Meet the Team
We’re a crew of entrepreneurs, business owners,
and passionate community builders
Chief Executive Officer
Chief Marketing 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.
Charlotte Coker Gibson
President, Marine Corps
Lenore Karafa is currently an operating 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, 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’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, 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).
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.
Lieutenant General Vincent Stewart
John Morris was previously a Senior Banker in the Nashville office of J.P. Morgan Private Bank. In this role, he was responsible for advising high-net-worth clients in Tennessee on investment management, estate planning, tax, and trust. For over 22 years, John has been involved in professional investment management and private wealth management. Prior to joining J.P.Morgan, he was a Partner of GenSpring Family Offices, where he advised clients on family office activities. He also served as Executive Vice President of SunTrust Banks and Market Executive of Bank of America. John began his career in New York with Bankers Trust/Deutsche Bank and rose to Managing Director responsible for Prime Brokerage. A native of Rochester, New York, John received his B.S. from Syracuse University and M.B.A. from Columbia Business School in New York.
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.
Raj Shah is the chairman of Arceo.ai, a cyber-security start-up. Raj is also a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Most recently he was the managing partner of the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx), reporting to the Secretary of Defense. Raj led DIUx in its efforts to strengthen U.S. armed forces through contractual and cultural bridges between Silicon Valley and the Pentagon. Previously, Raj was senior director of strategy at Palo Alto Networks, which acquired Morta Security, where he was chief executive officer and co-founder. He began his business career as a consultant with McKinsey & Company. Raj serves as an F-16 pilot in the US Air Force and has completed multiple combat deployments. He holds an AB from Princeton University and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Lieutenant General Vincent Stewart
Lieutenant General Vincent Stewart retired from the U.S. Marine Corps after more than 38 years of active commissioned service to the nation. On his final tour of duty, he served as the Deputy Commander United States Cyber Command, one of the 11 Combatant Commands of the Department of Defense with military and civilian personnel stationed worldwide. Prior to that assignment, he served as the 20th Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), culminating an intelligence career by overseeing the global defense intelligence enterprise supporting customers from the President of the United States, to the troops deployed around the world. In His other General Officer assignments, he served as the Commander, Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command and as the Director of Intelligence, for the U.S. Marine Corps.
A career intelligence officer, with over thirty years’ experience in national defense, cybersecurity, information technology development and customer support, he served around the globe in leadership positions for both the Marine Corps and the National Security Agency, specializing in Signals Intelligence and Cyber Operations.
Lt. Gen Stewart earned a Baccalaureate Degree from Western Illinois University and Masters’ degrees in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College, Newport, R.I. and in National Resource Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University, Washington, D.C. Additionally, he has completed executive development programs at Harvard University.
Among his awards and decorations are the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal; the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star and the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal.
Stacey Nash leads the Enterprise Financial Crimes Management team within the Enterprise Security Group for USAA. In this role she has accountability for the prevention, detection, investigation and recovery of member fraud for USAA. Member security and enterprise authentication strategy is also a key accountability of this function.
Prior to joining USAA Stacey was a leader in the Risk organization for Santander in Boston MA. During that time, she established and led the Fraud Risk, Payment System Risk and Sales Practice Risk programs for the bank.
Stacey began her career at TD Bank in Toronto Canada before relocating to Cherry Hill NJ. During her 19 years at TD she held roles in Contact Center Operations, Product Management, Branch Management, Collections and Recovery, Auto Finance and Fraud.
Stacey is committed to causes that affect women and children through organizations that provide support for victims of abuse and seek to provide financial education to young adults.
In her personal time Stacey enjoys weight training, spinning, running and cooking.
Training and Development Director
Director of Partner Engagement
Experience Manager, CEOcircle Program
Military Family Member
Director, Ecosystem Development
Jihan Tchamba Diallo
Director of Foundations and Grants
Executive Assistant to the COO
Director of Corporate Giving
Military Family Member
Valerie Ellis Lavin
Director, Ambassador Program
Ambassador Resource Manager
Program Director, CEOcircle
Human Resources Manager
Marketing Project Manager
Entrepreneur Experience Manager
Ambassador Resource Manager
Director, Nonprofit Strategy and Operations
Content Marketing Manager
Military Family Member
National Resource Manager
Corporate Giving Manager
Military Family Member