Meet our Coaches

Coaches connect with entrepreneurs in our ecosystem to help them learn, enage, and build upon entrepreneurial thinking. This network of educational, business and industry experts provides benefits that span the spectrum: from inspiring emerging entrepreneurs to connecting startups to customers, partners, investors, and coaching through the chaos and opportunity of entrepreneurship.

Become a Coach!

Rachel Frazier

Mike Descher

Rachel is an inventor and entrepreneur with a passion for helping high tech startups and academic innovators identify viable business models and connect to their first customer.

An entrepreneur with an eye for branding and business development Mike started his journey in Retail at the age of 18. He successfully opened a 3 store women’s wear business that he sold and then transitioned to wholesale import-export, still in the garment business. After successfully selling that business in 1979 he turned his energy to high tech in the early 1980’s opening a ComputerLand franchise and then a single Macintosh only store called Mac Universe which grew in 4 years to over 10 Million in sales and was then sold in 1996. In January of 1997 Apple Computer asked him to run business development for digital imaging and publishing until Adobe Systems hired him away to grow that same segment in 2004. While at Apple he formed his current company, MediaGroup, with 4 other Apple colleagues. MediaGroup still exists and is a leader in the Trade Show industry providing full exhibit house services, promotional items and apparel enhancing a companies brand. Residing and giving back in Williamsburg at LaunchPad and the Miller Entrepreneurship Center he is sharing his knowledge and skills in Business Development and Sales, plus general insight into managing and growing a company or division in the corporate world.

Graham Henshaw

Elizabeth Eldredge

Graham is an entrepreneur turned educator, teaching in the Mason School of Business and directing the Alan B. Miller Entrepreneurship Center.
Graham has personal track record of launching and growing ventures – some of which succeeded (read: he has experience with exits as well as with winding things down).
Prior to joining William & Mary, Graham was the Director of Venture Development at New Richmond Ventures – a Richmond-based venture capital firm investing in early-stage, socially-driven startups. To date, NRV has invested in over a dozen companies – putting $100M of capital to work.

Elizabeth Eldredge has over 15 years of proven success in marketing and communications. Beginning her career in NYC with one of the best small creative shops in the nation, she has experience in all types of media, such as newspapers and magazines, radio advertisements, television commercials, direct mail fliers, social media posts, blog posts, and website advertisements. Her career progressed, taking her into the professional products division for a global beauty conglomerate with a specific focus on B2B marketing. With exceptional strategic capability, great organizational and communication skills, Elizabeth has a strong ability to work effectively with all organizational levels and is adept at translating complex strategy into actionable plans for entrepreneurs. Her industry experience includes advertising, marketing, and communications for consumer products, professional products, sporting goods, healthcare, security, and higher education.

Jeff Rich

Asher Smith-Rose

Currently serving William & Mary as their Chief Marketing Officer in the business school, Jeff has over 30 years of experience across a multitude of industries, including retail, finance, healthcare, travel and hospitality, automotive, high tech, and education. He’s served in executive leadership roles at Fortune 500 corporations such as UnitedHealth Group and Target and worked in consulting capacities with top brands such as Best Buy, Nordstrom, The Gap, Disney, Delta Airlines, and Jaguar. Jeff has helped organizations define and promote their brands while generating demand for their products and services through effective marketing strategies and tactics. Jeff’s talents extend well beyond the ability to amp-up an organization’s revenue and position their brand as he also works to create effective and efficient organizational structures that allow organizations to do more with their financial and human resources. Having led several start-ups, Jeff knows the challenges small and new businesses face and is well equipped to help Launchpad start-ups get their marketing and operational plans performing at the highest levels possible.

I specialize in taking products from an idea to 10,000 users. My professional experience is split between starting my own ventures and two fortune 500 innovation labs. I’m also a fan of cycling, music videos, and window seat philosophy.

Sal Sotis

Michele King

Sal has over 45 years of experience in the manufacturing and distribution of disposable products with an international company which serves major customers in over 24 countries. His love for marketing, trouble shooting and customer relations led to a senior management position for the past 28 years. Sal has managed companies in New York, Pennsylvania and Richmond Virginia. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army and holds degrees in architectural engineering and international business. His volunteer experience includes Kiwanis and service as a volunteer firefighter.

Brilliant idea? Let it shine! Schedule an appointment or drop in to receive coaching tips on writing your script or presenting your pitch. No matter what stage you’re in, we’ll collaborate to make your idea known.

BONUS: Remember to get points for the EC GAME *Learn, Engage, Build* and work toward winning the big prize at the end of the semester.

Mary Rodgers

Cody Watson

Cofounder and former CEO of Abrakadoodle®, remarkable art education for children, has an extensive background in entrepreneurship, education and franchising having started and developed two successful franchise systems in education over a span of 30 years. In 2002 she founded Abrakadoodle which has provided arts education programs to more than four million children in the US, China, Singapore, Mexico and Australia. Rogers led the company’s growth and development as CEO and oversaw the company’s proprietary standards-based art education curriculum that is used in art classes, camps, in-school programming and special events for children ages two to twelve. Internationally, Abrakadoodle operates nearly five hundred Abrakadoodle franchises and Art Studios for Kids. Rogers retired in 2016 after managing the sale of Abrakadoodle to Mega Education, an international multi-brand company.

Our mentor network comes from a combination of local entrepreneurs and committed executive partners.

Whether you know what you need or just want some guidance, our mentors want to help. Made up of over 30 of the hardest working professionals out there, our mentors are ready to help you take the next step.

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