Mike Forster is a retired executive with more than 50 years of sales, marketing, and general management experience in the information technology industry. Most recently he served as the CEO and Chairman of CommerceQuest, Inc., a SaaS (software as a service) company located in Tampa, FL. He was, from 2017 to 2019, Chairman of the Innovate Mississippi board of directors.
Board of Directors
Dr. Nashlie H. Sephus is the Applied Science manager for Amazon’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) focusing on fairness
and identifying biases in the technologies. Prior to working as the CTO of Partpic, she received her Ph.D. from the
School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2014. She received her B.S.
in Computer Engineering from Mississippi State University (2007). Dr. Sephus is a native of Jackson, Mississippi and
a graduate of Murrah High School/Power Academic and Performing Arts Complex (APAC).
Board of Directors
Glenn McCullough, jr. led economic development and
community programs that resulted in record private capital investment, job growth in higher income jobs, and
global export trade. Prior to MDA, he was Chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority and was a former mayor of
Richard A Sun
Board of Directors/Director of Jackson
Richard Sun has focused on start-up and high-growth companies, as a private equity investor, adviser, board member and executive. He has played a key role in nine startup companies, has invested $230 million in four early stage companies for institutional private equity investors and personally invested in thirteen others. He was the first Entrepreneur in Residence at Innovate Mississippi in 2017 to 2018.
Board of Directors
Joe Donovan runs the Entrepreneur Center @ MDA, a bureau within the agency’s Minority & Small Business Division. For entrepreneurs seeking resources to start a new venture or for a seasoned business owner wishing to expand, The Entrepreneur Center is the “one-stop shop” for the Mississippi entrepreneur.
Dr. Sarah Lee
Board of Directors/Director of Golden Triangle Region
“Sarah Lee began serving as an advisor to the board in 2018 during her tenure as a member of the faculty and Assistant Department Head in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Mississippi State University. Sarah assumed a new role in 2020 as Director of the School of Computing Sciences and Computer Engineering at the University of Southern Mississippi. She is working with stakeholders in Hattiesburg and on the Gulf Coast to implement coding academy opportunities for persons in south Mississippi. Sarah spent nineteen years at FedEx Corporation in a variety of roles in the information technology division, before following her passion to increase diversity in computing in her home state of Mississippi.”
Secretary and Treasurer
Tony Jeff serves as the president and CEO for Innovate Mississippi and is a technology evangelist who speaks regularly on emerging trends and strategies in technology and innovation commercialization. Tony has overseen the coaching of more than 1,200 entrepreneurial ventures and consulted with companies that have successfully raised more than $170 million in private equity financing.
Director of GTR/Advisor to the Board.
Ben is a native Mississippian with over 15 years of experience in the software technology industry and international startup community.
Ben did software development for the US Air Force before he co-founded a software start-up in an incubator in Jackson, Mississippi. As the CTO, he grew this start up grew into an international firm with offices and personnel in four countries before he had a successful exit.