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Gary Bizzo

Gary Bizzo

Bizzo Management Group

Gary Bizzo has Mentored over 1000 business leaders, investors & entrepreneurs. Bizzos book, “How to Start a Successful Business The First Time!” is on Amazon. He was a National Finalist in the 2014 Business Development Bank of Canada Mentorship Award. His book was nominated for the International 2014 Small Business Book Awards. He was a Nominee for the 2014 & 2015 International Small Business Influencer Award. Entrepreneur Magazine, in 2014, said Bizzo was one of 17 Masters of Marketing & PR Entrepreneurs Can Learn From.

Bizzo is a Social Media ‘Agent of Change’ and an expert at managing multiple businesses with several hundred thousand followers on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. He helped change Canadian Law through Bill C-470 that made charities more transparent.

He is an Elite Weekly writer for Equities.com the largest platform for emerging growth companies. He is also a Contributing Columnist for Stockhouse.com, Canadas #1 financial portal and one of North America’s largest small cap investor communities.

Bizzo ran two business incubators for 13 years where a community of entrepreneurs with innovative ideas were nurtured and supported through workshops, bootcamps, mentoring, executives in residence and financing options.

He is a Partner at Equifaira Advisors Inc. – Liquidity Event Planners. Equifaira are specialists in strategy & execution, corporate finance, capital formation & investor relations.

His next book, “Startups From Early Stage to Early Growth” will be in stores in May 2017.

Heidi Rasmussen

Heidi Rasmussen


After 27 years in the retail industry, Heidi took on a new challenge — from corporate life to entrepreneurship — from fashion retail to the employee benefits industry. At JCPenney, she oversaw the largest brand launch in JCPenney history. As co-founder and COO of freshbenies, she developed the brand from zero members to one of Inc. 5000’s fastest growing companies in America for two consecutive years (#117 in 2015 and #255 in 2016).

Jason Swenk

Jason Swenk


Fresh out of college Jason was off to work for Arthur Andersen, one of the big 5 consulting firms. He quickly realized that it was not a good fit. Although it was not part of the plan, he decided to change direction, quit his day job and launch a digital agency that quickly grew to a multi-million dollar operation working with brands such as AT&T, Hitachi, and Lotus Cars. After 12 years of steady growth, the agency caught the attention of bigger agencies and Jason sold it in 2012.

Now, Jason leads JasonSwenk.com, a unique media company & consultancy helping marketing agencies grow, scale, and enjoy running their agency by applying the framework that he used to grow, scale and eventually sell his agency. Jason has helped over 10,000 agencies in 23 countries meet or exceed their business goals.

Jason generously shares it all as a frequent guest on popular radio and podcast shows. He has been featured as an expert in top media publications such as Entrepreneur and Inc. Magazine. Plus, he currently hosts two podcasts that are available for download and subscription on iTunes.

Vera Fischer

Vera Fischer

97 Degrees West

Vera Fischer began her career in residential real estate, working her way up from Leasing Agent to Property Manager. She segued to Operations Manager for the first privately held Cognitive Rehabilitation clinic in Austin, Texas.

In 1993, Vera launched her career at GSD&M, an internationally known advertising agency. After various positions within several Austin area agencies, Vera went client-side to Forgent Networks. There she managed and implemented a multi-million dollar marketing budget for several years.

In 2004, Vera founded her agency, 97 Degrees West known as The Brand Marketing Agency. Since 2004, the agency has survived both recessions and shown significant growth since 2012. Clients include: LS Tractor USA, United Heritage Credit Union, FirstCare Health Plans and several area small businesses in real estate, oil & gas and specialty medical practices.

97 Degrees West has been the recipient of 15 international creative and marketing awards including a Stevie Award from the American Business Association.

Vera is a member of the University Area Rotary Club, a member of the Advisory Board for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Texas State University, a Mentor at Capital Factory and most recently, was accepted to the Master’s program at Texas State University in Strategic Communications.

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