Meet our amazing global team of co-founders, team mates and advisors. We are proud of the work we are doing to help innovative organizations, and those they serve, develop their crowdfunding, crowd building and online marketing making activities for the founders and businesses they support.

Meet IAEOU Co-Founders

11224432_10205750106085443_3287075043468179685_nLISA CANNING  is a main street creative entrepreneur. With a love for the arts, entrepreneurship, creativity, and innovation, Lisa has been helping SME’s, for over 30 years, realize their highest purpose and earning potential.

Lisa launched her first entrepreneurial venture, at 17, from her ‘dorm room’ at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL building it from nothing into a 12 million dollar creative sector retail, wholesale and distribution business with over 50 full-time employees and a million dollar payroll. 

Canning was featured on Music Trades Top 200 List of Music Retailers in the United States for fifteen consecutive years. As an accomplished clarinetist, Canning has performed with members of the Chicago Symphony, Lyric Opera Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra,  Buffalo Philharmonic, Florida Symphony Orchestra, and Milwaukee Symphony.

Canning spent ten years as a faculty staff member at DePaul University in Chicago, while also serving on the university’s School of Music Advisory Board of Directors. While at DePaul, she developed a Career Development Course for Artistic Disciplines, built a creative career regional job fair, jump-started several student-run creative entrepreneurial organizations and taught and mentored over one thousand students from different artistic disciplines. 

Her most recent venture Lisa’s Clarinet Shop, a spin-off from her much larger retail and distribution business, is currently under contract to be sold.

Her current and newest venture Sana Sells (developed from project Sana’s Kitchen through IAEOU) caters to startups and entrepreneurs growth needs by providing them with outsourced sales and lead generation services for their expanding businesses during fundraising and growth spurts.  

Lisa’s core skills include Business Strategy & Customer Acquisition, Digital Media and Marketing Strategy, Crowd, Go-to-Market skilling, organizational communication strategies, and trade finance.  Lisa spent 3 years designing and market testing entrepreneurial curriculum and individualized learning plans resulting in a 98% first sale rate among the 78 SME’s and over 400 entrepreneurs who participated in IAEOU’s accelerator program in Chicago, IL. The results of her work were academically published and include:

  • (INVITED) Thomas J, McDonagh D, Canning L The New Paradigm: Creatives and Arts Entrepreneurs. In Morris, M (ed.) Annals of Entrepreneurship Education and Pedagogy. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing/USASBE. December 1, 2014
  • (INVITED) The Value of Creativity: Implications for industrial design and design entrepreneurship. The Value of Creativity: Implications for industrial design and design entrepreneurship. In Nambisan, S (ed.) Embracing Entrepreneurship Across Disciplines. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing. In PRESS
  • (INVITED) Thomas J, McDonagh D, Canning L (2014). The Design Journal, Issue 17(3), pp 425-444 (September)
  • Developing the Arts Entrepreneur: The “Learning Cloud”. Crafting the Future, 10th European Academy of Design Conference. Apr 2013, Gothenburg, Sweden

As an expert in creative & main street entrepreneurial education, Lisa was asked to speak after a former US President at a World Leaders Forum and is frequently a requested speaker in the creative entrepreneurship education space at Universities and for organizations internationally. Both the Aspen Institute and State Department engaged her services for the 1st PNB-NAPEO Summit in Algeria.

As a champion for women, and the winner of the 2002 National Association for Women Business Owners Business Owner of the Year award (Chicago), she was invited to speak at The 1st Women as Elements of Change Conference in Jordan in 2014 by members of the royal family. In 2015, Lisa was also invited by The White House to be a delegate for The 6th annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit at the request of the Department of State to serve on the 1st ever Creative Industries panel focused on the building of the Creative Economy.



Scott-Gillespie-300x300SCOTT GILLESPIE is a growth adviser, investor and mentor to ventures (micro) around the globe; helping founders to transform their: ideas2products, products2sales, and ventures2businesses.  In parallel, Scott is a global leader in developing practical solutions for regional economic developers (macro) for T2 Venture Creation (T2VC).

Scott splits his time architecting regional startup ecosystems (macro) in: Australia, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Palestine, Jordan, USA, Malaysia, and Colombia. As Founder and Director of the Jigsaw Group, a business accelerator Scott and his team connect:  founders, talent, customers, markets, and channels; with global opportunities.  Jigsaw Group investment portfolio ranges from office fit out (UAE Compare), to new media (BTG Studios) and online education (co-founder IAEOU). In parallel, Jigsaw Group has delivered outcomes and programs, for a variety of entities. For universities, Jigsaw has: set up research centers, improved tech transfer offices, plus develop and deliver courses on: innovation, entrepreneurship, risk management, and strategic marketing.  For startups, Jigsaw has implemented mentoring programs for: new market entry, startup founders, women entrepreneurs, winners of innovation & entrepreneurship competitions, and angel investors. Jigsaw Group has a keen interest in supporting not-for-profits including: Sydney Angels and Yacht Aid Global (YAG) which transports education and medical supplies to natural disaster areas using mega yachts.  Jigsaw Group delivers outcomes and programs to government agencies (from boot camps in Tanzania and Jakarta; to entrepreneurship training in Saudi and Dubai; to incubator and accelerator support across the GCC and Australia) as well as corporates (e.g. regional headquarter selection to first 100-day roadmaps after private equity’ investment).  

Scott and the Jigsaw Group team also provide Gulf Region support to Crowdfund Capital Advisors, a for-profit advisory, research, and education organization dedicated to promoting access to capital via crowdfunding to protect small business and promote entrepreneurship.

Two Jigsaw Group’ initiatives of note include:  ExpatriateConnect, a mentoring and training program that supported export-motivated Australia ventures, by enrolling >2,000 candidate mentors to support Australian ventures ready for global growth; and the Center for the Study of Choice which grew from 3 academics into a tier 1 UTS research center with global partners (Motorola, Bose, Boeing,..).

Prior to the Jigsaw Group, Scott was the Executive  General Manager for Business Development of MFP  Development Corporation. His team coordinated over $25M in investments from major firms such as SGI, Telstra, Microsoft, Motorola, Stanford Research Institute, and Australian Commonwealth while leading the development of two technology parks (over 2,000 staff), establishing a regional incubator network, and hosting a global conference on Learning, Education and Training. Is his early career Scott served in a dozen roles for Unisys Corporation, a global technology services organization including as Chief Financial Officer for the South Pacific, industrial engineer, and Finance Director for Japan Operations.  Scott was born in the USA and been an expatriate for >25 years.

Meet Sana’s Kitchen Co-founder

SanaSANA TARIQ KHAN  was trained to become an attorney, but discovered she was more passionate about social media, online consumer relationship building and developing crowd solutions for organizations and business owners. A Pakistani native, Sana brings a global perspective, dedication and a team spirit to everything she does and everyone she works with. The winner of numerous customer satisfaction awards during her time spent working for Toyota; she is a certified Trainer for sales and marketing and specialist for designing campaigns to boost up sales. Sana is also a peace activist and strongly believes that communication is the only way to peace. As a result, she was asked to serve as a epresentive of her country in the “Aman Ki Ashaa Conference 2016” for the purpose of finding new ways to make peace between two disputed nations (India and Pakistan). A fierce supporter of women’s right to work, she is a leader in her community and represents the future of women in Pakistan. We are proud to have her as our Director of Social Engagement. Her primary role is to help the organizations that we work with, and their members, learn how to build an audience for their online marketing making and crowdfunding activities.

Meet Our Team Members

ZeinALI ZEIN, launched his entrepreneurial career in the MENA region and in his mid twenties moved to sunny California to build it. At such a young age, Zein, the name he goes by, has already led a one million USD media project for the US Department of State that produced hundreds of videos in an extremely short period of time. Known for his creative approach, speed and clean ‘happy client’ editing, his work as a director, producer and editor has taken him to the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He is in charge of producing the IAEOU educational video course content and has already produced more than 75 videos for our fledgling but growing library of educational topics.
Grace O.GRACE B ORDAKOWSKI has over 39 years of experience in the accounting field.  She has held the position of Controller in a variety of different companies.   In these positions she has had the responsibility of managing and directing the activity of the company’s accounting department.  In her present position she has  proposed to management and implemented many improvements in the way that the department functions. Additionally, Grace prepares and analyzes the monthly financial statements and makes recommendations for improvements to the profitability of the company.  Her responsibilities include not only the preparation of financial statements, but also the preparation of cash flow reports and the timely collection of accounts receivable. Additionally, Grace oversees order processing and manages inventory. She is a hard working self-motivated individual who works well with all levels of people. Her extensive accounting experience has made her a valuable asset to any company.  Grace is a graduate of University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a major in Accounting.