ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR: Reggie Aggarwal (L'98), Founder & CEO, CVENT
Reggie Aggarwal is the CEO and Founder of Cvent, the leader in meetings, events and hospitality software. A lawyer by trade, Aggarwal founded Cvent in 1999 as a two-person startup, with the goal of making meeting planning easier for his peers in the business community.
The Cvent business idea first came to light after Aggarwal spent years painstakingly planning hundreds of events for the Indian CEO Network of which he was president. Aggarwal found early success as a pioneer in the event technology space but had to lay off nearly 80% of his employees during the dot-com burst in the early 2000s. During this time, approaching bankruptcy and facing the possibility of failure, Aggarwal and the core executive team focused on the two things that mattered most for a successful business: their employees and their customers.
Driven by the desire to transform the meetings and events industry, Cvent has grown to over 4,000 employees on 4 continents under Aggarwal's leadership, and the 2013 IPO boasted a market capitalization of more than $1 billion. In 2016, Cvent was taken private by Vista Equity Partners for $1.65 billion, providing a 70% premium for Cvent stockholders.
Cvent is now a leading meetings, events, and hospitality management technology provider, serving more than 27,000 customers and 300,000 users worldwide with the solutions organizations need to automate and simplify the entire event planning process and maximize the impact of their meetings program. The Cvent Hospitality Cloud partners with hotels and venues to help them drive group and corporate travel business.
Aggarwal graduated with a BS degree from the University of Virginia, a Juris Doctorate from Washington and Lee University Law School, and an LLM (post-law degree) from Georgetown University Law School. He has also received an Honorary Doctorate from Southeastern University for his contribution to the community.
Aggarwal has received numerous recognitions and accolades, including the #1 Top SaaS CEO, Most Admired CEO by the Washington Business Journal, Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young, a rising star by Forbes Magazine, and a Tech Titan by The Washingtonian.
Aggarwal lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and three children.
BEST OF HOSPITALITY: Mary Giuliani (C'97), CEO, Mary Giuliani Catering + Events
Mary Giuliani is an author, party and lifestyle expert, and founder and CEO of Mary Giuliani Catering and Events. Her newest bestselling book Tiny Hot Dogs: A Memoir In Small Bites, is currently being developed for television. Mary has appeared on The Barefoot Contessa, The Today Show, Good Morning America and is a regularly featured guest on The Rachael Ray Show. Mary's first book, The Cocktail Party (Eat, Drink, Play, Recover) debuted in 2015. Mary resides in New York City and Woodstock, New York with her husband Ryan, and daughter Gala.
BEST OF RETAIL/CONSUMER PRODUCTS: Bill Creelman (C'96), Founder & CEO, Spindrift Beverage Co, Inc.
Bill Creelman is the Founder of Spindrift Beverage Co., Inc. and serves as its Chief Executive Officer. Prior to Spindrift, Bill co-founded Stirrings which sold to Diageo in 2009.
Bill grew up on a farm in Western Massachusetts where all the food was unprocessed, seasonal, and fresh. In 2010, he began making his own sparkling beverages to help him kick his fiendish Diet Coke habit. He wanted something refreshing with real ingredients he could pronounce and enjoy with his young family. After much trial and error, he achieved this by combining 2 simple ingredients: fresh fruit and triple-filtered sparkling water. He named it Spindrift.
Today, Spindrift is made up of 80 passionate employees dedicated to changing the sparkling beverages. Spindrift is leading beverage into a new age of transparency and ingredient simplicity by offering no artificial sweeteners, no natural flavorings, and no essences. Spindrift was recently named to Inc. Magazine 500 fasting growing companies and 2 time recipient of Bevnet Product of the Year awards.
Bill lives outside of Boston with his wife, Harley (CAS’96), and 4 kids.
BEST OF SOCIAL IMPACT: Michael O'Neil (L'02, MBA'02), Founder & CEO, GetWellNetwork
Following surgery and chemotherapy to treat non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at age 28, Michael O’Neil emerged humbled and inspired, and ready to finish the graduate studies interrupted unexpectedly by cancer. Steering his final year into a life mission and business plan, Michael founded GetWellNetwork to tackle an unaddressed problem in healthcare: how to help people take a more active role in their health journey.
Michael is involved with several professional organizations and is an active leader in the DC-metro business community. He is a member of Mindshare, a network of high-tech CEOs fostering entrepreneurship and growth throughout the nation’s capital, and the Young Presidents’ Organization, a community of peer leaders committed to lifelong learning and idea exchange. He also serves as executive chairman of PerfectServe, a Tennessee-based clinical communications and collaboration software company, and is on the board of directors of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and The DAISY Foundation, a global organization dedicated to honoring nurses.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Notre Dame and a joint Juris Doctor and Master of Business Administration from Georgetown University.
BEST TECHNOLOGY: Joel Montaniel (C'06), CEO & Co-Founder, SevenRooms
Joel Montaniel is the CEO & Co-Founder of SevenRooms, where he leads business strategy and sales. Prior to founding SevenRooms in 2011, Montaniel served as Chief of Staff at LivePerson, leading strategic, operational and cultural initiatives. He started his career at Credit Suisse within the Real Estate, Finance & Securitization Group. He graduated with a B.A. from Georgetown University.
RISING STAR: Courtney Carlsson (C'08), Co-Founder & CEO, Paradym
Courtney's background is strategy, sales and marketing, and operations in global markets.
Courtney recently completed her MBA at London Business School, where she focused on strategy and tech. During her first year she worked as VP Business Development at Soma Analytics, a mental health startup. She led a team to the final round in LBS’s first ever hackathon. And more recently, she worked at LinkedIn in an operations role.
Prior to this, she has 5 years of experience in global sales and brand building. At Celine, LVMH she oversaw sales of $ 52mn annually. After Celine, she joined The Row, a luxury startup, for a more entrepreneurial role. There she created a strategy that grew her division's global sales by over 100% in just one year.
Courtney holds an MBA from London Business School, a BA in Political Economy and Philosophy from Georgetown University, and an AAS from Parsons the New School for Design.
She speaks English, French, a bit of Swedish, Mandarin, Italian, Tagalog, and she’s learning Arabic.