Entrepreneur and Wisconsin School of Business Alumnae Toni Sikes will speak about leadership and entrepreneurship as part of the M. Keith Weikel Speaker Series on November 15.
Sikes is a successful entrepreneur with 30 years of operational, fundraising, and investment banking experience. She is the founder of three art companies and currently serves as the founder/co-CEO of The Art Commission, an online platform that connects artists with architects and design professionals.
Since 2010, Sikes has been the general partner in Calumet Venture Fund, a venture capital firm that invests in early-stage technology companies in the Midwest. Prior to her current position she was a senior advisor at Gruppo, Levey & Co., a New York investment bank, where she helped technology companies with their financing and M&A strategies.
As the founder of The Guild, an e-commerce company that connected artists to consumers, Sikes raised more than $52 million from leading venture capital firms, including Benchmark Capital and Technology Crossover Ventures in Silicon Valley, Dolphin Equity Partners in New York, and ePartners (Rupert Murdoch’s venture firm) based in London. Today, The Guild markets artist-created home furnishings under the consumer brand of Artful Home, which is the largest retailer of artist-made work in the U.S. Sikes has authored several books, and is a recognized expert in the area of online consumer marketing of luxury products.
Sikes serves on the boards of several technology companies. She is active in Wisconsin and national economic development organizations, including the executive committee of the Wisconsin Technology Council, the advisory board of MERLIN Mentors, the board of advisors of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Weinert Center for Entrepreneurs, the advisory board of Gener8tor, and the venture debt advisory board of the Madison Development Corporation. She also serves on the board of directors of the Craft Emergency Relief Fund, an organization that supplies grants and loans to artists who have suffered disasters.
Sikes holds a BS in mathematics from the University of Alabama and an MS in market research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The M. Keith Weikel Speaker Series was created in 2004 as an opportunity for Wisconsin MBA students to interact with and learn from successful business leaders and alumni.
If you attend:
What: M. Weikel Speaker Series with Toni Sikes, MS ‘83
When: 7 p.m., Nov. 15, 2012
Where: Plenary Room, Grainger Hall
The Wisconsin School of Business will also broadcast the speech online.