We are a non-profit collaborative managed by a volunteer board and a dedicated Executive Director. StamfordNext is supported in part by CTNext.

Wesley Bemus
Marie Rocha
Amanda Colas
Jack Mahoney
Mic Locker
Sakshi Kamath
Nicole Ward
Yvette Vargas
Martina Spinatsch
Thomas Madden
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Wesley Bemus - Executive Director -

Wesley is responsible for overall management of the organization as well as overseeing the progress of StamfordNext funded projects and initiatives. Mr. Bemus comes to StamfordNext with diverse experience in organization development and project management as well as economic policy research and development. A Connecticut native, Wesley holds a Masters in Public Policy from Brown University as well as a Bachelors of Arts in Economics and a Bachelors of Arts in International Relations from Roger Williams University.

Jack Mahoney - Co-Chairman

Jack is the Chief of Staff to the COO at Indeed. Prior to joining Indeed in 2018, Jack served as Director of Product Strategy at Avant, a Series E start-up based in Chicago. Jack started his career at Morgan Stanley where he held various roles in Global Capital Markets and Investment Banking. Jack holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a BA in Finance and International Business from Georgetown University.

Nicole Ward - Co-Chairman

Nicole helps people build narratives and communicate what they really want to say through short and longform writing, and use of visuals. She has expertise in corporate writing, video storytelling, and social amplification. She has a background in journalism, and currently works at Synchrony Financial. Nicole has seen the evolution Stamford has made over the past decade and values the opportunity to be part of the next wave of change. @NWardSays


Sakshi Kamath

Sakshi is an Executive Digital data and analytics leader in the Treasury group at  General Electric (GE) company.  She is a Stamford resident and is passionate about innovation, promoting women & diversity through the GE Women’s network, sponsoring the GE Asian Pacific American Forum (APAF) and supports spreading Indian culture as a board member for the Indian Cultural Center (ICC). 


Mic Locker

Mic is a Deloitte Consulting Principal and is the National Sector Leader for the Telecommunications, Media & Entertainment (TME) practice for U.S. Consulting. Mic specializes in leading organizations through transformational changes ranging from business model design, operating model redesign and capability alignment, process reinvention, operational cost reduction, and new business/product launches. Prior to becoming the TME Sector Leader, Mic led Deloitte’s Cognitive Advantage practice – helping clients transform work, decision-making and interactions by leveraging emerging cognitive technologies.


Martina Spinatsch

Martina is Vice President of Beauty R&D for Henkel Consumer Goods. Martina brings 30 years of experience leading research and development of branded consumer goods for beauty, laundry care, household cleaning, and air fresheners for Henkel and Procter & Gamble.


Yvette Vargas

Yvette is Executive Vice-President, Head of Development for Citizens Financial Group. She plays a critical role in developing colleagues and ultimately driving business performance. She architects an integrated strategy to build culture, leveraging talent management, leadership & organizational development, diversity & inclusion, education and training. Yvette has more than 25 years of experience in key leadership positions with a variety of firms including UBS Wealth Management, Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase.

Marie Rocha

Marie Rocha is the co-founder of Realist Ventures. A CT based Venture Fund investing in tech, software, and biotech startups. While not a social fund, Realist primarily invests in startups with a diverse team that are solving problems that can benefit all. Previous to Realist Ventures Marie ran a software company that built platforms for small businesses and nonprofits. She is involved with several local nonprofits including, Technology Chair on the boards of Kids Helping Kids and Greenwich Academy. In her spare time, she advises women on building and scaling their businesses.

Amanda Estiverne-Colas

Amanda is the VP, Sr. Client Development Leader for PayPal Co-Brand products at Synchrony. This portfolio includes PayPal Everyday Mastercard, Extras, and Private Label card Smart connect. Prior to joining the PayPal team, Amanda worked in Synchrony Payment Networks Team, on which she developed and executed Synchrony’s payment growth strategy, identified opportunities and issues for strategic clients, and managed Synchrony’s payment network relationships. In addition, Amanda is also currently the strategic leader for a Career leadership program in one of Synchrony’s diversity networks. Amanda has spearheaded many local and national events including Stamford diversity speed networking event, Stamford Tableau day, navigating corporate landscape and leading innovation program. Prior to joining Synchrony, Amanda worked for Nestle’ Waters for five years developing skills in business solution roles in functions within accounting, IT and finance.

Thomas Madden - Treasurer

Thomas is the Director of Economic Development for the City of Stamford and serves in the Cabinet of Mayor David Martin. He brings a depth of experience in municipal government as well as economic planning, development, and recruitment. He is a consensus-builder and represents the City with many boards and organizations.

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