StarterStudio Recruits Dawn Haynes as CEO/Executive Director

Seasoned Executive Skilled in Leadership,
Growth and Operation Management

Tapped to Lead Organization to Next Phase of Growth

StarterStudio, Orlando’s only nonprofit 501(c)(3) tech accelerator, has announced Dawn Haynes will succeed Lilian Myers as the organization’s next CEO and will start officially on April 4th.

Haynes joins StarterStudio after nearly five years as CEO with nonprofit Community Resource Network (CRN). CRN works to create lasting impact in the most pressing social issues facing the Central Florida community — so every neighborhood flourishes and all residents thrive.

“Starting a business is tough! And not just practically or financially – emotionally as well! I am honored and excited to be joining a team that understands those multi-layer entrepreneurial challenges unique to tech founders and provides the holistic, robust support resources needed to build successful companies here in Central Florida. I look forward to being part of StarterStudio’s next level of growth,” says Dawn Haynes, StarterStudio’s new CEO/Executive Director.

As a senior executive with more than 30 years’ international experience, Haynes has diverse industry experiences with a track record of consistent delivery against business objectives while staying laser-focused on customer experience. She’s an entrepreneur at heart, passionate about driving results through partnerships, collaboration, and understanding/integration of business drivers. She is effective in building high-performing teams, and aligns people, processes, and systems to achieve measurable outcomes.

“This community couldn’t ask for a more capable and charismatic leader at the helm of StarterStudio! Ours is an important asset in the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem, with a legacy of economic and social diversity among tech startups over nearly seven (7) years,” says Lilian Myers, who has served as the organization’s interim CEO since 2019. “Even through the pandemic, we grew our programs by 200% and helped more than 40 tech founders take the next steps on their journey. Dawn is a rare combination of strategic commercial, startup, and non-profit leadership, innovation, collaboration, purpose that will broaden StarterStudio’s reach and impact in so many ways. We couldn’t be more excited!”

Phil Zeman, Chairman of the StarterStudio Board of Advisors (and Senior Vice President and Community Development Officer for SouthState Bank), says “With everything that’s happening in Central Florida’s Tech Space, and when you reflect upon the rich history of StarterStudio’s leaders starting with Gregg Pollack and Donna Mackenzie who worked tirelessly to put StarterStudio on the map, to Lilian Myers spearheading multiple pivots through one of the most challenging times ever, we knew we had big shoes to fill. Thankfully, we found the perfect person to lead StarterStudio into its next phase. Dawn Haynes brings a very creative and strategic leadership style that will further expand StarterStudio’s reach to launch more tech startups and continue to build our expanding tech ecosystem. Dawn could not be entering this space at a more opportune time and, on behalf of the board of directors, we look forward to supporting her.”