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Leadership Team

Bob Nelson

Co-Founder & CEO
The Venture Mentoring Team

Tom Mersch

Partner, Kelley Kronenberg

Jim Ryan


Terri-Ann Brown

Director of Community Development
VMT Membership Committee

Bob Dakin

Chairman, Membership Committee

Farrell Foster

Director of Diversity
VMT Membership Committee

Howard McCarley

VMT Mentor
Co-Director of Mentor Development

Terence Bentley

Founding Mentor
Co-Director of Mentor Development

Roger Hoss

Roger Hoss

Chief Evangelist
VMT Membership Committee
President, Design & Company


Working with The Venture Mentoring Team has been nothing short of revolutionary for my startup, ReefVitalize. Every mentor on my team has been dedicated to helping me pursue my goals, keeping me on track, and providing extraordinary insight to push my venture to its next step.

Recently, I was awaiting the approval of an international research permit to launch our pilot location, which had been taking an extended period of time. I was starting to get nervous about the launch timeline when my mentors reached out to their networks to see if anyone had connections within the department where I was seeking permits. Within three weeks, VMT Mentor Jennifer Hudson, had not only pinpointed a mutual connection who knew a key member of this department, but was able to help push through the approval of this permit and officially kick off almost three years of hard work. Without her and the rest of my mentorship team, my startup would not be where it is today, and I am so grateful to be able to continue this journey with them.

Brenna Bales


The VMT has been an invaluable resource for the Cerus Performance team. The varied experience of our mentors has given us insight in marketing, finance, operations and more. The VMT has created a safe space where we can share our struggles and successes with no judgement. We always leave our meetings with ideas we hadn’t thought of before and we feel excited and inspired. Summer Kusel is an awesome team lead who is encouraging and positive. Bob Nelson and Bob Dakin both have a vast amount of knowledge and always introduce high-level concepts for us to consider. Nelson Telemaco is thoughtful with his ideas. Ruth Brophy is a rockstar with finances. Christine Arnholt is creative and knowledgeable about our industry. It feels fantastic to have The VMT’s support and guidance.

Jeff Evans


Florida Atlantic University

The path taken by entrepreneurs is never a straight line and is full of twists and turns that often require expertise and guidance from professionals outside of the organization. We at 2nd Vault could not be more grateful and appreciative of the time and knowledge provided to us by the Venture Mentoring Team. Every minute spent with our mentoring team is time well spent and invested. The VMT mentoring team is a perfectly crafted group of professionals that all have meaningful direction and insights to provide. The VMT mentors keep us focused on what is in front of us systematically, helping to lead our company to scale. We feel so fortunate to have been selected as mentees of the VMT and hope to pay it forward in the future.  Thank you for all you do and the impact you have on start-up founders, as there is no price one could ever assign to the value we have received.

Kevin C. Cox, phD, MSE

Senior Instructor and Assistant Director

Elevate Together

Office Depot initiated the Elevate Together program in 2021 partnering with The Venture Mentoring Team, the National Urban League and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to deliver impactful, measurable and scalable support services that foster business creation and growth opportunities for Black and Hispanic businesses.

It has been an honor to partner with the Venture Mentoring Team during Elevate Together’s launch and early stages. Their mentoring methodology and training set a high bar, and their mentors have been invaluable to our Elevate Together grant recipients.

We look forward to the VMT’s continued work with Urban League affiliates, Hispanic Chambers and other community partners to provide mentoring services to minority-owned small businesses as they grow and expand their mentoring services.

Sharu Goodwyn

National Manager, Community Investment, Elevate Together

Alex Price

National Director, Community Investment / Co-Leader, Diversity Council