2020 Get Started Rhode Island
Meet Our Workshop Leader
Co-Founder of the American Confidence Institute & author of 6 books, Alyssa Dver, shares brain science-based research, tools and tips so that students & professionals can inspire more confidence in themselves and other people.
Recognized as the world’s Chief Confidence Officer and one of Boston’s Best Speakers, Alyssa constantly crusades for real, sustainable confidence through keynotes, workshops, and ACI’s always sold out coaching certification classes.
ACI clients include MIT, Wharton, Harvard, IBM, Spotify, Wayfair, Pepsi, The US Air Force, State Street, Staples, The Royal Bank of Canada, plus dozens more.
With prior success as a corporate marketing executive and serial entrepreneur, Alyssa‘s unique expertise is leveraged as a professional advisor at MIT’s Trust Center, adjunct faculty at Wharton’s Innovation Center, and as a finalist judge for both the Women in Business and the Best Employer annual Stevie awards. Alyssa also happily accepts hugs as payment from several non-profits that give more confidence to kids.
Meet Our 2020 Moderator
Mike Ritz (LRI ’07), Executive Director
Training language instructors from multiple cultures while studying applied psycholinguistics at Compania Linguistica in Mexico City sparked Mike’s lifelong interests in human behavior and communication.
Over the past 25 years, Mike served as a Tri-lingual interrogator in the U.S. Army, established his first company by the age of 25, motivated people to excel at his fitness Boot Camps, and served as a Regional Manager for an international healthcare company based in the United Arab Emirates. A former on-call interrogation analyst for CNN, Mike has been interviewed hundreds of times for TV, radio, newspapers and magazines. He participated in nine documentaries in the past 15 years; “Songs of War” won an International Emmy.
Under Mike’s leadership for the past ten years, Leadership Rhode Island has received numerous accolades, including the Excellence in Public Service Award by Common Cause RI, two National Innovation Awards from the Association of Leadership Programs and two Community Outreach Awards from the RI Press Association for public forums in partnership with The Providence Journal and Rhode Island College. LRI’s innovative Make RI Stronger social enterprise is recognized by Gallup as an inspiration for the global strengths movement.
On the heels of serving as the Rhode Island Chairman for the Department of Defense Employer Support of the Guard & Reserve (ESGR) since 2012, Mike spearheaded the national transformation from an executive strategic subcommittee to ESGR’s first board of directors since its inception in 1972. He was awarded the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service before being recruited to serve on the board of a national nonprofit focused on decreasing veteran suicides.
Mike is also the Chairman of The Avenue Concept, the Director of Cultural Food Initiatives for the award-winning Providence Cultural Equity Initiative, and a newly appointed board member for the national Association of Leadership Programs.
Meet Our 2020 Judges
Shannon Shallcross, Co-founder and CEO, BetaXAnalytics
Shannon Shallcross is a data-enthusiast who believes that data interpretation holds the key to solving healthcare’s toughest challenges. She has served as an executive in the insurance and health industries over the past decade and has advised a broad range of Fortune 500 clients. As the co-founder and CEO of BetaXAnalytics, her company uses the power of data science “for good” to improve the cost, transparency and quality of healthcare.
BetaXAnalytics has been named one of “7 Startups to Watch” in 2018 by RI Inno and they are the recipient of the “50 on Fire” innovation award. The company has built a custom data analytics platform as well as tools to measure healthcare waste, medication adherence, as well as health risk measures among a variety of disease states. Most notably, they built a tool that uses natural language processing to scan through millions of doctors notes and faxes to identify incorrect patient coding. This technology produced a $1.3 million discovery in corrected HCC risk scores to increase CMS reimbursements for a New York-based health plan.
A TEDx speaker, Shallcross has been recognized as a 40 Under Forty award winner by Providence Business News for career and community accomplishments.
Karl Wadensten, President/CEO, VIBCO Vibrators
Karl Wadensten is the President/CEO of VIBCO Vibrators, an industrial manufacturing company with offices in Rhode Island and Canada, and licensors in the United Kingdom and Australia, serving over 360,000 customers worldwide.
Under Mr. Wadensten’s leadership, VIBCO has won numerous awards, including Providence Business News “Best Places to Work in Rhode Island,” Best Companies, the Progressive Manufacturing PM100 Award, and a Providence Business News Business Excellence Award.
Mr. Wadensten is a member of the National Speakers Bureau, a lecturer on culture change and Lean Operations as well as serving on the Lean Steering Committee for Rhode Island’s Economic Development Council. Governor Gina Raimondo visited VIBCO in April of 2015 at which time she signed the Executive Order to Implement Lean in Rhode Island Government.
Arnell Milhouse, Co-founder/CEO, CareerDevs Computer Science University
Arnell Milhouse is a Co-Founder and CEO of the CareerDevs Computer Science University and Dracōdess Software Engineering. He is also an Entrepreneur in Residence at the Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship at Brown University. Arnell is also the founder of SeedXL, a startup seed accelerator that he is to launch soon and he is the originator of the term “Silicon Rhode.” CareerDevs is disrupting the education sector by ushering in the future of 21st-century skills education. The university rigorously educates and prepares software engineers in as little as 9 to 12 months rather than 4 years.
CareerDevs is on pace to produce more software engineers annually, who live and work in Rhode Island than all other institutions combined. It is a workforce development initiative that delivers high-wage employment opportunities for Rhode Island adults of any age. CareerDevs students can earn an abbreviated degree in computer science and land a guaranteed job, earning a salary between $55,000 – $90,000. All in under a year or less and without incurring ANY debt. CareerDevs is preparing to scale and expand online/nationwide in Q3, 2019. In 2017 he coined the term “Silicon Rhode” in a TEDx Providence talk of the same name. That same year he was also invited to give a ‘Talk at Google.’ His talk was entitled “Rebooting Emerging Domestic Markets.
”With Arnell Milhouse as its founder, IntraCity Geeks, a K-12 STEM education startup which he founded in 2015, was recognized by then President Barak Obama. It was also the recipient of an American Innovation “50 on Fire” award for its innovative work in STEM education.Arnell is the co-founder of the first official hackathon for the City of Providence, RI (www.HackPVD) and the first official hackathon for the State of Rhode Island (www.HackRI.com)
John Rafferty, Founder/CEO, Retail MarketPoint
2019 Get Started Pitch Competition Winner
John Rafferty is the Founder and CEO of Retail MarketPoint, a Commercial Real Estate technology firm that specializes in location intelligence, and winner of the 2019 Get Started Rhode Island pitch competition. Retail MarketPoint provides the CRE industry a common language – a score – to evaluate retail properties. BrandScore™ is a universal, objective, real-time measure that instantly evaluates any location in the U.S. for any retail brand or concept.
Rafferty is also Founder and President of Devonshire Associates Ltd., a leading provider of information products and services. For over twenty years, Devonshire has been quietly providing data to the nation’s leading media, retail, real estate and financial services firms. In 2015, Devonshire acquired media firm SEA-RCH.com as part of its wider strategy to produce, enhance and deliver the most valuable geospatial information in the market.
Rafferty was also founder of AMMI, a college search marketing firm that was acquired by Universal Wilde of Holliston, MA.
An Entrepreneurial Studies graduate of Babson College, Rafferty resides in Westerly with his wife and co-worker, Karen, and their three children.