Kay Koplovitz, a Milwaukee native who founded USA Network and co-founded the nation’s leading investment connector for women entrepreneurs, will receive the ninth annual Ken Hendricks Memorial “Seize the Day” award at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference.

Read Wisconsin State Journal story here.

The award, which celebrates entrepreneurial leaders who have been crucial to Wisconsin’s economic growth, is named in honor of the late Ken Hendricks, a Beloit businessman and 2006 “Seize the Day” award winner who died in an accident in late 2007.

Koplovitz will accept the award and speak noon Tuesday, June 5, during the 10th annual Entrepreneurs’ Conference in Milwaukee.

Koplovitz, who began her career in television news in Milwaukee, went on to become the nation’s first woman television network president. She helped lead the emergence of cable television as a challenger to the established networks. Koplovitz later co-founded Springboard Enterprises, a national organization that fosters venture capital investments in women-led, high-growth companies. About a dozen companies in Wisconsin have ties to Springboard.

She’s currently president of Koplovitz & Co., which consults with entertainment, sports and other companies, and chairwoman of Fifth & Pacific Companies Inc., which grew out of Liz Claiborne Inc. She holds a bachelors of science degree from the UW-Madison, where she continues to serve on alumni boards in the College of Letters and Sciences. Koplovitz is a former chairwoman of the National Women’s Business Council.

“Kay Koplovitz was a pioneer in an industry that was accustomed to women being in front of the camera, not behind the business deals,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. “Her persistence in the television world, in mentoring other women entrepreneurs and her continuing business ventures make Kay a natural for this award.”

In addition to Hendricks, who later won Inc.’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” award, past winners of the Seize the Day award have been Don Weber of Logistics Health Inc., La Crosse (2004); Bob Cervenka of Phillips Plastics, Phillips (2005); Jan Eddy of Wingra Technologies, Madison (2007); Michael Cudahy of Marquette Medical Systems, Milwaukee (2008); Toni Sikes of The Guild and Guild.com, Madison (2009); Bill Linton of Promega, Madison (2010); and Bob Hillis of Direct Supply (2011).

The “Seize the Day” award is not given for technical innovation but for innovative leadership – the ability to take hold of business opportunities and transform them into successes. Candidates for the award will have demonstrated:

Vision – Recognizing opportunities where others do not.

Courage – Vigorous, dedicated pursuit of opportunities in the face of risk and skepticism.

Adaptability – Rapid and repeated reinvention in response to changing markets.

Persistence Maintaining optimism and effort in the wake of setbacks.

Resourcefulness – Overcoming obstacles and finding ways to fund growth.

Recognizing the important role the arts play in nurturing a vibrant entrepreneurial culture, each year’s award has been a unique art piece. This year’s sculpture was once again created by Rivers’ Edge Foundry, Beloit, a business launched with the help of the late Ken Hendricks and Diane Hendricks, who has agreed to sponsor the award for 10 years in his name.

The recipient of the award is selected from the nominees by members of the Entrepreneurs’ Conference steering committee. Other highlights include:

·         Keynote speakers Julie Wainwright, founder of Pets.com and TheRealReal.com; Bob Dorf, co-author of “The Startup Owners’ Manual” and a serial entrepreneur who has helped define lean startup principles; and Dave Berkus, a nationally known investor and entrepreneur with insights into Internet, multi-media and software trends;

·         Chances to mingle with angel investors from across the Midwest, who will attend a meeting of the Angel Capital Association during the conference;

·         The Top 12: Finalists in the Governor’s Business Plan Contest square off;

·         Eighteen panels and workshops built around the themes of “Launch, Grow and Succeed” and;

·         Plenty of chances to network over food and refreshments!

 The Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference is produced by the Tech Council, the independent, non-profit science and technology advisers to the governor and the Legislature. It serves as a catalyst for the growth of Wisconsin’s tech-based and entrepreneurial economy.

Register or learn more by visiting www.wisconsintechnologycouncil.com/events/ent_conf