Previous Speakers

Michael Goldsmith

M Goldsmith

Michael Goldsmith is the Vice President of International marketing for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA). He oversees the LVCVA's global sales, marketing and brand public relations efforts for 13 international offices representing Las Vegas on five continents. He is also responsible for directing the efforts of the LVCVA's leisure sales team. Mr. Goldsmith has more than 25 years of experience in various areas of the travel and hospitality industry.

Ruth Hedges


Ruth Hedges is the Co-founder and CEO of and the creator and key architect of the fundingroadmap and She has been responsible for pioneering a new and innovative virtual system for business planning, crowdfund compliance and due diligence reporting on the cloud. Ms Hedges also taught the first course on equity based crowdfunding at UNLV, the first university in the Untied States to teach this very important information.

The JOBS act was signed into law on 5 April 2012 and supported by overwhelming bipartisan support. Ms. Hedges has been active in pioneering this new industry and from the beginning of 2010 helping the Startup Exemption team to move the bills passage through Congress. She has since been building awareness through her global event in Las Vegas,, and development of best practices, compliant technology and educational material. As a leader and industry expert Ms hedges has been interviewed or quoted in over 35 major publications.

Ms Hedges was also a Founding board member in 2012 of the Governance committee for the Crowdfunding Professional Association Organizing (CFPA) and also a Founding Board member of the CrowdFund Intermediary Regulatory Advocates (CFIRA) In 2012 Ms Hedges also launched to help spread the word across the globe.

Previously, Ms. Hedges was featured in the Chronicle of Philanthropy as well as the New York Times, the LA times and People magazine for her work with Oxfam America and the Hollywood Hunger Banquets.She was featured on ABC's Home Show, and the Financial News Network produced a two-part series on Ms. Hedges for their show” American Entrepreneur”. She was invited to fill a cabinet seat on the Second Century Campaign board which raised over 16 million dollars to build the new Union Rescue Mission. She is the recipient of the Certificate of Appreciation from the City of Los Angeles for that work.

Tammy Starring

Tammy Starring

Tammy Starring is a multi-preneur who has founded and owned several successful businesses. She has reached a level that only 1.9% of women business owners have ever achieved. Today, Tammy owns a Quiznos franchise, which is the#1 producing Quiznos in the Nation, and a Juice Express smoothie concession at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada.

At one time, she owned and operated the largest private valet company in Nevada.

Being an entrepreneur, she always keeps her eyes and ears open for new opportunities. In 2013 she stumbled into the Vending world and recognized the potential and started Starr Vending with goals of becoming one of the top female producers in the industry.

As a graduate of McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Tammy holds a Master's Degree in Health and Physical Education. She continues to stay active. Her favorite sport is golf and she also cycles and does pilates.

Tammy is a single mom of two adult children.

Tammy was the recipient of a Women of Distinction Awards for 2008 in the Business & Retail Category in Las Vegas, Nevada. She is a member of the Women President's Organization (WPO is a non-profit membership organization for women presidents of multimillion-dollar companies), NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners), AMAC (Airport Minority Advisory Council). She is also DBE (Disadvantaged Business Enterprise) certified and WBENC Certified (Women Business Enterprise National Council), and a member of NAPW (National Association of Professional Women) and Las Vegas Women's Chamber of Commerce.

October Featured Guest - Lu Torres - CEO and President of Nevada Microenterprise Initiative


Lu has been in senior nonprofit leadership for 29 years including organizations as YMCA, Girl Scouts, Educational Foundation, The Rape Crisis Center of Southern Nevada and most recently CEO and President of Nevada Microenterprise Initiative serving the state of Nevada. Lu's area of expertise lies within change management, and reorganization strategies. Lu has taken four organizations through reorganization process in which all organizations have turned around fiscally and programmatically through mission driven activities creating a sustainable environment. Lu has served as a certified train the trainers for two national organizations developing and implementing curriculum throughout the western region of the United States. Lu's background in small business development includes starting and owning several small businesses including a Travel agent which she developed and sold. Currently she is co-owner of a Microenterprise with her husband, a Property Inspection Service; she is an artist selling her works locally and in California. Lu received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Service Administration graduating Suma cum Laude and receiving the Provost Scholar Award from Springfield College and her Masters Degree in Organizational Management, Antioch University. In 2011 Lu was an "In Business Women to Watch Honoree" from the publication Vegas Inc. 2012 recognized as one of the top 100 women in non-profit leadership in Nevada from Oprah Winfrey -Non Profit Sector As a graduate of Leadership Henderson 2010 she believes through strong leadership and strategic partnerships the development of small businesses will put Nevada back to work.

September Featured Guest - Allison Maslan - CEO of Allison Maslan International

Allison Maslan

Allison Maslan is the CEO of Allison Maslan International, a Global Business Mentoring Company. She was recently named "One of the Top Women Entrepreneurs Who Inspire" by SelfMade Magazine. No. 1 Best Selling Author of the book, Blast Off The Surefire Success Plan to Launch Your Dreams Into Reality, Allison has built ten successful companies from the ground up starting out as a single mom on her own. Her client list has included: Ben & Jerry's, Super Cuts, Charlotte Russe and Allstate. Yet her true passion is guiding business owners like you to grow a prosperous business and a passionate life. As a world-renowned homeopath for the past 16 years, Allison's work embodies a partnership of holistic balance, a zest for success, and the most innovative business strategies you will find anywhere. She has been an expert guest on ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox Stations across the US and recently featured in Success Magazine.

Allison Maslan Speech

The Millionairess Formula

The 6 Steps to a Million Dollar Business and Lifestyle

In this powerful and inspiring presentation, CEO Mentor and Seri al Entrepreneur, Allison Maslan will impact your audience with her 6 Step Strategy she has used to grow 10 successful businesses from the ground up yielding millions in revenue, while continuing to live a health an d wealthy personal life. She will share the exact roadmap to run your business as the CEO, the Leader and the Visionary you are meant to be by taking the bold courageous steps necessary for the giant rewards.

Your audience will learn:

  • How to grow a high-revenue business that aligns with your truth
  • How to think and act like an inventor
  • The 3-step Mojo Formula to create any result you desire.
  • How to run your business like the CEO you are mean t to be.
  • The Blast Off Action Strategy- a step-by-step roadmap to implement Big Plans with even Bigger Rewards.

Over the last 18 years, I have worked with over 1,000 speakers, trainers, consultants and coaches. Allison is without a doubt one of the top two professionals out of 1,000. She is in a category of one, and truly in a class of extraordinary.
~ Mark LeBlanc, Recent President, National Speaker's Association

Business and Life Mentor, Allison Maslan, airs on Virgin America Airlines.

August Featured Guest - Jorja Leavitt - Co-Founder of ShareTown

Jorja Leavitt

Jorja Leavitt is the co-founder of ShareTown, a technology platform that enables communities, neighbors and friends to buy, sell, and share with each other. Prior to ShareTown Jorja was a marketing consultant, specializing in online advertising for small business, where she was able to facilitate a multi-million dollar deal for one of her clients. She has also worked for Orangesoda as their Director of Marketing and Marchex where she partnered with companies such as Netflix, AutoTrader, Esurance, Hotwire, and Kodak, assisting in their online marketing efforts. She has owned several online businesses, produced an audio book, and created a very successful service business, where she was able to doubled it's revenue in six weeks through her marketing strategies.

Jorja is originally from Washington State but calls Las Vegas home with her husband and four children.

July Feature Guest - Edward Cadena - USSBA Nevada District Director

Edward Cadena

Edward Cadena is the U.S. Small Business Administration's Nevada District Director. He is responsible for the management and delivery of SBA financial and business development programs, targeting the small business community in all northern, southern and rural regions of Nevada - the 7th largest of the 50 states with an expanse of over 110,000 square miles.

Mr. Cadena joined SBA's New Mexico District Office in Albuquerque as its Deputy District Director in 1997 and served as its Acting District Director from 1999 to 2002. His responsibilities included managing the delivery of SBA's financial assistance, management counseling and business development programs for the State of New Mexico. In addition, he was Chief of Finance for New Mexico's SBA District Office.

Mr. Cadena held the post of Acting District Director of the Lubbock, Texas District Office prior to his appointment as District Director for Nevada, where he currently leads the Nevada SBA team.

Before joining the SBA, Mr. Cadena was employed for 18 years with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Resolution Trust Corporation (FDIC/RTC). During his tenure with the FDIC/RTC he worked in the Division of Supervision and the Division of Liquidation.

He held several positions with FDIC/RTC including Assistant Managing Liquidator-Credit for the Anchorage, Alaska Consolidated Office; Regional Manager-Administration; Associate Director-Administration and Operations; Assistant Regional Manager-Closed Bank Administration, and Department Head-Credit for the Western Service Center in Irvine, CA.

Edward Cadena is a graduate of New Mexico State University at Las Cruces, where he earned a degree in Finance. He and his wife, Dee Anne are the parents of two sons.

July Feature Guest - Christopher (CJ) Bawden - Communications Officer

Christopher (CJ) Bawden

Christopher (CJ) Bawden joined the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange as its Communications Officer. He comes to the Exchange after 14 years in the private sector in the General Engineering Construction Industry. CJ possesses more than 15 years of progressively responsible experience directing as many as 400 employees in companies with yearly revenues in excess of $40 million. CJ brings a background in business start-up and market share acquisition to the Exchange. He has also served on the Board of Directors and is a Past President of the Builders Association of Western Nevada. He graduated from the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado at Boulder, with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a focus in Marketing.

June Featured Guest - Irene Bustamante Adams - Nevada Assemblywoman

Irene Bustamante Adams

Irene Bustamante Adams was first elected to the Nevada Assembly representing Assembly District 42 in 2010. As a freshman legislator, Irene was appointed vice-chair of the Assembly Government Affairs Committee where she served with distinction.

The second of five children, Irene was raised in the farming community of Kerman, California. Starting at a very young age, she and her siblings worked the agricultural fields alongside her parents. Irene became the first in her family to go to college. She worked her way through college and obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in business management from the University of Fresno.

After college Irene embarked on an 18-year executive career with MGM Resorts International, one of the world's leading global hospitality companies. There, she served as Director of Construction Diversity for CityCenter, responsible for implementing and advancing a program ensuring worker diversity in the massive urban development project. Irene played an instrumental role in launching the company's corporate diversity program which positioned MGM Resorts International as a leader among other Fortune 500 companies committed to diversity.

Active in the community on a local and national level, Irene currently serves on the boards and councils of the Latin Chamber of Commerce Community Foundation, Organizations of Chinese Americans, Association of Latino Professional in Finance and Accounting and Emerge Nevada. Irene is the recipient of many prestigious awards:

  • 2012 Woman of the Year - Emerge Nevada
  • 2011 National Trailblazer Award - Emerge America
  • 2004 Community Service Award - Latin Chamber of Commerce
  • 2004 Rising Star Award - National Association of Women Business Owners, Southern Nevada

In 2007, Irene became the first Latina in Nevada history to obtain an Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) degree from UNLV. Irene has lived in Las Vegas nearly 20 years and is married to Army Sergeant Brad Adams, who recently completed his third tour of combat duty in Afghanistan.

June Featured Guest - Gina Bongiovi - Attorney, MBA

Gina Bongiovi

As one of the few native Las Vegans left in town, Gina is proud to still call Las Vegas home. She's also proud to call herself a Rebel, having graduated magna cum laude from the UNLV Honors College with a B.S.B.A. in marketing and minor in business law in 2001. In 2007, Gina was one of the first students to earn a dual law degree/MBA from the William S. Boyd School of Law and College of Business at UNLV.

In 2005, Gina started a marketing company and couldn't find a lawyer that was willing or able to help a start-up like hers. After hearing similar stories from other entrepreneurs, she decided to dedicate her practice to serving start-ups and small businesses. With business education paired with real-world experience, she provides her clients with business-minded legal advice that addresses all facets of business ownership. She serves as a "consigliere", much like Robert Duvall's character in "The Godfather," except with considerably less violence.

Gina has helped found two nonprofits - Dress for Success Southern Nevada and Vegas Shepherd Rescue - and is working on a dog-related third. She currently serves as pro bono counsel for the Vegas Shepherd Rescue, Xemplar Advisory Board Member, LexisNexis Firm Manager Advisory Board Member, Board Member for the Nevada Bar's Solo and Small Practice Section, and Advisory Council Chair of Vegas Young Professionals.

Personally, she's an animal-loving, wine-drinking, shoe-addicted yogi and dog mom who loves to cook, hike, and spend time by the ocean.

Gina is a member of the State Bar of Nevada, and the American Bar Association including the Young Lawyers Section, Solo and Small Firm Division, and Business Law Division. She is admitted to practice in the United States District Court for the District of Nevada and all Nevada state courts.