Conference & awards

Celebrate and enable urban entrepreneurship

Each year we recognize, celebrate and support fast-growing companies whose success illuminates the competitive advantages of being in the inner city. For nearly 20 years we’ve invited these outstanding businesses to an annual conference and awards ceremony in Boston to celebrate their achievements, learn from each other and promote growth.

The 2017 Inner City 100 Conference and Awards was held on October 3rd at the Renaissance Hotel in Boston’s Seaport District. Learn more about the event schedule and speakers below.

See the 2017 Inner City 100 award winners in Fortune


October 2, 2017

5:30-7:00 pm
Welcome Reception at Legal Harborside (Legal Harborside is 1.5 blocks from the Renaissance Hotel, about a two minute walk)

October 3, 2017

6:00-7:00 am
5K Morning run / walk (optional), meet in lobby of Renaissance Hotel at 6:00 am

7:30 am
Registration begins
8:00-9:00 am
Gail Goodman, Former CEO, Constant Contact – “How Collaboration Drove Constant Contact’s Success”
9:00 am – 10:15 am
Lynda Applegate, Harvard Business School – Case Study: “Leading Breakthrough Innovation: Harnessing the Power of Crowds”
10:15 am – 10:30 am
10:30 -11:30 am
David Segura, CEO, VisionIT – “Lessons From a #1 Inner City 100 Company: Stay Agile and Nurture Your Partnerships”
Follow-up session led by Lynda Appelgate, Harvard Business School – “Leading Breakthrough Innovation: Platform Collaboration”

12:30-1:45 pm
Lunch and presentation of Marcia Lamb Inner City Innovation Award
Keynote speaker: Award winner Bo Menkiti, CEO, The Menkiti Group
Conversation with Tom Lewand, Shinola CEO, moderated by David Whitford, Inc. Magazine – “Working Together: The Job is Big Enough for All of Us”
2:45-3:30 pm
Networking reception

3:30-4:45 pm
Keynote speaker: Michael Porter, Professor, Harvard Business School – “Why Competition in the Politics Industry is Failing America”
5:00-6:15 pm
Awards presentation
6:15-7:30 pm
Closing reception

Click here to view last year’s agenda and speaker line-up.


Lynda Applegate, Baker Foundation Professor, Harvard Business School

Lynda M. Applegate is the Baker Foundation Professor at HBS. She was recruited to join the HBS faculty in the mid-1980s and helped build the school’s Technology and Innovation Special Interest Group. In the mid-1990s, she helped launch the Entrepreneurial Management Unit at HBS and headed the unit for many years. Lynda continues to play a leading role in developing HBS Executive Education Programs for entrepreneurs and business owners. She has also held a variety of leadership positions at HBS, including serving as the Co-Chair of the MBA program, Chair of Field Based Learning and as a founding member of the HBS Technology Board. She has also held a number of Harvard University leadership positions, including serving as the Co-Chair of the Harvard Policy Group on Networked Government Services and on the Harvard University Provost’s Technology Advisory Board. Prior to joining the HBS faculty, Lynda was on the faculty of the University of Michigan, University of Washington and University of Arizona. In addition to her academic positions, Lynda also held a variety of leadership positions in the health care industry.

Lynda’s research and publications focus on the challenges of building new ventures and leading radical business innovation in the face of significant industry, technological, capital market, and regulatory turbulence. A second stream of research examines emerging governance models to support inter-firm collaborative innovation. She is currently embarking on a study of the evolution of entrepreneurial ecosystems in emerging markets and technology clusters and is also conducting a global study of high impact women entrepreneurs. Lynda recently served as Series Editor for Harvard Business Publishing’s Core Readings in Entrepreneurship. She is the author of over 40 articles, books, and book chapters, and over 350 published case studies, online learning DVDs, and course materials.

Lynda is the recipient of numerous HBS awards for her research, teaching, and service to the school. Most recently, she was awarded the Robert F. Greenhill award for her outstanding contributions to HBS over the course of her career. She has also received Harvard Business School’s Berol Award for Research Excellence and its Apgar Award for Innovation in Teaching. She has won numerous “Best Paper” awards for her academic research on 21st century business models and executive team decision-making and collaboration when developing and launching strategic innovations, and she has served as a Senior Editor and on the editorial boards for leading research journals in the field of technology innovation.

Lynda is an active international consultant and has served on the board of directors of public, private, non-profit and venture-backed companies. She is an advisor and advisory board member for entrepreneurs launching new ventures and for senior executives leading innovation in established companies. She is currently on the board of two non-profit organizations Endeavor Detroit and the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council and two privately-held firms. She has also served as a member of the Industry Advisory Board for NASDAQ, as a policy advisor on a Blue-Ribbon Panel to define a National Research Agenda on the development of the Network Economy, and as a member of a roundtable panel for President Clinton’s Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection.

Gail Goodman, Former CEO, Constant Contact

Gail Goodman spent 16 years as CEO of Constant Contact, the trusted provider of online marketing tools for small businesses and nonprofits. A small business expert and visionary, Gail has revolutionized the way that small organizations find and grow customer relationships. She took leadership of Constant Contact in 1999 and led the company from pre-revenue to a successful IPO (NASDAQ: CTCT) in 2007 and through its acquisition by Endurance in 2016 for $1.1b. At the time of the acquisition, more than 650,000 small businesses and nonprofits used Constant Contact’s online marketing tools to engage their customers and grow their businesses and company revenues topped $370 million.

Author of Engagement Marketing: How Small Business Succeeds in a Socially Connected World, Gail is a frequent speaker at national technology and entrepreneurial events. Her 2013 TEDx talk, “Founders Can’t Scale,” offers a glimpse into her management philosophy and personal drive, especially as it relates to scaling a startup into a large, public company.

Fostering entrepreneurship is Gail’s passion and mission and she is dedicating the next chapter of her professional career to scaling organizations and programs focused on small business success. Gail serves on the Boards of Shopify (NYSE: SHOP), MINDBODY (NASDAQ: MB), Entrepreneurship for All, Mass Challenge and Lola Travel. Gail holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from The University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth College.

Tom Lewand, CEO, Shinola

Detroit-area native Tom Lewand joined Shinola as CEO in 2016 where he helps guide the strategic direction and business operations of the company. Prior to Shinola, Tom was President of the NFL’s Detroit Lions, where he held various roles for over 20 years. Lewand is active in the community, acting as Past Chairman of the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau and serving on the Boards of Directors of the Detroit Zoological Society, the Downtown Detroit Partnership, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation and the Parade Company. Lewand also is on the Corporate Advisory Board for the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and the Detroit Mayor’s Workforce Development Board.

Bo Menkiti, CEO, The Menkiti Group

Bo Menkiti is the Founder and CEO of The Menkiti Group, a real estate company dedicated to transforming lives, careers and communities through real estate. The Menkiti Group is focused on strengthening neighborhoods through the strategic development, management, and disposition of real estate in urban markets. Mr. Menkiti also serves as the CEO and Founder of Keller Williams Capital Properties (KWCP), a regional residential real estate brokerage managed by The Menkiti Group.

Prior to forming The Menkiti Group and KWCP, Mr. Menkiti served as Chief Operating Officer of College Summit, a national non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the college enrollment rate of low-income students. In this capacity, Mr. Menkiti oversaw the organization’s successful growth into a multi-site national organization.
Under Mr. Menkiti’s leadership, The Menkiti Group and KWCP have been recognized by Inc. Magazine as being among the fastest growing private companies in the nation and by the Initiative for Competitive Inner City (ICIC) and Fortune Magazine as two of the fastest growing inner city businesses in America.

Mr. Menkiti’s work has been featured in David Bornstein’s book on social entrepreneurs “How to Change the World,” and in Stephen Goldsmith’s “The Power of Social Innovation,” and he has been recognized nationally by Ebony and Inc. Magazine as one of the coolest young entrepreneurs in America. Mr. Menkiti was also honored as a Minority Business Leader by the Washington Business Journal and named to the paper’s 2014 Power 100, a list of the most influential business leaders in the Washington metropolitan area. He was also honored by the National Association of Realtors as the District of Columbia Realtor of the Year, and in 2014 and as Keller Williams Realty International’s 2015 Entrepreneur of the Year.

Mr. Menkiti has served on the board of the DC Water, the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority. He was President of the District of Columbia Association of Realtors (DCAR). He currently serves on the board of the Myer Foundation, as a trustee of the Federal City Council, and as an Executive Board member for Washington Redskin Ryan Kerrigan’s Blitz for the Better Foundation.

In 2014 Mr. Menkiti launched the Capital Properties Menkiti Group Foundation, (CPMG Foundation) an organization that focuses its resources on serving the residents of National Capital Area in the areas of housing, education, entrepreneurship, and youth development.

Mr. Menkiti is a graduate of Harvard University and lives in Washington D.C. with his wife and three young sons.

Michael Porter, Professor, Harvard Business School

Michael Porter is an economist, researcher, author, advisor, speaker and teacher. Throughout his career at Harvard Business School, he has brought economic theory and strategy concepts to bear on many of the most challenging problems facing corporations, economies and societies, including market competition and company strategy, economic development, the environment, and health care. His extensive research is widely recognized in governments, corporations, NGOs, and academic circles around the globe. His research has received numerous awards, and he is the most cited scholar today in economics and business. While Michael Porter is, at the core, a scholar, his work has also achieved remarkable acceptance by practitioners across multiple fields.

David Segura, CEO, VisionIT

VisionIT was founded over 20 years ago by David Segura, and now works with some of the largest corporations in the U.S. and globally providing solutions leveraging its IT practices and software solutions.

Segura leads the VisionIT corporate strategy and under his leadership the company has become one of the largest and most recognized minority-owned businesses in the United States, operating in 20 U.S. offices, as well as Mexico and the Philippines and engagements across various parts of Latin America. Segura develops executive level relationships with customers, corporate partners, and state and local governments.

Segura serves as a board member of the Latino Business Action Network and Stanford’s Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative. This has produced the most extensive research on Latino owned businesses in the U.S. as well as the most highly rated entrepreneurship program for Latino leaders.

Segura is an advisor to the Michigan eLAB, a venture capital fund operating in Silicon Valley and Ann Arbor, Michigan. He also serves as a board member of the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Segura has global impact through his Presidential appointment by serving on his 2nd term with the U.S. Trade Ambassador on the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations. Segura previously served as well with the U.S. Secretary of Commerce on the National Advisory Council on Minority Business Enterprise.

Segura has been honored to have had his accomplishments recognized by many organizations, including the ICIC’s Inner-City 100 #1 Fastest Growing Inner-City based company in the U.S. Ernst & Young, who named him Entrepreneur of the Year for the Central Great Lakes region and Hispanic Business Magazine’s national entrepreneur of the year.

He earned his Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Engineering from the University of Michigan.

David Whitford, Editor-at-Large, Inc. Magazine

David Whitford is a Boston-based editor-at-large with Inc. magazine, where he began his business journalism career in the mid-1990s. Between tours at Inc., he was an award-winning feature writer for Fortune magazine and Fortune Small Business. He has written three books about sports, business and politics, the first of which, A Payroll to Meet: A Story of Greed, Corruption and Football at SMU, was recently republished by University of Nebraska Press.


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