Ravila Gupta, President and CEO
Ravila Gupta has over 15 years of experience in senior leadership roles, most recently as President of Umicore, USA. Ravila brings a passion for entrepreneurship to CED as she helps forge stronger connections, engage new partners, and set the strategic direction of the organization. Prior to CED, Ravila was with Umicore, USA for nine years, first as its Legal Counsel and then as its President, beginning in 2011. Ravila also worked as a process/environmental engineer at government agencies and companies that included Tyco Electronics and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. She began her career as an attorney at Ogletree Deakins, in Raleigh. A 26 year resident of North Carolina, Ravila is a member of the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, serving on its Board of Directors from 2013 to 2016, and for a year on its Executive Committee. She is also a board member of the Nature Conservancy (NC Chapter), the National Association of CEOs, and the Duke University School of Nursing. Ravila has worked closely with entrepreneurial founders in the healthcare sector, providing guidance, mentorship, and business advice. Ravila graduated from McGill University with a Bachelors and Masters in Chemical Engineering and earned her Juris Doctor from North Carolina Central University.
Miriam Wilson, Vice President, Operations
Miriam has a passion for helping entrepreneurs grow their business, which is how she came to find her home at CED. She has been connecting them to capital, resources and education for the past 15 years and continues to do so as the Vice President of Operations for CED. Currently, she oversees all entrepreneurial programs and events including CED's semi-annual conference, the Venture Mentoring Service (VMS), and Mindshare. Prior to joining CED, Miriam played an integral role in creating programs that supported entrepreneurs and the commercialization of technology from South Carolina’s research universities. Being an active resource in the community is also a priority for her, so she is a board member at a number of community nonprofits and entrepreneurial support groups. Miriam earned a B.S. in Mathematics and Business from Wake Forest University.
Jay Bigelow, Director of Entrepreneurship
Jay’s primary focus at CED is organizing the expertise of the network to provide guidance, mentorship, and capital to the approximately 1,800 entrepreneurial companies within the CED ecosystem. As head of CED's Connections to Capital service, he is responsible for building key relationships with leading investors including venture funds, angel investors and strategics around the country. Jay has worked in two startups and 3 scale-ups where he launched new products, drove business development efforts and strategic planning. He earned his B.S in Business Administration from Drexel University.
Robin Costello, Director of Corporate Relations and Strategic Partnerships
Robin is responsible for building and cultivating relationships for CED across the corporate community. Growing strategic and business partnerships and fundraising is a major focus. Prior to CED, Robin was responsible for fundraising and leveraging business relationships statewide for the Research Triangle Regional Partnership, a business and economic development organization. Before that, she was Vice President and Director of Marketing for Piedmont Investment Advisors, a boutique investment management firm. She also served as Vice President of External Affairs at Action for Children North Carolina, the statewide policy and advocacy organization serving children’s issues. In this role, she grew organizational relationships among corporations, legislators, government officials and civic leaders throughout the state. Outside of CED, Robin serves on the UNCW Foundation Board, the Board of Directors for Wake Education Partnership and is a member of the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce. She has been involved in several community organizations over the years. Robin is an alumnus of Leadership North Carolina. She received her B.A. from UNC Chapel Hill and her M.A. in Public Administration at Penn State University.
Kelly Rowell, Director of Customer Experience
Kelly joins CED with a purpose to enhance our engagements not only with our entrepreneurs, but everyone who supports their growth. She has a diverse background in the nonprofit space leading teams, maximizing organizational capacity, and fostering efficient and effective workflow. As an accomplished development professional, she applies over a decade of experience to designing engagement strategies that offer the best value to an organization's supporters. She feels drawn to the entrepreneurial community by her personal alignment with its defining characteristics. In that, she is a continual learner who believes evolution is key to personal and professional success. Kelly has a B.A. in Marketing, Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship, is a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and Certified Fund Raising Executive.
“Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.” – Roosevelt
Hunter Young, Connections to Capital Manager
Hunter Young brings a diverse finance and investment background to CED. His experience both managing a fund and evaluating companies brings critical contributions to the Connections to Capital service. Hunter was an investment banker with Barclays in New York executing M&A and capital markets transactions for companies including Serta, Newell Rubbermaid, and Berkshire Hathaway. Upon moving to North Carolina, he was Vice President & Director of Portfolio Relations at Hargett Hunter Capital Partners in Raleigh focused on investment in early stage chain restaurants. Hunter graduated from Brown University with a B.S in Business/Managerial Economics and received his M.B.A. from Vanderbilt University.
Debbie Burke, Business Manager
Debbie is responsible for the day-to-day accounting, finance and operations functions for CED. She ensures the successful completion of the annual audit, HR administration, facilities maintenance, and internal technology issues. Debbie’s professional career includes 11 years of accounting experience with a company based in Iowa. Debbie holds a B.A from Trinity International University. Her skills in accounting and organization make her an invaluable asset to the CED Team.
Kristina Sandine, Senior Marketing Coordinator
Kristina joins the CED as the Senior Marketing Coordinator, bringing over 17 years of marketing and communications experience as well as an extensive background in design and content creation. Kristina brings a unique perspective as a small business owner, having worked with a wide array of organizations from large corporations to startups, positioning each business in the best possible light. She received her B.A. from Northern Arizona University and Graphic Design/Communications degree from Pittsburgh Tech.
Victoria Centeno, Customer Success Specialist
Victoria brings her enthusiasm and passion to help advance entrepreneurial businesses in North Carolina. As a Raleigh native, Victoria has witnessed first-hand our area's transformation into a powerhouse for startups and entrepreneurs. Working alongside CED's Vice President of Operations, she will apply her marketing and conference planning experience to support CED's signature programs including VMS, Conferences and Workshops. And any given Wednesday night you can find her roller skating at Jelly Beans on oldies night.
CED is hiring! Check out our Career Page for details.