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Epicenter CEO steps down

Updated: Sep 20, 2020

MSBQ Staff

According to a press release dated Sept. 16, Epicenter announced that Leslie Lynn Smith, founding president and CEO, is transitioning into a new role to serve as the national director for Gender Equality in Tech (GET) Cities.

Under Smith's leadership since 2015, Epicenter has helped to launch or scale more than 540 companies and supported nearly 1,100 entrepreneurs. Over the course of five years, she and her team have raised more than $70 million in local and national funding for capital and entrepreneur support services according to the release.

Courtesy Photo of Leslie Lynn Smith, President and CEO

“Leading the team at Epicenter, working with and within our community, and supporting the vibrant and creative entrepreneurs in Memphis has been some of the most personally fulfilling and impactful work I’ve done in my career,” said Smith. “Most of all, I hope our efforts have and will continue to positively change the way entrepreneurs equitably access resources and contribute to a growing economy. Even amid our current uncertainty, with entrepreneurs leading the way, and with our team and partners continuing to strengthen the environment where businesses can launch and grow successfully, Memphis has a bright future. I look forward to ongoing collaboration with the partners and friends I’ve made in Memphis as we collectively march toward justice, equality, and the fulfillment of our full human potential," said Smith.

Courtesy Photo of Jessica Taveau, Interim President and CEO

Jessica Taveau, former chief brand officer, will take the helm as interim president and CEO effective Oct. 1. She and team members: Russell Ingram, chief operating officer; Jan Bouten, partner at Innova and chief investment officer; Regina Ann Campbell; chief program officer; and Fayre Crossley; chief grants and compliance officer will provide leadership to the nonprofit organization.

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