Presenting some New and Familiar Faces speaking at Techstars Startup Week Fort Collins 2018


From experts in conversational intelligence to world leaders in coworking, FCSW18 is shaping up to be a shindig of super business savants!

The team at Techstars Startup Week Fort Collins gathered in late 2017 along with industry experts to mull over our survey data and discuss needs for the coming year. A few open house events and tons of sticky notes, stickers, and dry-erase markers later, the FCSW18 team is proud to announce our lineup.

Our speakers are practically guaranteed to help you learn something, no matter what industry or level of expertise you’re at, no matter if you’re a solopreneur or a Fortune 500 CEO.

Over the coming weeks, we’re gonna show off some new and familiar faces that we think you ought to get to know!

Chrysta Bairre

Chrysta BairreChrysta Bairre is a career coach, speaker, author, and founder of Live Love Work.

Chrysta works with successful mid-career professionals and service-based entrepreneurs who want more from life and career. Chrysta helps her clients increase professional impact and income– working with them to love their work, be well-paid, and find happiness in and out of the office.

Chrysta has spoken at Ignite Fort Collins, Ignite Denver, Fort Collins Startup Week, and many other local businesses and community organizations. Chrysta is also the founder of She Leads, a collaborative community for professional women in Northern Colorado. Chrysta is a 2016 and 2017 participant and facilitator of Larimer County Women of the Year.

“Get out of your comfort zone and attend sessions that challenge you,” says Chrysta to first-time Startup Week attendees. “Be open to what you can learn and who you can meet. Your next big business opportunity could be at Fort Collins Startup Week! Also, listen more than you talk. It’s a good guiding principle in business and life!”

Her future vision for Fort Collins is an inclusive one, “I would love to see Fort Collins step up in support of women in business, encouraging women to be leaders in our business community, the state, the country, and the world.”

See all of Chrysta’s sessions here:

Chrysta is speaking on:

Ariana Friedlander

Ariana FredlanderAriana Friedlander, MPA, is an author, social entrepreneur, and the founder of Rosabella Consulting. She works with leaders doing “Business as Unusual” and specializes in fostering positive change within organizations and companies of all shapes and sizes. Her first book, “A Misfit Entrepreneur’s Guide to Building a Business Your Way” was released in 2016. Ariana made Northern Colorado’s “40 Under Forty” list in 2015 and received the fourth annual Quid Novi Award for Innovative Thought. She is one of 220 coaches worldwide that is Certified in Conversational Intelligence.

Ariana says first time Startup Week attendees should, “Give yourself time to connect with other attendees. There’s so much to gain from conversations with fellow entrepreneurs, plus you never know who you may meet and what opportunities they might lead you to.”

She also recommends, “Take time to internalize what you learn at Startup Week. Reflect on how the information you’re gleaning relates to your own personal aspirations and challenges. Identify actionable steps you can take in the next week to keep the learning alive. Find an accountability partner or friend you can work with to ensure you apply lessons learned from Startup Week. In other words, don’t just listen, do something!”

See Ariana’s Session: The Neuroscience of Conversation: What Every Entreprenuer Needs to Know on Tuesday, February 27 at 9AM @ The Lyric.

Mike O’Connell

Mike O'ConnellIn 2001, O’Connell purchased Mountain Woods Furniture (MWF), a manufacturer of rustic furniture, and owned and operated that business until 2012. MWF’s products were sold through Cabelas, furniture e-tailers, stores, and resorts and lodges. He provided over 6,000 paychecks to American workers during his ownership. Previously, he worked in a variety of sales, marketing, and business unit positions, including eleven years with Victor Industries, North America’s third largest manufacturer of metal cutting and welding equipment. O’Connell has a business degree from Purdue University

He became Larimer Center Director in 2013, and by 2016 the Center was one of the State’s top-performers. “Our goal is to help maximize the economic potential of small businesses in Larimer County, through street-smart business education and resource connection.”

He is currently Co-Chair of the Larimer County Workforce Development Board, which deals with local workforce opportunities and issues. He is also a professional musician, and plays at venues in Northern Colorado.

Mike’s most valuable business lesson: “under-promise and over-deliver.” Mike says his session at Startup Week will help attendees “get a better understanding of the importance of Competitive Advantage, and of best practices for SELLING your services or products.”

See all of Mike’s Sessions here:

Mike is speaking on:

Nick Armstrong

Nick ArmstrongNick Armstrong is the Geek-in-Chief behind WTF Marketing. He’s also a dad, author, Ignite, PechaKucha, and TEDx speaker, audio drama enthusiast, and award-winning entrepreneur.

He has co-organized community events like Fort Collins Comic Con, Startup Week Fort Collins, TEDxFoCo, Ignite Fort Collins, LaidOffCamp/CareerCamp, PodCamp Fort Collins, and more. His local efforts landed him a prestigious spot as one of BizWest’s 40 Under Forty for 2016.

Alongside an amazing team of 13 other super-geeks, Nick built out Fort Collins Comic Con to benefit the Poudre River Public Library District and has raised over $75,000 for the Library to encourage youth literacy through comics.

“I want freelancers to walk away feeling empowered and ready to negotiate their next contracts with confidence that they won’t get screwed,” Nick says of his session on Negotiation and Conflict Management.

For first-time Startup Week attendees, Nick advises, “Startup Week is overwhelming. If you pick one session to really understand, one contact to connect with and actually send an introduction email, and one lesson to apply, you’ll win. Don’t overload yourself with all the possibilities, because that’s a recipe for disaster.”

See all of Nick’s Sessions here:

Nick is speaking on:

Nikki Larchar

Nikki LarcharAs the co-founder of simplyHR, Nikki Larchar helps provide HR guidance to small business owners in Northern Colorado and beyond. With over 7 years of experience in Human Resources and over 8 years of her career dedicated to managing a team, Nikki brings experience from both the front line of operating a business to professional HR advising and consulting. Nikki enjoys researching HR topics, providing training on harassment prevention, and educating the business community on human resources best practices.

Her advice for first-time Startup Week attendees? “Bring a notebook and TONS of business cards. There will be at least one great takeaway from each session you attend so bring a notebook so you don’t forget anything! You’ll also be meeting tons of other entrepreneur enthusiasts, business owners, and community members so bring extra business cards.”

Nikki’s best business advice is to delegate. “You can’t be an expert at everything. I am so grateful to have peers, consultants, and other professionals that I can go to when I have questions that are outside of my realm of knowledge.”

See all of Nikki’s Sessions here:

Nikki is speaking on:

Dave Harris

Dave HarrisDave Harris is the Director of Operations for Rockies Venture Club (RVC), and is a Managing Partner with Rockies Venture Fund (RVF) and Rockies Impact Fund (RIF); two Colorado-centric venture funds. RVC is the longest running angel investor group in the US and is a non-profit organization centered on furthering economic development in Colorado by connecting investors and entrepreneurs through conferences (Angel Capital Summit, Colorado Capital Conference, and more), networking events, educational offerings and facilitation of Colorado’s largest angel investor groups. RVC has led investments totaling over $37M to Colorado start-ups since 2014. In addition, Dave is an active Board Member for the non-profit organizations, Biz Girls CEO Accelerator and LaunchNo.CO.

“Dive in deep,” is Dave’s advice to first-time Startup Week attendees. “Not only into the Poudre during the Poudre Plunge, but dive into all of the amazing content and opportunities that FCSW provides. It is electric to be surrounded by so many like-minded people so take advantage of this week as much as possible. I’ve made so many strong relationships from Startup Weeks, but it takes work.”

Asked what his vision for the Future of Fort Collins is, Dave says, “I see Fort Collins continuing to mature over the next 5 years and the rest of the state developing a better understanding of why this community is so special. There will be several more major success stories to come out of this startup community over the next 5 years, and I anticipate that those companies will continue the trend of recycling their success and expertise back into the Fort Collins community.”

See all of Dave’s sessions here:

Dave is speaking on:

Check out the whole Startup Week schedule and fill your week with the best business knowledge in Northern Colorado!

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