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.
James Allen is the Senior Director of Engineering for OneCause. A graduate of Butler University's Engineering Dual Degree Program, James joined OneCause (formerly BidPal) as a Software Engineer in 2012. Over the past 7 years James has been able to help build and grow the Engineering team at OneCause, known for providing user-friendly fundraising software that helps non-profits engage their donors, raise more money, and save time. He has been instrumental in guiding the company’s technical roadmap and in building a team that is capable of revolutionizing the non-profit fundraising space.
Steve Appel of Gregory & Appel Insurance, focuses on Venture Capital/Private Equity, Technology and Life Sciences, and works with many emerging growth company entrepreneurs. He is a board member of TechAssure, an organization of technology risk experts. He is a past President and board member of the Association for Corporate Growth, Indiana. Prior to Gregory & Appel, he worked for two portfolio companies of Santa Monica, CA-based VC 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.
Elaine Bedel was appointed by Governor Eric Holcomb in 2017 to serve as president of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, the state’s lead economic development agency. Elaine served as president, chief executive officer and chief compliance officer of Bedel Financial Consulting Inc., the company she founded in 1989. She is an author of a personal finance book and is a nationally-recognized speaker, providing financial expertise at conferences across the nation as well as internationally. Elaine was inducted into the Indiana Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016 and was recognized as the 2015 Women Business Owner of the year by the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). She was inducted into the Business Hall of Fame by the Junior Achievement of Central Indiana and received the Financial Planning Association’s “Heart of Financial Planning” Award in 2013. Elaine is a graduate of Hanover College and earned an MBA from Butler University.
Rob Beeler is Vice President of Engineering for Carbonite, and is responsible for the design and development of the company’s server protection products. Rob co-founded Double-Take Software in Indianapolis in 1995, which was acquired by Carbonite in February 2017. Rob has over 25 years of software development and management experience in the areas of high availability, disaster recovery, migration and business continuity. He is the author of several patents in the field of replication and system state recovery, and has been responsible for delivering award-winning products in these fields.
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 Sr. Vice President and Chief Information Officer for the OneAmerica partner companies, Gene’s primary job is aligning overall technology direction with the OneAmerica business strategy while providing leadership to the IT Community (245 employees with a budget of over $100 million). He is a member of OneAmerica’s Executive Council, Leadership Council, and Enterprise Operations Committee. He also serves on the board of directors of the Rockingham Group and Junior Achievement of Central Indiana. Gene holds a B.S. from Ohio State University and an M.B.A. from Cal State Fullerton.
Kristy Bittles serves as the Director of Creative + Brand at Springbuk. With 15 years of design and marketing experience, she joined Springbuk in 2014 and helped develop the startup’s voice and brand. In 2016, after Springbuk’s Series A funding, Kristy spearheaded the People and Experience team which laid out the framework for a more people-focused organization. In 2018 after two years cultivating an inclusive culture and employee experience, Kristy returned to as the Director of Creative + Brand to reimagine the story the Springbuk brand tells.
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.
Doug Ding is the Practice Director for the Kronos Indy Tech Center leading the development of tech talent for Kronos Professional Services. Doug has a strong background in Strategy and Operations; previously holding leadership roles with high performing management consulting firms. He has strong experience in global account management, leadership development, professional services, and mergers and acquisitions. Doug received his Bachelor of Science from Purdue University and his MBA from the University of Notre Dame. Doug is fluent in Mandarin and is certified in Lean Six Sigma. In his free time, Doug enjoys playing golf and spending time with his family.
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.
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 PolicyStat. Taking two of the three companies from 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. He served as the lead finance executive in the 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 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.
Heather Gaunt, originally from Peru, Indiana moved to Indianapolis after graduating from Indiana University. She has a degree in Marketing and Education and has worked in SaaS within the Indianapolis market for the past 8 (2010) years. While at ExactTarget/Salesforce, she led a team focused on supporting the growth and retention of customers and currently is responsible for Sales Enablement for the US Sales and Success teams at Emarsys. She is passionate about organizational culture and developing strong teams and environments that produce raving employees and customers. In her free time, you’ll find her with her husband, Grant, and kiddos, Emmy (5), and Owen (3) exploring every child-friendly hot spot there is in Indianapolis and surrounding cities.
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.
Irena is a seasoned technology industry executive. Prior to becoming CEO of CMT, Irena worked for more than 15 years in the tech industry, most recently serving as Chief Strategy Officer at T2 Systems, a leader in IoT solutions for the parking industry. Irena has experience managing software and hardware product development, marketing, managed services, product management and M&A. Irena holds an MBA from Indiana University.
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.
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 a digital marketing instructor for Kenzie Academy, an Indianapolis-based tech and coding school. At Kenzie she's responsible for developing and teaching curriculum and career pathing. In addition to her role Kenzie Academy, she consults several Midwest tech companies on content marketing and communications. Sharmin holds a BA and an 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.
Kai Johnson leads Community Initiatives on behalf of Salesforce where she is responsible for leading change on issues that hinder the Indianapolis community. Kai is alumni of Purdue University where she studied Business Management with a concentration in Human Resources. She is considered a boomerang to the state of Indiana when she moved back after several years of living in Louisville, KY.
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.
Gulsu drives enterprise projects to modernize IT and deliver results for a global and increasingly complex business. She has a broad set of responsibilities ranging from M&A, Supplier Relationship Management, Enterprise Program Management Office and Project Portfolio Governance, IT Functional Excellence, Workforce and Location Strategy, and Strategic IT Initiatives (such as Data Center Migration). Gulsu brings to Cummins 13 years of experience with FedEx Services, where she was instrumental in rolling out enterprise IT renewal programs aimed at simplifying IT landscape and aligning IT and business strategies. Prior to FedEx, Gulsu started her career at PricewaterhouseCoopers as a Business Consultant. Gulsu is a sponsor of iDEW (Informatics Diversity Enhanced Workforce), a workforce development initiative with the IU School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI in collaboration with the Indiana high school, community and business partners, helping to promote STEM and IT with highschool students of under-privileged backgrounds.
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.
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.
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.
Dr. McGruder has served the animal health pharmaceutical industry for the past 24 years where he has transformed innovation from the white board to the Board Room. He currently serves as Head of Alternative Innovation R&D at Elanco Animal Health. He has held several senior leadership roles in Discovery and Development R&D since 1994. These roles have led to a number of global product approvals in the US and abroad. Dr. McGruder obtained both his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree and his Ph.D. in Immunology-Microbiology at Texas A&M University, where he has served on the College of Engineering Board (Vice-Chairman) and Sub-committee on Commercialization & Entrepreneurship (Chairman). Dr. McGruder has been married for 25 years to Patricia, and has 2 sons; Donovan, 19 years old, and Chandler, 17 years old.
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.
Steve Pruden is Appirio’s Senior Vice President of Human Resources. Reporting directly to the CEO, Steve is responsible for directing all global people functions for Appirio. Previously, Steve led the site selection, co-founded, and lead Appirio’s Indianapolis operations and headquarters, growing the team from four to nearly 200 in a few short years. Steve was recently responsible for corporate strategy and partnerships, including Appirio’s Amazon Web Services relationship. Prior to that, Steve led self-service crowdsourcing initiatives and was responsible for Appirio’s alliance with Apple. Steve has also served as Vice President of CRM Services at Appirio, leading Appirio’s global Salesforce consulting practice. He has partnered with Appirio’s largest customers including Facebook, NetApp, and Robert Half, to move millions of dollars in infrastructure and hundreds of thousands of users to the public cloud. A graduate of Indiana University, Steve joined Appirio in 2010 after helping lead the Information Technology function for a publicly traded, diversified holding company serving over 25,000 employees and millions of customers annually.
Lindsay Siovaila is Lead Solutions Developer at Salesforce where she builds apps and tools for Solutions Engineers utilizing a full-stack skill set. She is also the Founder, Chapter Leader, and a teacher for Girl Develop It Indianapolis, which is a nonprofit organization that exists to provide affordable and judgment-free opportunities for women interested in learning web and software development.
Randy is CEO and Co-Founder of One Click. Founded in 2005, One Click is on a mission to be the world's most people-focused eyewear company through its family of brands: Readers.com, Sunglass Warehouse, and felix + iris. Prior to co-founding One Click, Randy held a variety of technology roles with Angie’s List, Aprimo, and Digital Insight (VIFI). In addition to his current work at One Click, Randy enjoys supporting other entrepreneurs as an investor and advisor. Randy received a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems from Franklin College.
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.
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.
Stephan Vincent is an Employee Experience evangelist, founder and producer of the eX Summit - a nationwide series of conferences on the employee experience, and of the eX Podcast - where each week he interviews EX leaders and disruptors around the world.
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 a Lead Experience (UX) Designer/Architect focusing on enhancing human experiences in many different industries. She joined SEP in 2013 bringing her vision of delivering innovation and delightful 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 design community. Noelle spends time mentoring, advising/leading local Meetups, and volunteering her time to make Indianapolis a forerunner in the design industry. In 2014, Noelle and other local leaders brought the 4th Annual Midwest UX Conference to Indianapolis for the first time. 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.