Inforum is the leading professional organization focused on creating strategic connections and accelerating careers for women throughout Michigan and the Midwest.”

I recently attended the Inforum Detroit event held at AIREA STUDIO located in the beautiful Compuware building in Detroit to offer support to the ACTiVATE® program as a mentor and advisor. After a casual mixer the event moved into a ‘speed dating’ format where I met each of the women entrepreneurs for 2-3 minutes and heard their 1-minute elevator speeches. In turn, I offered advice and insights based upon my own experiences as an entrepreneur.

During the rounds of introductions I met several fascinating women who blew me away with their great ideas and a relentless drive to push their businesses forward. Among them was Emily A. Hay, founder of Hay There Social Media helps companies and people to use social media strategies and campaigns to move their businesses forward. As a public relations and marketing communications firm, Airfoil conducts calculated searches for influential journalist and bloggers using social media, so Emily and I shared an instant connection and her vision quickly intrigued me.

It’s a small world after all. I also met Marlin Page who launched Sisters Code, an organization whose mission it is to educate and empower women of all ages to explore the world of technology. Through talking, we discovered Marlin has worked with Airfoil in the past on a project for Microsoft. She had nothing but great things to say about the people at Airfoil, and she is someone whose passion absolutely shines through her personality.

Cynthia Grubbs is another women whose desire is impossible to ignore. She is the VP of public affairs for Mavin Global, a for-profit social enterprise created to develop IT-solutions that empower public and private intuitions as well as individuals to address the challenges of our time. Mavin Global believes its software could help address social issues more effectively than legislation. Cynthia’s focus and determination were clear and she was a pleasure and inspiration to speak with.

My participation with Inforum Detroit was an uplifting experience and it was exciting to serve as a program mentor and advisor to this next generation of business leaders. It was refreshing to see so many women championing truly unique start-up concepts and pushing the envelope in the business world.



Lisa Vallee-Smith is the Co-CEO of Airfoil, a high-tech PR and marcomm firm with offices in Silicon Valley, Detroit, London and Hong Kong. Follow Lisa on Twitter: @LValleeSmith