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Capital Class

Capital Class

By Strategos Podcast Network

Capital Class invites audiences into the c-suite of market-leading business to share candid conversations that explore complex business challenges while humanizing the journey of constructing an enterprise. Through storytelling and humor, Capital Class provides insights to support a vibrant innovation ecosystem.
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Capital Class with Ash Kaluarachchi

Capital ClassApr 20, 2021

Capital Class with Johanna Mikkola
Jul 19, 202246:56
Capital Class with Samyr Qureshi

Capital Class with Samyr Qureshi

In this episode of Capital Class, Adam Giery sat down with entrepreneur Samyr Qureshi, co-founder and CEO of Knack, an innovative online tutoring platform that matches college students with tutors in relevant subjects. 

Learn from this insightful conversation as Samyr discusses scaling a once highly localized, one-on-one service into a profitable, growing business model. Don’t miss it Tuesday, June 21! 

Learn more about Knack here!

Jun 21, 202250:34
Capital Class with Christiane Maertens

Capital Class with Christiane Maertens

Season #2, Episode #4: Christiane Maertens, Founder, DoGoodery

In today's episode, Adam sat down with Christiane Maertens. Read her bio below:

Christiane Maertens has a palpable love for life. For over 15 years, Christiane (Kris-tee-on-ah Mair-tens) has built values-driven brands that create positive social impact on a global scale.

Christiane is the founder of DoGoodery, a social impact agency for change makers where doing good is about making this world a tangibly better place for all. They work with bold leaders who go beyond their everyday stories and live into their legendary purpose.

Maertens helped lead the design of the first corporate social responsibility portfolio for The Walt Disney Company. Her global marketing and education initiatives engaged 2,000 schools, 75,000 students and mobilized millions of viewers to take social actions around the world.

In the nonprofit sector, Maertens served as the Deputy Director of the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE). She built a professional team that leads the largest and most diverse environmental education network in the world, including 60,000 educators and 56 affiliate organizations in more than 30 countries.

As a storyteller for our times, Maertens delivers truth with her trademark moxie and optimism. She was named a National Geographic Explorer for her original podcast Imagine If. This series inspires young leaders to find resilience in responding to the climate crisis. Within two months, this popular podcast had attracted over 4,000 subscribers. She also traveled all over North America to capture stories of young engineers with breakthrough solutions to humanity’s biggest challenges.

Christiane is an outdoor adventurer, horseback rider, overly enthusiastic to get on an airplane, always thinking about her next meal, and loves building community. She was born in Los Angeles to immigrant parents from El Salvador and Germany.

Learn more about Christiane on LinkedIn:

Read more about the work of DoGoodery:

Apr 25, 202245:57
Capital Class with Loren Brill

Capital Class with Loren Brill

Season #2, Episode #3: Lauren Brill Castle, CEO & Founder, Sweet Loren's Inc. 

In today's episode, Adam sat down with Loren Brill Castle. 

Sweet Loren’s, Inc. is a clean food company that is redefining what it means to be delicious, better-for-you, and convenient. Sweet Loren's offers irresistible cookie dough made from non-GMO, plant-based, gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut-free ingredients—free of compromise, full of joy! All products are safe-to-eat raw, with pre-portioned packaging as well as tubs of creamy edible cookie dough. The company is presently working on innovation to launch in 2022 and beyond.

Sweet Loren's cookie dough can be found in the refrigerated dough section in over 12,000 supermarkets in North America. Sweet Loren's ships nationally direct to consumer from Sweet Loren's also offers convenience and foodservice options working with fast casual restaurants, coffee shops, universities, military, and much more. 

After beating cancer in her early twenties, Loren Brill Castle made it her mission to eliminate processed foods from her diet. When she couldn’t find great-tasting cookies made from clean ingredients, she set out to make her own - and it led her to create Sweet Loren's. Sweet Loren's mission and purpose is built on well-being and making clean food accessible to more.

Among its accomplishments, Sweet Loren's has ranked on the Inc. 5000 fastest growing companies 3 years in a row, including #114 in 2019. Some of Loren’s accolades include: Ted talk on "The Survivor in All of Us", picked as Marie Claire’s Top Entrepreneur, and Inc.'s Female Founders 100. Loren has been featured live on NBC, The Rachael Ray Show, and in many other national publications and podcasts. This proves that clean food and well-being is the future, and that the story of Loren creating Sweet Loren's really resonates with today's consumer. Loren is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a BA in Communication. She is a certified Hatha Yoga Instructor, attended the New School for the Master Class in Cooking, and attended the Natural Gourmet Institute. Loren was born and raised in NYC, and now lives in Los Angeles, California, truly living the healthy lifestyle. 

Learn more about Loren on LinkedIn:

Read more about the Sweet Loren's story:

Mar 29, 202249:56
Capital Class with Olli Vallo

Capital Class with Olli Vallo

Season #2, Episode #2: Olli Vallo, CEO of Education Alliance Finland

In today's episode, Adam sat down with Olli Vallo.

Olli is the CEO of Education Alliance Finland. He has worked in the Edtech field since 2012, has an MSc in Education, and has previously worked as a primary school teacher.

Education Alliance Finland is specialized in quality evaluation and certification of EdTech products. Through the product certification work, EAF gathers significant insights into the global EdTech product market. Together with Finland's National Agency for Education, EAF has developed quality criteria for EdTech solutions in Finnish schools.

Learn more about Olli on LinkedIn:

Stay connected to the work of Education Alliance Finland:

Mar 02, 202245:37
Capital Class with Tom Vander Ark

Capital Class with Tom Vander Ark

Season #2, Episode #1: Tom Vander Ark, CEO of Getting Smart 

In today's episode, Adam sat down with Tom Vander Ark.

Tom Vander Ark is an advocate for innovations in learning. As CEO of Getting Smart, he advises schools, districts, networks, foundations and learning organizations on the path forward. A prolific writer and speaker, Tom is author of Getting Smart, Smart Cities That Work for Everyone, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making at the Heart of Learning and has published thousands of articles and co-authored more than 50 books and white papers. He writes regularly on, LinkedIn, and contributes to Forbes.

Previously he served as the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Tom served as a public school superintendent in Washington State and has extensive private sector experience. Tom is a board member for Education Board Partners, Director for 4.0 Schools, Digital Learning Institute, Latinx Education Collaborative, Mastery Transcript Consortium and eduInnovation and an Advisor for One Stone and Teton Science Schools.

Learn more about Tom Vander Ark on LinkedIn: 

Stay up to date on Tom's continuous work via Twitter @tvanderark

Feb 02, 202247:49
Capital Class with Michael Hernandez
Oct 03, 202131:33
Capital Class with Lord Jim Knight

Capital Class with Lord Jim Knight

Aug 30, 202139:26
Capital Class with David Linke

Capital Class with David Linke

Episode #4: David Linke, Managing Director of EduGrowth | Global EdTech Innovator

In today's episode, Adam sat down with David Linke.

David leads EduGrowth, Australia’s education technology, and innovation industry hub. Through connection and collaboration, EduGrowth is accelerating Australia’s EdTech ecosystem globally.

David has decades of experience across the education sector having led Asia Pacific operations of global listed EdTech companies and, founding and exiting EdTech businesses. Today he is a strategic advocate, supporter, and champion of the Australian EdTech sector at home and abroad.

“Australia has a significant story to tell in the education technology and innovation sector globally. We will continue to transform global communities through the Australian EdTech ecosystem”

Learn more about David Linke on LinkedIn:

Jun 15, 202140:01
Capital Class with Alex Lazarow

Capital Class with Alex Lazarow

Episode #3: Alex Lazarow, Global Venture Investor | Author | Adjunct Professor

In today's episode, Adam sat down with Alex Lazarow.

Alexandre (Alex) Lazarow has spent his career working at the intersection of investing, innovation, and economic development across the private, public, and social sectors. He is a venture capitalist with Cathay Innovation, a global firm that invests across Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. Previously, Alex worked with Omidyar Network, a philanthropic investment firm that has invested over a billion dollars in hundreds of startups around the world. Alex is an investor in a range of global startups including Chime, Neon, Sidecar Health, Terminal, FinAccel, Facily, Kueski, Kin, Guiabolso, Zola, Rensource, Paga among others.  Previously, Alex served as a strategy consultant with McKinsey & Co., a financial regulator with the Bank of Canada, and an M&A investment banker with the Royal Bank of Canada.  Alex is an adjunct professor specializing in social impact investment and entrepreneurship at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. He is a Kauffman Fellow, CFA Charterholder, and CFR Term Member. He earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and a B.Comm from the University of Manitoba.  Alex's book Out-Innovate: How Global Entrepreneurs - from Delhi to Detroit - Are Rewriting the Rules of Silicon Valley is being published by Harvard Business Review Press in April 2020. Alex is a regular columnist with Forbes, and his writing has been featured in the Financial Times, Harvard Business Review, McKinsey Quarterly, Techcrunch, Venturebeat, Business Insider, and CIO Outlook Magazine, among others. He speaks regularly on global innovation trends and has presented at Collision, Endeavor, Insuretech Connect, Harvard Business School, the Social Innovation Summit, SOCAP, and the Corporate Venture Capital Summit.  Get in touch: - Website: Newsletter: Book: Twitter:

Learn more about Alex Lazarow on LinkedIn: 

Apr 20, 202121:46
Capital Class with Claire Lessinger

Capital Class with Claire Lessinger

Episode #2: Claire Lessinger, Chief Operating Officer - Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee | Vice President of Events - Tampa Bay Sports Commission

On July 30, 2012, Claire Lessinger joined the Tampa Bay Sports Commission team and now serves as the Vice President of Events. Lessinger and the TBSC are responsible for driving economic and social impact by identifying, bidding on, and ultimately hosting sporting and entertainment events in Tampa Bay.  Over the last seven years, Lessinger has served as the Tournament Manager for multiple NCAA Championship events. As the event’s point guard, Lessinger was the liaison to the NCAA staff and the Tampa Bay community and helped manage day-to-day operations for the Tampa Bay Local Organizing Committee (TBLOC).  In 2017, Lessinger and the TBLOC hosted the first College Football Playoff National Championship in the Southeast at Raymond James Stadium on January 9th, 2017. In 2018, Lessinger and Team Tampa Bay hosted a wildly successful NHL All-Star Weekend in partnership with the Tampa Bay Lightning and most recently Lessinger served as the Executive Director of the Tampa Bay Local Organizing Committee for the 2019 NCAA Women’s Final Four which recorded the highest all-time attendance as a three-time host (123,039 fans).

As Tampa Bay prepares to host its fifth Super Bowl in February 2021, Claire will help lead the effort by serving as Chief Operating Officer for the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee, overseeing internal operations, special events, legacy programming, and community engagement.

Recognized as one of the most influential women in Tampa Bay sports by the Tampa Bay Times, Lessinger has been instrumental in piloting successful legacy programs and social impact initiatives like the “Beyond Series”, which focuses on gathering and empowering local women of influence in support of major sporting events hosted in Tampa Bay. As a result, thousands of women and girls have participated in the Beyond Series throughout the years.

Active in the community, Claire serves on the Executive Boards of USF’s Women in Leadership and Philanthropy, Positive Coaching Alliance – Tampa Bay, University of Florida Eric Friedheim Tourism Institute, and a founding member and Vice President of WISE Tampa Bay (Women in Sports and Event). Lessinger also served as a mentor for the USF Athletics – Selmon Mentoring Institute and is an active member of the Saint Leo Sport Business Advisory Council as well as the Athena Society.

Lessinger came to the TBSC from the University of South Florida (USF) where she spent eight years as the head volleyball coach (2004-2012) and seven as the assistant volleyball coach (1996-2003).

Prior to her coaching career at USF, Lessinger spent five years as a collegiate volleyball player at the University of Florida (UF) where she won five SEC Championships, participated in five NCAA Tournaments, and three Final Four Tournament appearances. In honor of her relentless effort, hard work, and dedication, the UF volleyball program established the "Claire Roach Defensive Award," which is still presented annually to the best defensive player on the team. She graduated from UF in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science degree in exercise and sports science and a concentration in sports management.

Raised in Clearwater, Florida Lessinger was named the Tampa Tribune’s 1992 High School Athlete of the Year and the 1993 High School Female Athlete of the Year. Claire was inducted into Clearwater Central Catholic High School’s inaugural Athletic Hall of Fame class in 2001 and most recently she was honored as a Distinguished Alumni and presented the Inspiring Excellence Award at her alma mater.  Claire and her husband, Mike resides in Tampa with their two sons Tyler (12) and Tanner (9).

Learn more about Claire Lessinger on LinkedIn:

Apr 20, 202133:46
Capital Class with Ash Kaluarachchi

Capital Class with Ash Kaluarachchi

Episode #1: Ash Kaluarachchi, Cofounder at StartEd | Producer at EDTECH WEEK

In today's episode, Adam sat down with Ask Kaluarachchi.

Ash Kaluarachchi advises and enables growth for organizations solving problems in education and workforce learning. As an entrepreneur and advocate for entrepreneurs he has advised, launched and operated multiple accelerators, including for Techstars, the #1 startup accelerator and mentorship-driven seed stage investment fund in the world. To date, these accelerators have enabled 2,000+ companies, including global EdTech unicorns, in partnership with organizations such as Google, Amazon, Kaplan, Intel, NYU, USC, and the University of Pennsylvania. He was voted one of the Top 100 Influencers in Education Technology by Edtech Digest.

He continues to provide support for founders solving problems for educators, administrators and learners in Pre-K, K-12, HigherEd, Workforce and Adult Learning as CEO at Started Inc (, which provides intensive mentorship and access to a network of experienced edtech mentors and investors. He is also the Producer of EDTECH WEEK (, a global distance learning and networking event for global education leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, policymakers, and educators. Ash has an MBA with a focus on entrepreneurship from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and economics from Grinnell College.

Learn more about Ash Kaluarachchi on LinkedIn: 

Apr 20, 202127:10