Mentors: COMPANY CULTURE

Lauren DeSimone

Lauren DeSimone

Summary of Qualifications Lauren is an enthusiastic and creative “social stitcher” with a passion for engaging people. With a zeal for living a full life, she curates her own adventure: she is currently Vice President of Engagement for EngageMore, a software startup in the health and fitness industry; Director of Community Partnerships for Gather, a network of community workspaces for entrepreneurs; and a Visiting Artist for Richmond Memorial Health Foundation’s Health Equity Arts program. Lauren is an organizational designer with a diverse background. She earned a BFA in Sculpture from VCUarts, has focused on design, management and entrepreneurship as a profession, and is passionate about cultivating people’s skills and talents. Lauren works at the intersection of design and business, in particular figuring out the best way to build and leverage the human relationships necessary to make the project, organization or business with whom she works a success. Integral to how Lauren thinks and works is her belief in values-based leadership and the importance of creating environments in which those working within them are equipped with the tools they need to be successful. She is interested in working with creatives, startups and other entrepreneurial ventures to create this culture. Want to meet with this Lead Mentor? Schedule An...
Polly White

Polly White

Summary of Qualifications Polly is a veteran entrepreneur and consultant whose experience spans all industries and whose expertise focuses on people. She is a founding partner and owner of Gather, whose coworking spaces provide a community to more than 200 entrepreneurs, freelancers, and small business people. In 2002, Polly left the corporate world to start her first consulting business serving large and Fortune 500 companies in the areas of leadership and organizational development. Her business continued to grow in both size and capabilities over the next several years adding services in HR, compliance, strategy and workforce development. In 2009, she joined forces with her husband, Doug, to form Whitestone Partners, a full-service small-business consulting firm. Together, they work with clients across all industries and have extensive experience in real estate, construction, the trades, professional services, non-profits, advertising and marketing, manufacturing and financial services. They help businesses that want to get to the next level as well as those needing to get back on track. Today, Polly is recognized as a small business expert, successful serial entrepreneur, angel investor, and founding partner of Gather, coworking spaces that create community for more than 200 entrepreneurs, freelancers, and small businesses. She writes weekly columns (with her partner, Doug) for both RTD Business and Entrepreneur.com. She is a best-selling author, sought-after speaker, and business consultant. Want to meet with this Lead Mentor? Schedule an...
Paul Cassimus

Paul Cassimus

Summary of Qualifications Paul is the local River City King with King of Pops. Armed with just a cart and some handcrafted ice-pops, he started slinging pops to the good people in Richmond in 2012. Since then, the business has grown to 10 carts, 3 full-time employees and 25+ part timers in the summer. Paul’s unique perspective comes from having done every job within the business possible; from making pops, to selling on the sidewalks, to accounting, training employees, social media, marketing and advertising… he’s done it all and he sees how everything works together to achieve his business goals. Having a business that relies heavily on customer service and interaction, he began to see the close relationship marketing has with management. He understands how to fully exploit both to create a fun, awesome culture for his employees to then create the fun vibe King of Pops is known for. Paul once said “numbers kick ass” which could be an odd thing for a person who self-proclaims that he “isn’t a numbers guy.” It was in reference to how his business shifted dramatically and positively once he started managing his business according “buzz-word” things like Key Performance Indicators or metrics. Paul says it is the “least sexy” part of a business, but it is the “most important” part if you want to be successful and not “work insane hours the rest of your life.” Also a former teacher, he’s seen countless lessons he learned teaching students overlap “almost identically” with challenges he’s seen in the business world with managing employees, customers, and himself in the workplace. Random achievement: He once...
Danielle Gilbert

Danielle Gilbert

Summary of Qualifications Danielle Gilbert is currently the Administrative Director for St. Francis Medical Center, Healthsource, Rappahannock General Hospital and Shared Services of Bon Secours Health System, Inc. She joined Bon Secours in August 2010. Her experience over the past twelve years in Human Resources has included Consulting, Employee Relations, Compensation, Benefits, and Recruitment. As a leader in Bon Secours Virginia’s Human Resources department, Gilbert helps direct the health system’s efforts in employee engagement, employee training, talent management and organizational development. The department’s primary purpose is to encourage learning and growth within Bon Secours Virginia to strengthen and support the health system’s ability to achieve organizational objectives. In 2015, Bon Secours Virginia was named by the Gallup organization as a Great Workplace, one of only 29 organizations worldwide. Before joining Bon Secours, Gilbert was Human Resources Manager at Lowe’s Home Improvement in Richmond, VA., where she oversaw the implementation, planning, and direction of 200 employees. Gilbert orchestrated the company’s engagement and growth. Her leadership helped build the organization into one of the most successful retail stores within a highly competitive market. Following her undergraduate studies, Gilbert started her career in the retail industry. Gilbert graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. She later continued her education at Strayer University, earning two masters in Human Resources Management and Public Administration. She also became certified by the Human Resources Certification Institute as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) in January 2013 and certified by the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) as a SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP). Gilbert is currently pursuing her Ph.D. In addition, she is...
Lindsay Grant

Lindsay Grant

Summary of Qualifications Lindsay Grant is part of The Hodges Partnership, a PR & communications strategy firm based in Shockoe Bottom. With a career spent at PR and marketing agencies, Lindsay has the pleasure of advising clients – big and small – on how to approach their communications strategy. As a senior-level account director at Hodges, she focuses on strategic planning, writing, media relations, content marketing and internal communications. Clients over the years have ranged from local start-ups to household brands and nonprofit organizations all with varying budgets and unique goals. And at the end of the day, no matter the budget and resources, Lindsay believes that a smart communications strategy is within reach for every business. Her campaigns have won industry awards and her clients have turned into long-lasting business relationships. She’s a VCU grad, PRSA Richmond board member, APR certified and an adjunct faculty member at the VCU Robertson School of Media and Culture. She lives in the city and is known to cheer on all things Richmond, including the Rams. Want to meet with this mentor? Talk with your Lead...