Courtney Klein is the Co-Founder and CEO of SEED SPOT, an organization designed to educate, accelerate, and invest in entrepreneurs who are creating solutions to social problems. SEED SPOT ranks as one of the “Top 20 Accelerators in the World” by Gust and “Top 3 social impact incubators in the United States” by UBI Global and Cisco. SEED SPOT also holds an Emmy for their partnership with Univision serving Latino entrepreneurs.
Forbes, USA Today, Huffington Post and others have profiled Courtney for her work and over 400 media stories have been written about SEED SPOT to-date. SEED SPOT has operations in Phoenix, AZ and Washington, D.C. with plans to expand globally in the years ahead.
Previously, Courtney served as the Co-Founder & CEO of New Global Citizens, a journey that started with a $1,000 seed grant and a dream when she was a senior in college that grew into a national-class organization that served over 10,000 youth and partnered with organizations in 33 countries.
In 2016, Arizona State University honored Courtney as the “Young Alumni of the Year” award and Arizona Economic News named her “One of Arizona’s most Influential Millennials.” In 2015, the Phoenix Business Journal named Courtney as one of the “Top 10 Business People of the Year” and in 2013 as one of the “25 Most Dynamic Women in Business.” She has also been recognized by media outlets as one of the nation’s “Top 30 Civic Leaders Under the Age of 30,” one of Arizona’s “35 Entrepreneurs Under 35,” one of “20 Women to Change Arizona by 2020,” and one of “Arizona's Most Intriguing Chief Executives.”
Courtney is a graduate of Arizona State University’s Barrett Honors College, where she received her undergraduate and master’s degrees in nonprofit management. She also completed work through the DSIL United Nations Executive Education Program in Thailand & Cambodia focused on Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
Courtney resides mostly on airplanes, is married to an entrepreneur and has a 2-year old daughter. She is an avid yogi and Ironman finisher.
I deeply believe the most valuable currency in today’s workplace is meaningful work, not just a paycheck. In April of 2000, I became a founding member of a locally focused job board called Jobing.com. Over an 11-year period, I helped build the company from 5 employees and a few thousand dollars in revenue to nearly 400 employees and $38M in revenue – the secret to our success was our hiring philosophy. We privileged purpose and values alignment at a level of parity as career experience, education and skill. In short, we believed the heart mattered as much as the head. I consulted with nearly a thousand employers on their employment brand, employment value proposition, and employment advertising strategies. Through this experience, I saw first-hand the power of values, the power of culture, and the power of unwavering purpose – when done right, it was the ultimate competitive advantage.
In March of 2012, I co-founded Y Scouts with the belief that today’s leaders must authentically connect to the purpose and values of the organizations they lead. If disconnected, the strength of their experience will only compensate for so long. With more than 70% of the workforce unhappy with their work experience, and the associated half trillion loss in productivity this disconnect yields (not to mention the host of additional ripple effects), there has never been a more critical time to re-examine how we find and connect the right leaders with the right organizations.
A little more about Brian:
Daniel Openden, Ph.D., BCBA-D is President and CEO of the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC) in Phoenix, Arizona. SARRC is an internationally recognized nonprofit organization dedicated to autism research, education, evidence-based treatment, and community outreach to support individuals with autism and their families throughout their lifetimes. The 18,000-square-foot Campus for Exceptional Children and 10,000-square-foot Sander’s Center for Autism Studies co-located with SARRC’s Vocational & Life Skills Academy are state-of-the-art clinical centers that serve as models for similar research and resource facilities.
In 2007, Dr. Openden was recruited to SARRC from the renowned Koegel Autism Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara to serve as SARRC’s Vice President and Clinical Services Director. Since joining SARRC, Dr. Openden has advanced the center’s clinical programs and services, including an inclusive preschool, a comprehensive home-based program, a parent training program for families living in rural/remote areas, and school consultation. In 2009, Dr. Openden and Dr. Christopher J. Smith, SARRC’s VP & Research Director, received funding to initiate and research SARRC’s Remote Telemedicine Program to provide follow up access to services via the internet for families living outside Maricopa County. In 2011, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) identified SARRC’s innovative, cutting edge inclusive preschool among the most promising practices in autism services to influence the development of effective care systems in other states.
Dr. Openden is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst—Doctoral (BCBA-D) and is licensed as a behavior analyst in Arizona. He has expertise in developing training programs for teaching parents and professionals to implement Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT), a comprehensive, evidence-based treatment model for children with ASD. Dr. Openden has worked extensively with families with children, adolescents and adults with ASD; provided consulting and training for school districts across the country; presented research at regional, state, national and international conventions; served as Associate Editor for the Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions (JPBI) from 2008-2013; and been published in several peer reviewed journals and book chapters in the field.
Dr. Openden is also an adjunct professor at Arizona State University (ASU) and serves on the Autism Speaks Family Services Committee; Scientific Council of the Organization for Autism Research (OAR); Arizona State University President’s Advisory Community Council; Feeding Matters Medical Professional Council; and the Arizona Autism Coalition Advisory Committee. Further, he is a founding member of the Council on Autism Services (CAS), a networking organization that brings together Presidents, CEOs, Executive Directors, Clinical Directors, and Program Directors to share high level information and identify gaps facing autism service delivery organizations. Dr. Openden was honored as one of the Phoenix Business Journal’s “Forty Under 40” up-and-coming community leaders in 2011 and in 2015 he was honored as one of the “Most Inspired Leaders.”
Dr. Openden graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s and Ph.D. in Education with an emphasis in special education, disability and risk studies.
Kate Wells rejoined the Children's Museum of Phoenix in the December of 2013 as President & CEO. In this role, she leads one of the most loved and visited arts & cultural institutions in Arizona, with over 400,000 young children and caregivers expected in 2104. Under her leadership, the Museum will continue its focus on exceptional educational exhibits and programs focused on the unique developmental needs of young children ages 0-10, and will grow with educational outreach and advocacy centered around the vital importance of early childhood education.
Prior to returning to the Children's Museum, Kate was the Associate General Manager of Development & Marketing at Eight, Arizona PBS. In this role, she managed a diverse portfolio of fundraising and related activities including membership, major giving, planned giving, corporate sponsorship/underwriting, on-air pledge, events, volunteers, direct mail, telemarketing, and a new door-to-door canvassing program. Under her leadership, the department developed and implemented a highly successful monthly donor “sustainer” program that is recognized as exemplar within the PBS system, and has successfully increased membership over 20% in just two years. Additionally, Kate has been a leader in the Arizona non-profit sector for over 17 years, most notably as a co-founder of the Children’s Museum of Phoenix where she served as the Director of Development and Communications and successfully lead a $22.8 million capital campaign. A graduate of San Diego State University and Arizona State University’s Non-Profit Management Institute, Kate has an extensive background in strategic marketing and fundraising, and has consulted for ASU and over 25 Arizona non-profits. She enjoys volunteering in the community and has served on many boards and committees, is active in the downtown Phoenix community, and enjoys sports, gardening, reading and extreme travel.
Mi-Ai Parrish has been an editor, president and top media executive, but more than anything, she is a communicator.
Most recently she was president and publisher of USA Today Network's largest media organization. She is the founder, CEO and president of MAP Strategies Group and Chair of Media Innovation and Leadership at ASU.
She was president and publisher of the Arizona Republic, azcentral.com, kansascity.com, Kansas City Star, and Idaho's largest media company. She's a three-time Pulitzer-Prize finalist, two-time Pulitzer-Prize juror, award-winning writer, digital marketer, and innovator. She's spoken internationally on innovation, leadership and motivation, and transformed and launched companies in Phoenix, Chicago, San Francisco, Boise, and Minneapolis.
Mi-Ai was awarded 2017 Athena Businesswoman of the Year, 2017 Asian Corporate and Entrepreneur Leaders Champion and Best of USA Today Opinion Writer.
Named 2016 PSA Behavioral Health Champion, Mi-Ai serves as secretary of Greater Phoenix Leadership, vice-chair of Banner Health Foundation and on the boards of Sandra Day O'Connor Institute, Zanjeros Business Ambassadors, Poynter Institute, and American Cancer Society.
Her award-winning commentaries have been read by millions of people worldwide and covered by international media.
Oye Waddell is the Executive Director of Hustle PHX. Waddell grew up in inner city Los Angeles and has a long track record in urban education and entrepreneurship. He attended the University of Washington on a full athletic scholarship to play football. He later earned a Master of Public Administration from the University of Southern California, and a Master of Education from Arizona State University. He is the founder of Gameplan International and serves as a pastor at New City Church in downtown Phoenix.