Elevate Conference

Connecting The Black Business Community

April 5-6, 2019

Evolution of innovation Panel


Stewart Cornelius

Agency Development Lead at Twitter

Stewart Cornelius is an Agency Development Lead within Twitter's Customer's org, in this role he plays a pivotal role in working with Publicis Groupe, the 3rd largest global marketing holding company in the world. As an Agency Development Lead, he equips agencies with the knowledge and tools to develop and create custom ideas for their clients. Before that Stewart was a Client Partner helping Fortune 100 advertisers create and maintain a strong brand presence via the Twitter platform. In addition to his work in advertising, Stewart is a Blackbirds employee resource group lead at Twitter. In this position, he is focused on diversity recruiting and community outreach, creating internal support and structure for hiring members of the African diaspora at Twitter. He started his 8-year media career as an Account Service Representative at Turner Broadcasting. After a few years at Turner, he transitioned to the Sales Partnerships role at the online video joint venture, Hulu. As a part of Hulu, he successfully built and managed a $45 Million dollar book of business, which included Microsoft, Samsung, Sprint, Comcast, P&G, and Verizon. Stewart is a proud alumnus of Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA where he received a B.A. in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and Finance.


Ryan Wilson

Co-founder & CEO of The Gathering Spot

Ryan Wilson is the Co-Founder and CEO of The Gathering Spot, an invitation-only private membership club based in Atlanta, Georgia. Ryan leads a team that has assembled a diverse membership community in one of the most dynamic cities in the country. Ryan and his business partner raised north of three million dollars of private capital from investors to open their first Gathering Spot. The club in Atlanta is now home to over 1,500 members and has established itself as a home for Atlanta’s creative class, business professionals, and entrepreneurs. Responsible for the club's overall management and strategic vision, Ryan is currently leading the club’s expansion to Washington D.C and Los Angeles as well as the company’s interest in the A3C Conference and Festival.

Ryan has been recognized as the Small Business Person of the Year by the Atlanta Business Chronicle, has been named as one of the country’s most influential African-Americans in The Root 100 and the Ebony Power 100, and has been listed among “Atlanta’s 500 most powerful leaders” by Atlanta Magazine. Ryan has also been featured in notable publications such as Forbes, Inc, Black Enterprise, and The Huffington Post. He has given keynote presentations at some of the nation’s most prestigious business schools including Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth University, and The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

A native to Atlanta, Ryan is currently an active participant in several Atlanta civic and community organizations. He most proudly serves on the board for Hands on Atlanta, The Atlanta Business League, and Peace Preparatory Academy. Ryan graduated from Georgetown University and Georgetown University Law Center.


Jennifer Richard

Senior Associate at Cross Culture Ventures (CCV)

Jennifer Richard is a Senior Associate at Cross Culture Ventures (CCV), where she spends her time sourcing and evaluating companies that are capitalizing on emergent cultural trends to build the future of technology.  Prior to CCV, she was a founding member of three technology-enabled startups and saw two of them through successful acquisitions. She was responsible for building e-commerce platforms from the ground up and ultimately expanded company reach to over 30 countries worldwide.  Her expertise revolves around supply chain operations and technical product management, especially as they relate to international business operations. She has a BA from Emory University and is currently finishing her MBA at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.


Aaron Holiday

Co-founder & Managing Partner at 645 Ventures

Aaron combines 19 years of deep finance and technology expertise, having developed advanced equity and derivative software at Goldman Sachs and GFI Group, with operational experience working CEOs to build growth stage companies. As the first Managing Entrepreneurial Officer at Cornell Tech, the billion dollar tech campus in NYC initiated by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Aaron helped pioneer the campus’startup culture, shepherding deep technology startups toward commercial success.

As a co-founder of 645 Ventures, Aaron invests in early-stage startups, working closely with the founders to build businesses that achieve large scale M&A and IPO. His firm notably pioneered an outbound sourcing strategy leveraging proprietary software at the seed stage. 645 Ventures has invested in breakout successes including FLY Labs (acquired by Google), Source3 (acquired by Facebook), ALICE (acquired by Expedia), Abacus (acquired by Certify), MM LaFleur, Overtime, Goldbely, FiscalNote, and several other category defining companies.

The firm is backed by premier institutional LPs including Princeton University, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and Spelman College. Individual investors include Robert Smith, Ken Chenault, Marc Andreessen, Mellody Hobson, Bill Lewis, Howard Morgan, Greg Pass, Bayo Ogunlesi, Roger Ferguson, Clarence Otis, Carla Harris, Albert Wenger, and several other influential individuals.

Aaron received a BS in Computer Science (Cum Laude Honors) from Morehouse College and an MBA from Cornell University.


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