Thanks to the generosity of the Everyday Entrepreneur Venture Fund, HCC was selected to provide a matching $500,000 seed fund to everyday entrepreneurs.. This group of high-impact, engaged professionals helps guide the funding opportunities for entrepreneurs.
Dan Bavaro, Founder & CEO of Bavaro Hospitality, Inc.
Since 2005, Bavaro Hospitality has operated several Italian restaurants in the Tampa Bay area that create homemade masterpieces with fresh ingredients and Italian wood fired ovens. They package their own line of gourmet pasta sauces and distribute them nationally to top retailers such as Whole Foods and Costco. Prior to founding Bavaro’s in 2009, Dan and his wife Anna-Maria and their five children, lived in New Jersey where Dan started a luxury transportation business which grew into one of the top in the area, chauffeuring some of the most wealthy and famous celebrities in the world.
Randy Blass, Ph.D., Executive Director, Jim Moran Institute of Global Entrepreneurship
Executive Director of the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship and a Jim Moran Professor in the College of Business at Florida State University, Dr. Blass is also the Executive Director of the College's Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) program and the Center for Veteran Outreach (CVO). He is also a Senior Research Fellow in the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) and recently served on the Small Business Administration’s Council on Underserved Communities. Blass is also a 25 year veteran of the USAF with extensive operational experience in training and development and tactical and strategic planning.
Bio coming soon!
Becky Corbin, Ed.D., President & CEO, National Association for Community College Education (NACCE)
NACCE is a leading non-profit membership organization dedicated to increasing entrepreneurship offerings and thinking at over 300 community colleges across the country. Prior to NACCE, Rebecca served as Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of the BCC Foundation at Burlington County College. Under her leadership, Dr. Corbin launched a new workforce development initiative at BCC that combined grants, philanthropy, business incubation, the corporate college, workforce development, and the Foundation under one umbrella.
Brooke Evans, CEO CFO Alliance
Brooke has more than 20 years of progressive financial management experience. She founded CFO Alliance in 2008, and since then, has grown the company significantly, serving more than 150 clients. Recently, CFO Alliance was named #1388 on the 2017 Inc. 5000’s list of fastest-growing companies in the country and #11 on the Seminole 100 list of fastest-growing businesses owned by Florida State University alumni.
Before CFO Alliance, Brooke served as CFO of a $200 million company in the construction industry. She also spent ten years in various leadership roles at Arthur Andersen and Deloitte & Touche, where she served a portfolio of audit clients, including privately-held start-up companies and multi-national Fortune 500 enterprises. Brooke began her career in public accounting after graduating from Florida State University and was an active CPA from 1999 to 2008.
Brooke has always been driven by a desire to help others around her succeed. This desire led her to pursue a speaking career, allowing her to connect with a larger audience, sharing advice, and providing guidance to fellow entrepreneurs and financial executives. In recognition of her significant leadership contributions, Deloitte selected her to be one of 20 participants in an elite fellowship program honoring leaders who reflect the qualities of intelligence, commitment, integrity, service, and leadership.
Deeply committed to the Tampa community and serving others, Brooke serves a variety of organizations, including the Florida Funders Investment Committee, ACG Tampa Bay’s Board of Directors, and previously as the Chairperson of Tampa Bay Technology Forum (TBTF) Foundation’s Tech Jam and Deloitte & Touche’s Tampa United Way Campaign.
Andy Gold, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, HCC and Co-Founder of the InLab@HCC
A long time social entrepreneur and educator. Dr. Gold is an internal entrepreneurial evangelist at Hillsborough Community College. Gold has started several businesses over the past 25 years. Prior to that, Dr. Gold had a 12 year career on Wall Street, serving several investment banks as a Senior Market Strategist.
Beth Kerly, MBA, Associate Professor, HCC and Co-Founder of the InLab@HCC
Beth is a full-time tenured business faculty member at Hillsborough Community College, and joined the adjunct faculty at the University of Tampa in 2015. In addition to her teaching activities, Kerly serves as the co-founder of the InLab@HCC. She actively works to promote and build community and business relationships for HCC and its students. Before joining HCC, Ms. Kerly founded BK Consulting, a business and marketing advisory service company. In the 1990’s, Kerly was involved in another startup, Conectiv Communications, a telecommunications service provider, where she served as the manager of innovative programs.
Lindsey Kimball, Director, Economic Development, Hillsborough County
In her role as Economic Development Director, Lindsey oversees all strategic and operational aspects of the EDC which include Corporate Development, Entrepreneurial Services, Disadvantaged Minority and Small Business Development, Redevelopment, Competitive Sites, Agribusiness Development, Compliance, Business Intelligence and Tourism Development. Her leadership drives a team of professionals focused on increasing economic prosperity in the county through a wide spectrum of pro-business initiatives that are accountable and transparent. Ms. Kimball's leadership has resulted in projects announcing nearly 21,000 jobs and more than $1.7 billion in capital investment.
Lee Lowry, Director of Development, Hillsborough Community College
Ms. Lowry's past and present community leadership roles include Chair of the Hillsborough County Citizens Advisory Committee, Chair of The Junior Leagues of Florida State Public Affairs Committee, member of the Hillsborough County Commission on the Status of Women, and Mayoral Appointee to the Tampa Police Department’s Citizen Review Board. She served as 2013-2014 President of The Junior League of Tampa (JLT), the influential women’s leadership and service organization which is one of the 10 largest Leagues in the world.
Jen McDonald, Vice President Merchant Insurance Solutions
Jen McDonald graduated from the Risk & Insurance Management program in the Fox School of Business at Temple University. Jen relocated to Tampa with a large Insurance Company as a Middle Markets Property and Casualty Underwriter. In 2013 Jen her journey as an entrepreneur and property and casualty commercial insurance agent. She is active in her community having served in many leadership roles including but not limited to being a Past President of the Board of Directors for Historic Hyde Park Neighborhood Association and a former member of the South Tampa Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. She is the Chairwoman of the Hillsborough Community College Business Advisory committee and serves on the Early Entrepreneur Venture Funding Committee. In 2019, she was appointed to the Hillsborough County Citizens Advisory Committee where she serves as Vice Chair. Jen ran for Hillsborough County Commission in 2020 while she did not win the election, she laid the groundwork for a promising future. In her spare time Jen enjoys riding her beach cruiser on Bayshore Boulevard with her two Yorkies in the basket.
Steve Shear, Executive Director, Hillsborough Community College Foundation
Steve was born in Tampa and is a proud third generation Tampa native. His grandfather Lester Shear came to Tampa in 1916 and owned a pawn shop in downtown Tampa called Tampa Loan Company for 66 years. His father, David Shear, practiced law in Tampa for 52 years and was a Past President of the Florida and Hillsborough County Bar Associations. Steve has two daughters, Taylor and Laine.
Lakshmi Shenoy, CEO, Embarc Collective
Embarc Collective exists to help Tampa Bay a prime destination for diverse startup talent and to be a central landing zone for the Tampa Bay startup community. Before moving to Tampa Bay, Lakshmi lived in Chicago and served as the Vice President of Strategy & Business Development at 1871, the #1 university-affiliated business incubator in the world. Prior to 1871, Lakshmi focused on growth strategies for a variety of businesses through her work at Prophet Brand Strategy, Time Inc., Procter & Gamble and Leo Burnett. She has a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Chicago and an MBA from the Harvard Business School. Lakshmi was recognized as one of 20 Rising Brand Stars by AdAge in 2017.
Chris Taylor, CT Equity Group
Bio to be added soon.
Chip Weismiller, Principal, Everyday Entrepreneur Venture Fund
Chip Weismiller, a graduate of Entrepreneurship at Babson, has owned a wide variety of businesses and industries in agricultural biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, construction, specialty chemicals as well as working with 12 distressed companies as a turnaround specialist. In 2016 he successfully sold his international alcohol company to work with the community college population. He has personally mentored 25+ students and entrepreneurs. Chip is keenly aware of the unique challenges that traditional community college students face. He is committed full-time to help this student population make a meaningful improvement in their family economics and community connections through strategically smarter self-employment.
Stuart Weismiller, Principal, Everyday Entrepreneur Venture Fund
Stuart has a long history in financial services and consulting as an executive with industry leaders and as a Managing Partner of Marketing Tactics, Inc. (MTI), a consultancy specializing in business and marketing strategy. In addition to her consulting, Stuart has launched many consumer and B2B business ventures. She is currently President of the Board of Directors and serves on the Development Committee and the Entrepreneurship Task Force.
Stuart received her BA in psychology and studio art from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and completed Harvard Business School’s Program for Management Development.