The State Forty Eight Foundation is excited to bring back the 2023 BetMGM Entrepreneur Speaker Series presented by OGeez! and Drink in AZ. This is a four-part educational and community-building event created for current and aspiring business owners in Arizona. 

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 central to the entrepreneur's journey. Through engaging storytelling, expert guidance, and community cultivation, our aim is that you 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, CEOs, 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 - 9PM MST
From September 6th - 27th


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


Vision to Venture

Wednesday, September 6th

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

We’re kicking off this series with two dynamic keynote speakers that are sure to leave an impression! Join us to hear from the Founder of The Million Dollar Teacher Project, Lloyd Hopkins, about the importance of finding your “why”. Having started down many career paths only to pivot to another, Lloyd is a testament to how sometimes we need to let go of one vision to pursue another more aligned one.

Next, Darren Rovell, Founder and CEO of KickStand Cocktails and former ESPN reporter will take the stage. He will delve into the crucial aspect of how having the right people around you can be the catalyst that takes your idea from good to great. For aspiring entrepreneurs entering competitive industries, Darren's candid insights will prove invaluable, offering a unique perspective on standing out from the crowd by effectively differentiating their products or services.

As a bonus, the Chief Legal Officer at OGeez! and CEO, Bran Noonan, will share some of his advice on best legal practices for startups and small businesses.

Picture of Mike Spangenberg

Lloyd Hopkins

Executive Director & Founder, The Million Dollar Teacher Project

Darren Rovell

Founder & CEO, KickStand Cocktails

Bran Noonan

CEO & Chief Legal Office, OGeez!

Authentic Leadership & Brand Identity

Wednesday, September 13th

Authenticity in leadership is a powerful catalyst that not only shapes one's brand identity but also fosters trust, inspires loyalty and sets the foundation for genuine “buy-in” from both employees and customers.

As the owner and CEO of the health and wellness company, Kaleidoscope Juice, Brooke McGregor knows precisely how important it is to align your brand with your core values. Brooke will share how her leadership set the tone for not only her employees but for how customers identify with her brand as well. 

Then, the Founder of Indigenous Community Collective, Melody Lewis, and Valley Artist, Futuristic, will join us for a discussion on all things leadership and how to build an authentic brand. 

Brooke Graves

Owner & CEO, Kaleidoscope Juice

Melody Lewis

Founder, Indigenous Community Collective and Cahokia


Artist & Entrepreneur, Indie Amplify, Support The Homies Management, Kaidoni Homes, and AdVANtures 

Building a Community for Brand Growth

Wednesday, September 20th

Lindsey Schwartz, the entrepreneur behind Powerhouse Women, has achieved an extraordinary feat – propelling her company to global recognition without ever resorting to traditional advertising methods. Instead, her success lies in a refreshingly organic approach to marketing that revolves around genuine connection. By prioritizing authentic interactions and fostering meaningful relationships, she has cultivated a thriving community of thousands of members spanning the globe.

For our panel, industry-leading experts, creative agency owners, and small business owners converge to share invaluable advice and insights on marketing your business. You will hear how they’ve supported their clients with their launches or how they’ve navigated their own business marketing decisions. Come prepared to gain invaluable knowledge and strategies to elevate your own venture. 

Lindsey Schwartz

Author, Investor & Founder, Powerhouse Women

Dustin Trout

Founder & Chief Strategy Officer, EIC Agency

Matt Miera

Founder, Strap Photo Club

Michael Jackson

CEO & Chief Creative Officer, Mya Kai Creative



Scaling Sustainably

Wednesday, September 27th

As your business grows, the demand for enhanced efficiency and sustainable practices becomes increasingly evident. Although this is a good problem to have, putting in place solid systems and processes will create clarity and curb burnout for you and your employees. 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, Rebecca Clyde, CEO and Co-Founder of will share her story and explain how systems and processes were essential to growing her business. As a founder of a company that offers system-and-process solutions to health and wellness companies, Rebecca is especially qualified to shed knowledge on how business owners can not only implement these solutions into their organization but also assess whether they are in a position to scale in the first place. 

Shannon Breen, CEO and Founder of FreightVana, and Bleuwave CEO and Founder, JJ Levenske, will join us on stage to dig a little deeper. Our panelists will unveil their approach to implementing effective frameworks for success and we'll also explore the delicate balance between ambition and caution, as we delve into how business owners overly fixated on scaling, may unintentionally hinder their own growth prospects.

Rebecca Clyde

CEO & Co-Founder,

Shannon Breen

Co-CEO & Founder, FreightVana

JJ Levenske

CEO & Co-Founder, Bleuwave

Our Hosts

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.

J Russell

News Anchor & Marketing Professional
Picture of Mike Spangenberg

Lisa Matthews

State Forty Eight Podcast Host & Entrepreneur

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.


We're awarding $50,000 to Arizona business owners

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 $50,000 for new or aspiring business owners who join us live and fulfill the outlined requirements.

Eligible attendees will have the opportunity to apply and receive up to $10,000 from the grant pool.

Meet our 2022 grant winners


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

Attend 3 of 4 Sessions

In person or virtual livestream

Fill out at least 3 of the 4 Post-Session Surveys

Available at the end of each session

Submit a Grant Application*

* Grant applications are sent to anyone who fulfills the two aforementioned 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.

Interested in more resources?

Revisit the live recorded 2022 Entrepreneur Speaker Series videos here:

Thank You Sponsors

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