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Startup Storytellers Features Alumni Entrepreneurship Stories

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Startup Storytellers, an event featuring Taylor University alumnae/alumni sharing their entrepreneurship stories with members of the Taylor community, is scheduled Friday, April 28, from 1–4 pm, and is among the highlights of Taylor’s 2017 Heritage Weekend.

The event is hosted by Taylor’s Promising Ventures and Alumni office, and will be held in the Cornwall Auditorium in the LaRita Boren Campus Center. Featured guests include Caleb France, Cerulean Restaurants; Zeke Turner, Mainstreet Investments; Ben and Laura Harrison, Jonas Paul Eyewear; JR Kerr, Handshake; and Jim Lane, Devonwood Capital.

Speaker bios:

  • Caleb France, Cerulean: Since graduating from Taylor University in 2004 with the desire to become an entrepreneur, Caleb France combined his two loves of business and cooking and created Flying Fish, INC. which has now grown into multiple Cerulean Restaurants in Winona Lake and Indianapolis as well as Light Rail Roasters, Light Rail Cafe, The Garden Winona, Winona Heritage Room and CLF Development.
  • Ben and Laura Harrison, Jonas Paul Eyewear: Ben and Laura Harrison founded Jonas Paul Eyewear after the birth of their son, Jonas Paul, who was born with a rare sight disorder, Peter’s Anomaly. They launched their business after growing frustrated about the limited eyeglasses options for children. Since its founding in 2013, the Jonas Paul Eyewear has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Harvard Business Review and other publications, in campaign’s with H&M and other clothing brands, and has garnered numerous awards for its social responsibility and design.
  • JR Kerr, Handshake: JR Kerr is Founder & CEO of Handshake, a boutique reputation firm focused on connecting corporate strategy and core business to philanthropy and global affairs. He works with clients that include Caterpillar Foundation, MSNBC and Target, helping them build their reputations while they grow their businesses as responsible and innovative corporate citizens. With over 15 years’ experience in convening networks of influence around social issues and creating stories around these partnerships, Kerr has served as the director of programming and curation for Chicago Ideas Week and has worked with influencers and organizations such as The Gates Foundation, The One Campaign, Global Poverty Project, Soledad O’Brien, The White House Public Engagement Office, and the Office for Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
  • Jim Lane, Devonwood Capital and New Canaan Society: Jim ​Lane is the managing partner of Devonwood Capital Partners, an investment firm which has provided advice, counsel, strategy and direction to a variety of clients, including, Ripplewood Holdings, Infinium Capital Management and NanoHoldings, LLC. In addition to his investment work, Lane is founder and chairman of the New Canaan Society, a non-profit organization developed to encourage men in the workplace and life to be better husbands, friends, and community members.
  • Zeke Turner, Mainstreet: Since 2002, when Zeke Turner founded Mainstreet after a brief career on Wall Street, his company is now one of the nation’s largest developers of transitional care properties.

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