Techstars Partner Summit 2020 Techstars Partner Summit 2020
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Panel & Deep Dive Roundtable Discussion: How can corporations better engage their local startup communities?


Chris Heivly
Techstars, Techstars Senior Vice President for Ecosystem Development

Chris is one of the nation’s leading experts on launching startups and has been dubbed the “Startup Whisperer.”  He cofounded MapQuest, is an angel investor, ran a corporate venture fund and 2 micro venture funds (directed over $75M), and is SVP Ecosystem Development with Techstars. Chris recently published his first book about starting anything called Build The Fort and is currently writing a book on Startup Community Building.

Maury Wolfe
Cox Enterprises, AVP, Corporate Social Responsibility and Public Affairs

Maury Wolfe is the assistant vice president of corporate social responsibility and public affairs for Cox Enterprises, a private, family-held company with a longstanding commitment to communities and the environment. 

Wolfe is responsible for leading sustainability-focused, community and employee-action programs that support Cox Conserves, the company's signature sustainability program. She also is responsible for corporate giving, local public affairs and community relations, including nonprofit board placements for Cox executives. In addition, Wolfe partners with Cox's operating divisions to lead the company's national corporate partnerships, focused on fostering diversity, protecting the environment and empowering families and communities. 

Previously, Wolfe worked for InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) where she served as director, global corporate responsibility and drove sustainability across IHG's 5,000+ hotels. Prior to joining IHG, Maury served as director, policy and sustainability for Coca-Cola Refreshments and as manager, corporate responsibility and sustainability for Coca-Cola Enterprises. She began her career with the U.S. Green Building Council in Washington, DC as manager, LEED for retail national accounts. 

Maury earned a bachelor's degree in Human and Organizational Development from Vanderbilt University and a masters of business administration degree from Georgetown University.

Tony Smoke
Alabama Power Company, Senior Vice President Marketing and Economic Development

Anthony (Tony) Smoke is currently Senior Vice President of Marketing and Economic Development. Prior to this role, Tony served as Vice President of Birmingham Division and Eastern Division for Alabama Power. While serving in these roles Tony was responsible for local governmental affairs, local external affairs and marketing in Alabama. Tony also served as Vice President of Marketing. While in marketing, he was responsible for Industrial, Commercial, and Residential sales programs which included Unregulated LED Lighting, Energy Services, and Commercial Solar. Tony also served in previous roles as Area Manager and Commercial & Industrial Marketing Manager for the Birmingham Division. In these roles, he was responsible for external contacts with elected official and community leaders, energy sales, and energy efficiency initiatives for the business customers. Tony also served in several positions within the Power Delivery organization where he was responsible for engineering, construction, and maintenance. Tony has over 35 years of experience with Alabama Power. He has a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Auburn University (1984) and a Juris Doctorate from the Birmingham School of Law (1997). Tony currently serves on the Board of the trustee of Jacksonville State University, the Birmingham Promise Board, the board of the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame, Jefferson County Industrial Development Authority, Alabama Institute of the Deaf and Blind Foundation Board, Alabama Symphony Orchestra Board, March of Dimes of Alabama Board, and the 4 Little Girls Memorial Fund. Tony is a 2013 Graduate of Leadership Birmingham and he has served as the past Board Chair of the Hispanic Interest Coalition Association Board and has served on the Birmingham Education Foundation Board. Tony is also a member of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in Homewood and member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. Tony is married and a father of two daughters.

Participants in this panel will discuss their experience developing and nurturing startup communities, with best practices learned and pitfalls to avoid. After the panel ends, attendees will have the opportunity to discuss their unique challenges and opportunities with the session leaders in a deep dive roundtable format. 

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