As Interim CEO, Liz oversees the administration, programs and strategic plan of the Startup Tucson team and Board. Previously the COO of Startup Tucson, Liz has more than seven years of experience in non-profit organizational management and believes in building strong programs focused around the needs of Tucson businesses and entrepreneurs to ensure that the organization grows and delivers on its mission to help Tucson strive. Liz has helped to grow the TENWEST Festival as its Director and is very active in the Tucson creative and downtown community. Prior to joining Startup Tucson, Liz was the Supervising Research Attorney and Development Director at the National Law Center for Inter-American Free Trade where she designed and executed international trainings for business owners, lawyers, judged and government officials and has a record of successfully managing complex stakeholder, contract, and partner relationships in national and international contexts. Liz has a J.D. with a focus in international business and trade law from the College of Law at the University of Arizona and is currently serving on the Executive Committee of the Tucson Young Professionals Board, the Advisory Committee of the Tucson Chapter of the Global Chamber, and the Downtown Tucson Partnership Board of Directors.
Development & Administration Director
As Development and Administrative Director, Courtney oversees all fundraising efforts for the Startup Tucson team including grants and sponsorships. Courtney also helps with the execution of the strategic and administrative direction of the organization. Courtney is excited to have an opportunity to bring her her experience with fundraising and board leadership as well as her range of skills in event production, online user experience, writing, marketing, and PR to Startup Tucson. Having worked nationally and abroad in the tech and dot-com industry since its nascence in New York, Courtney’s passion is connecting people to help grow businesses and community. Her business, Courtney Pulitzer Creations, which featured an international event series and a weekly online newsletter developed her vast network and positioned her as a sought-after expert online, on air, and in print. Arriving in Tucson after eight years in Paris, France, Courtney worked at Sun Corridor Inc. in the executive offices, assisting in corporate governance and events. Always one to give back, Courtney has served on non-profit boards related to tech and cultural organizations, in addition to volunteering with the Junior Leagues of New York and Tucson.
Programs & Events Director
As Programs and Events Director, Dre oversees the design, planning and execution of Thryve, TENWEST, IdeaFunding and all other events. Dre brings to this position a diverse background in both public and private sectors, and her experience spanning from working on Chicago’s south side helping communities address community violence, to working with New York City Public Schools, to helping major national utilities engage customers in emerging tech-based energy efficiency practices. Throughout her various roles, her driving and central passion has been to support communities in tackling their most vexing challenges through innovative and research-based initiatives. Dre brings a wealth of creativity, a deep understanding of human behavior, and extensive experience crafting, measuring, and evaluating community-wide initiatives. Through her work, Dre has learned how to bring diverse stakeholders to the table for powerful and impactful collaborations. Finally back to her hometown of Tucson, Dre is delighted to encourage and support the vibrant entrepreneurial community with Startup Tucson. Dre has a Masters degree from the School of Social Administrations from the University of Chicago.
Venture Development Programs Director
Tony Ford has over 25 years experience in media, marketing, and business development. He is the Co-Founder of ArtFire.com and is currently creating new storytelling methods for film and virtual reality as a Founder of Chronos Productions. He holds an MBA in International Business and has coached more 100 company executives to pursue rapid growth as the Director of Venture Development Programs at Startup Tucson. Tony serves as a strategist, coach, and business consultant to companies throughout Tucson and the United States, and currently works with clients in software technology, aerospace, e-commerce, consumer products, and healthcare. Tony has served as Adjunct Faculty at the University of Arizona and is an award-winning radio personality and frequent featured speaker.
Communications & Impact Director
Dillon Walker is a creative strategist, business leader, and community builder, based in Tucson, Arizona. Dillon is the founder and principal of Hydrant, a digital studio providing a distinct set of creative, digital, and marketing services to organizations of many sizes. As a community builder, Dillon is the Vice President of the Tucson Young Professionals and works to create a more vibrant city for young people to thrive in.
As Startup Tucson’s Director of Communications & Impact, Dillon looks for the ways in which Startup Tucson can accomplish its mission through better communication strategies, aligned mission partnerships, and organic community building. Dillon’s passion for the role stems from his own entrepreneurial background and a desire to see a global mindset applied to Tucson’s unique city dynamic.
Community Programs Manager
Aaron is a Tucson native and a University of Arizona alumni. He has over 15 years experience in the software industry in roles including development, design, data analysis, management, and product management. In addition to his Bachelor’s Degree in MIS from the U of A, he has an MBA from Colorado State University. Aaron is the CEO and Co-Founder of Localoop, a local discovery platform powered by the expertise of the locals. He is a strong supporter of the Startup Tucson mission and has served many roles including Thryve Alumni (x2), Thryve Instructor, TENWEST Committee Member, and Co-Director of the TENWEST Summer in the City program.