2019 Keynote Speaker
CEO, OutPLEX; Chairman, TechNearshore; Co-Founder, The Venture Mentoring Team
Jim Ryan is a 20+ year serial entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist with expertise in technology, business, and investment strategy. He is the active CEO of OutPLEX, an international business process outsourcing company which has been transforming the way global brands connect with customers since 2000. Today, OutPLEX specializes in conversational commerce with its customer contact centers and the automation of customer engagement. Supported by 1000+ employees in 3 countries, OutPLEX was recognized by Inc. Magazine’s Hire Power Awards as the 8th fastest growing employer in the United States. Jim is also Chairman for the software development firm TechNearshore, furthering his technological portfolio through software and artificial intelligence bot design and development.
Throughout his career, Jim has boot-strapped, acquired, and successfully exited several companies and is an accredited investor and board member to multiple organizations and not-for-profits. As Co-Founder of The Venture Mentoring Team, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, Jim donates his time to fostering the South Florida startup ecosystem via mentor education, connecting credentialed mentors with promising start-up companies.
Jim’s dedication to entrepreneurship has helped shape the success of multiple organizations resulting in the creation of thousands of jobs. He has been invited to speak on the topic of entrepreneurship and innovative technologies by many universities and has served as a judge for various start-up competitions. Jim is committed to sharing his knowledge and unique experiences as a successful entrepreneur and being part of the connective tissue between universities, venture capital, and start-ups which supports our local communities.
2019 American Dreamers
American Dreamers Sponsors
Dr. Julia Harper, TheraPeeds Family Center
Julia Harper, PhD, MS, OTR/L is a wife, mother, occupational therapist, business owner, psychologist, life coach & mentor, speaker and writer. She brings all of these roles together to serve her mission of helping people-all people to live their lives beyond limitations.
TheraPeeds Family Center is celebrating its 20th Anniversary in business this year. However, ten years ago, Dr. Harper closed her New York traditional therapy practice and moved to South Florida. TheraPeeds began in a tiny rented office in Cooper City. There, Dr. Harper developed the H.O.P.E. Model of therapy based on the science of neuroplasticity. After using this model successfully, Dr. Harper moved the practice to ‘strictly-intensive’ based, which no other therapy practice had done. Years of proven success has set TheraPeeds apart, as the premier center in the world for brain-change. With the introduction of Dr. Harper’s H.O.P.E. model, there’s been a paradigm shift in how therapy is done and how brains are treated. The center sets the standard for what infants, adolescents, and adults can achieve when the brain is stimulated in the right way, in the correct order, and with the right interventions. TheraPeeds sets measurable goals for each client that walks in the door, and protocolized treatment is rigorously followed until those goals are met.
In the last 10+ years, the center has grown from just Julia to more than 62 employees in the new, state-of-the-art 30,000 square foot facility. It is the only one of its kind, dedicated solely to therapy for children and families around the world.
TheraPeeds makes changes in the lives of every client by helping them to grow and progress through highly developed, researched and innovative methods. The center is internationally acclaimed, with clients traveling from across the country and the world.
Leni Ibargüengoytia, ForSisters
Born in Mexico, Leni Ibargüengoytia founded a graphic design and production service company, Creatica SA. Since childhood, she always felt a particular calling to help others, although it would be some years before she’d find her niche. Leni moved to the United States 15 years ago in search of a better life for herself and her family. When she left her business behind and moved to the U.S., she recognized the common immigrant struggle of integrating into the nation’s economy. She continued her studies and graduated from Florida International University, obtained her citizenship and lived successfully as an artist, entrepreneur, and proud mother of three.
It was also during this time that Leni formed a deep connection with migrant women, listening to their stories of entry into the country and the hurdles they needed to overcome to be able to economically sustain themselves. Leni continually asked herself “How can I help?” After consulting an immigration lawyer and conducting her own research, it became apparent to her that the only way to help these migrant women become self-supporting was by creating their own businesses. And with this momentum, in 2015, she founded Four Sisters, LLC and from that the idea of ForSisters was born. In 2018, ForSisters established itself as a 501(c)(3), a non-profit organization giving migrant women the opportunity to set up shop with their own business and to become a part of the growing US economy. ForSisters develops financial literacy and business acumen of migrant women so they may gain economic independence.
Juliana Martinez (left) & Efrain Martinez (right), EM Professional Services
As a Cuban native, Efrain studied civil engineering earning a master’s degree in restoration from the Polytechnic José Antonio Echeverría in Havana, Cuba. Juliana was born in Colombia and has a degree in business administration with expertise in sales and marketing. During the real estate boom in 2004, Juliana obtained her real estate license and during the process, she saw an opportunity for a new business after realizing that with Efrain’s background, he was exceptionally qualified to perform home inspections. The barriers to entry in this industry were relatively simple – requiring a class and certification. Efrain obtained his certification and their business was started. They had exponential growth. They opened an office, hired staff, including more inspectors. Then the real estate market crashed in early 2008. To stay afloat, they adapted to the conditions of the market and switched to insurance inspections for Citizens, Florida’s state-run insurance company. For three years, insurance inspections were their bread and butter.
When the real estate market stabilized they found their company had built an excellent reputation among the insurance industry, had a new and strong client base while continuing to work with their original clients conducting real estate inspections. Business was again booming. They began a new hiring cycle and moved to a new building. While their business continued, its positive growth, another opportunity knocked on their door. The restoration business. Juliana and Efrain completed the Goldman Sachs 10, 000 Small Businesses program from Miami-Dade College and Babson College. The program is designed for small business owners.
The program proved to be invaluable and let to a new business model and a new business name. Thus, EM Restoration was born. Today, EM Restoration offers water mitigation services, mold remediation, and structural building of residential and commercial properties. The company offers a one-stop solution for home owners.
EM Professional Services has 12 full time employees and several subcontractors.
Edmerson Vasquez (left) and Gloria Martinez (right), NeoBroadband, Inc.
Gloria Martinez and Edmerson Vasquez are successful entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and parents who founded NeoBroadband in 2013. While balancing being the parents of 3 wonderful children, they built a company from the ground up that has quickly become one of the go-to brands for Latin American cable and TV operators. NeoBroadband started as a home-based business and since grown to an international company with offices and warehouses located in Chile, Panama, Costa Rica, Paraguay, Honduras and Dominican Republic.
Founded and based on the belief that “joy exists in protecting and improving of our planet’s most precious resources, children and the environment”, NeoBroadband has enjoyed growth and success while also giving back to the community in the U.S. and abroad.
NeoBroadband recently received the following recognition: GrowFL 2019 Companies to Watch, 2019 Small Business Exporter of the Year for the State of Florida & South Florida, 2019 South Florida Business Journal’s Fast 50 Awards recipient, and 2019 Prospera Success Stories recipient honoree.
Martinez and Vasquez share that “everything comes down to working hard and having a good team. As the famous Henry Ford said ‘If everyone is moving forward together, success takes care of itself.’”
Maxeme “Max” Tuchman, Caribu, Inc.
Maxeme Tuchman is the CEO + Co-Founder of Caribu, a “FaceTime meets Kindle” interactive video-call and reading app for children. Caribu made Fast Company’s list of World Changing Ideas for 2019 and was named one of the ‘Top Ten EdTech Companies to Watch’ in Forbes. Max has been the winner or finalist in 30+ pitch competitions and is the 59th Latina in the US to raise more than $1M in funding.
She has worked in almost every level of education from being a public school teacher, a consultant at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Executive Director of Teach For America, and manager of education projects under NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and DC Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee. Before co-founding Caribu, Max was appointed by President Obama to serve as a White House Fellow at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. She is a first-generation Cuban-American and college student, and a graduate of the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs and the Miami Fellows Leadership Program. Max is a 2018 Toyota Mother of Invention, and received her MBA & MPP from Harvard.
Tom Hudson, WLRN
In a journalism career covering news from high global finance to neighborhood infrastructure, Tom Hudson is the Vice President of News and Special Correspondent for WLRN. He hosts and produces the Sunshine Economy and anchors the Florida Roundup in addition to leading the organization’s news engagement strategy.
Prior to that Hudson was the co-anchor and managing editor of Nightly Business Report on Public Television. He also served as the host and managing editor of the nationally syndicated financial television program “First Business.” Tom also held numerous other roles, including but limited to serving as a general news as anchor, reporter, manager and talk show host in several markets covering a wide variety of stories and topics.
Tom has received numerous awards and recognitions for his work. He has served as a member of the adjunct faculty in the Journalism Department of Columbia College Chicago and has been a frequent guest on other TV and radio programs. He is also a frequent guest speaker, appears weekly on KNX-AM/Los Angeles for commentary on the investment markets and writes a weekly column for the Miami Herald and the McClatchy-Tribune News Service.
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