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Kristin Leutz to Step Down as CEO of Valley Venture Mentors

SPRINGFIELD — Kristin Leutz announced she is leaving Valley Venture Mentors after more than two years as CEO. VVM board member Chris Bignell will step into the role of interim CEO on March 1 as the organization begins the search for a permanent director. Bignell has been a mentor, volunteer, and startup founder, as well as a partner in the Alchemy Fund.

“Nearly 10 years ago, I wandered into a VVM community night and met our founding team,” Leutz said. “I was hooked on the magic formula of startups, great networking, and generous community. Since that time, I have been a mentor or worked on staff at VVM. As I move on to a new challenge, I plan to remain engaged with VVM on various projects. In my next professional role, I will be consulting and also have taken on the position of executive director of the Startup Champions Network, a national membership organization supporting entrepreneurship ecosystem builders.”

This past year marked significant leaps forward for VVM, Leutz went on. “Together, we achieved the opening of the Valley Venture Hub, the new co-working space that anchors the Springfield Innovation Center, in which we hosted over 6,000 people who attended various events. We re-launched a new mentorship program and have over 40 people engaged in learning and mentorship. We graduated 15 high-growth startups in our accelerator, and we now see those companies raising funds and growing sales. In addition, we created a groundbreaking collegiate summer accelerator that welcomes all Pioneer Valley students, co-hosted with our colleagues at the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship at UMass. Our impact has been significant.”

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