fbpx

Meet the Team

Our team is dedicated to making Tennessee the most startup-friendly state in the nation. Join us in making this vision a reality. We want to hear your ideas and plug you in with the people that will expand your resources and lead to success.

  • Ashley Currie

    Marketing & Communications Director

    Close

    Ashley Currie

    Marketing & Communications Director

    Ashley Currie is a Nashville native with some midwest living in between, receiving her B.S. in Marketing from Northern Illinois University.

    She currently serves as the Marketing & Communications Director, overseeing the thoughtful storytelling of Launch Tennessee through an integrated approach encompassing digital, email, social media, editorial and advertising. She is an entrepreneur and creative, bringing years of experience within corporate marketing, advertising and managing her own marketing consultancy along with being the founder of Nashville’s only multicultural city guide, Urbaanite.com.

    When she is not working, you can find her on a hiking trail, laughing with family or honing her at-home chef skills, trying out new recipes.

  • Mahni Ghorashi

    Chief Strategy Officer

    Close

    Mahni Ghorashi

    Chief Strategy Officer

    Mahni Ghorashi is a Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur and investor. He’s founded and help grow a number of ventures to exit in Silicon Valley, including Clear Labs, Bina (acquired Roche) , Trapit (acquired ScribbleLive), and LiteScape (acquired Dell). Currently, Mahni runs Strategy at Launch Tennessee the state of Tennessee’s economic development initiative to promote early stage startup ventures. In this role, he oversees venture capital and portfolio investments, seven entrepreneurial incubators, university and government-lab tech-transfer and licensing programs, university engagement, business development and policy outreach. He’s been interviewed in the The New York Times, Fortune, Forbes, Wired, CNBC and CNN. Mahni attended MIT, Yale, and Vanderbilt Universities and studied piano at the Juilliard School. He has taught courses in entrepreneurship at MIT and Stanford Universities.

  • Khrys Hatch

    Capital Formation Manager

    Close

    Khrys Hatch

    Capital Formation Manager

    Khrys Hatch is a Nashville native and Summa Cum Laude graduate of Fisk University.

    He currently serves as Launch Tennessee’s Capital Formation Manager where he works to expand and expedite the availability of capital to TN startups so that they can grow, be sustainable, create jobs, and build accessible economic prosperity. As part of those efforts, he manages LaunchTN’s investment fund, investor relations efforts, and several other capital-focused initiatives.

    Outside of LaunchTN, Khrys is an active musician. He is also an HBCUvc Fellow and a class 74 graduate of Young Leaders Council.

  • Charles Layne

    Innovation Manager

    Close

    Charles Layne

    Innovation Manager

    Charles “Chuck” Layne is a trained planner and community development practitioner. As a Nashville native, he recognizes the power of entrepreneurship in building community equity and the importance of place-based development in establishing accessible innovation ecosystems. Primarily, he focuses on these efforts at the local level through the utilization of the Complete Neighborhoods framework, an advocacy platform he created to empower planners and economic development practitioners to take a holistic lens at how neighborhoods are and are not working for their residents – including how conducive they are to entrepreneurial activity.

    In his role as Strategy Coordinator at Launch Tennessee, he manages a variety of special projects and facilitates resources for entrepreneurs across capital, commercialization, and market building programs at the organization. His favorite part of working at Launch Tennessee is the time he gets to spend on community building efforts across our major Tennessee regions and cities, particularly with entrepreneurs who have a vision for how they can create something new for the places they call home.

    Prior to joining the team at Launch Tennessee, Chuck was a Housing and Community Development Fellow in Memphis who worked on policy & advocacy efforts for reallocation of the Memphis Affordable Housing Trust Fund, where he concurrently obtained his Masters of City & Regional Planning from The University of Memphis. Ultimately, this work has inspired him to identify new ways to combine community and economic development through entrepreneurial economic gardening practices that focus on people, places, and the policies necessary for building a better Tennessee tomorrow.

  • Geo Mirador

    Capital Formation Coordinator

    Close

    Geo Mirador

    Capital Formation Coordinator

  • Evan Prislovsky

    Talent Coordinator

    Close

    Evan Prislovsky

    Talent Coordinator

    Evan Prislovsky is a Knoxville native and graduate of Appalachian State University where he studied Finance and Banking. 

    He currently serves as Launch Tennessee Talent Coordinator, a role that supports our internship program, market building and workforce initiatives. His prior experience includes working with nonprofits in Southeast Asia and apprenticing at a financial advisory firm that helped people spend, save and invest better.

    When not working, you will find Evan running, traveling or building a passive income.

  • Katherine Reall

    Finance & Administration Director

    Close

    Katherine Reall

    Finance & Administration Director

    Katherine serves as Accounting Director after joining LaunchTN in March 2020 as the Finance & Administration Director.

    Prior to LaunchTN, she owned a boutique accounting firm that focused on helping closely-held businesses and their owners navigate the worlds of accounting and taxes. Katherine has a background in both private and public accounting, which has given her a unique perspective into the entrepreneurial ecosystem in various industries, including real estate, hospitality, retail, country clubs, and healthcare. She has also been the CFO for several companies within these industries.

    A Nashville native, Katherine earned her BBA, majoring in Accounting, from Belmont University. She is a CPA and a member of the AICPA and TSCPA.

    Katherine serves on the Advisory Board for Restore Small Groups.

  • Jeremy Tharp

    Partnerships & Events Director

    Close

    Jeremy Tharp

    Partnerships & Events Director

    Jeremy joined the LaunchTN team at the start of 2021 as Partnerships & Events Director to guide and create in and out of network revenue and events opportunities. As an entrepreneur himself, he is a natural fit to identify mutually beneficial partnerships for the Tennessee entrepreneurial ecosystem.

    Jeremy has worked in the entertainment industry for 12+ years with experience ranging from talent agencies to management firms, large event producers, and most recently in the brand partnerships sector. Jeremy has played a key role in the launch and success of several brand partnership agencies in Nashville and other major markets. He has led multiple national brand partnership programs and delivered quantifiable value for each. Jeremy studied entrepreneurship at Arizona State University and music business at CRAS.

  • Abby Trotter

    Interim CEO

    Close

    Abby Trotter

    Interim CEO

    Abby is excited to be serving LaunchTN as Interim CEO. She has significant experience working with the state’s startups and innovation-based economy through her work as executive director of BioTN and Life Science TN (LST). 

    Abby is also a partner at Hall Strategies, a public and government relations firm. She was a driving force behind Tennessee’s SBIR/STTR matching program, as well as the development and expansion of LaunchTN’s Mentor Network programs that now assist startups in the life science, automotive/mobility, energy and ag-tech industries.

    Abby has vast experience managing multi-faceted, complex projects that include communications, policy and advocacy, events,  membership development, fundraising, and grassroots campaigns.

    A native of Oak Ridge, Abby is a graduate of the University of Tennessee. Abby is regularly engaged in community work. She has a passion for education, the biosciences, the Nashville Zoo, Tennessee’s lakes, and hot chicken. Her husband Doug is a high school history teacher. She has two daughters, one freshman at Purdue and the other a senior at Nashville’s John Overton High School.

  • Ashlin Wildun

    Network & Talent Manager

    Close

    Ashlin Wildun

    Network & Talent Manager

    A product of the LaunchTN Internship Program herself, as well as working with The Biz Foundry and Tennessee Tech’s iCube, Ashlin has gained experience with Tennessee’s entrepreneurial ecosystem on multiple levels. Being exposed to the innovation and entrepreneurship program in college ignited Ashlin’s love of ideation and collaboration, working to ensure entrepreneurs thrive as a founder at any stage.

    As LaunchTN’s Market Building Manager, Ashlin has the opportunity to connect our Network Partners across the state, support university engagement and manage various initiatives at the organization. Ashlin is a Tennessee native and earned her undergraduate degree in Finance and Economics and an MBA concentrated in Information Systems from Tennessee Tech University. She enjoys venturing outdoors with her pup, water skiing and scuba diving with her family, and trying too many Pinterest crafts and recipes.

Board of Directors

  • Bob Rolfe

    Commissioner Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development (Chairman)

    Read Bio
  • Calvin Anderson

    President

    Clear Strategies Group

    Read Bio
  • A.J. Bahou

    Partner

    Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP

    Read Bio
  • Tom Ballard

    Chief Alliance Officer

    Pershing Yoakley & Associates (Emeritus)

    Read Bio
  • Alan Bentley

    Assistant Vice Chancellor

    Center for Technology Transfer & Commercialization Vanderbilt University

    Read Bio
  • Stephen Crawford

    Senior Vice President & Chief Technology Officer

    Eastman Chemical Company

    Read Bio
  • Bruce Doeg

    Shareholder

    Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz (Emeritus)

    Read Bio
  • Shawn Glinter

    Founder & Chief Executive Officer

    Pendant Biosciences, Inc.

    Read Bio
  • Marci Harris

    Chief Executive Officer

    POPVOX

    Read Bio
  • Dr. H.M. “Hash” Hashemian

    President & Chief Executive Officer

    Analysis and Measurement Services Corporation

    Read Bio
  • Rep. Patsy Hazlewood

    Tennessee General Assembly

    Read Bio
  • Rep. Susan Lynn

    Tennessee General Assembly

    Read Bio
  • Kristina Montague

    Managing Partner

    The JumpFund

    Read Bio
  • Dr. Brian Noland

    President

    East Tennessee State University

    Read Bio
  • Dawn Patrick

    Managing Partner

    Cherry Bekaert

    Read Bio
  • Dr. Stacey Patterson

    Vice President for Research, Outreach and Economic Development

    University of Tennessee, Knoxville

    Read Bio
  • Julia Polk

    Chief Strategy Officer

    Decode Health

    Read Bio
  • Denny Wayne Robinson

    County Executive

    White County Tennessee

    Read Bio
  • David S. Waddell

    President, Chief Executive Officer & Chief Investment Strategist

    Waddell and Associates, LLC.

    Read Bio
  • Sen. Bo Watson

    Tennessee General Assembly

    Read Bio
  • Marcus Whitney

    Managing Partner

    Jumpstart Nova

    Read Bio
  • Frank Williamson

    Founder & CEO

    Oaklyn Consulting

    Read Bio
  • Dr. Thomas Zacharia

    Laboratory Director

    Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    Read Bio
Upcoming Board Meetings:

Thursday, Oct. 21 10:00 am.m – 12:00 p.m., CT

Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., CT

Thursday, Apr. 21, 2022 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., CT

 

Our Board Meetings are open to the public.

 

To join virtually, please email info@launchtn.org to request Zoom details.