October 27th 2018
The Castle at Park Plaza
130 Columbus Avenue
Closed for 2018
Laura Gassner Otting
Laura helps innovators, idealists, and iconoclasts get “unstuck” — and achieve extraordinary results. Laura speaks with change agents, entrepreneurs, investors, leaders, and donors to get them past the doubt and indecision that consign their great ideas to limbo. She delivers strategic thinking, well-honed wisdom, and catalytic perspective informed by decades of navigating change across the start-up, nonprofit, political, and philanthropic landscapes.
Through her own commitment to give back, Laura has helped build a local Montessori school, co-founded a women’s philanthropic initiative, advised a start-up national women’s PAC, grew a citizen-leadership development program, and completed three charity-inspired marathons—projects emblematic of her passions and values. She’s turned on by the audacity of The Big Idea and that larger-than-life goal you just can’t seem to shake. She’s an instigator, a motivator, and a provocateur, and she’s never met a revolution she didn’t like.
Ruta Laukien is the founder of Liquid Art House, the first gallery/restaurant hybrid to open in Boston. The meandering journey that led to Ruta’s vision began in her native Lithuania, took root in law school (as a Lithuanian-style Tea House) and would stay with her throughout a flourishing career on Wall Street as an Investment Banker. After the implosion of employer Bear Stearns, her idea regained steam until crystalling into an “art hospitality” restaurant concept.
A lover of food, art, wine and travel, Laukien decided to combine all her passions under one roof. The 2011 Mass Challenge alum (her idea made it to 2nd round) would eventually bootstrap her startup, which opened May 2014, in the landmark building The Arlington. Through extensive PR, social media and community outreach, Laukien and her team now actively bring together art collectors and foodies with artists and designers from around the globe to fill L.A.H.’s ever-changing 10,000 square foot space. Ruta holds a joint J.D./M.B.A. degree from Duke University and lives in the Back Bay with her husband and two children.
As the Special Events Development Officer, Shari manages the production of ARTcetera together with Rafanelli Events and her wonderful Co-Chairs. Coming from AIDS Action’s Boomerangs stores as the auction manager, she is thrilled to be guiding ARTcetera’s growth and to be an integral part of fundraising for this important organization. Shari is part of the planning and execution of all of AIDS Action events, from Taste of the South End to the AIDS Walk. A poet and actress with an MFA from Lesley University, she believes deeply in the power of art to bring people together and to effect positive change.
Olivia Ives-Flores is an artist, curator and designer – living and creating in Boston & NYC. Blending artistic fluency with a passion for art, branding and design, she specializes in designing visual narratives, exhibition curation and building brands that bring people together in the physical and digital world. She graduated from Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston with an emphasis in fine arts, art history and entrepreneurship.