As part of our mission to foster the entrepreneurial spirit, we are proud to present the State Forty Eight Foundation Entrepreneur Speaker Series - a four-week educational event with a unique networking component created for current and aspiring business owners.

If you’ve been sitting on a business idea or working hard to make your side hustle your main hustle, then this series is for you. Each session tackles a theme or topic that is central to the journey of the entrepreneur. Through engaging storytelling, expert guidance, and community cultivation, it is our hope that you will walk away better equipped and inspired to pursue your venture or get it to the next level.

There’s much knowledge and insight to be gained from individuals who have been through it before and from experts with valuable strategies to share.

By bringing together some of Arizona’s most remarkable founders, CEO’s, and industry experts, this series will provide direct access to professional resources and connect you with entrepreneurs who are on a similar path.


Weekly Wednesday Sessions
from 6 - 8PM MST
From August 3rd to August 24th


No Cost to Participate

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About Walter Studios

The Entrepreneur Speaker Series will be hosted and streamed live from Walter Studios in Downtown Phoenix.

Located on the corner of 7th Avenue and Roosevelt, Walter Studios is an evolving community concept & house of fun from your friends at Walter Productions.

Program Overview & Speaker Lineup


Building Your Vision

Wednesday, August 3rd

The foundation to any good business is a clear vision and purpose. A clear vision is the compass for where you want to go and purpose is what keeps you going.

During session one, you’ll hear from Walter Productions Founder, Kirk Strawn on how his vision for his company was born from an airport crash truck, and how it evolved into what it is today. Then Paige Dimakos, CEO at The Draft Network will take attendees through her professional journey and explain why having a clear vision was pivotal.

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Kirk Strawn

Founder - Walter Productions
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Paige Dimakos

CEO - The Draft Network

Cover Your Bases: Legal & Financial Planning

Wednesday, August 10th

What’s the difference between an LLC and Corporation? How do I submit a trademark? How do I plan for taxes? Do I need a budget?

It’s the part of entrepreneurship that no one likes to talk about, but it’s legal and financial business planning are perhaps two of the most important (and confusing) pieces of the puzzle to ensure protection and longevity for your business.

In session two, legal and financial experts will join us to discuss important legal factors that all businesses need to consider, mistakes to avoid, and walk you through some best practices when it comes to managing your business finances.

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Hua Chen, Esq.

Patent & Trademark Attorney - Booth Udall
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Ruth Carter, Esq.

Evil Genius - Geek Law Firm
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Michael Fussell, JD, LLM, CPA

Tax Law Associates, LLC

Marketing Matters: Building & Growing Your Business 

Wednesday, August 17th

Launching a business is one thing but knowing how to market it in today’s ever-evolving digital world is daunting – yet, a successful marketing strategy has an incredible impact on the success of your brand. With so many options, where should you begin? And how can you run a successful marketing campaign with a small budget?

To answer all of these questions and more, we’re bringing together a panel of some of the Valley’s most skilled and ingenious marketing minds. In addition to sharing their story and passion for marketing, they will speak to what business owners should consider when determining their marketing strategy.

Ashley Richards

Founder & CEO - E Squared Marketing
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Scott Harkey

Founder & CEO - OH Advertising

Terrence Murtagh

Entrepreneur, Investor & Lifelong Student (Heavy Pedal, First Place Coffee & Brand Overture)

Sara Schmillen

VP of Marketing - Kahala Brands



Build it to Last: Systems & Processes

Wednesday, August 24th

Business burnout is real. How can entrepreneurs create sustainable practices that allow for growth? The answer is good systems and processes. By incorporating foundational operational practices that help them manage teams, leads, sales and so much more - business owners give themselves room to do what they’re meant to do: lead and innovate.

In this final session, Dr. Radi Rahiminedjad will tell his story and explain how systems and processes were key to scaling Backfit Health & Spine from one location in Arizona to multiple locations across several states. Then Mackenzie Collier, founder of Mackenzie Collier Interiors will take the stage to speak about how she built her business through the implementation of systems and processes, and now coaches other designers to do the same with their firms in order to create the business of their dreams.

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Dr. Radi Rahiminedjad

Founder & CEO - Backfit Health & Spine
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Mackenzie Collier

Founder - Mackenzie Collier Interiors & Interior Design Business Coach

Our Hosts

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J Russell

Lifestyle Producer & In-Arena Host - Arizona Coyotes

J Russell joined Arizona’s Family as a Lifestyle Producer in March 2022. 

J’s first name has only one letter because his father named him after basketball legend, Julius Erving. (Remember Dr. J?) Prior to making his way back to Arizona, he worked his way around the South as a sports anchor and quick stint with the Phoenix CW.

After his time working in Phoenix as a Lifestyle/Entertainment reporter, J began to see a career outside of sports and accepted a position as a Morning Anchor in El Paso. Since moving back to his hometown of Phoenix, the former North High School graduate produces for “Your Life Arizona” and is currently the In-Arena Host/Reporter for the Arizona Coyotes. Go Yotes!

He is very active in the community speaking to the youth at school/churches about how to reach their goals, mentoring aspiring journalists, and is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ).

J is a friendly person and would love to meet new people. If you see him around the Valley, feel free to say hello, and follow him on Instagram.

You can catch “Your Life Arizona”, Monday through Saturday from 10 – 10:30 a.m. on 3TV.

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Zach Hall

Board President - State Forty Eight Foundation

Zachary Hall is an author, business development executive and community spark plug. A Phoenix, Arizona native, Zach is a graduate of Phoenix College, Arizona State University and University of Phoenix. 

He is the Director of Business Development at AvAir, a global leader in the aviation aftermarket industry. Previously, Zach spent 12+ years working in the Phoenix area professional sports scene, having worked for the NBA/WNBA, NHL, MLB, having performed in our community as Baxter the Bobcat, Howler the Coyote, and many others.

Zach serves the role of President of the State Forty Eight foundation and sits on the Grand Canyon University Honors College Advisory Board. In 2022 he was named to the prestigious, Phoenix Business Journal 40 under 40 list.

 He loves helping people connect and finding synergy in their work and personal interests.

These passions led him to writing his first book, “Don’t Sleep on Planes” which can be found on Amazon today.


Grants and Resources

State Forty Eight Foundation is committed to helping entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground and into our communities.

Because we stand by our mission to foster the entrepreneurial spirit, we’ve created a grant fund of $25,000 for new or aspiring business owners who join us live and fulfill the outlined requirements.

Meet last year’s grand prize grant winner, Melody Lewis, Co-Founder of Cahokia


Attendees will be eligible to apply for a grant by fulfilling the following requirements:

Attend 2 of 4 Sessions

In person or virtual livestream

Fill out at least 1 of the 4 Post-Session Surveys

Available at the end of each session

Submit a Grant Application*

* Grant Applications are sent to anyone who fulfilled the 2 requirements

Extra Perks!

Throughout the series, we will be offering our audience members opportunities to win things like one-on-one mentorship sessions with our speakers or free business services or products. To be eligible to win these perks, you must attend the session in person.

There will be a business resource library shared with all attendees after each session.

Interested in more resources?

Revisit the live recorded 2021 Entrepreneur Speaker Series videos here:

Presenting Sponsor

Our Sponsors

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