April 21-23, 2017


Events / Cleveland 2017



Mel McGee

Founder, CEO - We Can Code IT

Founder and CEO of We Can Code IT, Crain's Cleveland 2014 Woman of Note, and software engineer & architect with 20 years of professional experience, I am humbled to have the opportunity to give back to the community and shepherd new, diverse, programmers into tech careers.

My interest in bringing coding to everyone began nearly as soon as I started my role as a software engineer. I've worked in IOT, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality and enterprise development. Throughout my career, I've always found it satisfying to share my love of computer science and engineering subjects with kids, teens, & adults. We Can Code IT was born out of this love and my passion for equity.

As the CEO of We Can Code IT, I bring this mission to life.

At We Can Code IT our goal is to teach people how to code, especially those who don't typically feel invited to the field. Our coding boot camps flip the demographics of a traditional computer science classroom on its head. 80% of our students are women and people of color. My job is to help those in need find a new life, a new career, a new home in the tech community.

Charles Stack

Co-Founder, CEO - FlashStarts, Founder - StartMart

Charles Stack is a successful serial entrepreneur, angel investor, startup advisor, and the co-founder of the startup accelerator Flashstarts and StartMart Cleveland. Flashstarts launches 12+ new startups every year, providing a complete suite of services from formation, funding, and fund raising. Through their venture fund their startups can receive follow-on funding and they offer angels a carefully selected startup investment portfolio. Charles recently launched StartMart a 35,000 sq. ft. startup/co-working community in the Terminal Tower.

He has a passion (and history) for building great startups. His kids roll their eyes when he says he 'invented' Internet Retailing and Web Services, but it is literally true - see, Flashline and all the internet patents listed under his name.

Joel Byler

Software Developer, CoverMyMeds

Joel is one of many amazing software engineers at CoverMyMeds. He has experience working with startups as well as large corporations in a vast

array of programming languages.  He is also the organizer for the Cleveland Ruby Brigade and enjoys participating in community events such as Cleveland GiveCamp, Startup Weekend, and Global Day of Code Retreat.  Joel is passionate about helping students of all ages learn how to code and build their own software and has helped to facilitate and organize local Hour of Code and RailsBridge events.  He actively shares his new ideas and learnings with others both locally and at tech conferences around the country.


Adam Dunn

Co-Founder of Cleveland Co-Labs

Adam is an educator. Having spent the past 9 years creating community in public schools as a teacher, mentor and team leader he knows the troubles facing communities. After teaching across the country and returning to academics through the University of Pennsylvania for a Masters in Education Policy, he returned to Cleveland his hometown, to add value to the current renaissance underway. He is a past fellow through The Social Impact House hosted by the University of Pennsylvania, a program of the Center for Social Impact Strategy. His passion for learning, literacy, collaboration and developing empathy through creative means have led him to be a leader in the millennial change community. He serves as the President of the Cleveland Hub of the Global Shapers community, an international initiative of the World Economic Forum. He is currently a member of the Neighborhood Leadership Development Program, a program for community leaders in Cleveland, run by former Cleveland Mayor Michael White.

Evelyn Burnett

Vice President of Economic Opportunity, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress

Evelyn Burnett is vice president of Economic Opportunity at neighborhood Progress, an intermediary whose mission is to foster communities of choice and opportunity throughout Cleveland. Burnett oversees programs and initiatives integrating education, leadership building, community engagement, workforce and economic development and wealth building into the community development industry, and she coordinates the organization’s human development efforts to integrate with a region-wide place-making agenda. She sits on the board of several organizations, including Walsh University School of Business, Credit Builders Alliance and In Our Back Yards. Burnett holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Akron, where she also earned a bachelor of arts in business and organizational communications and public relations with a double minor in sales/marketing and dance.

David Wintrich

Chief Academic Officer, TechElevator

David Wintrich is Chief Academic Officer and co-founder of Tech Elevator, a 14-week coding bootcamp where students learn full-stack software development on either the Java or .NET platform and receive career-coaching and job placement assistance to begin careers in technology. He is responsible for Tech Elevator's academic quality and integrity and has been the lead Java instructor at Tech Elevator's Cleveland location since it began operation. Immediately prior to founding Tech Elevator, David was an Application Architect at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland where he was the technical lead for an application that collected over $100 billion a year on behalf of the U.S. federal government. Throughout his career, David has embraced mentorship roles and has been recognized as a patient and engaged teacher. He finds it immensely rewarding to share his knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm for software development with his students as well as others exploring the field through Tech Elevator's #LearnToCode meetups and Hour of Code events.

Jordan Johnson

Associate Instructor, We Can Code IT

Jordan Johnson was born in Cleveland and grew up in Shaker Heights. After high school he attended Shawnee State University and received a degree in Digital Simulation and Gaming Engineering Technology. He has a been involved with computers since a young age and loves to learn and keep up on new and emerging technology. Outside of coding Jordan can read, write and speak in Japanese he also has a strong interest in the culture. He wants to help students enjoy and understand coding.

Victoria Avi

Manager, Sustainable Business Center, Cleveland State University

Victoria Avi is a transplant from Azerbaijan. Her family moved to the US in ‘97. Cleveland is her new and forever home. She’s had the honor and the pleasure to work with and to learn from some of the best sustainability pros in Cleveland and the nation. Currently, Victoria is managing the Sustainable Business Center at CSU and teaching MBAs Sustainable Business Practices. Victoria is a proud double vike. #GoVikings! She earned a BA in Graphic Design and an MA in Environmental Studies from CSU. Sustainability, design, entrepreneurship and innovation are at the core of her work. Her earliest entrepreneurial endeavor was at the age of 9, reselling gum to her classmates.

Lorraine Schuchart

Founder, CEO Prosper for Purpose

After years of leading relationship management efforts for other organizations, Lorraine Schuchart had a vision for a company that could do well by doing good. She created Prosper for Purpose at her kitchen table in late 2012 and began working with clients a month later. In January 2016, Lorraine earned the company the prestigious B Corp Certification. B Corps meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability, and aspire to use the power of markets to solve social and environmental problems. Lorraine is an accredited public relations strategist and experienced fundraiser who has helped visionary leaders—from large companies to nonprofit organizations and educational institutions– achieve organizational goals for more than 25 years. She has earned numerous awards for both her writing and campaigns. Lorraine earned a BS in journalism and public relations from Bowling Green State University. She serves on the boards of PRSA Cleveland and CBC Magazine, and volunteers with several local organizations. She and her husband, acclaimed artist Robert Hartshorn, have two adult daughters. Their home includes a pack of rescue cats and dogs, proof of her failed ability to foster. Lorraine occasionally shares personal experiences and insights on her blog, Love, Lorraine: Letters from Midlife. Lorraine runs on solar power and caffeine.

Don Firca

Patent Attorney, Cooper Legal Group

Don Firca is a seasoned patent attorney with significant experience handling patent preparation and prosecution in the electrical, computer, chemical, and software related arts. Don also has experience with licensing, strategic IP counseling, IP related contract matters, and opinion work.

Don received his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering in 2006 and his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering in 1998 both from the University of Akron. Don received his Juris Doctor from Case Western Reserve University in 2001. Don is admitted to practice in Ohio as well as before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Don is associated with the Cleveland Intellectual Property Law Association, and the American Intellectual Property Law Association, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Ed Buchholz

Founder and CEO, ExpenseBot

Prior to founding ExpenseBot, an automated expense management solution, Ed founded 60mo, a web-based financial forecasting software tool prior to its acquisition by Edinburgh-based accounting software provider FreeAgent. After joining FreeAgent, Ed led their US localization and mobile product efforts.

Previously, Ed led the product team at ExpenseWire, an earlier generation expense management product, prior to its acquisition by Foster City-based personal assistant site Deem.

Additionally, Ed enjoys mentoring entrepreneurs and actively advises numerous founders and businesses in the Northeast Ohio area. He is a strong advocate for Cleveland's startup scene and is always willing to help out a fellow entrepreneur.

Ed lives in Cleveland with his wife and dog and enjoys traveling, indie music, and well-aged Scotch.

Josh Tucholski

Lead .NET Instructor, Tech Elevator

Josh Tucholski is the Lead .NET Instructor at Tech Elevator with over 12 years of experience creating .NET solutions ranging from small startups to Fortune 500 companies. Prior to Tech Elevator, Josh worked at Key Bank where he was a Solution Architect for their Community Bank team. He spent time working for a marketing agency and has provided technical expertise to a number of different industries including: healthcare, financial services, and e-commerce. Throughout his career, Josh has always taken the opportunity to mentor junior developers and college graduates helping them ignite their inner developer passion. He often participated in mock interviews and held mini-bootcamp weekends to share experiences from real world developers. On one of his favorite projects, he was a part of the team that developed one of the first SMS banking platforms. Josh's technical experience and passion for personal development make him the ideal instructor for bootcamp students at Tech Elevator.

Joshua Kruszynski

Product Designer, LeanDog

Joshua Kruszynski is a Product Designer at LeanDog. He serves on the board of the Rust Belt Riders and is a 2009 graduate of Kent State University.

Paolo Appley

Product Designer, LeanDog

Paolo Appley is a Product Designer at LeanDog in Cleveland, where he helps clients build successful custom software products, and become better product managers in the process. Paolo brings a person-centered approach that starts with an exploration of a customer’s values and goals; works through a team-driven understanding of the product’s business model, technical challenges and possibilities; and moves on to arrive at an elegant, effective and often surprising solution.

Lev Gonick

CEO, DigitalC

Lev Gonick is DigitalC’s CEO and visionary, charting the course to civic tech collaboration through technology leadership, data-driven solutions, and place-based activation.

Lev was a co-founder (in 2003) and CEO (2013-present) of OneCommunity, the award-winning organization enabling innovation, collaboration and productivity through next generation broadband networks.

From 2001 to 2013, Lev was Chief Information Officer at Case Western Reserve University, where he and his colleagues were internationally recognized for technology innovations in community engagement, learning spaces, next generation network projects, and organizational development. Lev's innovations, including the Case Connection Zone, catalyzed national initiatives such as US Ignite, launched by the White House Office of Science and Technology Planning, and Gig.U, an effort of more than two dozen research universities to drive a broadband upgrade for America.

Inside Business magazine named Lev to its Power 100 list in 2015, and Government Technology recognized Lev as one of the "Top 25 Doers, Dreamers & Drivers in Public-Sector Innovation" in 2011. That same year, Crain's Cleveland Business named Gonick one of its "10 Difference Makers" in Northeast Ohio, and Broadband Properties honored him with a Cornerstone Award for "using fiber to build an inclusive society and empower individuals." In 2010, he was honored as "Visionary of the Year" by the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors. Lev has been recognized by ComputerWorld as a Premier 100 IT leader and by CIO magazine with a CIO 100 Award.

Mike Masisak

Solution Architect, Progressive Insurance

Michael Masisak is a Solution Architect for Progressive Insurance.  He began his career as a software developer at Progressive more than 20 years ago.  He is currently leading enterprise solution deliverables to enhance the customer communications for claims handlers.  The most recent deliverable was a Photo Estimate Mobile application feature integrated with AWS and Progressive .Net platform applications.

Mike Tracz

Director of Design, Balance Inc

Mike Tracz is a problem-solver at heart and believes that great design is achieved through honest collaboration and genuine curiosity.  As Director of Design at Balance, he leads a team working on breakthrough products and experiences for top regional, national and global brands

Pete Martin

Founder and CEO, Votem

Pete Martin is a serial entrepreneur with 5 start-ups including several successful exits generating an average return to investors of 11 times invested capital. His current venture is as founder and CEO of Votem Corp, a revolutionary mobile voting platform designed to securely cast votes in elections across the globe using Blockchain technology. Pete has 25 years of enterprise technology & software experience, and is author of the upcoming book, "Sparking a Mobile Revolution; How Mobile Voting Will Change the World as We Know It.” He has served as co-founder/CEO of Kompliant Software, a software development company serving the global trade compliance market; EntryPoint Consulting, a certified SAP Systems Integration Partner and Value-Added Reseller (sold); and co-founder of EntryPoint Managed Services, a business process outsourcing and managed services firm serving the global trade compliance market (sold). He was EVP of Worldwide Operations for Marketswitch Corp (sold), VP of Sales for SAP America, and spent 7 years in various sales roles with IBM.

Mackenzie King

Director of Design Research and Insight Translation, Lextant

Mackenzie believes in customer led innovation and has worked with clients across industries to help them integrate their customers' voices in their innovation process from the fuzzy front end of a business challenge to co-creating a design strategy or business model, to iteration and implementation. She has engaged physicians to design smart devices that integrate into complex hospital informatics systems; NYC students to create a hip hop-themed college prep high school, Millennials to design the car of the future and community leaders to envision an innovative live-work development. With over 10 years experience, she now serves as Director of Design Research and Insight Translation at Lextant. Her clients have included Best Buy, Nissan, P&G, Pepsico. Mackenzie holds a design degree from Pratt Institute and a MBA from Case Western Reserve University.

Event Sponsors


Friday - April 21

Doors Open
Dinner & networking (don't miss this!)
Friday night begins! We'll cover everything
Wrap up!
Facilities close

Saturday - April 22

Doors open & breakfast to start the day!
Morning business/mentors arrive
Community updates - circle up and discuss progress
Afternoon Mentors arrive
Wrap up!
Facilities close

Sunday - April 23

Doors open + breakfast to start the day
Business/mentors arrive + community updates
Pitch practice
Presentation tech check
Community arrives at StartMart + final presentations
Judging and awards
Wrap up and celebrate
Facilities close


Louisa Lee is a Venture for America fellow and a recovering Art History major from Williams College. She has a background in startups and the non-profit space, which naturally evolved into a passion for social enterprise. She jumped onto the GiveBackHack organizing team in early 2015 and is excited to help it expand its impact across the country. She currently works on the New Products team at CoverMyMeds, a health tech startup in Columbus, OH.

Feras Deiratany is an Application Programmer at Progressive Insurance in Cleveland, with a Computer Science and Engineering degree from The Ohio State University. He is a member of the Cleveland Hub of the Global Shapers community, an international initiative of the World Economic Forum. His first participation in GiveBackHack sparked his interest in the event when he saw the impact it created within the Columbus community. This realization, along with his passion to use technology to drive positive social impact and help others, are but few of the many reasons he decided to help bring GiveBackHack to Cleveland.

Katie moved to Cleveland in 2016 as a Venture for America Fellow, and spends her workdays designing and testing software for interpretation of genetic data in cancer patients. Outside of work, she enjoys swimming in lakes and pools, reading sci-fi from the Cleveland Public Library, exploring the brewery scene, and visiting local ice cream establishments. Organizing GBH Cleveland 2017 was her first dive into the SocEnt space, and she's absolutely thrilled to be back for round 2!

Lindsey McEntee is fueled by a passion for social justice and love of words. After graduating from Ohio State University with degrees in marketing and English, she has been committed to applying commercial strategies to propel progressive social change. Lindsey is excited by GiveBackHack as it brings together worlds that otherwise may never interact. She has seen first hand the impact that GBH has had in Columbus and is proud to bring the event back to her hometown.

Matt is 2016 Venture For America Fellow and graduate of The Ohio State University. His areas of expertise include marketing, brand management, operations, and entrepreneurship. Matt is an avid reader and enjoys staying up to date with the food/beverage and tech industries. When offered the chance to expand GiveBackHack from Columbus to Cleveland, he was excited to become part of the inaugural team. Matt currently works for BoxCast Solutions, a live video streaming startup in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. He also runs The Land Secondhand, an Instagram-based company which sells vintage, secondhand Cleveland sports apparel.