Recession-proof your business with 60+ speakers at online-savvy conference

Online-First co-founder Moby Hayat. Courtesy photo

When project manager Moby Hayat was laid off this past March, he looked around and saw fellow entrepreneur friends losing revenue, having their product or service become obsolete overnight, and frantically hustling to survive.

"The world was quickly changing," he says. "Massive layoffs, extreme budget cuts, and grim stories of loss. But as in every recession, there are businesses which find a way to adapt and grow. In 2020, those businesses will be the ones that are entrenched in online customer acquisition, selling their products and services in the virtual world, and see this as an opportunity to grow."

So Hayat and his business partner Austin Larson, the CMO of an Inc. 500 company, decided to put their skills and knowledge to use.

They, along with entrepreneur CJ Finley, are hosting Online-First Summit 2020 from May 11-14. It's sponsored by Tixpire, ThriveOn, podcast The Fireshow, and InnovationMap.

The four-day virtual conference is geared toward those who have lost business due to the current economic crisis, been negatively impacted by social distancing, are looking to shift to online sales, and who want to expand or build new digital revenue streams.

More than 60 speakers will be talking live and in recorded sessions about best practices for e-commerce, how to organically build a following, the state of the job market, how to avoid layoffs, ways to deeply connect with your customers in an online-only world, and how to make money online as a creator "without selling your soul," among other topics.

Not only will adapting to the post-COVID business world be discussed, but also how companies can learn from this time and apply lessons to the unknown future.

Hayat and the team's previous work has featured Mayor Adler, SXSW director Hugh Forrest, the designer of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, the Texas Woman Entrepreneur of the Year, and included collaborations with Funded House, Entrepreneur Media, and MediaTech Ventures.

Head here to see the full four-day lineup, browse the list of speakers, and book your space.

General admission tickets are $35 and include access to live broadcasts and replays until July 31, 2020. VIP tickets come with an execution planner, custom swag pack, content marketing course, one-hour consultation, and access to live broadcasts and replays until December 31, 2020.

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Building Houston

 
 

As of this week, Lara Cottingham is the chief of staff at Greentown Labs. Photo via LinkedIn

The country's largest climatetech startup incubator has made a strategic new hire.

Lara Cottingham is the new chief of staff for Greentown Labs, a Boston-area company that opened in Houston earlier this year. Cottingham previously served as the city of Houston's chief sustainability officer and the chief of staff for the city's Administration and Regulatory Affairs Department for the past seven years. In her new role, Cottingham will oversee the day-to-day operations and communications for Greentown's CEO Emily Reichert, along with key stakeholder engagements and strategic initiatives for the incubator.

"Lara brings a tremendous wealth of knowledge and experience to our team from her dynamic leadership role at the City of Houston," says Reichert in a news release. "Her breadth of knowledge in sustainability, climate, and the energy transition, and her expertise in regulatory and stakeholder aspects of the energy industry, will be incredibly valuable to our team and community."

Under her leadership at the city of Houston, Cottingham was the chief author of Houston's Climate Action Plan, an initiative aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Houston, and getting the city to a point where it meets the Paris Agreement goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. Cottingham helped the city move to 100 percent renewable electricity, according to the release, and helped turn a 240-acre landfill into the nation's largest urban solar farm.

"In leading the Climate Action Plan, Lara helped spark Houston's leadership in what has become a global energy transition and was a passionate advocate for climate action in Houston," says Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner in the release. "While she will be missed, this new role will only strengthen our partnership with Greentown. I look forward to working with Emily, Lara, and the Greentown team to meet our climate goals and make Houston the energy capital of the future."

Before her work at the city, Cottingham worked at Hill+Knowlton Strategies' Houston office range of clients across the energy sector. Earlier in her career, she served as communications director for two congressmen in the U.S. House of Representatives. She began her work with the city in 2014.

"In working with Mayor Turner and Climate Mayors across the U.S., I saw how important partnerships are to helping cities decarbonize," says Cottingham in the release. "There is no better partner or place for climate action at work than Greentown Labs. Greentown is 100 percent committed to attracting and nurturing the energy companies of the future and making Houston the energy transition capital of the world. I'm excited to join the team and see how climatetech can help cities reach their climate goals."

Greentown Labs first announced its entrance into the Houston market last summer. The new 40,000-square-foot facility in Midtown across the street from The Ion opened its prototyping and wet lab space, offices, and community gathering areas for about 50 startup companies opened in April. Greentown was founded in 2011 in Somerville, Massachusetts, and has supported more than 400 startups, which have raised more than $1.5 billion in funding.

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