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.

Who can apply to be a NAV Mentor?

  1. Professionals who have significant and relevant experience with professional skills, business roles, and industry knowledge. 
  2. Professionals who can dedicate a minimum of 1 to 2 days of participation with their venture team(s) each month. 
  3. Professionals who can provide objective and unbiased advice and guidance. The mentor’s mission is to guide – not to do. Mentors listen, coach, and advise.
  4. Professionals who are willing to work with other mentors to provide team-based mentoring, develop the entrepreneur and their business, and follow NAV guiding principles. 

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. 

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

Colin Ake

Kennesaw State University

Director of Incubation & Commercialization

Jen Behnke

UFL Services

Co-Founder and President

Kyle Behnke

UFL Services

Co-Founder and CEO

Jim Bulger


President & Founder

Mark Caldwell

Serial Entrepreneur


Michael Caldwell

Black Airplane


Steve Cantonis


Vice President – Atlanta

Ray Crim

Arrow Exterminators

Senior Executive Vice President, Emeritus 

Maduka Chidebelu-Eze


Founder & CEO

Sara Davis

Kennesaw State University

Postdoctoral Researcher in the Family Enterprise Center at KSU

Tom Devaney

Executive Dir. of Executive MBA Programs KSU The Innovation Spot


Elliot Franklin

Morris Manning & Martin, LLP

Associate Attorney

Andrew Groom

The Wine Group

Senior Director of Digital Marketing and Ecommerce

Andrew Gurbaxani

Belmont Consulting LLC

Fractional CIO/CISO

Harry Hutchins

Alma Coffee

Owner & Founder

Aaron Ingram

Avanos Medical

Senior Product Manager Short Term Enteral Feeding – Global Strategic Marketing

Tom Kupec


Vice President & General Manager, Interventional Pain – Retired

David Leggett

Black Airplane


Al Lopez

Blair Corporation

Fortune 500 C-Suite Executive – Retired, Serial Entrepreneur

Chip Poth

Universal Alloy Corporation


Robert Rosenbaum



Chad Thrasher

LMS Real Estate Investment Management

Chief Operating Officer

Greg Torre

Georgia Department of Economic Development

Deputy Commissioner – Retired

Stacey Williams

Cherokee County Administrative Services

Agency Director – Retired

 “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.