Twin Cities Startup Week 2021 Twin Cities Startup Week 2021
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Early EdTech Founders Panel


Teresa Marchek
Be the Match operated by National Marrow Donor Program, Senior Director of Provider Marketing

Strategist with over 20 years of experience driving growth and new product development within industries as varied as healthcare & digital health, e-learning & higher education, banking & payment technologies.

Jessica Thompson
Designing for Equity, LLC, Founder & CEO

Experiencing, observing, and listening to students’ struggles with oppressive educational institutions has driven me to commit my professional, academic, and personal life to being an agent of change within the field of higher education. Drawing from my multidisciplinary background in Higher Education, Social Work, and Youth Studies, I unify theories and concepts from these disciplines to examine, explore, and engage with issues impacting the success of undergraduate students. My multidisciplinary approach to student development and engagement provides me a distinctive vantage point that positions me to be an active learner, ally, accomplice, advocate, and cultural navigator. I strive to reflect my commitment to being a catalyst for change within higher education and ending educational inequity by bringing the voices of underserved student populations to the forefront so they are not forgotten.

Dieumerci Christel
Enlightapp, Founder

Dieumerci is an Edtech entrepreneur and an empathy-driven problem-solver whose mission is to become a serial entrepreneur that focuses on building social impact companies after resettling to the U.S. as a refugee. His current venture Enlight aims to help educators expand their capacity to know their students with student-built profiles full of actionable insights to inform their teaching and create inclusive learning environments. Enlight exists to enable teachers and students to live their purpose.

Josh Thelemann
Proserva, Founder & CEO

Josh Thelemann is the owner and Founder of Proserva. Josh is a former elementary school educator who started his first nonprofit in college. That nonprofit and its affiliate have since gone on to allocate just under $1million dollars in programming and resources to schools whose student population is 85% or more on free and reduced lunch. He is also the co-founder of New Leaders Council - Twin Cities, a cross-sector leadership institute with over 40 chapters across the county and 10,000+ alumni and fellows. Josh also co-founded an ed-tech startup that scaled to support schools and districts serving over 500,000 students. Most recently, Josh was the Founding/Interim Director of Black Men Teach - a local nonprofit focused on increasing the number of Black, male elementary school teachers.


Panel of founders of education startups will explore topics such as: How they identified and refined the education problem they are trying to solve? What progress have they made? What have been their biggest challenges so far? What advice do they have for other founders?

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