Entrepreneur Panel Luncheon – Virtual

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Date(s) - September 22, 2020
11:45 am - 1:00 pm


Join us virtually for our quarterly luncheon featuring a panel of entrepreneurs including LaToya Johnson of AwayZone, Gwendolyn Rogers of Cake Bake, and Casey Wright of Ninja Zone moderated by Kristen Cooper from The Startup Ladies.  Click here to register!

LaToya Johnson

As an Occupational Health and Safety Risk Manager and holder of a Master’s in Public Health, LaToya has always understood the importance of health for the collective as opposed to individuals. A part of a healthy collective community is true equity and equality. LaToya created The AwayZones platform as a way to contribute to the economic health of communities that have historically, and traditionally, been underserved and underrepresented in the U.S. The AwayZones website and upcoming mobile app will contribute to the emotional health, social adjustment, and in some cases, safety of the members of these communities by creating an environment of support, cultural identity, inclusion, and shared knowledge.

Gwendolyn Rodgers  

Gwendolyn Rogers has had a passion for baking and cooking her entire life. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1965 she had a tough childhood. Coming from a torn family, loss of her brother and a dysfunctional family, she was forced to raise herself.  She put herself though school waiting tables and having multiple restaurant jobs including, bartender, prep cook, scone girl and dishwashing. Her peaceful place, where she found happiness, was in the kitchen. She met her husband in 1990 in Los Angeles where she was working as a male modeling agent, even though she was always cooking for family and friends. She was married in 1995, moved back to Sun Valley, Idaho, (where she lived from the age of 6-18), and had three boys. They decided to move Indianapolis after the passing of her Father-in-Law, and the horrible event of 911. She was in her late 40’s when they started over, moving to a new city with three little boys she didn’t know anyone, didn’t want to make new friends and that is when she decided to bake full time. After baking out of their rental house for over eight years she knew it was time to find a place to bake, she had outgrown her tiny kitchen. She found an old house on Carrollton Avenue around the corner from where they lived. The owner the building agreed to let her turn it into a bakery. Three years later, after designing, remodeling and building, she opened her first Cake Bake Shop. She started with herself and one employee. It was a huge success from the day the doors opened. Her first shop was so busy and she had to turn customers away due to the small size of the cottage. The kitchen had 300 square feet and could only seat 30.  Five years later she decided it was time to open a second location so she could accommodate more customers. Her bakery was also exploding in popularity from Oprah to Williams-Sonoma. Gwendolyn spent two years designing the second location which now seats over 150, has a 2,000 square foot production kitchen and a full service restaurant with bar. It is located in Carmel, Indiana.

Casey Wright

Casey Wright is the Founder & CEO of 3E! Holdings, which houses the Wright’s Gymnastics Companies, NinjaZone, NinjaSports International, and The Sports Entrepreneur. Casey is a former Olympic level gymnastics coach turned entrepreneur who took her parents’ “cartwheel shop” and turned it into an internationally known licensing and curriculum development company, as well as 5 Indy area corporate stores. Mom and Bonus-Mom of 4 kiddos, Hoosier native, 2018 Indiana Small Business Person of the Year, Indiana Impact Award Winner, and a member of IBJ’s Indianapolis 40 Under 40. Through the evolution of the companies’ growth, Casey has led her team to develop a system that is changing the lives of children daily. Now in over 340 locations throughout the world, Casey’s is offering kids a safe place to be themselves, make mistakes, and learn how their bodies move. Taking her coaching prowess into business, Casey challenges her employees to think bigger, learn from errors, and never stop dreaming.

 Kristen Cooper

CEO & Founder, The Startup Ladies + Columnist, Indianapolis Business Journal

The Startup Ladies is a for-profit membership organization growing the number of women starting up scalable companies, and, increasing funding being invested into those women founders. As Founder and CEO, Kristen leads the company’s mission to identify, educate, connect and increase investment in women entrepreneurs starting up and scaling businesses. Her responsibilities include: creating programming for entrepreneurs and investors; generating revenue through membership sales, events, and sponsorship; managing our mission-driven staff, committed board, and indefatigable volunteers; and setting and modeling the company’s culture and values.