Entrepreneurship: I Went Job Hunting, Hired Myself, and Never Looked Back

Some people set out to start a business and others fall into it as a byproduct of their interests or see a need which is not well met. Meet a startup advisor and three entrepreneurs who started in the corporate world and subsequently founded companies when they learned they could not get the services they themselves sought.

  • Moderator: Ken Goldstein, Startup & Corporate Advisor, Author, Endless Encores, Los Angeles, CA

Ken Goldstein serves as Board Chair and Strategic Advisor at ThriftBooks, is Board Chair and a frequent contributor at The Good Men Project, publishes the business blog CorporateIntel, and speaks frequently on the topics of innovation and creativity. His first book, This Is Rage: A Novel of Silicon Valley and Other Madness, was a Barnes and Noble Online bestseller, and a theatrical adaptation is in development. His second book is Endless Encores: Repeating Success Through People, Products, and Profits. Ken served as CEO and Chairman of the Board of SHOP.COM, Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Disney Online, and Vice President of Entertainment at Broderbund Software. He also worked as a designer/producer at Philips Interactive Media and Cinemaware Corporation, and for several years as a screenwriter and television executive. Ken holds a BA in Philosophy and Theater Studies from Yale University.

  • Karen Bigman, CEO & Founder, The Divorcierge, New York City, NY

After a long marriage and subsequent divorce, Karen Bigman founded The Divorcierge to help women struggling with their families and finances during divorce, and those trying to build a new life after divorce. Her business is global and now includes male clients. She holds an MBA from Columbia Business School, a BSBA from Boston University, and has completed Martha Beck Life Coach training. Karen is a CDC® Certified Divorce Coach.

  • Roopa Venkatkrishnan, CEO & Founder, Roopa Venkatkrishnan Investments, Mumbai, India

Roopa Venkatkrishnan is among the most admired, high profile, and successful financial advisors in Mumbai, India. She has been practicing as an Independent Financial Advisor since 2003, focused on creating long term wealth for clients through equity mutual funds. She manages all aspects of her business including client acquisition, research and advice, operations, and execution. Roopa received the Best Investment Advisor Award from CBNC for three years in succession. An area of focus for Roopa has been empowering women, particularly amongst deprived sections of Indian society. Roopa is a Founder Member and General Secretary of the Foundation of Independent Financial Advisor a pan India Association of Financial Advisors where she plays an active role by engaging with the government and regulators and travelling across the country conducting Knowledge Sharing Programs for other Financial Advisors.

  • Johanna Wise, CEO & Founder, Connect•Work•Thrive, San Francisco, CA

After taking a career sabbatical to raise two children, Johanna Wise encountered difficulty securing full-time, meaningful employment. During her search, she met fantastic coaches and industry experts to guide her, so Johanna founded Connect•Work•Thrive: Find Work You Love to help others navigate their career transitions. Johanna has curated 11 Return to Work Conferences in the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City, established ConnectU, an online learning site for those in career transition, and individually coached professionals to find work in tech, marketing, sales, journalism, the arts, etc. as CEOs, VPs, and entrepreneurs. Johanna holds an MBA from Stanford Business School, a BS in Applied Mathematics from Yale University, and a Small Business Certificate from Stern School of Business at New York University.  She has worked in investment banking at Goldman Sachs and Lehman Bros. in NYC, in management consulting at Bain and Company in Boston, and in brand management at Frito Lay in Dallas.