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ASPIRE Columbus is now the Smart Business Dealmakers Columbus Conference. CLICK HERE for more information.

Bellows ABCD

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly: Entrepreneurs’ M&A Roundtable

Keynote Panel #1

Four of Columbus’ most successful entrepreneurs take you behind-the-scenes of their well-publicized deals — from raising hundreds of millions in capital to buying a company back from McDonald’s to going public – and the lessons learned from navigating high-profile exits. This quartet of leaders will talk about the good, the bad and the ugly from their very personal M&A experiences.


Dustin S. Klein
Smart Business

Dustin is an award-winning business journalist, bestselling author, and the publisher of Smart Business. Over the past 30 years, he has interviewed thousands of business and civic leaders, and helped more than 50 CEOs and entrepreneurs transform their ideas into books. A trained investigative politics reporter and former digital media entrepreneur, Dustin joined Smart Business in 1997 after serving as an editor at several daily newspapers.


Jane Grote Abell
Chairwoman of the Board
Donatos Pizza

A founding family member, Jane has held a variety of positions, including CEO, at both Donatos Pizza and Jane’s Dough Foods. After McDonald’s purchased Donatos in 1999, Jane was a major catalyst behind the decision to buy back Donatos in 2003. Then, she led the company through a $10.5 million turnaround. After becoming board chair in 2010, Jane has had time to focus on work like co-founding the Reeb Avenue Center.

Hugh Cathey

Hugh has over 20 years of senior leadership experience, managing all corporate functions and guiding rapid revenue growth. Since forming Columbus-Partners in 2003, Hugh has implemented strategies with client companies that range from $1 million to $150 million in annual revenue. Hugh is also the chairman and CEO of the startup ChromoCare, an emerging leader in the field of pharmacogenetic testing.

Alan Homewood
Founder and former CEO

Alan conceived of a low-cost, easy-to-implement e-commerce solution for those who found traditional merchant account contract terms and pricing structures prohibitive. In 1999 he began developing 2Checkout’s underlying code. Over the next 14 years Alan built his weekend project into a multimillion-dollar enterprise. Today, 2Checkout operates in 200-plus markets worldwide. Alan is a founding board member of Autism Living.

Jeff Sopp
Founder & CEO
Kensington Hill Partners

Jeff leads Kensington Hill Partners, a board of directors and corporate growth advisory firm, which concentrates on five business competencies: board advisory services, private equity investments, business consulting, executive search and sales advisory services. Its focus and expertise is on mid-market and entrepreneurial companies with high-growth potential. With offices in Columbus, Ohio, Jeff supports and invests in companies throughout the Midwest.

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