John Wechsler is Founder and CEO of spokenote, the technology platform that allows you to “add video to anything.” John has founded, co-founded, or served in C-level roles in several high-growth companies.
Over the last decade, John’s efforts have been focused on entrepreneurial ecosystem development through the creation of Launch Fishers, The Indiana IoT Lab, and The Fishers Test Kitchen.
John serves on the Boards of Indiana Chamber of Commerce, Indiana Technology and Innovation Association, and Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites.
John was recognized as the 2018 Trailblazer Award recipient by TechPoint, the growth accelerator for Indiana's tech ecosystem. The award recognizes “visionaries whose contributions have had lasting and significant impact on our technology ecosystem and our state.”
In 2022, John was selected as a member of the Inaugural Indiana 250, recognizing the state’s most influential and impactful leaders across business, philanthropy, the arts, government and not-for-profits.
Prior to joining IBM to start his career, John earned a marketing degree from Indiana University where he participated in the School of Business Overseas Study Program in Maastricht, the Netherlands. John also served in the US Army as a Combat Engineer in the First Cavalry Division at Ft. Hood, Texas.
Nida has worked in strategy and innovation for companies like Georgia Pacific (Koch Industries) and Westrock. Her work has included managing P&L of product lines globally, leading engineering and operations teams to launch products for large multinationals, some of which are in upwards of 50+ countries.
Most recently she headed a corporate accelerator for hardtech startups and worked in corporate venture capital. Nida is now CEO of Karmic Partners, a consultancy that works with innovation districts, startups, and corporate innovation to build ecosystems and connect much needed resources.
Nida serves on multiple nonprofit boards: Pack Away Hunger, Immigrant Welcome Center (Treasurer), The Speak Easy (coworking space) and the CFA Society of Indianapolis. Nida is also a founding member of Hardtech Indiana and mentors for Techstars and Gener8tor, and a number of other accelerators around the country.
Stephen Cox is currently serving as the State infrastructure and Broadband Administrator for the State of Indiana. In his previous posting, he was appointed by Governor Holcomb to serve as the Executive Director of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. He served in this position from the beginning of 2020 through June of last year. Prior to that, he was appointed as State Fire Marshal in 2019 after serving 27 years as a firefighter/paramedic with the South Bend Fire Department. There, he served as Fire Chief for the final 8 years of his career. Steve is a veteran of the US Army and has a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University.
Aaron Gillum is a Senior Vice President in the Private Equity Group at 50 South Capital Advisors. He is responsible for sourcing and analyzing venture capital partnership investment opportunities, as well as fundraising activities and portfolio management. Additionally, Aaron is a member of the 50 South Capital Diversity Council.
Prior to joining Northern Trust, Aaron was co-founder and Managing Partner of an early stage venture fund focused on technology companies in the Midwest and New York City regions. He has over fifteen years of experience in leadership roles with tech start-ups, as well as strategy and restructuring advisory to Fortune 500 and middle market companies across a variety of industries. Aaron was named to Indianapolis Business Journal’s - Indiana 250, Crain's Chicago Business Tech 50, a recipient of the Turnaround Managements Association's, Turnaround of the Year and M&A Advisor's Top 40 Under 40. He serves as the current President of the Venture Club of Indiana. Aaron also serves on the advisory board of several venture and buyout funds and is a featured speaker at industry events and conferences.
Education & Associations
Aaron earned an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and B.A. in economics and public policy from the University of Michigan, graduating with honors. He is also active as a mentor and volunteer with HBCUvc, Fortitude Fund, Future Founders and the Big Shoulders Fund.
Joanna Mirecki Millunchick is the Dean of the Indiana University Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering. Millunchick earned her Bachelor of Science in Physics from DePaul University in Chicago and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Northwestern University. She was a post-doctoral fellow in Semiconductor Physics at Sandia National Laboratories and then moved to the University of Michigan.While at Michigan, she had two distinct areas of research: materials science of semiconductors and engineering education. For the former, Millunchick developed nanoscale semiconductors for optoelectronic and photovoltaic applications. For the latter, she studied how to teach the physical sciences more equitably by examining pedagogical approaches and developing new virtual and augmented reality tools. Millunchick became the associate dean for undergraduate education in 2017, focusing on enhancing experiential learning opportunities for students and fostering academic creativity for educators.She continues this work at Indiana University, expanding it to make Luddy a force for socially responsible scientific and technological innovation.
Q: How is 2024 shaping up for venture investing?
Q: How is Indiana doing in its efforts to foster entrepreneurship?
Q: Why is broadband access important for Indiana? How is the state doing on this metric?