There are two things we believe about success: If you’ve had any success you were probably
helped by someone who went before you. And, giving of yourself is the single the greatest act of
learning you can do for yourself. If you believe what we believe, become a mentor.
Our community of successful entrepreneurs and industry experts are
passionate about helping startups on their journey to growth.
Become a Mentor
- Meet 1x week for 12 weeks.
- Guide startups as they test assumptions, build out product, and gather customer feedback.
- Facilitate connections with industry experts and potential customers.
Subject Matter Expert
- Meet with cohort companies on an as-needed basis.
- Provide industry depth & expertise.
- Educate founders on issues such as HR, legal, and accounting.
As Executive Director, Monique worked with the Board to launch 757 Angels. Since launching in 2015, 757 Angels has grown to one of the larger angel groups in the country with over 100 members/investors and injected over $20 Million of capital into startup and early stage companies. Through 757 Angels’ regional platform, Monique has leadership roles in building and strengthening the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Monique has an extensive financial services background with senior finance positions at both the Bank of America in Norfolk and JP Morgan Chase in New York City and Los Angeles. Monique’s educational background includes an undergraduate Business degree from the University of Southern California. Monique resides in Virginia Beach with her husband Scott and 2 daughters.
CEO, On Course Solutions LLC
As CEO of On Course Solutions LLC, Steve has extensive experience and expertise evaluating and securing new business opportunities. For over 25 years he’s provided business development in the aerospace, defense, & maritime marketplaces, working in multiple technology sectors, logitics IT, systems integration and technology commercialization.
Executive Vice President, TowneBank
Buffy Barefoot is an Executive Vice President and Senior Credit Administrator for TowneBank. She has extensive experience in commercial banking including lending, loan decisioning and credit administration. Her background includes specialized lending and financing of large not-for-profit organizations and healthcare.
President / Public Finance and Community Investment TowneBank February 2005 – Present (12 years)
Chairman of the Board
December 2010 – Present (6 years 2 months)Williamsburg, VA
One of the most exciting medical innovations in modern history…stay tuned!
Senior Vice President
Bank of America
July 1986 – August 2004 (18 years 2 months)
Lisa is the co-founder of 1701, Fathom Coffee, Archstone Global Solutions, and Port & Starboard LLC. She specializes in operations, technology, data management, government contracting, and digital marketing.
Shareholder, Wall, Einhorn & Chernitzer, P.C.
Paul, a Virginia Beach native, has provided tax and consulting services through international and regional firms for more than 30 years. He has thriving practices in the areas of succession planning and strategic tax consulting, and has focused expertise in the technology and hospitality industries.
Jonathan C. Dunsmoor, Esq
Securities Attorney, Law Office of Jonathan C. Dunsmoor
Jonathan is a New York licensed attorney who practices in the area of securities and corporate law. He works with startups to publicly traded companies by providing legal counsel for traditional capital raises such as Direct Public Offerings and Initial Coin Offerings under federal law.
Karen Eagle, PhD
Karen is the Entrepreneurship Lecturer and Area Coordinator in the Strome College of Business at Old Dominion University. She is a former entrepreneur with expertise in business startup, product development, marketing, and event coordination.
Andrew (Andy) England
National Cinemedia Inc.
CEO & Director
Andy is the Chief Executive Officer of National CineMedia, the largest seller of cinema media in the U.S. He has an extensive background in Marketing and General Management, including Chief Marketing Officer of MillerCoors and VP, Marketing of OpenTable, Inc. His private investments include Trunk Club, Fireclay Tile, Luxury Garage Sale, and Koia. Andy holds an MBA from Stanford University.
Executive Director, VT KnowledgeWorks
Jim Flowers is a veteran of over four decades of service as a senior executive and consultant to technology based startups. Under Jim’s leadership, VT KnowledgeWorks established itself as Virginia’s institutional leader in programs to support creative entrepreneurship as a driver of economic development. In 2017, Jim published his second book for prospective entrepreneurs of all ages and in all potential businesses. Jim has served on the boards of the Virginia Community Economic Network, the Roanoke- Blacksburg Technology Council, and of the Virginia Business Incubation Association, including three years as its President. He received his BA from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT and his MBA from the William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Rochester, in Rochester NY.
Executive Vice President, Landmark Media Enterprises, LLC
Rusty Friddell is Executive Vice President of Landmark Media Enterprises, LLC in Norfolk, VA, a position he has held since 1999. His primary area of responsibility is Corporate Development. Mr. Friddell holds an A.B. in Economics and Political Science from Princeton University magna cum laude, and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.
Frank Buddy Gadams
President, Marathon Development Group
Graduated James Madison University and JMU Board of Visitors July 2018-2022
Founding Member of the Virginia Chapter of YPO
Founded Marathon Development Group.. completed half a billion dollars of new construction and adaptive reuse of retail, office, apartments, condos, marinas and homes. Largest private owner of real estate in Norfolk.
Jonathan V. Gallo, Esq.
Of Counsel – Vandeventer Black LLP
Jonathan is an attorney with extensive government experience who specializes in data privacy and security issues as well as issues and contracts related to information technology and software development. He also has experience managing software implementation projects, strategic planning, and business plan development.
Lucy Gibney, MD
Medical Director, Beaufort CRO
Lucy is a board-certified Emergency Physician who successfully built a national specialty food brand and mid-sized food manufacturing operation. Currently, Lucy is the Medical Director at Beaufort CRO, a global contract research organization headquartered in Norfolk, VA.
Nancy L. Grden, MRP, MBA
ODU, Strome Center for Entrepreneurship
Nancy is the first Executive Director of the Strome Entrepreneurial Center at Old Dominion University. She has an extensive background in entrepreneurship, development, and marketing across several business sectors and the public sector. She is co-founder and former General Manager for Genomind, Inc., a neuroscience biotech company. She held senior executive positions with Amerigroup (now Anthem), ValueOptions (now Beacon Health), and Bank of America, and has lead start-ups as CEO for Lifescape, LLC, a pioneer in web-based behavioral health care, among others. She advises, coaches, or serves as a board member to start-up/new companies, b-corps, and new business incubators and was appointed to the Virginia Governor’s Council on Youth Entrepreneurship and the University of South Carolina Faber Entrepreneurship Center Advisory Board. Nancy holds a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina, an MBA from the University of South Carolina, and a BA in Economics from Bucknell University.
Raymond A. Gromelski, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President, Gromelski & Associates, Inc.
Raymond holds a Ph. D. in Urban Service, with specializations in public administration and education. He founded Gromelski & Associates in 1989 to provide services for major government contractors. Raymond has experience in business planning and development, marketing, financial management, and proposal development. He has also written several business plans for start-up, acquisition, and expansion.
CFO and Managing Partner, OSHAkits.com
Owen leads business development and finance at OSHAKits.com, a leading provider of inflectional control products for the foodservice industry. Before OSHAKits, Owen was a part of the acquisition team at Landmark Communications with a focus on managed services and fixed wireless opportunities. Owen earned an MBA from UVA and is a former public accounting CPA.
Porter Hardy, IV
President, Smartmouth Brewing Co.
Porter is a Hampton Roads native and holds an undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt and a law degree from Washington & Lee. After years of dreaming of opening his own brewery, Porter left his career as a lawyer and, with a group of like-minded individuals, founded Smartmouth Brewing in 2012.
Executive Director, Alan B. Miller Entrepreneurship Center
Raymond A. Mason School of Business
College of William and Mary
Graham Henshaw is a Clinical Professor at the College of William and Mary’s Raymond A. Mason School of Business and Executive Director of the Alan B. Miller Entrepreneurship Center. Prior to joining William and Mary, Graham was the Director of Venture Development at NRV – a Richmond-based venture capital firm investing in early-stage socially-driven startups. Graham has a diverse background in product development, Fortune 500 strategic consulting, and entrepreneurship.
Helen S. Heselius
Eastern Virginia Medical School
Helen serves as Assistant Vice President of Finance of EVMS and Assistant Treasurer of EVMS Foundation. She has many years of experience dedicated to budget development, financial reporting, and grants management including research that has generated intellectual property, licenses and royalty distributions.
Fractional Chief Marketing Officer, Inscoe Consulting LLC.
Varoon Jain (VJ)
Sales & Growth Solutions
VJ works in business development at local award-winning digital creative agency TechArk. With a background in Silicon Valley startups, he has a knack for identifying a business’s pain points and connecting them with tangible digital and marketing solutions. His passion for fostering personal and professional growth are beneficial to all who work with him—clients, colleagues, and management.
Senior Executive Director
Marty Kaszubowski is a Senior Executive Director within Old Dominion University’s Division of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, which offers a range of integrated business and commercialization services to companies of all sizes and stages of growth. Marty founded the Hampton Roads Technology Incubator in late-1998, and has been involved in the region’s entrepreneurial community ever since as a manager, consultant, advisor, and investor.
Manager of Data Science, Homes.com
Patrick is Manager of Data Science at Homes.com. He earned his PhD in ecology at UC Davis where he developed his analytical skills to conduct quantitive ecological research in academia, government, and private consulting. Now he’s shifted gears to lead a team of data scientists at Norfolk’s own Homes.com.
Founder & CEO
Pratik Kothari founded the award-winning digital creative agency TechArk in 2012, after earning a Master’s in Computer Science. He first served as the Chief Technology Officer for a successful real estate company before branching out on his own entrepreneurial adventure. In just six years, the company has more than doubled in size, acquired an office in downtown Norfolk, and won some big-name RFPs. Pratik is a member of the Board of Start wheel, as well as the Entrepreneurs Organization, and stays active in the Hampton Roads community.
Ned co-founded xTuple, an enterprise software company, in 2001 after working in technology and corporate venture capital for many years. He grew up in Norfolk, spent his 20s in the NYC and DC areas, and has now raised two children here. He’s very interested in growing and diversifying our local business base.
SVP, Operations and Corporate Development, J Walter Thompson Company (JWT)
Rishap brings over 15 years of global experience in Strategy, Marketing, M&A, and Media. He currently leads global strategy, operation, and acquisitions at JWT. As an entrepreneur, he has built numerous businesses and has a knack of matching the right talent and emerging opportunities. Previously, he was a business journalist and producer with CNBC-India. Rishap is a William and army MBA Alum and currently resides in Virginia Beach, VA.
Innovation Advocate, Zel Technologies
Aazia (Aaz) Mickens-Dessaso is the Innovation Advocate for Zel Technologies. She specializes in business and product strategy for early stage companies using the Lean methodology to promote continuous innovation and sustainable growth.
Zack Miller pioneered the startup evolution in the 757 a decade ago and is the author of “Anomaly: How To Finally Stand Out From The Crowd” and host of “Zack Miller Says”.
Independent Consultant, Resource & Business Coach
JR gained a comprehensive set of professional experiences from working as a senior leader at a Fortune50 company for over 24 years and after launching several private business ventures both in Colorado and in New Mexico. Most recently, he’s been retained as a marketing consultant for a real estate agency and an energy-related tech company in Virginia Beach.
Daniel R. Morris
Technology Innovation Center
Daniel R. Morris, J.D. L.L.M is the founder and co-chair of the Hampton Roads Unmanned Systems Alliance and the Executive Director of REaKTOR BTIC at the National Institute of Aerospace. As a seasoned entrepreneur with a history of successful startup and exits, he focuses on the high potential growth in businesses in the unmanned systems field.
Managing Principal, DTM Consulting LLC.
David currently serves as an independent director on boards for businesses in the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Japan after a 40 year tenure with McDonalds Corporations, domestic and international. His areas of expertise are restaurant operations, franchising, talent development, site selection, strategic planning, and capital investment.
Attorney at Law, Price Benowitz LLP
A prolific “deal” attorney, Mr. Nied helps his clients form, grow and buy and sell companies. His national and international practice focuses on corporate and securities, mergers and acquisitions, debt and equity financings and intellectual property projects. Mr. Nied also has extensive experience handling joint ventures, fund formation, licensing agreements, SAAS contracts, development agreements and supply agreements.
Executive Director, Lighthouse Labs
Todd is the founder and Executive Director of Lighthouse Labs. Over the past 20 years his experience includes founding and working for four different technology startups, business development specialist, product manager, and CTO. He has a strong passion for helping new startups get moving in the right direction.
Founder & CEO, BeachVend Inc.
Brittany has founded and grown the largest exclusively healthy vending operation in Virginia, feeding over 25,000 children everyday. She is also a founder of Where2Wheel.com, the nation’s largest database of off-roading locations. Her expertise include generating exposure on social media platforms, niche markets, and operations management.
Founder & CEO, Where2Wheel LLC.
David has founded two successful companies with his wife Brittany before the age of 30 (BeachVend & Where2Wheel). He finds his strengths to be in developing and implementing the company’s guiding vision/mission along with introducing big impact creative solutions.
PC&A Business Environments
Susan has owned her business since she was 26 years old and has brought it through two recessions by looking forward towards current and evolving market trends. She has served on several non profit boards as well as on the Norfolk TowneBank board. The experience of running a business and serving in leadership positions on boards has afforded Susan valuable insight and education in marketing, business development, and managing financial challenges and needs.
Founder and CEO, ODUrent
Thanos Polizos is a founder and President of ODUrent, a real estate investment firm providing off campus housing to students of Old Dominion University. He patiently bootstrapped and renovated over 100 perimeter properties, housing 900+ students. He also acquired and renovated 5 apartment complexes with 250 units, 5 small condo conversion projects and a 295 self-storage facility.
Prior, he spent the 1990’s as a Mechanical Engineer at NASA/Lockheed, Dresser/Ingersoll, Flowserve, Cooper Automotive and finally at Energy Recovery. At startup Energy Recovery, he designed 3 manufacturing facilities, implemented ISO9000 quality standards and applied for 3 design patents, thus teeing up the company for a successful IPO on the Nasdaq as ERII.
Paul Robinson, Ph.D.
Executive Director, RISE
Dr. Robinson is currently the Executive Director of RISE, a non-profit organization dedicated to developing innovative technologies in the resilience sector. Norfolk Virginia, where RISE is based, is one of the country’s communities most threatened by sea level rise. Funded at $10M, RISE aims to grow resilience-related businesses in the local area and assist in access to the worldwide market for their technologies.
Dr. Robinson is the founder and CEO of AeroTech Research, a company specializing in weather hazard detection for aircraft. Dr. Robinson is also Senior Advisor to Focus Investment Bank, in the areas of Government, Aerospace, and Defense. He is also a member of a local angel investment group 757 Angels, and Abundance 360. He also works with several startups in technical and managerial roles.
Tim is the President of Arcphor, a locally based firm that works with two primary focuses. The first focus is working with early stage startups and small businesses to help them start, grow, and scale. The second focus is to energize larger and more established businesses by helping them think and operate in a more youthful and nimble manner…like a startup! Time brings more than 20 years of experience in Business Development, Marketing, Entrepreneurism, and Information Technology.
Owner, Three Sheep Consulting, LLC
Marla Schuchman has spent the last decade assisting startups and technology companies with customer development and go to market strategies. Her diverse global experience includes ARX (acquired by Docusign), Wix, and Virginia Beach based 7 Cups of Tea (YCombinator S2013). She owns Three Sheep Consulting, a fractional CMO firm that works with early-stage entrepreneurs and their teams on everything from prototyping to pitching investors.
Executive Director, StartWheel.org Co-owner/Co-founder of Cure Coffeehouse
As Executive Director of StartWheel.org, Chris is committed to bringing entrepreneurs, resources, and capital providers together to develop a more connected entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Hampton Roads region. As a business owner himself (Cure Coffeehouse), he exhibits a sincere passion for helping other entrepreneurs find success and for growing the regional startup ecosystem. Chris holds a BSBA in Finance & Economics from ODU, an MBA from the University of Louisville, and spent five years at Merrill Lynch before starting his entrepreneurial journey.
Director, Virginia ICAP
Bob has over 30 years of experience in innovation and entrepreneurship. He is currently the Director of ICAP, a program of the Virginia Small Business Development Center Network. ICAP helps technology startups develop commercialization paths and business models using Lean Startup methods. Bob also serves as the Chairman of CollegeFactual.com, a leading college ranking website. He has also held senior management positions at Congressional Quarterly and America Online, and was the founder and CEO of the first nation-wide online city guide, Digital City. As an executive, angel investor, and advisor he has helped companies in e-commerce, e-governemtn, identity management, publishing, geospatial analysts, data science, and local media. Boob received a BA from USC and his MBA from GWU. He is a veteran of the US Navy.
Jean M. Stallard, Esq., CPCM
Of Counsel – Vandeventer Black LLP
Jean was co-founder, VP and GC of an NYSE-listed energy company and served as in-house counsel at multiple Fortune 500 corporations. She specializes in commercial, corporate and securities law, ADR, venture capital, corporate purchasing and energy sector operations.
President, Tidewater Business Financing Corporation
Brent Swanson is President of Tidewater Business Financing Corporation. He is responsible for the effective management of Tidewater’s business development, strategic sales objectives and planning, and growth of the company, as a whole. He is a graduate of Appalachian State University with a Bachelors in Business Administration as well as a graduate of East Carolina University with a Masters degree in Business Administration.
Managing Partner, Tanyag & Company
Arnel Tanyag is Business Advisor and Business Consultant with Tanya & Company. He has been helping small businesses grow in Hampton Roads for over 20 years. He specializes in business development, especially in areas of word-of-mouth, referrals, and networking, as well as hiring and retaining the right talent for your team and process mapping workflows for operations and delivery of a product and/or service. Arnel has a unique skill to determine clarity and focus amid the chaos of scaling a business.
CEO and Executive Creative Director, Grow
Drew Ungvarsky is the CEO and executive creative director of Grow, one of the top digital agencies in the world. Under Drew’s leadership, Grow has created award-winning digital marketing campaigns for leading brands like Google, adidas, Spotify, and EA Games. He serves on the board of multiple community organizations including the Downtown Norfolk Council, the Friends of the Elizabeth River Trail Foundation, Re:Vision Norfolk, StartWheel, and RISE.
Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, DroneUp
Anthony Vittone is a lawyer and seasoned business executive. As COO, Anthony is responsible for finance, investor relations, sales, marketing, legal, HR and contract fulfillment. Previously, he was senior vice president of Swimways Corp. in Virginia Beach, Va., the outdoor products division of SpinMaster Ltd., a publicly traded Canadian company. Anthony is a ‘double Spider’ receiving a B.A. in 1990 and a law degree in 1993 from the University of Richmond and received an MBA from The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia in 2011.