Board of Directors

BOARD CHAIR: Peyton Anderson – CEO, Affinergy

Peyton Anderson is CEO of Affinergy, a Duke spinout commercializing peptide linkers as coatings for medical devices. Previously, Peyton was founding CEO of SciQuest, Inc. and raised over $175 million in capital prior to the company’s IPO in 1999. Peyton currently serves on the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center and the NC Biosciences Organization. Previously, he served on the executive committee of the Board of Directors for the Council for Entrepreneurial Development.

Greg Brown – President and Owner, Cardinal Finance

Greg Brown is President and Owner of Cardinal Finance which provides fractional CFO and other financial advisory services to small and mid-sized businesses. He is also the Administrator of Charlotte Angel Fund, one of the most active angel investor funds in North Carolina. Greg has served as the Chief Financial Officer of multiple venture capital backed private and early stage public companies, as well as having ten years of experience in the venture capital industry. His career has been devoted to serving entrepreneurs and the companies that they create as a trusted business partner and investor.

Spencer Disher – Adjunct Professor, Johnson & Wales University

Spencer Disher most recently served as Senior Vice President at Natixis SA, an international French banking institution. He is an experienced senior executive with a demonstrated history of working in the financial services industry. Spencer was one of the founders and co-managers of Natixis ABM Corp, a subsidiary of Natixis SA which was grew into a highly profitable entity with approximately $6 billion of fixed income assets under management. He is currently an adjunct professor for entrepreneurship in the business college at Johnson & Wales University. Spencer also serves on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte and as a director for the Charlotte Angel Fund. In addition, he serves as an advisor and investor to several startups and has worked as a mentor with the following startup organizations: RevTech, City Startup Labs and Innovate Charlotte.

Sonja Ebron – CEO, Courtroom5

Sonja Ebron is a Durham native and founding CEO of Courtroom5, a 2018 NC IDEA SEED grant recipient that makes an automated legal toolbox for people in court without a lawyer. She serves on the Legal Services Corporation’s Leaders Council and has represented herself in court for many years. Sonja is a PhD electrical engineer and former college professor with a background in utilities and artificial intelligence. As Courtroom5 CEO, Sonja has made it her personal mission to empower people to represent themselves effectively in court.

Jerry Edmonds III, Ed.D. – Vice President of Workforce and Community Engagement, Vance Granville Community College

Jerry Edmonds III, Ed.D. serves as Vice President of Workforce and Community Engagement at Vance Granville Community College in Henderson, NC. Previously he served in varying roles as Dean of Workforce and Economic Development and Small Business Center Director at Halifax Community College in Weldon, NC. In his earlier career, Dr. Edmonds held a variety of executive leadership positions within Johnson & Johnson and IBM where he was the recipient of numerous training, recruitment, marketing and leadership awards. Dr. Edmonds is currently a member of the Henderson, North Carolina Chapter of Rotary International and a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow. He also serves on the Mariah Parham Duke Lifepoint’s Board of Trustees, the Lakeland Cultural Arts Center and Working Landscapes’ Board of Directors, and the Kerr Tar Council of Governments. He recently launched Willow Creek Tennis Retreat, LLC and the Edmonds Tennis and Education Foundation.

Patti Gillenwater – President and CEO, Elinvar

Patti Gillenwater is President, CEO and owner of Elinvar, a highly innovative executive search firm. She is an experienced business leader who has extensive nonprofit and professional association board experience. Patti’s experience as an entrepreneur is highlighted by her successful navigation of major changes in the industry and her creative approach to reinventing the business model of her firm with the result of sustaining business success while evolving and growing the firm’s capabilities and focus. As a trusted advisor to executives of entrepreneurial and middle market companies in North Carolina, many organizations have benefited from her business savvy. Her firm is frequently selected to conduct key leadership searches for foundations, institutions of higher education and nonprofits that have significant impact on NC and its residents. As a result, Patti has an extensive network of relationships with leaders in our state.

Linda Hall – Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina

Linda Hall is the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina. She has led the oversight and management of the Foundation’s finances, investments, human resources, IT and real estate operations for over 12 years. Linda has over 25 years of experience in both public accounting and in private sectors where she has assisted mid-sized partnerships and corporations in financial, tax and strategic business planning.


Garrett Hinshaw, Ed.D. – President, Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC)

Dr. Garrett Hinshaw currently serves as president of Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC). Under his leadership, CVCC has continued its history of empowering individuals to aspire, dream and achieve. The College serves as a leading entity in redefining the region’s economy through his collaborative efforts to develop partnerships at the local, state and national levels. In 2015, Dr. Hinshaw was named as President of the Year by the State Board of Community Colleges. In addition to joining the NC IDEA board, Dr. Hinshaw serves as a presidential representative on the National Junior College Athletic Association and serves on the boards of the National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) and the Catawba County Economic Development Association Board, among other organizations.

Luke Walling – Founder, Temprano Techvestors

Luke Walling is the founder of Temprano Techvestors, a group of technology industry experts that acquire, consolidate, optimize and grow information technology sales and distribution companies. The group’s flagship brand, Corporate Armor, provides IT security and infrastructure products to tens of thousands of companies, organizations, schools and reseller partners around the world. Luke began his career in the IT industry when he founded Walling Data, a technology business he originally started in his parents’ basement in the 1990s. In 2010, it was acquired by AVG Technologies, a global pioneer of freemium anti-virus technology, which lead to the creation of over 75 new jobs in North Carolina alone.  He then served in executive leadership roles at AVG and Avast Software from 2010 to 2016. He currently serves as a board member for the Charlotte Angel Fund, SCORE Association and formerly Sharpspring, where he was an early-stage investor. Luke is a passionate supporter of programs that improve engagement in public schools, with an emphasis on self-paced learning principals and entrepreneurial thinking. In his home market of Catawba County, North Carolina, where his past and current ventures have been founded, Luke and his company support powerful vehicles for education advancement including the K-64 Learning initiative, and are actively working together with local stakeholders to build a solid entrepreneurial community for current and future startup founders.

Stelfanie Williams, Ed.D. – Vice President for Durham and Community Affairs, Duke University

Dr. Stelfanie Williams is Vice President for Durham and Community Affairs at Duke University.  In this role, Dr. Williams leads and coordinates Duke’s diverse and innovative community efforts in areas such as economic development, affordable housing, early childhood, K-12 and workforce education, student engagement, neighborhood relations and community health.  She builds connections between Duke and partners including educational, governmental, non-profit and community-based organizations. Prior to joining Duke, Dr. Williams served as president of Vance-Granville Community College. Among other honors, Dr. Williams was awarded the I.E. Ready Distinguished Leadership Award by NC State University and was named President of the Year by the North Carolina State Board of Community Colleges. A noted presenter and consultant on topics related to workforce development, Dr. Williams also is active on a number of public and private boards, civic organizations, and commissions.