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While we don’t currently have plans to offer Speed Mentoring in 2024, it may be offered again in the future. Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date and learn more about our other programs and events!

DESIGNxRI is offering a 2 hour Speed Mentoring event on October 26, 2023, to support and connect early stage design & creative business owners. Whether you’re a year into your business, or just started visioning, come get your legal, financial, marketing, product and leadership questions answered by our team of local experts.

This Speed Mentoring event is a continuation of our 4 week long Pre-Catalyst program that we launched earlier this year. Past participants of this program are especially welcome, but applications are open to all.

Help us help your business grow, and join us this October!


Calling Providence based early-stage business owners, or want-to-be business owners!  


An in-person 2-hour speed mentoring session and peer–peer networking event. All participants are guaranteed at least one, and up to five 15-minute sessions with a local industry expert. 


October 26, 2023, 6-8:30pm 


The CIC (exact location TBD)


The Speed Mentoring Event is funded through our partners at The City of Providence. In order to be eligible to participate, participants must meet the following requirements.

  • Participants must either have just started a creative business (less than 2 years), or plan to in the future (in the next 0-3 years).
  • Participants cannot be full-time students.
  • Participants must be able to prove residence in The City of Providence.
  • Participants must be low-to-moderate income, defined as total household income that equals or is below the 2023 limits set by HUD.


Dwayne Keys is the Director of Programs, Multifamily at Compass Working Capital, a non-profit organization dedicated to ending asset poverty. Dwayne is an Accredited Financial Counselor® (AFC®) and certified in Financial Social Work. For over 19 years Dwayne has advocated on behalf of historically excluded communities for economic justice and full inclusion in economic prosperity. Prior to joining Compass in 2017, Dwayne worked in for-profit banking and financial services for 13 years.

Offering expertise in: Financial Literacy, Business Development, and Community Outreach & Engagement

Linda Lin is the cinnamon bun of branding- she turns brands into delicious bite sized pieces for consumers.  Linda currently works with neighborhood restaurant owners in creating a sense of community through shared culinary experiences.

Offering expertise in: Branding, Personal Growth, and Marketing

Matt Cavallaro is an industrial designer with a range of professional experience, including designing both hard and soft goods for the US Military, Target, and various start-ups. He is a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design (2010) and has been a teacher in the Industrial Design department since 2014. Matt has founded and currently operates two businesses in the cast iron space, Nest Homeware and Ares Iron.

Offering expertise in: Product and Pricing

Mel Rainsberger has over eighteen years of experience in design, new technologies, and interactive media. Her client list includes AARP, WPI, the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), CVS, Microsoft, Amazon, and the RI Secretary of State. She’s an expert in researching and communicating industry trends and comparable technology experiences; applying and driving design standards across all channels. 

Offering expertise in: Marketing, Pricing, Video/Animation, and User Experience

Erin X. Smithers is a Credit Risk Professional, freelance photographer, and content creator. Through her tenure working at Citizens Bank, she has worked Consumer Loan Specialty Servicing, Consumer Ops QA/QC, and Consumer Lending Risk Management; and currently she is part of the Consumer Credit Risk program office. 

Offering expertise in: Financial Literacy, Branding, and Marketing

C. Alexander Chiulli is an experienced litigator and lawyer who represents a wide range of businesses, non-profits, and individuals. Alex assists clients on formation, corporate, contract, governance, employment, regulatory, policy, governmental, real estate, insurance, transactional, and general liability matters, as well as intellectual property, entrepreneurship, Internet, privacy and information, non-profit, and First Amendment law.

Offering expertise in: Legal and Business Development

Still have questions?

For more information

Contact Kat Simonds (kat@designxri.com)


Providence City seal depicting when the city was founded and incorporated