About
Our People
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Our People

The folks who make it all happen.

Leadership Team

Melissa Bradley
Founder
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”
Art Stevens
Senior Partner
Art Stevens is a Senior Partner at 1863, focusing on mentoring and accelerating New Majority entrepreneurs. He has been an Innovator in Residence at American University, and previously worked with PayPal as the Director for Social Innovation Projects, focusing on efforts to create economic opportunity for underserved populations. Prior to this Art was responsible for MicroPlace, an online marketplace for investments in Microfinance. His career has included significant work with the Calvert Foundation, where he led the “Gateway to Impact” research project partnered with Rockefeller Foundation, DeutschBank, and Envestnet. His traditional investment experience includes over a decade of work for larger firms Morgan Stanley, Franklin Templeton, and TCW Investment Management. He began specializing in the non-profit community in 2002, helping to launch a social enterprise in the elder care sector and working with a social enterprise focused on health care in southern India
Daniel Wright
Chief Operating Officer
Daniel Wright is Chief Operating Officer of 1863 Ventures. In this role, Daniel oversees both internal and external operations, improving organizational and programmatic processes. Daniel also supports the execution of 1863 Ventures organizational strategy, fundraising, and external communications. Daniel is an Entrepreneur in Residence at Georgetown University McDonough School of Business and a Summit Fellow. Prior to 1863 Ventures Daniel co-founded GOOD; a collective of social impact organizations working to alleviate poverty on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis. At GOOD, Daniel served as CFO and Chief Strategy Officer. Daniel’s educational background includes a BA in Government from Georgetown University, an Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Georgetown University, a Graduate Certificate in Occupational and Environmental Health from Georgetown University, and a Professional Certificate in Budgeting and Finance from Georgetown University
Adeleke Omitowoju
Partner
Adeleke Omitowoju is a Partner at 1863 Ventures. In his role, he manages the portfolio of companies where the firm has made investments across several sectors. He brings a decade of experience across enterprise sales, private equity and startup advisory. Adeleke started his career at Avenue Capital Group as as an analyst in New Delhi India. He then joined IBM as a Client Executive where he led complex deals in healthcare and energy and utilities. He attended Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) where he earned his undergraduate degree and MBA with a concentration in finance. He currently lives in Washington DC with his wife and two boys.
Emmanuel Kaska
Partner
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.
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.
Steven Rodriguez
Director of Latinx Programs
Steven Rodriguez serves as the Director of Latinx Programs for 1863 Ventures. Steven has experience as Techstars Startup Programs Regional Manager for US and Canada, Founder / Managing Director of SUEGO™ and Chief Culture Officer at BloomShift™. He co-leads various ESHIP programs through his non-profit InnovateCoalition™; is a Business Development & Digital Marketing Mentor & Contributor for WeWork Labs and Coach for the DC Department of Employment Services Innovation Lab; and is a Board Member to the International Council on Trade and Development. He is also a community strategist leading various world renowned entrepreneurship programs and initiatives in the Greater Washington, D.C like the Global Entrepreneurship Week celebration and the Techstars Startup Programs through DC Startup Week, Startup Weekend DC and Startup Digest DC. Region. Rodriguez has a BA from CUNY The City College of New York and is currently pursuing an EMBA.
Kayla Howard
Administrative Associate
Kayla Howard is the Administrative Associate at 1863 Ventures. In this role, she works to optimize internal processes and support the 1863 Ventures team in providing comprehensive business development content for New Majority founders. 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.
Phillip Reeves
Instructor
Philip is an Instructor & former Partner at 1863 Ventures where he co-leads an industry agnostic program who's mission is scaling businesses through operational improvements, sustainable sales processes, human capital best practices and financial management. Philip’s background includes serving as the Manager of Small Business Technology and Innovation for the Government of the District of Columbia and working in corporate and business development for a small government contractor. Philip began his career in private equity at Lehman Brothers. Philip is a former Curator of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers DC Hub. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Morehouse College.

Board of Directors

Melissa Bradley
Founder
1863 Ventures
Jenn Flynn
Head of Small Business Bank
Capital One
Graham McLaughlin
Managing Director, Social Impact
Optum (a division of UnitedHealth Group)
Aerica Shimizu Banks
Angel Investor
Marissa Mahoney
Economic Club, Manager, Education Initiatives
The Economic Club of Washington, D.C.
Rustin Brown
Partner
Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Vonetta Young
Angel Investor & Advisor