As the co-founder and co-CEO of SHEEX, Inc., Michelle Marciniak has transferred her prodigious skills as an accomplished basketball point guard into the business world and carried her visionary ideas of cutting-edge bedding into a patent-pending innovative product: SHEEX Performance Sheets and the SHEEX Sleep System. The same competitive drive which propelled Ms. Marciniak to be one of the best players in the WNBA and collegiate ranks fueled her to raise $9.1 million in equity financing to get the SHEEX, Inc. enterprise off the ground. In five brief years, SHEEX, Inc. has enjoyed a meteoric climb in the bedding industry as a result of Ms. Marciniak’s entrepreneurial initiative and determination.
The dynamic and inspiring 38-year-old Marciniak is a highly sought-after speaker and panelist. Most recently, she served as the keynote speaker at the Bank of America Global Women’s Conference in New York City, which was simulcast to executives in Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, China, Australia, India and Korea. In the spring of 2012, Ms. Marciniak shared her entrepreneurial story as a speaker/presenter to the editors of ten major women’s fitness magazines in Del Mar, California and to local business women at the Lina Shore Golf Classic in Palm Springs, California.
Ms. Marciniak has been invited to the White House as a panelist and speaker, representing women-owned small businesses in America. Led by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, the discussion also included the top-ranking women from ten Fortune 500 companies including Coca-Cola, Estee Lauder, Walmart, and the Gilt Group, among others.
Since SHEEX, Inc.’s initial invitation in 2009, Ms. Marciniak has been actively involved in Fortune’s Most Powerful Women in Business summit. Ms. Marciniak and SHEEX co-founder Susan Walvius were invited to address 400 of the top female executives in the world, only two years after SHEEX hit the market. SHEEX was one of two companies selected to participate in the Small Business Initiative panel as a part of the Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs conference, sponsored and selected by American Express. The panel, which was moderated by Warren Buffett, also included Gilt Group CEO Susan Lyne and Administrator Karen Mills of the Small Business Administration.
In 2010, Ms. Marciniak represented Fortune’s Most Powerful Women in Business as a speaker at the regional dinner in Atlanta, featuring Food Network personality and entrepreneur Paula Dean.
Serving as a role model and giving back to the community have always been woven into the fabric of who Ms. Marciniak is away from the business world or off the basketball court. In 2011, Ms. Marciniak served as a panel speaker and mentor at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Conference, Most Powerful Women High School Notebook Mentoring. She was one of 35 MPW summit participants who met with 35 area public high school students from military families. After a session with Fortune editors on journalistic techniques, the students had an opportunity to interview their MPW mentors.
Ms. Marciniak carried her role-model persona and big-dream attitude to the basketball court at the University of Tennessee, where she played for legendary coach Pat Summitt. A leader both on and off the court, Ms. Marciniak ran the Lady Vols offense while guiding Tennessee to the 1995 and 1996 NCAA title games. In 1996, Ms. Marciniak led the Lady Vols to their fourth National Championship and secured Most Valuable Player honors.
When Coach Summitt announced her diagnosis of early-onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type, in August 2011, Ms. Marciniak was called to speak on behalf of her former coach. Time, Inc., requested the former Tennessee superstar to provide the moving tribute and introduction of Summitt as she was presented as the 2011 Sports Illustrated Sportswoman of the Year along with Sportsman of the Year honoree Mike Krzyzewski of Duke University, who was introduced by Charlie Rose.
Giving back to the coach who gave her so much, Ms. Marciniak spoke on behalf of Coach Summitt and the Pat Summitt Foundation Fund for Alzheimer’s as the keynote speaker at Accelerant Technologies in Nashville, Tennessee. Ms. Marciniak has volunteered to serve in the capacity as a spokesperson for Coach Summitt’s foundation
Supporting and staying close to the game of basketball is very important to Ms. Marciniak. SHEEX, Inc. was a participant corporation at the 2010 and 2011 Women’s Basketball Final Four WBCA Convention, in partnership with the Kay Yow Cancer Foundation. The two organizations partnered together for a charitable contribution in support of the late Kay Yow, longtime North Carolina State women’s basketball coach.
In addition, Ms. Marciniak proudly gives of her time to her hometown of Allentown, Pennsylvania. As a prepster at Allentown Central Catholic High School, Ms. Marciniak was the youngest player in history, male or female, to be named as a first-team USA Today High School All American. Her hometown speaking engagements have included the 2012 Lehigh Valley Hall of Fame, “Life as an Athlete/Entrepreneur” and the Lehigh Valley Hall of Fame Awards Ceremony. She was tabbed as the keynote and first-ever female speaker at the 2011 Yasso/Rothrock Christmas City Basketball Classic.
From basketball superstar to entrepreneur, Ms. Marciniak still approaches every challenge and opportunity with the grit and determination that made her one of the most outstanding point guards to ever play women’s basketball. She was a ten-year USA Basketball veteran who began her six-year professional playing career in the ABL en route to becoming a fan favorite for the WNBA’s Seattle Storm. A consummate competitor, Ms. Marciniak elevated to the basketball coaching ranks at the University of South Carolina in 2003, where she worked alongside her SHEEX, Inc. co-founder, Ms. Walvius. While at South Carolina, Ms. Marciniak inked back-to-back top-10 nationally ranked recruiting classes before she and Ms. Walvius co-founded SHEEX in 2007 and stepped away from collegiate coaching in 2008.
Ms. Marciniak was an academic standout at the University of Tennessee where she was on the Dean’s List, collecting multiple Academic All-America awards while attaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology in 1995.