proud member from the Pueblo of Isleta, New Mexico.
Samantha Martinez is a highly esteemed crime prevention specialist with the Albuquerque Police Department. Armed with robust degrees in both Human Services and Sociology, she has built an impressive, influential career in crime prevention. Samantha is recognized for her specialist skillset, obtaining both international and national certifications in her field. Her most noteworthy achievement is her Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design designation. This certification underlines her dedication and expertise, as she employs strategic design and effective use of the environment to strengthen community safety and crime deterrence.
Beyond her service with the police department, Samantha is also an accomplished business owner. She masterfully balances her demanding work with the Albuquerque PD with the challenges and rewards of entrepreneurship, exemplifying the determination and leadership characteristics of successful business owners. Despite her numerous professional responsibilities, Samantha is grounded in family and crafts. She enjoys crafting activities and spending quality time with family, often blending both. Her hobbies showcase her creative side, reflecting her values of connection and community.
Native of Albuquerque, NM, Valeria brings a deep understanding of the local market and a passion for supporting New Mexico businesses thrive. As the proud daughter of immigrant parents, Valeria is committed to serving the bilingual community in Spanish- her native tongue. Prior to joining WESST as a Regional Manager and Program Director, Valeria worked for the banking industry for nearly a decade. As a commercial banker, she managed a diverse portfolio of clients. During this time, Valeria successfully supported many New Mexico businesses across various phases through lending and other banking solutions.
As part of Valeria’s commitment to her community, she proudly serves as Secretary on the Board of Directors for Special Olympics New Mexico. Valeria also serves on the Board of Directors for the Wheels Museum and is an active participant of the Hispano Philanthropic Society. Valeria has two children; Jimena and Julian, and a kitten named Daisy. As a proud mother to a child with Autism, she is passionate about breaking down barriers and raising awareness about Autism and other developmental disabilities. In her free time, she enjoys painting, going to museums, working out, volunteering, supporting local businesses and spending time with her friends and family.
Vanessa is an inclusive solutions-driven problem solver committed to liberating all peoples and delivering impactful mechanisms for social, environmental and economic change. She launched Roanhorse Consulting (RCLLC) in 2016, an Indigenous-led think tank. RCLLC co-designs wealth and power building efforts that directly invest in our leaders, support meaningful data collection informed by indigenous research approaches, and helps build thoughtful community-led projects that enforce values that put people at the center. Vanessa got her management chops working for 7 years at a Chicago-based nonprofit, the Delta Institute, focused throughout the Great Lakes region to build a resilient environment and economy through creative, sustainable, market-driven solutions. Vanessa oversaw many of Delta’s on-the-ground energy efficiency, green infrastructure, community engagement programs, and workforce development training.
Vanessa is a 2021 Paypal Maggie Lena Walker’s Emerging Leader Awardee and a 2020 Conscious Company Media’s World Changing Woman in Sustainable Business Awardee. She is a 2021 Purpose Fund Building fellow and a 2020 Boston Impact Initiative Fund-Building fellow. She is a founding member of the Zebras Unite Co-op, and an advisor to Angels of Impact Fund. She sits on the boards of Groundworks NM, Delta Institute, Zebras Unite and is an advisor to Decolonizing Wealth, Angels of Impact Fund, GenderSmart’s JEDI Working Group, and Social Venture Circle’s Restorative Investing Taskforce. She is one of 8 co-founders of Native Women Lead, an organization dedicated to growing Native women into positions of leadership and business. Vanessa is Diné (Navajo) citizen and resides on Tiwa Territory (Albuquerque, NM).
Sponsors and Partners
Get In Touch
NMSU is an equal opportunity institution. For disability accommodation, please contact Arrowhead Center, (575) 646-6120, email@example.com
Funded in part through an EDA Venture Challenge award through the Build to Scale program
Our sponsors make WE Mean Business Possible
Interested in becoming a sponsor? Get In Touch with the contact form above!