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The Seventh Annual Tom Tom Founders Festival is a week-long celebration of innovators, visionaries, and artists who are shaping small cities. The Festival occurs at dozens of venues throughout downtown Charlottesville. 

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Friday, April 13 • 9:00am - 10:30am
Founding Stories - GRIT: Overcoming Adversity Now Open

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Keynote: Founding Stories

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What is the one superpower that heroes in sports, business, and social impact all have in common? Grit. Learn how these incredible individuals have found the power to endure through setbacks and transform misfortune into strength.

Moderators
avatar for Natalia Brzezinski

Natalia Brzezinski

CEO, Brilliant Minds Foundation and Symposium Stockholm
As the CEO of Symposium Stockholm and the Brilliant Minds Foundation, a two-day thought leadership-summit in Stockholm founded by Spotify founder Daniel Ek , and a 365-day-year-round movement, Brzezinski curates a global community of creative entrepreneurs who want to make change... Read More →
avatar for Mark Brzezinski

Mark Brzezinski

Ambassador (ret.), Makena Capital
Ambassador (ret.) Mark Brzezinski is a Managing Director at Makena Capital Management, where he leads Makena’s sustainability efforts. Prior to joining Makena, Mark served as the first Executive Director of the White House's Arctic Executive Steering Committee and as the United... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Bryan Manning

Bryan Manning

Cofounder, Two Blind Brothers
Bradford and Bryan Manning are curing blindness! Within one year they propelled a small charitable clothing company, Two Blind Brothers, into one of the fastest growing brands in the country with endorsements from Ellen DeGeneres, Ashton Kutcher, Richard Branson, NBC Nightly News... Read More →
avatar for Bradford Manning

Bradford Manning

Cofounder, Two Blind Brothers
Bradford and Bryan Manning are brothers on a mission to cure blindness. At the age of 7, they were both diagnosed with an eye disease that destroys central vision over time. To fight back, they left their former careers in finance to propel a small charitable clothing label, Two Blind... Read More →
avatar for Leland Melvin

Leland Melvin

Astronaut, Leland Melvin LLC
From playing for the Dallas Cowboys to exploring outer space, Mr. Melvin’s story of perseverance and passion has inspired the next generation of explorers to pursue STEAM careers.
avatar for Mark Warner

Mark Warner

United States Senator
Governor Warner was elected to the United States Senate in 2008, where he serves on the Senate Finance, Banking, Budget, and Rules Committees as well as the Select Committee on Intelligence, where he is the Vice Chairman. The first in his family to graduate from college, Mark Warner... Read More →

Sponsors
avatar for Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Ewing Kauffman’s most enduring legacy to his community and the world is the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. He established the Foundation with the same sense of opportunity he brought to his business endeavors, and, with the same convictions. Kauffman wanted his foundation to... Read More →
avatar for Galant Center for Entrepreneurship

Galant Center for Entrepreneurship

The Galant Center was founded in 2008, through the initial funding of Mark E. Galant (McIntire '80). Our mission is to encourage, educate, and empower students—past and present—to take on crucial roles in the new venture community, thereby impacting the world in which we live... Read More →




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