Mary Louise has over 25 years experience working in executive marketing, product and business development roles for start-ups and companies with high growth initiatives in the technology, financial and education industries. She is the former President of Virtual Nerd an ed-tech start-up who received national and industry awards for product design and is currently a mentor for the Capital Innovators Accelerator Program. In addition to working for start-up companies, while at American Express Incentive Services she led the strategic planning process including rebranding the product portfolio and while at Charter Communications she managed the re-design of the consumer high-speed internet installation program.
Melissa brings over 15 years of experience and commitment to the St. Louis innovation community to her role at ITEN. She works with our companies to help foster their successful navigation through ITEN’s various programs–from Intake to Mock Angel grad; as well as manages ITEN’s operations and many community-focused collaborations and events. Prior to joining ITEN, Melissa served as the Director of Administration for Akermin, Inc., a clean-tech R&D company that was BioGenerator’s first client company in 2004. Prior to Akermin, Melissa was one of the original employees of BioGenerator where she served as Manager of Operations and Client Services. Earlier in her career she spent time at Monsanto in its new products division and corporate M&A. She has also worked as a certified sign language interpreter. Currently, Melissa on the Board of Missouri Venture Forum and a member of the Parent Boards of Webster University and Bradley University. Melissa holds a Bachelor of Educational Studies and an M.A. in Higher Education Administration, both from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Bringing over 25 years experience from the startup space Connie is a versatile, accomplished business professional. Her experience expands over areas in account management, customer experience, operations, business development, sales and marketing and product development. Connie has contributed and played multiple roles in a variety of startups, including founding member of a K-12 Education startup as Operations & Director of Partnerships to a Mobile Healthcare startup as Director of Client Services & Implementation. Other industries that she has worked in include Automotive Manufacturing, E-Learning, and Sales & Marketing.
Hayley has been immersed in the St. Louis Innovation Ecosystem as the Director of Gateway Venturing Mentoring Service and as the Administrator for the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Pro Bono Program helping a 5 state region of low income inventors secure pro bono patents. Having the experiences of starting several businesses herself and growing up with entrepreneurial parents she understands first-hand what is needed to grow and succeed when launching a new venture. Hayley consults with local start-ups to help with branding, website design, and marketing strategy. She is a board member of the Benton Park Dog Park, a nonprofit dog park she is working to establish in her neighborhood. Hayley has a Masters of Social Work with a focus in Social and Economic Development and Policy from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.
Entrepreneurs in Residence
Elaine has spent the past 30 years learning and exploring. Her career accomplishments include leadership roles in operations, financial management, sales and business development for both Fortune 500 companies and start up endeavors. She is most recently the founder and CEO of Savvy Coders, a bootcamp teaching front end web development in St. Louis, and Nashville and Chattanooga, TN. She has been a mentor at Gateway Venture Mentoring Service and is currently a mentor at SPARK!. Elaine has an MBA from Webster University.
Quentin is an experienced startup leader, skilled in corporate relationship management, digital strategy, mobile applications, corporate communications, and vision development, which will prove valuable to our ventures as he supports their progress toward successful market entry and growth stages. Quentin is currently the Business Operations Manager at Multiply (Formerly Answers) and a board member at Johego.
Over the years, Quentin has been involved with numerous entrepreneurial ventures and organizations. Currently serving as the Square One IT Track Leader and the Vice President of Lumate Inc., Quentin is passionate about improving processes, growing companies, negotiating fair business deals, and seeing new thought leadership applied to organizations of all sizes. These passions have led Quentin to his current roles, which allow him to have the most positive impact possible.
Quentin has his MBA, a degree in Management and Information Systems, and a certification for Sustainable Business from Missouri University of Science and Technology.
In his free time, Quentin enjoys watching movies, attending concerts, and learning new things.
Jack joined ITEN as an EIR in 2018 after returning to St. Louis following a decade in San Diego, where he served as Head Analyst for the San Diego network of the Tech Coast Angels one of the nation’s largest and most active Angel Investing networks where he was responsible for local outreach efforts, reviewing funding applications, and leading internal Due Diligence efforts.
Following his time at Tech Coast Angels he launched Canopy San Diego, Southern California’s only seed-stage accelerator program for technology and business infrastructure companies that support the legal cannabis industry. Jack served as the Managing Director where he led the recruitment efforts and evaluation of the companies accepted to the accelerator, actively mentored the portfolio companies on pitching investors, fundraising strategies, go-to-market strategies, and facilitated introductions to potential investors, industry contacts, and early customers. Additionally, Jack has held multiple operational roles and raised over $3M from Angel Investors.
Jack holds a Ph.D. in Immunology from Saint Louis University.
Jane has been a mentor with ITEN for more than 6 years and joined as an EIR in 2015. In addition to working one-on-one with companies she also serves on the due diligence review team for ITEN’s Investor Readiness Program. She has twenty years of industry experience in mergers and acquisitions, financial planning and analysis, various software implementations and corporate tax, with expertise in setting up public company tax departments. She is a graduate of Fontbonne College and began her finance career at PwC in St. Louis. She is the founder of C&I Compliance, a technology and consulting company focusing on economic development credit and incentive contract and statutory reporting. She also is the Founder & CEO of Incentilock.
Board of Directors
Jeff Sexton is a proven leader with over 28 years of experience spanning start-up to global organizations. Jeff’s focus is on the creation of long-term value by facilitating talent to drive innovation leveraging technology. He currently is a Director of Sales for Dell EMC, a part of Dell Technologies. He also is providing business development services to emerging businesses, and an ITEN Corporate Innovation Program (CIP) Steering Committee Lead and Mentor.
Jeff began his career as a software developer at EDS. He worked for multiple consulting firms in the early 1990’s and started his own, COAD Solutions, which was acquired by EpicEdge, in 1996, where he then served as both COO and CEO. His start-up highlights include raising $18m in venture capital, leading 7 acquisitions, and driving business growth from $5m to $50m in less than 2 years. Jeff was a CIO for a mid-market organization that led him to join Dell to manage key global accounts in 2004. In 2011, Jeff joined EMC to work with large enterprises to drive both Business and IT transformation.
Jeff’s experience provides him a unique perspective on the challenges both start-up and enterprise businesses face developing and executing successful strategies that foster innovation and create value.
Jim von der Heydt has been working at the intersection of technology and branding for his entire career. Jim started his career in the advertising industry in Chicago. Jim joined the Marketing Department of Ralston Purina in 1981. During is 21-year career he held the roles of VP Marketing Cereals, EVP Marketing Pet Products and EVP Global Business Development and R&D for Pet Products. He also played a key management role in the company’s technology and brand acquisition strategy. After retiring from Purina in 2002, Jim formed a consulting practice focused on business development and strategic acquisitions. He has invested in and coached a variety of early stage companies as one of the first members of the Saint Louis Arch Angels. He is currently advising the new early stage fund iSelect where he also serves as a member of the Selection Committee. In 2010 Jim joined the management team of a start up beverage company, Nawgan. Jim is also an active member of the St. Louis Arch Angels, serves on their screening committee, and has invested in a number of local startups.
Jim has 32 years of entrepreneurial, management, marketing and sales experience with technology-based companies. He has been involved with numerous start-up ventures, including telecommunications, IT, retail, manufacturing and a number of non-profit organizations. Since April of 2008 he has been Executive Director of ITEN. From 2003 to 2006, he was the President of the Technology Entrepreneur Center, a technology incubator in downtown St. Louis. He built TEC into a regional center for start up companies focused on information and communications technology. TEC continues as the parent organization of T-Rex. In 1999, he became the CEO of Partner Communications, providing wireless internet services to apartment communities in the Midwest. Partner raised $15M from a combination of local and national investors. During that time, he also served on the Board of Directors of Intira Corporation, a Silicon Valley-based web hosting company. He joined Brooks Fiber Properties in 1994 as Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing until the successful sale of the company for $3B+ in 1998. Prior to joining Brooks Fiber he was with Nortel Networks, developing leading-edge technology and innovative financing solutions for the emerging Competitive Local Exchange market and also won the largest telecommunications contract ever awarded by the US Air Force at that time. Jim holds a Bachelor of Science degree from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He pursued graduate studies in psychology and innovative management at the Institute for Comparative Studies, Gloucestershire, England.
As Chief Marketing Officer for MTM, Michele Lucas oversees corporate marketing and Request for Proposal (RFP) response teams as well as product development efforts. Michele is a driven marketing and business leader with a keen understanding of MTM’s operations and strategic vision and continues to successfully manage multiple diverse projects. Since she began in 2010, Michele’s innovative sales strategies have significantly impacted MTM’s revenue growth which has increased from $100 million in 2010 to over $500 million in 2018. Prior to joining MTM, Michele worked in product management and marketing roles for Insituform, a multinational specialty contracting firm serving municipal and county governments, for almost 15 years. Michele received her Masters of Business Administration from Washington University.
Darryl Palmer is the CTO of Janus Choice, one of ITEN’s promising Health Tech companies. He has been participating in ITEN’s programs including actively participating in our Founder to Founder (F2F) meetings and offering assistance with our annual campaign. Darryl also has experience with accelerators and incubators throughout the US and is currently the St. Louis Chapter Ambassador for SingularityU.
Mr. Sekhar Prabhakar is the one of the founders of C-Edge Software Consultants. He worked as a member of the senior technical staff for companies such as Sun Microsystems, Sybase and US Bank.
Sekhar started his career as software engineer at Arms Inc working on a sub contract from Booz Allen Hamilton. He was one of key members of supply chain management system development team for Continental Baking Company (Wonder Bread), which was installed in 32 different locations.
Sekhar joined Sybase Open Solutions Group and supported several Wall Street customers including Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, Shared Medical System and several other financial, healthcare and government organizations.
At Sun Microsystems, he was instrumental in maintaining and migrating Sun globe system that was used by the senior management tracking product sales across all the operating companies under Sun Microsystems. He was part of the quality and financial team responsible for implementing IRQI (Information Resources Quality Index) that was used to govern the Corporate Services Vision for the entire company. Sekhar was also responsible for several ERP implementation including Peoplesoft HR and financial modules for State of Georgia and MCI World COM. Sekhar worked as consultant for companies such as Monsanto, Unifirst and MasterCard. During his period he implemented several Data Warehouse projects and Oracle based enterprise solutions.
Sekhar holds a Master’s degree in Computer science from City College, New York. Sekhar serves as vice president of events for AFCEA Scott AFB Chapter. He is a mentor at The St. Louis Information Technology Entrepreneur Network (ITEN) & Ameren Accelerator, and member and Chair for Creve Coeur Economic Development Council, helping the City of Creve Coeur with technology initiatives. Sekhar is also a 2012 graduate of E200 SBA program.
CEdge has been recently recognized as Technology Business of The Year 2017 by SBA and was a finalist for the 2018 ARCUS Innovative Technology awards under his leadership. In 2018 Sekhar was nominated to Top 100 St. Louisans to know by SBMON. Recently, Sekhar has been selected as a finalist by AFCEA International as Small Business Person of the year as well as Technology Leader of the year by Innovate St. Louis.
With more than 30 years of experience in information technology, Rick Proctor is currently Managing Client Director at Datatrend Technologies where he helps companies navigate their digital transformation, as well as develop their cloud, IOT, and security strategies. Prior to Datatrend, Rick held previous leadership roles as Client Director at EMC, as well as Vice President positions at Partec and Koss Electronics. Rick graduated from Washington University with a BS in Electrical Engineering and led software development for 14 years of his career. Rick is a Father of 5, and is expecting his first grandchild at the end of October.
In addition to being an owner of TDK for more than 17 years, Kristin is active in the STL tech community as the Marketing Chair for Gateway to Innovation, member of the IS Advisory Board at UMSL and a member of the St. Louis Chapter of the Society for Information Management (SIM). In addition to TDK’s expertise in staffing, recruiting and IT solution development, Kristin has experience working in the financial services, manufacturing, education and healthcare industries. Previously engaged as an ITEN mentor, she looks forward to deepening her involvement as a Board member.