Staff

Executive Director
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 Read More
Mary Louise HelbigExecutive Director

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.

Director, Entrepreneur Development
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 Read More
Melissa GrizzleDirector, Entrepreneur Development

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.

Business Development Manager
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 Read More
Connie GallagherBusiness Development Manager

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.

Entrepreneurs in Residence

Entrepreneur in Residence - Corporate Innovation Program
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 Read More
Elaine QueathemEntrepreneur in Residence - Corporate Innovation Program

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.

Entrepreneur in Residence
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 Read More
Quentin OrtegaEntrepreneur in Residence

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.

Entrepreneur in Residence
Over the last six years, Chuck has mentored over 70 startups in the St. Louis region. He has over 20 years of experience in software, engineering, analytics, product, marketing, executive Read More
Chuck VallurupalliEntrepreneur in Residence

Over the last six years, Chuck has mentored over 70 startups in the St. Louis region. He has over 20 years of experience in software, engineering, analytics, product, marketing, executive leadership as well as founding and contributing to the success of several early stage, growth and public companies.

He was previously a Co-Founder & CEO at Inferology and Kivivi, President & COO at Qualtech Systems, Vice-Chair at VNA HealthCare and served in various product and marketing leadership roles at MSC Software.

Chuck holds a MS in engineering from the Missouri University of Science and Technology and an MBA from the University of Chicago- Booth School of Business.

He is a mentor at Startup Weekend and The Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at Washington University in St Louis. He’s a judge for Accelerate St. Louis Challenge and Arch Grants, and has coached entrepreneurs for the InvestMidwest Venture Capital Forum and Rise of the Rest.

Entrepreneur in Residence
Jane has been a mentor with ITEN for more than 6 years and is the chair of its Due Diligence Committee. She has twenty years of industry experience in mergers and Read More
Jane VancilEntrepreneur in Residence

Jane has been a mentor with ITEN for more than 6 years and is the chair of its Due Diligence Committee. 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.

Board of Directors

Board Chairman
Jeff Sexton is a proven leader with over 26 years of experience spanning start-up to global organizations. Jeff’s focus is on the creation of long-term value by facilitating talent to Read More
Jeff SextonBoard Chairman

Jeff Sexton is a proven leader with over 26 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 District Manager with EMC, a global IT organization; Managing Partner of DnB Group, providing business development services to emerging businesses; and, ITEN Corporate Engagement Program 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.

 

Board Secretary/Treasurer
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 Read More
Jim BrasunasBoard Secretary/Treasurer

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.

Board Vice Chairman
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 Read More
Jim von der HeydtBoard Vice Chairman

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.