Due to COVID-19 we are delaying Lift Conference to a date not yet determined.



Steve Johnson

Founder and CEO, Under10 Playbook

Steve is a product management process coach, author, speaker, and advisor. His approach is based on the belief that minimal process and simple templates result in a nimble product marketing and management team.

Before founding Under10, Steve was a Pragmatic Marketing instructor for over 15 years and personally trained thousands of product and executive teams.


Karen VanHouten

Founder & Principal, Curious Red LLC

Over 20 years in enterprise UX have left Karen a tiny bit unhinged, kind of sweary, and intensely committed to designing better ways for teams to work together. She is the founder and principal of Curious Red LLC, where she provides coaching and amateur group therapy to teams looking to level up their design, leadership, and collaboration skills. Taking the best from human-centered design methodology and combining it with an almost unhealthy level of affection for complex, messy, human problems, she helps teams identify roadblocks and barriers to their potential, and helps them become more productive, more innovative, more collaborative, and most importantly, more human with each other. She can be easily won over with red wine, dark chocolate, or 80’s alternative music. 


Heather Whaling

Founder & President, Geben Communications

Heather Whaling is founder/president of Geben Communication. In 2016, she was named EY Entrepreneur of the Year in the Ohio Valley Region (OH, KY, IN).

After launching Geben in 2009, Heather’s data-driven approach to communication helped the firm evolve into a highly respected, sought-after, award-winning agency, focusing on PR, social media, and insights. With 25 employees and offices in Columbus and Chicago, Geben was named the national media relations agency of the year (Ragan/PR Daily) and a top 10 agency for startups (Agency Post).

​Heather serves on The Women's Fund of Central Ohio​ board of directors, and was appointed by Mayor Ginther to sit on the Columbus Women's Commission.


Jay Clouse

Founder, Unreal Collective

Host, upside.fm

Author, Linkedin Learning

Jay Clouse is a writer and entrepreneur from Columbus, Ohio.

He is currently the founder of Unreal Collective and cohost of the Upside podcast. Jay fell in love with building products through his first software startup, Tixers, a digital ticket exchange. Tixers was in the second class of the UpTech accelerator program in Covington, Kentucky, and raised a seed round of funding. After just a couple of years in business, Tixers was acquired in 2015.

In 2016, Jay worked as a product head with CrossChx, a venture-backed healthcare startup in Columbus, Ohio. There, he managed several hardware and software products and helped to launch two completely new products in the healthcare space. All along the way, Jay was actively engaged in the startup community as a local organizer and facilitator of Startup Weekend since 2012.

In 2017, Jay left CrossChx to combine his interests in product and community building through Unreal Collective, an online accelerator for founders and freelancers to find community and grow their businesses.

You can connect with Jay on social media @jayclouse or sign up for his daily blog at jayclouse.com.


Jane Guthrie

Solution Architect, Slalom Consulting

Jane has spent the majority of her career conceptualizing, architecting, evaluating, and enhancing digital user experiences for companies such as Sotheby’s, SunTrust, Lowe’s, Kraft, Nestle, Acura, Coca-Cola, Cox Communications and The Home Depot.

After many years in UX design, Jane transitioned to Product Management so that she could drive the creation of experiences and build software based on real user needs in collaborative, team-oriented settings. Using a blend of lean and agile methodologies, Jane works collaboratively with her clients to test and validate ideas and create easy-to-use experiences that bring their business strategy to life.

She is the proud owner of a dachshund named, Fabio, makes copious amounts of art in her spare tim and likes to tell jokes. The jokes aren’t always good.


Jim Canterucci

CEO and Founder, Constituent Hub

Jim Canterucci is the founder of Constituent Hub, an enterprise tool for leading change and has spent his career leading large organizational change and innovation. Jim is the author of Change Project Management The Next Step and Personal Brilliance. 


Ellen Gottesdiener

Product Coach & Founder, EBG Consulting

Ellen Gottesdiener is an Agile Product Coach and CEO of EBG Consulting, focused on helping product and development communities create valuable outcomes through product agility. Ellen is known in the agile community as an instigator and innovator for collaborative practices for agile product discovery and using skilled facilitation to enable healthy teamwork and strong organizations.  

She is an author of three books on product discovery and requirements including, with Mary Gorman Discover to Deliver: Agile Product Planning and Analysis, a frequent speaker, and works with clients globally. In her spare time, she is Producer of Boston’s Agile Product Open community and Director of Agile Alliance’s Agile Product Management initiative. You can connect digitally via her Blog | TwitterNewsletter | LinkedIn  


Morgan Howard

Innovation Manager, Safelite AutoGlass

 Morgan is an Innovation Manager at Safelite AutoGlass responsible for supporting innovation across the organization through problem-solving, idea generation, and exploring emerging technologies and industry trends. Her professional experience blends IT business analysis, project management, technology strategy, creative thinking and design. She leverages this experience to identify opportunities and develop meaningful solutions. From ideation to implementation, Morgan is passionate about the innovation process and making ideas become things. 


Brian O'Riordan

Vice President, CityScapes International

Brian is a lifelong learner and noticer of things with a passion for problem solving and connecting the non-obvious.  


Michael Mancuso

Manager of Digital Analytics, The Wendy's Company

Michael has spent the past 15+ years building products that he can honestly say he's proud to use. His ethos centers around finding the root causes of problems and coming up with fresh, innovative ways to solve them.

He has worked with start-ups, restarts, and FORTUNE 500 companies to introduce new products to market. That journey has led to a lot of successes and a few failures.

Those experiences are what made him what he is today, and heavily influence how he practices his craft at Wendy's.


Dan Rockwell

Founder & CEO, Big Kitty Labs

Born on the roots of rapid prototyping and Startup Weekends Dan Rockwell is the of co-founder of Big Kitty Labs, a digital software agency. The work by him and his team can be found in numerous startups and fortune 500 companies in the region and nationwide. His path to now is a story in itself from working in anime to design research to intellectual property at OSU all the while working his love for startups and rapid product development. He volunteers his time at events like Startup Weekend, Give Back Hack and Wake Up Startup and serves as interim CTO at PopCom an automated retail startup in Columbus.  For fun Dan enjoys writing, performing in an electronic music band and mixing tiki cocktails.


Kevin Dwinnell

Head of Product Strategy and Commercialization, TAIVARA

Kevin, head of product strategy and commercialization for TAIVARA, has a history of driving product innovation, testing early business markets and forging strategic relationships to boost top-line revenue. 

With more than 20 years in the startup and digital technology space performing work for leading brands like AOL, Cardinal Health, HP, InterDigital and Sony to emerging companies like Acceptd, Brand Thunder and Flip Video, he helps minimize missteps and improve chances for success. His experience in launching and growing new business in both B2B and B2C categories also include efforts for Alliance Data, Hanna-Barbera Studios, Emerson Network Power and Turner Broadcasting.


Ryan Frederick

Principal, AWH (@awhnet)

Director, Startup Grind (@startupgrind | @startupgrindcmh)

Chairman, i.c.stars|*COLUMBUS (@icstarscolumbus)

Advisor, Rev1 Ventures (@rev1ventures)

Co-founder, <BLK hack> (@black_hack)

Ryan Frederick has had the privilege of being part of several startups and growth companies. He has helped companies grow from inception, to viability, through to sustainability. During the evolution of these companies, Ryan as served on company boards and been instrumental in capitalization activities. He has also helped companies to expand to international markets. Ryan brings a unique blend of business acumen and technical knowledge to help companies and clients achieve their objectives. He now helps companies of all sizes build great software products and become better product companies, mentors and advises entrepreneurs and startups, and launched a non-profit workforce development program to train under-employed adults on digital skills. 


Suprasanna Mishra

Senior Product Manager, Buffer

Super is currently a product manager at Buffer on their core product, Buffer Publish. Publish currently serves over 4 million marketers helping them find success on social media for their businesses. He enjoys working with the unique benefits and challenges of a fully remote and transparent company of 70+ people.

Before Buffer, he was co-founder at a VC-backed marketing company, Capstory, serving small businesses through the F50 and the founder of a web development firm in Cincinnati.

His favorite parts of product management are talking to customers about their day to day challenges and the process of getting to the simplest version of a solution.


Jeff Blanchard

Creative Director, Highland Solutions

Jeff has designed products and services across numerous verticals for nearly 20 years. His drive to experiment, learn rapidly through dialog and be inclusive of multiple perspectives comes from founding or being part of several startups and growth oriented companies. These environments demand continuously trying new things, pivoting from what doesn't create traction, and using all available resources at hand. And a lot of hustle.

He believes that even the best value props are imaginary until the voice of the customer is present, and works with clients to create models & maps that keep the customer perspective front and center.

Jeff leads product experimentation and human-centered design within Highland’s CX & Delivery practices, and has found that collaborative design is highly beneficial, if not critical, to product success.


Ryan Eder

Founder and CEO, IncludeFitness

Ryan is Founder and CEO of IncludeFitness, a digital health & wellness company transforming physical medicine, rehabilitation and wellness to improve outcomes while lowering barriers & costs. Ryan has received 20+ international design, innovation and health awards with over 10 years of experience in the sporting goods, medical, housewares, industrial, and consumer electronics industries. In 2016, has was recognized as a 'Healthcare Hero' and was in the 40 under 40 class of 2017 by the Cincinnati Business Courier.


Amelia Menk Brown

Director of Product Management, McGraw-Hill Education

Amelia has worked in the K-12 Educational Technology field for nearly 20 years in a variety of roles from IP Management to Product Development. She currently specializes in partnerships, change management, and diversity and inclusion.


Rehgan Avon

Product Owner, Open Data Group

Rehgan is the Product Owner at Open Data Group. Rehgan graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering specializing in Data Analytics. During her time at OSU she launched the Big Data and Analytics Association. Rehgan also founded the Women in Analytics Conference to showcase women doing amazing things in the analytics space. She has focused her career on improving technology supporting operations in machine learning development and deployment. 


Pete Anderson

Principal Product Owner, Target 

Pete is an experienced Product Discovery Coach with a demonstrated history of helping teams define their products, customers, outcomes, and hypotheses. He has 20+ years of technology solution delivery experience with deep expertise in Product Management, Agile Methodologies, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Business Process, and Team Building.

For the past three years, Pete has been accountable for driving Enterprise adoption of the Product Model at Target, including internally facing product teams and partner business teams. He has owned and driven Target's Product Management Community of Practice, founder of Target’s Annual Product Management Conference “Product DNA”, is the Co-Organizer of ProductTank Twin Cities, and founder of the Agile Transformation Leadership Meetup.

He believes that Product is the gateway to Business Agility and seeks to create a strong Product Management Community in the Upper Midwest.


Derek DeHart

Derek is a Product Manager at Root, a company using technology to reinvent the car insurance industry. As a Product professional with over 15 years of leadership experience, he serves teams by helping them to discover the next most valuable thing to deliver to their customers. He also serves as co-founder, COO, and member of the Board of Directors for DACA Time, a social enterprise to reduce the barriers to success for Dreamers.

Derek is a passionate member of the social entrepreneurial and technology communities in Columbus. He co-organizes the Columbus Product Club, leads the organizing team for GiveBackHack in Columbus, and is a founding board member of the Columbus chapter of Conscious Capitalism.


Dave Daniels

Vice President, Customer Success

Dave Daniels is uniquely qualified to ensure that every customer has the tools they need to successfully implement the Pragmatic Marketing Framework. He has more than two decades of experience helping technology companies become more market-driven in roles that include software developer, sales engineer, product manager, product marketing manager, executive, leader and entrepreneur, and also, former Pragmatic Marketing instructor. 

According to Dave, “There’s a tendency for people to feel paralyzed until they have all the facts and data. But, as Winston Churchill says, ‘Perfection is the enemy of progress.’ My goal is to eliminate that paralysis by equipping every Pragmatic Marketing student to be successful at implementing what they learned in class, not only at the individual level but also at the departmental and corporate levels.”


Brett Buchanan

Director, Product Management

Brett Buchanan is experienced and proven product leader with passion for finding the right new set of technology investments to keep the business moving forward. He has had the opportunity to build products from scratch, as well as grow and evolve existing businesses that are used by millions of people. 

Principle UX Consultant at Cardinal Solutions Group

Adam Deardurff

Principle UX Consultant at Cardinal Solutions Group

Adam Deardurff is a principal consultant at Cardinal Solutions. He has over a decade of digital experience grounded in uncovering user and business insights that drive creation of meaningful products and experiences. His expertise has been leveraged by everyone from startups to global organizations in strategically building brands, content, campaigns, sites, software, and apps. 


Devin Hughes

Client Insights Lead, Geben Communications

Devin Hughes serves as client insights lead at Geben Communication, overseeing all client service at the agency. In this role, he is focused on ensuring day-to-day activities align with each client's business priorities, and providing recommendations to his clients as industries, audiences and technologies evolve. In 2017, he spearheaded the launch of an Insights division within Geben, which leverages data analysis to solve problems, accelerate progress and advance a client's business goals.

With a background originating in PR and social media, Devin quickly became fascinated by the role communications data could play in decision-making throughout an organization. Leveraging these insights, he has provided strategic consultation across a broad spectrum of organizational functions, informing decisions such as product R&D, nonprofit fundraising approaches, scaling strategies, issues management and more. As a strategist and analyst, he has presented recommendations at numerous board meetings and business planning summits.


Jared Faris

VP of Solutions, HMB

Jared is a Microsoft MVP and the VP of Solutions at HMB, an IT solutions provider in Columbus, OH and Louisville, KY. His focus is on building great teams that go out and solve the most difficult problems for their clients. Jared helps organize Stir Trek as well as a variety of other events in and around Columbus, OH. He is an international keynoter and frequent conference speaker. In fact, if he doesn't have some conference deadline he doesn't know what to do with himself. You can find out more about him at jaredthenerd.com or follow him @jaredthenerd.


Tracie Stamm

Principal, Articulate Marketing Strategy

Tracie is a strategic marketer with experience in business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) industries. In over 15 years, she has specialized in new product development and go-to-market strategy for technology, financial services, consumer packaged goods, and hospitality verticals.

 She's passionate about Columbus, women in business, historic neighborhoods, and coffee. She's a decent middle-distance runner and secretly aspires to be a pretty bang-up home cook some day.


Travis Smith

CEO and Founder, TribeVest

We are on a mission to simplify group investing.  The TribeVest platform makes it easy to form and fund your group with the purpose of investing together.  

My siblings & I formed the first tribe in 2006. At that time, we were young, fresh to markets, the workforce, and family life. In hopes of financial freedom, and righting the investment wrongs of our parents’ generations, we were looking for a way to purchase and own, what we considered ‘dream investments’. 

13 years on this journey has allowed us to design and develop dynamic strategies for use by others on their path to making wealth-creating and sustaining dream investments. 


Nilanjan Raychaudhuri

Head of Emerging Opportunities, Pillar Technology 

Nilanjan Raychaudhuri is Head of Emerging opportunities at Pillar Technology where his job is to help customers to adopt emerging technologies to solve real business problems. Nilanjan has previously worked with ForgeX, Typesafe, ThoughtWorks, and LivingSocial where he worked on building products and large-scale distributed systems.


Chris Rockwell

Founder & CEO, Lextant

Chris is the founder and CEO of Lextant, a user experience consultancy dedicated to informing and inspiring design through a deep understanding of people, their experiences and aspirations. With a vision for design research at the heart of innovation, Chris formed Lextant and led the development of immersive research methods and translation strategies to identify and clarify opportunities for product, retail, brand and interactive design programs. His contextual, ethnographic, participatory and modeling frameworks have helped clients such as Ford, Fiat Chrysler, P&G, Nationwide and others deliver products and solutions aligned with the emotional, behavioral and experiential needs of their customers.

More speakers to be announced soon!