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The RAISE Forum Team

Charlie Goetz//
Emory University

Charles Goetz joined Goizueta Business School in the fall of 2001. Before that he had over fifteen years of experience in developing, implementing and growing entrepreneurial ventures. Goetz has been responsible for starting and building nine ventures that employed over 1000 employees and delivered returns that often exceeded expectations. Goetz is still actively involved, investing in new businesses and sitting on a number of boards for private and not-for-profit businesses.

He has written three books.

Goetz is also responsible for the development of “Marketnomics,” a mathematical model that quantifies perceived customer value by product features, resulting in product offerings with substantially greater value propositions at lower costs and higher demand.

Gene Wright //
Northstar Consulting

Gene began his professional career with pioneer warehouse club operator Makro, based in the Netherlands, opening the first Makro warehouses in the US - which led to the development of the supercenter concept at Kmart’s specialty division.


Later, Gene joined Andersen Consulting (Accenture) as Associate Partner responsible for facilitating discussion with their global clients' senior management teams focused on growing and sustaining competitive advantage for companies like Best Buy, McDonalds, Harley Davidson, Target, Home Depot, Microsoft, CB Richard Ellis, Costco and Mercedes.


Gene returned to the ATL with Northstar to help high-growth businesses build a strong foundation for future success in the capital markets. He founded the GA Crowdfunding Assoc., and is a Trustee for the Org. of Entrepreneurial Development.


Klaas Baks//
Emory University

Klaas P. Baks PhD is the Executive Director of the Emory Center for Alternative Investments and an Associate Professor in the Practice of Finance at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. The Emory Center for Alternative Investments is a global leader in the alternative investments industry with an advisory board consisting of CEOs at investment firms with combined assets in excess of one trillion dollars.

Baks's research and teaching focuses on issues in alternative investments, entrepreneurial finance and investment management, and he has published papers in a number of academic and business journals.


A doctoral graduate of the Wharton School, Baks also holds a M.A. degree in economics from Brown University, a master’s in econometrics from Groningen University, and a diploma in Japanese language and business studies from Leiden University.

Barry Etra//
RAISE Founder

Barry Etra has over 30 years of business experience, having worked in Sales and Marketing, Operations, and General Management.


Barry came to Atlanta as the COO of a plastics manufacturing plant. He has helped institutions and consumers raise hundreds of millions of dollars, often outside the obvious channels. Currently he runs the RAISE Forum as well as the Atlanta chapter of The Keiretsu Forum, the largest and most active angel investment forum in the world. Because of his involvement with RAISE, he is doing business development for Kickr Design, a prototyping group in the Southeast. 


Barry has a BA and an MBA from Columbia University; his MBA is in marketing and finance.

Steve Brett //
Presentation TuneUps


Steve Brett is a pioneer in digital marketing, website development and has 30-years of experience in marketing, advertising and sales.


With Presentation TuneUps and Virtual Pitch Practice, he helps individuals and companies improve their personal communication skills in-person and on-line. 


Steve has worked with some of the best-known companies in the world, starting with a cell-phone company that became Verizon. He built the first web site for the Citizen Watch Company from his home; his team created the first online shoe store for The Sports Authority; helped grow a payroll company that exited to ADP; and worked fintech for the New York Stock Exchange.


Steve holds a Masters at Teaching and a BA in Literature/Education from The New School in New York. He also taught advertising and marketing at Atlanta's prestigious Creative Circus.

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Allyson Plosko//
SpringTime Ventures

Allyson Plosko is currently a principal at SpringTime Ventures, an investment firm focused on Seed-stage companies in healthtech, fintech, logistics/supply chain, and marketplaces. Before that, she was senior director of Telosity, a fund launched by Vinaj Ventures to invest in Seed-stage companies improving adolescent and young adult mental well-being and was an integral part of building the Telosity network, deal flow, brand, and investment processes. 


Before Vinaj Ventures, Allyson was at Village Capital, a Seed-stage accelerator and investment fund, where she led the firm’s health practice, evaluating over 100 companies annually for investment or engagement with Village Capital’s health partners and led a cross-functional team to deliver an annual investment readiness program to early-stage healthtech companies.

Kristen Woodrum //
Baker Hostetler

Kristen McDermott Woodrum concentrates her practice in the area of healthcare law, including regulatory compliance and transactional matters. Well-versed in the nuances of healthcare law, Kristen anticipates potential issues and provides practical counsel while working with clients to structure complex transactions, including acquisitions, joint ventures, and other strategic affiliations.


Kristen also advises clients on day-to-day operational and compliance matters, including fraud and abuse laws, such as the federal Stark law and Anti-Kickback statute, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Medicare/Medicaid billing and reimbursement, licensure and accreditation, third party payor issues, state fee-splitting, fraud and abuse, and corporate practice of medicine laws.

Russell Allen //
Georgia Research Alliance

Russell Allen has a myriad of experience -  making him perfect for RAISE.


Previously President and CEO of Georgia Bio, he came from BioFlorida, the statewide trade association founded in 1997 to advance Florida’s bioscience industry.


Allen directed programs and advocacy initiatives that helped make the state one of the leading locations for bioscience research and development in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical device sectors.


Previously he served as CEO for Atlanta-based digital marketing agencies, Newton Park and iQuotient, so he knows a good growth business when he sees one. Allen received a bachelor's degree in biology from Pepperdine University and a certificate in Biotech Enterprise Management from the Owen Graduate School of Business at Vanderbilt.

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Derrick Williams //
Williams & Williams 

Derrick has been involved in investment banking for over 20 years focusing on advisory and capital procurement. He began his investment banking career at UBS Securities as an industry and product generalist and has executed transactions in the business services, distribution, financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, real estate, restaurant and hospitality and technology industries. Derrick has focused on working with entrepreneurs and startups since 2013 and currently provides advisory services through his firm, Williams & Williams, to enable clients and boards of directors to address challenges to their business and strategic direction.

Derrick received his BA in Political Science from Yale University and an MBA in Finance and Entrepreneurship from the Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia. He is licensed by FINRA and has also served as an adjunct professor and guest lecturer in Finance. 

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