844-804-8775    hello@joinsourcelink.com   about us

About

Meet Our Team

Meet our awesome team


Rob Williams

Rob Williams, Director

Rob Williams is director at SourceLink. In this role, Rob helps a variety of communities—from mid-sized cities to entire states—build and improve their entrepreneurial infrastructure. He has extensive experience in project management, including the successful implementations of SourceLink consulting and technologies in the City of Baltimore, commonwealth of Puerto Rico, as well as Denver, Seattle, Phoenix, Tampa Bay and Dallas/Fort Worth.

Before joining SourceLink, Rob spent nearly a decade at the University of Northern Iowa Center for Business Growth and Innovation where he led and expanded statewide several different entrepreneurship support programs. Preeminent examples include the Iowa Business Concierge, Dream Big Grow Here business grant program and an EDA-funded Entrepreneurial Regions Project, where he trained rural economic developers in how to create and facilitate entrepreneurially-supportive ecosystems.

In collaboration with the Iowa Economic Development Authority, Rob was the University of Northern Iowa co-manager of the IASourceLink initiative, a statewide affiliate of SourceLink launched in 2012.  In this role, he helped advance its mission of connecting Iowa entrepreneurs and small businesses to more than 360 resource providers across the state.

Prior to his work with IASourceLink, Rob served as a small business development center business consultant for the University of Northern Iowa helping diverse entrepreneurs start and grow their firms in the urban core of Waterloo, Iowa and in surrounding rural communities.

Maria Meyers, Executive Director and Founder

Maria Meyers, like the organization she leads, is entrepreneurial about supporting entrepreneurs. She has more than 20 years of experience in creating successful companies in the high technology, biotechnology, manufacturing and museum industries. She has lived through the struggles of launching a startup, turning it into a small business and sustaining its growth. 

As founder of KCSourceLink, Maria created a network that connects entrepreneurs with hundreds of business-building organizations throughout the Kansas City region. She later scaled that network model nationally as founder of SourceLink®, creating America’s first R&D platform for economic developers and e-community champions.

Maria is frequently requested to keynote and facilitate discussions on topics like entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship economic development, and entrepreneurial infrastructure and ecosystem building for leading international organizations, including the Kauffman Foundation, International Economic Development Council, as well as regional economic development organizations, and the Federal Reserve Bank.

In addition to her SourceLink accomplishments, Maria is executive director for the University of Missouri–Kansas City Innovation Center, connecting university researchers with the community to ignite collaborative partnerships leading to innovations. The center supports thousands of community members every year in starting and growing businesses, delivering jobs and creating wealth for the Kansas City region.

Maria has a strong project management background, successfully leading a variety of large projects and has a solid background in information technology. At UMKC, she was instrumental in the creation of the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, establishing entrepreneurship as a mainstream field of study that now offers BBA, MBA and PhD degree concentrations in entrepreneurship.

Dara Macan

Dara Macan, Director of Global Business Development

Dara Macan is director of global business development for SourceLink. Dara is responsible for identifying market opportunities and building relationships with academic, business, government and nonprofit leaders to increase the SourceLink landscape. 

Before joining SourceLink, Dara was involved in leading a multi-state publishing company where she consulted with community and business leaders, economic development organizations, and others, helping them to identify and tap into new markets for their offerings. As a result, Dara’s sales team of experts was able to grow revenue over $4.5 million.

Dara also has firsthand experience starting, and selling, her family-owned commercial cleaning business. In addition to cleaning offices at night, she and her co-owner brother learned how to handle sales to secure new customers, manage accounting and run point on purchasing for equipment and supplies. Whether it is out of financial necessity, the desire to build something successful, or simply to make a difference, she appreciates entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart and has a keen understanding of the risks associated with making the entrepreneurial jump. She leverages this understanding every day in her outreach with economic developers and leaders in how to support their entrepreneurial communities.

Mark Galeassi, Web Application Developer

Mark Galeassi is a certified Sitefinity developer and senior programmer for SourceLink.  He is highly experienced with the creation of new, and expansion of existing web application technologies, particularly systems designed to support entrepreneurs and the network that they operate in. 

Mark oversees dozens of websites, regularly interacts and implements new technology developments for over 50 clients, and frequently is called on to translate complex real-world issues into practical technology solutions for both staff and clients, alike.

A programming expert, Mark’s role goes beyond the technical as he seeks to develop and understand how web solutions can empower entrepreneurial support organizations to be as effective as possible. For the technologists, Mark has no shortcoming of coding experience; everything from PHP, Coldfusion, C#, SQL, jQuery, HTML 5 to CSS 3, with a keen eye for SEO and user experience.

Several of Mark’s most impressive technology solutions include multiple custom-built, database-driven technologies for SourceLink affiliates. Examples include a business license smart-search engine, an event campaign manager for week-long entrepreneur celebrations, and a robust mentoring module for young firms to connect with advisors and boards.

staff_pola

Pola Firestone, Relationship Manager and Affiliate Liaison

Pola Firestone is relationship manager and affiliate liaison providing customer service and training to existing SourceLink affiliates and assists with project implementations of new SourceLink networks across the country.

Through her outreach, she provides a window into the challenges of building entrepreneurial ecosystems, and uses that knowledge to help inform new products and new solutions. Pola is the first line of contact for customer relations and provides ongoing support for new affiliate implementations. Successful projects she has been instrumental with include Denver, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Phoenix, Dallas/Ft Worth, Indianapolis and State of Minnesota.

As a previous business owner, publisher and consultant, Pola brings a wide range of skills and experience to the SourceLink team, including marketing communications and business development.

Kate-pope-hodel cropped

Kate Pope Hodel, Special Projects

Kate Hodel has worked in entrepreneurship for nearly 25 years. A facilitator and project manager, Kate is the pinch hitter for the SourceLink team, working with clients, managing special projects and developing new products.

Kate brings order out of chaos, developing processes to simplify processes and drive completion. If there is a gap, Kate will find it and figure out how to fill it.


Sarah Mote

Sarah Mote, Marketing Director

Sarah Mote is first, last and always a story teller.

Master of messages and social media whiz, Sarah brings her considerable talent to bear on telling the SourceLink story and that of our affiliate communities. She drives strategic outcomes through creative communications, always on point and engaging. No wonder SourceLink web traffic has soared under her watch.

Joey Medellin, SourceLink Network Coordinator

Joey Medellin, Network Coordinator

As one of the longest-tenured associates of SourceLink, Joey Medellin has helped the organization grow from its modest roots into the central hub for entrepreneurship that it is today. Joey juggles multiple balls and never lets one drop. She manages all the administrative details for the organization, from financials to human resources to grant reporting to everything in between, creating a seamless work environment.

Thought Leadership

Put our expertise to work


For your next conference, strategic planning session or workshop, take advantage of our experience and expertise in building entrepreneurial ecosystems.

How we can help

  • Guest contributors to traditional media – quotes, columns, on-air appearances
  • Social media contributor – blogging and tweeting
  • Moderator / Lecturer
  • Event speaker & panelist
  • Educational workshops, seminars and webinars

What we know

  • Building Successful Entrepreneurial Ecosystems, One Collaboration at a Time
  • Not all Entrepreneurs are Alike: The 4 Quadrants of Entrepreneurship
  • Best Practices in Spurring Entrepreneurial Growth: What’s Hot Across America
  • How to Assess the Gaps in Your Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
  • The Entrepreneurial Dashboard: Is Your Community Hitting on All Cylinders?

Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to common questions


SourceLink started as KCSourceLink in Kansas City with initial funding from the Kauffman Foundation.  Today the KCSourceLink affiliate is partially funded by 12 of Kansas City's largest corporations (AMC, Hallmark, Sprint, etc) who have each committed $12,500 for five years. This funding was used as match to access a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

Our affiliates are frequently financially supported by city, state, or county agencies.  Examples include: City of Baltimore, Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce, Loudoun County Economic Development, Iowa Economic Development Authority, and Mississippi Development Authority.  Currently, we do not have any affiliates receiving direct financial support from SBA.  This said, foundations like JPMorgan Chase provide support in select metros where they have strong presence.

We would recommend you explore local corporations, the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, bank community reinvestment act funding (keep in mind this will likely only come in $5-10k at a time), local foundations interested in entrepreneurship and individuals.  You might also ask serial entrepreneurs looking for opportunities to give back.

For more ideas, here is a powerpoint from one of our last conferences that covers resources which we typically advise groups explore for funding ideas.

A number of our cities have started with the Resource Navigator while others have added Biz-Trakker and/or Siteconnex after the initial implementation; these include:

Those that have launched and are implementing the “full” system are listed below. States with smaller populations are opting to expand to the full state after starting in one city.  Des Moines, IA, for example, population around  750,000, eventually became IASourceLink, expanding easily across the state.  The Greater Des Moines Partnership, which is an affiliation of a number of chambers, led the original effort.

SourceLink Newsletter 

Join the conversation


Sign up for our Email Newsletter

This quarterly electronic newsletter provides timely information on affiliate news and activities from around the country. Affiliate partners keep abreast of new initiatives, upcoming events, current legislation affecting small business and much more.