Our Mentors

Chicostart offers an inclusive business mentoring program to bring together entrepreneurs, startups, small businesses, and mentors from the North State to support their entrepreneurial success. To learn more about the program and connect with a Chicostart mentor, please email

Andrew Burke


Andrew Burke is owner of ANDREW BURKE MEDIA, which consults on video strategy and digital marketing for mid-market startups. His boutique firm was established in 2016 just outside of Silicon Valley, where he began servicing top private startups nearby.

Prior to founding his own firm, Andrew worked at red-hot startups Evernote and Asana, as one of the first 100 employees at each. At Asana, Andrew built out a new video division supporting the efforts toward the companies largest product re-design. He led how video was implemented company-wide; from marketing content to web infrastructure, helping to communicate the massive changes. Examples of this include working with executives to build consensus and direction, decision making around video players and servers, testing and adjusting content across email, web and in-product, tracking engagement, and updating the look-and-feel of video content to be more approachable. Andrew worked hands-on with Asana’s new user experience (NUX), first launch experience (FLE), and the New User Guide—all key peices for successful product engagement. Andrew’s work was in use through Asana’s successful 2020 IPO, and continues to be in use today. 

Areas of Expertise

  • Video Content Strategy
  • Digital Marketing
  • Product

Andrew Gadzecki

I’m Andrew Gazdecki and I’ve been an entrepreneur for longer than I can remember. I like to build stuff, mostly companies, and try to tell a story that goes beyond what the company does to how it’s changing markets. I started two companies, Bizness Apps and, both acquired. I have been featured in

NYT, Forbes, WSJ,, and Entrepreneur Magazine, as well as prominent industry blogs such as Mashable, TechCrunch and VentureBeat.

Areas of Expertise

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership
  • Brand building

Ben Sampson

Co-Founder, WeHero

Ben Sampson is the co-founder and CEO of WeHero, a company focused on building innovative solutions that empower organizations and individuals around the world to maximize social impact. Ben is a serial entrepreneur, startup advisor, and product management expert. Over the past three years, he has worked with hundreds of Fortune 1000 companies on their CSR strategies with a specific focus on how to maximize employee engagement through high-impact, scalable, volunteer programming. Ben speaks frequently on industry webinars, podcasts, and conferences about the future of corporate volunteerism, how to scale high-impact experiences and the success stories of companies reaching a new level of social impact. Ben is a graduate of Chico State and the Sustainable Business Strategy program at Harvard Business School. He continues to write about new and interesting ways companies can maximize social change.includes building highly scalable products, leading effective teams, and developing four companies in the past ten years.


  • Product Management
  • Hiring, firing and building teams
  • Consultative selling

Bob Hegle

Project Management

About Bob

I worked for Pacific Telephone for 27 years in a variety of positions, primarily in operations management and planning. My organization worked with many fortune 500 companies for building and maintaining communications networks. During my early years I managed large projects and later led statewide projects with impacts to all Bell companies. Along the way I earned a degree in Business Administration from St Mary’s college and continued post grad business studies. I also received extensive Project Management training.

After leaving Pacific Bell I started a company servicing real estate agents and continued this until moving to New Jersey. There I did program management and sales for a Chicago based startup which serviced telecommunications businesses for the next 5 years. After retiring my wife and I built a house in Grass Valley, and by chance, I did business consulting for a bicycle shop owner as well as serving as president of a Men's Associations in Grass Valley.


  • Project management
  • Business planning
  • Business problem solving

Braydan Young

Co-Founder and Chief Alliances Officer, Sendoso

Braydan Young is the Co-Founder and Chief Alliances Officer of Sendoso, the leading Sending Platform. Braydan has more than a decade of experience in

business development and initially led the sales team at Sendoso before transitioning to a more people-focused role. As the cofounder of Sendoso, he oversees the learning and employee development functions for Sendoso team members. Braydan has previously served in roles at Demandbase (acquired by Intuit), Betts Recruiting, and Unum.

Areas of Expertise

  • Sales
  • Business Development
  • Fund Raising

Dana Grant

Master Intuitive Life Coach, Dana Grant Intuition

Dana Grant is a Master Intuitive Life Coach, host of International retreats, keynote speaker, and co-founder of Cali’Flour Foods (first ready-made cauliflower pizza crust company). Dana is the proud leader of the Women of Vision Chico Chapter and was named Chico’s Entrepreneur of 2017-2018. In 2018, she expanded her work across the globe, hosting masterclasses in Paris and Amsterdam, and an intimate, life-changing retreat in Italy. She is married, with three grown daughters, one fur baby she affectionately calls her only son, and she loves helping people achieve their goals to reach their highest potential. Lover of life and believer that energy is everything. You can connect with her at her website or on Instagram.

Area of Expertise

  • Master Life Coach
  • Business Consulting
  • Public Speaking

Darryl Schoen

Darryl Schoen is the founder and president of Manufacturers Financing Services, which, since the early 1990s, has promoted equipment sales, especially in robotics and other manufacturing equipment, by providing custom-tailored, quick turnaround financing.  

Darryl has had a lifelong affinity for business: he first learned marketing as a child selling backyard peaches and plums from a wagon. As a teen, he left a boring, sticky indoor job scooping ice cream to take up lifeguarding – which he parlayed into a business offering private swim lessons, where he learned about pricing. 

After receiving his BS at Chico State and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin, Darryl completed a management training program in banking, then returned to California to be closer to family in Southern California, once again live in a warmer climate, and work with Brunswick. Darryl structured equipment and real estate financing for bowling equipment customers in Western Canada and the Western US. He left Brunswick to work in a more entrepreneurial environment, dealing with budgets, foreign currency hedging, and credit. After expressing a desire to eventually run a company, the company’s four entrepreneur-owners challenged him to devise a business plan for a new business and present it to the company’s board of directors. The Board signed off and agreed to fund Darryl’s new operation. In 2007, he sold the successful business to two Japanese companies, which asked him to stay on as President. He loves working with people – from Forbes 500 companies to mom-and-pop businesses – coming up with customized finance solutions, especially ones they haven’t thought of.

Areas of Expertise

  • Manufacturing
  • Finance
  • Sales

Eli Libby

Co-Founder & President, Results Imagery

Eli is Co-Founder & President of Results Imagery, a product photography and video production company dedicated to increasing online listing conversions through high quality media content. Before Results Imagery Eli built a successful eCommerce brand called Winterial. He co-founded Results Imagery through a fusion between eCommerce expertise and high quality media content for online retailers. As the president of Results Imagery, he lives and breathes business development, culture building and creating a lasting impact through our corporate sustainability program.

Areas of Expertise

  • Leadership Development
  • Building strong company culture
  • Creating operational efficiencies

Gary Simon

Co-Founder, Cleanstart

After a 45-year career in the energy industry and government, Gary co-founded CleanStart, a nonprofit business accelerator based in Sacramento.  He is a serial entrepreneur with a number of startups in clean energy and fiber optics across the country.  He also has been a senior executive with two Fortune 500 companies, a board member of two public-traded tech companies, and the head of a corporate venture fund, as well as being an investor in small companies himself. He got a Masters of Science degree in Ecology from UC Davis and now resides in Davis once again.  For one decade, he was a strategic consultant to many of the largest energy companies in the world.  He now much more enjoys helping clean tech innovators find ways to commercialize their ideas and see them grow into substantial businesses.  He has a broad range of experience and insight he is willing to share.

Areas of Expertise

  • Customer Discovery
  • Creating a solid value proposition
  • Market analysis
  • Leadership and team-building
  • Fundraising

Jessica Henman

Attorney at Law, Jessica Henman Law

Jessica was born and raised in Chico, California. She graduated from Pleasant Valley High School with Honors. While in school Jessica participated in 4H for 10 years which involved being a leader in many group projects and 9 years of raising lambs. After High School Jessica attended Chico State and graduated with a degree in Business Administration, with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship, and a minor in Spanish. Meanwhile, Jessica has worked alongside her family in all of their family owned and ran businesses which include: Bill Chance Realty, Camp, Storage, and Chance-Knight Farming. Jessica graduated from McGeorge School of Law in the top third of her class with a concentration in Business Law, as well as Tax Law. In her free time, Jessica enjoys reading, traveling (she studied abroad in college and law school in Spain and Austria), riding horses, and being involved in the community. She is involved in Rotary and other community-based programs in Chico, CA. In addition to practicing law, Jessica also helps people buy/sell real estate.

Areas of Expertise

  • Business Law
  • Estate Planning
  • Licensed real estate agent

John C. Meyer

John is a serial entrepreneur (and an attorney) who relishes the challenge of building teams to execute on a vision.  Following the acquisition of his last company, John currently focuses on operational excellence as Senior Director of Business Operations at DataRobot Inc., an artificial intelligence cloud platform company.  Over the last six years, John has served as the Chief Legal Officer and/or Chief Operating Officer of three companies that were acquired by Oracle, IBM and DataRobot respectively. Prior to these acquisitions, John has had a widely varied career that ranged from leading, building and advising successful companies in fields as varied as self-service storage, 3D laser Scanning and an international dive resort.  In fact, he started his very first company straight out of college and looks forward to helping you.


Areas of Expertise

  • Formation, governance and compliance
  • Team building and leadership
  • Systems and operational excellence

Kris Rudeegraap

CEO, Sendoso

Kris Rudeegraap is the co-founder and CEO of Sendoso, the leading Sending Platform for sending direct mail and corporate gifts. Kris has more than a decade of sales experience and has spent time in sales at Talkdesk, Yapstone, and Piqora. During that time, he discovered that creating meaningful engagements through direct mail and gifting was an effective way to drive demand and increase sales—which helped inspire the idea for Sendoso. Kris is a California native and CSU-Chico alum currently residing in the Bay Area.

Areas of Expertise

  • Fundraising (raised $155m)
  • Scaling sales/marketing revenue ($0-$30m ARR)
  • Hiring/recruiting (0-500+ employees)

Kyle Nelson

Co-Founder & President, Results Imagery

Kyle Nelson is Co-Founder& CEO of Results Imagery, a product photography and video production company dedicated to increasing online listing conversions through high quality media content. Before Results Imagery, he was involved as a founding member in several start-ups including staffing, social media and media production. As an award winning photographer, Kyle leads media strategy for some of the world & top companies collaborating with Results Imagery.

Areas of Expertise

  • Content/Media Production
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Branding

Michael K. Redman

Kathryn Redman

Kathryn and Michael K. Redman are the husband-and-wife team behind Half a Bubble Out (HaBO), a marketing and business consulting firm that develops the whole leader for the whole business. They’re the co-authors of Fulfilled: The Passion & Provision Strategy for Building a Business with Profit, Purpose & Legacy. Michael and Kathryn have been featured in Forbes and Entrepreneur magazines, built two 7 figure companies, been visiting professors at multiple universities, are frequent guest speakers, and are the creators and co-hosts of the HaBO Village Business and Leadership Podcast. For over 19 years, they’ve helped business leaders grow in the areas of leadership development, marketing and sales, and company culture.

Areas of Expertise

  • Leadership Development
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Company Culture

Michael Coogan

Managing Partner, MC2

Running an organization is tough! I have spent my 30-year career as an entrepreneur helping frustrated businesses leaders grow their companies. As a John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach, Certified StoryBrand Guide, and Managing Partner, I lead MC2, a full-service marketing agency. My passion is to guide businesses to a place of messaging clarity, marketing consistency, confidence and strategies that lead to growth.

Areas of Expertise

  • Messaging
  • Marketing
  • Growth Strategies

Sara Adams

Owner, Chico Chai

Sarah Adams is the Owner of Chico Chai, a business that blends and brews chai from scratch. She started selling chai at the farmers' market and a few local coffee houses in 2004. Before long, demand grew for her fresh chai, and it's served in fine coffee houses all over Northern California.

Areas of Expertise

  • Food & Beverage Production
  • Start Up

Sedale Turbovsky

Sedale has been an entrepreneur since childhood. After high school, he quickly grew bored in college and dropped out. He spent some time honing his leadership

skills as an outdoor guide leading rafting and kayaking expeditions around the world. As an adventure guide with ample downtime to study and learn, he developed the analytical and business skills needed to launch a management consultancy in Argentina focused on delivering enterprise data products to clients. From that role he was recruited to develop, and then serve as the CEO, of carbonBLU, a successful venture-backed startup solving challenges in the clean vehicle and fleet management space. Sedale led the company through MVP and helped secure a pipeline of over $1.5M in government contracts. During that time, he gained intimate knowledge of the challenges and pitfalls of applying for and managing grant funding as a technology startup, which was the impetus for OpenGrants.

Sedale brings with him a history of leading successful teams, experience with—and deep connections to—the public sector, and a passion for building companies with a strong social mission.

Areas of Expertise

  • Fundraising
  • Teambuilding
  • Leadership

Syed K. Hasan MD/PhD/MBA

Biomedical Research & Medicine

President-CEO, Immunotrex Biologics Inc.

Dr. Hasan is a physician – scientist and entrepreneur (M.D.; Ph.D., MBA) with extensive research experience in biochemistry/ molecular biology and drug development. His research experience includes studying signal transduction pathways of Rho-A & Rho-E – small GTPases involved in the regulation of the actin cytoskeleton – and their pathogenic involvement in Hypertension and Coronary Artery Disease. Dr. Hasan’s work also includes the manufacturing and analysis of PBCA (polybutylcyanoacrylate) nanoparticles for enhanced drug delivery across the Human Blood-Brain Barrier and evaluating drug delivery efficacy of nanoparticles containing loaded medications within Alzheimer’s disease models. Dr. Hasan had been a Project Leader at the Harvard-MIT HST Institute, where he completed his Post-Doctoral research in bioengineering organs. He currently owns and operates Iuventis Technologies Inc. located in Lowell Massachusetts. Iuventis Technologies Inc. is in business to develop and commercialize biotech-based therapeutics in the fields of anti-infectives and oncology.

Areas of Expertise

  • Biotech
  • FDA Process
  • Drug development

Thomas Hall

Executive Director, CleanStart

Thomas Hall is a strategic management professional who has worked with Clean Energy Startups, medical practices, non-profits, international corporations and start-ups. Currently, Thomas is the Executive Director of CleanStart, a Non-Profit dedicated to turning Sacramento into a Cleantech hub. He has held 100 online interviews with Startups, Investors, Policy Makers, and more. He is currently a board member and treasurer of Sacramento Electric Vehicle and Sacramento Valley Spark.

Area of Expertise

  • Business Development
  • Business Planning
  • Circular Economy

Contact Info

530 924 5100

411 Main Street, Suite 101, Chico, CA 92928

6161 Clark Road, #1, Paradise, CA 95969


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