LinkedIn’s Head of Marketing once referred to Lindsey as a “Legend in the Realm of Social Selling” and someone who “knows how to sell.” That was before her life fell apart in 2016.
Lindsey started her career in sales in 2010 and quickly rose to the top crushing her quota and making President’s Club her first year in sales. Receiving the highest Social Selling Index (SSI) score for LinkedIn in 2015, Lindsey was recognized for her unique and effective outreach for prospecting and was even a featured keynote with Shaquille O’Neal at LinkedIn’s annual conference. Lindsey’s sales experience became vast and ultimately ended up in sales leadership. In 2016, Lindsey started her own sales consulting business and traveled all over the world speaking at conferences, sales kickoffs, and consulted with various companies. Her most noteworthy keynote that year was being featured with Gary Vaynerchuk.
It appeared she had it all: the perfect family, the house, the car, and the career. Then in 2016 but her whole world came crashing down when her sister unexpectedly died from a brain aneurysm. The events shortly after led her to a suicidal path that led her to a mental hospital.
The series of events after her hospital stay would change the course of her life. Lindsey talks about her mental health diagnosis and educates on the stigma of mental health.
Jesse is a self-taught software developer and became a full-time entrepreneur at age 23. Shortly after the dotcom crash, he took over a small pharmaceutical market research company called Rapidata.net and also co-founded a web development firm called novelProjects. After a successful acquisition of Rapidata by Greenfield Online in early 2004, he decided to focus on the SaaS (software-as-a-service) space and built ShareFile in late 2005. ShareFile is a file-transfer service built for business users who need secure, reliable and easy tools for sharing data. He launched ShareFile in late 2005 and bootstrapped the company from zero to four million users in six years. ShareFile was acquired by Citrix in 2011 and today has over $200M in revenue and several hundred employees. He served in a variety of roles at Citrix for the next 5 years, including serving on the executive leadership team as Corporate VP of Cloud Services.
Jesse co-founded HQ, a co-working community primarily based in Raleigh with over 200 member companies and 50,000 sq ft under management. Most recently, Jesse started a software company called Real Magic. Real Magic recently launched Levitate, which helps small businesses grow and manage their professional relationships to help drive more referral and word of mouth business. He holds a degree in philosophy from Duke University and serves on the Board of Directors of Yext (NYSE: YEXT).
Leigh-Kathryn Bonner is the 25-year old founder and CEO of Bee Downtown. As a fourth generation beekeeper, Leigh-Kathryn and her “buzzing” startup are setting the standard for corporate sustainability and employee engagement by installing and maintaining beehives on the campuses of many of the United State’s largest companies.
As a North Carolina native, she recently expanded her business to Atlanta where she is now working directly with the CEOs and senior leaders at Delta, AT&T, Chick-fil-A, Georgia Power, Invesco, and more to bring awareness to bee sustainability and the “hive mindset.”
In just three short years, her innovative approach to sustainability and introducing agriculture back into cities has won the young entrepreneur the distinction of 2018 INC Magazine-30 Under 30 Rising Star, 2017 Southern Living-Southerner of the Year, and Bitter Southerner-Queen Bee.
Dan is a lifelong, reflective learner and strategic thinker with an ongoing track record of innovative,
adaptive leadership in education and business management. Dan is skilled in student development,
educational leadership, marketing strategy, and developing individuals’ non-technical skills for career
readiness. This is Dan’s fifteenth year as a Business/Marketing Educator, his fourth at Apex Friendship.
Prior to becoming an educator, Dan had a distinguished twelve-year marketing management career with
IBM, Stroh Brewery and General Motors. Dan is a Marketing Scholar and Cum Laude graduate of The
University of South Carolina. Dan earned an MBA from Indiana University and a secondary-teaching
certificate from Wayne State University.
Dan resides in Cary, NC with his wife of 27 years and their two sons, Ayden and Devon (USC bound).
Amber Smith is the founder and Executive Director of Activate Good, a nonprofit with a mission to inspire locals to volunteer for causes around the Triangle. Amber launched Activate Good in 2005 following a two and a half month road trip around the country during which she and her best friend volunteered in over 20 states. Today, Activate Good has facilitated almost 50,000 volunteer connections to hundreds of nonprofits and empowers youth to become leaders and volunteers. When she’s not trying to change the world, Amber loves to sing broadway and show tunes with her mom, write, paint, and play with her new puppy, Kira!
Patrick Shanahan was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina and holds degrees in Film from NC State and in Filmmaking from the New York Film Academy in NYC. Beginning his career as a painter, Shanahan transitioned over a decade into motion picture full time. His latest film, The Fox Hunter, will be released later this year and he is currently writing the script, “Clear Lake” about Buddy Holly and his final tours in the late 1950s. Shanahan has adamantly stated that his life’s goal is to bring back film to North Carolina and create a sustainable model for future generations of filmmakers to live and work in his home state. Patrick is a writer and Director for Denim Buffalo Films and Prix Productions, both headquartered in Raleigh.
Michael Capps, co-founder and CEO of responsible AI company Diveplane, is a well-known game designer, research professor, industry advocate and technology executive. Diveplane, a Raleigh, North Carolina-based company focused on keeping the humanity in artificial intelligence (AI) through understandable AI. Prior to co-founding Diveplane, Michael served as President of Epic Games, the makers of blockbusters Gears of War and Fortnite franchises and the award-winning Unreal Engine. Michael has had stints as lead game designer and writer, a comic author, and currently is featured as a technology expert and futurist in Discovery and Science Channel series NASA's Unexplained Files, What on Earth, and Combat Countdown.
Michael has actively served on the boards of dozens of companies, industry groups, non-profits, and professional organizations, including current roles with Sphero robotics, Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences, Immersive Technology Alliance (ITA), the Open Metaverse Federation and the Near Future Society. A departmental honoree in mathematics and creative writing, Michael graduated summa cum laude from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He holds master’s degrees in computer science and electrical engineering from UNC-Chapel Hill and MIT, and a doctorate in computer science from the Naval Postgraduate School, where he served on the research faculty with a focus on networked virtual reality and simulations.
Monique Johnson is steadily dedicated to a life of advocacy and inspiring individuals from all walks of life. Curating that passion for others and overcoming her own obstacles, Johnson used her desire to effect change and began a movement that would lead to a new world of groundbreaking success. Since cofounding Made 2 Soar, LLC, Johnson has been featured on many news platforms including FOX, CBS Evening News with Katie Couric and was invited under the Obama administration to the White House to help unite women from across the globe as well as other events supporting education, diversity initiatives in corporate entities and athletics.