2019 Entrepreneur of the Year Nominees
Entrepreneur of the year. An entrepreneur is a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so. In 2019, these six entrepreneurs below have been #COSIGNed by their community for their tremendous work ethic in creating innovative businesses, building a strong team, and providing others an opportunity to make a living. This years nominee class is comprised of a diverse group of entrepreneurs who are experts in the fields of beauty, tech, marketing, media, gig economy, lifestlyle, and community events.
Meet the 2019 COSIGN Entrepreneur of the year nominees.
Texas native, Jessica “Jake” Tafoya founded The Mod Labb on October 1, 2013. As a child she was inspired to pursue a career in the beauty industry by her aunt who was a hairstylist and mother who was known as a glam guru. Even though Jake grew up in a small Texas town she always carried a big city mentality thus moving her to Dallas. She began her hair journey with a goal of one day working behind the scenes in the movie industry as she worked tirelessly to learn as much as she could throughout the beginning of her career.
At the time, the beauty industry wasn’t what it is today. Jake saw a significant gap within the industry to create an environment where all women were able to be serviced no matter their hair texture. With the mindset of making a positive impact within the beauty community, she created and cultivated The Mod Labb.
Her journey wasn’t an overnight success, she began with two employees and a 400 sq. ft. suite and after years of hard work and an incredible team she built a sister company, The Body Labb and an education platform, The Mod Academy. In September 2019, her and her team will bring The Mod Labb to Arlington with a new location blending both sister companies and creating a beauty oasis for the DFW community.
Jake Tafoya has been awarded “Beauty Specialist of the Year” by COSIGN Magazine for two consecutive years and featured on Univision, The Modern Salon and others. Her client roster includes celebrities and community influencers such as Denise Bidot, Urbana Chapa, Alexis Waters, Elena Davies, Maya Youssef and more.
Craig J. Leis the Founder and Chief Entrepreneur Officer of Gig Wage, a tech startup, that builds modern payment tools for the future of work. Pay your independent contractors in seconds. His company designed payroll that meets the demand of your on-demand workforce. Simple. Fast. Easy.
Prior to Gig Wage, Craig was also the CSO at Kairos, a venture backed facial recognition/ Emotion Detection startup. Kairos is a NewMe Accelerator alum and a 500 Startups/Kapor Capital portfolio company and was voted one the Top 20 Startups by the WallStreet Journal. Kairos was also a part of the first ever Morgan Stanley’s Multicultural Innovation Lab.
Before becoming an entrepreneur, Criag sold over $10M of payroll and payroll related software.
He also played professional basketball in Europe. I’m also the Author of “The Sport of Sales” and is a Husband & Father to 4 beautiful young girls.
His Motto: “Go For It”🚀
Christiana Yebra is the newly appointed CEO of Vouch, a social matchmaking and dating app. After graduating from the University of North Texas, with a degree in biology, she helped launch and sell Texas’ first on-demand urgent care app. Christiana would go on to join a California-based med tech startup where she designed and implemented the company’s first multi-market consumer campaigns. She would lead the company in territory sales until its acquisition and her exit, in 2018. After co-founding Millennial Clubs in 2016, a service and networking organization, Christiana has been consistently recognized as a thought leader in millennial business and culture, technology, and growth strategy by companies, such as Red Bull and SXSW. She is passionate about many causes and places a special emphasis on empowering young girls to pursue careers in STEM-related fields.
Marty McDonald is the founder of Boss Women Media. Marty created BWM in 2016 as a personal need to connect with women who desired more. She wanted to be around women who desired more from their 9-5 jobs. After great success from the first brunch in May 2016, she knew there was a need for women to collaborate together. Marty established the foundation of BWM as a brand from each brunch and soon knew this was not just a social organization but an opportunity to help women cultivate the life they desired.
In 2018, Marty left her corporate job of 8 years to pursue Boss Women Media full-time and make it a worldwide known brand. Boss is her purpose in life to shown women, whether they are a corporate gal, side hustler or entrepreneur you have a voice and you can create the career of your dreams.
Marty is on a mission to connect with women who want more. But not a little more…Big More! Women who have Big Goals, Big Dreams and are chasing them every single day. Marty wants women to make their imprint in this world and that’s exact why Boss Women Media was created! Marty’s plan for making this happen for women? Build a community of women to empower one another through connection, networking and workshops. Marty realized last year that this is her true purpose in life and that most women are allowing fear to hold them back from accomplishing the goals they desperately want to achieve. The vision for Boss is to create a space that pushes you to be a better version of yourself. Marty is dedicated to providing an outlet that empowers women to take action over their life through Boss Women Media!
Legna Entertainment is an entertainment group, established in 2014 by Shamar Willis. The foundation set has allowed for incredible growth over the years, allowing Legna to bring artists all around the United States. Shamar has given artists a platform to bring their ideas to a stage, from packing out clubs all the way to festivals. Legna believes live concerts can inspire, excite and create new experiences that can last forever. Shamar believes in entrepreneurship and work with artists from different backgrounds and connect them to their fans.
Luke Schlensker established The Classic | Exotic and Luxury rentals in January of 2017 and began officially renting out vehicles in May of 2017 after he graduated from College. “The Classic” is derived from the original meaning of “Classic” which means to be of the highest quality and highest stature.
At The Classic, Luke provides the Dallas/ Fort Worth Metroplex with the highest quality Exotic and Luxury experience. In addition, they also offer full Chauffeur Services and Limousine service. THey primarily rent exotic and luxury vehicles, from the newest model Ferrari and Lamborghini’s to the most lavish current Mercedes and Cadillac offerings.
They are known for their high-quality customer service. The Classic was established to be much more than just a car rental agency. They custom tailor your experience to your liking, comparable to a concierge service. If you are looking for a Rolls Royce for your wedding, they have you covered… If you are needing a photographer in addition to the Rolls… they take care of it. This is what truly sets them apart from the rest. When you leave with one of our vehicles, you are left with more than just the car. You are left with a sense of security and convenience like no other.