Team

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Charlie Brock

CEO & President -

In his role as CEO & President of Launch Tennessee, Charlie takes a statewide approach to connecting people and fostering collaboration to enhance entrepreneurship in Tennessee.

Charlie Brock has been serving as Launch Tennessee’s President & CEO since January 2013. Prior to Launch Tennessee, Charlie served for a year as CEO of CO.LAB, a Chattanooga accelerator that runs the summer GIGTANK program. Brock is a founding general partner of the Chattanooga Renaissance Fund, Chattanooga’s first organized angel group, and was an early partner in FourBridges Capital Advisors, a lower-middle market investment bank based in Chattanooga.

Kicking off his entrepreneurial journey, Brock helped establish Foxmark Media and served as CEO before selling the company in 2006. Brock was an organizer and director of CapitalMark Bank & Trust that recently sold to Pinnacle Bank, where Charlie now serves as Director. He also serves as a director of FourBridges Capital Advisors, the Dixie Group, Cumberland Emerging Technologies and Life Science Tennessee.

Having served on various philanthropic boards over the years, Brock is currently a board member of The Boys & Girls Club, Outreach Haiti, Girls Preparatory School and is the Chair of the Endowment Committee for Good Shepherd Church. Charlie is a graduate of Sewanee: The University of the South and he and his wife Lisa are the parents of three daughters, Lesley, Taylor and Laura.

 

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Brittany Burgess

Entrepreneurship and Outreach Manager -

Brittany is responsible for developing and executing on LaunchTN’s rural strategy and the University Venture Challenge.  She also coordinates LaunchTN’s Specialist Program and recruiting talent for Tennessee’s statewide entrepreneur center network. Brittany is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
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Lindsey Cox

Innovation & Commercialization Manager -

Lindsey Cox serves as the Innovation & Commercialization Manager at LaunchTN where she works with universities, researchers, entrepreneurs and industry partners to help them commercialize technologies. She has most recently been working with leaders at the Small Business Administration to bring increased Small Business Innovation Research dollars to Tennessee.

Prior to joining LaunchTN, Lindsey worked with the Comptroller for the State of Tennessee, serving as staff to the Tennessee Local Development Authority and State Revolving Fund Loan Program.
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Jami Creel

Marketing and Innovation & Entrepreneurship Coordinator -

Jami Creel supports the entrepreneurship programs by reporting and tracking metrics, creating marketing materials and collaborating on social media content.

Jami graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a BBA in Marketing.

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George Curran

Coordinator of Capital Formation & Research -

George joins Launch Tennessee as the Capital Formation Research Analyst from Yext, a New York-based technology company that enables businesses to manage their location data across the web.

He graduated with a degree in Medicine, Health and Society from Vanderbilt University in 2014, where he gained startup experience working with the Nashville Mobile Market and Axial Healthcare.

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Jennifer Kay

Director of Marketing/Partnership Development and Entrepreneur in Residence -

As Director of Marketing/Partnership Development and Entrepreneur in Residence, Jennifer is tasked with building a brand strategy, marketing events, expanding national partnerships and strengthening the state-wide entrepreneur network.

Kay most recently was responsible for global operations at a consumer startup in Berlin, Germany, where she spent two years focusing on investor relations, brand strategy, communications, HR and culture. Her key accomplishment was incubating a prototype that led to the establishment of a new standalone business unit.

Prior to this operational startup role, Kay spent ten years in the media industry in New York City, managing digital for such brands as Prevention, Good Housekeeping, Parenting and truTV. Her focus was on organic growth and audience development, which she leveraged as a mentor for Media Camp, Time Warner’s media-focused startup accelerator based in San Francisco.

Kay is a Marshall County, Tennessee native and a 2002 graduate of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, with a B.A. in English. She says she’s thrilled to be back in her home state working to elevate its national profile as a prime destination to launch a startup.

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John Lanahan

Director of Capital Formation -

As Director of Capital Formation, John works to grow investment into Tennessee-based startups through entrepreneur development, building investor networks and leading policy initiatives that help spur private investment across the state. He oversees the TENN accelerator program, manages the INCITE Fund portfolio companies, and develops an investment database for Tennessee.

Prior to joining LaunchTN, John spent six years at LaunchCapital, a seed stage venture capital firm with offices in San Francisco, Boston, and New York/Connecticut. He opened up the New York City office in 2012 and was responsible for sourcing new deal flow in New York, performing due diligence on new opportunities, and supporting current portfolio companies with strategic planning, investor introductions, and ad hoc market research. John was responsible for investment in notable portfolio companies like Alloy, Union Station, Merchant Atlas, Glam&Go, and OnFarm amongst others.

John graduated from Middlebury College in 2008 with a B.A. in Economics and has a finance background prior to joining LaunchCapital full-time in 2010.

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Susan Parham

Finance & Accounting Manager -

Susan  serves as the Finance & Accounting Manager for LaunchTN, overseeing all aspects of LaunchTN’s fiscal components and HR related needs. Susan’s daily responsibilities include invoicing, budgeting and management of the organization’s cash flow.

Most recently Susan was employed for five years with a non-profit organization where she administered the health insurance programs for all employees and retirees. Her career background also includes time spent in retail as a small business owner and working for the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Susan has an AS degree in Electrical Engineering Technology from Nashville State Technical Institute.

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Michael Poncé

Marketing Manager -

As Marketing Manager, Michael focuses on Launch Tennessee’s marketing and branding efforts. This includes managing Launch Tennessee’s social media efforts and coordinating all photography, videography and graphic design projects.

Michael most recently worked as the Operations Coordinator for the Great American Country television program, Headline Country, where he specialized in file management, video editing and media content for the web. Michael graduated from Belmont University with a B.S in Video Production and a minor in Broadcast Journalism.

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Jill Van Beke

Director of Entrepreneurship & Innovation -

As Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Jill works to maximize opportunities for Tennessee’s entrepreneurs by building statewide and national networks of mentors, customers, investors and other resources.

Jill graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Urban Studies and concentrations in Economics and Anthropology.

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Tracey Waller

Events & Administrative Manager -

As the Events & Administrative Manager, Tracey is responsible for planning all of LaunchTN’s activities and events while ensuring deadlines and budgets are adhered to. Tracey is also responsible for all office operations and procedures to facilitate organizational effectiveness and efficiency.

Prior to joining Launch Tennessee, Tracey worked as the Sales & Program Coordinator at Goldner & Associates, where she managed branding and marketing solutions for clients like Walt Disney World. Tracey also previously worked for Fleet Feet Inc. as a Program Coordinator and Wellness Coach where she managed and marketed various community health initiatives.
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Melanie White

Executive Assistant to the CEO -

Melanie serves as Executive Assistant to the CEO, In her role, she oversees the day to day operations of the executive office.  Prior to joining LaunchTN, Melanie served as assistant to the Founder/CEO of the United States Green Building Council in Washington, DC. She has also worked for a number of Nashville nonprofits including the Adventure Science Center, Nashville Humane Association and Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Art Museum.

A graduate of the University of Mississippi, Melanie enjoys live music, fishing and camping with husband Shelby and daughters Vaiden and Cassidy.

Blog

News, Case Studies, Success Stories, Interviews, and More.

LaunchTN Announces 2016-2017 University Venture Challenge Partners

Nashville, Tenn., November 28, 2016 – Launch Tennessee (LaunchTN) announced today the second annual Statewide University Venture Challenge (UVC). Following a submission process, LaunchTN has selected 20 entrepreneurial focused competitions that are being hosted across 13 Tennessee-based universities. The UVC launched in 2016 to create a more connected entrepreneurial community … read more

Life Experience Leads to ‘Pretzels with a Purpose’

Growing Nashville business Theresa’s Twists began out of founder Theresa Daniels’ struggle and pain, and the desire that the Middle Tennessee State University junior had to create awareness around Asperger’s Syndrome. The goal? “Changing lives one pretzel at a time.” “It is from my deep, dark, and sometimes overwhelming challenge … read more