Meet the team
Board, Mentors, & Leaders
Natasha thrives working in the intersection between community building and economic development. Currently, she supports high-growth entrepreneurs in Colorado Springs and is committed to building up the entrepreneurial ecosystem there and across the state by creating bridges for innovators to access opportunities to help make their dreams an economic reality. She earned her BA in Economics and International Studies from Rhodes College in Memphis TN.
Natasha cares deeply about the communities she is a part of and is active throughout Colorado Springs. In her spare time, Natasha unleashes her creativity through ceramics, home projects, cooking, and learning about placemaking.
Rachael Maxwell is excited to engage with the startup community. Before coming to XI, Rachael worked at Innovations in Aging Collaborative, where she helped implement the Age Friendly Colorado Springs Plan. Prior to that, she worked at the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC supporting the communication and government affairs departments.
Rachael graduated as a member of Phi Beta Kappa from Colorado College with a degree in history-political science and a minor in French. In her free time, Rachael enjoys playing Ultimate Frisbee and baking.
Prakhar Gautam recently graduated with a Biochemistry degree from Colorado College, and joined XI to work closely with the startup community of Colorado Springs. At XI, he is focused on coordinating our larger programs, the XI Accelerator and XI Amplify. Previously, Prakhar helped develop the incubator program for Peak Startup, and assisted with coordinating their events. He is also a founder of his own startup, Infinite Chemistry.
Prakhar has experience as a chemistry tutor as well as a chemistry researcher, and intends to continue his career in research that involves working with materials science. He has recently been working on a way to change how pharmaceutical drugs are made through the use of electric fields.
While not at XI, Prakhar enjoys biking around Colorado Springs’s trails, gaming, and doing woodwork.
Leif was the vice president of engineering for the KidReports division of Procare Software. Prior to that, he was the CEO and co-founder of KidReports, a SaaS platform for childcare providers that connects parents and child care centers in real time. KidReports was acquired by Procare in late 2017. Leif also serves on the board of Peak Startup, a local non-profit focused on advancing entrepreneurial and startup growth in the Pikes Peak Region, and is active in mentoring and advising local technology focused startups. He holds a bachelor’s of science in computer science from the University of Colorado and an MBA from the University of Denver.
Bryan is passionate about the Colorado Springs community and helping local tech companies become as successful as our scenery. At XI, he mentors those that have been accepted into XI’s programs (as the Entrepreneur-in-Residence).
Bryan founded Oscium, a hardware technology company, over 10 years ago. Oscium is in the business of making wi-fi awesome, and it has won a number of awards, including an R&D 100, one of the 100 most technologically significant products. In addition, Bryan helps mid-sized companies with expense reduction and financial guidance (as a controller / CFO). Hs also serves on the Elder Board of local church, Austin Bluffs EV Free Church.
Bryan lives on a 5-acre hobby farm with ~80 animals. Bryan and his wife of 13 years have three wonderful kids: Adalyn (age 6), Brayden (age 4) and Colson (age 1).
Aaron is a graduate from Pikes Peak Community College and received entrepreneurial education through the completion of YC start up school as well as from real life experiences as a tech start up founder. He is a Colorado Springs native. Through his experience as a startup founder his eyes where opened to the immense number of opportunities to learn and grow from the resources available in the springs. Prior to joining XI, Aaron was an innovation consultant for the Quad. He participated in two semesters; completing a proposal and creating tools that the City of Colorado Springs can use in its future developments.
Aaron has recently been looking for applications for DoD technology that he was paired from the FedTech and NSIN DIA (Defense Innovation Accelerator) with the potential of forming a company at the end of the cohort.
During his free time Aaron enjoys fishing, listening to music, and hanging out with his friends and family
Walker Martin is a rising senior at Colorado College where he studies mathematical economics and competes for the Men’s Swim team. Walker grew up in Boulder, Colorado, and is excited for the chance to contribute to start-ups in a local community. Prior to joining Exponential Impact, Walker was working at a small coffee shop and taking classes at the Tuck Business Bridge Program at Dartmouth. He gained exposure to concepts in finance, strategy, and marketing which solidified his interest in running a business. Walker wants to help change the world one day through either entrepreneurship, or economic policy.
In his free time, Walker enjoys trading stocks, creating media, reading economic history, and spending time with friends.
Cole Simon is a senior at Colorado College where he studies economics and environmental issues. Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Cole was drawn to Colorado Springs for its natural beauty and exciting growth opportunities. Prior to joining Exponential Impact for the 2019 Accelerator program, Cole worked as a project analyst for the Quad Innovation Partnership where he explored the future of energy with Colorado Springs Utilities and social services access with El Paso County. Cole also has experience working with tech startups as a participant of Silicon Flatirons Startup Summer and at a cybersecurity startup in Boulder. Cole still believes he can change the world, and is constantly looking for other people with the same drive.
Lauren is a 2017 Boettcher Scholar and senior at Colorado College studying Computer Science and Political Science. Lauren is the founder of a startup called Geek Girl, which aims to empower young women to pursue a career in technology. She was recognized as one of the winners of an undergraduate entrepreneurial competition called the Big Idea for her work on Geek Girl. She is also working on launching an initiative called Tiger Beds, which will provide dorm-furnishing rental services for Colorado College students. She serves as the Kappa Kappa Gamma chapter president at Colorado College, a member of the Innovation Center’s Student Advisory Committee, and a member of the Boettcher Student Scholar Committee.
Lauren is from Greenwood Village, CO. She spends her free-time training for marathons and hiking in the mountains.
Exponential Impact Board
Vance has over 20 years of experience as the CEO of both public and private software technology innovation companies. Currently, Vance is Chairman of the Board and Co-founder of Cherwell Software. Previously, Vance was CEO of Cherwell from its inception in 2004 until 2016. In 2015, Cherwell was recognized as the top software company in all of Colorado. Formerly, Vance was President and CEO of GoldMine® Software, which at the time was rated as one of the top 100 software companies in the United States.
Through the years, Vance has gained much experience in all types of venture funding, and has raised hundreds of millions of dollars from organizations such as Insight Venture Partners and KKR. Vance is passionate about mentoring entrepreneurs who want to thrive and make positive change in the world. Vance actively mentors all the startups in XI programs.
Among other honors, Goldman Sachs honored Vance by naming him one of the top 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs of 2017. Vance graduated summa cum laude and a member of Phi Beta Kappa from Wake Forest University, with degrees in Economics and Computer Science, and then from the University of North Carolina School of Law with honors.
Betsy is Co-Founder of The Classical Academy, the largest Colorado charter school with over 3,500 students K-12. She then became the Director of Character and Culture for this school, which has been rated as the top high school in Colorado. Betsy specialized in developing character curriculum for students and teachers, overseeing mentorship programs, and creating a healthy culture for students and teachers using a positive psychology framework. Formerly, Betsy was a therapist in private practice, and has expertise in how to create healthy and positive team dynamics.
Betsy is passionate about helping people thrive and flourish in life. Betsy is a regular mentor at Exponential Impact. During the Accelerator program, Betsy leads a Mindfulness Monday for the startups.
Betsy graduated cum laude from Wake Forest University with a degree in English, and then from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a M.Ed. in counseling. Through the years, Betsy has completed conflict resolution and mediation training from the Colorado Bar Association, Restorative Justice training through the RJ Council of Colorado, The Science of Happiness course through Berkeley’s Greater Good Science center, Birkman assessment certification, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training, Myers-Briggs certification, StrengthsFinder, and is in the process of completing yoga teacher certification through Yogafit.
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers appointed Jeff Greene Chief of Staff and Chief Administrative
Officer for the City of Colorado Springs in May 2015.
Jeff is originally from Thomaston, Georgia. He attended the University of Tennessee where he studied economics and finance, and received a commission in the United Stated Army upon graduation. Military service brought him to Colorado where he remained, working in the banking and health insurance industries after separating from the Army.
In 2001 Jeff began his career in local government service at El Paso County. During his 14 years there he served as the County Administrator from 2006-2015, and was honored in 2011 as the Pikes Peak region Public Official of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development Corporation.
Jeff is currently serving on the boards of directors for the National Cybersecurity Center, the Colorado
Springs Sports Corporation, the Pikes Peak Workforce Development Board, the Chamber and EDC, and the United Way of the Pikes Peak Region. He is a member of the Regional Leadership Forum and University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Ambassadors.
Jeff has lived in Colorado Springs since 1995. He enjoys golf, reading, history and the quality of life in Pikes Peak Region with his wife, Nancy.
Kyle Hybl currently serves as President and Chief Executive Officer for El Pomar Foundation and General Counsel for The Garden City Company. He joined El Pomar Foundation in 2000, and served as Chief Operating Officer from 2013 – 2019. Kyle is Chairman Emeritus of the University of Colorado System, a board he served on from 2007-2018. In 2018, Kyle was appointed as a member of the Air Force Civic Leaders Program. Kyle currently serves as Chairman of Police Foundation of Colorado Springs and Corporate Secretary for Junior Achievement, USA. He also serves on the Boards of Directors for American Council of Young Political Leaders, Broadmoor World Arena, Employers Council, Exponential Impact and National Cybersecurity Center.
Kyle earned a B.A. and Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He is a former Air Force Captain and Judge Advocate.
Chris Jenkins is President at Nor’wood Development Group. With more than 40 years of experience in real estate and land development in the Pikes Peak Region, Nor’wood is the largest locally owned development firm in Southern Colorado. They have successfully created a variety of notable places and destinations including the Nor’wood, Wolf Ranch and Mesa Ridge master planned communities, First & Main Town Center, Interquest Marketplace, four new apartment communities and most recently the purchase of the Banning Lewis Ranch east of Colorado Springs. In downtown Colorado Springs, Plaza of the Rockies and Alamo Corporate Center are two of their more prominent assets. Chris led the effort “City for Champions”, an ambitious $250M revitalization and economic development project for the City of Colorado Springs that includes developing the United States Olympic Museum, a Downtown Stadium and Event Center, a Sports Medicine and Performance Center at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs and a new visitor center at the United States Air Force Academy.
More than a developer, Chris is a builder of community. He dedicates much of his energy to leading and supporting a Downtown Renaissance where the heart of the city realizes its potential as a thriving urban neighborhood with dense living, unique retail, entertainment venues and places of employment that are essential to elevate the entire vitality of the city. The cornerstone to Chris’ business philosophy is to engage in community organizations with the aim of elevating our community’s “pride quotient”. He wholeheartedly believes that a community enriched with the arts, active young professionals and a strong local government will ensure a prosperous future for generations to come.
Chris is also President of the Nor’wood Foundation, which serves as the company’s philanthropic organization focusing on youth, the elderly, arts and culture in the Pikes Peak region.
Prior to joining Nor’wood, Chris was Director of Finance for a Denver real estate investment firm where he managed the ongoing financing for retail properties in multiple states. He earned his Bachelors of Science degree in Business Administration, Finance and Real Estate from the University of Denver.
He is married to Sharon and has two teenage boys, Nicholas and Nolan. The Jenkins family can often be found on foot, bikes and skis, enjoying Colorado’s great outdoors.
Lisa co-founded Intelligent Software Solutions, an international software analytics company that is headquartered in Colorado Springs and now called Polaris Alpha, a Parsons Company. She earned bachelor’s of science and master’s in science in computer science at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. Lisa has more than 25 years of experience in applied research in artificial intelligence, data analysis and visualization.
Hannah is a perpetual starter, builder and grower of business. She is a natural connector with a strong commitment to the entrepreneurial community. She has worked in financial services, real estate, community and economic development. Hannah served as CEO for XI from 2017-2019, and is currently Chief Revenue Officer for Barnowl, and XI Alum. Barnowl participated in the 2018 XI Accelerator, as well as XI Amplify. Hannah also co-founded Epicentral Coworking in Downtown Colorado Springs and has served the startup community in numerous volunteer roles.
Hannah earned her BSBA in international business and management and her MBA with a concentration in entrepreneurship. She is an avid reader, sun lover and paddle boarder. XI is a mashup of Hannah’s diverse career history and interests. It perpetuates her passion for business and community, and fuels her love of learning. Hannah is a newly minted cryptocurrency hobbyist and student of new technologies.
Chris Blees took the role of President of BiggsKofford in 2007 after beginning his career with the same firm in 1994. In 2003, Chris expanded the firm and launched the firm’s M&A and Investment Banking practice, now operating as BiggsKofford Capital, which has been involved in over 200 merger, acquisition, or sale transactions throughout the United States.
Chris contributes to the national M&A community through his service on the Board of Advisors for the Alliance of Merger & Acquisition Advisors (AMAA), where he chairs the Certification Committee and acts as the lead instructor for the Certified Merger & Acquisition Advisor designation, taught through DePaul, Pepperdine and Thunderbird Universities’ Executive MBA Programs. His teaching also lead to being retained by Wiley Publishing to co-author a book entitled Middle Market M&A: Handbook for Investment Banking and Consulting. In addition to being a CPA, Chris holds the CM&AA designation, and multiple securities licenses.
Chris remains active in many professional organizations, including having served for years on the Board of Directors for the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC, the UCCS Chancellor’s Leadership Council, the Alliance of M&A Advisors (AMAA), and is currently Chairman for Western Colorado University (WSU) Board of Trustees.
Personally, Chris and his family enjoy mountain sports and athletic pursuits. Along with his wife and children, the Blees family has climbed all of Colorado’s “14ers”, as well as other mountains throughout the world such as Ranier, Denali and Kilimanjaro. In his spare time, he also runs ultra- marathons and Ironman triathlons.
John Bolin is a creative director.
Brad Brackel is currently the Vice President of Sales at Pikes Peak Cargo Secure, Inc. and has served on the boards of Peak Startup and Peak Venture Group for eight years. He has almost 20 years of sales and business development experience in multiple industries including, federal, state, and local governments, commercial, defense contracting, and the Startup community. He’s an accomplished business consultant, having provided clarity and visionary direction for a wide range of customers including selling the first high-resolution imagery to Google for Google Earth in 2006. In addition to professional endeavors, Mr. Brackel also enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, classic cars, racing cars, physical conditioning, and other physical activities such as skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, hiking, and scuba diving. His desire to seek new challenges and excel is exemplified by trying out to be a member of the US Olympic Skeleton team in 2012.
Margaret has been in the technology business for over 25 years holding various management positions as CFO and COO. She has been involved in four successful acquisitions, assisting and negotiating with VCs and major corporations with pre and post-acquisition activities. In her last position as CFO, she was an integral part of the executive team responsible for the successful turnaround of an annuity software company. In her free time, Margaret enjoys biking, hiking and golfing.
Josh Caid brings a passion for creating software that makes people’s day-to-day lives better by solving real-world problems. During his career, he was part of the Product Management team at GoldMine Software, with over a million distinct licenses sold. He helped create new product lines with FrontRange Solutions, and most recently helped to start up Cherwell Software, not only by driving product direction, but also by being flexible and wearing a lot of additional hats. He currently serves as Cherwell’s Chief Evangelist and is also a member of the Forbes Technology Council.
Josh has been managing best-of-breed software products in the CRM and ITSM spaces for just under 20 years, is a Level V practitioner of Pragmatic Marketing, and is certified in ITIL best practices. Before settling down to focus his creativity in the software realm, Josh was a professional musician and still loves to crank his guitar amp up ‘to eleven,’ much to his neighbors’ exasperation.
Laura Cameron is an experienced marketing and creative strategist in the Colorado Springs area. She has led successful strategic campaigns for large clients like Wendy’s and Colorado Springs Utilities, and small non-profits and local businesses. Her design background — mixed with a passion for psychographics of target audiences — gives Laura a niche in creating strategic design while focusing on high level objectives.
After working at in-house corporate marketing positions, agencies large and small, and freelancing in the Colorado Springs community, Laura finally took the leap to start her own company with two partners in 2017. As director of strategy, Laura oversees campaign and brand strategies, and directs creative concepts focusing on clients’ objectives. Laura also helps mold the minds of the future creative generation as an adjunct instructor of Multimedia Graphic Design at Pikes Peak Community College.
Jake is the Executive Director of the Quad Innovation Partnership, a collaboration between Colorado College, the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak Community College and the U.S. Air Force Academy that closes the gap between student preparedness and professional expectations by putting teams of interdisciplinary students to work advancing key projects for area companies and organizations. Formerly part of a small team that managed a $50 million Venture Capital portfolio in Nevada, Jake also runs a small financial services company in Uganda that he founded in 2015.
Chris Franz is the managing director for Pioneer Fund.
- VP Sales@Nventify
- The real “Pied Piper”
- VP Sales StreamStep, acquired by BMC Software.
- Co-founder VoipReview world’s largest site for VoIP reviews, 8 million visitors, acquired in 2008.
- Mentor: Telluride Venture Accelerator, Techstars & The Founders Institute
With a history of working at the intersection of public health and innovation, Chelsea has worked with various stage startups and utilized her skills in heath promotion, business, and community development to help companies and communities realize their potential across the U.S. and East Africa. During her Peace Corps service in Uganda (2015-2017), she founded Startup Uganda, a nation-wide initiative comprised of camps, mentorship, and a series of regional and national business plan competitions for young Ugandan entrepreneurs. Now the Economic Development Project Manager for the City of Colorado Springs and a Board Member for Peak Startup and the Pikes Peak Market, Chelsea continues her work to promote job creation and entrepreneurship in our community.
John has an entrepreneurial leadership background spanning more than 25 years focusing on helping growing companies recruit, retain, and develop key talent and aligning Human Capital programs with the business to drive performance.
Currently John manages the human capital consulting firm SparkHouse. Collaborating with founders, CEOs and BOD’s, he helps companies secure top talent and provides strategic expertise in human capital strategy and execution. John was COO for start-up Launch Pad – a CPG company growing to $50 million in just more than three years and was instrumental in helping grow the Oxi Clean brand profits by 176 percent – eventually selling for 19.1x EBITDA. John was an early team member helping to grow the IAMS Company by 400 percent eventually being sold to P&G for $2.1 billion.
John has also held key positions at tech start-up Qwest Cyber Solutions and was part of the Qwest Communications acquisition of US West. He has served as a business consultant for Willis Towers Watson and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of Pittsburgh.
Additionally, John is a growth adviser for the Blackstone Entrepreneur Network. The network identifies promising young start-up and mid-sized companies and provides meaningful connections and services to help these companies scale.
As director of software engineering for Cherwell Software, Jacob develops and manages short- and long-term engineering strategy and planning to accelerate sales and implementation through technical enablement. He is a coach and mentor, providing motivation and leadership skills to the engineering team. Prior to Cherwell, Jacob was the director of software development for Charter Software, Inc. He designed and produced Saas model products and designed the company’s flagship product in .Net 2.0 and SQL Server 2005 using enterprise components such as Web Services and Distributed Transactions in a 3 Tier environment. Jacob earned his bachelor’s of science in physics from the University of Alabama.
Jan is currently the President and CEO of Maxletics Corporation and sits on the Board of Directors at NYSE company Northwestern Energy. He has played a hand in many different companies and has been involved in over $4 billion of total transactions involving the exit of companies in which he’s played senior roles.
An accomplished speaker, author, and strategist, Lauren Hug has helped people reach and motivate audiences for 20 years. For the past 15 years, she has applied her analytical and communication skills to branding, messaging, and market research needs of businesses. In 2012 she founded HugSpeak, a digital marketing firm focused on integrating social media strategies into community engagement, advertising, branding, and marketing campaigns. With insightful questions and intense listening, Lauren cuts to the core of each client’s identity, leveraging their uniqueness to understand and move ideal target markets.
Lauren’s academic credentials include an LL.M. with merit from the University of London, a J.D. with honors from the University of Texas School of Law, and a Bachelor of Journalism and Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from the University of Texas. She is the author of The Professional Woman’s Guide to Getting Promoted (Packt 2015) and The Manager’s Guide to Presentations (Packt 2014). She is also a licensed attorney as well as a certified mediator and Icehouse Training Facilitator.
Mike is the CEO and co-founder of Altia. He sets the vision and is involved in key strategic decisions regarding the company ’s growth and development. Mike leads Altia worldwide from its company headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and is the Managing Director of Altia GmbH in Frankfurt, Germany, and Altia KK in Tokyo, Japan.
Prior to co-founding Altia, Mike worked at AT&T Bell Laboratories and AT&T Microelectronics Europe, where he contributed as a hardware designer and product marketing manager for microprocessor chip and board level computer products.
Mike continued his career as a software developer and user interface design expert for electronic design automation products at Hewlett-Packard. Mike earned both his B.S. in Electrical and Biomedical Engineering and M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.
Anthony is founder and COO of MoveSpring a growth stage startup based in Chicago in the digital health space. MoveSpring empowers people to live better lives through our social health and wellbeing platform. It uses activity lifestyle, engagement data to put the right health resources and health actions in front of the right people at the right times, ultimately helping employers and other stakeholders in health empower people to live better lives. In three-and-a-half years, MoveSpring has grown to a profitable growth stage SaaS business servicing over hundreds of clients ranging from startups to global enterprises. Anthony leads strategy, operations, investor relations, sales, distribution and partner strategy.
Ian Lee is the co-founder of Lee Spirits Company, makers of Pre-Prohibition American Spirits and Liqueurs and one of the USA’s fastest growing distilleries. Ian is a lover of things with motors, triathlons, and cocktails. Follow @IanJacobLee to see what he is up to.
Russ Long is an Air Force Veteran with over $2 billion in federal acquisition experience and is the Founder and CEO of Long Capture. During his service, Russ served as a Captain and Active Duty Contracting Officer and oversaw teams of buyers that executed services, construction, and commodity contracts. He also supported multiple source selections, large dollar task orders, and research and development contracts.
Using this foundation Russ now helps high growth tech startups win contracts with the Air Force as well as advise and consult various small business accelerator programs on working with the Department of Defense. Russ received his Bachelor of Science in Management from the United States Air Force Academy and his Master of Science in Entrepreneurship from Oklahoma State University.
Jesse Marble is the Chief Executive Officer of Magneti Marketing, a full service marketing agency based in Colorado Springs and Washington, D.C. Magneti believes in “a world where great stories have the opportunity to be heard.” Jesse has helped develop marketing strategies for the American Red Cross, United Way, Charles Schwab and YoungLife.
Jess is the host of podcast, BOTHCAST (www.botchcast.com).
Aaron McHugh works as an Affiliate Advisor for Aberkyn, a division of McKinsey & Co as a facilitator of transformation. He also works with Moving Performance, facilitating leadership change through the power of music.
Aaron is a writer, podcaster, adventurer, and author of the best-selling book, Fire Your Boss: A Manifesto to Rethink How You Think About Work. He is mastering the art of living a sustainable work-life balance that constantly interweaves rhythms of play and adventure. As Founder of Work Life Play, he writes and speaks on how to make adjustments to thinking, beliefs, and habits in order to experience more joy, adventure, and connection.
Bill Miller is CEO of X-IO Technologies.
Yemi collaborates for the health, growth and prosperity of Colorado Springs making his impact through economic development, entrepreneurship, community development, ministry, and leadership development.
In his role as vice president of business retention and expansion for the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC, he works to promote the continued growth of Colorado Springs’ many existing employers, with a focus on primary employers.
Yemi, a Nigerian immigrant, co-founded the Wild Goose Meeting House and Good Neighbors Meeting House with his business partner Russ Ware, co-founded Niche Coaching and Consulting, and has established a church. He was the minister of city outreach and engagement at First Presbyterian Church Colorado Springs and spent a previous career in quality control manufacturing.
A strong community advocate, Yemi, holds two master’s degrees, is involved with many boards. He currently serves on the Pikes Peak Community College Advisory Council, the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region Board of Directors, Men’s Xchange Board of Directors, Spring Rescue Mission Board of Directors, Thrive! Colorado Springs Board of Directors, and is the Executive Chairperson for COS I Love You/CityServe, an annual churchwide-citywide collaborative movement designed to catalyze churches into long-term community engagement and service.
Adam is the Co-Founder of Wolf & Key Marketing, a digital marketing agency, and a founding member of Boulder Street Moto Garage, member owned and operated vintage motorcycle garage, both here in Colorado Springs. He is a community builder and engager, an entrepreneur, and highly passionate about seeing Colorado Springs and its people thrive as a whole. He serves on boards and committees throughout the Pikes Peak region in effort to have an impact on the community. There is often whiskey and vintage things involved when he’s around. Follow him online at @adammort for more.”
Michelle has been a startup cheerleader for over 15 years. She provides mentoring and coaching to entrepreneurs of all types, in various sectors, and across multiple subjects. Most notably, she coaches early stage startups on investor pitching. Michelle guides startups on leadership development, organizational structure, HR, funding, and other fundamental support. She unifies resources, develops programming, and builds community for startups. She believes a healthy startup community equates to a healthy business economy and culture in the cities that cultivate it.
James Proby is a dynamic change management leader with more than 20 years experience in growth and development of human capital, program administration, business development and fiscal management within non-profit and traditional organizations. James possesses proven strengths in strategic planning, marketing and revenue generation that are evidenced in his tenure at The Urban League, Everest College and the Garner Entertainment Group. James is a visionary leader with the ability to build, train and motivate teams for optimal performance.
Over the last decade and a half, Mike has seen a breadth of experiences in advertising, marketing, design, financial technology, and subscription based software industry. A leader, entrepreneur and design-strategy specialist; Mike has focused on developing and establish design-first cultures in both teams and organizations. Most recently Mike has been found establishing customer focused sales and marketing strategies and coaching leadership at Intrinio as they built scalable growth processes and strategies.
While he isn’t mountain biking and enjoying time with his wife and two adopted kids, Mike doing executive coaching as well as business & product strategy as an independent contractor in Colorado Springs.
Dustin Sapp is the chief operating officer of Formstack, an Indianapolis-based SaaS company offering an online form and data-collection platform. He is charged with leading and managing corporate strategy, analyzing market trends and advising the leadership team on the company’s overall growth and market innovation.
Dustin is an award-winning business leader, entrepreneur and technologist who has been named to American Venture Magazine’s Top 40 under 40, Indianapolis Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 and Indiana Chamber’s Dynamic Leader of the Year.
Prior to Formstack, Dustin served as chief executive officer of Octiv (formerly TinderBox), responsible for leading and managing corporate strategy, growth and product innovation. He co-founded the company, wrote the initial code for its technology and then led the organization to become a leader in online sales productivity technology. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
Aaron Stachel is a Principal at PV Ventures.
Jason a 20-year seasoned technologist with a deep passion for building software products and Agile teams that supply the fuel to early-stage startups thru mature enterprises. He has enjoyed a successful career in edtech, consumer advocacy and healthcare, designing and delivering award-winning solutions. As a product and engineering team leader, he helps companies answer the “Why?,” “What?,” “When?” and “How?” critical questions.
Lisa Tessarowicz is a philanthropist, investor and co-founder of Epicentral Coworking. Additionally, Lisa works for her family office, participating in asset management and philanthropic initiatives, including leading the CALM Foundation. She is passionate about Colorado Springs, local investment, entrepreneurship, mountain climbing and fly fishing.
With nearly two decades of experience in many different areas inside the sports, nutrition, and fitness industry, Steve possesses the education and real life experience to produce lasting results in any situation and takes pride in watching others succeed.
His approach to health and long term wellness is to take a holistic approach while treating each person as the unique individual they are. No two people are the same, and he works diligently to dig into the the root of the issues that are preventing each client from achieving long term success. Steve begins working with the mind first before taking on the body and has found this to produce positive habit changes, leading to long term, sustainable results.
Having been self-employed for the majority of his work career while having logged more than 40,000 hours of private and group training sessions, he possesses the motivation, work ethic and leadership to produce results in any situation that he is thrown into and doesn’t back down from any challenge presented to him.
Steve has a passion for outdoor adventures along with a strong desire to travel and experience different cultures around the world. He loves taking on new tasks and is always interested in learning and expanding his skill set to further enhance the journey of life.
Leif is currently the vice president of engineering for the KidReports division of Procare Software. Prior to that, he was the CEO and co-founder of KidReports, a SaaS platform for childcare providers that connects parents and child care centers in real time. KidReports was acquired by Procare in late 2017. Leif also serves on the board of Peak Startup, a local non-profit focused on advancing entrepreneurial and startup growth in the Pikes Peak Region, and is active in mentoring and advising local technology focused startups. He holds a bachelor’s of science in computer science from the University of Colorado and an MBA from the University of Denver.
Mike currently serves as CEO of CLVR, which has grown from a small marketing firm to an international think tank. In addition to CLVR, Mike has started 4 companies. He has piloted an eCommerce company at the end of the dotcom era, built race cars for Bridgestone, dabbled in crypto currency, spun up adtech plays, shot reality tv and helped countless businesses grow their brand and revenue.
Linda Weise is the founding CEO of the Colorado Springs Conservatory. She established the Conservatory in 1994 to bring world-class performing arts education to the Colorado Springs region. A graduate of Oberlin Conservatory in piano and vocal performance, she continued her post-graduate work at the Julliard School for Opera Studies. Both Linda and the conservatory have been recognized throughout the state and across the country with numerous awards, including the National Guild of Community Music Schools Milestone Achievement award and the coveted William Funk Award from the Colorado Non-Profit Association. She has launched her latest business, Vortici, LLC, with her daughter C.C. Wells. Linda is a graduate of both the Colorado Leadership Institute and Leadership Pikes Peak.