Demetria Menard, the chief operating officer at SwanLeap, a Madison company that ranked No. 1 in Inc. magazine list of the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in the United States, will speak Nov. 6 at the Wisconsin W•O•M•E•N reception in Madison.

The reception, which is open to men and women, will begin 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6, at the J.H. Findorff & Son headquarters, 300 S. Bedford St. It is a precursor for the Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium, which will be held Nov. 7-8 at the Monona Terrace Convention Center. Both events are produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council.

The cost is $25 for Early Stage Symposium registrants, $25 for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Wisconsin participants, $10 for students and returning veterans, and $50 for general admission. Cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and dessert will be served.  Sponsors of W•O•M•E•N (Women Opportunities Mentors Entrepreneurs Networking) are Findorff, Perkins Coie and Promega.

SwanLeap was described as the “eBay of Freight” when Inc. published its 2018 list in September. The company was founded by Brad Hollister in 2013 and reached $99 million in revenue in 2017, a three-year growth rate of 75,661 percent.

SwanLeap uses an artificial platform and custom software to help large manufacturers, retailers and other clients save money on shipping while better managing their supply chains.

Menard has more than 15 years of experience in the tech industry, working as a programmer, manager and executive. She uses these experiences to help others understand how to use technology to build their careers. Menard will discuss the value of science, technology, engineering and math education; building agile and inclusive workplaces; and how learning to write software code changed her life.

“We’re thrilled to hear from Demetria, not only because of the success of SwanLeap, but because of how her passion and background led to personal success and will help lift up another generation of young people,” said Tom Still, president of the Tech Council.

The annual Early Stage Symposium will feature presentations by about 40 companies and an “Investor Intro” session that will generate hundreds of speed dates between entrepreneurs and investors. Other conference highlights include:

  • Keynote speakers Aaron Kennedy, founder of Noodles & Co., and serial entrepreneur Kelly Fitzsimmons.
  • Panel discussions and workshops featuring leading entrepreneurs, investors and others tied to the tech sector.
  • “Office Hours,” offering the opportunity to meet with subject experts on a variety of topics in small discussion groups or one-on-one.
  • The 5th annual “Excellence in Entrepreneurial Education” award presentation and luncheon.
  • Exhibit hall showcasing more than 40 Wisconsin companies.
  • A Nov. 7 conference reception, two luncheons, two breakfasts and other networking opportunities, including an investors-only dinner.

Sponsors so far include: 100state, Aberdean Consulting, Accuray, ACS, Alliant Energy, American Transmission Co., AT&T, Aurora Health Care, Baird Capital, Baker Tilly, Barb Luhring Graphic Recording, BDO, BloodCenter of Wisconsin, BMO Harris, Boardman & Clark, Capital Newspapers, Carroll University, CGI, City of Fitchburg, Concordia University, Cresa Madison, Dane County Regional Airport, Dedicated Computing, DXC Technology, Enbridge, Eppstein Uhen Architects, Exact Sciences, Findorff, First Business Bank, Fluno Center, Foley & Lardner, Functional Biosciences, Godfrey & Kahn, HealthX Ventures, Husch Blackwell, JP Cullen, M3 Insurance, Madison College, Madison Gas & Electric, Makin’ HEY! Communications, Marquette University, Marshfield Clinic Health System, Medical College of Wisconsin, Merchant & Gould, Michael Best, Midwest Prototyping, Morgridge Institute, Murphy Desmond, N29 Capital Partners, Neider & Boucher, Northwestern Mutual, Quarles & Brady, Red Arrow Production, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, River Valley Bank, Square 1 Bank, Sun Mountain Kegonsa, Tech Council board member Susan Healy, TASC, Technology Innovation Center – MKE, State of Wisconsin Investment Board, University Research Park, UW-Green Bay, UWM Research Foundation, Venture Investors, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., Wisconsin Health & Educational Facility Authority, Whitewater University Technology Park, WIPFLi, Wisconsin Investment Partners, Yahara Software and Ziegler.

Learn more and register at