Our Team

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Bob Cohen, Business Advisor

Bob Cohen has been at Braintree since 2004. He is a Certified Business Advisor (CBA®), a Certified Global Business Professional, and completed the Incubator Management Certification Program of the International Business Incubation Association. As part of the StartupNEO regional network, Bob has worked with hundreds of startup entrepreneurs. He has a Ph.D. in Higher Education from Ohio University and an MBA from Franklin University.

Bob is a licensed insurance agent and has been on the faculty of Ashland University's Dauch College of Business and Economics and The Ohio State University at Mansfield.

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Bob Leach, Business Advisor

Bob Leach is a business advisor and mentor, heading up our community effort to assist startup and disadvantaged entrepreneurs. He also works with Braintree’s tenant companies, and several other Northeast Ohio business clients. He serves as a mentor in the I-Corps Program of the National Science Foundation and the University of Akron Research Foundation.

His entrepreneurial background is in the retail and construction industries. He is a graduate of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program and completed the Incubator Management Certification Program of the International Business Incubation Association.

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Jack Stewart, Legal Mentor

Jack Stewart is a practicing attorney, a CPA, and a financial planner in Ontario. He advises Braintree clients on business structure, legal compliance, contract law, distributor agreements, and other decisions and basic legal concerns for startups and relatively new businesses.

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Jake Ward, Intellectual Property Mentor

Jake Ward is a registered patent attorney in Tiffin. He is admitted to practice in Ohio, Michigan, before the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and as a non-resident agent in Canada. He is also the founding author of the Anticipate This!™ | Patent and Trademark Law Blog, which provides light commentary on the practice of patent law, trademark law, and science & technology. He works with Braintree clients who need to make decisions about the intellectual property challenges that startups face.

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Jackie Williams, ESP Market Research Mentor

Jaclyn works with entrepreneurs to validate product and target market assumptions across varied industries and technologies. She assists Braintree clients in planning and conducting both primary and secondary market research. She also works closely with internal stakeholders across the organization as well as external customers, clients, and partners to understand, document, and analyze data. She has been with JumpStart, the Entrepreneurial Signature Program, and StartupNEO since 2015 and holds a BBA in marketing from Cleveland State University.

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Bob Sopko, ESP Information Technology Mentor

Bob Sopko is also a regional Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) at Startup NEO, specializing in mentoring Information Technology startup entrepreneurs throughout northeast Ohio. He also works for Case Western University where he can give Braintree clients an opportunity to work in "think[box]" which is a “maker space” on the campus of Case Western Reserve University. Sopko got into the startup world himself after CVS bought his former employer, Revco. In 1998, he joined 1-Jobs.com, which ran career fairs and websites for recruiting. He briefly worked for Things Remembered and OverDrive before joining Case’s information technology department in 2003.

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Russ Donda, ESP Bioscience & Medical Device Mentor

Russ Donda is a regional Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) at StartupNEO for medical device and bioscience technologies. He has more than 25 years of management experience at both executive and entrepreneurial levels. As an EIR, he helps Braintree clients assess the commercial feasibility of their technology; with that feasibility confirmed, he assists in creating and implementing their development plan and ushers them through the local seed funds. Russ was the founding CEO and chairman of the board for ViewRay Incorporated, a that company developed a novel form of radiation therapy.

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Dana Allender, ESP InformationTechnology Mentor

Dana Allender is a regional Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) at StartupNEO for information technology companies. He has considerable experience working with emerging technology startups and small businesses to build "revenue roadmaps" to create scalable and sustainable growth. He also provides sales strategy and leadership advice. He has worked with fintech and regtech companies like Clinc and HEXANIKA. He is a mentor with JumpStart's Burton D. Morgan Mentoring Program and has worked with cohorts at Bounce Innovation Hub and Fintech 71.

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