- About Us
As the closing event to Business Track Day of Baltimore Innovation Week '19, Startup Grind Baltimore will feature a panel of former athletes who have gone on to start their own businesses. Learn what made them decide to go the entrepreneur route, rather then just "getting a job". Discover how athletics prepared them for the rigors of owning their own business as well as the difficulties they faced as they made the transition. Whether you are an athlete or not, be inspired that even if and when life changes, you can still follow your dream.
We are also offering FREE headshots, courtesy of Smile Solutions of Baltimore.
When you speak with Laura and hear the passion and enthusiasm she has for Baltimore and all of its neighborhoods, it may surprise you to learn that she didn’t grow up there. Laura was born and raised in Houston, TX and later attended The University of Virginia on a soccer scholarship. When her athletic career came to an end, Laura had to figure out what to do next. After graduation and shortly after September 11th, Laura made her way to Baltimore, almost on a whim. She had intended to move back to Texas or make her way up to New York but given that the job market was tight at the time, Laura ended up taking a job in charm city as a financial planner. Later, she worked for a time in recruiting and real estate. Throughout her journey, Laura learned how to network, manage clients, market and plan events. This led to her becoming an entrepreneur, launching Moxie Promotion and planning events such as the Waterfront Tech Series.
Qadry "The Missile" Ismail is a former NFL wide receiver for the Baltimore Ravens (with which he won Super Bowl XXXV). He played college football at Syracuse.
He also played for the Vikings, Dolphins, Saints and Indianapolis .
Qadry currently owns Missile Training, where he is a sports performance coach, helping individuals improve on their fitness and speed.
Mike LaRoque is a former York College Lacrosse player who co-founded SpotWash with his long time friend, Freddie Ephraim. With SpotWash, by simply downloading an app, you can schedule a car wash while you’re sleeping or while you’re at work. “We designed it where you basically have to do nothing,” Ephraim says. “That’s the whole goal.”
Steve Bumbry is the co-founder of Bee Well Living, a
wellness brand that aims to guide consumers toward
optimal health through customized solutions. After
suffering from numerous injuries in his pursuit of a
professional baseball career, Bumbry created Bee Well
Living to provide optimal health resources for people to
overcome pain, stress, anxiety, depression and disease.
Son of Baltimore Orioles Hall of Famer Al Bumbry, Steve
spent 25 years dedicated to chasing his childhood dream –
to become a Major League Baseball player just like his
father. He was well on his way to attaining that dream when
he followed in his father’s footsteps to sign a contract with the Baltimore Orioles organization.
Unfortunately, Bumbry’s baseball career came to an unexpected end in 2014 after suffering
from several severe injuries leading up to his fourth sports-related concussion which forced him
to manage post-concussion symptoms for more than two years.
Bumbry spent 24 months post-baseball career exploring dozens of healing therapies, both
traditional and alternative. In 2016, Bumbry took his first yoga teacher training and massage
training after noticing a dramatic improvement in his physical and mental health while using
these therapies to recover from his baseball injuries. During his healing journey, Bumbry added
CBD to his wellness routine which dramatically improved his constant headaches as well as
improving his low self-confidence and his lack of motivation.
Bumbry strongly advocates a complete mind, body, and spirit approach to wellness and teaches
simple lifestyle practices that serve as a reminder to live balanced lives. A certified yoga teacher
and licensed massage therapist, Bumbry offers private and corporate yoga, massage therapy
and mindset techniques which guide clients toward living healthy lives.
A Maryland-native, Bumbry graduated from Dulaney High School in Timonium, before taking his
baseball talents to Virginia Tech where he studied Business Management and Entrepreneurship.
In 2012, Bumbry was drafted in the 12th round by the Baltimore Orioles. He recently married his
wife Janice, a yoga professional who leads Bee Well Living’s sister company, Bee Balanced
With over 25 years of experience in various executive and leadership roles, Deb Tillett currently serves as the President and Executive Director of the ETC (Emerging Technology Centers) in Baltimore. The ETC is Baltimore City’s business incubator program, a venture of the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC). The ETC, which focuses on growing early stage technology companies in Baltimore City, consist of two separate incubator facilities: the Emerging Technology Center at Haven St. and the Emerging Technology Center at Johns Hopkins Eastern. Ms. Tillett is responsible for management and oversight of these two technology and innovation centers. In that role she provides the guidance, leadership and resources necessary for entrepreneurs to start, grow and succeed within their ventures. Prior to joining ETC, Ms. Tillett served as president and co-founder of Immersive 3D, LLC, a technology start-up providing web-based 3D computer gaming solutions for K-20 education and offering contract-based technology services. Ms. Tillett is an avid speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, and serves as an Advisor and Board member to various early-stage startups. Ms. Tillett received a B.S. degree from Towson University and a M.B.A. from Loyola Sellinger School. She is the Emeritus Chair, Board of Advisors for College of Business and Economics at Towson University; and a board member for the Julie Center (a non-profit community organization run by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur). Ms. Tillett was named the 2004 Innovator of the Year by The Daily Record; received the 2005 Bravo Award, Smart Woman Magazine; and was a 2006 Dean’s Recognition Award Distinguished Alumni, Towson University. She was named one of the 100 Most Influential Women in Gaming in 2006.
Armed with a passion for running and more than 15 years of experience marketing big-name brands, Thomas founded Big Run Media to bridge the gap between active brands and their fans. Thomas is the creative director and master stylist for every Big Run project, conceptualizing the look, feel, and voice that guides your marketing campaigns. He’s hyper-aware of the dynamic nature of social media, staying on top of trends and changes in the digital media landscape (so you don’t have to). His expertise as a runner is evident in his running gear website, Believe in the Run, created in 2009 and now one of the top running review sites in the world. Thomas’ marketing savvy has driven successful campaigns for notable brands such as GORE-TEX®, New Balance, United States Tennis Association, Cal Ripken Jr., WINDSTOPPER, The Athlete’s Foot, Nickelodeon, Unicef, Sony Music, Sony Pictures, Viacom, Ragnar, and many more. In addition to his unquestionable marketing smarts, Thomas’s resume includes the “ability to run really far over varied terrain, both literally and figuratively.