Top-notch team

We are a collective group of entrepreneurial warriors, mentors, community influencers, policymakers, and ecosystem builders. We live and breathe entrepreneurship and are dedicated to helping entrepreneurs all over the globe transform their dreams into reality.

Charles Ross, CEO

Over the past 15 years, Charles has worked with communities of various shapes and sizes to build and sustain vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystems. His experience spans across several innovation-related disciplines to include entrepreneurship, business incubation, economic development, and investment management. He has provided strategic leadership for organizations within the public, private, and nonprofit domains and has directly mentored and coached founders/CEOs at over 30 high-growth companies.

Before joining the InBIA management team, Charles was responsible for driving economic impact for local communities through senior leadership positions at Kennesaw State University and the Georgia Institute of Technology. In these roles, Charles connected universities’ talent, know-how, and assets to businesses and communities to increase economic prosperity and to improve quality of life.

Prior to his assignments in higher education, Charles directly worked with entrepreneurs to launch and grow technology businesses. As Vice President of the Telecommunications Development Fund, Charles sourced, structured, and managed investments in several early-stage communications companies, and as a Director of Ameritech’s venture capital division he identified and executed strategic technology investments.

Charles joined InBIA as a member in 2006, was elected to its Board of Directors in 2011 and served as Chair in 2017. Charles holds an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Marquette University and an MBA from Indiana University.

  Email: [email protected]  

Lindsay Schuenke, Director of Content

Lindsay Schuenke has been with InBIA since December of 2004, when she joined the training and events team. In her time with the association, Lindsay’s responsibilities have primarily focused on coordinating content and details for events, including the annual conference, the fall training, and the advanced summits. She was involved in the inception and launch of the Business Incubation Management Certificate Program and has helped plan more than a dozen conferences and several smaller tours and events. Over the years, Lindsay has managed hundreds of speakers, written thousands of session and course descriptions, managed dozens of tours, and been involved with countless other aspects of planning and executing the conferences and other events. She has a degree in English from Ohio Wesleyan University. Lindsay works remotely from her home office in Maine, where she lives with her husband and four children.

Email: [email protected]

 


Lisa Brennan,
Membership Coordinator

Lisa started her career in the defense industry as a Competitive & Market Intelligence (CMI) Analyst at BAE Systems in Arlington, VA. She later worked for Pier1 in Texas and took some time off professionally to start a family. She joined InBIA in June 2022 as the Membership Coordinator supporting InBIAs delivery of customer benefits in membership, convening & training as well as supporting organizational goals. Lisa has a Business Degree from Ohio University with a focus in Marketing. She resides in Ohio with her husband and three kids.

  Email: [email protected]

 

Molly Mordocco, Business Coordinator

Molly Mordocco started her career in the hospitality industry as a sales and catering manager at the University Plaza Hotel in Columbus, Ohio, and later at the DoubleTree Worthington. She also acted as assistant manager at an apartment complex for college students for ​more than two years. First joining InBIA (then NBIA) in 2013, Molly stepped away in 2016 to take some time with family. She rejoined InBIA as the Business Coordinator in 2019 and in this role she is responsible for executing the training program, coordinating the online member community, managing the virtual support networks, and more. A graduate of Ohio University, Molly lives in Ohio with her husband and three sons.

 

  Email: [email protected]

InBIA Board Members

Chair

Steve Debretto
Executive Director,
Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago

Steve is the executive director of the Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago, an economic development organization that sponsors Make City (formerly the Fulton-Carroll Center Business Incubator), a light industrial mixed-use incubator, and The Hatchery, a food and beverage manufacturing center; ICNC also houses two SBDCs in its facilities. Steve was a founding board member of The Chicagoland Food and Beverage Network and served on the steering committee of the Chicago mayor’s Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs. Steve has been an InBIA member since 2012, participating in InBIA events and serving on the 2015 Awards committee.

 

First Vice Chair

Linda Fowler
President,
Regionerate LLC

Linda Fowler, President of Regionerate LLC, a small, woman-owned consulting firm, specializes in high-impact consulting with diverse stakeholders to activate and support transformative regional partnerships for inclusive growth. Linda has guided regional prosperity and revitalization efforts in several emblematic U.S. cities. Linda supports communities to build cohesive and integrated strategies across a diversified portfolio of investments, including entrepreneurship. Currently, she is working with incubation and acceleration programs in Georgia, Michigan, New Jersey and Virginia. Prior to launching her firm, Linda worked in private industry and served in federal government (U.S. Departments of Labor and Commerce).

 

Second Vice Chair

Eric S. Smith
Executive Director
at UA Center for Innovation


Eric brings with him a decade’s worth of technology commercialization experience and a passion for entrepreneurship. Eric came to the UA Center for Innovation after serving as the commercialization network manager for Tech Launch Arizona (TLA), UA’s technology transfer unit. While at TLA, he built and leveraged a 1600-person world-wide mentor network and managed TLA’s NSF I-Corps Site program. An entrepreneur in his own right, after Eric started, developed and sold his first company, he embarked on a career in technology startups. Eric holds a BSBA in business management and entrepreneurship and an MBA from the University of Arizona.

 

Secretary

Anthony Durante,
Manager of Entrepreneurial Support,
Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania

Anthony Durante is the Manager of Entrepreneurial Support for Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania. For the last decade, Anthony’s career has centered on managing the operations of world-class business incubation programs. In these leadership roles, he has mentored startup founding teams to help them launch and grow their companies in manufacturing, technology, life sciences, and retail.

 

Treasurer

Ariella Lukach, PhD
Vice President,
Strategy and Positioning
Stiletto

Ariella is Vice President, Strategy & Positioning, at Stiletto, a strategic planning and market intelligence firm. Ariella specializes in strategic planning and execution support for high-impact initiatives and new products, market focusing and positioning,
business development, and more. Ariella is passionate about working with communities of innovation and maintains strong relationships and sector expertise to help build strength from individual organizations to international networks. Industry expertise include cleantech, ICT, smart grid, cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, smart and urban agri-food, mining, and healthcare. Ariella did her post-doctoral research at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and holds a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Toronto.

David Fonseca
Executive Vice President,
VelocityTX

David Fonseca has a track record in growing innovation centers, associations, angel investor networks, not-for-profits, and real estate investments. David serves as Executive Vice President of VelocityTX and chairman of Alamo Angels, which has 35 accredited investors and a fund. Committed to fostering entrepreneurship worldwide, David teaches classes at the magister of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Universidad del Rosario in Colombia, advises for Growth Wheel Inc, and has done keynotes across 12 countries.
David has a BBA in Finance and MBA from Texas A&M Corpus Christi. He was the Young Alumni Award recipient and Doctorado Honoris Causa of Pontificia Universidad de Huatusco, Mexico.

 

Herman Nyamunga
Director
PowerUp Your Business,
Community College of Philadelphia

Herman is director of the PowerUP Your Business accelerator, a neighborhood-based approach to economic development that offers training to small businesses in the city of Philadelphia. Previously, Herman was the director of entrepreneurship and innovation at the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians in Philadelphia, Pa. Herman is a five-year InBIA member who has attended and presented at several conferences and holds certifications in both InBIA’s Incubator Manager program and as a Business Model and Value Proposition Design Trainer. He also served on the Philadelphia Food Policy Advisory Council as a mayor’s appointee.

 

Gloria Ware, CECM
Founder,
GTB Advisors

As the founder of GTB Advisors and Get The Bag, Gloria M. Ware and leverages her 30 years in finance, ecosystem building, innovation, early-stage investing and philanthropy to help more new majority communities secure the relevant financial information, financial capital and social capital they need to grow successful businesses. In the last decade, Gloria has been instrumental in the development and funding of inclusive programs, financial products and services for business support organizations across the State of Ohio. Her finance experience includes business product development, market research, providing capital and strategic advice to business owners, non-profits and public sector entities. In her professional and community leadership roles, alongside her own entrepreneurial pursuits, she has worked with hundreds of small businesses and non-profits to create equitable access to high value resources and relationships.

 

Paul Riser Jr.,
Senior Program Officer, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development
Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation

A Detroit native, Paul Riser is currently a Senior Program Officer for the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation focused on entrepreneurship and economic development. His duties include
managing, identifying, and building relationships with stakeholders that allow the Foundation to deploy resources that align with its investment strategies.

Riser is a philanthropist, entrepreneur, chief technologist, and systems engineer with over 25
years of professional experience working with start-up firms to global enterprises in the areas of business strategy, venture financing, IT architecture, technology integration and medical device development.

 

Lisa Smith,
Executive Director,
Bowie Business Innovation Center

Lisa Smith has been a thought leader, consultant incubator manager and ecosystem developer for the business incubation industry in the U.S. and internationally during her 22 years as an InBIA member. Lisa is the founding Executive Director of the Bowie Business Innovation Center (Bowie BIC), a public/private partnership, hosted by Bowie State University, supporting underserved technology companies and government contractors. During her consulting career, Lisa advised 30 US. Communities on the creation of entrepreneurial development initiatives. Her international work included establishing the first networking of technology business incubators in the U.S. for Scotland’s economic development agency.

 

Lynnette White-Colin,
Senior Vice President, Small Business Growth,
New Orleans Business Alliance

Ms. White-Colin is the Sr. Vice President of Small Business Growth at the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA), a public-private partnership with the City of New Orleans. The organization works to deliver economic development for the city through efforts supporting business attraction and retention; talent and workforce development; strategic neighborhood development and small business growth, which is led by Ms. White-Colin. Lynnette develops and implements strategies toward alleviating barriers to growth for underrepresented founders, and works to ensure the local small business ecosystem encompasses resources necessary for overall small business growth, which includes advocacy and support for entrepreneurial support organizations. This work includes development of electronic tools, designed to help business owners make better informed decisions for their entities. Lynnette holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of New Orleans and serves on the boards of the New Orleans Redevelopment Unlimited and the New Orleans Regional Black Chamber of Commerce.

 

Hayden Blackburn,
Executive Director,
TECH Fort Worth

Hayden has centered his career around social entrepreneurship and economic development. Hayden coaches entrepreneurs commercializing innovative technologies, facilitates connections between entrepreneurs and angel investors, partners with universities to commercialize technologies, and is a leader in the development of an entrepreneurial culture and mindset across the DFW region. He has helped organized multiple community staples for entrepreneurs, including Startup Weekend and 1 Million Cups Fort Worth. Hayden serves on the boards of organizations working in economic development and education, including Near Southside Inc., the Fort Worth Public Library Foundation, and the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District #4 in Fort Worth, TX. Before joining TechFW, Hayden was the creator and founding Director of IDEA Works FW, a mixed-industry incubator that was formed in 2013 as a public-private partnership to fill a gap in the Fort Worth entrepreneurial ecosystem. Before that, he was involved in launching Stages of Recovery in Lubbock, TX, a sober living program and community that supports those in recovery from addiction to alcohol, drugs, and other related behaviors.

 

Kristin Burton,
Entrepreneurship Professor,
Purdue University Northwest

Dr. Kristin Burton is a Professor of Entrepreneurship at Purdue University Northwest. In this role, she is an entrepreneurial academic charged with
assisting students in developing their entrepreneurship skills and connecting them to the vibrant start-up community in Northwest Indiana. Dr. Burton is heralded as an inclusive ecosystem builder. Her research focuses on advancing opportunities for women and minorities in entrepreneurship. This research is used to create innovative programs and pathways to help alleviate barriers, so entrepreneurs can continue
building communities that flourish. Throughout her 20- year entrepreneurial career, Dr. Burton has co-founded several start-up companies, led two university entrepreneurship centers, and created a regional
business incubation hub.

 

Linda Ufland,
Director of Entrepreneurship, Commercialization, and Innovation for the Office of Workforce and Economic Development,
UT-Rio Grand Valley

Linda Ufland is the Director of Entrepreneurship, Commercialization, and Innovation for the Office of Workforce and Economic Development at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley located in deep South Texas. Linda is charged with providing leadership and oversight to the Entrepreneurship and Commercialization Center (ECC) with focus in business incubation, entrepreneurial development, commercialization and innovation, and incubation management consultation across the region. She drives the vision for the UTRGV ECC in assisting local and international entrepreneurs to create and scale ventures in the Rio Grande Valley that will impact our region’s economy and create opportunities for generations to come. Her focus is to develop partnerships with economic development organizations, and international organizations to envision and develop solutions for the region and beyond with a strong commercialization path. The UTRGV ECC is a founding partner of the eBridge project, largest entrepreneurial center in the region. eBridge supports the economic development of South Texas with a focus on scalable businesses. Linda was raised in Matamoros, Mexico but attended high school in Brownsville, Texas. She earned a bachelor’s in international business and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas. Her professional drive comes from a sincere dedication to public service and to being part of a transformational economic and entrepreneurial change in our region.

 

Marc Alessi,
Executive Director, Business Incubator Association of New York State

Marc Alessi is the Executive Director of the Business Incubator Association of New York State (BIANYS) and the Tesla Science Center in Shoreham, NY. He is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor, and advocate for innovation. Marc’s mission is to educate and inspire through launching a museum, science center, and business accelerator at Tesla’s last lab. With a BA from SUNY Albany and a JD from Touro Law School, Marc is dedicated to empowering people in the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem.

 

Brad Rickelman,
Assistant Director, Meridian Technology Center Business Incubator

Brad Rickelman is Assistant Director of the Meridian Technology Center business incubator. Meridian Technology Center is a regional vocational education institution. Brad is past Chairman of the statewide Oklahoma Venture Forum and past President of the Oklahoma Business Incubator Association. Brad currently serves on the City of Stillwater Planning Commission. He was an YSEALI Professional Fellow to Thailand in spring 2019 teaching advanced entrepreneurship training. Brad has taught courses in the lnBlA Entrepreneurship Center Management (ECM) certificate online program. He holds a Bachelors in Business Management, and Masters in Philosophy, both from Texas A&M University. He was Grand Master of Freemasons of Oklahoma in 2013.