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Charlie Brock Headshot

Charlie Brock

CEO & President

Charlie Brock has been CEO of Launch Tennessee since January, 2013. Under his tenure, Launch Tennessee has grown 36|86 into the Southeast’s premier entrepreneurship conference; launched seven industry accelerator programs for high-growth startups; passed startup-friendly legislation; and provided programming that reaches entrepreneurs in 80% of the state’s 95 counties, up from 15% in 2013. Early-stage investment in Tennessee has increased 100% during Charlie’s leadership of Tennessee’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Charlie is recognized as a shining star in Southeastern entrepreneurship and ecosystem development. His was among the visions driving the transformation of Chattanooga, aka “the Gig City,” from a sleepy, polluted southern river town into a leading hotbed for innovation (which now enjoys the country’s fastest internet and smartest electric grid).

He has been a serial entrepreneur for nearly 20 years. Charlie founded several companies, including Foxmark Media, which he exited in 2006 to a global media company. He leveraged this business success to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem in his hometown of Chattanooga. Charlie co-founded the city’s first angel fund, mentored hundreds of startups, and was inaugural director of the GigTank accelerator during his time as CEO of CO.LAB.

Charlie was formerly part of the $100M, family-owned Brock Candy. He currently serves as a director of Pinnacle Bank, FourBridges Capital Advisors, the Dixie Group, Cumberland Emerging Technologies and Life Science Tennessee. His philanthropic work includes serving as a board member of The Boys & Girls Club, Outreach Haiti and Girls Preparatory School; and as Chair of the Endowment Committee for Good Shepherd Church.

Brittany Burgess Headshot

Brittany Burgess

Director of Entrepreneurship

Brittany joined LaunchTN in the spring of 2013 to implement LaunchTN’s annual internship program placing students with regional Entrepreneur Centers. Brittany continued to expand her program portfolio to include the statewide University Venture Challenge, Creative Communities Initiative and sponsor recruitment and management.

Brittany is managing LaunchTN’s University Connections and Diversity/Inclusion programs. Additionally, she assists the program team with management of the regional entrepreneur centers and portfolio management.

Brittany graduated from the University of Tennessee in 2011 and is originally from Cincinnati, OH.

Lindsey Cox Headshot

Lindsey Cox

Director of Operations and Government Affairs

As Director of Operations and Government Affairs, Lindsey assists CEO Charlie Brock with operations and policy strategy, and lead efforts for 36|86, LaunchTN’s annual entrepreneurship and technology conference. Cox has been with LaunchTN since September 2013.

Cox graduated from Tennessee Tech University in 2009 with a B.S. in Accounting and in 2010 with an MBA. Prior to joining LaunchTN, she worked for the Comptroller of the State of Tennessee.

Jami Creel Headshot

Jami Creel

Marketing Manager

Jami strives to tell and evolve the Launch Tennessee story by managing social media, web, marketing materials, and email campaigns.

Jami believes by building and bringing awareness to the entrepreneurial community through LaunchTN, we can make TN the most startup-friendly state in the country.

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

George Curran

Capital Formation Research Coordinator

George joins Launch Tennessee as the Capital Formation Research Coordinator 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.

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 PreventionGood HousekeepingParenting 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.

John Lanahan Headshot

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.

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.

Jill Van Beke Headshot

Jill Van Beke

Chief Program Officer

As Chief Program Officer, Jill works to maximize opportunities for Tennessee’s portfolio of high-growth entrepreneurs by building statewide and national networks of programs, mentors, customers, investors and other resources.

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

Melanie White Headshot

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.
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