Leadership is a vital skill for anyone running and growing a business. In young companies on the verge of rapid growth, leaders must effectively define the company’s direction and motivate employees to work toward common goals. NC IDEA LEAD is intended to cultivate such leaders to grow North Carolina’s next generation of successful companies.

NC IDEA LEAD provides personalized leadership training for founders and executives of high-potential, high-growth companies. The program focuses on improving problem-solving and strategy development, increasing the participant’s ability to lead others toward company goals, building effective communication competencies and developing other skills that are essential for emerging North Carolina CxO’s anticipating significant near-term growth.



NC IDEA is currently partnered with NextGen Center in Durham, NC to provide the initial programming for NC IDEA LEAD which consists of five, full-day modules over a three-month period with opportunity for subsequent training at the conclusion of the program.

Participants in NC IDEA LEAD are CXOs running venture-ready/venture-backed companies with less than 5 full-time employees.

NC IDEA LEAD participant qualifications include:

  • A CXO with at least 1, but no more than 5, compensated employees
  • A CXO that has the potential to effectively lead their company for the next 3-5 years
  • A CXO with the potential to grow their team to least 10 employees in the next 24 months
  • A company that is expected to experience 3x growth within the next 12 months

NC IDEA LEAD participants also demonstrate a desire to:

  • Develop managerial, leadership and coaching skillsets needed to be successful in leading and developing others
  • Understand the role of company culture in high-growth companies
  • Leverage the knowledge and experiences of peer and mentor groups

Selected participants in NC IDEA LEAD include:

Cohort 1

  • David Barron – CEO, Nugget Comfort
  • Jamelle Eugene – CEO, Gryppers, Inc.
  • Helen Fuller – CEO & Co-Founder, EduLync
  • Shawn Gagne – Founder & CEO, Urban Offsets
  • Ryan Gessner – CEO & Founder – SonoVol, Inc.
  • Sarah Glova – President, Reify Media
  • Chris Lorkowski – CEO, BruVue
  • Braden Rawls – CEO, Vital Plan
  • Justin Rothwell – CEO & Co-Founder, ProAxion
  • Monica Wood – Co-Founder & CEO, Myxx, Inc.

Cohort 2

  • Afreen Allam – CEO/President, SiNON Therapeutics
  • Rich Brancaccio – Founder & CEO, FokusLabs
  • Alain Glanzman – CEO, WalletFi
  • Mahdi Inaya – CEO & Founder, dropark
  • Paul Jaglowski – CEO, Feedtrail
  • Dipak Mahato – Founder & CEO, SeaChange Technologies
  • Margaret McNab – Founder, Freelance League of North Carolina
  • Ursula Mead – CEO, InHerSight
  • Vikram Sethuraman – Founder/CEO, PT Wired
  • Jake Stauch – CEO, NeuroPlus
  • Tommy Thekkekandam – CEO & Co-Founder, Tom & Jenny’s Candy

Participants for NC IDEA LEAD were nominated by NC IDEA ECOSYSTEM Partners, local investors and other friends of the Foundation. There is currently no outside solicitation for applications.

Learn more about NextGen Center and the value they provide to companies by watching these testimonials.