These Mentors & Advisors Build Leaders & Companies.

The power of any accelerator program is the quality of its mentor and advisor network. Ours is world class. From investors and serial entrepreneurs to seasoned ecosystem builders; our mentors come from a broad set of backgrounds and are committed to supporting your success. This network of phenomenal humans was selected based on expertise, experience, network reach, and dedication to rural entrepreneurship. Their experience ranges from the private sector to higher education, human services and government, to healthcare, technology, financing, and more.

CME Mentors

Peter Adams
Peter AdamsManaging Director, Rockies Venture Fund
Peter Adams serves as the Managing Director of the Rockies Venture Fund, an early stage venture capital co-investment fund and as Executive Director of the Rockies Venture Club, the longest running angel investing group in the U.S. RVC is a non-profit organization furthering economic development in Colorado by connecting investors and entrepreneurs and facilitation of Colorado’s largest angel investor groups.
Learn More
Wes Anderson
Wes Anderson Fractional CFO
As a CFO, Wes Anderson is passionate about helping start-ups make sense of their numbers and prepare for the future. Wes currently provides fractional CFO services to companies in the real estate, manufacturing, SaaS, digital marketing, and BioTech spaces. He specializes in financial modeling, hiring and building finance teams, budgeting, and cashflow forecasting.
Learn More
Ashlie Arnold
Ashlie Arnold Rural Empowerment Program Manager
As the Rural Empowerment Programs Manager at Pax8, Ashlie oversees projects and programs that utilize innovative technology to enable economic growth throughout rural Colorado. With a data-driven and strategic approach, she connects Pax8 to unique talent pools throughout the state, increasing diversity within the company and technology industry.
Learn More
Jamie Billesbach
Jamie Billesbach Center Director of the Central Mountain SBDC
Jamie Billesbach, Center Director of the Central Mountain SBDC has years of experience in business and brand development, marketing vision/creation, merchandising, graphic design, training programs and special event planning and implementation. For 19 years Jamie ran her own consulting business Creative Concepts of Colorado dba Yara Innovations.
Learn More
Kelly Jean Brough
Kelly Jean BroughChief Strategy Officer, Metropolitan State University
Kelly is the former President and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, which represents more than 3,000 businesses and 400,000 employees in Colorado. In her career, she has worked to advance Coloradans through multiple capacities in the private sector, higher education, human services, and government including chief of staff to then-Mayor and now U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper.
Learn More
Eric Byington
Eric ByingtonEntrepreneur & Ecosystem Builder
Eric Byington has worked with a wide variety of economic development projects and startup initiatives across various industries throughout his career. He spent nearly 10 years working on international economic development projects in sub-Saharan Africa and Central America, specifically focusing on education and healthcare initiatives and impact investment projects in water and sanitation.
Learn More
Lorena Cantarovici
Lorena Cantarovici CEO & Founder of Maria Empanada
Lorena Cantarovici is the CEO & Founder of Maria Empanada: a Denver-based restaurant chain that earned national recognition as the leading brand of artisan empanadas in only six years. She developed an on-trend, differentiated, and highly scalable craft casual food concept, and currently has 50 employees.
Learn More
Sumanth Channabasappa
Sumanth ChannabasappaPresident, The CORE; Venture Investor
Sumanth is an executive, entrepreneur & venture investor. He has ~20 years of combined experience with incubating impactful technologies, products and services, few that are used globally with multi-billion dollar returns. His experiences have spanned mobile and internet technologies, telecom, cloud and more.
Learn More
Charlie Chupp
Charlie Chupp Founder, Chief Executive Officer Fading West
Charlie is an energetic team builder, driven to do good in the world. He believes in bold action, challenging norms, and tackling big problems. As founder and Chief Executive Officer of Fading West Development, he leads design, development, manufacturing, and construction teams into a single LEAN value stream.
Learn More
Christy Doon
Christy Doon South Central Colorado Regional Manager
Christy Doon is the Regional Manager for the Department of Local Affairs for South Central Colorado. She has worked for the State since 2006, first as program staff for the Conservation Trust Fund, Community Services and Community Development Block Grants, then as the Coordinator for the Colorado Main Street Program.
Learn More
Rachel Dixon
Rachel DixonExecutive Director, Prime Health
Rachel is an energetic leader, community builder, innovation enthusiast, telemedicine whiz, and public health nerd. In addition to her role as President and Executive Director of Prime Health, a nationally-leading health innovation ecosystem and nonprofit, she is proud to serve as a member of Colorado’s eHealth Commission.
Learn More
Drew Elder
Drew Elder Drew Elder Chief Experience Officer, Outside
Drew Elder is the Chief Experience Officer at Outside, where he and his team focus on deeply understanding the client and driving memorable live, offline, and online experiences that create member loyalty, brand affinity, and measurable results. Over one million people a year take part in events and experiences that are owned, operated, or serviced by Outside.
Learn More
Cory Finney
Cory FinneyCo-Founder, Greater Colorado Venture Fund
Cory Finney is a 6th generation Coloradan from Durango. He started his first company, SnowGate, while completing his undergraduate degree at CU Boulder. After selling that company, he spent several years as Entrepreneur in Residence at a Boulder based accelerator. In 2017, Cory co-founded his first venture fund, Kokopelli Capital.
Learn More
Michael Gellman
Michael GellmanExecutive Chairman at Kin + Carta
Michael Gellman is Executive Chairman at Kin + Carta, which acquired
Spire Digital, the digital transformation firm he founded and operated
since 1998. In addition to his work supporting K+C, he is an active
investor, advisor, author, and indie rock dadfluencer.
Learn More
Taylor Grande
Taylor GrandeDirector, Startup Colorado
Taylor Grande currently serves as the Director of Partnerships & Ecosystem Development for Startup Colorado, an organization dedicated to ensuring rural Colorado founders, entrepreneurs and startups have access to the resources they need to start and scale businesses in the places they call home.
Learn More
Pete Kinser
Pete KinserCo-Founder of ThinkWyn
Pete Kinser is the Co-Founder of the Strategic Design firm ThinkWyn. The firm’s focus is to serve as the connector for innovation, leadership, and strategy. He partners with Startups and Fortune 500 leaders to build skilled teams, scalable processes, and systems rooted in design-led innovation.
Learn More
Thomas Knoll
Thomas KnollFounder & CEO, The Innovators CoLab
Thomas Knoll is an entrepreneur and business professional with a track record of success in diverse environments. He has international business experience across multiple industries including corporate innovation management and consulting, technology, e-commerce, outdoor and sports equipment.
Learn More
Nathan T. Lawrence
Nathan T. LawrenceAttorney & Founder, Principle Law
Nathan Lawrence provides solutions for innovative small businesses and startups. Nathan uses his years of experience as a business owner to help entrepreneurs use the law as a tool to realize their goals. Nathan’s practice focuses on helping his clients to form and organize their businesses, protect their intellectual property, draft and implement business to business and consumer sales agreements, and litigate disputes.
Learn More
Elizabeth Marsh
Elizabeth Marsh Executive Director at SOUTHWEST COLORADO ACCELERATOR PROGRAM FOR ENTREPRENEURS
Elizabeth Marsh is a Fort Lewis College Business Administration graduate. She has an extensive understanding of the region’s resources for economic growth and the experience necessary to leverage these resources for new business development. She has overseen the creation of 31 new businesses in Southwest Colorado and has built the SCAPE accelerator program into an award-winning, results-oriented engine for innovation and growth.
Learn More
Tim Martinez
Tim MartinezFounder, The Lobby @ the Palace Hotel
Over the last couple of decades, Tim Martinez has actively supported Colorado’s economic development initiatives, most recently at the City and County of Denver. He has helped recruit some of the state’s largest corporate headquarter relocations, and founded several accelerator programs.
Learn More
Tricia Meyer
Tricia MeyerFounder, Meyer Law
Tricia Meyer is Founder + Managing Attorney of Meyer Law, one of the fastest growing law firms in the United States. Meyer helps entrepreneurs and technology companies from startups to large corporations with day-to-day matters and notable clients include companies that have appeared on Shark Tank to companies gracing the Inc. 500, and much more.
Learn More
Matt Pesce
Matt PesceManaging Partner of Resilient Growth Partners
Matt’s specialty is helping technology- and innovation-led B2B companies grow and scale, with expertise in strategy, product, marketing, business development and international expansion. Having led growth initiatives for organizations from startups to the Fortune 100, he is able to help scaleup companies grow effectively without losing the ability to adapt and innovate quickly.
Learn More
Wendell Pryor
Wendell PryorColorado Economic Development Commission
Wendell Pryor retired as the Director of the Chaffee County Economic Development Corporation on June 30, 2021 after 12 years. He has been an Adjunct Professor/Lecturer with the University of Colorado School Of Public Affairs for over 20 years, and Senior Fellow for Diversity and Inclusion.
Learn More
Adrian Reif
Adrian ReifSerial Entrepreneur
Adrian is a serial entrepreneur with 13 years business building experience. His first company, Yumbutter, became a leading socially conscious food brand in the US. Adrian’s work focuses on regenerative business & building a better world. He and his wife live in Salida, CO and love spending time on bikes, skis, and SUPs and at the farmer’s market.
Learn More
Jake Rishavy
Jake RishavyExecutive Director, Chaffee County EDC
Jake Rishavy has led economic development organizations and initiatives in Colorado for more than a decade and currently leads the Chaffee County EDC. His previous work includes co-founding two Denver-based nonprofit entrepreneurial ecosystems: Prime Health, aimed at facilitating the growth of Colorado-based health tech companies; and the Colorado Smart Cities Alliance, facilitating public private partnerships to deploy emerging technology.
Learn More
Michael Robinson
Michael RobinsonEntrepreneur, Technologist, Global Leader, Mentor & Investor
Michael Robinson possesses a rich history of global executive leadership in telecom infrastructure operations and engineering, technology innovation, corporate security and fraud detection, banking and business risk management. He was a pioneer in the deployment of land and sea based fiber optic systems, where he collaborated on the development and implementation of the first transcontinental U.S. fiber network and most of the submarine fiber optic systems that span the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans as well as the China Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, connecting over 128 countries.
Learn More
Brian Rose
Brian Rose Deputy Director, Region 9 Economic Development District of SW CO
Brian joined Region 9 Economic Development District of SW CO, Inc. in early 2018, after spending the previous fifteen years as a commercial lender in community banking in Chaffee and La Plata Counties. Joining a non-profit lender was a natural transition as the mission was in alignment with Brian’s personal desires to find creative ways to help and assist small business owners as they strive to achieve their dreams.
Learn More
Oli Sanidas
Oli SanidasExecutive Director Arapahoe Libraries, Co-Founder of The OAK Journal Method
Oli is very experienced in supporting entrepreneurs, especially when working with local governments and the public sector. He has worked for over 18 years in public libraries, where he is currently the Executive Director of Arapahoe Libraries. He has worked with numerous initiatives to position libraries as partners to entrepreneurs, helping them understand the unique opportunities available to them at their local library.
Learn More
Will Sarni
Will Sarni Founder and CEO Water Foundry, LLC and Colorado River Basin Fund
Will Sarni is the founder and CEO of Water Foundry a water strategy consultancy. He is also the CEO of the Colorado River Basin Fund, the first placed-based water technology venture fund in the United States. He has been a sustainability and water strategy advisor to multinationals, water technology companies, investors, and non-governmental organizations for his entire career.
Learn More
Josef Scarantino
Josef ScarantinoHubSpot Ventures
Josef Scarantino is a self-described empathic founder coach, trusted advisor, and early-stage investor with extensive experience as a 3x founder, mentor, educator, and program director. While currently at HubSpot Ventures, he previously ran a global fintech accelerator for Techstars.
Learn More
Sumer Sorensen-Bain
Sumer Sorensen-Bain CEO, Business Excellence Group LLC
Sumer Sorensen-Bain has over 25 years of direct MEP management with 25 years in manufacturing consulting. Sumer is the CEO of an international consulting firm that focuses on consulting the MEP national network and local companies called the Business Excellence Group. Their clients range from manufacturing, healthcare, service industry, and government and focused on a holistic model of optimizing the entire business.
Learn More
Todd Stockbauer
Todd StockbauerFounder, Stockbauer & Associates
Todd Stockbauer started Stockbauer & Associates in late 2008 to provide financial, operational and administrative/cultural guidance and expertise to early stage and less mature brands. He operates as a CFO, COO, strategist, advisor and partner to brands in the sports (apparel and hard goods), retail, alcohol beverage and food industries.
Learn More
Chuck Sullivan
Chuck SullivanExecutive Director, The Wright
A Colorado-based nonprofit organization, The Wright helps shape the economic and cultural vitality of our western communities by bringing together place-makers and innovators to awaken ideas, unlock new partnerships, and celebrate the wins.
Learn More
Tyler Svitak
Tyler SvitakExecutive Director, Colorado Smart Cities Alliance
Tyler Svitak has built his career solving problems at the intersection of technology, urbanism and partnership. Tyler has held strategic roles advancing electric, connected, and automated mobility initiatives bringing new technologies to market at the City and County of Denver, Colorado Department of Transportation, and more.
Learn More
Koel Thomae
Koel Thomae Co-Founder of Noosa Yoghurt
Koel Thomae is the co-founder of Noosa Yoghurt, a creamy and delicious yoghurt like no other. On a trip home to Australia, Koel discovered a locally made yoghurt at a corner shop, and one taste sparked an obsession that would ultimately change her life. Inspired to bring the best tasting yoghurt to the United States, she founded Noosa in 2009.
Learn More
Joe Thurman
Joe ThurmanCo-Founder and CEO, interviewIA
Joe is an entrepreneur, community leader, and talent expert who is currently the founder and CEO of interviewIA of, a VC-backed SaaS company focused on transforming the hiring process via data and machine learning. Being in the talent and HR technology space for over 15 years, Joe has a passion for people and helping them to find meaning and purpose in the work that they do. Joe has helped hundreds of teams reimagine the way that they attract, engage and build great teams. Prior to his current venture, Joe founded an HR Consultancy and DEI training company that supported both startups and fortune 250 companies.
Learn More
John Vandewalle
John VandewalleChief Executive Officer | Lumen Touch
John Vandewalle MD MBA BSc(Hons) has held numerous executive positions and is currently a serial entrepreneur and investor. He has several companies including Lumen Touch, iNTouch Consulting, Living Arts Space and Blue Apple Trends. He also sits on the boards of several for-profit and not-for-profit organizations.
Learn More
Robbie Vitrano
Robbie Vitrano CEO & Founder of Innisfree, Good Spread Peanut Butter and Idea Village
I am fundamentally a designer. My hometown of New Orleans taught me how to see the world as a complex place and creative problem in which to participate (“…the flowering of creative intelligence”). Boulder has been generous, sharing its abundance of intellect, intention, consciousness, and accomplishment.
Learn More

Join Your Startup Community

Sign up for our eNewsletter for updates on Central Mountain Entrepreneurs and the Ascent Accelerator.

Thank you for your message. It has been sent.
There was an error trying to send your message. Please try again later.