Innovate Mississippi Presents


After graduating from the Mississippi College School of Law in 1994 with a J.D. with Special Distinction, Wendy has continuously practiced with either a regional law firm or served as in-house counsel for a wireless technology company. In January of 2010, Wendy joined the Jackson office of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, LLP as Special Counsel in the Corporate and Securities group as part of the firm’s commitment to the establishment of a vibrant business practice in Mississippi. At the firm Wendy devotes her time to assisting companies as they develop and commercialize their intellectual property assets through the negotiation and drafting of software development and licensing agreements, service agreements and the protection of those assets with confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements. She is married to a trial lawyer and they have one son. Sports are big at the Mullins home so most weekends you will find Wendy either courtside or on the sideline cheering for both Coach Mullins and Player Mullins.

Tim is Vice President of Brand Planning and Development with Maris, West & Baker advertising. He oversees marketing and brand development for clients in a wide range of industries including Public Health, Youth Marketing, Technology Marketing, Social Marketing, and Tourism. 

He is also a Public Health Marketing consultant specializing in helping state agencies, regional/national cause-related entities, and other non-profits develop their media and outreach programs. A new project close to his heart, in 2013, he founded the Mississippi Brain Drain Commission to develop and initiative to retain Intellectual Capital in Mississippi.

Sunny graduated Summa Cum Laude from Mississippi State University’s undergraduate double major program in 2008 with an emphasis in Real Estate and Banking & Finance. After finishing Mississippi State University’s MBA program in 2010, he founded Desai Hotel Group at the age of 24. Sunny is a board member of Make A Wish Mississippi, a member of Downtown Jackson Partners Advisory Board, a member of Mississippi State University’s Young Alumni Advisory Council, and a member of YPO (Young Presidents Organization). He is also a Mississippi Licensed Real Estate Broker, a Mississippi Licensed Contractor, and Registered Investment Advisor. Sunny has received numerous awards over the years of which include Mississippi Business Journal’s Top CEO Award and Hotel Management Magazine’s Top Thirty Under 30 Award. Desai Hotel Group has been awarded Inc 5000’s Fastest Growing Companies for three years.

Matthew focuses his practice on corporate and business transactions, including advising companies on corporate and commercial finance matters, federal, state and local economic development incentives, and nontraditional sources of capital.

His industry experience includes manufacturing, food and beverage, energy, and technology sectors. He has worked with clients on every aspect of the expansion and relocation process, including business organization, real property due diligence, acquisition and development, land use and zoning, financing, tax matters, and other state and local regulatory issues.

Matthew represents parties in historic preservation and community development projects leveraging federal grants, new market tax credits, low-income housing tax credits, and historic tax credits. In addition, he focuses a portion of his practice on representing startups, emerging companies, and investors on a wide variety of organizational issues, corporate transactions, corporate financings, securities laws, and corporate-compliance matters.

Kristen is the founder, owner and creative director of Thimblepress®. Founded in a garage back in 2012, Thimblepress is a design & lifestyle company aiming to create products that make people happy. Each product is designed by Kristen and filled with loads of love & color. Thimblepress is sold in over 1500 retail shops internationally and her products are also available on 

Thimblepress has worked and collaborated with Target, Hallmark, Moon & Lola, Glitter Guide, Throw Pillow, Speak Wines, June & January. Kristen also runs where she focuses her efforts on mentoring and creative consulting with individuals and brands. One of Kristen’s biggest passions is encouraging other’s to see their potential and chase after dreams. Kristen offers monthly mentoring, weekend workshops and creative calls to help an individual or brand take next steps, develop products and/or marketing plans and work to achieve goals

Eric serves as Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach (CEO) at Mississippi State University. In this role, Eric assists students, faculty and staff in developing business models to transform inventions into profit-seeking innovations. 

Under his leadership, MSU’s entrepreneurial pipeline has grown more than threefold, launching more than 100 new startups annually and helping them raise nearly $1M private capital each year. Eric found his passion for technology startups at age 16 when he founded HillTech, a web solutions firm that grew to support clients in 15 states before acquisition after five years. He is also co-founder of Coflyt™, an aviation software company, and has led operations in four other startups.

Anne is the founding shareholder of Anne Turner, PC, in Madison, Mississippi. She is currently involved in the development of a novel, technology-driven legal services delivery platform. her firm also provides traditional legal representation, focusing on the representation of technology-oriented enterprises selling proprietary products or services. She was formerly a shareholder in an AmLaw 200 law firm.

Ben is a native Mississippian with over 15 years of experience in the technology industry and international startup community. Now the director of development and outreach for Mississippi Coding Academies, Ben co-founded a software start-up in an incubator in Jackson, Mississippi, which he helped grow into an international firm with offices and personnel in four countries (Japan, United States, Singapore, Philippines) generating millions of dollars a year in revenue. Prior to this, he served as a software developer and solution architect for the U.S. Air Force at Eglin Air Force Base.

Terrence is the founding director of the Health Innovation and Transformation (HIT) Center at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC). The Center supports health innovators at the university and throughout the state. The Center also explores and develops new technologies with a goal to improving quality and reducing cost for the academic medical center.

Bruce is our current Entrepreneur-in-Residence. Bruce has been involved with Innovate Mississippi in several capacities in the past, including as a mentor and board chairman of the Mississippi Seed Fund. Bruce has also been involved with Innovate Mississippi as an entrepreneurial client, several years ago. He brings both an entrepreneurial perspective as well as corporate-management background.

Bruce currently provides executive consulting, program management and expert services for a variety of companies.

Almesha currently serves as the Director for Technology Transfer and Commercialization, and the newly established Center for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (CIEED) at Jackson State University (JSU). She manages the intellectual property process from triage of invention disclosures to commercialization. She provides strategic direction and vision for defining partnerships in commercialization and innovation initiatives between JSU and other institutions, funding agencies, and industry stakeholders. 

Dr. Campbell is the Principal Investigator for the National Science Foundation funded JSU Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Site designed to train teams of faculty and students how to commercialize their ideas using the lean start up methodology. She holds membership in professional organizations such as the Licensing Executives Society (LES), the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), Society of Research Administrators International (SRA) and the American Society of Public Administration (ASPA).


Northpark - Mississippi New Venture Challenge
Maris West and Baker - Accelerate - Conference on Technology Innovation
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