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October 14, 2021 | Tom Ballard

LaunchTN announces profile for next Chief Executive Officer

(DISCLAIMER: Tom Ballard, Editor of, serves on the Launch Tennessee Board of Directors and also on the Search Committee for the new Chief Executive Officer.)

Late Wednesday, Launch Tennessee (LaunchTN) posted the profile for the ideal candidate the public-private partnership is seeking in its next Chief Executive Officer (CEO), an action that officially kicked-off the search for the individual who will lead the organization that has a vision for making Tennessee the most startup-friendly state in the nation.

The latest search follows the resignation of Van Tucker, announced August 6. She had been named Interim CEO in June 2020 following the resignation of Margaret Dolan and had the interim portion of the title removed in December 2020.

The candidate profile was created and refined by Stanton Chase, the executive search firm LaunchTN engaged to assist with the search, following numerous meetings and calls with stakeholder groups including Tennessee entrepreneurs, investors, universities, and entrepreneur centers.

“The process that the LaunchTN CEO Search Committee has undertaken to define the organization and what we need from a leader right now has been extraordinary,” said Committee Chair Bruce Doeg in the Wednesday announcement posted on the LaunchTN website. “Getting feedback about the opportunities before our organization from Tennessee entrepreneurs and the people who have invested their resources in them tells an incredible story about the bright future before us and excites me to be a part of this organization at this moment.”

The seven-page document: (1) describes LaunchTN; (2) summarizes the position and its responsibilities; (3) outlines in bullet form the primary accountabilities and responsibilities; (4) highlights key selection criteria; (5) summarizes education and experience requirements; and (6) provides an overview of the State of Tennessee as well as more than 20 reasons for candidates to seriously consider expressing interest.

The position is summarized as follows:

“LaunchTN is seeking an inspiring, collaborative leader to join their high-performing team as Chief Executive Officer (CEO). This position will lead LaunchTN by working with the public and private sectors throughout the state to support public and private capital investment and entrepreneur support for Tennessee’s most promising startups – truly being an advocate and connector for Tennessee’s entrepreneur ecosystem. Reporting to the Board of Directors, the ideal candidate will have a demonstrated track record of successfully growing an organization, working with a broad and diverse set of stakeholders, and executing across multiple priorities.

“Understanding the value of the collective ecosystem and the unique nuances of each network partner, the high-profile executive selected for this role must be a servant leader driven by the mission to transform lives and communities through advancing the economic growth of Tennessee by supporting and promoting entrepreneurs and startups throughout the state. The successful candidate will have a robust comprehension of innovation, scalability and entrepreneurship and will be committed to developing a strong team to lead the execution of the strategic plan that focuses on these areas of 1) Ecosystem Development: enhancing the statewide startup ecosystem through its Network Partners and other stakeholders while strengthening regional and national connectivity to position Tennessee as the best state in the nation to start and grow a business. 2) Capital Formation: expanding capital resources and expediting their availability to TN businesses so that they can grow, be sustainable, create jobs, and build accessible economic prosperity for our state. 3) Commercialization: coordinating with Tennessee’s research institutions to bring additional opportunities and funding to support the bringing of Tennessee high-tech innovations to market.”

Stanton Chase, which has a national footprint, and LaunchTN will leverage their respective networks to reach potential candidates and encourage them to apply. “We expect this part of the process to last six to eight weeks,” said Ken Nimitz who is leading the Stanton Chase team in the search. “It is our goal to put the recruitment profile in front of as many people as we can – on a national scale – who would be right for the job or might know someone who would be a great leader for Launch Tennessee.”

Interested candidates are encouraged to review the posting and contact Stanton Chase to inquire for the role.

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