President & CEO
Smart Business Network
Fred co-founded Smart Business Network in 1989 with a single publication in Cleveland, Ohio. In the years since, he has built the company into a leading multimedia and content marketing business providing print and digital marketing services to a national client base.
Brightstar Capital Partners
Matthew Allard is a Partner at Brightstar and a Member of the Investment Committee. He currently serves as Board Chair of Novae, Texas Water Supply Company, Vice Chair of Amerit Fleet Solutions and as a board member of BrightCell, Likewize and WindsorONE, all Brightstar portfolio companies. Matt previously served on the board of QualTek.
Prior to joining Brightstar, Matt was Head of Financial Sponsors at Stifel where he was responsible for leading the firm’s Private Equity client coverage and execution efforts, was a member of the Investment Bank Management Committee and had extensive merger & acquisition and capital markets experience across a range of industries. Matt started his finance career with Citi and Bank of America, and previously held positions in both consulting and operations.
Matt received his MBA from Columbia Business School, Beta Gamma Sigma honors, and a BSE from the University of Michigan with a major in Industrial and Operations Engineering. He is a Trustee of the King School in Connecticut.
Partner & Chairman, Investment Committee
Star Mountain Capital Partners
Managing Director & Head of Northeast Region
Altium Wealth Management
Debbie Donley is the Founder of Vocon. Since its inception in 1987, Debbie has grown the company to include a 250 member team of workplace strategists, designers, architects, graphics and branding specialists. Vocon is a Top 100 architecture and design firm, with a coast-to-coast clientele of Fortune 500 companies and an award-winning record of designing work environments that reflect cultures, personalities, strategies, and operational needs. Debbie believes in marrying design with workplace strategy to create offices that are ripe for creativity and collaboration and perfect for supporting clients’ evolving needs across a broad spectrum of fast-moving industries.
An expert in helping businesses navigate the pandemic-related disruption of offices and workplace culture, Debbie led the charge with Vocon – adapting to change and uncertainty through the strategic transformation of space. Debbie also set a standard for the industry by confronting the demands of an ever-changing planet through sustainable, flexible, efficient, and resilient building design. She is committed to inclusivity in employment, nurturing top-level talent and hiring diverse industry-leading experts. Throughout her career, Debbie has sought to create a culture of authenticity, acceptance, and inclusivity, enabling employees to bring their true selves to work. This effort has been widely recognized, with Vocon receiving numerous accolades, including the firm’s 19-time designation as one of Cleveland’s Best Places to Work.
Debbie measures success by the relationships the firm builds with clients. These critical connections are fostered by firm Principals’ active participation throughout every stage of a project’s life cycle. Debbie is a mother of three and is proud of the way that Vocon actively encourages employees to lead balanced lives with clear priorities. She is an active volunteer in the community, pursuing professional development opportunities with groups such as In Counsel With Women, the Greater Cleveland Partnership, the Group Plan Commission, and the Cuyahoga Community College Foundation. In addition, Debbie is a member of the University School Board of Directors and the Elon University Parent Council
Founder/CEO & CIO
Christopher Graham is the Founder/CEO & CIO of Crown Capital, a private investment firm investing in a diverse range of leading lower middle-market companies. His data-driven investment thesis, business strategy, operations system, and mission to rebuild economic opportunity have proven impactful to thousands of employees and dozens of communities where Crown Capital operates.
Rob Grimaldi is chief operating officer of Viscogliosi Brothers, a leading investor and innovator in the med-tech space, and co-founder and CEO of Ad Infinitum Cell Preservation Technologies, a firm creating novel cryopreservation solutions for medical research applications. He has been directly involved in many entrepreneurial led companies across multiple sectors from seed and venture stage to exit/IPO.
Director, Business Development
Sarah is a Director of Business Development at Trivest. Trivest is a private equity firm focused on the support and growth of founder-led & family-owned businesses in the middle market. Sarah is responsible for business development initiatives at the firm, including the origination and evaluation of investment opportunities. She is based in New York and covers the Northeast region, managing Trivest’s deal relationships in that geography. Prior to Trivest, Sarah spent 10 years at The Riverside Company.
Slade is Chief Outsiders’ Managing Partner focused exclusively on the Private Equity sector. Based in the Greater NYC area, he works closely with Private Equity Operating Partners and other value creators to quickly identify and engage the Chief Outsiders resources best suited to meet the needs of investors and portfolio company management alike. Slade is actively engaged in the Private Equity community through groups such as ACG and PEI, and has worked with dozens of PE firms and their portfolio companies over the last five years.
Managing Director, Business Development
At Gridiron Capital, Sean focuses on developing new business partnerships, marketing, communicating with business owners, and managing investment sourcing and exit planning. Prior to joining Gridiron Capital, Sean served as vice president at BB&T Capital Markets in Richmond, Virginia. His responsibilities at BB&T included executing mergers and acquisitions advisory for middle-market businesses, as well as establishing and strengthening business development relationships with middle-market investors. Earlier in his career, Sean worked at Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank.
Lee M. Koury
Smart Business Network Inc.
Lee is managing partner of Smart Business Network Inc., a national events, media and marketing company founded in 1989, primarily responsible for expanding the company’s Aspire deal-making conference throughout the U.S. He plays a key role in establishing corporate policies and developing long-term strategy and growth plans. Previously, he founded and chaired the Growth Group at national law firm Arter & Hadden LLP (now Tucker, Ellis & West), which focused on working with middle-market and high-growth technology companies.
Founding Partner: Origination
The Riverside Company
Robert Landis is a Founding Partner, Origination in the New York office of The Riverside Company, a private equity firm investing in premier companies at the smaller end of the middle market. Robert joined Riverside in 2002 and has over 42 years of commercial and investment banking experience gained at Deutsche Banc Alex Brown (18 years) and its predecessors, and at Citibank/ Chemical Bank.
At Deutsche, he created and led the Aerospace and Defense Group in North America. He previously headed the firm's North American corporate finance group as it transitioned to an investment bank in the mid 1990's 1992-1987). the Multi-National Group. Prior to that, Robert was a Major (ret.) in the U.S. Army, serving 6 years active duty and 14 years active reserve with the 42nd Infantry Division, NYARNG.
Stellex Capital Management
Mike Livanos is a Managing Director and founding member of Stellex Capital Management. Stellex is a private equity firm that invests in middle-market companies in North America and Europe through its offices in New York, Pittsburgh, Detroit and London. We seek to identify opportunities where we can deploy capital to provide stability, catalyze operational improvement and foster growth. We work closely with high quality management teams to unlock and enhance the value of the underlying franchise.
Mr. Livanos currently serves as a director on the boards of Continental Global Material Handling, Custom Glass Solutions, Dominion Hospitality, Fenix Parts, A. Stucki Company and is a board observer of AF Global. Prior to Stellex, Mr. Livanos held various roles at Barclays, Houlihan Lokey and Citigroup.
Mr. Livanos received his BS in Computer Science and Business Administration from Carnegie Mellon University and his MBA from Columbia Business School.
Area Managing Partner
SeatonHill Partners, LP
Jack McGovern is the Area Managing partner with SeatonHill Partners, LP for the Northeastern U.S. where he is responsible for new business, engagement oversight and Partner management.
Jack is a senior executive with deep experience in multiple industries and including healthcare services and technologies, FinTech, consulting, manufacturing, and technology. Jack has held the roles of CEO and CFO for numerous private and public companies and was a significant contributor to various corporate boards, including the Chairmanship of a public company and multiple audit committees. Earlier in his career, he was a senior member of Merrill Lynch Interfunding, Inc. an investor in middle market leveraged buyouts.
Jack has extensive experience and relationships within the Investment Banking, Private Equity and Banking industries with many successful debt and equity raises. Jack also has an extensive background in mergers and acquisitions including negotiation, closing and post-closing integration. He is known as a big picture strategic thinker adept at leading successful ventures within high growth, fast paced environments.
Jack holds an MBA degree from Columbia University and a BS in accounting from Monmouth University. He is a CPA in the state of New Jersey (inactive).
Brightstar Capital Partners
Tom Meredith is a Partner at Brightstar and a Member of the Investment Committee. He currently serves as Chair of the Board of ReMarkets and Vice Chair of Likewize, both Brightstar portfolio companies.
Prior to joining Brightstar, Tom was Vice Chair of the Board of Likewize which was sold to Softbank in 2014. He was a Co-founder and Chair of the Board of Managers of Meritage Capital, an investment management firm specializing in multi-manager hedge funds. Tom’s career spans over 35 years and includes extensive experience in corporate finance, manufacturing, finance operations, and global financial markets.
Prior to establishing Meritage in 2003, Tom served in various senior positions at Dell, including CFO, SVP of Business Development and Strategy, and Managing Director of Dell Ventures. Prior to joining Dell, he was VP and Treasurer for Sun Microsystems and Co-Founder and GM of Amdahl Capital Corporation.
Tom has received numerous accolades and awards including being named 2018 Harvey Penick Award Winner for Excellence in the Game of Life; 2012 Chamber of Commerce Austinite of the Year; recipient of the 2010 Austin Community Foundation Philanthropy Award for donors who have shown philanthropic leadership in Central Texas; the Torch of Liberty Award given by the ADL in 2006; Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year given by the Association of Professional Fundraisers in 2004; and an Honorary Alumni Award given by Leadership Austin in 2003.
Tom currently serves on the Advisory Boards of the LBJ School of Public Affairs as well as the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at the University of Texas. He is an Emeritus Trustee of the University of Virginia College Foundation Board. From 2009-2018 Tom served on the worldwide board of The Nature Conservancy.Tom received his B.A. in political science from St. Francis University, a J.D. from Duquesne University and an LL.M. from Georgetown University Law Center.
Business Performance Advisor
Managing Director & Head of Northeast Region
Pine Street Capital Partners
A founder of Pine Street in 2004, Tim is involved with all activities at the firm, including deal sourcing, deal structuring, portfolio management, fundraising and administration. Tim currently serves as a board member on Pine Street portfolio companies Express Medical Transporters, Filterworks USA, NPL HomeCare, and DeIorio Foods, and is a board observer on Pine Street portfolio company Alexis Russell. He is also active as a board member of several other for profit and not for profit entities. Tim's career has included a variety of roles, including as Chief Operating Officer and board member of Colonial Data Technologies, a $75 million revenue publicly traded provider of telecommunications equipment; Chief Financial Officer of First Albany Companies Inc., a $300 million publicly traded investment banking and brokerage firm; and more than 12 years as a senior investment banker providing advice and capital raising services to small and middle market companies in various industries. Tim began his career as a corporate and securities attorney at Cahill Gordon & Reindel in New York City. He is a graduate of the State University of New York at Albany and Albany Law School.