Home > Misc > Get to know the Thinc Iowa speakers

Get to know the Thinc Iowa speakers

Headed to Thinc Iowa but haven’t had time yet to study up on all the presenters? Not to worry; we can help you cram before Friday. We did our homework on all the Thinc Iowa speakers so that you can brush up on them before you sit down at the Temple for Performing Arts on Friday morning. 

Here’s a little of what we learned about the speakers (listed in the order they’re scheduled to present on Friday): 

Matt McIver (Emcee)

Artistic director of the Des Moines Social Club

The scoop – A writer, actor and director who’s a veteran of stage and screen, McIver moved to Des Moines in 2008 to help establish the Des Moines Social Club. He serves as artistic director of the DMSC and its in-house theater troupe, Locust Productions. 

The handle – Find McIver on Twitter, @mamikgibar

The video – McIver’s talk at TEDxDesMoines, “Just Take Action

Andy Murray 

Founder and chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi X

The scoop – Murray founded an advertising agency in 1997 focused exclusively on the world of shoppers, and that agency today is part of Saatchi & Saatchi X, a firm that operates in 15 countries. This year, Murray returned to his entrepreneurial roots, starting Mercury 11, a company that aims to serve as a launching pad for entrepreneurs with disruptive ideas. 

The handle – Find Murray on Twitter, @andymurrayx.

The video – Murray’s introduction of his latest venture, “Mercury11 Intro Video

Jerri Chou

Founder and managing partner of Lovely Day

The scoop – Chou specializes in the cultivation of social innovation, something that’s crystallized in her work with Lovely Day, an agency that aims to help build socially valuable businesses that “do well by doing good.” She’s a founding partner of All Day Buffet, which powers Lovely Day as well as The Feast, a cross-disciplinary series of programs on social innovation, and TBD, an email newsletter on innovation. 

The handle – Find Chou on Twitter @jchou

The video – Chou at the Women Entrepreneurs festival at NYU’s Tisch School, “Jerri Chou Social panel

Luke Vandermillen

Leads marketing for retirement and investor services at the Principal Financial Group

The scoop – With The Principal, a Des Moines-based financial services provider, Vandermillen works to help small- and medium-sized businesses and American workers achieve financial security. Before taking his current position, Vandermillen helped create and lead a program that offers one-on-one financial education meetings to employees at the worksite.

The handle – Find The Principal on Twitter @ThePrincipal

The audio – Vandermillen’s interview on employee benefits helping business succeed “Developing your employee benefits strategy

Paige Craig

CEO and co-founder of BetterWorks

The scoop – A former Marine who’s described as an “adrenaline-fueled founder” Craig joined forces with Sizhao “Zao” Yang and George Ishii to launch BetterWorks, which aims to “Make Work Rewarding” by providing a platform for helping small- and medium-sized businesses engage, retain and reward employees.

The handle – Find Craig on Twitter @paigecraig

The video – Craig’s chat with TechCrunch at Disrupt San Francisco, “Reward Your Staff With BetterWorks” 

Ben Milne

CEO and co-founder of Dwolla

The scoop – A household name by now to readers of Silicon Prairie News, Milne has gone from selling speakers to serving as a speaker at tech conferences worldwide. Milne made his first foray into entrepreneurship at age 18 with a custom speaker business he built into a multi-million dollar company, and in 2008 he teamed with Shane Neuerberg to found Dwolla, a platform that allows users to send and receive funds from any other user at a flat rate of 25 cents per transaction.

The handle – Find Milne on Twitter @bpmilne

The transcript – Milne’s interview with The Next Web, “Dwolla founder Ben Milne talks about the future of mobile commerce

Douglas Olson

Partner director of development for Microsoft Expression Studio

The scoop – Olson brings nearly two decades of entrepreneurial experience to his current role as partner director of development for Microsoft Expression Studio, Microsoft’s suite of creative design and media applications. As a leader of the Expression team, Olson oversees development and user experience across the product portfolio.

The handle – Find Olson on Twitter @dougkolson

The transcript – Olson’s visit with tech and design blogger Ric Holland, “Douglas Olson interview

Robbie Vitrano

Co-founder and chairman of Trumpet Group

The scoop – Vitrano heads up New Orleans-based Trumpet, a venture marketing company that, since Hurricane Katrina devastated its hometown in 2005, has evolved its full-service brand communications disciplines to launch new ventures, incubating and developing them inside its facility in the Creole district of the historic Faubourg St. John. Trumpet centers its mission around advocacy, optimism and socially responsible capitalism.

The handle – Find Vitrano on Twitter @robbievitrano 

The video – Vitrano’s talk from the PSFK Conference, “How To Build A Better Brand

Scott Case

CEO and board member of the Startup America Partnership

The scoop – A technologist and entrepreneur who served as founding CTO of Priceline, Case today leads the Startup America Partnership, which was launched by the White House in January to drive American entrepreneurship to create jobs and sustain our nation’s global leadership

The handle – Find Case on Twitter @tscottcase

The video – Case’s interview on tips for entrepreneurs, “Focus, focus, focus

Ben Silbermann

Co-founder of Pinterest

The scoop – A native of Des Moines and graduate of Roosevelt High School, Silbermann comes home for Thinc Iowa at a time when Pinterest is being called by some of the hottest startups in Silicon Valley. Silbermann co-founded Pinterest, which lets users organize and share things by pinning them onto virtual pin boards, two years ago after working at Google.

The handle – Find Silbermann on Twitter @8en

The video – Silbermann’s take on brands reaching customers, “Ben Silbermann on the Rise of Brand Marketing Through Social Networking