2019 North of Boston Business Plan Competition Judges
- Doug Bates, Principal, Aderit Internet Marketing Consulting
- Glenn Champagne, Angel Investor, Launchpad Venture Group
- Meaghan Giansiracusa, SBA Lender, Santander Bank, N.A.
- Gordon Hall III, Owner, Hall Company
- Bonnie Henry, DKH Business Advisors, Founder & Managing Director
- Louise Leduc Kennedy, West Hill Technology Counsel, Founding Attorney
- Alison Moronta, Loan Officer and Grant Program Manager, Mass Growth Capital Corporation-MGCC
- Maria Nigro Di Stefano, Northeast Regional Director, Massachusetts Office of Business Development
- Paul Parisi, President and Founder, SaviorLabs
- Joe Riley, Salem Five, Executive Vice President of Retail Banking Services
- Charles M. Smith, Eastern Bank, Senior Vice President – SBA Program Manager
- Paul R. Simms, First Ipswich Bank, Senior Vice President Commercial Lending
- Mike Wheeler, Beverly Bank, President & CEO
Principal, Aderit Internet Marketing Consulting
Doug Bates is the co-founder of Apredica, which placed first in the 2006 North of Boston Business Plan contest and was then acquired by Cyprotex PLC in 2010. Doug is currently an angel investor, investing with Walnut Venture Associates and Hub Angels. He also manages Aderit, an internet marketing consulting firm. Doug previously had marketing management roles at Aquent, Signet Bank, Providian, and The Franklin Mint. He received his A.B. from Dartmouth, M.B.A. from the Johnson School at Cornell, and his M.S. from the University of Pennsylvania.
Angel Investor, Launchpad Venture Group
Glenn is an active angel investor and Director Emeritus of Launchpad Venture Group. Launchpad Venture Group is one of the largest angel groups in New England and one of the most active angel groups in the US. Glenn sourced, championed, lead the due diligence on many opportunities, and has invested in over 22 rounds of funding. A frequent panelist/speaker at numerous networking and business plan competitions at the university and professional levels such as Northeastern University, Babson College, North of Boston Business Plan Competition and MassChallenge.
Glenn is a graduate of The D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University and The F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College.
SBA Lender, Santander Bank, N.A.
Meaghan Giansiracusa is an experienced SBA Lender at Santander Bank, N.A. where she is responsible for qualifying/structuring SBA credit requests in accordance with the plethora of available SBA loan programs. She partners with potential Borrowers, Relationship Managers and the Credit Team to navigate program requirements and provide financing options when traditional products will not meet the borrower’s need. Prior to joining Santander, Ms. Giansiracusa was responsible for managing the SBA/Commercial Lending Processing and Closing Department at a Maine institution focused on national lending. As a previous small business owner herself, she speaks from personal as well as professional experience when it comes to the steps required to start your own business.
Gordon Hall III
Owner, Hall Company
Gordon is the owner of the Hall Company where his sons run the family real estate holdings while he devotes his time to conservation and environmental matters. The Hall Company, Inc. and related entities own, manage and develop real estate in several North Shore communities including Lynn, Revere, Nahant, Peabody and Newburyport. It provides professional real estate management and consulting services to the owners of residential and commercial real estate.
Gordon holds and MF in Forestry from Yale University and Bachelor of Arts in English and Geology from Amherst College. He is a Trustee of the Conservation Law Foundation, Director, Forest Society of Maine, and Chewonki Foundation. Gordon serves as the Chairman of the Board for the Salem State University Assistance Corporation.
DKH Business Advisors, Founder & Managing Director
Bonnie Henry is an accomplished Senior Executive, Entrepreneur, and Board Member with more than 38 years of success across multiple industries, including grocery, food service, and specialty foods, consumer packaged goods, healthcare, and management consulting. Leveraging extensive experience with managing P&L, raising capital and creating higher value propositions, Bonnie is a valuable asset for companies seeking guidance on strategic choices and new business development. Her broad areas of expertise include launching new ventures, start-ups, business strategy & planning, strategy implementation, capital strategies & raising capital, financial planning & forecasting, product development, market segmentation & channel management, leadership development, organization change and design, and supply chain management.
Throughout her executive career, Bonnie has held leadership positions with DKH Business Advisors; GF Solutions, LLC; GameMetrix Solutions; SweetSpot, LLC; Hellas International, Inc.; Gemini Consulting; Blue Cross & Blue Shield of MA; Harbridge House (acquired by Coopers & Lybrand); Frito-Lay, Inc., and Monsanto Company. As a management consultant, she has led teams working with Pillsbury, Estée Lauder, Ross Stores, and Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital among others. In her current role as Founder & Managing Partner of DKH Business Advisors, she has served as an intermediary to develop strategies and access to capital for growing companies; to provide strategic consulting services; and occasionally to serve as interim management while assisting in recruiting full-time staff. Most recently she was the Founder & CEO of GF Solutions where she created the strategic vision, launched the company, and directly managed the certified gluten-free manufacturing company with proprietary formulations, strong product development, and manufacturing expertise in gluten-free formulations. Previously, Bonnie was the Co-Founder of Hellas International, Inc. where she developed the preeminent brand of Greek specialty foods in North America, and successfully sold that company to Krinos Foods.
Bonnie holds an MBA in Management & Labor Relations from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and a BS/BA in Business & Communications from the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh. She has served as Chairman of the Board of GF Solutions and Hellas Int’l, and as a Board Member for Cognate Nutritionals, LLC, Flavrz Beverage Corp., Glymetrix Corp. dba GameMetrix Solutions, SweetSpot Bakery, LLC, sweetriot, inc., and Victoria Gourmet, Inc.. In addition, Bonnie has had leadership roles at angel investing groups such as Golden Seeds and Investors Circle.
Bonnie serves as a judge for the business plan competitions for The Enterprise Center, Salem State University and the Penn Wharton Startup Challenge. She is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier (women leaders in the fields of food, fine beverage and hospitality).
Louise Leduc Kennedy
West Hill Technology Counsel, Founding Attorney
Louise Leduc Kennedy is a business law attorney with extensive experience advising technology companies on strategic and commercial matters including: software commercialization, cloud computing, strategic alliances and all aspects of on-line business and contracting. She has advised start-ups, mid-sized private and public companies as well as Fortune 100 enterprises in a variety of matters that also include mergers and acquisitions, employment law issues and open source software strategies. Louise particularly enjoys working with small and medium-sized entrepreneurial businesses.
Advising highly creative professionals who are excited about their products and services is, quite simply, fun. Before launching West Hill, Louise determined that these were the types of companies that were most in need of her unique skills. Under her leadership, West Hill is dedicated to advancing work-life as a business strategy by integrating work, family and community into its definition of success. Accordingly, the firm offers vast business and legal experience at reasonable rates and with innovative billing arrangements in exchange for the opportunity to work with these exciting companies on a flexible schedule.
Prior to forming the firm, Ms. Kennedy worked as in-house counsel at IBM Corporation for 9 years. During this time she supported the Global Sales and Distribution Group, IBM Business Consulting Services as well as the Lotus brand within IBM Software Group. Her responsibilities included the structure and negotiation of complex e-marketplace offerings as well as supply-chain management and e-procurement software alliances.
At Lotus, Louise served as brand counsel for Lotus Notes, Domino, Sametime and Lotus Live Engage, IBM’s debut Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) enterprise collaboration offering. She provided general legal guidance and support for all aspects of product development, licensing, marketing and strategic relationships including complex deals with AOL, Yahoo! and Google.
Before joining IBM, Louise worked at Robinson & Cole LLP in Boston as member of their Trial & Appellate practice group. Her practice focused on complex civil litigation and, more specifically, issues related to discovery of electronic information in a variety of formats. Ms. Kennedy is admitted to practice in the state and federal courts in Massachusetts as well as the state courts of Connecticut and New York.
She received her B.A. in Economics from Smith College and her J.D., with honors, from the University of Connecticut School of Law, where she was an associate editor of the Connecticut Law Review. She is a member of the Women’s Bar Association and the Boston Bar Association.
Loan Officer and Grant Program Manager, Mass Growth Capital Corporation-MGCC
Alison Moronta is a Loan Officer and Grant Program Manager at Mass Growth Capital Corporation-MGCC. At MGCC, Mrs. Moronta, manages the state-funded Small Business Assistance Grant Program. This funding program provides small grants to community and economic development nonprofits to builds their operational capacity and skills to provide technical assistance to small businesses in underserved communities across the Commonwealth. Previous to this role, Mrs. Moronta was a Business Development Director at Jamaica Plain NDC, where she, for over fifteen years, managed one of Boston’s top small business development programs. Mrs. Moronta holds a BA from INTEC and MBM from Cambridge College with two specializations in Business and Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management. She also holds a Non-Profit Management specialization from the University of San Antonio Texas. Past honors include the MACDC’s Ricanne Hadrian Award “for her exemplary efforts to meaningfully engage local residents as leaders in building economically and racially diverse communities.” In 2010, Governor Deval Patrick appointed her to serve at CDFC representing all Community Development Corporations in the state. The Governor also recognized her for “her work serving minority, women owned, and small businesses.” In 2013, the Brookside Community Policy Board recognized her “extraordinary commitment to supporting the economic health of small businesses and communities of Egleston Square and Jamaica Plain.” In 2015, she received a Community Builder Award from Egleston Square Main Streets. In June 2015, Alison Moronta was recognized by El Planeta Newspaper as one of the 100 hundreds more influential people in state representing the Latino communities.
Maria Nigro Di Stefano
Northeast Regional Director, Massachusetts Office of Business Development
Born and raised in East Boston, Maria Nigro Di Stefano grew up in a mostly Italian neighborhood learning the English language at the age of five. She graduated from Salem State University with Honors, achieving her Bachelor’s in Political Science. After college, she opened her own children’s consignment shop in Peabody, MA. Maria has developed extensive experience assisting immigrant owned and women owned main streets businesses and she was proud to be able to employ eight working moms in her shop.
Through her small business, she often donated clothing to Costa Rica for children in need. She was eventually able to travel there to meet the families she had helped, and throughout these travels over the years she learned to speak Spanish, in addition to her native Italian and English.
After she sold her business, she went into banking for Bank of Boston where she routinely ranked tops in sales and earned her Series 6 and Series 63 licenses. As much as she enjoyed banking, she never lost the passion for running a small business.
In 2001, she was named Executive Director of East Boston Main Streets. During her time there, she increased fundraising 600% and she spearheaded and led quarterly business networking breakfasts that were regularly attended by over 100 local business leaders and elected officials. After five years as Executive Director, she was hired by former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino to be the Neighborhood Business Manager of the Boston Main Street Program, which has 20 districts throughout the city. As an expert fundraiser and talented social media maven, she was able to raise over $1M during her time in the program, assisted hundreds of local businesses, and made a long-lasting positive influence on the lives of countless numbers of residents.
In June 2015, Maria became the Northeast Regional Director of the Massachusetts Office of Business Development for the Baker/Polito Administration. The Massachusetts Office of Business Development (MOBD) is the state’s one-stop source for businesses seeking to relocate to Massachusetts and businesses wishing to expand their current operations here. They offer a range of expertise and services to help businesses flourish in Massachusetts.
Maria sits on the Key Leaders Council for the Greater Boston YMCA as well as serving on the Board of Advisors of the YMCA of Greater Boston, East Boston Branch. She has successfully raised thousands of dollars for scholarships to worthy high school students through her position as President Emeritus of Fieri Boston, and through a private foundation her family created in honor of her late father, Gerardo Nigro. She currently lives in Rockport, MA with her husband Sal and their two little In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, traveling and volunteering in her community.
President and Founder, SaviorLabs
Paul was born into a family of engineers and entrepreneurs. His love for technology and passionate creativity for solving problems has driven his entrepreneurial career for over 30 years. He was the CTO for HealthConnected & Cloud Industries Health, the Founder and CTO of LocalGinger.com (sold to eBay) and CTO of DNSstuff.com (sold to SolarWinds.) He has served as CEO and president of MicroData Software (sold to IntelliReach,) COO of Christianity.com (sold to Salem Communications) and CTO for several other organizations.
In 2010, Paul received the award for Best Business Plan from The Enterprise Center at Salem State University. He holds two patents, and has authored over twenty articles in the areas of internet security and web technologies. He is the host of the podcast “The Edge of Innovation: Hacking the Future of Business”.
In 2012, Paul birthed a new vision:
- To do work that aligns with his values in life.
- To prioritize family and community.
- To help people to use technology with minimum waste and maximum productivity.
Building from this vision, in 2013, Paul started SaviorLabs which focuses on three areas:
- Managed IT Services
- Website Creation and Maintenance
- Custom Application Development and Support
For more information about SaviorLabs visit www.saviorlabs.com, for more information about Paul visit www.paulparisi.com/. Paul lives in Massachusetts with his wife, two children and two dogs.
Salem Five, Executive Vice President of Retail Banking Services
A 35-year veteran of the financial industry, Joe Riley oversees all aspects of retail banking for Salem Five’s 36 locations. He is an expert in consumer and small business sales and service management and retail growth and optimization.
Prior to joining Salem Five in 2017, Riley was an executive vice president of Eastern Bank. Before joining Eastern in 1994, he was vice president and district manager at Fleet Bank.
An active member of his local community, Riley is on the Board of Trustees at North Shore Community College (NSCC). He also serves as a trustee of the NSCC Foundation Board and director and as vice chairman of the North Shore Chamber of Commerce. In addition, he serves on the board of directors of the Lynn Boys & Girls Club and is a trustee of the Agganis Foundation.
Riley earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the College of the Holy Cross and a master’s degree in accounting from Northeastern University. He is also a graduate of the CBA Graduate School of Retail Bank Management. He lives in Peabody.
Charles M. Smith
Eastern Bank, Senior Vice President – SBA Program Manager
Charles M. Smith is the Senior Vice President – SBA Program Manager at Eastern Bank. In this capacity since January of 2011, Charles manages the SBA program for the largest SBA lender in New England. His duties include providing seminars for entrepreneurs, providing information about access to capital to small businesses and overseeing a portfolio of SBA backed small business loans. Prior joining Eastern Bank, Charles worked with the Boston District Office of the Small Business Administration as a Lender Relations Specialist. Charles graduated from Texas Tech with a JD/MBA in 2005. He also holds a B.S. in Agricultural Economics from Prairie View A & M University in 2001.
Paul R. Simms
First Ipswich Bank, Senior Vice President Commercial Lending
Paul R. Simms is First Ipswich Bank’s Commercial Lending team Senior Vice President. Paul joined First Ipswich in 2012 with over 30 years of commercial lending experience. He has a significant background in Commercial and CRE lending and is a valuable asset to First Ipswich Bank.
Paul was previously Vice President of Commercial Real Estate Lending at NorthEast Community Bank and had held the position of Assistant Vice President, Commercial Lending with Stoneham Savings Bank, as well as Northern Bank. He was also a Vice President and Senior Loan Officer at Beverly National Bank. Paul earned his Bachelor of Science in Business from the University of Massachusetts. He is an active member of the Peabody Area Chamber of Commerce.
Paul is located at First Ipswich Bank’s main office location at 31 Market Street in Ipswich.
First Ipswich Bank is a subsidiary of Brookline Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:BRKL), and is headquartered in Ipswich, Massachusetts. A full-service financial institution providing individuals and businesses with deposit and lending services, residential mortgages and home equity lending, Commercial and CRE banking, cash management, merchant services, and access to investment services. First Ipswich Bank has branches in Gloucester, Ipswich, Rowley, Newburyport and Essex. For more information, visit www.firstipswich.com.
Beverly Bank, President & CEO
Michael R. Wheeler is president and chief executive officer of Beverly Bank. Appointed President on January 1, 2012, Mr. Wheeler assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer as well in 2013. Having joined the Bank’s Commercial Lending department in 2000, he worked his way up through the department, becoming Senior Vice President in 2007. Ultimately, Mr. Wheeler assumed the responsibility of overseeing both the commercial and residential lending departments. Additionally, he has served as chief compliance officer and clerk of the Bank.
Mr. Wheeler earned a Bachelor of Science at University of Southern Maine and a Master of Business Administration from Endicott College, Beverly, MA. Well known in the communities Beverly Bank serves, he immerses himself in civic and community organizations and causes throughout the North Shore.