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Do Lunch with National Leaders at the Founders Luncheons

by Tom Tom Staff

About Luncheons

Everyone has a favorite part of the Tom Tom Founders Festival. For many, it’s the Summits. For several, the Block Parties. For others, it’s the niche events: the competitions, the workshops, the exhibits, the receptions. One of our favorites are the Founders Luncheons.

The Luncheons bring attendees together at one of Charlottesville’s acclaimed restaurants to sit at the table with some of our top keynotes, speakers, and participants of the Summits. They convene to more intimately discuss matters and issues at hand in their specific industries, network, and celebrate the diversity, inclusion, and opportunity brought to the table.

All of our Luncheons are sold separately from Summits (but are included in Patron and All-Access Badges!) – make your reservation today and we will save you a seat! Individually, Luncheons are $40 a plate (with the exception of a community lunch that is free – but requires registration!). Check out the menu of themes and see which change-makers you could be sitting alongside this April!

Founders Luncheons

  1. A Better Startup Ecosystem for Student Founders (Hosted by HackCville) – 10:30am, 4/13 – Old Met: What mentorship, money, and community resources are needed to create and empower student entrepreneurs? In this interactive design session we’ll craft the ideal entrepreneurial ecosystem for young founders. Featuring HackCville’s Director of Operations, Daniel Wilson.

The Energy Endgame (Presented with Charlottesville Renewable Energy Alliance) – 12pm, 4/13 – Downtown Grille: Have you envisioned what the world will look like in 25 years? 50? What do you think the future holds for “the grid” – or what role will storage have? Industry expert, and CEO of Generate Capital, Jigar Shah, is sitting down to discuss the big picture of energy.

  1. Taking Back Healthcare –  12pm, 4/12 – Commonwealth Restaurant: The healthcare system should not give the patient a bigger headache than the disease afflicting them. How do we diagnose, treat, and cure the problems afflicting the nation? How did we get here? Check in to lunch with Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal, here to talk one-on-one.

  2. Art, Fantasy, Mystery: Meow Wolf (Presented with WHURK) – 12pm, 4/13 – The Bebedero: Come have lunch and see through Vince Kadlubek’s eyes: as CEO of Meow Wolf, he has laid the foundation for his team to create fantastical interactive, immersive experiences. He has overseen House of Eternal Return, a Game of Thrones room, and other exciting projects. Learn where they get their ideas, how they execute them, and the business models behind it.

An American Story – 12pm, 4/13 – Hamilton’s: Two days before Christmas of 2008, General Motors assembly plant closed, causing devastating unemployment statistics for a small Midwestern city called Janesville. This scenario, now deemed “An American Story” by 2002 Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Washington Post reporter Amy Goldstein, is one of many Great Recession stories that have resonated across the nation. Join Goldstein and The Atlantic reporter James Fallows for lunch to go in-depth in “middle America.”

  1. Reasons to Stay – Cities for Young Founders (Presented with Frederick Maryland Chamber of Commerce) – 12pm, 4/13 – Zocalo: Steven Huffman, cofounder and CEO of Reddit, Ace Callwood, CEO of Painloess1099, scholar and manager of UNCW CIE Laura Brogdon, and moderator Daniel Wilson from HackCville pose the question to fellow lunch-goers: What can small cities do to retain young entrepreneurs? How do recent grades evaluate their opportunities in large metros versus staying put?

  2. Steam Ahead: Inclusive Innovation (Presented by Lynchburg Economic Development Authority)

– 12pm, 4/13 – Brasserie Saison: Join STEM eccentrics Leland Melvin and Dr. Knatokie Ford for an unforgettable meal while discussing all things innovative, engineering, and shooting for the stars. Melvin has been an NFL athlete, artist, entrepreneur, and an astronaut at the ISS not once, but twice! Dr. Ford is the inspirational STEM icon who is the CEO of Fly Sci Enterprise, navigated media expertly, and advised presidential administrations.

  1. Founding While Female (Presented with Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation) – 12pm, 4/13 – Red Pump Kitchen: Connect with Renee Diresta, Alice Handy, and Shan-Lyn Ma over lunch! Find out how they succeeded in the entrepreneurship paths, and have a candid conversation about challenges women face in the current ecosystem, and how to overcome barriers.

  2. Brands in the Age of Distraction – 12pm, 4/13 – Downtown Grille: Brands. How many logos, ads, or company images can you recognize? Why do some stand out to you, even years later? Behind every brand is a powerful team that created the company profile and image, and saw their brand thrive. Ask branding masters Darcey Lacey, Lindsey Normant, Magnus Hierta, and Zack Bryant over a lunch!

Dopesick – Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America – 12pm, 4/13 – Bashir’s:  Author Beth Macy will lead a discussion on the country’s 20-year struggle with opioid addiction and national crisis, following along topics and subjects from her New York Times bestselling book Factory Man.

  1. Honoring the Black Experience (FREE! requires registration) – 12pm, 4/13 – The Jefferson Theater: Across the nation, communities are discussing ways we can preserve, present, and discuss history. Previously, people have relied on museums, monuments, and parks to do so. Listen and join a panel to discuss inspirational, insightful, disciplinary ways in which we can approach the topics of history – especially surrounding race – and be inclusive. The panel includes prominent leaders and storytellers: Gayle Jessup White of Montciello, Brent Leggs of University of Maryland, and Bruce McMullen, a Memphis-based attorney.

Luncheon Tickets

Already have an All-Access or Patron badge? Great! You can register for any one of these luncheons on our Sched app and you will automatically have your seat saved. Have a Summit badge? Awesome! Check your Sched App, and choose which luncheon you would like to join, and the app will direct you to the correct add-on and ticket upgrade.

Don’t have a badge? You’re still invited! Buy a separate ticket and register for a luncheon through the site or Sched App.

We are Tom Tom are looking forward to dining with you in April – can’t wait to say “Bon Appetit!” to deep-dive discussions, delicious food, and innovation.




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