Meet The Team

Our new 2017 organizing body is a diverse group, representative of our flourishing entrepreneurial community. Now more than ever we are looking forward to a celebration of our community that builds momentum and opportunity around entrepreneurship—and we want you involved!

Andrew Schneider


After 14 years away, Andrew moved back to Fort Collins in 2008 to escape the saturated creative market of Los Angeles. Filling his time with live music, art, culture, and bicycling, he has worked on new and traditional media products with a focus on fostering community and fueling passion. Schneider founded and leads Create Places, an economic and workforce development nonprofit that provides support to increase creative and arts-related employment in Northern Colorado. In the short span of two years he has transitioned from a creative entrepreneur with a passion for community development to a full time organizer and evangelist for the power of arts, culture and creativity to serve a community’s interests. His work has earned him distinction as one of BizWest’s 2016 40 Under Forty rising regional leaders, as well as the attention of the state Office of Economic Development and International Trade—giving him a seat at the Colorado Change Leader Institute.

Charisse Bowen


Charisse is currently the Director of Strategic Initiatives at Blue Ocean Enterprises. As a self-proclaimed entrepreneurial activist, Charisse spends her time helping companies and their founders grow and thrive. She was formerly the Campus Director of Galvanize in Fort Collins and the Director of the Institute for Entrepreneurship at Colorado State University. Prior to her time helping other companies get up and off the ground, she was an award-winning entrepreneur herself as Founder and CEO of GenGreen, a digital content company based in Colorado.

Emily Wilson


Emily is Communications Director for Innosphere, Colorado’s leading technology incubator that accelerates the success of science and technology startups. In addition to working with Innosphere client companies on their overall marketing strategies, Emily manages Innosphere’s public and investor relations, is responsible for entrepreneur education sessions, and runs the successful Innovation After Hours monthly networking forum. As a former employee of the City of Fort Collins Economic Health office, she is passionate about economic development, and is a current Larimer Small Business Development Center (SBDC) consultant. She grew up on a ranch in Julesburg, Colorado and moved to Fort Collins to get her B.A. (2006) and M.A. (2008) in Communication Studies.

Jesse Elliott


Jesse, Director of the Music District, is a lifelong champion of collaborative creative efforts, social entrepreneurship, and the power of music and storytelling. He is the founder and songwriter of two rock and roll bands, These United States and Ark Life, who have released 6 albums and performed live 1,200 times in the last decade, from SXSW and Glastonbury to Lollapalooza and your favorite local dive. Before music recaptured his heart, Elliott wrote books and speeches with economist Richard Florida, co-founded a community nonprofit at the University of Iowa, helped shoot a documentary on water rights in southern Mexico and Guatemala, and ran an Italian deli on the Jersey Shore. With his company Range Music Ecosystems, Elliott and co-founder Dr. Bryce Merrill researched and wrote the music strategies for the State of Colorado and the City of Denver, and brought together international thinkers on music and community for the City of Austin, the Biennial of the Americas, and others.

Christine Hudson


Christine is an Advisor on Enterprise Agility for CA Technologies in their internal transformation. (CA purchased Colorado startup Rally in 2015). Christine brings 15+ years of experience leveraging lean and agile methods to innovate and deliver whole products – software, services, and an overall experience that delights customers. She is passionate about helping leaders at all levels reveal and grow their best selves, and about creating high-performing, trust-based teams in service to an aligned, agile business.

Christiana Bailey


Christiana is a life long musician and passionate curator of community and networking events. She grew up in Fort Collins, moved to Boston to attend the prestigious Berklee College of Music, and then moved to Nashville to pursue a job in the professional music industry. Most recently, Christiana was the Event Manager at Galvanize Fort Collins where she was responsible for hundreds of events throughout the past year. She is a huge advocate for the start up community in Fort Collins.

Nick Armstrong


Nick is a dad, author, speaker, and entrepreneur. His company, WTF Marketing, has declared war on boring marketing by being unapologetically awesome at making small business marketing FUN. Nick’s penchant for organizing (and co-organizing) large-scale events includes Fort Collins Comic Con, Ignite Fort Collins, TEDxFoCo, PodCamp Fort Collins, and LaidOffCamp/CareerCamp Fort Collins. Nick’s marketing work for the Poudre River Public Library District, alongside an amazing team at the Library, helped to increase library card-using households in Fort Collins from 46% in 2013 to 58% in 2014. Nick introduced Northern Colorado to TEDx in 2011 through TEDxFoCo, giving a platform to some of Fort Collins’ best minds before going on to serve as an advisor to TEDxCSU and TEDxFrontRange, and eventually being invited to become a TEDxFrontRange speaker. During his time with Ignite Fort Collins, Nick helped to provide a soapbox for over 232 speakers in the community over 6 years. In 2015 and 2016, the Fort Collins Comic Con team raised a total of $45,000 for the Poudre River Public Library District, creating all new resources for children’s literacy and elevating the creative geek scene in Northern Colorado. Most recently, Nick was honored as one of BizWest’s 2016 40 Under Forty business leaders in Northern Colorado.

Jessica Rawley


Jessica started her career working for several small non-profits and business start-ups to establish operating systems, business development strategies, and marketing plans. After doing Fund Development and Public Relations for Habitat for Humanity, Jessica joined the Peace Corps and served as a Small Enterprise Development Advisor in Kenya. Placed with a national conservation organization, she worked closely with community groups to improve and market conservation-based enterprises, namely eco-tourism ventures. This experience prompted her to pursue her MBA in Social Enterprise and understand how entrepreneurship can be used as a tool for sustainable community development. During her MBA, Jessica co-founded Taka Energy, which develops community-scale waste-to-energy facilities that generate renewable energy assets from otherwise useless waste streams. After graduation, she served as a Program Manager for the Global, Social, Sustainable Enterprise MBA program working with students to develop business ventures that addressed the world’s most pressing problems. Jessica now serves as the Assistant Director of the Institute for Entrepreneurship developing and implementing programs and events that educate students in innovation and entrepreneurship while also engaging community members to support students in their journey. Jessica holds a BA in Political Science and International Relations from Western Washington University and an MBA in Global, Social, Sustainable Enterprise from Colorado State University.

Sam Houghteling

Sam Houghteling is an Economic Health Analyst and Innovation & Industry Cluster Program Coordinator at the City of Fort Collins.

If you are interested in sponsoring Fort Collins Startup Week we would love to hear from you! Email us here »