Portfolio Executive, Hardware Sector
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
What makes you the best person for your role?
In my career prior to joining Innovation Works, I have been blessed to have a great diversity of roles in many different types of small and large companies, that I am able to leverage to advise and mentor companies in their growth stages. After graduating from Duquesne University with a BS in Business Administration and English, I joined a “startup” specialty financial consulting firm that supported litigation efforts across the country with manufacturers, utility companies, and a variety of other types of clients. Continuing my education with an MBA from CMU Tepper, I embarked on a diverse career with a Fortune 100 company, Xerox Corporation, alongside with parallel entrepreneurial endeavors leveraging my background and community understanding. My experience at Xerox included financial analysis, business development, mergers and acquisitions, and strategic planning. I then had the opportunity to return to the Pittsburgh region and lead an international manufacturer and distributor of polyurethane millwork building materials for home construction, commercial projects, and building renovation. This was very unlike a major corporation and much more entrepreneurial: I had to be chief strategist, product manager, business development director, and negotiator. I learned what it takes to build and expand long-term customer relationships; coordinate manufacturing resources between domestic capacity, a controlled Indian subsidiary, and 2 Chinese manufacturing partners; direct product development/commercialization; lead mergers, acquisitions, and exits; negotiate union contracts; develop new markets. I secured over $10 million in equity and debt funding, completed 3 acquisitions, oversaw 150 employees across 3 facilities, and a network of 100 independent sales representatives. This experience allows me to share passion and knowledge and empathy with the new pioneering technology entrepreneurs and the dedicated manufacturers of our region.
What is your favorite thing about working with startups?
I LOVE seeing the progress in all aspects of the very early stages to gaining momentum in growth. I particularly love the customer wins – it is wonderful to see the value proposition of the startups truly impact their customers!
What do you love about living and working in Pittsburgh?
I am a “boomerang” of sorts: I lived away for about 15 years and then returned to find a very vibrant, exciting place to live and work, but still the same great friendly, caring, embracing community feel. What is exciting about Pittsburgh is to see our great immersion and leadership in technology of all kinds: robotics, life sciences, materials, manufacturing advancements, to name a few. Pittsburgh is a FANTASTIC place to start a company, just an amazing ecosystem that is very supportive!
Where can we find you outside of work?
Love to be with family, hanging out, going whitewater rafting, enjoying being together.