Las Cruces native Lisa Mae Brunson, founder of Wonder Women Tech – a highly successful international conference and hackathon – will be the keynote speaker for the second annual Women Entrepreneurs (WE) Mean Business conference, set for September 29 at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum.
The conference is co-hosted by New Mexico State University’s entrepreneurship hub, Arrowhead Center, and WESST, a statewide small business development and training organization.
WE Mean Business brings together thought leaders and change-makers to share their stories, strategies and transformational wisdom with entrepreneurial women. The event will feature guest speakers, a panel, and two tracks of breakout sessions: the ‘Idea Track’ and the ‘Business Track,’ that will provide aspiring or early stage women entrepreneurs with training and advice from expert women entrepreneurs.
Brunson, a creative visionary, speaker, leader and author, is a natural fit to share her message of entrepreneurship, vision and inclusion with her hometown audience.
Brunson was born and raised in Las Cruces, as were her parents, who are both alumni of NMSU. She played basketball at Meerscheidt Recreation Center and was an active member of the community.
“My roots, best friends and history are there,” she said. It is in Las Cruces where Brunson spent much time envisioning her future.
On a solo trip to Europe, Brunson had a realization: that there are endless possibilities and opportunities to engage as a change-maker and have an impact on humanity on a global scale. On her return to the states, she decided to forge a path for herself with renewed vigor.
Brunson worked with entrepreneurs to build businesses, specifically focusing on diversity and the inclusion of marginalized and underrepresented groups.
She also established Hacks 4 Humanity, an event with the mission to create technology solutions and initiatives that contribute to the social good and address the needs of humanity using the seven principles of Arizona State University’s ‘Humanity 101’ movement.
Her remarkable activity and innovation continued with EqualityTV, which highlights and celebrates marginalized and underrepresented communities and topics. Her efforts have been showcased in her development of Wonder Women Tech, an international conference and hackathon that brings together non-profits, community organizations, government and corporations to develop cutting-edge technology solutions that will solve complex challenges facing women and girls.
The popular conference was signed to a three-year contract with the City of Long Beach, sponsored by the City of Long Beach and Mayor Robert Garcia with the Bloomberg Philanthropies funded Innovation Team. The conference has also produced partnerships with Amazon, Google, Time Warner, Microsoft and others. This year, the conference went global, holding its first event in London.
Entrepreneurship hasn’t always been an easy ride. Brunson emphasized that she has had as many downs as ups, but her team’s consistent vision and humble approach keeps their projects and accomplishments on track. Her success is multifaceted and she credits her upbringing in Las Cruces, as the oldest of six children, as the key to maintaining a grounded and humble foundation.
This foundation, along with what Brunson terms “the art of fearless asking,” has allowed her to break down silos and grow partnerships and collaborations between community programs and corporate entities.
“The opportunity to come back to Las Cruces is phenomenal,” she said.
WE Mean Business will take place from 10 a.m to 4 p.m. Sept. 29, at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, 4100 Dripping Springs Rd. The event is an initiative of Arrowhead Center at NMSU and funded in part by the U.S. Economic Development Administration University Center for Regional Commercialization, Law 4 Small Business, Accion and The Loan Fund.
Author: : Lauren Goldstein – NMSU