President, NextCorps, Inc.
Years in current role: 13
What do you enjoy most about your role?
There are so many things about my job that I enjoy, and that I am grateful for. Here are some of the top ones:
– Every day is different, with new challenges and new opportunities to explore
– I get to work with a very talented, creative, and passionate team, and an amazing network of collaborative partners
– We have dozens of client companies developing things like clean energy technologies, optics & imaging products, medical devices, food and ag technologies, software platforms, and many others… how fun is that to be around every day?
– The work is fulfilling and rewarding, knowing that we are helping make an impact on the community that will hopefully last for generations to come
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve dealt with over the past year?
Just like in 2020, the biggest challenge in 2021 was dealing with the COVID pandemic. Fortunately, the NextCorps team was able to flip to online program delivery pretty seamlessly early on in the pandemic, and over the past year, has continued to learn and make improvements to ensure high quality of services to our clients. The unpredictable nature of spikes in infection rates, new variants, and ever-changing rules made it difficult to plan programming, events, and even staffing policies. But fortunately, our entire team has managed through it all with flying colors. We’ve proven we can work 100% in person, 100% remote, or any combination in between and the show will go on, and with high quality delivery. We are ready for whatever 2022 has to throw at us!
What has been your organization’s biggest success over the past year?
Our biggest success was probably the launch of the new Embark software accelerator program. After listening to the community’s call for more support of software startups, we were able to secure funding from the U.S. EDA to get Embark off the ground. Embark is unique in many ways — the goal is to help non-technical founders build B2B software companies — without them needing to have any coding skills (instead, they are taught how to use “no-code” tools). They also don’t have to quit their day jobs to participate in the program, and they have access to dozens of interns from RIT and U of R, as well as numerous partners including venture funds, legal and accounting firms, and local software companies. Phase 1 of the program is now complete, and we can’t wait to see the progress during Phase 2!