Iris Hammel

Executive Director

Iris Hammel is a creative problem solver and lifelong learner with a passion for helping others to unleash their potential through connecting people, resources and ideas.

Iris’s unique background consists of over ten years of both business and education. This experience includes being a co-founder of Connected Classrooms and as well as starting an entrepreneurial middle school. Iris wants to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs to make a lasting impact on our community.

Matthew Stackowicz

Entrepreneur in Residence,
Applied Entrepreneurship Program

Matthew Stackowicz is a creative entrepreneur and educator. His 18 years as an educator, love for world travel, numerous speaking engagements, and creative entrepreneurial endeavors bring a unique perspective into the classroom and community. His most recent endeavor, Stack Haus, is a combination of vintage furniture, flowers & plants, and photography. It is more than likely you will see his new plant truck popping up around town in the near future! He believes that every student has the potential to change their own lives and this world through entrepreneurship and loves working with students of all ages toward transformation.

Lauren Salela

Event Coordinator

Lauren is an enthusiastic college student with a deep passion for creating deep positive impacts on not only the people in her life, the community and the world we live in. She strives every day to grow as an individual, connect with those around her, and further her education in every way possible.

Lauren is currently a sophomore at Butler University studying Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Marketing in the Lacy School of Business.

Leslie Pinson

Entrepreneur in Residence

Leslie Pinson is an intuitive entrepreneur with a passion for connection and community. She designs programs, services and experiences that align and connect people to people, people to place and people more deeply to themselves. She recently founded Local Spirit, offering Community-as-a-Service to regional employers struggling to attract and retain talent.

A Texan native, turned proud South Bend townie when she moved north to get her MBA at the University of Notre Dame. Leslie has a Mindfulness and Well-being Strategy certification from UPEACE and an undergraduate degree in Accounting from Texas Tech University. She is a fitness instructor for Pure Barre South Bend and is certified as a level 2 Reiki practitioner.

Her unique background of for-profit, non-profit, energy healing, mindfulness, coaching and physical fitness collide in our Startup Moxie classroom where she finds incredible joy in helping young minds find deeper connection to self through entrepreneurial immersion.

Cole Kuiper

Business Development

Cole Kuiper is a 2020 Finance graduate from IUSB and a lifelong advocate for entrepreneurial endeavors. Cole believes entrepreneurship is a vital life skill that helps individuals recognize the hard work and perseverance it takes to accomplish goals in order to live the life they wish for.

Cole has worked in startups ranging from SaaS Business-to-business sales in medical education, event management, and solar energy. He is passionate about helping others achieve financial stability and creating a long term model for sustaining wealth and happiness.

Nick Paliga

Content & Instructional Designer

Nick is a passionate educator who has excelled in designing and delivering effective instruction across multiple grade levels. While teaching all core subjects, he also enjoyed creating and implementing after school clubs, promoting skills from engineering to personal wellness. Since graduating from Purdue University in 2016, he has been dedicated to his mission of creating personalized and diverse instruction in order to bring success to each and every student.

He comes from a family with multiple generations of entrepreneurship. He is eager to bind his background in education and entrepreneurship in order to give students of all ages an opportunity to pursue their dreams.

Be a Part of RISE

RISE teacher training is taught by talented educators, entrepreneurs, and community builders. The essence of this training is driven by the way it is facilitated. You will experience an immersive and vibrant atmosphere where we model what a day in the life looks like for a RISE student.

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