How to Make it in America

A Business Leadership Conference for Philadelphia

Keynote Speakers


Nick Bayer

Nick Bayer has always been in the business of bringing people together, whether it’s as one of Philadelphia Business Journal’s Most Admired CEOs or as a consummate team captain since Little League. So when he created Saxbys in 2005, he never really considered it to be a coffee company — instead, it’s a hospitality company fueled by great coffee. Saxbys has since grown from one corner café to a 30-unit, Philadelphia-based hospitality business with a mission: Make Life Better.

Driven by deep-seated core values and O.D.D. (outgoing, detail-oriented, and disciplined) team members, Saxbys is headquartered in Center City Philadelphia with cafés in six states and on many college campuses — and growing fast (30% a year fast). In April 2015, Saxbys opened its first experiential learning café. The product of a partnership between Saxbys and Drexel University’s Close School of Entrepreneurship, it’s the nation’s first entirely student-run café where students earn full academic credit through a university cooperative education (co-op) program.

Nick is currently the Entrepreneur in Residence at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and an adjunct professor at Drexel University, where he teaches a course in entrepreneurial franchising. As a frequent guest lecturer at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University’s Fox School of Business and Penn State’s Smeal College of Business, Nick loves supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs and encouraging everyone he meets to believe in the Saxbys mission and core values.

He serves on the Board of The Franklin Institute, Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence Region, the Community College of Philadelphia, Drexel University Steinbright Career Development Center and is a Corporate Council Member for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. In 2017, he was named the Entrepreneur of the Year by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce as well as EY’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year. He resides in Center City Philadelphia with his wife and son.

Robin Broughton-Smith
Sweet Nectar Dessert Kitchen

Robin Broughton-Smith is a renaissance woman. A former accountant (for Jay-Z!) turned baker. An entrepreneur. A go-getter. A mother. A wife. A lover of music. A gourmand. Her path toward opening Sweet Nectar Dessert Kitchen was an unlikely one. If it were a recipe it would be one-part exceptional math skills, two parts most glamorous accounting gig ever, and three parts love of creating simple and elegant desserts.

At her first accounting job in New York as an assistant, she was able to land Jay-Z as a client for her firm. In her 12+years of working for him, her job took on many forms which allowed her to travel the world and experience everything at its best – including food. On working for Jay-Z, Robin says, “It was a great experience that gave me a lot of confidence and taught me to trust my instincts and my taste.”

In her last two years of working as an accountant, Robin’s life evolved quickly. She got married, had her first child and moved to Philadelphia. She and her family traveled to France and ate their way through Paris. She began seriously baking and taking baking classes. She launched her first bakery, Sweet Nectar Cupcakery, in Stone Harbor on the Jersey Shore, where she loved being next to the beach and providing the community with delicious, high-quality, elegant treats.

At Sweet Nectar Dessert Kitchen, Robin looks forward to providing an experience in elevated simplicity. She’s guided by the desire to make people happy with delicious treats made from the freshest, highest quality ingredients. The dessert kitchen will be influenced by Robin’s love of the beach and will also offer baking events and classes for children and adults. Most importantly, Sweet Nectar will offer high quality tasty desserts daily, and for happy occasions!

Nicole Cashman
Cashman and Associates

As the CEO and President of Cashman & Associates, Nicole leads a team of strategic communications, brand management and special events professionals – who specialize in tourism and hospitality, fashion and retail, health and beauty, sports and entertainment, non-profit and real estate industries. Under Cashman’s trademark style and sophistication, the agency has amassed a high-profile local, national and international client list; representing the most prominent brands and organizations.

A Philadelphia native, Nicole began her career at Drexel University where she earned a B.S in Design and Merchandising with a minor in Marketing, along with completing a Co-Op internship with the flagship Saks Fifth Avenue store in New York City. Her success in retail continued with her role as Public Relations Director for Bloomingdale’s in New York City, where she managed communication and event initiatives for the New York metro region and Boston. She was then recruited as Director of Public Relations & Special Events for 28 Strawbridge’s stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.

Nicole has received the CCPA REAL Small Business Award, Drexel University’s Rankin-Epstein Distinguished Alumni Award, Philadelphia Business Journal’s Women of Distinction Award, the Special Achievement Award in Business from the National Italian American Political Action Committee, PRSA’s DeAnn White Award for Individual Achievement, and most recently, the Gift of Life Donor Program’s Hero of the Year Award.

Keith Leapheart
Replica Creative

Since the age of 11, Keith’s life has been defined by entrepreneurship starting with what his middle school teachers referenced as an “illegal” candy business that he operated as a student in the Philadelphia School District. Undeterred, Keith then used his business acumen to ascend to the role of “head paperboy” in his West Oak Lane neighborhood. Luckily, these events would not be the highlight of his career as he successfully matriculated from Central High School then to Hampton University, graduating with a B.S. in Biology in 1996.

In 2003, Keith completed a five-year dual degree DO/MBA program at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and Saint Joseph’s University respectively. Despite the inherent challenges of a dual degree program, Keith successfully operated both a commercial cleaning and event planning business during that period. It was those entrepreneurial pursuits that gave him his initial exposure to the fascinating design and print worlds, and led him to aggressively pursue a greater interest in the industry. As the Brand Manager of Replica, he works with the team to create the strategic vision for the brand. His strong interpersonal skills help to bolster relationships with both current and future clients.

H. Chase Lenfest
CEO, Lenfest Media Group

H. Chase Lenfest owns or holds interests in a diverse portfolio of companies operating in media, marketing, technology, real estate, and private and public equity investment. Mr. Lenfest is a dedicated philanthropist both personally and through The H. Chase Lenfest Foundation and 10 North (aka The Lenfest Center), which endeavor to collaborate with the local community to improve life outcomes for residents of Hunting Park.

Mr. Lenfest grew up in Huntingdon Valley and graduated from Yale University in 1986 with a BA in Economics.




Scott Mirkin
ESM Productions

Throughout his nearly 30-year career, Scott has produced some of the most high-profile events in the country for political icons such as Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, religious figures including Pope Francis and the Dalai Lama, and entertainment industry leaders, including Jay Z, Beyoncé, and Lady Gaga. Scott served as the Executive Producer of the largest NSSE (National Special Security Event) in US history and has received numerous commendations from The White House for event production. He has also produced numerous broadcast specials including Nicki Minaj Live at Barclays, for BET, a Coldplay special, currently featured on the streaming service TIDAL, and Jill Scott: Woman, for BET. Scott is a member of the Producers Guild of America.



Bill Wilson
Synterra Ltd.

Holding degrees in Landscape Architecture (Univ. Pennsylvania Graduate School of Fine Arts) and Ornamental Horticulture (Delaware Valley College of Science& Agriculture), Bill founded Synterra, Ltd. 33 years ago and is now the Principal-in-Charge. He has broad international and domestic design experience that anchors Synterra’s work for Public/Municipal Agencies, Fortune 500 companies, Museums, Universities and Sports & Entertainment interests. At Synterra, Bill established an open plan workplace before it was in-style. This environment promotes sharing, intersecting perspectives and the continuous critiques that keep each project moving toward the best solution.