Meet the Team
We’re a crew of entrepreneurs, business owners,
and passionate community builders
Chief Executive Officer
Chief Operating Officer
Chief Development Officer
Army National Guard
Founder of Bunker Labs
Chief Executive Officer, Marine Corps
Blake’s goal is to ensure that the American dream can be a reality for military veterans and military spouses and, that in doing so, we build a truly inclusive economy. He is focused on guiding Bunker Labs to help close the systemic gaps military veterans and military spouses face, such as access to capital.”. Blake is also the co-founder of a safety product company, BreakAway Safety Solutions, which provides emergency exits for outdoor events making it easy to get fans out of fenced in events. He served as an officer in the Marine Corps from 2008–2012.
Chief Marketing Officer, Marine Corps
Reggie oversees Bunker Labs marketing and is focused on building goals and processes that accelerate social and economic impact for Veterans and military spouses. He is the founder of a local charity that helps youth train in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and served in the Marine Corps from 2004-2016.
Chief Development Officer, Army National Guard
Becca drives Bunker Labs’ development portfolio to include corporate and foundation giving as well as donor campaigns. Prior to joining Bunker Labs, she worked with the Tribune Media Group and co-founded the literacy social enterprise, Open Books. She holds a BA from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and is a 20-year retired veteran of the Army National Guard.
Founder of Bunker Labs, Navy
Todd is the founder of Bunker Labs, a national entrepreneurship organization with chapters in 30 states across the U.S., which works with military veterans and military spouses who want to start their own business.
Todd Connor is a widely sought-after speaker, thought leader, and consultant who leads individuals and organizations to unlock their full entrepreneurial potential.
He is also the founder of The Collective Academy, Emerson House, as well as other for-profit and philanthropic organizations.
Charlotte Coker Gibson
President, Marine Corps
Lenore Karafa is currently a partner at First In. First In invests in early-stage Cybersecurity, AI, defense tech/dual use, and data intelligence/automation companies. First In is committed to empowering entrepreneurs that secure our freedom and expanding opportunity for those who have served.
Lenore Karafa was previously Head of People for Engineering and Global Equities at Citadel responsible for talent transformation, culture, leadership development, performance management, and compensation strategy for 500+ employees. Prior to Citadel, she was a Managing Partner at McChrystal Group (MG), overseeing clients in the technology, healthcare, and financial services sectors. She has experience driving transformational change in global organizations and advising c-level executives. She joined MG while it was still a start-up, working closely with other senior leaders to develop MG’s consulting methodology and overseeing a period of 3x revenue and team growth.
Prior to joining MG, Lenore worked in financial services at Bank of America in Debt Capital Markets and SoFi. During her time at BofA, Lenore was the recipient of the Global Diversity and Inclusion Award. Lenore is a former Council on Foreign Relations Term Member and 2017 Presidential Leadership Scholar.
Lenore graduated from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland in 2000. She was commissioned as an officer in the United States Marine Corps, serving on active duty for seven years in various positions, including as a Warfighting Instructor at The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia, and as a team leader in Iraq. In addition to these leadership posts, Lenore has been honored with the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal.
After leaving the Marine Corps in 2007, Lenore received her Master of Business Administration in Finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She currently lives in Park City, Utah with her husband and four young children.
Kelly Perdew is the managing general partner at Moonshots Capital a $20M committed fund and he has previously invested over $13M in 60+ companies through his angel and syndicate deals. Perdew has founded or held senior executive operating roles in ten companies and his notable investment, advisory, and board roles have included: LinkedIn (LNKD), Pandora (P), TrueCar(TRUE), Active Networks (ACTV), ID.me, Scopely, Fair, CrossChx, RideScout (DAI), Harvest.ai(AMZN), Ustream (IBM), Klout (Lithium), Fitmob (ClassPass) and Bitium (GOOG).
Perdew co-founded, with his wife, DuMont Project, a direct-to-consumer consultative media agency that accelerates growth for Fortune 500 and growing venture-backed companies such as J&J, P&G, GNC, Brooks Brothers, Guess, Lucky, Casper, Zillow, Hulu, Tile, Bonobos and many more.
Perdew earned a BS from the US Military Academy, West Point and served in the US Army as a Military Intelligence Officer and completed Airborne and Ranger training. He earned his JD and MBA degrees from UCLA.
In 2005, Perdew won Season 2 of The Apprentice and worked directly for President Donald Trump in New York on multiple projects and published his book, Take Command, focused on applying military leadership principles to business. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Dawn, and 8-year-old twins Grant and Grace.
Charlotte Coker Gibson
Charlotte brings more than 25 years of experience in various facets of diversity and inclusion, HR and corporate social responsibility management as the Executive Director of the PwC Charitable Foundation.
Throughout her 15 year tenure at PwC Charitable Foundation, she has held various leadership positions, most recently as Director and Employee Engagement leader on the firm’s Corporate Responsibility team. In this role, she was responsible for identifying and implementing employee engagement strategies, national non-profit partnerships, scalable programming components and skills-based volunteer opportunities in support of the firm’s Earn Your Future (EYF) commitment, a five-year, $160 million dollar investment supporting youth education with an emphasis on improving the financial competency of American youth.
Prior, Coker Gibson, under PwC Charitable Foundation’s National Office of Diversity, led its Impact Program—a national early minority talent development program. As well, she served as the region’s Washington Metro Diversity Leader, responsible for leading and driving the diversity and inclusion strategy throughout the market.
Before joining PwC Charitable Foundation, Coker Gibson was the Vice President of Corporate Volunteer Development at the Points of Light Foundation, the world’s leading nonprofit volunteer organization. A member of the Foundation’s executive team, Coker Gibson was responsible for overseeing the corporate volunteer strategy, including corporate member services for Fortune 500 companies, training, product development, and research for business practitioners. Additional experiences included Vice President of Business Development for Social Entrepreneurs Alliance for Change, a start-up nonprofit and HR and Corporate Responsibility management roles with Student Loan Marketing Association (Sallie Mae).
Todd Connor is currently CEO of Veterans for Political Innovation, an organization he co-founded to give a voice and a platform for the military-connected community to address political polarization through election reforms and innovations. Todd is also the founder of Bunker Labs, a national entrepreneurship organization dedicated to helping the military-connected community start and grow businesses. Founded in Chicago in 2014, Bunker Labs has grown to over 40 chapters across the United States and serves over 1,200 entrepreneurs annually. Bunker Labs works to support the military-connected community by offering programs for entrepreneurs to connect with the people, resources, and opportunities they need to be successful with their early-stage ventures.
Todd is a former management consultant, U.S. Navy veteran, and has held many leadership roles in the public and private sectors. In addition to Bunker Labs and Veterans for Political Innovation, he is also the founder of The Collective Academy, a leadership development consulting firm, as well as Emerson House, a luxe retreat venue in La Porte, Indiana. Todd holds a BA from Northwestern University, an MBA from the University of Chicago, and is the author of Third Shift Entrepreneur (Wiley, 2020).
Todd serves as the lead facilitator for the President George W. Bush Veteran Leadership Program in Dallas, Texas, and is an Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He has been recognized as a Presidential Leadership Scholar, a Presidio Fellow, and is a thought leader on entrepreneurship, veterans issues, and economic development. Todd, his husband Andrew, and their son Jasper live in Northwest Indiana.
The owner of just shy of a dozen businesses across the federal, state, local and commercial sectors, Deese is best known for his information technology contracting company Visual Connections, which, since 2007, has won 42 federal contracts totaling $215M in contract value. Owner, executive chairman, or investor in a suite of additional companies in spaces ranging from trucking to private equity, Deese got his entrepreneurial start in the early 2000s following two heavily awarded stints in the U.S. Navy, where he developed the skills and acumen to pursue his professional interests in any sector.
Nikki Atkins Hartung is the Managing Director and Regional Director of Consumer Banking and Chase Wealth Management for Southern California at JPMorgan Chase.
As Regional Director, Nikki is responsible for the consumer branches and financial advisors throughout Southern California and the Inland Empire, managing over $27 billion in assets. In this role, Nikki and her team strive to fulfill the savings and long-term financial needs of individual clients and small business owners. Working with bank clients to meet their everyday banking needs has always been the motivating factor for Nikki. In addition to helping her branches serve Chase clients, Nikki is responsible for the development of her team, representing Chase in the Southern California community, and creating job opportunities as the retail branches continue to grow. Under Nikki’s leadership, the San Diego market has moved from #4 in market share to #1 in seven years.
Nikki recently celebrated 25 years with JPMorgan Chase. She started in the bank’s Retail Management Training Program and has held various leadership positions in consumer and wealth management.
Nikki’s passion for military causes began when her brother enlisted in the USMC in 1999. Born and raised in Houston, her first trip to San Diego was to attend her brother’s graduation from boot camp at Camp Pendleton. She eventually moved to San Diego in 2009 at the time of the Washington Mutual/JPMorgan Chase merger to oversee Southern California. The large military presence in San Diego became the perfect place for Nikki to make a difference and give back to the military community. Within JPMorgan, Nikki is the Executive Sponsor for Chase’s Voices of Employees That Served (VETS) program and is involved in numerous internal military initiatives.
Nikki graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance and Marketing and attended the Graduate School of Retail Banking at the University of Virginia. Nikki lives in San Diego with her husband and her two children (15 and 17 years old), and spends her free time cheering them on at their sporting events.
Tim Hsia is a distinguished honor graduate of West Point and was commissioned as an infantry officer in the US Army. Tim deployed twice to Iraq: he served as an infantry platoon leader in combat with 1-24 Infantry, 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division in Mosul, Iraq.
As an executive officer with the 3rd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment (3/2 SCR) he helped the unit move from Ft. Lewis, WA to Vilseck, Germany. He then served as a logistics officer for 3/2 SCR during its fourteen-month deployment in support of the surge in Iraq and earned a Bronze Star.
Tim transitioned from active duty in 2010 and graduated from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and Stanford Law School in 2014. While at Stanford he taught ROTC to cadets at Stanford and Santa Clara University. Tim is the CEO & Founder of Media Mobilize (an online ad network, marketing agency, and media company).
Tim is the founder and Managing Partner of Context Ventures, a venture fund that invests in military veteran founders and also in consumer startups. Tim’s startup investments include Workflow (acquired by Apple), Morning Brew (acquired by Business Insider), The Hustle (acquired by HubSpot), Thredup (IPO), Proterra (SPAC), Bright Cellars, FabFitFun, Verb Energy, Lime (scooter), and Secureframe. Tim is a board member at Service to School (co-founder) and the Marine’s Memorial Association (Marine Memorial Club and Hotel in San Francisco). He is also a Pat Tillman Foundation Scholar.
Tim is a published writer in the Infantry Magazine, Small Wars Journal, The Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times (two op-eds and first military writer for the NYT At War blog). Tim and his family live and work in San Francisco. He enjoys running, reading, and spending time with his family.
Lewis Runnion co-founded Eleven 09, LLC to deliver innovative solutions to American businesses, government agencies, and philanthropies helping them develop transformative programs impacting active military, their families, and the Nation’s veterans. As co-founder and Managing Partner, he advises senior executives and organizations on building integrated programs and helps them in navigating complex environments to best apply the resources available to gain measurable outcomes.
Lewis has a nearly 20-year history in the financial services industry both in private banking and, most recently, public policy. Lewis’ experience includes engagements with national organizations, both for-profit and non-profit, as well as local, state, and federal governmental entities.
As Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Director of Military Affairs at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, he oversaw initiatives that assisted military veterans and their families with needs related to financial services, education, employment, and housing.
During his career, Lewis has helped to construct workforce development programs that have proven track records of success by adding more than 8,000 veterans to the workforce. He has been the lead architect in the allocation and management of tens of millions of dollars of philanthropic partnerships taking close care to align outcome-based programs with strong, integrated marketing and communication strategies for the organizations and communities that he serves.
Lewis and his team were innovators by initiating government/private partnerships, such as the first-ever Social Impact Bond (SIB) focused on veteran employment programs. Discovering a need for veteran entrepreneurs to access low-cost capital, Lewis helped to build national programs to make tens of millions of capital available through Community Development Funds. Lewis has built some of the most recognized post-9/11 veteran programs in America.
Lewis serves on the board of directors for both America Warrior Partnership and The Infinite Hero Foundation and he was a co-founder of Veterans on Wall Street. His previous board roles included Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, Connecticut Cycling Advancement Program, YMCA Fort Worth, and The R4 Alliance, among others.
Prior to beginning his financial services career, Lewis served as both an enlisted soldier and commissioned officer in the United States Army, attaining his commission from the Reserve Officer Training Corps. Following his discharge from active Army, Lewis spent an additional five years in the United States Army Reserve.
Charlynda Scales is a TEDx speaker, brand ambassador, Air Force Veteran, social media influencer, and the founder and CEO of Mutt’s Sauce, LLC, a company that makes “the sauce for every meal.” Mutt’s Sauce was the Grand Prize Winner of Bob Evan’s Farms’ 2017 Heroes to CEOs Contest.
She is a Clemson University graduate, with a degree in Aerospace Science and Business Management. She also holds an MBA in Strategic Leadership. She started the company Mutt’s Sauce, LLC while she was still serving on active duty in the military.
Charlynda has been featured in Forbes.com, MadameNoire.com, CBS News, Black Enterprise Magazine, Military.com, Army.mil, and Air Force Association Magazine. In 2016, she was crowned 2nd runner up, Ms. Veteran America. Charlynda was also selected for the March 2018 cover of Military Spouse magazine.
Work With Us
Experience Manager, CEOcircle Program
Military Family Member
Project Manager, Growth Programs
Program Director, Growth Programs
Jihan Tchamba Diallo
Director of Foundations and Grants
Military Family Member
Director of Partner Engagement
CEOcircle Resource Manager
Director of Corporate Giving
Military Family Member
Resource Manager, Growth Programs
Program Director, CEOcircle
Human Resources Manager
Marketing Project Manager
Director, Nonprofit Strategy and Operations
Director of Marketing
Military Family Member