In 1978, Cliff Ensley ’69, ’70, G’71 had an idea to start his own business and just $2,500 to do it. He was used to taking on challenges—there was no stopping him. Growing up, he struggled with a learning disability—at…
Young Alumni Entrepreneurs to Speak About ‘Breaking the Rules, Blazing New Paths, Not Waiting Their Turn’
Six successful young alumni entrepreneurs are returning to Syracuse University this week to share their insights and inspire others to follow their own creative paths to success.
Joshua Aviv ’15, G’17, Kelsey Davis ’19, Daniel Folkman ’12, Julia Haber ’18, Erin Miller ’16 and Michelle Schenandoah G’18 will participate in a panel discussion, moderated by Davis, on Thursday, Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m. in Hendricks Chapel.
The event—“Young Alum Entrepreneurs: breaking the rules, blazing new paths, not waiting their turn”—is free and open to the public. American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation and Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) will be provided.
It is presented by the University Lectures with co-sponsors the Syracuse University Libraries, the Blackstone LaunchPad Powered by Techstars, the Newhouse Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship and the Office of Academic Affairs.
About the panelists
Josh Aviv (College of Arts and Sciences/Maxwell School, School of Information Studies)
Josh Aviv launched SparkCharge as a Syracuse University student and has gone on to become a dynamic figure in the clean-tech community. SparkCharge makes portable, ultrafast charging units for electric vehicles and has been featured in major technology and clean energy publications.
While a student, Aviv won the grand prize in the New York Business Plan Competition, as well as top honors in more than seven business competitions while earning his degrees from the University. Aviv won the top prize of $1 million at 43North, a Buffalo-based startup competition, and won the California Climate Cup, Startup Fest’s global pitch competition and Plug and Play’s clean energy innovation award. TechCrunch most recently named Spark Charge as a top tech disruptor. He was selected for the prestigious Techstars accelerator program in Boston.
SparkCharge is now starting manufacturing operations in Buffalo and has an engineering division at Greentown Labs in Somerville, Massachusetts, the world’s largest clean-tech incubator.
Aviv received the Generation Orange Award at this fall’s Orange Central celebration. The award recognizes Generation Orange alumni who have made an impact on campus and in their communities through their volunteer work and philanthropy on behalf of Syracuse University.
Kelsey Davis (Newhouse School)
Kelsey Davis is the founder and CEO of CLLCTVE, a platform that empowers the next generation of college creatives by connecting creatives with brands looking to reach Generation Z.
Prior to CLLCTVE, Davis worked in production for Condé Nast Entertainment and UniWorld Group.
A recent graduate of the Newhouse School, she is pursuing a master’s degree in entrepreneurship at the Whitman School.
Daniel Folkman (Whitman School)
Daniel Folkman is the vice president of business at goPuff, the fastest-growing digital convenience retailer, delivering thousands of products—including ice cream, candy, beverages, cleaning products, diapers, pet goods and, in some markets, beer, wine and spirits—to customers directly from centrally located facilities.
goPuff is operating in more than 100 U.S. locations, with more than 1,500 employees. At goPuff, Folkman oversees business development, corporate development, brand and communications, which includes developing strategic partnerships with the world’s largest consumer brands, such as Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble and many others.
Before goPuff, Folkman spearheaded business development at Sumpto, a marketing and insights platform for the college demographic. At Sumpto, he was the first hire and led user growth and partnership strategy.
A thought leader in the tech and CPG space, Folkman has spent time consulting, advising and operating startups with an emphasis on business development, corporate strategy and brand partnerships.
Additionally, he serves on the Young Whitman Advisory Council for the Whitman School.
Julia Haber (Newhouse School)
Julia Haber is a creator, innovator and go-getter. She is the founder and CEO of WAYV Inc., which she began in her first year at Syracuse University. During her sophomore and junior years, respectively, Haber interned with Spotify and Snapchat.
WAYV is the brand of the college market, unlocking hyper-tailored experiences for college students. WAYV crafts experiential, data-driven pop up shops on college campuses across the country.
With WAYV and her earliest pop-up shop iterations, Haber worked with national brands such as Lululemon, Rent The Runway and Shopify, and partnered with companies such as AT&T and Adobe.
Haber and Kelsey Davis were both featured on AdWeek magazine’s “Gen ZEOs, the Top Entrepreneurs of Generation Z” podcast.
Erin Miller (Newhouse School)
Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Erin Miller, co-founder of Out There Productions, started making films with her brother by borrowing equipment from their community television center. After an enriching four years at Syracuse University, she started her own production company that specialized in making promotional videos for startups and small businesses.
Miller pivoted towards producing films after the successful premiere of her first short, “No Nuts” (now streaming on Amazon Prime), a romantic comedy about two camp counselors that fall in love at a summer camp for kids allergic to peanuts.
She values diverse representation on and off set, sharing friends’ films, and honest expression of self.
Miller currently helps tech startups reach their full potential at Capital Factory in Austin, Texas. There she helps run hackathons, happy hours and the Virtual Reality Lab.
Michelle Schenandoah (Newhouse School)
An inspirational speaker and thought leader, Michelle Schenandoah is a traditional member of the Oneida Nation Wolf Clan of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. She is the founder of Rematriation Magazine, a new Indigenous women’s online media platform. Schenandoah is focused on leadership development and the reclaiming of Indigenous women’s traditional roles among their nations. She also operate Indigenous Concepts Consulting with the goal of incorporating Indigenous perspectives into the mainstream and in existing business and media paradigms.
Schenandoah is president of the board of directors of the nonprofit Seven Dancers Coalition, focused on ending domestic violence and sexual assault through empowerment in Indigenous communities.
She earned a B.A. at Cornell University, an M.S. at Syracuse University and J.D. and LL.M. degrees at the New York University School of Law.