What Is The thinkBIG! Summit?
The thinkBIG! Summit provided a climactic close to the annual thinkBIG! Challenge by providing a platform for the Final Four Challenge teams to pitch their ideas. The finalists presented to a panel of volunteer judges who selected the winners.
In the past the thinkBIG! Summit has been presented as a full-day conference on the campus of Case Western Reserve University with approximately 400 guests in attendance. For the safety of our guests we held a virtual event in March 2021, but we plan to return to the conference format in March 2022.
2021 Emcee and Judges
Next Gen HQ
Justin Lafazan is the Co-founder and CEO of Next Gen HQ, the premier community and conference for millennial entrepreneurs. Since its inception in 2014, Next Gen HQ has served as a vehicle to bring together the world’s most talented young entrepreneurs to connect, collaborate, and inspire each other, and give them the resources they need to be successful.
Justin is an experienced entrepreneur, consultant, speaker, investor, and best-selling author.
Tayo Rockson is a writer, speaker, consultant, podcaster, professor, co-founder and brand strategist at UYD Management – a strategic consulting firm that empowers organizations to incorporate sustainable diversity and inclusion practices.
As the son of a diplomat, Tayo grew up understanding the nuances of multicultural diversity while living on four continents. He leveraged his experiences to establish himself as an authority in communicating effectively across cultures and personal branding. He graced various stages to share his knowledge including TEDx, the prestigious Chautauqua Institution, and the United Nations.
Tayo is the host of As Told by Nomads, a podcast ranked in the top 5 tier of the Top 25 Business Podcasts for Entrepreneurs on Entrepreneur.com. He’s the author of Use Your Difference To Make A Difference, and in 2020, he launched the national anti-racism campaign called #LetsTalkBias. Remote Weekly named him one of the most influential remote experts in 2021.
EYEJ: Empowering Youth Exploring Justice
Mai Moore is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of EYEJ: Empowering Youth, Exploring Justice, an innovative and timely nonprofit organization committed to social justice and focused on highlighting the voices, contributions and insights of the next generation. As an advocate for the marginalized, Mai is passionate about supporting students through education, advocacy, leadership development, and data-driven practices. Specifically, she focuses on bridging worlds together, empowering others, building leaders, and social impact. Mai has dedicated her life to creating change in society and the community around police reform, the epidemic of toxic stress and the digital divide through policy, social policy, programming, youth voice, and research. Read Full Bio
Lani Lazzari is the 26 year old CEO and founder of the all-natural skincare company Simple Sugars and a 2017 Thiel Fellow. Simple Sugars manufactures and sells all-natural sugar scrubs especially formulated for sensitive skin. Lani founded Simple Sugars in December of 2005, when she was just 11 years old, in an effort to create natural skincare products that would be safe to use on her ultra-sensitive skin and relieve her eczema. What started in the basement of her parents’ home is now a multimillion dollar business.
Over the past fifteen years, Lani’s brand has been endorsed by beauty editors at some of the world’s most prestigious beauty magazines and has garnered a loyal fan base all over the world. The Simple Sugars line consists of a wide variety of body, facial, and foot scrubs in addition to a men’s line called Smooth For Men. Simple Sugars products are sold internationally online and are available in over 100 retail locations across the US.
On March 29, 2013, after being pursued by the show’s producers, Lani appeared on ABC’s hit TV show, “Shark Tank” where she secured an investment for Simple Sugars with billionaire Mark Cuban. Simple Sugars received one of the biggest responses in the history of the show and the company literally exploded overnight receiving more than 25,000 orders in just three days. Despite being just 18 years old and the youngest entrepreneur to ever make a solo pitch, The Sharks deemed Lani’s pitch the best they had ever seen.
Since graduating from high school at The Ellis School in Pittsburgh in 2012, Lani has been the full-time CEO of the now multi-million dollar company, forgoing college to work full time on her company. Lani has a firm belief that no one should have to choose between a job that they love and a life that they love and her mission is to make Simple a truly great place to work for all of her employees.
Lani lives in Pittsburgh, PA. When she’s not working on Simple Sugars, Lani spends her time watching hockey (Let’s Go Pens!), horseback riding, and travelling.