Mar 10, 2022

Innovation Works continues to expand with four new hires

graphic introducing IW's four new team members
press release

headshots of Dan Stokes, Kelsey Jones, John Springer, Lamontre Randall

Innovation Works (IW), a Baltimore resource network building sustainable neighborhood economies by connecting under-resourced entrepreneurs to social innovation assets and investors, announced four new hires who will help the organization expand the breadth and depth of its impact.

Kelsey Jones is IW’s new Manager of Enterprise Development: Programs, Lamontre Randall is the new Neighborhood Strategy Manager, John Springer is the new Mentor Network Manager and Dan Stokes is the new Manager of Enterprise Development: Pipeline.

“The success of the social entrepreneurs IW supports enables us to continue to grow,” said IW President and CEO Jay Nwachu. “The addition of these four talented professionals will enable us to mentor and support more social entrepreneurs who are working to enrich their Baltimore communities.”

As the new Manager of Enterprise Development: Programs, Jones will manage all IW programs, including the four-day Boost Program, the six-month Accelerator, and any entrepreneurial support programming. Jones will also provide technical support, and pre-investment support to Ignite Capital candidates.

“I believe social entrepreneurship is one of the most sustainable ways to solve deep-rooted, complex problems,” Jones said. “I am honored to work with incredibly passionate entrepreneurs who are doing just that in a way that is unique to Baltimore, its culture, and its people.”

As the Neighborhood Strategy Manager, Randall will ensure IW supports, amplifies, and connects Baltimore’s most economically distressed neighborhoods to the city’s innovation ecosystem.

“I believe that if you really want to create a better ecosystem in Baltimore, we have to fully support our grassroots entrepreneurs,” Randall said. “I look forward to being hands-on and meeting the people where they are.”

Springer has been a mentor in the IW Mentor Network since May 2021 and now joins the IW team as the Mentor Network Manager. In this role, Springer oversees and manages all aspects of IW’s Mentor Network – a growing, diverse network of business and civic leaders who support burgeoning social entrepreneurs.

“I believe that people – of all stations, backgrounds, and talents – need one another,” Springer said. “Social entrepreneurs can often use positive, skilled business coaches; mentors often grow from SE resources, strengths and vision. We need one another to help heal old wounds and build true community.”

As the new Manager of Enterprise Development: Pipeline, Stokes will manage all aspects of IW’s five-stage Social Entrepreneur Development Pipeline and develop strategies and programs that bolster the continued growth and success of the entrepreneurs’ businesses.

“It’s not really work when you’re a part of a mission like IW’s,” Stokes said. “My heart has always resided in Baltimore City and to be able to do this work and work with entrepreneurs and communities is why I show up each day with the same passion and commitment of our team and the SEs in our Pipeline.”

All four share IW’s goal to reduce the racial wealth divide in Baltimore City by supporting successful, sustainable social enterprises that provide an economic foundation to strengthen communities working to overcome generations of disinvestment.