Karen Crossley, Interim Executive Director
Karen joined the StartingBlock Madison team serving as interim Executive Director in mid-June 2022. Karen has been involved in supporting the local entrepreneurial ecosystem for over a decade – including with StartingBlock’s Social Impact Cohort, MERLIN Mentors, and Doyenne. Her professional career within the nonprofit and public sectors focused upon conservation, higher education fund raising, arts and culture, and civic engagement. Her community service has targeted sustainability, public education and youth leadership development. One of Karen’s current passion projects is helping to advance the long-awaited Madison Public Market. For fun, Karen enjoys active outdoor pursuits, adventuring, and bicycling whenever and wherever she can.
Leslie Weissburg, Interim Director of Operations
Leslie joined the StartingBlock Madison team as the interim Operations Manager in June 2022. Leslie has been a serial entrepreneur and a resource and champion within the Madison startup community. Professionally, she enjoys creating and improving company culture. Outside of work, you can find her at the Madison Farmers Markets, cooking and all things outdoors, especially in the summer.
Luke Fuszard, Interim Director of Business Development
Prior to StartingBlock, Luke spent ten years in the tech startup space as a salesperson, manager, and channel developer. Originally from Green Bay, Luke is a seventh-generation Wisconsinite and a proud Packer season ticket holder.
Julie Maduros, Membership Engagement Intern
Julie joined the StartingBlock Madison team as a Member Engagement Intern in April 2022. She is a rising junior at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, double majoring in Finance, Investment, and Banking & Management and Entrepreneurship. Julie is also pursuing a certificate in Spanish and has goals to break into the venture capital or start-up world post graduation. Outside of work and school, Julie is a fan of the Chicago Cubs and Blackhawks, loves to travel, and play tennis or beach volleyball!
Mark Richardson, Co-Chair
Mark is CEO and founder of GigBlender, a software tool that allows employers to incorporate their diversity values when finding and attracting talent. Mark is also President of Unfinished Business, which helps professionals prepare for, navigate, and accelerate career transition. Before stepping into entrepreneurship, Mark served as Vice President of Workforce Development at the Urban League, Division Administrator for the Wisconsin Department of Commerce’s Housing and Community Development program, and Deputy Secretary for Wisconsin Department of Tourism. (LI)
Laura Strong, Co-Chair
Laura is Clinical Development Director at Exact Sciences. She previously founded of Propagate Health, a problem-oriented innovation network built around a core of advisors & entrepreneurs from healthcare, life sciences, & technology and started and led a cancer drug development company that advanced a drug into a Phase I clinical trial in patients. Laura is also an Adjunct Professor at the UW-Madison, School of Medicine and Public Health. She has a PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. (LI)
Meg Prestigiacomo, Vice Chair
Meg is a Vice President at Baird, where she leads her team’s wealth management practice focusing on the needs of high net worth clients. She helps clients build and maintain their wealth and plan for life’s next transition. Prior to joining Baird in 2009, she worked as a Financial Advisor and Second Vice President at Citi Smith Barney. Meg helped launch the Madison Chapter of Ellevate, a professional networking organization for women who wish to create, inspire and lead. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin Madison, with a degree in Marketing & Management. Meg joined the StartingBlock Board in August 2019. (LI)
Scott Forester, Treasurer
Scott is a “fractional CFO” through his company ThinkForward CFO providing services to start-ups and growing entrepreneurial companies in need of a CFO but not on a full time basis. Previously Scott was the CFO for Punchkick Interactive. Scott was also CFO for other entrepreneurial companies including Tiger Toys (creator of Furby) and has sold four of them to Hasbro, Heinz, Mondelez and Wipfli. He works at StartingBlock and has enjoyed getting to know the Madison entrepreneurial tech start-up community. Scott is a CPA and has a MS and BS in Accounting from the University of Illinois. Scott joined the StartingBlock Board in August 2019. (LI)
Our Current Board Of Directors
Prior to starting LÜM, Fergus was one of the few students admitted to the UW-Madison school of business as an incoming freshman. Through college, Max worked in Shanghai, China as a financial analyst for a healthcare and life science venture capital firm and for Leerink Partners in San Francisco as an analyst in their investment banking division. With an undeniable passion for entrepreneurship, Fergus decided to forgo his offer starting at the healthcare investment banking division for Rothschild & Co in New York after graduation to pursue his dreams in business with LÜM. (LI)
estate website in the Philippines to Rocket Internet. Since moving to the Milwaukee area, Ed has been consulting local companies in Marketing and Sales Strategies, mentored startups and co-organized Milwaukee’s first Startup Week. Ed received a master’s degree in International Marketing from Depaul University-Kellstadt in Chicago and his BA in Economics from University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. (LI)
Doyenne Group: building entrepreneurial ecosystems that invest in the power and potential of women entrepreneurs.