Vera Watkins – CEO at Marena Group Inc
Vera Watkins is an inspiring example of the American Dream. Emigrating from Serbia via Switzerland, she has turned her passion for shapewear into a highly successful American corporation, The Marena Group. It has become the world’s largest manufacturer of compression garments. Founded in 1994 by Vera and Bill Watkins, the company was named after their children Mark and Lena. They began production out of the couple’s home garage in July 1995. By 2001 the company grew to win the ‘Small Business Exporter of the Year’ award from the state of Georgia. The company’s continued growth resulted in accolades and awards from industry experts and agencies, such as being named apparel manufacturing ‘Grand All Star’ of 2006 by Apparel magazine. Today, Marena is widely recognized as the world’s leading compression garment manufacturer with a vast array of products and representation in 72 countries around the world. She was recently a finalist for the Metro Atlanta Chamber Business Person of the Year!
Nellie Akalp – CEO and Owner of CorpNet, Incorporated
Nellie Akalp is the CEO and Owner of CorpNet, Incorporated, a legal document filing service company. Nellie uses her passion for entrepreneurship to help others start their own businesses. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of La Verne, College of Law with her Juris Doctorate Degree, and she has served on the school’s Law Review for three consecutive years. Nellie has helped more than 100,000 corporations and LLCs start their ventures. Nellie is a contributor for Entrepreneur, Forbes, Mashable, and other platforms, as well as a regular guest expert on the Fox Small Business Center where she shares tips and tricks to start a business. She was named a Top 100 Small Business Influencer by Small Business Trends in 2012, 2013, and 2014.