Our People
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Our People

The folks who make it all happen.

Leadership Team

Melissa Bradley
Melissa L. Bradley is a tri-sector leader and Managing Partner at 1863 Ventures with more than 20 years of entrepreneurship, investment and leadership experience. She is an Adjunct Professor at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University where she teaches impact investing, social entrepreneurship, P2P economies and innovation. Melissa has served as a Presidential Appointee under Presidents Clinton and Obama. Under Clinton, Melissa served as Financial Regulatory Affairs Fellow at the Department of Treasury, Office of Thrift Supervision, where she researched the impact of welfare reform and micro-enterprise lending on the financial industry and authored “IDA Strategy for Asset Accumulation”
Emmanuel Kaska
Emmanuel is a partner at 1863 Ventures and manages the team’s marketing & design operations. Prior to 1863, Emmanuel built and sold several products, later acquired by large enterprise firms such as Northrup Grumman, Lockheed Martin & Capital One. He takes the lessons learned running his startups to advise fortune 500 companies, like Google, on how they can build inclusive ecosystems and better direct resources for New Majority founders. He serves as a mentor for the Univ of Maryland accelerator Startup Shell & The World Bank where he supports founders (both foreign & domestic) on developing effective processes & systems across design, product and marketing.
Saudia Davis
Operating Partner
Saudia Davis serves as the Operating Partner at 1863 Ventures and a Goldman Sachs’ consultant for Black In Business Program. She is an accomplished business leader with over 15 years of expertise innovating, scaling and exiting a multimillion-dollar corporation. She serves as a strategic business advisor for entrepreneurial leaders and their stakeholders with expertise in business strategy, operations, and human capital management. Prior to this role, Saudia was appointed to the New York City Workforce Development Board, where she currently Chairs the Small Business Committee and sits on the Diversity and Racial Equity Committee.
Wendy Maldonado D’Amico
Community Director
Wendy Maldonado D’Amico serves as Community Director for 1863 Ventures. Wendy brings her experience in community building to 1863, with the ultimate goal of bringing people together to learn from each other and support one another. She is Director of Accelerate Yale, a global community of Yale innovators and entrepreneurs. Over the last two years, she has led efforts to quintuple the number of members during the pandemic. She produced Accelerate Yale’s highly successful speaker program and organized the first Yale Angels pitch competition, specifically for New Majority founders. She served as a member of the executive leadership team for FounderTribes, an ed tech startup serving underrepresented founders around the world. She built the foundation of the mentor program at the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale, and is the founder and manager of online communities in areas of food, the arts, and entrepreneurship. She serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors of the Yale Alumni Association. Wendy holds a BA from Yale, a Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School, and an MBA from MIT Sloan.
Maxwell Young
Director of Communications
Maxwell Young serves as the Director of Communications for 1863 Ventures. He is responsible for marketing and communications to help engage the New Majority community and support 1863's public visibility. Prior to this role, Maxwell served as Intellectual Property Manager, U.S. Financial Services at Edelman, where he led inaugural research from the Edelman Trust Institute called Money in Color: Addressing Racism in America’s Financial System. A steward of entrepreneurship, Maxwell is a graduate of The George Washington University School of Business with a degree in finance and a minor in economics.
Kayla Howard
Program Operations and Data Coordinator
Kayla Howard is the Program Operations and Data Coordinator at 1863 Ventures. In this role, she manages the data infrastructure of 1863’s programs and supports the department's operational effectiveness and efficiency. Kayla graduated cum laude from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, in December 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Women’s Studies with a concentration in Documentary Filmmaking. Prior to joining 1863 Ventures, Kayla was a Teaching Fellow at Americorp and the Lead Blog Editor at the Evelyn and Joseph Lowery Institute. She has also had her own entrepreneurial ventures.
Adwoa Kufuor
Data Analyst
Adwoa Kufuor serves as Data Analyst for 1863 Ventures. Originally from Accra, Ghana she loves that Atlanta Georgia has been home for many years. She is an experienced data analyst with a history in analyzing data at Bank of America and providing retail data solutions at The Home Depot. She enjoys building data infrastructures that provide insights for data-driven decision-making. At 1863 Ventures, she is responsible for aiding the implementation of proper system use and migrating data to build a framework to reflect 1863 Ventures’ growth. Prior to her IT career, she succeeded as an entrepreneur for 10 years.
Sherica Sampson
Head of Talent Acquisition
Sherica Sampson serves as the Head of Talent Acquisition for 1863 ventures. Sherica is a well-established business leader that brings her expertise in Human Capital & Entrepreneurship to 1863, with an impactful goal to strategically build & recruit talent to ensure 1863 scalability and future growth in the New Majority Community. Prior to this role, Sherica served as Global Recruiting Manager for Techstars, where she led a team that supported Engineering & Accelerator Investments recruitment globally. She has also had her own successful entrepreneurial ventures. Sherica holds a Bachelor's Degree in Fashion Marketing from AIU.

Board of Directors

Melissa Bradley
1863 Ventures
Jenn Flynn
Head of Small Business Bank
Capital One
Mamta Patel
Finance Chair
Chief Financial Officer of Delos Living
Aerica Shimizu Banks
Board Member
Founder and Principal of Shiso Consulting
Tammy Halevy
Board Member
Senior Advisor at Public Private Strategies
Daniel Arellano
Board Member
Vice President of Product & General Manager at Nubank
Graham McLaughlin
Board Member
Vice President of Social Responsibility at UnitedHealth Group
Marissa Mahoney
Board Member
Director of Partnerships and Alliances at National Association of Investment Companies
Rustin Brown
Board Member
Associate at Simpson Thatcher & Bartlett LLP
Sindhu Lakshmanan
Board Member
Senior Investment Officer at Opportunity Finance Network
Vonetta Young
Board Member
Investment Readiness & Fund Formation Advisor at VY Advisors