Business often isn’t pretty, said serial entrepreneur Mike Wrenn. And it’s time to expose some of the hard truths he and his wife, Becky Cole — as well as other business heavyweights — have learned through their careers, he said.
“Becky and I have built a successful business with national and international reach,” said Wrenn, chairman and founder of Kansas City-based Affinity Worldwide, where Cole serves as CFO. “This has, of course, been rewarding, but not without its challenges along the way. Our philosophy is to share what we have learned with up-and-comers. We want to share real talk with new entrepreneurs: the good, the bad and the ugly.”
A day-long interactive event led by Affinity Worldwide and its Cultivate Experience Leadership Club — “Own it! The good, the bad and the ugly every entrepreneur needs to know” — is planned for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3 in the Medallion Theater at Plexpod Westport Commons.
Four panel conversations are expected to include solutions to challenges many aspiring and newer entrepreneurs face, taking advantage of opportunities while avoiding pitfalls, owning a business as a married couple and challenges specific to female entrepreneurs.
Crosby Kemper III, executive director of the Kansas City Public Library, is the keynote speaker.
The day will also feature a presentation on brand development by Tyler Van Winkle, partner at Rivet and CMIO at Affinity Worldwide. Rivet is a sponsor of Own It, along with Think Realty, Thinking Bigger Business Media and Central Exchange.
“Entrepreneurs who are a little farther down the road in their experiences have wisdom they can share with newer entrepreneurs, perhaps helping them mitigate challenges they could face,” said Kelly Scanlon, president and CEO of Interrobang Solutions and former owner of Thinking Bigger Business Media.
Scanlon will moderate the event’s women’s panel, which is set to feature Adrienne B. Haynes, maanaging partner of SEED Law; Neelima Parasker, president and CEO of SnapIT Solutions; and Erica Brune, president of Lever1.
Organizers Wrenn and Cole will be featured in the conversation on how marriage and business mix — “Saying, ‘I do’ to a Business Partnership” — led by Rivet’s Van Winkle.
The duo are well-known supporters of entrepreneurialism in Kansas City. In August 2017, they pledged $1 million to the Kansas City Startup Foundation, the parent organization of Startland News, to be paid out over five years. Cole sits on the foundation’s board of directors. Wrenn and Cole also support multiple local charities.
A portion of profits from the Own It event will go to Giving Grove, an organization that helps the achievement of food security by planting community orchards. More information about Giving Grove can be found at www.givinggrove.org