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Meet Your Team

We’re a small but mighty team that thrives on experimentation, new ideas, provocative conversations and seeing new relationships unfold.

Karen Barnes, Executive Director

A Winston-Salem native, Karen’s genetically pre-programmed to be an entrepreneur and started her first business when she was five selling organic vegetables from her dad’s garden in a little red wagon. Since then, she’s been a journalist, a marketer, founder of a boutique marketing and strategy consulting firm, and founding partner in a cognitive computing startup. She’s a prolific storyteller, insight harvester, golfer and dog fanatic. She and her wife enjoy travel, food, outdoor activities and their golden retriever.


Susan Morris, Program Director

Susan Morris has been involved in the community in Winston-Salem for several years. Her career spans the spectrum of education, technology, marketing, the arts, and innovation. Susan has a degree in education from the University of West Florida in Pensacola. She and her husband Joe have a sweet pup named Winston.


Heather Philon, Program Coordinator

Heather has been a resident of North Carolina since age nine, and has lived in Winston-Salem for six years. She loves engaging with new ideas, meeting new people, and connecting with innovative enterprises in the area. Her involvement in the community extends to work with local non-profits and advocacy for women’s issues. Heather spends her free time reading, travelling, painting, and enjoying nature. She lives in town with her husband, Logan, and their cat, Cosmo.



Advisory Board:
Jim Holmes
Bruce Maxwell
Edwin Hamlin
Algenon Cash
Angela Wilder
Allan Younger
Bobbie Shrivastav