Mentors: TRAINING

Leah Fremouw

Leah Fremouw

Summary of Qualifications Leah Fremouw is a familiar face in the Richmond business community and has a rich history of managing dynamic, fast-moving projects with multiple stakeholders. Leah currently serves as an Assistant Vice President at Virginia Community Capital, a financial organization deploying loans and advisory services to projects in all regions of the Commonwealth. In this role, she partners with businesses in a variety of industries and growth stages to support their movement to the next level. Prior to this role, she led talent management and cultural initiatives for CarLotz, a fast growing Richmond business, served as an organizational development consultant with the Performance Management Group at Virginia Commonwealth University, and for three years worked in the city’s public housing communities. Leah’s commitment to the Richmond community brings her out of the office and into initiatives moving the greater region forward. She helps lead TEDxRVA, the innovative speaker series initiated in 2012, along with Impact 100, where she supports strategies to raise large grant funds for local nonprofits. Leah earned her Bachelors and Master’s degrees at VCU, where she was recognized as an L. Douglas Wilder Graduate Scholar 2008-2010. She is also a 2011 graduate of the Partnership for Nonprofit Excellence’s Emerging Nonprofit Leaders Program.   Want to meet with this mentor? Schedule an...
Sydney Lester

Sydney Lester

Summary of Qualifications Sydney Lester is a personal stylist with over eight years in the fashion industry. She is the founder of Chic Stripes, a popular blog and business. In 2009, Sydney launched Chic Stripes, her personal style blog that focused on creating individualized style by shopping second hand first. She parlayed her blog into a successful personal styling business where she now works one-on-one with clients and focuses on giving women confidence through their wardrobes and teaching them how to create a timeless, personalized style and sustainable wardrobe that work for them, not against them. Sydney has been featured on numerous television segments, worked with local and national brands, was named Richmond’s Top Fashion Blogger in 2015 by Richmond Magazine, and continues to be the area’s go-to style expert. Sydney is a graduate of the Los Angeles-based School of Style, holds dual masters degrees in Social Work and Christian Education, and currently lives in Richmond with her husband and three cats. Want to meet with this mentor? Talk with your Lead...
Christina Dick

Christina Dick

Summary of Qualifications Christina consults on social media, public relations, content strategy, marketing, blogger/influencer outreach, media buying, customer/user experience, advertising, content creation/copywriting and branding (brand voice, community management, customer relations). Christina has worked with large, national brands through The Martin Agency and Capital One, and has a passion for bringing those big ideas to small businesses. She also works as a recruiter, and can consult about hiring, recruiting, talent management, workplace culture – basically, connecting entrepreneurs to the right types of people. Christina is a social recruiter for AQUENT and a creative communications consultant for agencies and small business. She began her career at The Martin Agency, buying media and then developing social strategies and building communities for Kraft’s Cool Whip and Stove Top, Walmart, GEICO and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Christina has also worked on Capital One’s social media team and built a social media and content strategy offering at Big River Advertising. She is an adjunct professor Virginia Commonwealth University, where she earned a bachelors in Mass Communications with a concentration in Strategic Advertising and a Minor in Marketing. Christina is also active in the Richmond Ad Club, serving as the current president while working to grow the club’s mentor and speaker series programs. In a partnership formed through her personal blog, Tiramisu For Breakfast, she launched and manage the Elements Beauty Bloggers program for ElementsBeautyshop.com. She loves the local arts community and chairs the Richmond CenterStage Associates Board. Ready to meet with this Lead Mentor? Schedule an initial...
Eric Perkins

Eric Perkins

Summary of Qualifications Eric is small business and nonprofit attorney filling the void between “Big Law” and the LegalZooms of the world. Eric is the founder of Perkins Law, PLLC, serving small businesses and nonprofit organizations across Virginia. Eric helps small business owners, executives, and entrepreneurs structure and form new business entities and memorialize their key relationships and transactions in writing so they can plan ahead, operate more profitably, and stay out of trouble. Eric is also active in franchising. He has worked with franchisees representing more than 75 franchise systems and also helped several companies grow through franchising. He is active with the Virginia Franchise Forum and is also a member of the American Bar Association Forum on Franchising. Eric is also active in the tennis community as chair of the national tennis rules and regulations committee for the USTA and co-author of “Richmond – One of America’s Best Tennis Towns” chronicling over 100 years of RVA tennis history. Ready to meet with this mentor? Talk with your Lead...
Tom Lawrence

Tom Lawrence

Summary of Qualifications In Tom Lawrence’s forty-year entrepreneurial career, he has progressed from owner of a Valpack franchise, to President of the Valpak Dealers’ Association, to VP of franchise operations for Valpack. As founder and CEO of Richmond-based FranNet, Tom makes time to consult, teach, and speak at the Small Business Development Center, the SBA, and SCORE. He enjoys putting his experience to use helping others who wish to start their own business. Tom began his entrepreneurial career in 1975 with the purchase of Valpak of Virginia. Initially specializing in direct sales, in 1981, he became President and the sole owner of that business. Valpak of Virginia was repeatedly ranked in the top 5% of the over 200 Valpak franchises. In 1987, Tom was elected President of the Valpak Dealers’ Association and served three terms in this position. In this role (held concurrently with ownership of his own franchise), Tom represented, to the franchisor, the interest of all Valpak franchisees, heading policy-making and marketing committees and was the chief adjudicator of intra-franchise disputes. In 1991, Tom sold the Valpak of Virginia franchise and was hired by Cox Enterprises, the corporate parent of Valpak Direct Marketing Systems, Inc. His new role involved the design and implementation of Valpak’s first Field Support program and involvement in the recruiting of potential franchisees. In 1994, he was promoted to Vice President of Franchise Operations. In this position, he retained responsibility for field support, had increased involvement in franchisee recruiting and was given management responsibility for Valpak’s five franchisor-owned operations. Additionally, he assumed responsibility for designing training programs for new franchisees as well as...