Entrepreneur Speaker Series

Entrepreneur Speaker Series

The Griggs Center hosts the Entrepreneur Speaker Series to provide students the opportunity to hear from and interact with a number of accomplished and aspiring entrepreneurs throughout the year.

About the Entrepreneur Speaker Series

The Griggs Center’s Entrepreneur Speaker Series includes a number of events throughout the academic year that bring entrepreneurs to ACU’s campus to share their entrepreneurial journey, discuss current issues facing entrepreneurs, and engage in discussions with students. Events are generally held during lunch or early evening and give students an opportunity to interact directly with entrepreneurs.

Past speakers have included Blake Mycoskie (Founder, Chief Shoe Giver of TOMS Shoes), Jessica Jackley (Co-Founder of Kiva.org), William E. (Bill) Greehey (Founder of Valero Energy and Chairman of NuStar Energy), and more.

The Entrepreneur Speaker Series is planned in conjunction with ACU’s chapter of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO). Members are given priority and special access to certain guest entrepreneurs. Learn more about the benefits of being a CEO member and how to register online.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mr. Chris Coggin, Acton; Thelese Management

  • 11 a.m. - CEO Chapel, COBA 201
  • 11:45 a.m. - Fellows Program Lunch (Invitation only)
  • 1 p.m. - Classroom Visit (Contact griggscenter@acu.edu if interested)

Chris Coggin ('07) is an instructor at the Acton Business School and VP at Thelese Management, where he manages a global investment portfolio. His interest in investments and entrepreneurship began when he was a student at ACU. He has since gained experience in international financial services, real estate, and an industry agnostic approach to private equity. 

Chris and his wife, Elena live in Austin with their two sons, Sam and Lincoln. They are members of the Brentwood Oaks Church of Christ.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Mrs. Shannon Wilburn, Just Between Friends

  • 11 a.m. - CEO Chapel, COBA 201
  • 11:45 a.m. - Fellows Program Lunch (Invitation only)
  • 1 p.m. - Classroom Visit (Contact griggscenter@acu.edu if interested)

Shannon Wilburn, a former Wildcat, founded Just Between Friends (JBF) in 1997 with a friend after they decided to host a consignment event with 17 of their friends. Since that time, Shannon has led JBF to become a national children's and maternity consignment franchise that has received a number of awards and national recognition. The accolades in the past couple of years include being named to Inc. magazine's list of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies, Entrepreneur magazine's Top 500 Franchises, receiving one of only 75 Blue Ribbon Awards from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and being featured in Kiplinger magazine as "One of 8 Franchises Worth Buying."

JBF has received national coverage from The Today Show, ABC News, Good Morning America, CNN, Headline News, Inside Edition and CNBC's The Big Idea. The company also has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Seattle Times, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Sacramento Bee, LA Times, Daily Oklahoman and broadcast outlets in more than 100 major cities across the country.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Mrs. Leslie Thompson, Dusty Rocker Boots

  • 11 a.m. - CEO Chapel, COBA 201
  • 11:45 a.m. - Fellows Program Lunch (Invitation only)
  • 1 p.m. - Classroom Visit (Contact griggscenter@acu.edu if interested)

Leslie (Waddell) Thompson (‘04), is the founder of Dusty Rocker Boots and Vice President of Broken T Boots. Thompson graduated from ACU with a degree in Physical Education and after teaching for seven years in the public school system she decided pursue her passion for fashion and creativity and formulated the first and only Interchangeable Inlay cowboy boot. 

After perfecting the product and getting the product patented she founded the ladies boot company, Dusty Rocker Boots in 2012. Since then she and her husband have started a brother company in 2014 which includes a line of men’s boots. 

She and her husband Brian Thompson live in Byers, Texas and have one son.

Previous Guests

Mr. Clay Selby, SocialRest

Clay Selby founded SocialRest in January of 2014. SocialRest analyzes social media content and provides relevant information to its customers immediately and makes them aware of what content and which influencers are making the most impact. 

Clay’s interest in social analytics began by developing enterprise-level social media dashboards for companies. Prior to SocialRest, he worked at USAA (a financial services company) in social media innovation. Clay is from Abilene and graduated from ACU in 2011 where studied IT Entrepreneurship.  Clay now lives in Austin with his wife Danielle.

Mr. Tom Love, Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores

Tom Love founded Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores in 1964 after serving in the U.S. Marine Corps and attending St. Johns University and the University of Oklahoma. He holds an honorary doctorate in Commercial Science from Oklahoma City University.

Under Mr. Love’s leadership, and with the help of his three children who are employed with the company, Love’s has grown to more than 320 stores in  more than 39 states and to the number nine spot on Forbes Magazines’ 2012 list of America’s largest private companies.

Featured Event


Each spring, the Griggs Center hosts a mini-business plan competition with the goal of providing aspiring entrepreneurs at ACU and in Abilene and the surrounding West Texas region an opportunity to get their business up and running with significant cash and in-kind prizes.


Learn More