LOCATION 225 Dyer St., Providence, RI, 02903

DATE September 26, 2019

TIME 5:00 – 8:30 PM





Save the date for Venture Café Providence’s very first conference, SHE Connects, happening September 26, 2019.

SHE Connects recognizes female innovators and entrepreneurs in Rhode Island. This special event seeks to bring together the brightest minds who are building, funding, and innovating to solve the world’s toughest problems. Come for an evening of learning, networking, and empowerment!



4:00 – 5:00 PM  ::  Office Hours  (Innovation Lounge)

5:30 – 7:30 PM  ::  Small Business Spotlight: Barrett’s Garden  (Venture Café Lounge)

5:30 – 6:00 PM  ::  Keynote: Kim Anderson, Plant City and EverHope Capital (Matunuck)

6:15 – 6:45 PM  ::  How I Built This: Moving from the 9-5 to Entrepreneurship (Sachuest)

6:50 – 7:20 PM  ::  Creating Your Workplace Culture (Sachuest)

7:30 – 8:15 PM ::  Women in Science Panel with RI Bio (Matunuck)


Special Office Hours (4:00 - 5:00 PM)

Early stage ventures and prospective entrepreneurs have an opportunity to sign up for Office Hours during this event. Entrepreneurs may sign up for 30-minute consultations with a variety of experts. Appointments can be made on a first come, first served basis. Any cancellations will require 48-hour notification in order to accommodate entrepreneurs who have been placed on a wait-list. No-shows are frowned upon in the VenCaf community and we reserve the right to disallow future appointments for repeat offenders.

Fatiha Ainane

Faitha Ainane, Accion New England

Fatiha Ainane is the Lending Team Leader for Accion New England. She is passionate about microfinance and financial inclusion. Fatiha has worked closely with local organizations providing small loans to women back home in Morocco. In her prior role, Fatiha worked as a Senior Loan Consultant for Accion`s Internet Lending team, successfully managing a lending portfolio for over 15 states. She also established and developed successful relationships with out of state partners such as Banks, SBA, and SCORE. Fatiha is fluent in Arabic, French, and English, and is working on learning Spanish Now. She is a Northeastern graduate, holding a Master’s degree in International Relations and Diplomacy.






Ann Clanton, Ann Clanton Communications

Ann-Allison Clanton was born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island.Ann has more than two decades of Marketing, Communications, Programming and Event Planning experience within the non-profit, government and small business development arena. Ann provides marketing and social media strategy and business development services for a variety of clients. In addition to strategic business development efforts, she directs media relations, branding, social media content and website development. Having worked with established political organizations, Foundations and persons from the world of government and Broadcast Media, Ann manages political campaigns and oversees sponsorships, events, charitable contributions, marketing training and more







Odessa Cozzolino, My Body Gallery

Odessa applies her business acumen to help clients identify and capture strategic opportunities and efficiencies. Her experiences in traditional and digital media give her a fresh perspective. 10 years ago she founded My Body Gallery, application aiming to improve body positivity and women’s health, that now brings 3-4M unique visitors per month. She designs holistic people, process, and technology solutions and advises individuals and startups on product strategy, revenue generation, and operations.








Scott Asadorian, Endurance Strategy and URI

Scott Asadorian is passionate about helping leaders, entrepreneurs, and students learn the skills necessary to grow their businesses and careers. He has spent over 25 years running a complex life sciences company and has developed a deep understanding and appreciation for what makes great strategy, how to be a servant leader, the various ways of communicating complex information, and the importance of developing deep and lasting relationships.







Daniel Gertrudes, Growthlab Strategic & Financial Business Services

Dan is a visionary and a blue-sky-thinker. He consistently motivates stellar teams to identify in innovative ways to deliver great results. Look for him anywhere there is a white board–he’ll be there helping companies understand the dynamics of their business or laying out the story to pitch to investors. Nothing gets Dan more jazzed than helping businesses grow.





Keynote: Kim Anderson, Plant City and EverHope Capital (5:30 - 6:00 PM)

Local entrepreneur Kim Anderson will kick off our SheConnects Conference with a presentation highlighting her entrepreneurship journey as a successful business leader for more than 35 years notably as co-founder of Ava Anderson Non Toxic, founder of EverHope Capital, and the recent opening of her family restaurant, Plant City. Kim has been awarded “Entrepreneur of the Year” by the SBA and “Citizen of the Year” by the RI Chamber of Commerce and is currently a board member of Social Enterprise Greenhouse in Providence RI, personally mentoring dozens of socially responsible entrepreneurs.

How I Built This: Moving from the 9-5 to Entrepreneurship (6:15 - 6:45 PM)

For this session, we’re bringing together a panel of entrepreneurs for a conversation on the opportunities and challenges that female entrepreneurs face. The local #FemaleFounders on this panel will reflect on their journey, from idea to implementation, discussing funding, finding customers and partners, bringing a product to market, building a team and more. This year’s panelists will share their insights and perspectives from healthcare to the beauty industry.

Idania Abreu, Adora's Dream

Idania Abreu, Adora’s Dream


Born in New York, Idania Abreu has always been passionate about what she does as an artist. She has inspired and beautified women for more than ten years with her innate creativity, keen sense of new tendencies and her abilities to brings out a woman’s inner beauty of every age and walk of life and guiding them on how to connect with it. She was only 14 years old when she discovered her artistry side through photography;“It was love at first sight”. Since then, she never thought of being anything else but an artist. Idania is a born a dreamer and is in love with life and all the endless possibilities. She has acquired and arsenal of skills and knowledge in the beauty industry, taking what she has learned and applying it to her craft. She has booked jobs working in directing; photo shoots, fashion shows, videos, educational courses etc.“More than just makeup its the human connection that inspires me”. As a Senior Makeup artist, with her rich Latino influence and the ability to find beauty where no one is looking, she has empowering women by making their dreams come true and to naturally radiate confidence and a beauty that comes from within.



Roberta Powell, Q2Q Health

During her treatment for breast cancer 14 years ago, Roberta Powell was confronted with the difficulty of understanding health information,(health literacy). Comprehending medical terminology, understanding the nuances of her treatment plan and grasping the significance of the lab values was overwhelming. Consequently, after completing her cancer treatment at 45 years old, Roberta returned to school to become a nurse educator. Based on Roberta’s 10 years of nursing experience, she created a tool that would make healthcare less complicated and empower individuals to engage develop self-agency and advocate for themselves.



Creating Your Workplace Culture (6:50 - 7:20 PM)

Creating a workplace culture that thrives is no easy feat. Ensuring that your company reflects your values and style takes work and determination. In this roundtable, hear from two entrepreneurs who have built a workplace culture and management style that meets the needs of their small business as well as reflects their values. Then share your own experience in this interactive session led by Becca and Tiff of Hometown Poké.

Becca and Tiff, Hometown Poké


Becca and Tiffany, the co-founders of Hometown Poké met while working a boring corporate gig and bonded very quickly. While traveling together and eating their way around the world, decided to trade it for the 24/7 by opening a food cart, launching Hometown Poké in 2017. Join them as they discuss their mission to provide fresh, flavorful, accessible food for all, and do so by making their customers, staff, and neighborhood feel like family.



Women in Science Panel with RI Bio (7:30 - 8:15 PM)

Hear from leaders in the scientific community about the challenges and benefits of starting a scientific startup in Rhode Island. Moderated by Carol Malysz of RI Bio, this panel will explore medtech, genomics, engineering, manufacturing, and more. Panelists include: Dr. Patrice Milo, co-founder of Medley Genomics; Dr. Pam Berkeley, founder of RE Shoes, LLC; and Laura Iorio, Chairwoman, Tedor Pharma.

Carol Malysz, Executive Director RI Bio

As Executive Director of RI Bio, Carol’s mission is to grow the life sciences economy in Rhode Island and southern New England. She does this by forging strong and impactful relationships with life sciences companies, entrepreneurs, sources of capital, academic and medical centers, hospitals and government organizations. She works with the Board of Directors to advance RI Bio’s vision of ensuring a high-value life sciences and healthcare community that improves patients’ lives, strengthens the economy and enhances the quality of life in the greater Rhode Island region.  Carol brings more than 25 years of economic development, entrepreneurship, management and marketing experience to RI Bio. Most recently, Carol worked with firms across all industries in greater New England to provide executive coaching, leadership and talent development and workplace analytics consulting for startups to Fortune 500 companies.

RI Bio’s mission is to grow the life sciences economy in Rhode Island and southeastern New England. We connect entrepreneurs with universities, government agencies, medical centers, professional associations, trade organizations, service providers and investors, to help bring their developments to market, create jobs and make an economic impact in RI. RI Bio works to ensure a high-value life sciences and healthcare community that improves patients’ lives, strengthens our economy and enhances the quality of life in our state.


Patrice Milos, PhD – Co-Founder, President and CEO Medley Genomics

Dr. Milos co-founded Medley Genomics to deliver novel data analytics for understanding the heterogeneity of complex diseases with an initial focus in oncology. Immediately prior, Patrice was CEO of Claritas Genomics, a pediatric molecular diagnostic company spin-out from Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr. Milos was Boston Site Head for Pfizer’s Centers of Therapeutic Innovation, establishing academic-medical center partnerships to advance novel therapies to treat human disease. She was also SVP/CSO for Helicos BioSciences in Cambridge, MA, and Executive Director for Pfizer Inc, responsible for leading genomics supporting the Pfizer portfolio in precision medicine. Currently, Dr. Milos chairs the Board of Directors for RI Bio, recently served on the European Commission funded ULTRAPLACAD External Advisory Board and is Senior Advisor to Binx Health and SeqLL. Patrice earned her MS/PhD at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with postdoctoral fellowships at Brown and Harvard.

Medley Genomics provides novel data analytics to understand genomic heterogeneity of complex diseases, providing hope of lasting cures for patients.



Dr. Pam Berkeley, Owner RE Shoes, LLC

Dr. Pam Berkeley is an alumna of UMass Dartmouth in Mechanical Engineering. She went on to receive her M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, where she spent the entire time assuring people that her last name was real. Before starting RE Shoes, she spent several years as an assistant professor at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Dr. Berkeley’s research history demonstrates the breadth of what mechanical engineering allows you to investigate: her research includes a master’s thesis in nanoscale boiling phenomenon, a doctoral dissertation on the influence of energy modelers on building energy simulation results, a conference paper on multiphase heat transfer in an expanding porous medium (i.e. a heat transfer analysis of cakes during baking), and the development and use of conceptual toys and games for engineering education. She currently holds an NSF Small Business Innovation Research (Phase I) grant for her company, RE Shoes.

The human foot is a wonder of evolutionary engineering, but the shoes we put on our feet are produced with little respect for the mechanical features and functions of the foot. This dynamic disconnect between feet and footwear inevitably results in damage to both. RE Shoes was created out of a desire to improve on the design and manufacture of mass-produced footwear, in part by developing methods of mass-customizing shoes.


Laura Iorio, Chairwoman, Tedor Pharma

Laura Iorio is Chairwoman of Cumberland, RI-based TEDOR Pharma Inc, a specialized CDMO providing development and manufacturing services for oral solid dose products, including DEA-scheduled products, for life science customers. Since 2009, Iorio has led TEDOR’s initiatives in business development, change management, financing, shareholder relations, and other key strategic areas.  Additionally, she is the founder of COFFE UNlimited, a nonprofit that creates, fosters and supports networking and career building opportunities for mid- and late-career women in STEM fields.  She is also a trained visual artist with a Master in Fine Arts (MFA) from Boston University and a mother of two lovely children.







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