Welcoming Propelify Attracts People from Different Industries, Many Identities: “Person on the Street” Interviews

The weather report for May 17 didn’t look promising for a waterfront festival in Hoboken. However, the tents being blown into the river and the locked warehouse full of furniture the night before didn’t stop the tenacity and determination of the Propelify Innovation Festival hosts.

Overcoming a long list of hurdles in planning and execution, founder and CEO Aaron Price, along with his team of committed co-organizers and volunteers, pulled off an incredible event for the third year in a row, facing adversity that included a possible tornado touching down a few days before. Price said that the theme became “we find a way out of no way,” and it was a great metaphor for entrepreneurialism in general.

This year’s Propelify festival attracted a crowd of 8,000-plus, with speakers like Governor Phil Murphy, pulling in for a fireside chat; John Henry, cofounder and venture partner at Harlem Capital (New York); Cuong Do, president of the Global Strategy Group at Samsung (Ridgefield Park and Suwon, South Korea); and Linda Holliday, CEO of Citia (New York).

Who came and why? The welcoming, inclusive Propelify community attracts a wide range of people from many different industries and as many different backgrounds.

These are some of the incredible people I met at this excellent event, which gave people the opportunity to promote their businesses, make friendships and to see and be seen at 301 Sinatra Drive, in Hoboken.

Photo: Bonnie Halper, founder and editor-in-chief, StartupOneStop.com Photo Credit: Dillan DiGiovanni
Bonnie Halper, founder and editor-in-chief, StartupOneStop.com | Dillan DiGiovanni

Bonnie Halper

Founder and editor-in-chief, StartupOneStop.com

Industry: online news


New York

Why did you attend? Networking. I'm a super connector. There is always someone there whom I may not know and need to meet and do. Of course, I'm also there for ideas for editorials. When you keep your ear to the ground, you always do hear something that inspires one. Mission accomplished.

Photo: Francine Steadman Krulak, CEO, BuddhaBooth Photo Credit: Dillan DiGiovanni
Francine Steadman Krulak, CEO, BuddhaBooth | Dillan DiGiovanni

Francine Steadman Krulak

CEO, BuddhaBooth

Industry: health, wellness and fitness


New York

Why did you attend? This is my second year at Propelify. I came to make new friends and meet like-minded innovative individuals and other sponsors and connectors who may have a need for quiet, safe spaces in their places. Loved the experience and the people!

Photo: Ben Yurcisin, Founder, FunFinders with Dillan DiGiovanni Photo Credit: Courtesy Dillan DiGiovanni
Ben Yurcisin, Founder, FunFinders with Dillan DiGiovanni | Courtesy Dillan DiGiovanni

Ben Yurcisin

Founder, FunFinders

Volunteer, Propelify

Industry: entertainment



Jersey City

Why did you attend? I went to the festival with the hopes of making some awesome new connections and friends. I wanted to expand my new startup, FunFinders, by spreading the word about how we can help people live a more exciting life and establish relationships with potential business partners. The festival somehow exceeded my expectations once again, and truly allowed us to grow our brand and have an incredible time doing so.

Photo: Arthur Shalagin at Propelify Photo Credit: Dillan DiGiovanni
Arthur Shalagin at Propelify | Dillan DiGiovanni

Arthur Shalagin

Industry: information technology and services


Brooklyn, N.Y.

Why did you attend? I attended to make new friends, see the speakers and explore new job possibilities. Great tech festival! New Jersey’s version of SXSW, but less expensive. It’s the best festival you’ve never heard of!! Fantastic speakers and attendees.

Photo: Todd Giannattasio, marketing adviser, Propelify Photo Credit: Dillan DiGiovanni
Todd Giannattasio, marketing adviser, Propelify | Dillan DiGiovanni

Todd Giannattasio

Founder, the Growth Suite; founder and CEO, Tresnic Media

Marketing adviser, Propelify

Industry: marketing and advertising



Why did you attend? To facilitate the education and networking of the attendees, so they get the most out of being at the festival. It was great to see the place full all day long, despite the weather in the morning. It just shows the determination and passion of our community here, and I'm proud to be a part of it. There were so many people getting into deep discussions with new connections, and the spaces around the stages were packed with people taking notes all day. I think I would say this was the best year yet.

Photo: Jake Sucoff of WeWork Labs Photo Credit: Dillan DiGiovanni
Jake Sucoff of WeWork Labs | Dillan DiGiovanni

Jake Sucoff

WeWork Labs

Industry: Program Development


Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Why did you attend? I attended Propelify to represent WeWork Labs and all we can offer the Propelify community and festival attendees. I came seeking to connect with new members, services and partners and to increase our exposure, so the right folks can find us to help them.

Photo: Sonny Dave, president and CEO, ExtremeKids.com Photo Credit: Dillan DiGiovanni
Sonny Dave, president and CEO, ExtremeKids.com | Dillan DiGiovanni

Sonny Dave

President and CEO, ExtremeKids.com

Industry: media, publishing and technology


North Bergen

Why did you attend? I’ve attended this festival for all three years it’s been in existence! This year seemed to be the most organized. I came looking for more AR/VR, but they had more the past two years. It’s a great event for the New Jersey tech and entrepreneur community.

Photo: G. Kofi Annan at Propelify Photo Credit: Dillan DiGiovanni
G. Kofi Annan at Propelify | Dillan DiGiovanni

G. Kofi Annan

Senior brand and engagement strategist

Co-organizer and Content Director,Propelify

Industry: entertainment, media, technology


New York, N.Y.

Why did you attend? As co-organizer and content director for Propelify, I’ve helped bring together 8,000-plus innovators to collaborate and network to propel their businesses. It’s great to be part of this incredible community and play a key role in putting on the festival!

Photo: Justin Murray at Propelify Photo Credit: Courtesy Justin Murray
Justin Murray at Propelify | Courtesy Justin Murray

Justin Murray

High school student

Volunteer, Propelify

Industry: Online media

Instagram: JustinMurray2577

Email: justin@propelify.com

Monroe Township

Why did you attend? I was at Propelify to grow my network, meet new interesting people and expand my brand. I was taking audio and video footage of myself interviewing speakers, VIPs like Andrew Yang, exhibitors and attendees.

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