Launch NY — which calls itself upstate New York’s first and only venture-development organization to provide pro-bono mentoring and the most active seed fund in the state — announced it has added Melodie Baker and Tom Lynch as new members of its board of directors.
- Baker is the national policy director for Just Equations. She is nationally recognized for her role as an education leader and advocate, Launch NY said. Baker has chaired many national, state, and local coalitions, including Raising New York, the National Coalition for Community Schools, and the Erie/Niagara Birth to 8 Coalition. Baker also directs the research and evaluation effort for the Rockefeller Institute of Government’s “First 1000 Days on Medicaid” initiative, headed by the New York State Department of Health, and she was tapped to serve on New York State’s Reimagining Education Advisory Council to devise strategies for re-opening schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Lynch is the principal and founder of Swift Cedar LLC, a business consulting firm focused on change management. Before starting Swift Cedar, Lynch served as president and CEO of Goodwill of Western New York for the past nine years and oversaw the development of new programs focused on assisting clients with disadvantages to train for, find, and keep good jobs. Before Goodwill, he held executive leadership roles with Bureau Veritas Consumer Products Services, where he led the division’s business development and testing operations in the Americas, and Corning’s global life sciences division, where he orchestrated the company’s aggressive move into the biotech industry. Lynch also serves on the board for the Veterans One-stop Center of WNY as a founding member, and on the Insyte Consulting board.
Launch NY is headquartered in Buffalo and has co-locations with partner organizations in Binghamton, Ithaca, Rochester, and Syracuse. In addition to its mentoring services and seed fund, Launch NY also offers the #InvestLocal Financing Platform to high-growth startups across the 27 westernmost counties of the state.
Photo credit: Launch NY