Introducing the 2018 Camelback Coaches


"Everyone needs a coach. It doesn't matter whether you're a basketball player, a tennis player, a gymnast, or a bridge player."
- Bill Gates

During the development of the Camelback Fellowship, we knew from the beginning that it was critical to have one of the core components be coaching. That program has developed over the years; some may remember that we've previously called them Entrepreneurial Engineers.* Our approach to coaching has evolved in many ways, informed by research, coaches’ feedback, and Fellows’ feedback. A great Startup Coach empowers a Fellow to grow not only their venture with strategic recommendations and networking support, but as a leader as well with support on everything from building their confidence to refining a pitch to honing their managerial skills.

*Read more on the coaching experience, both from the Fellow and coach experience, in this blog post from last year

OUR APPROACH - Each Fellow is assigned a dedicated coach during their time in the Fellowship Program for regular 1:1 strategy, accountability, and support sessions. We pair Fellows and coaches based on Fellows’ needs and the coach’s complementary expertise, and offer opportunities for Fellows to tap into our Expert Bench (a new initiative this year which includes Startup Coaches and an invitation-only group of consultants with specialized skill sets) throughout the Fellowship to make their experience even more robust.

OUR COACHES - We are thrilled to share the 5 Startup Coaches joining us this year. Please join us in welcoming them to the Camelback family. 

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Lisa Atia is a growth strategist by trade and storyteller at heart. She's had over 10 years' experience growing start-ups and Fortune 500 companies. She recently served as the Creative Brand Strategist for Blavity. The intersection of her work as management consultant, non-profit exec, and brand strategist have all come together for the purpose of creating access to opportunities for black and brown founders. Lisa holds a graduate degree from Pepperdine University in Entrepreneurship and Strategy.

Bob Lesser is a coach specializing in helping start-up founders scale their companies. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Bob previously co-founded an innovative school in New York City focused on social-emotional learning. He holds degrees from Vassar and Harvard Kennedy School, and is a trained psychologist. 


Leonard Medlock is CEO and Founder of Playback Worldwide which fuses life skills with elite skills training to develop better student-athletes. Leonard spends his time exploring the intersection of culture and social justice, and building education technology products that reach traditionally underserved young people. He resides in San Francisco.


Morgan Carter Ripski is an independent consultant working with charter schools, management organizations, and entrepreneurs to plan and implement scaling strategies, build fundraising plans and teams in support of growth, and manage projects. Previously, Morgan served as the President for Collegiate Academies, where she helped the growing charter management organization triple in size. Morgan has also served as the Executive Director of the Foundation for Science and Math Education (the former fundraising entity for Collegiate Academies) and the Communications and Development Director for New Schools for New Orleans. Morgan holds degrees from Stanford University and Bates College. She lives with her husband and two sons in New Orleans.


Tony Zanders is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Camelback. He brings over a decade of experience working in sales and marketing for B2B SaaS companies in Silicon Valley and Boston. Tony is an award-winning software entrepreneur in the education space, recognized by Facebook and the Gates Foundation as winner of the 2014 College Knowledge Challenge. A proud New Orleans native, he currently resides in Baton Rouge with his wife and kids.