Coffee with Ben_ Episode 23_RIDG_Brian Kornfeld
Oct 01, 2020 Regina Kaza Business, Corporate Innovation, Graphic Recording, Innovation, Storytelling No Comments

Top 5 Lessons from Episode 23: Coffee with Ben featuring Brian Kornfeld

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to explain Florida’s entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystems, or does it? Watch our latest episode featuring a real-life rocket scientist, Brian Kornfeld, as we discuss his role as Co-Founder and CEO of Synapse, a non-profit organization focused on helping Florida’s entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystems thrive. 

Here are five things we learned from this week’s episode:

1. Chance encounters make careers.

Brian shares how a chance meeting with Tampa-based investor and Tampa Bay Lightning owner, Jeff Vinik, changed the course of his career and took his business to the next level. By connecting and building relationships in the community, Synapse was able to grow and become an integral part of the Tampa Bay community.

2. Seek out opportunities to find gaps and “right place, right time” moments.

Brian conducted extensive research on what’s working and not working with his business. It is that research that led him to seek out local partners and like-minded innovators who align with his vision and take his business to the next level. 

3. Florida is not just Florida man, hurricanes, and alligators.

Floridians know there’s more to the state than beaches and wild headlines. Like any business, states and cities need to build their brands and highlight their strengths both locally and nationally. 

4. The pandemic has changed the community for the better.

While COVID-19 created major shifts in everyone’s lives, Brian shares some ways the pandemic changed businesses and communities for the better. For one, there are more opportunities to build relationships online. By creating intimate, in-person discussions and building authentic relationships in a virtual world, Synapse has reached more people in the Tampa Bay area and grown their business.

5. Sticking to your word matters, even when you break an ankle.

Brian shares his experience interviewing Spanx founder and CEO, Sara Blakely at last year’s Synapse Summit who, despite breaking an ankle the night before the conference, showed up to speak when 99 out of 100 speakers would back out of the commitment.


Coffee with Ben is a series that focuses on how companies innovate, strategically plan for the future, and create a strong company culture. These topics are always important for companies to address, but now they’re absolutely critical. To learn how you can increase your capacity for innovation or to guest star on the show, subscribe to our channel and schedule virtual coffee with RIDG Director of Development, Ben Blackman.

Coffee with Ben_ Episode 23_RIDG_Brian Kornfeld