The Idea Village Team is a group of entrepreneurs, innovators, and professionals with diverse backgrounds, career paths, and levels of experience. We deliver award-winning programming by engaging a global network of mentors, investors, professionals, and corporate sponsors.
Tim Williamson: Co-founder & CEO, The Idea Village
Tim Williamson is the co-founder and CEO of The Idea Village, a private, independent 501(c) (3) non-profit organization founded in 2000 with a mission to identify, support and retain entrepreneurial talent in New Orleans.
An entrepreneur by trade and by training, Mr. Williamson has successfully started and operated five...
Cameron Adams: Director of Marketing and Communications
Cameron, a native New Orleanian, returned to the city in May 2009 after graduating from the University of Georgia with a Bachelors of Arts in Publication Management from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. With experience in event planning, marketing, and design she joined The Idea Village team to help complete...
Victoria Adams: Network Manager
Victoria Adams, a native of Miami, moved to New Orleans as a freshman at Loyola University. Settling into campus life only days before Hurricane Katrina would strike the city, she has experienced the rebirth of New Orleans firsthand, growing to love and appreciate the city that she now calls home. After graduating from Loyola with a...
Rhea Ghosh: Events and Marketing Coordinator
Rhea Ghosh is a proud alumna of Babson College from which she received her BS in Strategic Management, Global Business Management and Entrepreneurship in 2011. Returning home to New Orleans, she rediscovered her love for the city’s emerging entrepreneurial community (and the food and music, of course!)
Since graduation, she has...
Megan Kepper: Development Coordinator
Megan graduated from Louisiana State University with a BA in history in December 2009, and eagerly returned home to New Orleans to begin her next chapter. Megan joined The Idea Village team temporarily to lend support during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week ’10 and has since become a fulltime staff member coordinating The Idea...
Emily Madero: Managing Director
Emily moved to New Orleans as an undergraduate Tulane student prepared for an adventure. She graduated with a BA in Spanish and Psychology, MA in Spanish and Latin American Studies, and a love for New Orleans. After co-founding several start-up ventures, Emily returned to Tulane’s Freeman School of Business. Katrina reinforced...
Leslie Nelson-Abell: Network and Operations Director
Leslie Nelson-Abell, a recent New Orleans transplant, graduated from St. Olaf College in Minnesota with a BA in English. Most recently, Leslie lived in Washington, DC, working as a fundraiser & database strategist at a social justice non-profit. After 4 years in DC, she was drawn to the vibrant, growing New Orleans entrepreneur...
Alex Rawitz: Entrepreneur Services Fellow
Alex Rawitz is an alum of Cornell University with a degree in Modern History. At Cornell he worked for over half a dozen student-run businesses including managing a shipping and storage company and the prestigious Cornellian Yearbook. Through his experiences he has developed his skills in logistics, event planning and execution, and...
Sara Thomas: Director of Product Management
Sara first visited New Orleans as a Stanford MBA over her spring break during the first New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, eager to work on a consulting project with eco-friendly businesses through Idea Village’s IDEAcorps program. She helped Feelgoodz flip-flops plan a marketing tour to support their recent launch into Whole Foods...
Angelica Valenta: Product Coordinator
Angelica, a native of Santa Barbara County, landed in New Orleans in August 2012 with a carry-on and a backpack as part of her post-graduation travels. She instantly fell in love with the vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem and has yet to purchase her flight home. With experience working for an entrepreneurship summer camp in the...
Mike Eckert: 2014 IDEAxcelerator Entrepreneur-in-Residence
Mike Eckert is seasoned business executive with particular skills in start up businesses and early stage investing. Professionally he was a member of the launch team of The Weather Channel and served as its CEO for 14 years. He also served as Chairman and CEO of Pathfire a digital asset management and distribution start up. Mike...
Dann Schwartz: 2014 Capital Village Entrepreneur-in-Residence
Dann Schwartz is an executive with proven expertise in launching & investing in start-up companies, developing & commercializing new products, growing businesses, entering new markets, manufacturing, selling & marketing products, managing domestic & international operations, developing & implementing strategic plans, negotiating, and...
Lisa Lloyd: 2014 Food Challenge Entrepreneur-in-Residence
Lisa Lloyd has patented and licensed seven of her own products, and more on behalf of clients netting over $30M in sales. She’s been featured on shows like Dr. Phil, The Big Idea, and Shark Tank. Her success and passion for helping inventors makes her one of the foremost trainers in the industry. During the 2014 Entrepreneur...
Chris Mangum: 2014 Water Challenge Entrepreneur-in-Residene
Chris Mangum (VXG Capital) has extensive experience in strategy, business development, M&A, corporate venturing, and entrepreneurship. He recently led strategy and business development for CenturyLink, where he was part of a team that grew the rural telecom’s market capitalization from $2.5 billion to $25+ billion. Prior, Chris...
J. Anthony Miguez: 2014 Food Challenge Entrepreneur-in-Residence
J. Anthony Miguez has been working with startups since the late nineties. He headed up strategy for Zurich Scudder’s venture capital group during web 1.0 and since then he has worked as both an advisor and team member with investment funds, angel investors, and startups in a wide variety of industries. During the 2014 Entrepreneur...
Beckie Buff: EIR Analyst
Beckie Buff, a native New Orleanian, recently returned home eager to get involved with the local emerging entrepreneurial community. She has spent the last six years at Unilever in Brand Management and Sales where she worked on a portfolio of global brands in Personal Care, Beverages and Foods. Her extensive experience in marketing...
Jack Carrere: EIR Analyst
Jack Carrere has a diverse entrepreneurial background which includes building and advising startups in Boston and Portland as well as serving on the executive committee that created a year-round angel investing program for OEN’s Angel Oregon. Jack is a native New Orleanian and is excited to be home and participate in the city’s...
Karla Diehl: EIR Analyst
Karla Newburger Diehl, a New Orleans native, led several fast growth startups from inception through successful exit in the business to business, technology and consumer products markets.
Her first company Edison Automation, Inc. was acquired by WESCO. Edison, an Inc500 winner, achieved sales of $16 million as a distributor of...
Hannah Walker: EIR Analyst
Hannah Walker received her BA in marketing from Tulane University. After graduation, Hannah moved to DC where she worked for an event company and as a production assistant for film and television. She then headed to Germany to attend the Berlin School of Economics and Law, where she studied International Marketing Management. In...
Board of Directors
David Darragh - Chairman
CEO, Reily Foods Company
Vice-Chairman and COO, IBERIABANK
CEO, American Funds
Managing Partner, Operating Capital Partners, LLP
Managing Partner, Jones Walker
Executive Vice President of University Relations and Development, Tulane University
President/CEO, Canal Barge Company, Inc.
Ti Adelaide Martin
Co-proprietor, Commander's Palace
Co-founder, Abstraction Ventures
President, Enterprise Shared Services at Caesars Entertainment Corporation
CEO, Ochsner Health System
Co-founder & CEO, The Idea Village
CEO, TurboSquid, Inc.
Chairman's Advisory Committee
E. Tiffany Adler
Principal, Beery Advisors
Partner, TopSide & Co-Founder, The Idea Village
President, CommTech Industries
CEO, Property One
CEO, Eskew Dumez Ripple
Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Hornbeck Offshore Services
President/CEO, Guico Machine Works
Life Science Commercialization Consultant
Principal, Strategic Comp
CEO, ThirtyNorth Investments
CEO, New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation
Partner, Fitzgerald & Rhodes LLP
CEO, Farm Dog, LLC
Co-founder, Trumpet, Naked Pizza, and The Idea Village