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VETRACONx Bragg (and lunch!)

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USO of North Carolina

2843 Normandy Dr

Fort Bragg, NC 28307

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Vetrepreneurs are a significantly large segment of entrepreneurs in the United States. At VETRACONx Bragg you’ll find lively and provocative talks and front line content from the veteran and military community entrepreneurs.

This experience will consist of four TED-style talks and will conclude with American Dream U's MVP panel of local military entrepreneurs. A 60-minute open discussion about the ecosystem, challenges, and opportunities of creating a startup in the Coastal Carolina and global military community. Bring your questions; the MVP panelists have the answers.

Talks by Franklin Cruz, Lisa Wells, Robin Matthews and Bret Rakfeldt.

Franklin Cruz

Franklin Cruz is a United States Army Veteran, Husband, Father, and someone who is committed to transforming the lives of others all over the world. Propelled and driven by professionalism, integrity, tenacity, and a relentless determination that some would say is rare.

A Real Estate Investor with more than 17 years of Real Estate experience who inherited the name “Real Estate Drill Sergeant” due to his no nonsense tactics and ambitious personality.

Franklin’s leadership experience involves leading an entire department of Real Estate mentors, creating student leadership development, plus so much more. His experience doesn’t stop there, he also had the opportunity to travel to 39 states in 19 months, mentoring people on an exclusive level how to pursue the world of Real Estate Investing & entrepreneurship!

Franklin currently resides Florida with his family and is currently the CEO of True Investors, Real Estate Investing Training & Development Company. He is also co-owner of Bentley Private Fund; a Real Estate Investment Firm and also Grow Eleven Consulting.

Franklin attributes his success to his personal commitment to God, Family, and then business.  

Lisa Wells

Lisa Wells is a marketing, operations and systems guide to female coaches, consultants, and virtual assistants. As a consultant and trainer since 2005, Lisa currently offers time-saving one-on-one coaching, proven forms and e-books, and practical courses to grow your business and simplify the marketing and technical side.

Lisa is also a proud Marine wife to her husband of 24 years and mom to sons, Eddie and Brett. Originally from Southern California, she feels at home now in North Carolina but loves working remotely with clients all over the world. In her free time, she loves belly dancing, reading Stephen King novels, and breakfasts at greasy diners. You might also find her enjoying fireflies and lightning storms because – forget sunny days – cold and rainy ones are always when the magic happens!

Bret Rakfeldt

Bret is an Army veteran and the founder of Never Tie. Following Bret's transition from service, he sought to design a tie that doesn't require a knot. Bret's tireless effort to design the perfect men's accessory for those that don't like tying a tie is a testament to his military training. Bret believes that military training directly translates to entrepreneurial growth.

Robin Matthews

Robin Matthews is a business owner of a specialty gift shop in downtown Fayetteville, NC.  She has been in the retail management business for over 25 years where her duties included interviewing potential applicants; manage a staff of up to 30 people; inventory control; HR; training teammates; recruiting business and employees; overseeing social media accounts; daily, weekly and monthly goal planning; and sales.  She owns A Bit of Carolina in downtown Fayetteville that has been open for one year.  She started her business with 4 tee shirts and a small amount of Fayetteville specific items and it has grown into a shop that includes 75+ tees, a whole line of Fayetteville items, and a gift basket selection.  Along with products she carries she also manages 30+ vendors that consign merchandise in her store. 

Moderator Michael Barbera

Michael Barbera is an award-winning consumer psychologist and strategy consultant for Fortune 50 companies. He is a business psychologist who is involved in both practical and academic endeavors. His areas of practice are consumer behavior, consumer emotions, social psychology, decision-making, brand management, marketing, and long-term business strategies. Michael is currently employed as the CEO of Barbera Solutions. His clients can be found on the Fortune 50 list and several television programs show as ABC’s Shark Tank and Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing. Michael shares his research and experiences as a keynote speaker for public and private organizations, as the host of the Clicksuasion podcast, and twice for TED to discuss human perception of gender-neutral restrooms. In 2015, the White House recognized Michael for his contributions to entrepreneurship. This work includes development and validation of consumer emotions, consumer behavior, product placement, consumer experiences and business growth strategies.

Who should attend?
You, of course. This conference is the premier motivating and learning experience for transitioning service members and veterans interested in entrepreneurship. Attendees should possess DoD identification.

Learning Objectives
• Identify four ways to launch a business following military service
• Participants apply their knowledge to business and job growth
• Participants recognize and discover actionable personal knowledge, skills, and abilities for entrepreneurship.

Each speaker will present insightful content regarding their experiences, entrepreneurship, and employment in a TED-style format. If you’ve got the drive, we’ve got the: connections, experts, advice and networking opportunities.

The program will be released shortly.

Presented by American Dream U & the USO of North Carolina.

About American Dream U
American Dream U is a non-profit dedicated to helping our military get the education and access to resources they need to find their dream job or to start a business of their own.

Since our launch over a decade ago, American Dream U has always focused on completing the critical mission of career, business & professional development of our brothers and sisters in arms. Overall we are a team dedicated to bridging the gap between military and civilian. We provide tools to active military, veterans, and their spouses. The arsenal of tools we provide is always growing, and it includes national events, professional leadership and mentorship speeches, monthly meetups, an online educational program, a transition book that highlights veteran success stories, and a start-up accelerator program.

About the USO of North Carolina
The USO of North Carolina strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation. Founded in 1941, the USO of NC is a nonprofit, charitable organization, relying on the generosity of North Carolinians to support its programs and services. The USO of NC serves the fourth largest military population in the U.S., touching more than 575,000 lives annually, helping our service members and their families through education, wellness, transition assistance and resiliency programs across the state. Combined Federal Campaign donors have joined thousands of individual donors, our travel partner American Airlines, Bank of America, Cannon Foundation, Circle K, Community Coffee, Harris Teeter, Kangaroo Express, Lenovo, Marine Federal Credit Union, Walmart and other corporate partners to support the USO of NC and our service members. For more information visit www.uso-nc.org and to donate, visit https://uso-nc.org/donate-now/ CFC #29349 SECC #3628

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USO of North Carolina

2843 Normandy Dr

Fort Bragg, NC 28307

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