2023 Summit

Navigating Detours on the Road to Success 


The Club at Sonterra


Thursday, September 21st, 2023

Mona Tawil Helmy

Opening Keynote

CEO, Helmy Associates

Mona Helmy serves as the CEO of Helmy Plastic Manufacturing. She cofounded the company alongside her late husband, Abe, in 1988.  Mona served as Vice President until Abe’s untimely passing in 2009 when she became CEO. Helmy specializes in plastic thermo forming with an in-house industrial design and CNC tooling divisions. Helmy serves many industries including medical, food, cosmetic, and industrial and lists Fortune 500 companies as well as small innovative companies among its clients.  Mona’s success is a culmination of love, persistence, and vision and defines her as a role model for leaders today.  

Mona was born in Syria and immigrated to the United States with her family in her adolescence. She attended The University of Texas San Antonio and graduated in 1987 with a BFA in Architecture.  Mona has received several awards including:

– Family Business Leader Award – SABJ San Antonio Business Journal, 2014  

– Business Owner of The Year Award – National Association of Women Business Owners, 2018 

– Manufacturer of The Year Award – San Antonio North Chamber of Commerce, 2018 

– Small Business Leader Award – San Antonio North Chamber of Commerce, 2018  

– Induction to The SA Hall of Fame – San Antonio Women Hall of Fame, 2020

– Manufacturer of The Year Award – SAMA San Antonio Manufacturer’s Association, 2020

Chad McNair

Closing Keynote

CEO, McNair Java Partners, LLC

Chad McNair grew up in the Midwest and graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in Civil Engineering. His first job out of college was in Houston, TX working for Turner, Collie and Braden, a civil engineering consulting group.  In the mid-eighties while working on his MBA at the University of Houston, Chad started to dabble in coffee extraction.  After finishing his MBA, Chad took a position with a large Dutch conglomerate, the Royal Begemann Group, where he held a variety of roles from engineering design to plant management to assisting the CEO with facilities acquisition and sales.

What is now Aspen all started in Chad and Shelly’s family kitchen. Chad sought a perfect coffee extract that could be mixed with milk and used in a “granita” (ice slush) machine or poured over ice.  He shared the resulting mix with his favorite café and the customers called it “fabulous.”

Chad explored aspects of coffee extraction knowing that every step in a process contributes or detracts from the final product. He developed proprietary processes and built an industry leader.  By applying sophisticated technology to excellent base ingredients, Aspen produced a cleaner, superior beverage. The company consistently earned certification for exceptional food quality and safety and earned the business of some of the top names in retail.  

Michael Kiolbassa

Closing Keynote

President, Kiolbassa Smoked Meats

Michael is a native San Antonian and began his career in the family sausage business in 1987 after a two-year period working in the commercial banking industry as a credit analyst.  Since then, he has overseen the transformation of the family meat company from a small family business to one of the fastest growing meat brands in the US with national distribution of their sausage, chorizo and dry-cured bacon.  He was named one of San Antonio’s “40 under 40” rising business stars, the 2004 Small Businessperson of the Year by the Small Business Administration and a 2016 and 2020 finalist for Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award.  In 2020, his company, Kiolbassa Smoked Meats was named by Forbes Magazine as one of 25 “Small Giants” in business.  His company was the focus of a case study on successful transitions in family business by Stetson University’s Family Business Enterprise Center and has been named a Top Workplace in San Antonio for the past seven years.