FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nancy Kinnally, Public Relations Consultant
StarterStudio Executive Director Donna Mackenzie leaves to launch new venture, longtime board member Lilian Myers to serve as interim executive director
ORLANDO, Fla. – After four and a half years as StarterStudio’s executive director, Donna Mackenzie is handing off the organization’s leadership to Lilian Myers, a long-time StarterStudio supporter, board member, and entrepreneur, who will serve as interim executive director. Mackenzie and Myers have already been working closely together to ensure a seamless transition. A member of StarterStudio’s board for the last four years, Myers has led its marketing committee and was
one of the first contributors to its seed fund.
“Lilian is the ideal leader to manage this transition and continue to move StarterStudio forward,” Mackenzie said. “We have come so far in the past several years, having successfully merged three programs into one and building out programming and alliances that have made the organization a critical cornerstone of the region’s startup ecosystem. It was always my intention to transition StarterStudio to new leadership after reaching this stage in the organization’s development, and the time for a leadership transition is just right.”
Myers has been a co-founder, served in growth-stage executive roles, and raised venture capital in Central Florida tech companies. She held leadership roles with Microsoft, Aetna, and IBM, holds a patent, and is a certified design thinking practitioner. Myers is also an active advisor, coach and mentor with well-established startup ecosystem relationships including UCF, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Center for Entrepreneurship, Guidewell Innovation, and Melbourne’s Groundswell.
“I have a real affinity for the starters we serve and a passion for building on the great work of the organization and the regional partners that are putting Central Florida’s home-grown tech companies on the map in a powerful way,” Myers said.
StarterStudio, which equips Central Florida technology entrepreneurs with rich and diverse resources to support their growth and help them attract investment, resulted from the merger of three nonprofit entities such that it now combines coworking facilities, educational programming and startup funding. “Along with managing StarterStudio’s expanded mission, Donna has assembled a stellar board of directors and community partnerships that have earned StarterStudio a recognized leadership position in the region,” Myers said.
Mackenzie is leaving to launch a new venture, which is soon to be announced. Through it she will continue her strong personal commitment to community and business vitalization in Central Florida, and she will remain on the StarterStudio board.
“We are very sorry to see Donna go, but we wish her the greatest success in her next endeavor. And we greatly appreciate all of her efforts to get StarterStudio to this point in our progression as well as her continued committed to the organization and the broader startup ecosystem,” said Terrance Berland, StarterStudio’s board chair. “At the same time, we are extremely fortunate to have someone of Lilian’s caliber available and willing to take on the leadership role as we head into what will be another notable year for StarterStudio. With Lilian’s history on the board, and her close working relationship with Donna, this is an ideal scenario for a leadership transition if there ever was one, particularly given their shared expertise in both entrepreneurship and managing change.”
StarterStudio is a pioneering hub for innovative and tech-enabled entrepreneurs that empowers and provides resources for entrepreneurs, creatives, and innovators to begin, grow, and flourish in Florida. Through community education programs, accelerators, funding, and collaborative workspaces, StarterStudio fosters a community—serving as a platform for the ideas of the future. For more information about StarterStudio, visit www.starterstudio.org. StarterStudio is a tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Per the IRS, bequests, devises, transfers, and gifts to the fund are tax deductible.