NOMINEES

See who’s in the running

  • Alexis Smith

    Alexis Smith

    Co-founder

  • Charles Gaudet

    Charles Gaudet

    CEO

  • Elena Rivera Cheek, MBA

    Elena Rivera Cheek

    Founder, CEO

  • Jacob Hanes

    Jacob Hanes

    CPA, Serial Entrepreneur, Business Coach, Author, Public Speaker

  • Marvin Joles

    Marvin Joles

    Owner, Host

  • Nick Dimatteo

    Nick DiMatteo

    Founder, President

  • Nicole Craven

    Nicole Craven

    Co-founder

  • Rhonda Swan

    Rhonda Swan

    CEO

  • Richard Lorenzen

    Richard Lorenzen

    CEO

Alexis Smith

Alexis Smith

Co-founder

Après Hours Co-Founder, Alexis Smith, is a skilled marketing professional with a passion for transforming brands. After attending Texas Tech University, Alexis immersed herself in a plethora of marketing experiences, holding esteemed positions such as the Director of Digital Marketing for a national public relations agency as well as Head of Marketing at Jack Mason, where she managed brand partnerships, digital strategy and special events.

With experience in brand development and a natural self-starter, Alexis partnered with fellow social media and communications professional,
Nicole Craven, after noticing a lack of her favorite go-to cocktail in the ready-to-drink spirits industry: the classic Espresso Martini. As female community leaders who are always on the go, Smith and Craven set out to develop a convenient cocktail that combined daytime fuel with a wind-down buzz. The two launched Après Hours, a spirits and lifestyle brand, in 2022 with its premier product, a canned dairy-and gluten-free espresso martini in three flavors: Classic, Salted Caramel and Vanilla.

Beyond creating an aesthetic product that fuels a busy lifestyle, Smith and Craven are passionate about building a brand that represents and empowers women in the spirits industry. As a trillion-dollar global industry primarily dominated by men, Après Hours is made to inspire women to live a life that empowers change by breaking boundaries and leveling the male dominated playing field while changing the dynamics of drinking overall.

When she’s not busy being an entrepreneur, Alexis is a passionate community activist involved in Dallas non-profit organizations including The Family Place, American Cancer Society and Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center. Her proudest accomplishment is organizing Kids Save Dallas, a fundraiser she started during the first weeks of COVID-19 to support local restaurants and feed children at the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center.

Charles Gaudet

Charles Gaudet

CEO

Charles Gaudet is the founder and CEO of Predictable Profits, one of the largest business coaching organizations in America for 7 and 8 figure companies.

As the author of “The Predictable Profits Playbook: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Dominating Any Market and Staying on Top“ and host of The Beyond 7-Figures Podcast, Gaudet is a prominent figure in empowering entrepreneurs and the next generation of leaders.

His insights have been featured on Fox News, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Entrepreneur, International Business Times, Yahoo Finance, NFIB and more.

Charles has been an entrepreneur since the age of 4, created his first multi-million dollar business at 24, and through his coaching has helped many others earn their spot on the Inc 5000 Fastest Growing Companies while generating millions with his strategies.

He’s received numerous awards and recognition (including founding a company named as “One of the Best Seed Stage Companies” by Ernst & Young) and has had his business advice featured around in the world. He was named one of American Geniuses Top 50 Industry Influencers.

He’s training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (two gold medal finishes) and is 3-time wrestling state champion. He lives in South Florida with his beautiful wife, three adorable kid-preneurs and one badass dog.

Elena Rivera Cheek, MBA

Elena Rivera Cheek

Founder, CEO

“After many years of working at some of the biggest NYC ad agencies, Elena founded her own creative agency in the basement of her home, Copy & Art, in 2011. She is an experienced marketer and entrepreneur who has guided her company successfully for 11 years and counting. The agency has grown to almost 20 employees and is now located in a state-of-the-art 8,000 square foot office in the suburbs of NYC.

She now serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the agency. Copy & Art specializes in digital marketing and communications and has seen double-digit growth year after year. The agency was recently named one of the Fastest Growing Privately-Owned Companies in the U.S. by Inc. Magazine, won the 914INC. Best of Business Award in Graphic Design, and won second place for the Best Places to Work in Westchester.

Elena is proud of her Puerto Rican heritage. She makes it a point to support diversity and inclusion initiatives and organizations, and lives that commitment through the inclusive culture and hiring practices at Copy & Art. She was recently named a 2022 Notable Hispanic Leader by Crain’s New York Business and a Hispanic Woman of Distinction by the Westchester Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

She is a member of The Business Council of Westchester (BCW), Westchester County Association, Westchester Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, The Westchester Multicultural Chamber, and Chief, a nationally acclaimed private membership network focused on connecting and supporting female executive leaders. She was recently awarded BCW’s Hall of Fame Award for Minority Business Success. She was also featured in 914INC. in a Q&A, and on the cover of the magazine for its 2022 issue on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Elena gives back to her community through various volunteer efforts, including being a mentor for both Her Honor Mentoring and the Women’s Development Enterprise Center and a supporter of the Wildlife Conservation Society.”

Jacob Hanes

Jacob Hanes

CPA, Serial Entrepreneur, Business Coach, Author, Public Speaker

After 40 years of incredible struggles with epilepsy, and a miraculous surgery on my 40th birthday, every barrier was removed, and since then my vision has been to Inspire a Million People. I have an Amazon #1 bestseller book, The 7 Strategies of Highly Successful Business owners, with Forward by billionaire Brad Sugars. Along with leading one of the largest firms in Washington State (Action Tax Service, LLC), I have a successful Family Entertainment Center – The Epicenter, and several other ventures running with enthusiasm. I coach every client I work with, provide leadership training to youth and adults, and occasionally do a small or large group public speaking engagement.
For fun, I have for years organized events like Wing Walking, Scuba Diving, Sky Diving, Mountain Climbing, Cycling, etc, in small groups of 10-30 people from all walks of life, to go out and test our strengths and enjoy the beauty everywhere. Many cannot afford this that I invite, nevertheless I give them a chance at fun in life they otherwise would never be able to do (single moms, handicapped individuals, and many otherwise struggling).

I am a father of 5, married 28 years. My key to all of this is Goal Setting and Achieving. I have for 35+ years achieved 5 “New Years Resolutions” that all focus on my ultimate 100 Lifetime Goals.

Marvin Joles

Marvin Joles

Owner, Host

After successfully starting and operating two Asphalt Businesses, Wis-Coat and Dubuque Asphalt Maintenance, over 18 years, I started Blacktop Banter to create a community and media source within the Asphalt Industry. The Blacktop Banter podcast is available in 40 countries with 40,000+ listens now, as well as a TikTok with over 35k followers and over 100Million views. BB is on its way to the Top as a media company in the Asphalt Industry, and beyond.

Nick Dimatteo

Nick DiMatteo

Founder, President

Professor and author Brene Brown says, “Rest and play are as vital to our health as nutrition and exercise”. As the founder and president of Fortyfivegames, LLC, I am looking to innovate the ways people rest and play. More than twenty years in the restaurant and arcade industry have allowed me to recognize and analyze what people are seeking in an entertainment environment. Since the mid 2000’s a crane game concept I developed has become an industry inside an industry. To date, between hardware and new product sales, that concept has broken nine figures. I know a great game, idea or concept when I see it and now have my own portfolio unlike anything the industry has ever seen. These projects are innovative, interactive group experiences with patents pending.

As a speaker, mentor and good steward in my industry, I have helped many family entertainment centers operate at maximum efficiency and profitability. Since 2016, I have been a member of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, a Global Association for the Attractions Industry. Opportunities through IAAPA have enabled me to serve on the Family Entertainment Center Committee, volunteer on the Education Committee which works to create industry standard education, and I have led and participated in many educational sessions for new Family Entertainment Center entrepreneurs as an industry expert. This association has many powerhouse members like Disney, Six Flags, and Dave & Buster’s and offers professional certifications, like the IAAPA Certified Attractions Professional (ICAP) or the IAAPA Attractions Certified Expert (IACE).

In my personal life, I am a husband, father of five and member of the longest running fraternal service organization in my local community, the Flower Mound Summit Club. For the last fifty years, The Summit Club has supported local charities, organizations and activities that promote and demonstrate to our youth that giving back to the community enhances the quality of life for all.

Nicole Craven

Nicole Craven

Co-founder

A natural storyteller and creative, Dallas-native and Après Hours co-founder Nicole Craven pursued a career in Public Relations and Social Media after graduating from Oklahoma State University. Landing a position as an Account Executive for a boutique PR Agency, Nicole led social media campaigns and marketing strategies for top-tier brands and businesses in industries such as fashion, fitness, non-profit, beauty, and hospitality. Now an influencer and entrepreneur, Nicole acts as a true trailblazer within the Dallas community.

With ready-to-drink spirits on the rise, Nicole noticed the RTD industry was missing a popular beverage: the Espresso Martini. As an avid lover of the coffee and caffeine-infused cocktail and armed with a passion for problem-solving as well as several years of cross-industry experience in marketing, social media, and public relations, Nicole and co-founder, Alexis Smith, launched Après Hours. The female-founded spirits and lifestyle brand debuts a canned dairy-and gluten-free espresso martini that combines daytime fuel with a wind-down buzz, a convenient yet sophisticated spirit for those on the go, available in three flavors: Classic, Salted Caramel and Vanilla.

As female community leaders, Craven and Smith are shaking up the premium prepared spirits industry by bringing a unique, multi-level marketing perspective and gender-diverse approach to alcohol brands. The co-founding duo hope to elevate the world’s oldest social tradition (drinking) while inspiring women to live a life that empowers change by breaking boundaries and leveling the male dominated playing field to change the dynamics of drinking overall.

When Nicole isn’t sipping an espresso martini (or even when she is), you can find her globetrotting or helming a community event with philanthropic organizations such as American Cancer Society, The Family Place, and Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center.

Rhonda Swan

Rhonda Swan

CEO

Rhonda Swan is a woman to know. She’s the founder of the Unstoppable Branding Agency, the top 10 PR & branding firm for entrepreneurs rated by Forbes Magazine in 2021.

Her company is women owned and 85 % women run. She is considered the “Category Queen” in the PR Industry by creating a unique category all to itself by combining Digital PR, Google Indexing, SEO & Top Tier Publishing into one.

UBA best serves Entrepreneurs, Speakers, Authors, CEO’s and Start Ups that need online brand positioning from PR, and the online footprint from SEO to dominate the marketplace.

She also leads the charge for women empowerment as the founder of the international best selling book series called Women Gone Wild.

Rhonda is the TV host of
New To the Street, “Unstoppable Show” that Is filmed at Nasdaq MarketSite in NYC, and can be seen on Fox Business, NewsMax and as a sponsored program on Bloomberg TV.

Richard Lorenzen

Richard Lorenzen

CEO

Richard Lorenzen is an American entrepreneur, investor and speaker. He is the founder and CEO of Fifth Avenue Brands, the leading New York PR firm for companies in finance, public policy and B2B tech.

Born in New York as the son of a journalist and an FDNY firefighter, Richard gained prominence for having founded Fifth Avenue Brands 15 years ago at the age of just 15 years old. Since then he has been featured by CNBC, Forbes, Fox News, Business Insider, AdWeek, PRWeek, Inc. Magazine, Mashable and more. Inc. Magazine called him one of the most inspirational entrepreneurs to watch.

He speaks frequently on entrepreneurship and policy at the United Nations, TEDx, NASDAQ, and universities and conferences in the US, Europe and Asia.