Empowering Women in Entrepreneurship

WE Mean Business (WEMB) brings together thought-leaders and change-makers to share their stories, strategies and transformational wisdom with entrepreneurial women.


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WEMB is a community of women who support and inspire each other to become strong, impactful, successful entrepreneurs.

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WEMB’s line-up features powerful speakers, interactive learning, tactical trainings, purposeful networking,
and one-on-one coaching
 to help women advance as business leaders.

Stay tuned for updates on the power-packed 2017 speaker lineup.

Get your tickets now!


Mainstage Talks

During Mainstage Talks, innovative business-minded speakers will share best practices for making ideas reality and take questions in an interactive setting. They'll offer practical, real-world insights on how you can put your ideas into action. Get fired up to make things happen during talks from leading local and regional entrepreneurs.

Breakout Sessions

We have asked leading local business minds to share personal insights on how to make ideas happen and help businesses grow. Dive deep into the ins and outs of idea execution and business advancement with our two tracks of breakout sessions, where top local and regional entrepreneurs share best practices on topics ranging from branding a startup to building an incredible career. The sessions will introduce you to methods for idea execution, and provide opportunities to connect with other attendees in a participatory setting. The results are dynamic, panel-based talks that will help you kick your ideas into action.

Network Mixer

The networking mixer provides the opportunity for you to connect with local entrepreneurs, pick their brains, forge new partnerships, discover mentors, and expand your client base. The Networking Mixer is open to all participants and local entrepreneurs and business owners.  This event is preceded by a crash course in speed networking—a whirlwind 3-minute opportunity to share your idea and forge connections.

Tools & Resources

Walk away with the knowledge, tools and resources that leverage strengths, magnify outcomes and grow your business.




Lisa Mae Brunson is a Creative Visionary, Speaker, Author & Social Innovator committed to impacting humanity on a global scale. She is founder of Wonder Women Tech, an International conference that picks up where TED leaves off in the Diversity and Inclusion sector, which celebrates, highlights and educates women and diversity in STEAM and innovation. She launched Junior Innovation Camp and Wonder Girls Camp teaching underprivileged kids how to code, build games and film, two hackathons–Hacks 4 Humanity, a hackathon for Social Good, (featured at ASU) and Wonder Women Hacks, a hackathon where women and men build mobile apps to address challenges facing women and girls.

Read More Here

2017 Event Speakers

Tanya Menendez

Tanya Menendez

A social impact entrepreneur, Menendez in 2012 co-founded Maker’s Row, an online platform used by over 140,000 businesses that helps democratize American manufacturing for small businesses, which have in turn produced over three million products in the United States. Before her entrepreneurial life, she worked at Goldman Sachs and Google. Menendez has been included in Forbes’s 30 Under 30 list and named one of People en Espanol’s Most Powerful Latinas, Business Insider’s Coolest People in Tech, and PopMechanic’s 25 Makers Who Are Reinventing the American Dream.

Jessica Resler

Jessica Resler

Jessica Resler is a Co-Founder and Creative Director at The Participation Agency, an award winning creative agency founded in 2011.  Jessica’s creative leadership allows iconic brands and start-up projects to reinvent and claim their relevance – turning the commercial into the connected.

Jessica has developed creative for brands like Sour Patch Kids, Oreo, Tinder, Foursquare, Red Bull, Alienware, Absolut, Top Shop, Joe & the Juice and many more.  In addition to client briefs, Jessica has concepted and developed platforms for The Participation Agency, including Outpost, Basecamp, Timeshare Backyard and #GetUpNY.  Jessica holds an MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business.

Jessica holds an MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business.

Nevena Christi

Nevena Christi

Nevena Christi is an artist with a passion to redefine the workplace. Having attended University in London, Paris and New York, she is a graduate of Parsons School of Design in fine art and fashion. She applied her talent working with Tiffany’s New York, Adrienne Vittadini , and before moving to El Paso spent 10 years as design director at NICOLE MILLER NYC. 
  In 1997 she partnered with Marty Snortum and took the helm at Rocketbuster Boots. In 20 years she has developed Rocketbuster Handmade Custom Boots into an internationally recognized label and visitor destination. With leather as her current medium she mixes classic tradition with cutting-edge style to create works of wearable art for a diverse selection of the unique and famous. She has collaborated with companies as diverse as Sotheby’s International and Monster Drink. Her passion to create a team environment  empowering young artists to apply their talents to a traditional industry has created a new vibrant model for the workplace. Sometimes you CAN teach an old dog new tricks and evolve to inspire!
Mariel Vargas

Mariel Vargas

Mariel Vargas is the CEO of Timer Glove and a senior at the New Mexico State University. She has presented her business in several startups competitions, and so far raised $75k to invest in her business. As a student she has done three summer internships, where she got the chance to experience working with world-wide companies based in the US. Mariel takes every opportunity to talk to others about her experiences as a women entrepreneur, because she believes in personal growth through an exchange of experiences.


Emily Calhoun

Emily Calhoun

Emily founded Floriography Flowers in 2011 in a tiny but mighty little patch of her family’s pecan orchard in Southern New Mexico. That small flower farm has since blossomed into multiple businesses including Floriography, Calhoun Flower Farms, and Florecita. Floriography Flowers is a Southwest-based floral design company specializing in the creation of lush, arrangements, and installations. Their designs are crafted with a nod to the rich agricultural history of the American Southwest, using locally-sourced, sustainably grown flowers whenever possible. Emily and Floriography are passionate about developing small female run farms and agricultural business. They do this through investment mentoring and business strategy workshops. When she isn’t out in the field or studio you can find Emily eating tacos and sitting on a porch with her fiance Eli and their dog, Tex.

Marci Dickerson

Marci Dickerson

Las Cruces native Marci Dickerson, owner of the Dickerson Group which encompasses Dickerson’s Catering, The Game, The Game Extra Innings, Dickerson Event Management and SSI (Sport Skills Institute). Marci received her MBA from NMSU and is the proud mother of two sons’ Saxon and Weston.  The Dickerson Group has been an active supporter of many local charities. Marci founded Revolution 120 as a different type of charity to meet many of the needs in the Las Cruces area that were not being met.

“Our goal is to change the way Las Cruces gives and to utilize 100 percent of those gifts to make a profound impact in the lives of the people we give to.”

“We created the pay it forward aspect to insure these charitable gifts would have a far greater impact and to help create a culture of serving others in our community.”

Lisa Abeyta

Lisa Abeyta

Lisa is Founder and CEO of APPCityLife and Cofounder of Hautepreneurs. Earlier this year, she was named the 7th most influential voice globally on government technology. Her company, APPCityLife, has been named a top 100 Civic Tech Company for both 2016 and 2017, was a winner of the 2017 Smart Cities Innovation Showcase and a winner of the 2017 New Mexico Innovation award.  Lisa serves on the Congressional Small Business Advisory Council to Congresswoman Michell Lujan Grisham and also serves in leadership for the Living Cities Albuquerque Initiative. Since 2013, she has been a judge for the prestigious International Stevie Business Awards for Women. She is a former recipient of the New Mexico Women of Influence and New Mexico Technology Council’s Women in Tech awards. She is a columnist for Inc. Magazine and HuffPost and is a frequent speaker on the issues of government, technology and women in leadership.

Estela Hernandez

Estela Hernandez

Estela Hernandez is the Managing Director, President and Chairman of the Arrowhead Innovation Fund. She has over 15 years of leadership and management experience working in the public health, interior design, and business sectors. Estela has a particular interest in seed- and early-stage companies. Estela launched a design strategy firm in Las Cruces, New Mexico in August 2012 where she works at the intersection of design thinking and business strategy, helping entrepreneurs and startups design innovative business models and compelling customer experiences using new frameworks and tools. Since 2013, she has served as an Enterprise Advisor at Arrowhead Center where she teaches design thinking innovation and advises clients of the Arrowhead Technology Incubator and Studio G student business accelerator, preparing them for the investment due diligence process. Hernandez is a Kauffman Fellow, a member of a distinctive world-wide network of expert innovation investors who provide smart, connected capital to fuel entrepreneurial change. Prior to earning an MBA in Design Strategy from the groundbreaking program at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, Estela earned a Bachelor of Community Health from NMSU and studied interior design with a concentration in healthcare facility design at The Illinois Institute of Art – Chicago.

Kerri Couillard

Kerri Couillard

Kerri Couillard has a Masters of Science in Computer Science and Media Arts from New Mexico Highlands University. Not only is she a Full-Stack web developer but she is Founder and CTO of Babierge – a baby gear rental marketplace with over 100 partners on-the-ground (averaging $700 per month each), serving 76 locations in 34 states/provinces including Canada and Puerto Rico. The Babierge platform has generated over 500K GMV since last May and the team has secured distribution partnerships with HomeAway and Destination Hotels with other big ones on the way. Kerri has received recognition from numerous competitive business programs including the Hautepreneur’s Haute Hopes accelerator program, 2 time winner at Catalyst Week in Albuquerque, a 2017 NM Innovations Award, and participation in the highly selective Women’s Startup Lab in Silicon Valley.












Breanna Serna-Cleghorn

Breanna Serna-Cleghorn

As a wife and mother to three boys, running is a great way for me to clear my head and keep my health a priority. As I run, I do so while looking over my shoulder, with the fear I may not know when someone is approaching me from behind. Defend Six will give me a sense of security and allow me to continue to enjoy my music while wearing my headphones. Keeping women safe is paramount for me. As I continue through this journey, I would like to use my resources as President of Defend Six Corporation in protecting women around the world. I am hoping, Defend Six will also give me the platform I need to protect and rescue women and young girls who have fallen victim to sex trafficking. My vision for Defend Six goes much further than a running device. I hope to have longevity as an entrepreneur and truly live to make a difference.


Facebook: defend six corporation

Twitter: @defendsixcorp @bre_d6

LinkedIn: Breanna Serna-Cleghorn

Instagram: defendsixcorporation

Ayla Bystrom

Ayla Bystrom

I brew. I brew Kombucha, I brew beer, I brew Jun and I brew happiness. My passion for hops, health, and happiness have lead me to a career in the Craft Beer Movement. After crafting recipes for the past seven years I have finally been able to pursue it as a professional dream through HoneyMoon Brewery. HoneyMoon is my female founded, Santa Fe based, bad-ass brewery which utilizes both traditional styles of beer brewing and the kombucha style of brewing. HoneyMoon Brewing fits right into the growing Craft Beer Movement by offering traditional beers while also filling a gap in the market with kombucha style beers. This process involves particular yeast and bacteria to produce beer which is low in sugar content, gluten free and a natural detoxicant. Perfect for not only the local health and organic markets but specifically the the sugar free and gluten free markets.

Alice Loy

Alice Loy

Author Alice Loy is CEO and Co-founder of Creative Startups. With 3 USA locations as well as accelerators in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, Creative Startups is a leading global startup accelerator for entrepreneurs in the creative industries. Alice is passionate about startups and loves working with creatives to build their companies. Alice holds an MBA and a PhD, lives on an old horse ranch outside of Santa Fe, has three dogs, two kids, and one husband.

Rosalinda Natividad

Rosalinda Natividad

Rosey is Founder/CEO of Incite Consultancy and oversees teams nationally to accelerate the funding capacity social enterprises through grant writing strategy. Her team has worked with some of the largest in the nation, from prestigious universities, to startup causes in developing countries. Rosey began with a focus in healthcare, supporting federally qualified health centers, medical schools, entrepreneurs and clinicians. As her network grew, so did the many focus areas Incite supports.

Rosey received her Bachelor’s in Science from Texas Tech University in Human Development and Family Studies, with a core concentration in Substance Abuse and Addiction. She earned her Master’s in Public Administration with a concentration in Finance and Border Health. In 2015, Rosey was chosen as one of fifty women worldwide for an elite coaching fellowship, working with other young women to create social change in different sectors. Rosalinda was the first Director of Commercialization for Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at El Paso, as well as their first Foundations and Corporate Relations Associate Director. Simultaneously, Rosalinda supported the operations of the Emerging Technology Fund for the TransPecos/El Paso region. During her tenure, she provided due diligence and screening of early stage ventures in biomedical, agricultural and other high tech industries for potential investment by the state of Texas and was featured in international documentaries on entrepreneurs for Romania and Kuwait. Her volunteer time is spent as Board Chair of the Paso del Norte Center of Hope, a fledgling nonprofit that seeks to end modern day slavery along the U.S./Mexico border.

2017 Schedule

10:00AM to 3:30PM

Registration opens at 9:30am

Reception following immediately

Mainstage Talks

The New Aliens & Adapting Your Environment

Nevena Christi, Bosslady and Creative Director at Rocketbuster Boots

She Started It

Being boss. Tackling the food, flower, and rental industries from the ground up.

Creative and talented women will share their stories about getting started and breaking into their respective industries.

They Funded it

Hidden treasures. Turning ideas into reality can require capital—sometimes, a sizable amount.

No matter what stage your company is in, having sufficient capital is nonnegotiable. In this interactive session, seasoned entrepreneurs and experts will talk about all things money.

Firestarter: Breaking Barriers in Entrepreneurship & Unraveling Diversity

Lisa Mae Brunson, Founder at Wonder Women Tech and Social Innovator


Grab a meal and enjoy a recess with your fellow conference attendees. Exchange contact information and sharp observations as you discuss what it means to start, run, or grow a business.


Breakout Sessions

I Have an Idea Track

Stand out from the Crowd

Whether you’re a team or organization tackling an intractable issue or a solo entrepreneur creating a new product or service, Design Thinking provides a toolbox for identifying the true issues/ opportunities and creating solutions that succeed.

Learn to identify the right problem, understand user needs, and create successful solutions.


I’m In Business Track

Futureproof Your Business

Your company is growing now, but is it really prepared for the future? This workshop will dive into the critical thinking and strategic plans you need to implement today for tomorrow.

Build a Brand People Love

Get an insider’s view of how world-class brands are created, and then roll up your sleeves alongside a senior brand strategy expert.

How Women Can Foster Inclusion By Changing The Way We Talk About It

Our words matter.

It isn’t just what we say but how we choose to speak about issues that determines how others view our message and respond. For example, read the following statement: Women’s Lib is certainly not a new issue, but just as our mothers and grandmothers fought against discrimination, our generation has a responsibility to continue that fight to make sure our daughters have equal access to the same opportunities that our sons enjoy. What did you picture? What did you feel? What stereotypes came to mind? We set the tone of a conversation by our choice of words.

As women entrepreneurs and leaders, we are greatly responsible for setting tone within our own organizations, communities and sometimes within national platforms, so it is imperative that we understand how our often very well-intentioned language may have unintended consequences. To do that, we need to explore our own inherent biases and how they shape our view of the world. And we must also try to understand others whose own backgrounds have led to very different views on the issues we are working to address.

When we have greater awareness of how our words will be perceived, we can use our words more effectively to evoke the changes we want to see.


Extra Perks

Inc. Office Hours in the Consulting Corner

We’ve assembled a team of experts in various areas – money, global, intellectual property, and scaling, among others – to offer one-on-one advice and answers to your most pressing business challenges. Visit the registration desk to see each consultant’s specific area of expertise and availability.


Questions? Answers!






Who should attend WE Mean Business?
WEMB is designed to educate and inspire women business owners in all industries who want to start or grow a bigger business, be more profitable, and have direct access to experienced women entrepreneurs who have been in their shoes and pushed beyond.

What if my business is still in the start-up phase?
First, congratulations for thinking BIG from the start! WEMB is for women who feel driven to grow a successful company and promises to serve golden nuggets to all attendees including start-ups, seasoned, and seven-figure entrepreneurs.  

Are men welcome?
Men are welcome and encouraged to attend the entire event. 

How about children?
Entrepreneurial-minded girls 13 years or older are welcome.




Can I register at the door?
Sorry, no. Registration must be placed in advance
so we can be ready for you!  

If I can't make it, is my registration transferable?
Yes, please just send us an email 48 prior to the event so we can note our records.

I am with the media and would like to do a story.
Who should I contact?
Thanks in advance! Please contact our Media Director:
Amanda Bradford at ambradfo@ad.nmsu.edu. 


2017 Platinum Sponsors

2017 Contributing Sponsors

2017 Gold and Bronze Sponsors

Gold Sponsors

Bronze Sponsors

2017 Event Photo Gallery

WE Mean Business Notebooks
Room of WEMB conference with panel of speakers on stage and crowd watching and listening
panel of women speakers at WEMB confernce
Keynote speaker Lisa Mae Brunson speaking on stage at WEMB conference
Estela Hernandez walking through break away session showing groups of women working at tables
Long shot of break away session with crowd and Jessica Resler at podium
WEMB stickers and other swag sitting on table
Kerri Couillard speaking on stage
Close up of man making cappuccino holding kettle of steamed milk
WEMB Speaker
Panel of women speakers at WEMB conference on stage
Woman from crowd asking question holding the mic
Keynote speaker Lisa Mae Brunson speaking and smiling at WEMB conference
Man and woman posing outside of WEMB conference
Jessica Resler walking among groups of break away sessions and women in groups talking
People registering at table with notebooks, stickers, and other swag
Emily Calhoun speaking on stage amid panel of other women
Male barista making cappuccino at WEMB conference
Kathryn Hansen, director of Arrowhead Center, speaking at podium at WEMB conference
panel of women speakers on stage at WEMB conference with woman on far right holding mic
Second panel of women speakers at WEMB conference, Marci Dickerson holding mic
Table of different types of cupcakes from conference
Jessica Resler standing at podium
Woman asking questions at booth featuring Arrowhead Center
Woman writing on post it note to stick on "Insights" board outside main room of WEMB conference
Emily Calhoun smiling and holding mic on stage amid panel of women
Woman posing with hand on hip in front of giant "WE" foam letters
male speaker at WEMB Conference
Broad view of the WEMB conference showing crowd
Close up of two Chica Cappuccinio cups
Cupcakes on display stand at WEMB conference
Crowd of break away session with woman laughing in front row and other women in crowd laughing
Kathryn Hansen at reception listening to conversation with two women
Two women, one on laptop, conversing on couches near coffee sign
Mariel Vargas holding mic and speaking on stage amid panel of women
Jessica Resler speaking at podium at WEMB conference

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NMSU is an equal opportunity institution. For disability accommodation, please contact Arrowhead Center, (575) 646-6120, arrowheadcenter@nmsu.edu

This event is an initiative of, and funded in part by,
the U.S. Economic Development Administration University Center for Regional Commercialization

Our sponsors make WE Mean Business Possible

Interested in becoming a sponsor?