Accelerators / Awards / Ceos / Founders / Hiring

Power Moves: Baltimore’s Eric Somerville is the new CEO of Venture for America

Plus, the Baltimore-based winners of EY Entrepreneur of the Year awards.

Eric Somerville is the CEO of Venture for America. (Courtesy photo)

Power Moves is a column where we chart the comings and goings of talent across the region, and other people-oriented updates. Got a new hire, new gig or promotion? Tell us:

The recently-appointed CEO of Venture for America is based in Baltimore.

Eric Somerville is the new CEO of the national nonprofit organization, which connects recent college grads with two-year fellowships at entrepreneurial firms.

He comes to the role following eight years with the Y in Central Maryland, where his most recent position was vice president of corporate and civic engagement.

“I’m deeply passionate about living a life enriched with mindfulness, wellness, and servant leadership, and the opportunity to lead Venture For America is all of those passions realized,” said Somerville in a statement. “I look forward to bringing the warmth and empathy of mindfulness to our fellowship community, having a bias toward sustainability in my engagements with our supporters and civic leaders, serving our team in all they do, and continuing to position VFA as the preeminent entrepreneurship fellowship in the U.S.”

Somerville was chosen after a six-month search. He will continue to be based out of Baltimore, which has been among cities with the highest numbers of VFA fellows over the last decade and boasts an influential alumni network.

It comes on the heels of VFA bringing on Cory J. Anderson as its Baltimore director.


Delali Dzriasa and Nick Culbertson (Courtesy photo)

Baltimore’s tech community had a pair of winners at the annual EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.

Delali Dzirasa CEO of Fearless, was awarded after growing the downtown digital services agency to more than 140 employees, as well as taking a leadership role in Baltimore-focused tech initaitives like the incubator Hutch and civic hacking coalition Hack Baltimore.

Nick Culbertson, CEO of Protenus, picked up an honor as the Fells Point-based healthcare analytics firm has now reached 100 employees and recently raised a $21 million Series D. Over the last year, the company’s team played a leading role in establishing inclusive tech workforce coalition Baltimore Tracks.

Nominees for the awards are evaluated based on six criteria: entrepreneurial leadership; talent management; degree of difficulty; financial performance; societal impact and building a values-based company; and originality, innovation and future plans.

In total, there were 11 CEOs honored in the Mid-Atlantic Region.

“Despite the unprecedented challenges of the past year, these heroic leaders have inspired us all with their unrivaled courage, ambition and unwavering commitment to their companies, clients and communities, said AJ Jordan, EY Americas Entrepreneur Of The Year program director, in a statement.


Kwame Kuadey (Courtesy photo)

Kwame Kuadey is the new president of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization of Baltimore, which runs an accelerator program to help businesses scale to million-dollar companies, and beyond. The John Hopkins professor and founder of business consulting firm Thrive Company will lead a newly appointed board from 10 entrepreneurial Maryland businesses for a term of two years.

“At our core, we are a collection of like-minded entrepreneurs focused on smart business growth, personal development, and community engagement. Exactly what the Baltimore region needs as we come out of this 2-year pandemic,” said Kuadey in a statement.

Board members include:


Samantha Musgrave (Courtesy photo)

Samantha Musgrave has been promoted to director of nonprofit internet provider Project Waves after a stint as interim director.

Starting as head of operations in 2020, she now heads up the whole operation and is leading Project Waves for the foreseeable future in 2021.

With the move, founder Adam Bouhmad is moving to a role as the chair of the inaugural Project Waves Board of Advisors. Using full-building and mesh wireless networks, Project Waves has connected 960 Baltimoreans to free internet across its network, according to its recently released first year report.


Isha Lokurkar (Courtesy photo)

Early Charm, the Pigtown-based venture studio, continues to grow with the recent hiring of Isha Lokurkar to lead business development and technical sales for Early Charm’s drug design portfolio. She has experience as lead research associate and lab manager at Harvard Medical School with a focus on ovarian cancer and diabetes research.

“Isha’s science research background plus her expertise in roadmap planning and go-to-market strategy in the biotech space will go a long way to help drive the growth of our drug design portfolio of companies,” said Ken Malone, executive officer with Early Charm in a statement.

Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.
Companies: Fearless / Protenus / Early Charm Ventures / Venture for America
Series: Power Moves

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