The staff of Winston Starts is here to guide each founder along their personal entrepreneurial path and to assemble a mentor team that will help you reach the summit. When you join Winston Starts, you are no longer alone on your climb to the top. Welcome to the trail.



Peak Performance Team


We believe in the impact one individual's dream has on the world. More importantly, we work to help make those dreams a reality. Every day, our team cultivates a culture of unwavering support. We are here to point the way forward so the talent, resilience and dynamic achievements of our companies can thrive. 




Steve Lineberger

The Winston Starter

Holding a BA and MBA degree from Wake Forest University, Steve Lineberger is President and a member of the Board of Directors for Winston Starts. Now serving as the CFO of Sneez, he has spent the past thirty five years at the helm of public, private, startup, and non-profit enterprises. He was CEO of Sara Lee (now HanesBrands) Casualwear and Footwear, President of US Stores for Krispy Kreme, and President for ABT Power Management. The leadership challenges of building competent organizations and leveraging marketplace advantages for companies, both thinly and highly resourced, are customary turns for him on the road from startup to scale up.


Betsy Brown

Super Colossal Boss Lady

The Director of Winston Starts, Betsy Brown, obtained a BA degree from Miami University in Ohio and an MBA from Wake Forest University. She has worked in strategic marketing and sales management for General Mills, managed an acquisition for Sara Lee Apparel, and oversaw the design and build out of two Ace Hardware stores. Having experience in retail, merchandising, management, and operations, Betsy is a skilled independent business owner and marketing professional. Her passion for helping others, through the provision of various strategic techniques and skills, makes her input a vital resource on the road to success.


Filip Kricka

Go To Guru

Maintaining the financial records and managing day-to-day operations, Filip Kricka serves as the Finance and Operations Administrator. He holds a BS degree in Health Science from Stetson University and MBA degree from Drexel University. Filip’s work includes developing and operating an online mentoring platform, working with Venture Café, and serving as an advisor for Software Goldsmith Inc. Whether observing his experience in solopreneurship or current work guiding ventures to their goals, Filip’s passion for entrepreneurship and dedication to the scale up process is always evident.

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Daniel R. Taylor Jr.

Lord of the Law

Continuously making Business North Carolina’s “Legal Elite” list and receiving the “Lawyer of the Year” title for the Greensboro region in 2012, ‘16, and ‘18, Daniel R. Taylor Jr. serves as the Counsel in Residence at Winston Starts. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy, Vietnam veteran, and graduated cum laude from Wake Forest University’s School of Law. His trial, appellate, and arbitration experiences cover a range of business litigation matters and have created a copious skill set for strengthening the foundation of startups.


Taryn Jerez

Ambassador of Buzz

Serving as the Marketing and Communications Manager, Taryn Jerez is expanding the digital footprint of Winston Starts by increasing the visibility of its outstanding programs and cohorts’ accomplishments. She holds her BFA degree in Fashion Design and Marketing from the International Academy of Design & Technology in Tampa, FL. Taryn's work with Fortune 500 companies, such as HanesBrands, VF, and her own coaching business, One Crafty Miss, has provided her with confidence in and beyond branding, marketing, and product development. With a passion for creating unparalleled messaging and visuals, Taryn’s contribution to the team helps entrepreneurs by making their impact shine.


Diane Toohey

Designated Grown-Up

Diane Toohey is an integral member of the administration team in her role of Event and Facilities Manager. She comes to us after her most challenging and rewarding role of her career, being a stay-at-home and homeschool mom of 23 years! Diane also comes from a customer service and sales background with the Nabisco Corporation as part of the Distribution team handling national accounts such as Walmart, HEB, and Publix. Diane's interpersonal strengths mixed with her passion for culinary and events, make her an ideal fit for the team!

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Hal Eason

Brilliant Basecamp Boss

Hal Eason is a serial entrepreneur and investor whose ventures have included biotech startups, software companies, and a rental real estate business. He has a passion for coaching and developing entrepreneurs and emerging leaders. He holds an M.B.A. with High Distinction from Harvard Business School, a Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a B.A. from Vanderbilt University. Hal currently serves on the executive teams of Foenestra Corporation, a technology spin-out company from Wake Forest University, and Vertigo Media Inc., a Charlotte-based mobile app company.


Board Of



Don Flow

Chairman & CEO, Flow Companies, Inc.

Don grew up in Winston-Salem, NC, and in 1977 graduated from the University of Virginia where he received a BS in Commerce. In 1978, Don attended Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia and earned a Diploma in Christian Studies. In 1983, he received his MBA from Wake Forest University. Under Don’s leadership, Flow Companies, Inc. now operates over 40 automobile franchises in North Carolina and Virginia. Don is currently Chairman of the Board of Directors of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, and is former Chair of the Board of Trustees of Wake Forest University as well as former Chair of the Business School of Wake Forest University. He is also a member of the Board of the Institute of Advanced Studies in Culture and the McIntire School of Business at the University of Virginia. He serves as the Chair of the Winston-Salem Alliance and is on the Board of the Piedmont Triad Partnership. He is past Chair of Winston-Salem Business, Inc., and was a previous member of the Board of Trustees of the UNC School of the Arts. He currently serves as a member of the North Carolina Governor’s Economic Council and the Governor’s Commission on Public Schools.


Todd Johnson

Vice President, Wake Forest University

Founder & Managing Partner, KeraNetics

Todd is a Vice President with Wake Forest University focused on the start-up of new entrepreneurial initiatives for the University. He most recently was the founder and served as the managing partner of KeraNetics, an early stage life sciences company that spun out of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine. He has spent the past 25 years in the healthcare field in various roles with early stage companies, including having founded and served as CEO of HealthTech Corp., a cardiovascular services company that merged with MedCath and went public in 1995, and was acquired by Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts in 1998. Todd serves on the Board of Directors of KeraNetics, N2 Medical Solutions (medication adherence company), ClubUp (golf technology company) and Sneez (healthcare data analytics company).


Steve Lineberger

President, Winston Starts


Natalie Jensen-Noll

Natalie Jensen-Noll is a retired business owner, a current mentor and board member for Winston Starts, and a board member of the Crosby Scholars. Prior to her company’s sale in 2016, she was an owner and COO of SSRN.com, the largest open access repository of scholarly research in the social sciences and humanities. She was formerly a Principal with Mercer Management Consulting where she advised Fortune 500 companies in a variety of industries. Natalie holds a BA in economics from Swarthmore College and an MBA from Harvard University.


John C. Whitaker

Founder, Inmar Enterprises, Inc.

John Whitaker holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina, MBA from Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, and served three years in the United States Navy as an officer in the Supply Corps. He is the founder of Inmar Enterprises, Inc., a company with over 4,000 employees providing promotional management and return goods processing to over 1,000 customers. John is actively involved in several civic and business activities within Winston-Salem including Chief Executive Officer of INV who provides venture capital and management expertise to start-ups and early stage operations. He currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Winston-Salem Alliance as well as the Board of Visitors for Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. Previous activities also include serving on the Board of Directors of Wachovia Corporation; Board of Trustees of Wake Forest University; Board of Directors of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center; Board of Visitors of Babcock Graduate School of Management, Wake Forest University; and Board of Directors of Amos Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital. John donated time and energy to fund raising for various organizations: Chairman of the $200 Million capital campaign for the Medical Center; the National Development Council, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; the UNC Alumni Association; the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce; Division Chairman for the Heritage and Promise Campaign of Wake Forest University; Campaign Steering Committee of The Children’s Center for the Physically Handicapped.


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