NAV Mentors

 Why be a NAV Mentor?

North Atlanta Venture Mentoring Service (NAV) is principled and trained off of the MIT Venture Mentoring Service (VMS). The program consists of volunteer mentors, who are overseen and supported in their mentoring role by the NAV team. Mentors are referred to the program and selected for their experience and expertise across a multitude of areas regarding business formation, operations, scaling and for their enthusiasm for this groundbreaking program – the first of its kind in Georgia. Mentors can be an experts in any field or industry whether it be a startup founder, C-level executives, retired executives, or serial entrepreneurs. This wide range of experience brings a unique wealth of knowledge across a broad range of markets and industries. Mentorship teams are initially formed based on the needs of the entrepreneur and the interest and expertise of our mentors. NAV Venture Teams are fluid and can change throughout the duration of the program based on the ventures evolving needs.    

NAV Mentors are motivated and committed to giving back by sharing their knowledge, expertise, and guidance to the next generation of entrepreneurs through this program. Mentors participate in part because of the prestigious reputation attached to MIT’s history of technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship. NAV mentors are trained by current MIT Venture Mentoring Service mentors to carry out their duties in guiding a venture through the rocky waters of entrepreneurship. NAV mentors have joined the NAV team in our mission to make both North Atlanta and Cherokee County the #1 place in the state to start and grow your business.

How can I become a mentor?

NAV encourages professionals who are exceptional in their field and want to give back to the next generation of entrepreneurs to apply as a mentor. Those interested can follow the “Become A Mentor” button above and complete the application. Please provide at least two references with your application. After receiving the application, the NAV team will reach out to schedule an interview. Mentor applications are reviewed every two months. 

Typical Mentor onboarding from application to the first mentoring session takes approximately 6-8 weeks.

I'm a mentor. Now What?

NAV mentors can expect to spend 1-2 days (aggregate) with the program per month depending on the number of teams they serve on. A major component of the program is the Monthly Mentor Meeting with the NAV team and their fellow mentors to share updates, best practices, challenges, and hear new companies pitch their venture. In addition to the Mentor Meetings, mentors will meet with their venture based on the individual needs of each venture.

Our mentors and entrepreneurs adhere to a strict code of ethics and guiding principles in order to protect participants on both sides of the table. These guidelines assure that all ventures will receive impartial and unbiased advice from their team of mentors.

NAV Mentors

Buzz Ahrens

Cherokee County BOC, Vanity Fair Jeans Europe

Former Chairman, President

Colin Ake

Masten Space Systems

Vice President Lunar Development

Barbara Baxter

Cypress Skilled Nursing LLC

Corporate Compliance Officer

Jim Bulger


President & Founder

Mark Caldwell

Serial Entrepreneur


Michael Caldwell

Black Airplane


Pat Comeaux

Alliance Realty Team of GA

Owner & Co-Founder – Retired

Jerry Cooper

Cherokee County

County Manager

Maduka Chidebelu-Eze


Founder & CEO

Tom Devaney

Executive Dir. of Executive MBA Programs KSU The Innovation Spot


Elliot Franklin

Morris Manning & Martin, LLP

Associate Attorney

Charles Chidi Igwilo

upStart Venture Partners


Aaron Ingram

Avanos Medical

Senior Product Manager Short Term Enteral Feeding – Global Strategic Marketing

Tom Kupec


Vice President & General Manager, Interventional Pain – Retired

DD Lee

Skyline Properties Group


David Leggett

Black Airplane


Al Lopez

Blair Corporation

Fortune 500 C-Suite Executive – Retired, Serial Entrepreneur

Kevin Monroe

X-Factor Consulting


Odessa Mann

Hydrogen Solutions, Cryogenics and Fabrication Linde Engineering


Rosemary Mburu

Elavon, Inc.

Innovation and New Product Development Program Management 

Sean Mikula

Power 10 Capital Campaigns

Founder & CEO

Jeff Rusbridge

Dyer & Rusbridge, P.C.

Attorney at Law

Greg Torre

Georgia Department of Economic Development

Deputy Commissioner – Retired

Chad Thrasher

My Friend's Nephew


Dr. Mark Weiner

Weiner Eye Center, LLC.


Stacey Williams

Cherokee County Administrative Services

Agency Director

 “Show me a successful individual and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influences in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living—if you do it well I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way. A mentor. “  – Denzel Washington.