Daily News

Kristin Leutz to Take Helm at Valley Venture Mentors

SPRINGFIELD — Valley Venture Mentors CEO Liz Roberts announced that she will be leaving her position as of July 13, at which time current chief operating officer Kristin Leutz will take the helm of the organization that has been dedicated to nurturing entrepreneurship in Western Mass.

Roberts plans to depart after a period of growth for Valley Venture Mentors (VVM). During her tenure, she launched the Startup Accelerator program, in which entrepreneurs receive five months of training, mentoring, office space, and access to equity-free funding. Entrepreneurs who graduated from all VVM programs generated $51 million in revenue and fundraising during the past three years, and created 500 full-time and part-time jobs over the course of 2017. The Startup Accelerator program earned recognition as a model rural accelerator by the Obama administration.

“I’ve always said that leadership is not a sprint, and it is not a marathon,” Roberts said. “It is a relay, and it is smart to pass the baton at just the right time. It’s not only the right time, but Kristin Leutz — with her expertise in management, passion for entrepreneurship, and commitment to Western Massachusetts — is absolutely the right person.”

Prior to joining Valley Venture Mentors as COO in 2017, Leutz served as vice president for Philanthropic Services at the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, where she helped create programs such as Valley Gives. Leutz also aided entrepreneurs at VVM as a volunteer mentor for many years before joining the team. She has had a career in global philanthropy and business leadership spanning organizations like MassMutual and RefugePoint, a Cambridge- and Nairobi-based, globally recognized social-impact startup. She has led operations, fundraising, and marketing, and brings decades of experience to her role at VVM.

“I’m deeply honored to be given this opportunity,” said Leutz, “and I’m excited to work even closer with the amazing community of entrepreneurs and mentors that Liz Roberts has cultivated and engaged at VVM.”

The team includes Ronald-Molina Brantley, the former senior program manager for the city of Springfield, VVM’s vice president of Operations; Dorota Glosowitz, vice president of Programs, overseeing the Mentorship and Startup Accelerator programs; Stephannie Kirby, an alumna of VVM’s Collegiate Accelerator, as Program Manager; and Christian Setian, formerly of the Miami Dolphins, as the new Partnerships and Events assistant, working with VVM’s sponsors and volunteers from the community.