Meet the judges.
Fifty-two independent, volunteer judges review and rank applications, interview nominees, and select the Mira Award winners as part of four-person panels for each category.
Steve Appel of Gregory & Appel Insurance, focuses his efforts on the Venture Capital/Private Equity, Technology and Life Sciences sectors, and works with many emerging growth company entrepreneurs. He is an Executive Committee/Board member of TechAssure, an organization of technology risk experts. He is also a past President and current board member of the Association for Corporate Growth, Indiana. Prior to Gregory & Appel, he worked for two portfolio companies of Santa Monica, CA-based Venture Fund/Incubator eCompanies. Earlier in his career, Steve was Legislative Director and Press Secretary for U.S. Congressman Frank Riggs, (CA-01). Steve is a Rollins College graduate, with a Masters Degree from Northwestern University.
Dave is an attorney and former big four accountant who helps companies catalyze growth and investors deploy capital. He advises clients on the legal, tax and general business issues that arise when raising capital, establishing incentive plans to encourage employee performance, entering into joint ventures and other strategic transactions, and engaging in mergers and acquisitions. His clients include technology companies of all stages, private and family-owned businesses both small and large, and both institutional and angel investors.
Appointed by Governor Eric Holcomb in 2019 to serve as Secretary of IDDC, a new quasi-government agency to brand and promote Indiana to attract and retain businesses, talent, students, and visitors. Prior to IDDC, Elaine served the Governor as President of the IEDC, appointed in 2017. Elaine is a business owner. Bedel Financial Consulting, a wealth management firm, was founded by Elaine in 1989. Lifelong Hoosier, currently residing in Indianapolis with husband, Eric. Undergraduate from Hanover College and MBA from Butler University.
Kyle Bender has long sought opportunities to blend his interests in education, policy and technology. A graduate of Wabash College, Kyle matriculated to Indianapolis through the Teach For America program, teaching in the Fountain Square neighborhood as the region's first technology corps member. He acquired over $75,000 in sponsorship and in-kind donations to fund the school's robotics team for three years. He spent several years working at Finish Line in various IT Strategy and Service Management functions before joining staff at TFA in 2016. Kyle and his wife Kathleen live in the Arden neighborhood with their dogs, Kopper and Kali.
As a seasoned and dynamic technology executive, Mitch focuses on strategic planning and aligning product-market-fit with go-to-market for a company's long-term success. He is adept at the development and execution of new business with a proven ability to formulate strategies, communicate a clear vision to lead and advise organizations. Mitch currently advises technology start-up and scale-up companies in the Midwest.
Lori Boyer is an energetic Software Engineer with a solid track record in the design, development, and deployment of cloud-based applications and possesses excellent project management skills. Over the years, she has refined her coding skills and continues to enhance her C#, VB.NET, and SQL development skills. A graduate of Indiana University, Lori is always looking to learn new technology and recently earned a nanodegree in Android Development. Lori was recognized as a member of the 2018 #Tech25 class. She was a finalist for a Leading Light Award for Outstanding Achievement in Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM) from Women & Hi Tech. She was also a TechPoint Mira Award Finalist in the Technical Services Division. Lori currently serves on the Women & Hi Tech Board of Directors. She lives in Indianapolis, with her husband, Marty.
Recognized technology leader, passionate about building technology, processes and teams to drive innovation alongside business & customer success. 2016 Indianapolis CTO of the Year leading hc1.com with the best-in-class healthcare CRM platform. Diverse technology background across a variety of technology stacks - multiple Linux and UNIX stacks as well as Windows, including enablement platforms such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google, and a variety of IaaS vendors. Purdue University graduate in Mathematics. Resides in Brownsburg with her husband, Mike and daughter, Emily.
Christopher Campbell is Senior Vice President of Product at Angie’s List. In this role, Mr. Campbell manages strategic product direction and development for Angie’s List. Prior to assuming this role in April 2016, Mr. Campbell served as the Senior Director of B2B Products of Angie’s List from January 2016. Mr. Campbell currently serves on the board of WPOA of Indiana and is involved with several local organizations including TechPoint, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Women & Hi Tech, and The Think Forward Foundation. Mr. Campbell received a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and Marketing from Saint Joseph’s College.
Kristen Cooper is the CEO and Founder of The Startup Ladies. The Startup Ladies is a membership organization that educates and connects women entrepreneurs and first-time startup investors. Cooper has a background in building technology and raising money. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Operations and Corporate Development at Sticksnleaves, a software development firm. Throughout her career, Cooper has been instrumental in raising millions of dollars for nonprofit organizations and developing sales and marketing strategies to creatively engage donors and clients in growing revenue. She mentors women entrepreneurs building tech enabled businesses throughout the state of Indiana. She also is a very public advocate of the LGBTQ community in the hopes of eliminating discrimination permanently. Cooper holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication degree from the Pennsylvania State University.
Jeff Corns is the President and COO of Schneider Geospatial. An entrepreneurial technology executive, Corns has been a leader in the geospatial and e-government market for over 20 years. In his career with Schneider Geospatial, he has helped expand and diversify the company’s geographic and vertical markets, including leading the successful acquisitions of ProMap Corporation (2005) and qPublic (2014). During his tenure, the company has launched several of its most successful products, including Beacon™, Permitting™, Agland™, Draincalc™, Ripple™, and Geogear™. Corns has served on several commercial and non-profit boards, including the Techpoint Advisory board. Schneider Geospatial is a proud past winner of multiple Mira Awards.
Christine DeWeese is a Senior Director, Salesforce Marketing Cloud Product Management focusing on product adoption and customer experience. Christine has worked in the software industry for 20+ years, the last 10 in the digital marketing space. Her passion is customer success, delivering solutions to help customers be successful, understanding their goals and challenges and how to bring solutions to market to address those needs. Christine holds an undergraduate degree in Computer Science and Math, a traditional MBA and an altMBA with coursework from Seth Godin.
Joshua Driver is the Founder of Selfless.ly, a virtual foundation platform designed to create, manage, and report on a company’s social impact and corporate social responsibility (CSR) program. Selfless.ly is proud to be Indiana’s first dual Certified B-Corp and Domestic Benefit Corporation and the winner of the 2018 StartOut Demo Day. Joshua currently serves on the Indianapolis Equal Opportunity Advisory Board, and is the Chairperson of the XBE Contract Compliance Committee. Currently, Joshua is helping demonstrate the power of social entrepreneurship and increasing the momentum for more diversity in leadership. In 2017, Josh hand the honor of receiving the MIRA Community Champion of the Year Award for his work in creating the Open for Service campaign.
Tom was General Manager for Global Automotive at ITW that prompted a sale to ABB. Following that, he led the worldwide Amway business in a global expansion in the 1990s to increase revenue by 300% to $6.3B. For his next venture, Tom was a co-founder of DriversMart Worldwide, which later sold to AutoNation for $100M. He founded a medical device company that has surpassed 1 million patients. Upon moving back to Indiana, Tom served as CEO of CP Morgan and helped it grow to become the 7th largest private home builder in the US and winner of the APEX Award from Big Builder magazine. He graduated from Dartmouth College and University of Virginia School of Law.
Angela B. Freeman is an Intellectual Property and Patent Attorney at the law firm of Barnes & Thornburg LLP in Indianapolis. With over 15 years of experience as a “bench” biologist prior to her legal career, Ms. Freeman developed her passion for science and technology as a genetic researcher and clinical scientist at global pharmaceutical company, Eli Lilly & Company. In addition to her legal, technical, and business acumen, as the current/first African-American President of Women & Hi Tech, Ms. Freeman is also a recognized community leader and advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion amongst women in STEM in Indiana.
Steve was an early leader of the finance teams of five of Indianapolis's most notable tech growth companies that resulted in successful exits: Software Artistry, ExactTarget, Compendium, Emerging Threats and most recently PolicyStat. Taking two of the three companies from scrappy start-up to public companies that were ultimately sold to larger corporations – ExactTarget's much publicized sale to Salesforce.com and Software Artistry, which later sold to IBM. And he served as the lead finance executive in the recent sale of PolicyStat to iContracts, the sale of Emerging Threats to ProofPoint, and the sale of Compendium to Oracle. Steve is a member of the inaugural Indiana Tech 25. He currently directs the Management & Entrepreneurship Center at DePauw University, working with tomorrow's successful business leaders. Steve is a member of the inaugural TechPoint Indiana Tech 25. He is a CPA, a CGMA, and member of the Indiana CPA Society and AICPA. In 2018, Steve started a new chapter in his career by taking the role of Director of the McDermond Center for Management and Entrepreneurship at DePauw University. He can now utilize his experience, knowledge and network of successful business visionaries to advise and provide resources for the next generation of aspiring business and entrepreneurial leaders.
Haresh Gangwani is co-founder and CEO of Bolstra, a customer success management platform for growth-minded B2B organizations. He is a veteran SaaS executive with leadership experience in product strategy, sales and marketing. Before starting Bolstra in 2016, Haresh was the Chief Revenue Officer for ReachForce, after working for Aprimo (and their acquiring company, Teradata) for over 14 years. He is a champion for SaaS companies as they determine how best to charter custom success teams to deliver value-rich services to cultivate greater customer loyalty. As a U of I graduate, Haresh is partial to Indianapolis and passionate about growing the city’s vibrant and competitive tech landscape.
Larry is a nationally recognized economic development leader with 30 years of local and state government, not-for-profit and private sector experience. Throughout his career, Larry has worked on more than 500 economic development projects resulting in over $10 billion in capital investment, the creation of over 100,000 new jobs, and the retention of over 180,000 existing jobs. Larry is a member of The Site Selector’s Guild, an internationally recognized site selection organization, and is a regular speaker and panelist at conferences throughout North America.
As President of BLASTmedia, Lindsey is responsible for new business development and helping oversee the strategic direction and operations of the SaaS PR agency. Over the past 14 years with BLASTmedia, Lindsey has managed PR campaigns and brought key clients on board for the agency, ranging from well-funded tech start-ups to publicly traded companies. Lindsey is also Principal at digital advertising agency Statwax, and BLASTmedia Ventures, an investment company providing capital and marketing support to technology start-ups. Prior to joining BLASTmedia, Lindsey worked at Fleishman-Hillard Chicago in the consumer marketing practice group. Lindsey is a graduate of the University of Georgia and is proud mom to three kids.
Julie Heath is Executive Director of The Speak Easy, an economic and community impact coworking organization with a mission to create the healthiest possible entrepreneurial ecosystem for central Indiana. By way of a career path that includes the Smithsonian Institution (launch of a center), an advanced manufacturer (improved market position of a strategic product line), a cultural nonprofit (business model adaptation), and a SaaS startup—and via training in visual art and managerial economics–Julie has found purpose in creating better business models for nonprofits and social enterprises.
A seasoned marketing executive with 15 years of experience in media, sports and entertainment, Tatiana Holifield has helped the world’s most influential brands thrive amongst the evolving digital landscape. Throughout her career, Holifield has launched new media practices, scaled global marketing divisions, and helped generate billions of earned and owned media impressions. Holifield currently serves as Vice President/Head of Digital Strategy for Pacers Sports & Entertainment. As one of the Pacers highest ranking women in leadership, Holifield will also lead digital strategy for the 2021 NBA All Star games. Prior to her current role, Holifield led marketing teams for Viacom’s BET Networks, NBCUniversal Television & New Media Distribution, SportsNet New York, Gospel Music Channel, Disney Regional Entertainment’s ESPN Zone, Hampton Inn Hotel, Hard Rock Café and Taco Bell. Holifield was also selected into NAMIC’s prestigious Executive Leadership Development at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. She received her MBA from Metropolitan College of New York and undergraduate degree from Columbia College Chicago.
Kelli N. Jones is Director of People & Culture at Givelify and the Founder/CEO of Be Nimble Ventures. Be Nimble is a social enterprise dedicated to accelerating diversity and inclusion initiatives in tech. Be Nimble advises companies, entrepreneurs, and government entities on the diversity pipeline as it relates to K-12 education, workforce development, and entrepreneurship. Be Nimble hosts two anchor events: The Pardi Gras Ball, a fundraiser for millennials where all the proceeds benefit black and brown entrepreneurs; and #DisruptIndy a tech diversity conference meant to unpack the diversity problem and create actionable solutions for tech employers. In 2019, Be Nimble with launch Black Hatch Fund, a venture studio to fund, accelerate and incubate founders of color. Over the last 15 years, Kelli has spent her time in Nashville, Atlanta, New York and LA working in the entertainment industry. She's held posts as Business Development Manager at Blavity, was Director of Sales and Marketing at HipHopDX.com, and PR and Communications Manager at Indiana Black Expo.
Sharmin Kent is Director of Professional Development at Kenzie Academy, an Indianapolis-based coding and design school. At Kenzie Academy, she's responsible for developing and teaching career pathing curriculum, professional development and placement. In addition to her role at Kenzie, Sharmin consults several Midwest tech companies on content marketing and communications. Sharmin holds and MA in English literature from IUPUI, and lives with her family in Noblesville, IN.
Joe Ignatius, Client Executive with Matrix Integration, is an advocate for STEM day & night. By day, Joe delivers solutions to school districts across the state which enables a safe & secure learning environment through technology. By night, Joe mentors the youth in some of those same districts with programs that provides life-changing skills. Born in Chicago and completing his B.S. in Computer Engineering at Howard University, are two driving motivators for Joe’s passion. “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are” is one motto & he has been exhibiting that for the past 3yrs here in Indianapolis.
Brad spent the last 10 year building 5 separate startups primarily in NYC even though a resident of Indianapolis. He ran OnDeck president and chairman prior to the $1.4 billion IPO on the NYSE in 2014. Brad has over 25 years of experience in scaling growth companies through strategy development, talent acquisition, and retention, go-to-market leadership, culture building and delivery of services to businesses through financial/marketing technology. He holds his undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame and MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
As Chief Operating Officer, Marie Mackintosh is responsible for the execution of EmployIndy's programs and initiatives to ensure established performance outcomes are achieved. She brings nearly a decade of workforce development experience, including strategy and education director roles with the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. Marie is an Indy native who has dedicated the majority of her professional career to helping people find a pathway to prosperity. Over the years of her career in higher education and workforce development, she has focused increasingly on designing education and workforce policies and programs that help Indiana’s vulnerable youth and adults. She believes that helping people of all ages to find meaningful work, especially those who have struggled to find employment, changes their lives and leads to economic mobility that ultimately helps Indiana’s economy as well.
Latif Majeed is a passionate leader at Kronos, his role as a Practice Manager gives him an opportunity to focus on the development and mentorship of young professionals within the tech industry. From implementing HCM solutions across many industries to leading world-class professional service teams, he has made a career in the HCM SaaS market. Latif earned his Marketing undergraduate degree and Computer Science minor from Ball State University. He currently lives in Carmel, IN with his wife Jordan; in their free time they enjoy spending time with their dog Harry and playing golf.
Melanie is the Senior Talent Acquisition Partner at Emarsys where she works with Hiring Managers locally and globally to help grow their high performing team while also providing the best candidate experience possible. With over seven years of experience across recruitment, she has worked in a variety of industries, from staffing to IT consulting, corporate retail and marketing technology. Melanie’s approach to recruitment is focused on building a relationship with candidates that allows her to better identify their motivators in order to better match them with the best opportunity. Melanie is a graduate of Indiana University where she majored in Management with a Certificate in Business Foundations and Minor in Human Resources.
Kristin Marcuccilli serves as the EVP and COO of STAR Financial Bank and provides oversight and strategic direction for information technology, bank operations, digital banking, information security and project management. Marcuccilli is involved in numerous community organizations, serving as a board member for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, vice chair of the IEDC’s Entrepreneurship Committee, Arts United, Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, and the Indiana State Chamber of Commerce, where she also serves as vice chair of the Indiana Technology & Innovation Council. Kristin earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from Indiana University. She has completed the American Bankers Association Stonier Graduate School of Banking, through which she is a Wharton Leadership Certificate recipient. Marcuccilli resides in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Mr. José V. Martínez is currently Interim Chief Information Officer and previously vice president of Business Relationship Management and Architecture for the OneAmerica Financial Partners companies. In this interim role, he is accountable for all IT planning, program and support functions in support of OneAmerica. He has over 20 years’ experience in the IT sector and has extensive experience in strategic sourcing, vendor management, relationship management, project management, IT engineering design and support. Prior to joining OneAmerica, Martínez served as vice president, communications-as-a-service for Interactive Intelligence managing all datacenters worldwide for the company’s cloud product. In addition, Martínez served as a senior global delivery executive at IBM accountable for delivery of a broad range of IT outsourced services for corporate clients.
Christine McDonnell is the CEO & Co-Founder of Codelicious, a technology company that is disrupting the landscape of curriculum delivery while raising the bar for speed of delivery, customization of curriculum, and measurable student outcomes. Codelicious builds confidence in educators and students in the classroom by providing instant access to technology curriculum for elementary and middle school students that any educator can teach. Prior, Christine led her own consulting practice, McDonnell & Associates, LLC, where she focused on accelerating early stage, high-growth, technology ventures. She has also served as Vice President of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and held positions at McKinsey & Company and DuPont. Christine has Electrical Engineering and Computer Science undergraduate degrees from Vanderbilt University and an MBA from Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.
Terry Morris has been a leader in technology at Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly) and an Indianapolis community servant since arriving nearly 18 years ago. At Lilly, he has been a strong technology advocate and leader in transformational areas such as Next Generation Development and Lilly's quest to reduce the cycle time for clinical development. In addition to his core responsibilities, he has been a champion and leader in the people development and diversity efforts of information technology. Outside of Lilly, Terry has been very engaged in various civic entities, such as Mt. Zion Apostolic Church where he serves as a trustee and leader for strategy and operations. He is also the national president for Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA), which is the largest African-American organization in the U.S. focused on development and networking for blacks in information technology. He was previously the Indianapolis chapter president (2014-16), helping to raise over $100,000 for high school and college student scholarships and program sponsorship. In addition, Terry has been helping to transform communities by serving on the Board of Directors for Martin University, the Indiana Black Expo, and the Global Leadership Forum.
Simone Murray is the Founder and Executive Director of DirectEmployers Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to expose and bring learning to life for low-income, disadvantaged youth in STEM and Business career pathways. She works with employers to create simulated workplace labs in area schools that represents the day-to-day work life of the employer volunteers. Prior to her work with the Foundation, Simone was the VP of Member Services at DirectEmployers Association where she was responsible for developing strategic goals and initiatives that enabled the Association to achieve continued organizational success and sustainability.
Most college students ignore academic counseling. Not San. During his freshman year at Purdue, an advisor suggested Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology. San listened, and quickly discovered a passion for technology. Over the next decade, San learned how to code on numerous platforms – everything from microprocessors and mobile to desktop and cloud-based systems. As a Software Engineer and later VP of Engineering, San developed a reputation for knowing how to manage giant projects from concept to completion, granting his developers the flexibility to be creative without sacrificing quality.
Wayne is an Entrepreneur & Angel Investor. He is currently an advisor and CRO for AIS. He has extensive Corporate IT Leadership experience. He founded and lead his IT Consulting Company, PDD to exit. He has been an investor or advisor to multiple companies including Work Here, ClearObject, SmarterHQ, Givelify and Donaide. He received the Sagamore of the Wabash in 1992, was commissioned a Kentucky Colonel in 1998 and in 2000 was a finalist for the E&Y Entrepreneur of the year award. He has a BS EE from Rose Hulman, MBA from Butler University and Executive MBA from Dartmouth.
Dr. Rothrock invests in early to growth stage companies developing advanced materials and systems for sustainability, transportation infrastructure, environmental services and specialty chemicals. Before joining HG Ventures, Ginger Rothrock served as Vice President of Technology and Commercialization at RTI International, one of the largest contract research organizations in the world. In that role she oversaw the commercialization of a $1B portfolio of R&D, led a science and engineering research group with products in the energy, environmental health and advanced materials sector, and served as a mentor and coach to numerous scientific innovators. She is also a serial entrepreneur, active in Women in STEM organizations and is extremely passionate about mentoring scientific entrepreneurs.
Lindsay Siovaila is a full-stack developer who focuses on innovation, learning, and helping others achieve their technology goals. She currently manages Product Development for the Solutions Engineering organization at Salesforce, and works with a team of full-stack developers and product designers to ideate, develop and deliver tools at scale.
Rupal Thanawala is a community minded business, strategy and digital leader. She has over 20 years of experience in leading large scale global transformation projects for fortune 100 companies with responsibilities ranging from business development, sales and marketing, resource and client management, project management and technical architecture. Rupal has deep passion for STEM, Diversity, Inclusion and Healthcare and serves on multiple boards in Central Indiana.
Judith's expertise in facility management, sales, marketing, contract and union management, as well as stakeholder relations are ushering the Madam Walker Legacy Center into its next chapter. These talents coupled with her sound critical thinking skills, strategic problem-solving abilities and unique ability to unify unique and diverse audiences will open the doors to new partnerships and innovative programming that will support the new mission and vision of the organization. Judith has held positions at WRTV Channel 6, the Indiana Convention Center and RCA Dome and was Director of Marketing at the National Federation of State High School Associations. Most recently she was the Director of Convention Services at Visit Indy.
Jenny Vance is an entrepreneur and a revenue and go-to-market expert in technology. Jenny's unique expertise is helping 350 business-to-business technology companies develop revenue and go-to-market strategies, including Fortune 50 clients, companies with series A/B/C funding, and early stage entrepreneurs at seed stage. Jenny has a strong ability to attract talent, cultivate leaders, scale proven performance and develop aggressive ramp towards value for new employees. For five consecutive years, she was honored by the Sales Lead Management Association (SLMA) as one of the 50 Most Influential People in Sales Lead Management. She also was recognized by SLMA as one of 20 Women to Watch. Direct Marketing News and the Indianapolis Business Journal named Jenny to their 40 Under 40 lists, and she received the McDermond Medal for Excellence in Entrepreneurship in 2013. Under Jenny's leadership, LeadJen was named a Mira Award winner by TechPoint in 2013, the INC 5000 in 2012 and 2013 and was recognized as one of the 2012 Indiana Companies to Watch.
As the Head of Engineering Operations for Rolls-Royce, Tiffany manages the whole of Defense’s engineering capacity including permanent employees, contractors and outsource, according to business affordability. She leads the understanding and reporting of engineering performance, developing performance metrics that give best insight to deviation and corrective action. Tiffany is a fierce champion for women in STEM. She invests her expertise to increasing the number of women who study and work in STEM through executing programs that expose girls to a STEM career, role modeling through speaking engagements, mentoring, and influencing positive change by relentless engagement of community leaders.
Noelle Webster-Milam is the Director of UX at SEP. She joined SEP in 2013 bringing a vision of delivering innovative and impactful software experiences to the many startups and Fortune 100 companies that hire SEP for product design and development needs. Noelle has been instrumental in helping SEP transform from an engineering company to a product development company. Her passion for building great products has also extended into the Indianapolis community. Noelle spends time mentoring new and up and coming UX leaders, advising local Meetups, and teaching local CS high school classes about user experience to build the next STEAM generation. Noelle was also recognized as one of Indiana’s tech builders in TechPoint’s second annual Tech 25 Class of 2016.
Christy enjoys building teams and developing processes that drive collaboration, retention, and growth in business. Christy built the Sales Development teams at ExactTarget and Return Path from the ground up. Christy currently leads the Sales Development and Events & Field Marketing Teams at Return Path. They operate as one go-to-market team that is focused on delivering value, education insights, and impactful customer experiences in market and through out the customer lifecycle.
Felix Wyss leads a group of researchers and engineers in Genesys’ AI Group. Our mission is to advance the state of the art of personalized customer service experiences through innovative application of artificial intelligence. For over 20 years, first at Interactive Intelligence and now Genesys, Felix’s passion is solving hard technical challenges. He is inventor on more than 20 granted and many pending patents. Felix also serves as a member and vice chair on the Industry Advisory Board of the IUPUI Electrical and Computer Engineering Department.