Mentors: NETWORKING

Deborah Usry

Deborah Usry

Summary of Qualifications As a fractional CMO Deborah helps organizations identify their brands, identify their key goals, and determine appropriate marketing strategies to achieve those goals. Throughout her career, she has worked in corporations, ad agencies and currently as an independent consultant. Deborah has worked with large organizations and smaller organizations. She gets involved in creating communications plans (external and internal), marketing plans, and the pieces and parts that make up marketing plans; as in strategies and tactics including branding, research, public relations, and advertising. Frequently, the first step is the most difficult. Helping clients understand what it is they are really offering, and why their product meets the need of the prospect better than the competition is not easy, but it is almost the most important step in the process. Without a clear grasp of the brand the marketing strategies may fall on deaf ears. Over her career, she has worked in the business 2 business arena, and business 2 consumer. She has worked with retail, tourism, education, health care, housing and the financial industries. Want to meet with this mentor? Schedule an...
Shantell Malachi

Shantell Malachi

Summary of Qualifications Shantell is an accomplished serial entrepreneur, business strategist, nonprofit expert, and author with an impressive business portfolio that includes ventures in healthcare, the nonprofit sector, consulting, media, and cultural arts. As a Master Business Strategist Shantell specializes in equipping entrepreneurs with the tools and strategies to build amazing brands, realize financial goals, and dominate in the market. A true student of organizational development Shantell has matched extensive education and training with over 17 years of experience as a coach and consultant to create methods that help businesses launch, grow, and maximize their profit. Always keeping community engagement and outreach at the forefront of her entrepreneurial endeavors, Shantell founded and currently serves as the Executive Director of Dress for Success® Central Virginia, a Richmond, VA based affiliate of the international nonprofit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Under her leadership, Dress for Success has served over 1500 women in the metro area in less than 5 years. In addition to leading Dress for Success Central Virginia, Shantell is the co-Founder and CEO of SheEmpowers™ International, a professional women’s network offering programs designed to transform women leaders, empower women to grow their businesses, pursue greater entrepreneurial ventures, and become more active in philanthropy. She is also the Principal Consultant of Nonprofitability, a boutique consulting firm specializing in emerging nonprofits and faith based organizations. Shantell currently sits on the Board of Directors for Children Incorporated where she is the Vice Chairperson and serves a fellow to...
Brooke Schmerge Robertson

Brooke Schmerge Robertson

Summary of Qualifications Brooke is a proven entrepreneur and business strategist. She helps entrepreneurs of all types to start, grow, and save their small businesses. Brooke works with entrepreneurs to achieve optimal success in both their business and their lives. With experience in all types of businesses and roles, she can help you create a plan to save, grow, or launch your business. Unlike other consultants, Brooke focuses not only on setting up businesses for success, but also the success of the entrepreneurs running them. She evaluates everything from overall business strategy, to sales efforts and processes, to customer service and retention, as well as explore and implement solutions to let you work “on” your business instead of “in” it. In addition to her own knowledge and network, Brooke can educate you on grants, resources, and services that are available at little to no charge to entrepreneurs in the Richmond area. Whether you are struggling to solve one problem within your business, or would like to evaluate and grow all aspects of your business, Brooke can help you achieve optimum success, growth, and balance as a business and an entrepreneur. Brooke graduated Summa Cum Laude from Middlebury College in 2001 with degrees in Philosophy and Spanish. For the past 15 years, she’s gained experience and expertise in many areas of the business world, from sales to operations to process improvement, for all types of industries and companies. Through her experience at companies like UPS, Duncan-Parnell, and LeClair Ryan, Brooke has been exposed to and learned about many types of operations and management styles, which allows her to be flexible and...
John Ramirez III

John Ramirez III

Summary of Qualifications John is a financial professional with over 19 years of experience helping to meet the financial needs of consumers and small businesses. In banking since 1998, John Ramirez III Group Manager and Vice President for Fulton Bank has focused primarily on business development, strategic planning, management, small business lending, consumer lending, team development, coaching and community development. Additional abilities include building successful work teams, project management, multi-layer communication, networking, and relationship building. Throughout his banking experience, he has been able to bring value in the form of financial education, service, open communication, and ownership. John’s career in banking began as a Teller through Crestar Bank and continued in growth over the years through many roles and levels of responsibilities. These roles included Customer Service Representative, Assistant Branch Manager, Branch Manager, Area Manager, and current role of Group Manager. While working as a full-time banker, continuing education was a priority. He began his academic career or life-long learning journey at Northern Virginia Community college to which he received three career study certificates (Bookkeeping, Small Business, and Information Technology) along with two Associate Degrees (Business Management and Business Administration). Upon graduation, he attended George Mason University graduating in 2005 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Management. The journey continued in learning by completing the Virginia Bankers School of Bank Management in 2012 and working towards a MBA to which was completed in 2014 from Bellevue University. As a strong believer in life-long learning, he has been privileged to participate in two community leadership programs. One was the Leadership Fredericksburg program in which participants learned about leadership skills and...
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...