Events Archive

Unlea(she)d Breakfast Series with Kate O’Reilly

Update: July 18 session: Values Workshop
This just in from Kate: “I wrote this a little while back: “Why My Life Doesn’t Suck” It’s the most read post on my blog of all time, the thing I get asked about the most, and it’s going to be the basis for the first session. You should attend if you want to:

  • Learn how to say no (and then: yes)
  • Define your values
  • Take a leap
  • Get unstuck
  • Gain confidence and worth
  • Lessen self doubt
  • Be part of this community of strong, smart women

July – October
8 a.m. – 10 a.m.
CoCo Uptown

Eventbrite - Unlea(she)d Breakfast Series with Kate O'Reilly

kateHosted by Kate O’Reillyaka @cleverkate

Join us for this breakfast series, in which we’ll talk with experts (and each other!) about topics like:

  • Confidence and worth
  • Reducing barriers (and ceilings)
  • Working families (The Great Balancing Act)
  • Establishing and being rooted in your values
  • Current events that are important to us

All are welcome, women and men! Come for the relevant conversation, and if you’re able to, stay at CoCo all day to work, meet and collaborate with members and attendees. The dates are:

  • July 18, 8-10 a..m
  • August 15, 8-10 a.m.
  • Sept. 19, 8-10 a.m.
  • Oct. 10, 8-10 a.m.

Finally, to round out the year right, we’ll invite you to a year-end reception in November for everyone who has participated in CoCo’s #unleashed and #40Forward events.

Cost: $50 for 4-part series (includes breakfast, coffee, and coworking for the day) and the year-end reception!.

About Unlea(she)d
Unleashed is a monthly speaker series, held at CoCo, in which we invite women entrepreneurs and leaders to talk about their journeys in life and business. Unlea(she)d is part of CoCo’s participation in #40Forward – a Google-sponsored effort to increase the presence and participation of women in startup communities around the world.

Come to the App Strategy Workshop

Come to the App Strategy Workshop

Jul 10 2014
3 to 6:30 p.m.
CoCo Uptown

Sessions and Registration

Use the code “CoCo” to get in free!

Opt web graphic with ADAJoin developers, analytics experts, and leading app publishers and platforms to learn about tools and strategies to understand your users, boost retention, and drive downloads. Take a deep-dive into app store optimization and explore ways to get your app discovered.

Local and national app experts include:

  • Cami Zimmer
  • Brett Bauer
  • Shivani Khanna
  • Dug Nichols
  • Andy Vaughan
  • Jake Ward
  • Wade Beavers
  • Rob Weber
  • Greg Blackman
  • Jim Dahline

Additional speakers and workshop leaders will be announced soon!

The Gain & Engage Users Workshop is part of a nationwide App Strategy Workshop series complete with 15 events.

The Minneapolis stop of the App Strategy Workshop is made possible by the generous support of Google for Entrepreneurs.

GFE 2-line Logo for Web Use [PREFERRED WEB LOGO]


An Unlea(she)d for teens and their parents

An Unlea(she)d for teens and their parents
Madi Lommen

Madi Lommen

The POWER of being female: the Girl Effect

June 26
6-9 p.m.
CoCo Uptown

Eventbrite - Unlea(she)d: The power of being female

Find out how to use your ideas and questions to create, lead, and take risks that not only change the world but make you more powerful, confident, and authentic.

Solome Tibebu

Solome Tibebu

In this fun, inspirational and interactive workshop you will be inspired to take action by a panel of six young women (see below!) who have created social change by asking BIG questions, thinking innovatively and becoming entrepreneurs.

Large and small group work will challenge and encourage you to figure out how to bring your ideas to reality; you will transform your words to actions and will start to find your voice, passion, and authentic you in the process.

G-rated drinks and snacks will be provided.


Our panelists

Amanda Erickson is 17 and a social entrepreneur in training. She got involved with social entrepreneurship 6 months ago when she formulated her big question “How can I help people feel safe in their own skin?” Answering that has been harder than she thought. It’s led her all over the place: from interviewing peers to making art, and she’s yet to find an exact solution. However her journey thus far has definitely been empowering. It’s taught her to take risks and embrace failure. Her biggest piece of advice to other women/girls in this area is take charge. All great things start with the decision to do something. She can be reached via email at

Ashley Paguyo co-founded @DogsofInstagram, a rambunctiously vibrant Instagram feed, providing a community of over 700,000 canine-lovers with a daily dose of the most lovable pups. An unexpected project that fell into her lap, Ashley quickly identified @DogsofInstagram as an opportunity and saw possibility. Her first foray into entrepreneurship has taught her the importance of moving fast, creatively, and tenaciously with the right partner. She strongly recommends listening – to the changing landscape around you, to the things that stir your soul, and to your intuition. website | | Instagram/Twitter Handles | @dogsofinstagram | @lucyandco | @apaguyo Email | |

BreAnna Fisher is founder of Raising Biz Kids, a vlog & blog startup aimed at teaching parents and kids to think like entrepreneurs by addressing each situation with concrete, problem-solving skills. As a young serial entrepreneur and a woman she is most empowered by the difference she can make in others’ lives through entrepreneurial education. She believes that we can change the world if we embrace entrepreneurial thinking and take action for the many opportunities available all around us. She encourages all woman to think and act like entrepreneurs by identifying problems and creating unique solutions that drive value for a market who is willing to pay for it. @fisherbre

Holly Jade Chan is founder of The Green Habit. She comes from working at Apple on the environmental team and looks to make a lasting impact of change; recently she gave a TEDx talk about the zero-waste movement she’s on. The mission of The Green Habit is to bridge the gap between sustainability and people through design and engagement with people. Ultimately, she set out to be a green thought leader, and look to connect the world innovators to come together and create sustainable impact. Currently, The Green Habit is raising seed money to launch a product for sustainable packaging, so they can START making zero-waste a reality. They encourage those that may feel curious, distant, or unsure about “sustainability” to check out Sustainability isn’t just for the tree-huggers, but its a life shift and where society is headed. Join us. ( )

Madi Lommen is CBO (Chief Baking Officer) of Madibanani Bread Company. Madibanani Bread Company is a banana bread business that serves orphaned refugee children in Thailand, providing immediate support abroad while generating inspiration for long-term social change in the local community. The next step of her entrepreneurial journey is determining a way to unite existing enterprises that strive for social good in order to improve their efficiency and impact. Numerous encounters along the way have drawn attention to the fact that she is female, but none have made her as proud to be a young woman as receiving support from the staff at Women Venture. He advice to fellow aspirational women is to follow your passion! As Premal Shah, President of Kiva put it, “the world needs those individuals who create positive change by pursuing their passion and then applying that passion to the needs of the community.” Find more information about Madibanani Bread Company at: or contact Madi at

Solome Tibebu Her business, Anxiety in Teens, is a resource for young adults with anxiety and other mental health disorders as well as their loved ones to offer information, inspiration and community. Anxiety disorders are the #1 most prevalent mental health issue among both adults and youth, but also experienced twice as much in girls than in boys- a personal experience that could relate to my audience! Your experiences and skills are much more relevant and valuable than you may realize as you decide to start a business- but, you won’t realize it unless you give it a try and take action! Websites: Email:
Twitter: @SolomeTibebu LinkedIn: Facebook:


Our moderator


Coach Kristi Hemmer has always known and felt the Girl Effect in her life.   However, as a teacher, school counselor, principal, and coach for 20+ years, she experienced first-hand how girls and women shrink in a classroom, a community, and the world.  Something needed to be done.  So, Kristi quit her six-figure job and started AWE (Academy for Women’s Empowerment) for girls/women of all ages to put the W in poWer.  Learn more at and


About Unlea(she)d

Unleashed is a monthly speaker series, held at CoCo, in which we invite women entrepreneurs and leaders to talk about their journeys in life and business. Unlea(she)d is part of CoCo’s participation in the Google for Entrepreneurs #40 Forward program – an effort to increase the presence and participation of women in startup communities around the world.

Join our mailing list for updates on future women’s happenings at CoCo.


Recap: Inspired by students of STEP-UP Achieve

Recap: Inspired by students of STEP-UP Achieve

Guest judge Meghan Wilker (r) shows an app to Paige, a student entrepreneur.

A little over a week ago, on a Saturday afternoon, I went to CoCo’s downtown location to be a guest judge at the STEP-UP Entrepreneur-in-Training Day.

My thoughts about the day are best summarized by this tweet:

That gives you a sense of where my mind was by the time the event was over. But, before the event? Let me be honest: I had an exhausting week. I agreed to volunteer at this event before finding out that my husband also had an event that day, which meant we had to find someone to watch our kids for most of the day. I went into the event feeling tired and overwhelmed. (Cue the tiny violins.)

Then I got to CoCo. The energy was apparent as soon as I walked into the room. Groups of students and mentors were buzzing in small groups, preparing to present their ideas — which they only had a few hours to come up — to a panel of judges (myself, Kyle Coolbroth, Adam Bacchus and Chris Carlson). Over the next couple of hours, ten groups of students presented product concepts to address food deserts, financial literacy, clean drinking water, and college attrition.

Their ideas ranged from iPhone apps to buses that could drive, fly, and crawl across terrain. They presented their ideas with humor, and style. They flubbed and messed up, but they kept going. They were nervous, but they worked through it. Their creativity was astounding. Their teamwork was inspiring — especially considering that most of the students didn’t know their teammates before the event.

After the presentations were over, Kyle asked each of the judges if we had any words of advice for the kids. I don’t remember exactly what I said, but above all else I wanted these kids — young adults, really — to hear two things:

  1. At this event, and in life, winners and losers get chosen — for different things, and by different “judges.” But, especially when it comes to entrepreneurship, the real winning ideas aren’t always the ones that judges pick as winners. Breakthough ideas are often not understood right away. Things that are ubiquitous now — like Google, for example — were seen as WTFs when they were first launched. So, don’t get caught up in what someone else says is a winning idea. If you believe in it, make it happen. When you — or the idea — fail, keep going. Don’t let the opinion of a “judge” deter you.
  2. You’ve already accomplished something remarkable: you got up in front of a roomful of people and you talked. That terrifies most people. So, the hard part is over: you spoke publicly, and you survived. After this, you can do anything.

So, back to my original tweet. I hear lots of people lament about the next generation. I hear that kids these days don’t have social skills because they interact with screens all the time. I hear that kids these days can’t write because txting. I hear that kids these days are disrespectful. I’m not naive — I’m sure “kids these days” have some issues. But, frankly, so do a lot of adults. (Check the internet, there’s tons of evidence.)

But the kids of Achieve Minneapolis? If those kids are running the world someday, we’ve got nothing to worry about.

Achieve Minneapolis and CoCo: thanks. Thanks for inviting me to participate. Thanks for creating spaces and events for adults and young adults to flex their entrepreneurial muscles. Thanks for shaking me out of my funk and reminding me why I love what I do. Because we get to make stuff up — and then we get to build it. And we should all look forward to having the STEP-UP students on our teams.

Entrepreneur Training Day in pictures

Serial Startup Stories at the next Unlea(she)d

Serial Startup Stories at the next Unlea(she)d

unleashed_logoCoCo Uptown Garage
May 29
6 – 9 p.m.

Eventbrite - Unlea(she)d, with Red Stamp founder Erin Newkirk

From startup “scrappiness” to well-executed strategies, the various stages of building a business expose you to it all. Hear from three women entrepreneurs who, between them, have built six businesses from the ground up. This expert panel will dive into discussions regarding customer discovery, startup business models, niche markets and the importance of strong partnerships.

Whether driven by a passion to launch their business or focused on solving a unique problem, these women bring serious street cred to the startup space.

The Unlea(she)d panel includes:

  • Mary Meehan, Co-Founder of Panoramix Global, and Co-Founder of Iconoculture
  • Zahra Aljabri, Co-Founder of Mode-sty, and Co-Founder of Muslim Buddy
  • Ashlee Olds, Founder and Chef, Sweet Science Ice Cream, and Founder of Clean House

There will also be time for Q&A and networking. Appetizers and snacks and a cash bar will be provided.


Zahra Aljabri

Zahra Aljabri is the Co-Founder of Mode-sty the largest online retailer dedicated to fashionable and conservative women. In 2013, Mode-sty placed second in the MN Cup General Division and has been selected as one of the hottest fashion startups by Forbes (2012) and Business of Everything magazine (2013).

In 2013, she was an invited speaker at Gel 2013 a conference that showcases “customer experience innovators” before they hit the mainstream. The Gel conference was the first speaking platform for Marissa Mayer (CEO Yahoo!), Salman Khan (CEO Khan Academy), and Jimmy Wales (founder of Wikipedia). You can view Zahra’s talk here.

Prior to Mode-sty, Zahra co-founded and was COO of MuslimBuddy, Inc. a nonprofit dedicated to building the capacity of community institutions serving Twin Cities Muslims. Her role at MuslimBuddy helped her win a four-year Bush Foundation Fellowship to continue her community activism. She is also a principal at Zahra Aljabri Estate Planning, the first law practice in the Twin Cities that specializes in Islamic Wills and Estate Planning. Through her various roles within these startups, Zahra has gained expertise in customer discovery, startup business models, and niche markets. Zahra obtained a J.D. from Syracuse University and B.S. from UCLA. She began her professional path in the media and entertainment industry where she worked for Hollywood directors and producers Ridley Scott and Tony Scott at RSA Productions/Scott Free Productions, as well as local TV station KTLA in Los Angeles. Follow Zahra at @ModestyFashion.

Mary Meehan

Mary Meehan is the co-founder and lead cultural Intelligence analyst for Panoramix Global, an international research consultancy helping brands and organizations understand the complexities of future consumer behavior as a pathway to growth and innovation. She is an expert in providing clients with ahead of the curve insights on trends, movements, and market changes that will profoundly influence their business outcomes.

A serial entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience as a leader in consumer behavior analysis, in 1992, Meehan co-founded the international consumer trend agency Iconoculture, recognized by Inc. magazine as one of the 500 fastest growing private companies in America and providing the research industry’s first theoretical framework for translating trends into practical insights using a highly qualitative, proprietary methodology. Meehan has worked with Volvo, Hasbro, Wal-Mart, Pepsi Co, General Mills, J.P. Morgan, Time Inc., AARP, and a myriad of other companies in helping to better understand the realities of the consumer landscape.

In 2010 Meehan sold her firm and founded Panoramix Global, a next generation research and consumer behavior firm that specializes in providing clients with a hybrid, analytic perspective that maximizes cultural data to deliver expert foresights driving consumer decision-making, working with clients to develop effective strategies for growth in the face of these learnings.

Meehan is the co-author of The Future Ain’t What It Used to Be: The 40 Cultural Trends Transforming Your Job, Your Life, And Your World. She speaks and writes frequently on the topics of consumer behavior and the market forces that influence change, currently a contributor to Her opinions and insights have appeared in Advertising Age, the Associated Press, BBC, CNN, Wired, and The Washington Post, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek. A frequent speaker, she has appeared at the Research Advertising Conference, Ad-tech, Future Trends, The Market Research Event, and the CEO Leadership Roundtable. Follow Mary at @PanoramixGlobal.

Ashlee Olds

Ashlee is Chef and Founder of Sweet Science Ice Cream. Sweet Science Ice Cream was born out of her lifetime mission to create the perfect scoop. An East St. Paul resident, Ashlee, 33, started churning small-batch all-natural artisan ice cream in her kitchen for friends over a decade ago. After realizing her passion and buoyed by her friends’ enthusiastic praise, she started renting space in a commercial kitchen in early 2012 to craft pints for the masses.

Ashlee’s ice cream flavors, bases, and components are handmade from real ingredients, and each small batch is hand-packed. The all-natural ice creams are without added chemicals such as high-fructose corn syrup, stabilizers, artificial flavors, and additives. “Using the highest-quality ingredients and the properties of science, I’m able to craft the best ice cream you’ve ever tasted,” said Olds.

Most of the ingredients are organic, and Ashlee sources from local suppliers whenever possible. “I look for companies that share my dedication to not only quality, but the betterment of the community.” Sweet Science Ice Cream recently received the City Pages 2014 Best of the Twin Cities Award for Best Ice Cream in Minneapolis. Follow Ashlee at @Ashleebug


About Unlea(she)d

Unlea(she)d is a monthly speaker series, held at CoCo, in which we invite women entrepreneurs and leaders to talk about their journeys in life and business. Unlea(she)d is part of CoCo’s effort to increase the presence and participation of women in our community. Join our mailing list for updates on future women’s happenings at CoCo.