iTEC – facilitating Innovation



We’re delighted to be co-hosting the first iTEC Conference, highlighting the true ingenuity of innovation throughout Texas, on Saturday November 10th 2018 2pm-6:30pm.

Fruition Founder Wesley Okeke explains the importance of holding events such as iTEC: “In order to facilitate innovation, barriers that prevent collaboration must be taken down and like-minded individuals need to be able to find each other.”  He adds: “We have engineers creating new inventions but keep them hidden, even at times from family and friends. We have entrepreneurs who would love to join or lead a startup but don’t have an idea of their own. Then we may have the idea generators who have countless ideas but do not know where to begin to get it going – they only know of an innovative idea that takes root. When these 3 types of individuals align, innovation flourishes and events like iTEC create the perfect environment for these groups to come together and bring Innovative ideas to reality.”

If you’ve not already got your ticket, you won’t want to miss this celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship happening in Houston. We’ve brought some of Houston’s most creative engineers and inventors together to showcase their ideas and network; and also have great speakers including NASA’s Technology Transfer Strategist Steven González and Smart Fashion and Wearable Technologies expert Sam Alexander. iTEC also has a Pitch Competition where the winner will win $5,000 and 3 free months of work space at Innovation Depot.

Limited tickets for this event are still available – you can register for free here:

“Day dreamers, artist, engineers, inventors, all have this in common”

Ideas—we have a brain filled with them. Some times too many ideas and all we are trying to do is focus on one! I have many memories right from my early teen years where I was doodling sketches of random ideas, up to being in a career and day dreaming about inventing the next greatest thing during long boring office meetings. I know that I cannot be the only one out there that has a traffic of ideas going through my mind. I consider myself a dreamer and a person that has this crazy notion of brighting up someones day or even more. Is it not why most of us love super hero movies.

Day dreamers, artist, engineers, inventors and those creative types like my wife who is an interior designer all have this in common, they want to burst that dream from the prison of their mind, design it, build it and set it in motion. If you are one of the many million creators out there and want that dream-idea to finally take shape, consider a reputable business incubator in your community. Don’t wait any longer, the dream is yours, so go make it a reality. (


Security Now Has a New Partner – Guardian Zone


Just like the rest of the world, since 9/11, I have watched foreign and domestic terrorism, school shootings and just unbridled violence take control of our peace of mind and turn us into nervous and suspicious people. We look at our neighbors with narrowed eyes trying to gauge if they can be trusted.   Do they wear a baseball cap, a hijab, turban or hoodie?

Guardian Zone has created a mobile application that answers the growing need for people in medium and large public places on how to protect themselves from criminal activity, lone shooters and terrorist attacks. It is a simple, intuitive product that allows users during high stress to connect immediately with venue security.

No matter where you sit right now, in the past few months or years, you have questioned if you are safe.   Maybe as you strolled through the mall, went to a concert, sent your children to school or you entered the high rise building where you work in the city, you asked yourself what would you do if a lone shooter entered your life to wreak havoc.   Law enforcement is overburdened with the same questions, knowing they can’t save everyone every time. Realizing they can’t predict where the next tragedy will take place. So, what do you do? Guardian Zone wants to be part of your solution. We want to help smartphone users with our app immediately contact venue security during these emergencies or threats. Guardian Zone wants to empower its app users, to give them some control and allow them to be the eyes and ears of venue security

On 9/11, I was serving in the U.S. Consulate in Mexico when we received a bomb threat.   All members of the U.S. mission were asked to scour our immediate environment looking for anything out of the ordinary.   At first, I thought, what am I doing? I don’t want to find the bomb. But little by little as I moved boxes from deliveries past, I began to feel empowered. I was taking a role in my own security, and from that day forward, I looked at my relationship with venue security and law enforcement differently, as a partnership. Guardian Zone allows for casual visitors to medium or large venues to become a part of a venue’s temporary network in order to communicate with security via their Guardian Zone app. Most importantly, Guardian Zone app users do not need to be a part of an established community.

In 2015, DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier said it best, when she said, “Your options are run, hide, or fight”. “Confronted with the rash of school and workplace “soft-target” shooting scenarios that now include possible terrorist acts like those in Paris, police departments are no longer preaching the passive approach of calling 911. Active shooters like the terrorists in Paris call for more active responses, including running away, hiding or actually attacking the attacker.” Watch the full interview that aired on November 22, 2015 at

The men and women in blue will continue to do their best to protect us, but I believe we need to start thinking about how to protect ourselves and our loved ones until the cavalry arrives.   Our lives depend on it.

Sheryl Maas CEO Guardian Zone  (

Two Security Tips to Keep in mind

  1. When in large venues with the family, do you have a designated meeting point in case someone gets separated from the group?   If you have small children, take a picture of them with your smartphone, so security can have an actual photo of the child and what they are wearing.
  2. Workplace violence is very real and on the rise. Do you know where all the exits are at your company and where they lead? Does your company have a security guard and do you know how to contact them?



a fruition client company

Social challenges now being conquered by newer Innovations

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Did you know that many of the world’s biggest challenges and needs are currently being solved by technology and innovation? Technology has made great leaps over the years. Here are some problems you should know that are on the verge of being rectified:

Access to Clean Water

A growing number of portable filtration devices now exist that are inexpensive to produce and that don’t require things like electricity or batteries. Check out LifeStraw and LifeSaver. Plus there are great strides being made using current technology Purewaters (coming soon) that is aimed to increase access to clean water around the world, but what’s most compelling about some of these portable options is how much they simplify and secure the access to clean water.


Let’s face it. Global education needs some help. Luckily, education innovators are working around the clock to develop apps, affordable internet-enabled devices for classrooms, open courseware, and new ways to measure student growth and target instruction to them better. Check out DezPhonics to see the impact it is set to have on literacy. And check out some of the EdTech trends that are shaking things up right now.

Alternative Energy

Solar is getting bigger and better. Wind power is going strong. People are building smarter grids. Businesses and building are switching to green energy, which is providing companies with increased capital to innovate. Things are looking good on the alternative energy front.

Access to Healthcare

Mobile technology is totally revolutionizing access to healthcare around the world. It allows healthcare practitioners to have access to data, information about health conditions, and information about treatments at their fingertips, no matter where they are. It also allows doctors and other experts to provide consultations to people remotely and ultimately extend the reach of their expert care.

Additionally, pharmaceutical innovations that eliminate the need for refrigeration of medicine are dramatically increasing access to critical cures to diseases worldwide.

Maternal Health

The past few years ago have been enormously impactful when it comes to maternal health in the developing world and elsewhere. Low-cost technology now exists that can provide healthcare screenings and imaging for pregnant women as well as gauge neonatal health. This information helps insure that the health is better preserved for mothers and babies. Plus, innovators like Obella Inc. are working tirelessly to spread iometric-detection technology for babies in utero.

Join us in spreading the word about the power of technology and it’s ability to make a great Impact in our world! 

Entrepreneur + Collaboration = Burnout Prevention + Personal Growth + Damage Control +Creativity Multiplied + Doing What You Do Best!

Teamwork Team Together Collaboration Meeting Office Brainstormin

“Collaboration is important not just because it’s a better way to learn. The spirit of collaboration is penetrating every institution and all of our lives. So learning to collaborate is part of equipping yourself for effectiveness, problem solving, innovation and life-long learning in an ever-changing networked economy.”

- Don Tapscott

No one is an island. There are benefits to getting the job done yourself at times, but, oftentimes, collaborating can make a world of difference when it comes to actually making the greatest impact. Plus, collaboration can push and pull you in ways you didn’t expect. We have so much to learn from each other. If you’re deciding whether or not to make your startup or big idea a collaborative effort, here are five benefits of collaboration you should consider:

1. Burnout Prevention

If you’re running a startup or deploying an invention, you obviously have a tremendous amount on your plate. Asking colleagues, mentors, and other people who are qualified to help to collaborate with you will help you avoid getting in over your head.

2. Damage Control

We all have blind spots. Other great minds will many times see things you don’t. They can help make you aware of potential challenges and pitfalls, and they can help you develop a game plan to outsmart what you’re up against. Many years ago as a young manager, the owner of a company gave me some great advice “Have people around you that are as smart as you or smarter than you” that advice has saved me from many pitfalls.

3. Personal Growth

Working in a vacuum means you don’t have the opportunity to learn and grow quite as much as you do when you’re working with other people. Collaborating gives you the chance to learn new skills, new communication techniques, and maybe some things about life from the people you’re working with.

4. Creativity Multiplied

Collaboration allows for new creative ideas to arise that will ultimately influence your overall success. Your team will help you come up with more creative solutions to problems, creative ways of marketing yourself, and creative ways of delivering your product or service. When we work together, our creativity multiplies in some unimaginable ways.

5. Doing What You Do Best

When you’re collaborating, you usually get to spend more time doing what you do best.  You’re sharing the workload and offloading what isn’t your forte to people who are better equipped to handle it. This can be a tremendous gift because it allows you to focus on where you can truly have the most influence.

Need help as an entrepreneur? We’d love to meet you! Get in touch with us at Fruition Technology Labs!

EdTech trends that are making a Global Impact

Group Of Elementary School Children In Computer Class

EdTech Trends That Will Continue to Revolutionize Global Education

“The world we have created is a product of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”

-Albert Einstein

The time to change the way we think about education is NOW! Technology has the power to completely change global education and produce a global generation that’s more educated, innovative, and productive than ever. And technology already exists that’s ready to shake things up. Here are some of the key EdTech players we can expect to play a tremendous role in the global education revolution in coming years:

Adaptive Learning Platforms

Adaptive learning platforms are absolutely the way of the future. These platforms offer tailored instruction, content, and assessments based on individual student performance. They give students instruction and reinforcement based on their particular needs. They also collect valuable data for educators to analyze to better meet their students’ needs.

These platforms have the power to harness “big data” related to learning in a way that hasn’t been possible before. And they have the potential to completely change the way educators develop curriculum based on this data. Not to mention, these platforms can have a far-reaching impact, changing education for all of the students and teachers who have access to them globally.

MOOCs Lyrics

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) give students around the world access to course content taught by some of the most renowned movers and shakers in higher education. Right now, around a third of people who participate in MOOCs live in North America, and 2/3 of participants live elsewhere in the world, according to ICEF. The number of international participants is growing, and, as it grows, we can expect some exciting things from this increased global access to rigorous university courses.

As major universities like Oxford , Harvard, and MIT increase their course offerings on MOOC platforms, we’ll also likely see a shift in the way people view access to the highest quality of education. It will increasingly become not something just for the elite but something for everyone.

Mobile Learning Apps

According to some estimates, almost 70% of people will use smartphones by 2017. In many places of the world, access to computers and wireless internet is a lot less common than access to smartphones and internet networks offered by mobile providers. This means that mobile learning apps have the potential to reach the majority of people who can benefit from them, and this means that mobile learning apps have the potential to completely revolutionize education in the developing world. Investing research and STEM talent in these apps now will have a tremendous return on global education’s future.  See

So, who’s ready to embrace these EdTech trends and see how far they can take us? Join us at Fruition Technology Labs as we use technology to help change how people think about education!

Global Impact starts with a Global Mindset

Footprint on the world

Don’t underestimate the power of your vision to change the world. Whether that world is your office, your community, an industry or a global movement, you need to have a core belief that what you contribute can fundamentally change the paradigm or way of thinking about problems.

-        Leroy Hood, American biologist

Inventors and entrepreneurs, how far does your vision reach? In 2015, there’s absolutely no reason not to think on a global scale!

Technology now enables your idea or product to reach almost every corner of the earth quickly and effortlessly.  With nearly 3 billion people worldwide who have access to the Internet, why not try to impact as many of them as possible? Your product will more likely have less obstacles to launch today and, with a larger customer base, reach the people who need it most. I like the way American author and philosopher Henry David Thoreau states it: “You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”

Top tech companies like Facebook, Google, and Skype know it’s essential to target people on a global scale.  We have all witnessed the impact on lives around the world because of the global mindset under which these companies operate.  They’re connecting people in ways many of us could never have imagined.

So if you have an innovative idea or product, don’t just look at its value from a local point of view. Research its possible impact on other countries, peoples and societies. You will be amazed at the great change you could bring about. It’s especially critical to think globally if you’re a social entrepreneur or an inventor who wants to make a global impact someday. The world needs your educational software, your medical device, your alternative energy source or whatever new innovation you may be bringing to the table now – and today you have the tools to make that happen.

It’s easy today to connect and collaborate with entrepreneurs, inventors and mentors on a global scale. Why not expand your network and reach out to like-minded people in Sweden, India, Africa or Australia?

At Fruition, we believe it’s essential to have a global focus. If you need our help, we will refine your idea to ensure that it reaches as many of the people who need it as possible.

Global thinking will change you for the better, and it just might help change the world for the better, too.



5 Key Differences Between Innovators and Imitators

Think Outside The Box Tic Tac Toe Concept

5 Key Differences Between Innovators and Imitators

Know the difference between an innovator and an imitator? At Fruition Technology Labs, we do! Although we there’s nothing wrong with being an imitator that improves technology we are always amazed about working with innovators, people who truly shake things up with their inventions. So, we’ve noticed a few differences between innovators and imitators. Here are 5 of them.

1. Innovators take a step forward, Imitators simply add to the conversation. They do not typically start the conversation. They may improve upon what already exists, but they can’t take credit for creating it. There have been many smartphones made before and after the iPhone, though the iPhone in my mind is clearly an innovative product. Those that came after the Phone have certainly seen their share of success, but they weren’t the first on the market. And, if you ask iPhone enthusiasts, the innovators are still winning over the imitators in the realm of smartphones.

2. Innovators aren’t afraid of failure.  In fact, innovators know failure is absolutely critical to success. It’s a lot easier to avoid failure when you’re simply improving upon what’s already out there. When you’re creating something new, though, failure is almost inevitable. What innovators learn from failure is ultimately what makes their contributions to the world so great.

3. Innovators have a vision and sometimes only they can see it. They work tirelessly to achieve a goal and to create something that’s going to impact the world. Imitators may not have that same kind of vision. They do see how an innovation could be changed to better suit people’s needs, and they go from there. But they often don’t have the same kind of unique vision innovators have.

4. Innovators think towards the future. Their vision involves a future world in which they’re fulfilling some need. They tend to think twenty steps ahead of everybody else, and they create things that no one ever would have dreamed of. In some ways, they think about the future, and then they create it. They can do this because they have a keen understanding of what the future might look like and how their invention will fit into it.

5. Innovators change things. Their discoveries and inventions alter the world, as we know it. Without Alan Turing, an innovator, we might not even have access to personal computers, smartphones, and tablets. Turing’s innovations allowed other innovators to create the technology that’s so indispensable in to our lives today. And it allowed imitators to fine-tune that technology in exciting ways. Without Turing’s initial innovation, however, we arguably wouldn’t be where we are today.

Think you’re an innovator? We’d love to meet you! Get in touch with us at Fruition Technology Labs!

Inspiration: The Fuel to Go the Distance

inspiration getting inspired be creative create and invent brainstorm and inspire with text and word

Muhammad Ali once said, “Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.” These words can be very inspiring if you are a person that is grinding through a rigorous training, overcoming a heartache, struggling through an unfortunate circumstance or maybe trying to survive a job that makes Monday’s unbearable.

Inspiration enables people to be more productive and have an easier time achieving their goals. They tend to feel more satisfied with their lives and their work. Amazingly the many hours they spend, unknowingly just seems to slip away faster when they are flat out inspired. Bright ideas and solutions to complex problems come to them easily, seemingly out of nowhere.  But how does a person capture inspiration?

I am very fortunate to be inspired quite often, mainly from the numerous conversations I have with people whom I call idea generators”Idea generators are the inventors who just can’t seem to help having constant free-flow of innovative ideas in the technology space.  At Fruition Tech Labs, I have the privilege of speaking to such idea generators, witnessing projects progress in directions I never expected them to go and seeing peoples dream ideas come closer to Fruition! I love to be inspired and to inspire others to capture their own visions for making and leaving their unique mark in this world. Need some inspiration? Here are just a few ideas for you to get it.

  • Emotional InvestmentPsychologists have proven that emotions are essential to inspiring change. If you want to inspire yourself, think about why a goal is important to you emotionally. If you want to inspire others, think about why that goal might be important on an emotional level and learn to communicate it passionately.  I noticed this will more than likely help create a solid cohesive team that is focused on a unified goal.
  • Teamwork – According to the Harvard Business Review, people work harder and feel more inspired when they believe they’re working towards a shared goal. Find people who have likeminded ambitions like you and commit to meeting with them on a regular basis. Have brainstorming sessions regularly on what changes are needed in the world you live in and what possible ways you can contribute. Consistency as we all know can be very difficult so be realistic on how much frequency is possible and then stick to it. It helps an inspired team go the distance!
  • A Positive Environment – Inspiration researchers have found that when people reflect upon past moments of inspiration, they remember more positive versus negative emotionsPositive environments and positive thoughts surrounding a goal are much more likely to elicit inspiration than hostile, negative environments and overly critical thought. Think back to times when you’ve felt inspire, and you’ll see how true this is. As much as you can, place yourself in environments and around people that influence synergy, collaboration and innovation.
  • Meaning – Inspiration researchers also found that inspiration often comes from meaningful or fulfilling tasks. If a task enriches your life or the lives of others in a powerful way, inspiration is more likely to come - and stickTo me, this is the most important driver.  Only you  can live your life and ensure that it counts for something!

     Now go get Inspired! 


Women Of Fruition

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Women in Tech: The Female Leaders Behind One of Houston’s Newest Startup Incubators

According to a recent article in The Wire:

There is continuing debate over how to include more women in tech, an industry which suffers from a severe gender gap at the highest levels. Getting more women to enroll in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) degrees is a start; only 15 percent of freshman women at American colleges plan to declare a STEM major, compared to 29 percent of men, according to the Association of American Universities and Colleges. Women hold less than 25 percent of STEM jobs, which the U.S. Department of Commerce attributes to a lack of female role models and gender stereotyping.1

As cities across the country also seek to diversify their tech startup communities with more women, one local incubator Fruition Technology Labs has successfully demonstrated that Houston is not only a growing startup hub but also one that has a thriving community of women in tech.

Since 2012, Fruition Technology Labs, which supports humanity-focused innovations, has built a team comprised of diverse ethnicities, cultures, backgrounds, industries, fields and, surprisingly, gender. Women make up a large percentage of Fruition’s team of mentors and collaborators – nearly 42 percent. In addition, following the opening of Fruition’s new co-working space and prototype lab just north of Pearland, the group is seeing a higher number of female inventors seeking Fruition’s assistance.

“I believe that our team is a positive reflection of the growing interest in technology amongst women in Houston,” says Fruition founder Wes Okeke. “We are proud to provide a collaborative community where anyone who is interested in bridging the gap between humanity and technology can thrive and help be a part of the development of some really exciting innovations.”

They are a motley crew of experience levels, skills, talents, backgrounds and education. But they all strive to make a difference in the world through their contributions to and passion for emerging technologies in Houston.

Meet 12 of the women who make up the Fruition team.

Christy Franco – Mentor, Simplified Neuroscience (Invention)


Self-motivation and diligence in personal time management have been the keys to Christy Franco’s success throughout her career in the biotech industry. As Director of Research and Development at Twister Biotech, a life science startup based in Houston, and previously as a doctoral student in bioengineering at Rice University, she experienced first-hand how to successfully develop and foster new technologies with the potential to make an impact on people’s lives.

Fueled by her growing interest in Houston’s biotech industry after starting with Twister, Franco became actively engaged in the local entrepreneurial community through various meetup groups, LinkedIn and local organizations. She first met Fruition founder Wesley Okeke through this startup network and, upon learning about his vision for a humanity-focused incubator in Houston, enthusiastically signed on as a mentor for one of their life science-focused projects Simplified Neuroscience. A company focused on bringing advanced brain mapping technologies out of basic research labs and into the clinic where they can help patients with a variety of neurological disorders, Simplified Neuroscience was a natural fit for Franco, combining her experience, skill sets and passion for biotech.

“I think Houston is generally very supportive of women in technology compared to some other communities. We have several local organizations that focus on expanding technical skills among women and girls. One example, RailsGirls, is an organization where women get together to help each other learn basic programming. There is also an active SWE (Society of Women Engineers) chapter in Houston, as well as resources for those looking to start their own company.” – Christy Franco

Michelle Lenzen – Collaborator, Dezphonics (Invention)


Passion is what drives Michelle Lenzen every day in each of her pursuits. As a teacher, entrepreneur and now a collaborator at Fruition Technology Labs, she believes that passion must be at the center of one’s work in order to achieve success. It was her own passion for entrepreneurship and hope for the Houston startup scene that connected her to Fruition founder Wesley Okeke when the incubator was a mere idea. Since then, Lenzen has been a key collaborator for one of Fruition’s first projects DezPhonics, an innovative online learning program invented by a fellow teacher that helps young children, those with learning disabilities and first-time English speakers learn to read quickly and effectively. In 2015, Lenzen and the DezPhonics team look forward to continuing pilot tests across the country and bringing DezPhonics to a group of students in Brazil next spring.

Lenzen plans to continue lending her passion for and knowledge in education, writing and entrepreneurship to helping other Fruition projects grow. She is especially excited about Fruition’s new co-working space, which will provide the type of inspiring environment and positive climate that, she believes, entrepreneurs need to thrive.

“The women leading the technology front are paving the way for more young girls to choose careers in tech. I support everything about it.” – Michelle Lenzen

Vivian Elebiyo – Inventor, Obella BE (Invention)


Nigerian-born Vivian Elebiyo, who now calls Houston home, did not follow a conventional path to becoming an inventor. The entrepreneur opened her own publishing house, worked in graphic design and started an African print-inspired textile company before channeling her imaginative mind and outside-the-box thinking toward the idea for her Obella BE biometric bracelet. Inspired by the devastating loss of a friend’s first baby due to a miscarriage, Elebiyo envisioned a wearable device that could provide accurate, real-time information about the health of an unborn baby; give moms, like her friend, peace of mind during pregnancy; and share valuable information with their doctors that could potentially save the lives of babies at risk.

Since joining Fruition Technology Labs in 2014, Elebiyo is well on her way to seeing her vision come to life. She first connected with Fruition through one of their mentors Christy Franco at a Houston engineers’ meetup group. After sharing her idea with Franco and eventually meeting the Fruition team, Elebiyo felt confident that the incubator could help her idea become a reality. Now in the exciting prototype stage of the invention process a year later, Elebiyo, who can now proudly add inventor to her name, cannot believe how much she has learned and how far her idea has come with the help of her team of collaborators and mentors.

“I love the dynamics of the Obella team and the passion everyone brings to the table…Women are creating tech products that help make lives better. We are at the forefront of life-enhancing inventions that can change the world.” – Vivian Elebiyo

Iris Velazquez – Mentor, Obella BE (Invention)


Houston real estate agent and Puerto Rico native Iris Velazquez is another example of how a passion for innovation and a drive to help others are pivotal to the successful development of new technologies. After she and her husband learned of long-time friend Wesley Okeke’s idea for a humanity-focused startup incubator, Velazquez jumped at the invitation to join the team as a mentor. She was particularly drawn to the opportunity to be a part of developing technologies that improve the quality of life for others.

As a Fruition mentor, Velazquez draws from her extensive background in finance and her experience in project management to help inventors stay accountable and motivated throughout the invention process.  She is currently a mentor for the Obella BE project and looks forward to seeing the final product’s impact on pregnant women around the world. As a homeschool mother, Velazquez is also interested in educational and entrepreneurial projects that inspire young kids to develop their creativity and to take their innovative thinking to new levels.

“I strongly believe that women have a great role to play in Houston’s emerging technology market. We have a unique opportunity to mentor talented people and to inspire them to follow their dreams and use their creativity to enrich the lives of others, especially the less fortunate.” – Iris Velazquez

Fay Pauly – Collaborator – Technology, Obella BE (Invention)


Never having considered a degree in engineering before entering college, Fay Pauly, now a mechanical engineering student at Rice Univeristy, quickly discovered her passion for the hands-on creative process found in engineering design. So when she first learned about Fruition’s projects in addition to their emphasis on humanity-focused innovation, she instantly “became hooked.” After a brief meeting with founder Wesley Okeke, who was impressed with the college sophomore’s extensive real-world experience in engineering design projects for local companies, Pauly signed on to help design prototypes for Fruition.

Pauly has thrived in Fruition’s collaborative environment, taking full advantage of the real-world experience she is gaining and the opportunity to work alongside other women who share her same interest and passion for emerging technologies.  She is currently working on the mechanical design for the Obella BE biometric bracelet and looks forward to building more designs and prototypes.

“I love being a woman in technology. Before college, I had never considered getting an engineering degree. I didn’t really know what engineering was. But I quickly realized I had found my passion. I hope that more women also have the opportunity to discover all that the technology industry, and particularly engineering, has to offer them and the amazing things we can do with it.” – Fay Pauly

Heather Ross – Mentor, Game Development


Heather Ross is somewhat of an anomaly as a woman in the tech world and even more so in the area of gaming. For the past three years, she has dedicated time outside of her role as founding CEO of the innovative culture and arts company Perspective Implosion Studios, LLC, in Austin to several organizations that help make game development opportunities more accessible to students, women and minorities. She is the Chapter Leader for Women in Games International’s Austin chapter, provides free career guidance to game developers through Game Mentor Online, is a board member for the diversity-focused nonprofit Gamers Against Bigotry and is on the planning committee for WECon 2015, a conference that provides resources specifically for women in such areas as education, arts and finance. At WECon, taking place in Austin this March, Ross plans to host a sex ed game jam in which interested women form teams to create their own original games that make sex education more interactive and fun.

While on a business trip in Houston to mentor youth at a local hackathon, Ross connected with Fruition founder Wes Okeke. With gaming becoming an important aspect of a few new education-based technologies Fruition is helping to develop, Okeke invited Ross to join the team as the mentor dedicated exclusively to these projects. The opportunity to work with a diverse group of inventors and to help turn their ideas into successful businesses appealed to Ross, and she immediately accepted. She is already hard at work on a few projects, providing comprehensive, honest analysis at each step as well as guidance to help inventors make the best decisions toward their success.

“Women have historically made revolutionary contributions to the tech industry. From the days of Ada Lovelace, to Grace Hopper, to the Women of ENIAC and to countless other women around the world, technology wouldn’t be what it is or where it is today without them. We need more women in tech to continue revolutionizing the industry in new, unexpected and unforeseen ways.” – Heather Ross

Brett Hanley – Collaborator, Communications


Writer and digital marketing expert Brett Hanley skillfully crafts content that communicates Fruition and its technological work to the public for a variety of media. A recent addition to the team, Hanley first learned about Fruition’s mission from a friend who happened to be one of their mentors. Having a philanthropic edge herself, she did not think twice about joining the organization and enjoys the opportunity to contribute creative ideas and copy to promote awareness for Fruition and its tech projects.

Upon graduating from college, Hanley worked at a literacy intervention program in Austin, one of the most enriching professional experiences in her life. An active supporter of literacy today, it was only fitting that her first assignment at Fruition was to create promotional content for the online literacy program DezPhonics. Her experience is an example of how female professionals in any field can find their own unique ways to contribute their skills and areas of expertise to technological innovation.

“I’m excited about women having an increased presence in the tech sector, and I’m definitely in favor of initiatives that encourage young girls and women to pursue careers in the STEM fields. I think Houston’s burgeoning startup scene offers a lot of opportunities for women to take part in exciting, high-tech projects.” – Brett Hanley

Tiffany Vo – Collaborator, Obella BE (Invention)


Women in technology is not a strange concept for Rice University bioengineering Ph.D. student Tiffany Vo. She studies and works in a setting where men and women contribute equally to the research and development of new medical technologies every day. So the opportunity to be a part of Houston’s growing tech startup landscape as a collaborator with Fruition was an opportunity that she could not pass up. In particular, the necessity for a platform that supports humanity-focused technologies, which aligns perfectly with her work in bioengineering, struck Vo the most when she learned about Fruition.

Drawing upon the skills she learned in both the lab and the classroom over her extensive academic career, Vo performs the market analysis and background research necessary to direct product design and market strategy. She is currently a part of the Obella BE team and is excited to help develop such novel technologies for women.

“Women are vital to the technology industry. As a bioengineering Ph.D. student at Rice and collaborator at Fruition, I see and know firsthand the capabilities of women as inventors, scientists, entrepreneurs, and leaders.” – Tiffany Vo

Elly Hutchinson – Mentor, Research and Analysis


A senior at Rice University graduating in May, Elly Hutchinson learned early on that even “non-techies” can find a way to lend their skills and expertise to the development of emerging technologies. Her contribution to Fruition as a mentor in industry research and analysis is an important part of the invention process. Her passion for humanitarian-based projects like those that Fruition supports also helped her find her niche as a technology mentor with the group.

As collaboration is a core principle at Fruition, Hutchinson’s current research for Rice University’s Center for Civic Leadership, which focuses on existing practices by professors that enhance collaborative and active learning for college students within the community, will bring additional experience to foster this important aspect of technology development. Her most recent Fruition project identifies new techniques to help schoolteachers better understand and utilize technology tools in the classroom. With a deep belief in the benefits of applied and experiential learning for students, Hutchinson will provide valuable market insight for the education technology projects that Fruition supports.

“Houston is the place to be for anyone, especially women, to embrace the hugely diverse market for technical skills. I’m happy to be here for that.” – Elly Hutchinson

Melanie Mock – Mentor, First-Tier Projects


A recent addition to the Fruition mentor team, Melanie Mock is already contributing her unique experiences as a researcher and consultant at a business services firm to overseeing first-tier technology projects. Her focus on Asian Studies, mentorship of refugee students and business Spanish translation services will also help inventors develop comprehensive business strategies from a cultural and sociological perspective.

Mock’s experience demonstrates the growing need for and impact of more diverse skill sets and perspectives to help advance the development of new technologies. Motivated by a passion to make an impact on society, Mock looks forward to being an integral part in accelerating and facilitating the progress of humanity-focused innovations in Houston.

“As the technology industry inevitably will continue to grow in size and importance, it is vital that more women become involved in this traditionally male-dominated field, as female participation in the community and workforce is a significant factor of economic growth.” – Melanie Mock

Jennifer Pearson – Collaborator, Communications


Communications in the tech field helps bring new technologies to life and connect the important work currently taking place with various audiences who might not otherwise know about or understand them.  Collaborator Jennifer Pearson’s videography, photography and writing skills have been pivotal to effectively communicating the technology that Fruition is helping to develop to an ever-growing community of followers. Stumbling upon Fruition’s need to showcase their work, this HISD instructor and former Houston Chronicle reporter has found her niche in technology development.

Currently, she is creating a video that highlights the key elements that compose a successful incubator, which Pearson hopes will encourage inventors with innovative ideas to take their first steps toward seeing them to fruition. Plans are in the works to create similar videos for many of Fruition’s upcoming projects. It’s Pearson’s proud contribution to the few humanity-driven tech startups being developed in Houston today.

“I think the tech startup field provides women who have a visionary mindset to explore the technology industry with the advantage of growing their own ideas in an environment that promotes it. With technology changing so fast, the demand for women in the field is crucial to help explore the possibilities out there.” – Jennifer Pearson

Andrea Nguyen – Mentor, Education Technology Projects


This past year, former journalist, educator, marketing consultant, wife and mother of two Andrea Nguyen added a new title to her motley roster of professional experiences: mentor of educational technology at Fruition. From her news coverage on the latest inventions and their journeys to success to her first-hand knowledge of the hunger teachers, students and school districts have for technology in the classroom, Nguyen has channeled her own passion to improve education through innovation into her work at Fruition.

Nguyen’s qualifications as a mentor go beyond just her professional experience. Despite the hardships that she and her family faced as refugees of Vietnam when she was just five years old, Nguyen continuously challenged herself to make each of her dreams a reality and to succeed. She hopes to teach inventors that with a healthy mix of energy, focus and support, they, too, have the power to transform their passions and ambition into their life’s work – amazing technologies that make a difference.

Nguyen has spoken about education and technology at several Fruition group meetings, most recently the group’s Sparx Forum, which explored the current technology trends in education with Houston-area techpreneurs. Sharing Fruition’s vision of a better world through life-saving and life-enhancing innovations, she looks forward to helping accelerate the delivery of innovative educational tools to the schools and communities that need them the most.

“I love hearing about and seeing women thrive in technology…In Houston’s growing tech startup landscape, female innovators and entrepreneurs are not only growing in numbers and influence but also paving the way for other women.” – Andrea Nguyen