Eugene Khazin (Principal and Co-Founder, Silent IT)
As a co-founder and principal at Silent IT Eugene and his team help firms solve their toughest business performance challenges caused by technology. Eugene's firm works with Fortune 500 and private companies all over the world, helping them remove inefficiencies and overcome the barriers preventing growth. Eugene has been working in IT since 1998 and spent the first years building and optimizing database systems for Playboy’s early web sites and Motorola’s StarTAC phones. In 2006 Eugene was recruited to join a start-up company, called Extended Care Information Network (ECIN), to help lead the team stabilizing the product and positioning the company for an acquisition. A year later the company was acquired by a large healthcare technology firm. Following the exit from ECIN Eugene was strongly advised by clients to start a consulting company focusing on technology stabilization and decided to act on the advice, by starting Database Edge in 2007. He met his business partner, Josh Davidson, while working with one of the clients, and in 2013 they founded Silent IT. Over 3 years the firm has grown from 4 to more than 30 consultants with locations in Chicago and Washington DC.
Peter Rahal (CEO & Co-Founder, RXBAR)
As CEO and co-founder of RXBAR, Peter (30) is responsible for aligning the company’s progressive vision, culture and strategy to build the nation’s most disruptive and empowering food company. Peter has a keen sense of consumer needs and trends in the marketplace that stems from his background in food and his innate curiosity around culture. Three and a half years ago, Peter and his co-founder, Jared Smith, saw an opportunity to bring a clean protein bar to CrossFit athletes. From humble beginnings in their parents' kitchen, a 5-quart mixer and $10K, they launched RXBAR. Peter and Jared went door-to-door building the business that today is a thriving company. With national distribution and partners such as Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and Amazon, Peter and Jared serve millions of customers who are looking for clean labels.
Julie Smolyansky (President, CEO Lifeway Kefir)
Julie Smolyansky became the youngest female CEO of a publicly held firm when she took over Lifeway Foods at age 27. Since that time, Julie has bolstered the company’s growth trajectory with innovative product development and marketing strategies, boosting annual revenues to over $130 million by 2015 and expanded distribution throughout the United States, Canada and the UK. She was recently named to Fortune Business ‘40 under 40,’ Fortune’s 55 most influential women on Twitter and Fast Company’s Most Creative People In Business 1000. Julie serves as a member of the United Nations Foundation Global Entrepreneurs Council and is part of the 2015 class of Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum. She has produced several documentaries, including “The Homestretch,” “Honor Diaries" and “The Hunting Ground” and recently founded the nonprofit Test400k. She lives in Chicago and is the mother of two girls.
Alex Turik (General Partner, HAN Capital)
Previously employed as an analyst in JP Morgan’s commercial banking program, Alex saw an add value opportunity in investing in distressed companies. That led him to founding HAN Capital in 2009. It is a private equity firm investing in commercial real estate (self storage and senior housing) and value-add micro cap private companies ($5-20MM in sales). Alex is focusing on sourcing and analyzing investment ideas, working with transactional team to create the appropriate legal and financial structure for each deal and with all parties involved to assure smooth and speedy closing, fundraising and forging strategic partnerships between the firm and experienced business operators, investors and financial institutions. He received a BS in Finance and Computer Science from DePaul University and an MBA in Entrepreneurship and Analytical Finance from the University of Chicago. Alex is also a Chairman of the Russian Jewish Division's Advisory Board and serves on the JUF’s Board of Directors.
Genia Kovelman (Director, RJD)
Genia is the Director of the Jewish United Fund's Russian Jewish Division (RJD). She is responsible for setting strategic direction for an organization, fundraising, board and lay leadership development and designing educational and social projects for the Russian-speaking Jewish community in Chicago. Genia received BS and MS in World History and Jewish Studies from the International Solomon University in Kiev, Ukraine. Prior to joining JUF in 2008, Genia was working with non-profit Jewish organizations in Ukraine, Sweden and Israel.
Paul Stepankovskiy (Senior Vice President, Wealth Management and Senior Portfolio Manager at UBS Financial Services for the FKS Wealth Management Group)
Paul is one of the founders and principals of FKS Wealth Management Group, which works exclusively with successful families, business owners, young professionals and their advisors. Paul began his career as a Financial Advisor in 1997 after successfully selling his Corporate Catering business. He holds bachelor's degree in economics from University of Illinois, in Chicago and MBA in finance from DeVry University Keller Graduate School of Management. He completed his Certified Financial Planner certification at Northwestern University after submitting to the rigorous CFP certification process that includes a demanding education, examination, experience and ethical requirements.