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Movers and Shakers: Jennifer Conley heads to Vinli

It was announced this morning that Jennifer Conley, long-time fixture of the Dallas startup community and VP of Programming for The DEC, will become VP of Communications for Vinli. While we’ll have more news on Vinli’s recent funding later today, we would be remiss if we did not take a moment to recognize the tremendous impact Jen has had on the startup community.

When I first found my way into startupland and was learning the ropes, Jennifer Conley was among the first people I met. She didn’t know who I was (nobody) and she had nothing to gain from this meeting. At the time, The DEC was located in the Design District—literally across the street from my apartment at the time. I had no idea about the bustling activity that took place mere steps from my front door and when Jen met me for coffee at nearby Ascension, she had no idea how much that initial meeting would positively impact my perception of the startup community.

Jen is not only one of the most hard-working, tenacious, and brilliant people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing, but she’s also incredibly gracious, always treating people with respect and leaving her ego out of the equation in favor of collaboration. So much in fact, that I’ll probably get an email from her after this publishes requesting a more modest announcement (sorry Jen, not gonna happen).

Vinli didn’t just win big with recent funding, they also won big because they get to add Jen to their team. This also means that she left some big shoes to fill over at The DEC. It should come as no surprise then that The DEC has enlisted our very own Lauren Zeien to take the reigns. Jen and Lauren both were among the organizing team for Startup Weekend: Women’s Edition and Lauren has been sinking her teeth into the startup community since she arrived on the scene last year.

Having had the opportunity to work with Lauren over the last few months, I know that she will do everything in her power to continue the legacy left by Jen. While I’m sad to see her go, I know this is a tremendous opportunity for her. In her own words, she writes this message to our Launch readers:

“It has been a pleasure to work alongside you in building Launch DFW and the startup community in North Texas. As you may remember from my first post, before I was even in the doors of LaunchDFW, I moved to Dallas with big ideas from the bright lights of Chicago but without a network. I credit this community with cultivating me into the Texas startup culture (despite the fact I still do not own cowboy boots). It’s absolutely amazing to get to know you all.” 
Best of luck to Jen in her new role at Vinli. And Lauren, start your engine, we’re rooting for you.
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Raquel Vincent is a Dallas-based creative with a knack for words and inspired creative direction. When she's not working, you can find Raquel hitting a gallery opening, working on her book, or thrifting for unforgettable vintage finds. She loves music festivals, tacos, and her rescue cat Berlioz.