SHE HUSTLES Featured Speakers
MEET THE SHE HUSTLES EMCEE
Executive Director of The Creative Coast & Vice President of Innovation & Entrepreneurship at the Savannah Economic Development Authority
Jennifer Bonnett is a recovering entrepreneur turned entrepreneurial ecosystem builder focused on helping entrepreneurs launch, grow and scale technology businesses in the Savannah, Georgia region.
Jennifer serves technology entrepreneurs through her role as Director of the Creative Coast and Vice President of Innovation/Entrepreneurship for the Savannah Economic Development Agency (SEDA).
Prior to these roles, Jennifer was Director/General Manager of the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), Georgia's Technology Incubator, a “top twelve incubators changing the world” according to Forbes Magazine. While at ATDC, Jennifer spearheaded the development of a recurring year round curriculum, statewide expansion, the “Accelerate” program and growing the number of physical incubatees from 19 to 90 companies.
Jennifer has a passion for female technology entrepreneurs and is the founder of StartupChicks, a non-profit membership organization. StartupChicks is focused on connecting, educating and inspiring women and girls to become STEM focused entrepreneurs.
Jennifer is a former technology entrepreneur with over 25 years experience in Information Technology and Software Development specializing in web and mobile technologies. Jennifer has held numerous CEO/CTO positions in bootstrapped, angel and venture-backed technology startups.
WORDS FROM OUR SPONSOR
The June 10th SHE HUSTLES will be sponsored by Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs' (ACE) Women Business Center (WBC) in Savannah.
The mission for the ACE Women’s Business Center is to empower women, minorities, and low-to-moderate income entrepreneurs through financial education and training. The ACE Women’s Business Center understands the needs of small businesses, both start-ups and existing businesses. We know the challenges small businesses face, and we have the knowledge and experience to provide the training and support small business owners need to be successful. Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, our office is conveniently located in Savannah State University – Graduate School, a historically black university (HBCU) located in downtown Savannah. The ACE Women’s Business Center (WBC) provides a full range of services for women entrepreneurs at all stages of planning, implementation, and growth.
Learn more at https://aceloans.org/wbc-savannah/
Director of Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs, Women’s Business Center in the Savannah
Nita Penn is the Director of Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs, Women’s Business Center in the Savannah Region. Nita conducts Strategy & Management Consulting as a Researcher, Facilitator, and Advocate. She has a background in Military Intelligence & Human Resources, a good eye for Creative Direction, and professional training in User Experience Design. She thrives in environments that allow her to balance her passion for Human-Centered Design and Human Capital Management. In this way, she helps individuals and organizations ethically manage their evolving brand and business needs.
She is passionate about facilitating conversations around the ever-changing sociopolitical climate and strategizing opportunities for individuals & organizations to be more authentic, personable, efficient, and effective. She has over 10 years of experience strategizing creative & innovative organizational development experiences for clients as small as a one-person team to a 600-soldier battalion of the United States Army National Guard. She has helped photographers show their work in international exhibitions, voice-over actors land deals with national brands, muralists display their artwork in the heart of their hometown, and textile designers sell their products in West Elm. She additionally consults in the areas of lifestyle & creative services, career and professional development, nonprofit and; small business organizational development, talent acquisition, team building, and executive administration.
The SHE HUSTLES Keynote Speaker has an inspiring story and wisdom to share with fellow HUSTLERS. You won't want to miss this year's keynote.
Kathy S. Love, Ed.D.
President of Savannah Technical College
Dr. Kathy Love was appointed president of Savannah Technical College in January of 2009. Since her arrival, Dr. Love has led the College through a period of rapid growth and change. The College has experienced increased credit enrollment, enhanced and expanded its academic programs, as well as strengthened its ties with area business and industry. Non-credit programs for adult education, English as a Second Language and Economic Development/Continuing Education programs have also flourished over the past decade. In 2013, Savannah Technical College was named the Technical College of the Year for the State of Georgia and a top-four finalist in 2014. With a renewed emphasis on student outcomes, Savannah Technical College’s graduate in-field placement rate is in excess of 93%.
Dr. Love served as the president of Flint River Technical College in Thomaston, GA from 2001 until her appointment to Savannah Technical College. She was the vice president of instructional and student services at Middle Georgia Technical College in Warner Robins from 1994 to 2001 and vice president of administrative services at South Georgia Technical College in Americus from 1990 to 1994. She began her career in technical education in 1984 as an adjunct instructor of Computer Information Systems at South Georgia Tech later becoming a full-time faculty member and Chairperson of the Computer Information Systems department. Dr. Love has also served as the interim president of Central Georgia Technical College in Macon.
A native of Macon, GA, Dr. Love holds a Doctor of Education from Northcentral University. She earned her Education Specialist degree in Educational Leadership from Columbus State University in 1994. She also holds a Master of Science in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, both from Georgia Southwestern State University.
Dr. Love and her husband, Ray Hollingsworth, have four children, one grandson, and two very spoiled Dachshunds named Lola and Buddy.
The panel discussion features Savannah's women entrepreneurs and leaders who have served exemplary and extraordinarily in the community. They'll share their advice on leading, overcoming challenges, and what it truly takes to be a HUSTLER!
Elbi Elm - Panel Moderator
Founder & Owner of The Culturist Union
A proud alumna of Howard University and the Savannah College of Art and Design, and a dedicated Eastern Star of PHA-OES, Elbi Elm is passionate about managing creative spaces, using self-expression as a change agent, and community-building. Elbi founded The Culturist Union to equip creators with the support, awareness, and confidence to improve their craft and their community.
She brings over 15 years of leadership to the table, including nine years in the U.S. Air Force. She’s served as the diversity marketing advisor and board member for several nonprofits, and publicly speaks on diversity, equity, and inclusion. DEI work also rooted her fellowship with the Minneapolis Children’s Theater Company. Completing the Georgia Women’s Policy Institute fellowship positioned her as a strong advocate for creating positive policy change for women and girls. Elbi won best pitch of Savannah SCORE’s 2019 BizPitch competition, was selected for the American Express “100 for 100” program, and has been featured in several local and national publications.
Learn more at TheCulturistUnion.com.
Founder & Executive Director of Shelter From the Rain
Jennifer Graham loves to give hope to others through acts of kindness. She has learned firsthand what it means to be a single, teen mother and depend on the help of others to reach her goals in life. With the vision to enhance the lives of single mothers and their children, she founded Shelter From the Rain (SFTR) in 2010. SFTR is a 501c3 non-profit, which helps Savannah's single mothers through education, mentorship, personal & professional development, home ownership, health and wellness. She has been honored for her acts of community service and professionalism by organizations including Zonta International, United Way and Step Up Savannah. She also served as the Secretary on the Board of Directors for The Living Vine Christian Maternity Home from January 2014-January 2019, helping women with crisis pregnancies also located in Savannah, Georgia. Currently, she sits on the Advisory Boards of Molly's Bridge for single mothers and iVolunteer International. It gives her joy to use her life, skills and experiences to enhance the lives of others. Jen has a BFA in Graphic Design from Savannah College of Art and Design and a MBA in Marketing from Saint Leo University. Beyond her drive for helping others, she also has a passion for brand development. She works as a Communications & Development Manager for Savannah CASA helping children in foster care as well as a Creative Marketing Director for FreshWorks Media, her virtual design company, assisting businesses and institutions with their brand identity.
Founder & Co-owner of scDataCom
Alaina Meyer is the founder and co-owner of scDataCom - a Security Integration company headquartered in Savannah that designs, installs and maintains security and communication solutions for Savannah area commercial clients as well as State/Local and Federal Agencies in order to help protect their people, data and property from both internal and external threats. scDataCom has been delivering security integration solutions since 2013 and their client list includes customers such as the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Georgia Ports Authority and many other medium to enterprise organizations. scDataCom is nationally recognized as an industry leader and, as a result of Alaina's leadership and strategic vision, has realized impressive year over year growth in both revenue and profitability.
Founder at ElonWick Candle Co.
Since 2016, 29 year-old Elondia Harden has been making the world brighter through her candle company, ElonWick Candle Co. Harden started the business after having a dream that directed her towards candle making. What began as a literal dream has quickly grown into a national example of what happens with Black Women are determined to create and succeed.
Elondia hails from the small town of Guyton, Georgia; a tightly knit community that sits just miles north of Savannah. She credits her understanding of family and community involvement to her upbringing in Guyton with her loving family. Undergirded with history, responsibility, and awareness of self, Harden has woven her personal values into the culture of ElonWick Candle Co.
ElonWick is best known for its’ simple and eye catching packaging, and the creative names of its’ candles such as Savannah Shuga, Protect Black Women, and Protect Black Men. In the brief time since being founded, ElonWick has been featured in Savannah Magazine, Black Southern Belle Magazine, The Kitchn, and Beauty Independent. The company also partnered with The Home Depot for that corporation’s Black History Month PR Box.
Outside of her work, this self-described “bad mamma jamma” raises her loving son Nolan, supports other Entrepreneurs through mentorship, and anchors her community as a leader in business.