Meet the Panelists: Ethos 4.0

By February 24, 2016 Blog No Comments
Ethos 4.0 Meet the Panelists

Leaders from Chicago’s tech and creative community will fill into Venue One on Thursday, March 17th to hear four rockstar CEO’s share their stories of building amazing company cultures, creative offices and compelling employer brands in our highly anticipated Ethos 4.0 event. Joining our leadership panel are:


  • Al Goldstein, CEO, Avant

  • George Bousis, CEO, Raise

  • Kristi Ross, Co-CEO/President, Dough Inc.

  • Raaja Nemani, CEO, Bucketfeet

Learn more about each of our four rockstar panelists below. You can purchase your tickets for Ethos 4.0 here.

Meet the Panelists

Al Goldstein

Al Goldstein

CEO, Avant

Al Goldstein is the co-founder and CEO of Avant, an online marketplace lending platform that is changing the way consumers obtain credit by lowering the costs and barriers of borrowing. At its core, Avant is a tech company that is dedicated to creating innovative and practical financial products for all consumers. Avant has secured more than $1.4 billion in funding to date and more than 300,000 loans have been issued through the Avant platform. Avant has been featured in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, TechCrunch, Fortune, Bloomberg and Crain’s Chicago Business and Avant was named to Forbes America’s Most Promising Companies list for 2015 as well as Forbes Next Billion Dollar Startups list for 2015.

Prior to Avant, Al co-founded Pangea Properties, a private REIT invested in distressed and value-add multi-family properties in the Chicago, Indianapolis and Baltimore markets.  Al was co-founder, President and CEO of CashNetUSA, now Enova International, from 2004 until 2008, after selling to Cash America International in 2006. Prior to that, he was part of Deutsche Bank’s Leveraged Finance practice in New York and worked on various secured and unsecured leveraged debt transactions.

Watch Al Goldstein’s #FIVEinSIXTY Episode

George Bousis

George Bousis

CEO, Raise

George is the Founder and CEO of Raise Marketplace Inc, a peer­-to-­peer marketplace for buying and selling gift cards. George has been an entrepreneur since his youth as a professional online computer gamer and was one of the top players in the world in Valve’s Counter Strike Series. As a prized winner, he traveled the country at an early age and was sponsored by some of the largest technology hardware companies companies in the world. He later helped run his family­-owned grocery business, Cermak Fresh Market, where he helped grow the stores into one of the largest privately held companies in Illinois.

Raise launched as a marketplace for buying and selling gift cards. The platform allows sellers to earn cash for their unwanted gift cards and gives buyers the opportunity to save at thousands of their favorite brands. Today Raise is one of the fastest growing ecommerce companies in the United States having raised $87MM in funding to date and employing 250 in Chicago.

George is a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), the Museum of Science and Industry’s Digital Engagement Work Group, a Major Contributor to, an Executive Advisory Board member of Techweek, a recent honoree in Chicago Crain’s 20 in Their 20’s and an honoree of the Forbes 30 Under 30 Class of 2015 list.

Watch George Bousis’s #FIVEinSIXTY Episode

Kristi Ross

Kristi Ross

CEO, Dough

Kristi Ross is the co-CEO and President of dough, Inc., which includes tastytrade, the fastest growing online financial network and dough, a highly visual platform that makes investing interactive, educational and mobile. Previously, Ms. Ross was the CFO of thinkorswim where she led numerous mergers, acquisitions and integration. thinkorswim sold to TD Ameritrade for $750M in 2009. Prior to thinkorswim, Ms. Ross was CFO of Automated Trading Desk Specialists, a stock specialist on the Chicago Stock Exchange (CHX). Ms. Ross started her career in public accounting, specializing in financial services industry clientele including individual traders, proprietary, market makers, specialists, discount brokerage and advisory firms. She is also a certified public accountant and has been in and around the trading business for more than 20 years.

As co-CEO and President of dough, Inc., Ms. Ross has been honored as the Illinois Technology Association CityLights’ Prominent Tech Woman, the Moxie Awards’ Woman in Tech, Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young, and has been named to Crain’s Chicago’s Tech 50, the Techweek 100 list and Chicago Business Journal’s Women of Influence list. Ms. Ross has spoken at Chicago Ideas Week, Techweek, Ms. Tech and Woman 2.0, and has been featured by prominent publications such as Fortune, Chicago Tribune, and Crain’s Chicago.

Raaja Nemani

Raaja Nemani

CEO, Bucketfeet

An entrepreneur passionate about the arts, design and community, Raaja Nemani founded BucketFeet in 2011 and serves as the company’s Chief Executive Officer. BucketFeet is a Chicago-based e-commerce and retail company that collaborates with artists from around the world to create artist-designed footwear and socks. Raaja graduated from Northwestern University in 2004 and worked in finance and private equity for four years until he left to fulfill a lifelong dream to backpack around the world. While traveling in Argentina, Raaja met future BucketFeet cofounder Aaron Firestein, who was selling hand-designed shoes to travelers. Inspired by the amazing response to these shoes on his year and a half-long journey across six continents, Raaja saw the potential to create an innovative fashion platform and celebrate artists from all over the world. Bucketfeet was born out of this vision.

Raaja has helped build an artist network of over 30,000 artists from around the world, with shoes now selling in more than 15 countries, as well as at leading retailers and through brick and mortar studios. His love of design and community is infused in every element of BucketFeet – from its mission and its retail studios to the shoes themselves. Raaja aims to connect people through art and provide people with original products that not only stand out, but tell a story.

When: March 17th, 2016

Time: 5:00pm – 9:00pm

Where: VenueOne 

1034 W Randolph St

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