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Student Life
October 28, 2014

Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership Forum

Former WNBA President Donna Orender Highlights Center for Entrepreneurship Event

The St. Francis College Center for Entrepreneurship welcomed former WNBA President Donna Orender as the Keynote Speaker for the first Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Forum on October 28.

Watch the Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Forum

In addition to the Keynote, guests also were able to ask questions of a panel of successful women entrepreneurs moderated by Ita Ekpoudom, Founder & CEO, Tigress Ventures, LLC. Panelists include: Elizabeth Crowell, Founding Member & Market Lead, Astia Angels NYC; Bettina Eckerle, Founder, Eckerle Law; Deepa Gandhi, Co-Founder & COO, Dagne Dover; Jocelynne Rainey, Chief Administrative Officer, Brooklyn Navy Yard; and Maja Vujinovic, Founder, Orpheus Investments.

The Center for Entrepreneurship strives to stimulate entrepreneurial initiatives, facilitate value creation, and sustain entrepreneurial activities through research, education, and strategic collaborations with business partners and entrepreneurs.

Donna Orender, CEO, Orender Unlimited

Donna Orender is the CEO of Orender Unlimited, a Jacksonville based consulting and advisory firm. Donna utilizes her expansive experience in guiding both established and new companies in leveraging successful growth and brand strategies across a myriad of industries with a focus on digital, entertainment, sports and diversity. She also works with the private equity community in identifying new opportunities. Prior to Orender Unlimited, Donna served 6 years as the President of the WNBA. During her term the league solidified its base and grew double digits in all key business metrics. With her focus on revitalizing the brand, its value and relevance, the league experienced 5 years of consecutive attendance growth, after 8 years of decline.

She serves on the board of the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), the V Foundation for Cancer Research, Maccabi USA, and contributes to the boards of the Monique Burr Foundation for Children, the DeVos Sport Business Management Graduate Program at UCF, UNF Brooks School of Health, and Co-Chairs the UJA Sports for Youth Initiative. Orender is a founding member of the board of W.O.M.E.N, a mentoring organization for young women capable of reaching the C-suite. She has also been a Global Ambassador for Vital Voices, most recently traveling to India to help mentor young women entrepreneurs.

Elizabeth Crowell, Founding Member & Market Lead at Astia Angels NYC
Elizabeth is a Brooklyn business owner and angel investor, with more than twenty years of experience building businesses, organizations and boards. She is the Founding East Coast Market Lead for Astia Angels, an angel investor group that invests in high growth, high potential women-led ventures. Crowell also co-founded and is co-owner of Sterling Place, a multichannel retail company that sells eclectic antiques, fine home decor and specialty gifts. Crowell is also co-founder of the Atlantic Avenue BID, a non-profit that advocates and promotes the businesses of downtown Atlantic Avenue.

Bettina Eckerle, Founder, Eckerle Law
Bettina Eckerle is the founder of Eckerle Law, a corporate law firm started to help companies in every stage of their life cycle; from formation and financing, to sale and IPO. With two decades of experience, Ms. Eckerle has served as General Counsel of DigitalGlobe, Inc and worked at Debevoise & Plimpton before going to Wachtell, Lipton Rosen & Katz. She has developed master plans to protect assets and has worked with aspects of financing including crowd funding, angel investors, venture capital, and private equity. Ms. Eckerle came to the United States almost 20 years ago after becoming a lawyer in Germany.

Ita Ekpoudom, Founder & CEO, Tigress Ventures, LLC
Ita Ekpoudom is Chair of the Women Entrepreneur Council at St. Francis College Center for Entrepreneurship and the Founder & CEO of Tigress Ventures, LLC, an advisory and consulting firm with a mission to engage, educate, and elevate the next generation of successful female business leaders and investors. Previously, Ita held product management roles at TravelClick and American Express. Ita began her career at Goldman Sachs as an Analyst in Credit Capital Markets and a Trader of Preferred Stock.

Deepa Gandhi, Co-Founder, COO, Dagne Dover
Deepa Gandhi is the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Dagne Dover. She transitioned from Lehman Brothers to Club Monaco where she honed knowledge of merchandising, planning, and managing a retail supply chain. She brought that experience to Dagne Dover, a retail store that combines the functionality of Tumi with the design and craftsmanship of luxury brands like Prada. She was responsible for the brand’s launch in June 2013 and manages day-to-day operations including product development and merchandising, supply chain management, customer experience, fundraising and investor relations, budgeting and inventory management, sourcing and production, website development, and event planning.

Jocelynne Rainey, Chief Administrative Officer, Brooklyn Navy Yard Corporation
Jocelynne Rainey is the Chief Administrative Officer for the Brooklyn Navy Yard Corporation (BNYDC), which manages and develops the Brooklyn Navy Yard urban industrial park. Jocelynne has 15 years of experience in for-profit and non-profit human resources. Jocelynne began her career in 1992 with the health care agency Independent Living Association as the Director of Training and Development. She then became Regional Human Resources Representative with industry giant Boar’s Head Provisions. Prior to her most current position she was the Human Resources Director for Specialty Food Retailer Agata & Valentina.

Maja Vujinovic, Founder, Orpheus Investments
Maja Vujinovic has more than 12 years of transactional, corporate, entrepreneurial and government institution experience, where she was instrumental in the development of energy, infrastructure, health, technology and consumer goods projects. She helps fundraise for charitable organizations and serves as a mentor, tutor and motivational speaker for various non-profits, schools and public institutions.

St. Francis College, founded in 1859 by the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, is located in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. Since its founding, the College has pursued its Franciscan mission to provide an affordable, high-quality education to students from New York City’s five boroughs and beyond.


St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn Heights, NY 11201

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