WFAA’s SHAPING:DFW – Unexpected Entreprenurial Inspiration

Some friends of ours were featured in a special web series, called SHAPING:DFW, a partnership between WFAA and Cadillac. The concept of the show is to document successful entrepreneurial journeys and leaders in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

The ladies of Tech Wildcatters were the latest to be featured. Powered by an all female management team, Tech Wildcatters is seed stage accelerator with a B2B focus. They’re based in downtown Dallas, as close to the city’s geographic center as you can get.

“If there’s an obstacle, get beyond it. Don’t let the obstacle define you,” says Gabriella Draney Zielke near the beginning of the spot. The remainder dives deeper into Draney-Zielke’s history with entrepreneurship, covers the history of the program, and introduces Executive Director Molly Cain, and VP of Corporate Affairs & PR Clarisa Lindenmeyer.

There are cameos by many contributors to the startup community, including Fiona Schlachter, VP of Programming for Health Wildcatters, and much of the 2015 Health Wildcatters class itself.

But that, as they say, is just the beginning.

Another story in the series introduces those unaware to Dallas’ burgeoning hip hop scene. Justin Mohrle, a Garland, TX artist known more widely as Justus, recently signed a deal with Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment record label. Justus discusses his path to success, from high school, to the local hip hop culture, though The D.O.C. (also based in Dallas) to attending the premiere of Straight Outta Compton in LA next to Dr. Dre himself.

Also featured is TX Whiskey from Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co., based in Fort Worth’s south side. Like Dallas, the Fort Worth tech ecosystem has been battling its hats and cattle reputation. Fort Worth’s south side has become the neighborhood for tech, craft coffee, and now, apparently, whiskey.

Chef Matt McCallister discusses FT33 and Filament in Deep Ellum. He has no formal training as a chef, he says.

There is no shortage of fodder for this series. From corporate greats like TI to multi-billion dollar exits like SoftLayer, and more recently ZS Pharma, entrepreneurism runs deep in the veins of Dallas/Fort Worth. Saddle up at watch these videos front to back. You will be inspired.

From the site: “Great men and women, like great cities, are not born. On the contrary, they are forged in the flames of trial and error. Built upon a strong foundation of purpose and grit, they dare to raise themselves to great heights, to stand triumphant over adversity and critics alike.
Great men and women, like great cities, begin with dreams and end up inspiring them.
And like great cities, they all have a story to tell.”

For more, visit WFAA’s SHAPING:DFW

photo: Skyler Fike 

  • Michael Sitarzewski is the Publisher of Launch DFW, co-founder and CEO of Epic Playground, Inc., makers of inboundgeo. He is a veteran entrepreneur (and a TechStars Cloud alum) with a specific focus on Web-based software and services. Sitarzewski has been a part of the internet startup culture since 1994 and has had two exits along the way. After a seven years in the Boulder, Colorado startup community, Michael returned to Dallas, Texas, in 2013 where he’s focused on growing and increasing the visibility of the burgeoning Dallas startup community. He is the EIR at The DEC, a mentor in the RevTech accelerator, and leads several events in the Dallas area. Sitarzewski considers helping people understand and leverage technology his life's work.

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