Growing MKE – Young Leaders In Action in Our Community

In the American economy, startup companies are the leading creators of new jobs and new wealth. Fortunately for the greater Milwaukee area, we have a healthy and growing entrepreneurial community. For example, Milwaukee Startup Week attracted 4,100 attendees for their second annual event in 2017 – a 57 percent increase over 2016. For our September luncheon, we invite you to join us for a panel presentation and conversation with young Milwaukee-based startup founders and entrepreneurs.

Our speakers will introduce their respective organizations and the passionate stories behind their conception. They will delve into their communications and public relations strategies, successes and failures. We will finish with an audience-lead Q&A session. We hope you’ll join us!

Our Moderator:

Sheldon Dutes joined WISN 12 News as co-anchor of the weekend evening newscasts in the winter of 2015. Currently Sheldon co-anchors 12 News This Morning.

Before moving to Milwaukee, Sheldon spent three years reporting for WNBC-TV in New York. From 2010-2012 he reported for WBAL-TV, the Hearst owned television station in Baltimore. Prior to that, he spent three years as a general assignment reporter for WCSC-TV in Charleston, SC. He started his career in 2007 as a production assistant at the NBC affiliate in South Bend, Ind.

Sheldon graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a B.A. in American Studies. He was senior class president and continues to serve his classmates in that capacity through the Notre Dame Alumni Association. Sheldon is also a board member on the Notre Dame Alumni Advisory Council.

Our Panelists:

Angela Damiani is a serial entrepreneur and currently the co-founder and CEO of NEWaukee, her third venture. After graduating with summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, she briefly worked overseas for the International Press Services. Stationed in Athens, Greece during the economic downturn, she completed two special country reports for Newsweek and Fortune magazines before moving to Milwaukee in 2009.

Damiani founded a small public relations firm when she was 23 years old. Shortly thereafter she co-founded Art Milwaukee, an arts advocacy organization, and NEWaukee, a social architecture firm that later assumed Art Milwaukee’s program offerings. Damiani has been the CEO of NEWaukee since 2014.

NEWaukee is a social architecture firm that specializes community-based signature experiences centered on high-profile issues of importance for cities across the country. NEWaukee also provides consumer, employer brand and talent engagement services to major employers looking to attract and retain talent necessary to grow their businesses.

Milwaukee native, Michael Jurken, had dreams of becoming an entrepreneur as early as age 12, when he volunteered to be the DJ at his grade school dance.  Starting with just a boom box and a few cassettes, Jurken transformed his entrepreneurial dreams into reality with Majic Productions. Majic Productions is a Midwestern-based sound, video, lighting and fabrication production company that will blow you away with a perfect storm of creativity, passion, professionalism, and expertise.

At only 31, Jurken already has over 15 years of experience as a business owner as well as with a full-time staff of over 40 full-time employees who produce over 1,000 events each year around the world such as the Super Bowl, US Open and the national presidential campaigns. In 2010, Entrepreneurs’ Organization prestigiously acknowledged Jurken as one of the top 25 student entrepreneurs in the world and in 2018 the Milwaukee Business Journal recognized Jurken in their annual 40 under 40 list.  Jurken regularly lectures at many universities across the Midwest on Generation Y Entrepreneurship and its numerous benefits.

Ben Stanley is Managing Director of gALPHA and Director of gBETA Milwaukee for generator. gener8tor is a turnkey platform for the creative economy that connects startups, entrepreneurs, artists, investors, universities and corporations. The gener8tor platform includes pre-accelerators, accelerators, corporate programming, conferences and fellowships focused on entrepreneurs, artists and musicians.

Ben joined the gener8tor team after a four-year career in journalism, during which he covered a variety of industries and issues. Most recently, he covered the Milwaukee startup community and health care industry for BizTimes Milwaukee, a bi-weekly business magazine.

Brandon Culpepper, Milwaukee native and international business man, is deeply rooted in the development of the people, communities and areas that make up the City of Milwaukee.  As a graduate of the University of Minnesota, a former NFL prospect and professional rugby player, Mr. Culpepper’s development and marketing experiences have afforded him the opportunity to do business with the City of Atlanta, City of New York and the City of Milwaukee, organizations and companies both nationally and abroad.  He is a visionary thinker whose mission is to provide the highest quality experience for all he encounters, with the goal of creating well rounded citizens who take their education and play to higher levels.



Michael Hostad is the Executive Director and co-founder of The Commons, which is an initiative of the Greater Milwaukee Committee. The Commons is an entrepreneurial skills accelerator for students at 24 colleges and universities across Southeast Wisconsin. The program focuses on talent development and retention. Hostad is also the co-founder of the Light the Hoan initiative which is an effort to light Milwaukee’s iconic Hoan Bridge with interactive LED lights.

When: Sept. 19, 2018

Time: 11:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Registration and Networking 12-1:30 p.m. Program and lunch

Where: Italian Community Center, 631 E Chicago St, Milwaukee (free parking in back)


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