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"Successful Entrepreneurship at the Tompkins County Public Library"

Successful Entrepreneurship

Wednesday, September 14th, 12-2pm
Tompkins County Public Library, Borg Warner Room
Tompkins Workforce New York (TWFNY) and Alternatives Federal Credit Union (AFCU) are teaming up to spotlight local entrepreneurs and the successes, challenges and resources that have led them to realize their dreams.
Hear from local entrepreneurs about the challenges and successes they’ve experienced, as well as the resources they have utilized, in the development of their businesses. Panelists are varied in experience, age, gender, and ethnicity, as well as represent a mix of sectors and size of company / organization. Specific attention will be given to individual stories and how entrepreneurs financed their businesses.

Michelle Courtney Berry launched her first business venture in 1990, as she was completing her graduate degree in risk and health communication at Cornell University. She currently manages two award-winning entrepreneurial ventures designed to reduce stress and bolster your bottom-line (Reiki Goddess ( and Courtney Consulting Enterprises, LLC ( Overall, Michelle devotes her life to helping her clients heal, lead happier lives and enjoy authentic work-life integration.
As an entrepreneur, healing artist, performer, life coach, Reiki Master Teacher and experienced orator, Michelle is also an author, hiking leader (, fitness enthusiast and workplace stress guru/expert communicator featured on PBS, CBS, ABC, NBC, Men’s Fitness and more. She’s also walked on fire, climbed one of the highest peaks in the Adirondacks, sung and told stories in a remote village in Africa, appeared on “Good Morning America,” and received praised from Oprah Winfrey for her work raising funds for children of veterans.

Brad Treat, a serial entrepreneur, was the founding CEO of Mezmeriz Inc. in 2006 and raised over $4m in venture capital from six upstate venture capital funds and angel groups. Previously, he was the Entrepreneur-In-Residence at Cornell University. He co-founded SightSpeed, Inc. in 2001 and served as its Chief Executive Officer. SightSpeed was profitably sold to Logitech for $30M. Treat has over fifteen years of operational, financial, and business strategy experience at both startups and large corporations. He served in engineering and management capacities at Bowles Fluidics and GKN Automotive for eight years, where he was responsible for engineering, operations, and personnel management within the high precision, high volume industrial units. Mr. Treat holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina State University and an MBA from the Johnson School at Cornell University. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce and is an Instructor in Practical Entrepreneurship at Ithaca College.

Anke Wessels is the Executive Director of the Center for Transformative Action (CTA), an independent education-based 501(c)3 affiliated with Cornell University, which provides education for, and fiscal sponsorship to transformative social entrepreneurs with innovative non-profit ventures. Our services allow these change makers to focus on their social mission while we provide a well-established back office infrastructure, with business services and mentorship that most start up nonprofits are unable to afford. We also offer educational programs--courses, conferences, and workshops--to help a diverse group of new or experienced social entrepreneurs develop the skills necessary to establish effective social ventures, and learn the leadership practices associated with Transformative Action.

Carolina Osorio Gil is a co-owner of Bici-Cocina Bicycle Food Cart, which combines her and her partner Sam Bosco's love for Colombian cooking with their dedication to sustainable transportation and passion for bicycles. She came to Ithaca in 1998 to study at Cornell University, where she completed a BA in Psychology. Carolina also has a MA in Early Childhood Education - Teaching and Curriculum from Columbia University Teachers College. She is a dedicated community organizer, founding and directing the CULTURA Ithaca program. Carolina is deeply committed to social justice and specifically to organizing around Latin@ issues locally and on a larger scale.
She is on the boards of the Latino Civic Association of Tompkins County and the Ithaca Festival, as well as on the Nutrition Program Committee of the Cornell Cooperative Extension where she is helping to develop a program to assist food entrepreneurs. Most recently, she co-organized Browns and Greens, an event to celebrate sustainability by people of color in business and beyond.

Erica Marx (M.S.) is a confidence coach and communication skills trainer who works with creative visionaries who know they create their own reality, and are committed to making an impact in the world. She believes change can be FUN and power can be PLAYFUL, and uses games adapted from improv theater in her workshops and private coaching. Erica is a NYS certified conflict mediator and adjunct faculty at Ithaca College. She has over 15 years experience as a mediator, workshop leader and instructor with businesses, organizations, and individuals. Erica started her own business in 2014, and recently graduated from the REV Passenger to Pilot program for emerging women entrepreneurs.