valerie

/Valerie Hedge

About Valerie Hedge

Valerie assists with strategic partnerships, event planning, day-to-day operations, and research and measurement initiatives as the Special Projects Coordinator for Impact Engine. Previously, she provided securities and M&A legal services to multinational companies, investment banks, and other financial services firms as an attorney for Winston & Strawn, and then moved on to be an in-house attorney for Crescent Heights, a large-scale real estate developer. She decided take some time off of the practice of law to devote a few years to full-time parenting, volunteer work, and to reevaluating her career path. Something clicked when she heard about the work that Impact Engine is doing. She loves being part of a collaborative effort to merge best business practices and innovative ideas with the intention to improve the health, wellbeing, and education of people, and the sustainability of the planet. Valerie earned a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of California, Irvine (go Anteaters!) and a law degree from Northwestern University School of Law. Valerie also spent four years in the U.S. Navy – Hospital Corpsman Reserve, is a certified mediator, and an irregular athlete.
  • Florian, Founder of Hannah's Bretzel

Q&A: Hannah’s Bretzel Founder to Impact Entrepreneurs: ‘Go for It’

When marketer-turned-restaurateur Florian Pfalher developed the concept of Hannah’s Bretzel, a healthy yet quick alternative to the traditional fast food chain, he did so with customers in mind. Inspired by the Whole Foods approach, Florian spent time at the organic grocery store to learn if his idea would resonate with people. And soon enough he found out that it did. Since launching in 2005, Hannah’s Bretzel has grown to five locations across the city, and according to Crain’s, the German native has plans to expand the über sandwich chain beyond Chicago. We reached out to Florian through email. Here, he shares his thoughts on the challenges he’s faced over the years, what it takes to build a strong company, and being prepared for those “what if” scenarios.

Full Disclosure: Hannah’s Bretzel is a program sponsor for Impact Engine’s 2013 class.

What inspired you to start your company?

FP: I was inspired by Whole Foods and the lack of interesting lunch options in the Loop. When I moved from New York to Chicago to join Leo Burnett, I was introduced to the grocer. There was no Whole Foods in New York at the time (1999) so this was a new experience that dramatically impacted my way of looking at business, particularly food and healthy living. marketer and foodie that I am, I became a frequent customer and started to do what any solid marketer : I talked randomly to customers (still the best market research there is) to find out what they were thinking about food, health, and living, and what motivated them to shop there. Based on that information, the idea […]

By |December 16, 2013|

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