Drake University
John Pappajohn Center for Entrpreneurship Outreach

Session Leader:  Perfect Your Pitch
In this session you’ll learn the key components and skills necessary to pitch your business to potential investors, key employees, partners, vendors and customers!  If you are planning on competing in a pitch competition…this session is a must!

Käri Smith is Director of Start Up Boot Camps  for Drake University’s John Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship Outreach (JPEC).  She is an experienced entrepreneur whose passion is helping SMB owners’ develop their business through the design and implementation of strategic and tactical initiatives.

​She is also Vice President at LW Advisors, an independent investment advisory and financial planning boutique in Des Moines, Iowa.  In this role she leads LW’s client engagement and planning experience and specializes in financial solutions for closely held business owners and their employees.

Her financial services career began over twenty years ago, with Mass Mutual however she took an entrepreneurial detour into the specialty retail industry where in 1994 she purchased, re-branded and grew Schaffer’s Bridal to one of the nation’s top fifty bridal and special occasion retail stores.  While owning and operating Schaffer’s, she formed and sold a marketing business, co-founded two industry advisory groups and organized several for profit and non-profit events in the Des Moines area and nationally.  She continues to provide consulting and advisory services to individuals and closely held business’ in transition.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in business & marketing from Drake University and was a former masters student of Strategic Coach, a highly respected entrepreneurial coaching program.