On Dec. 31, Bounce Innovation Hub’s first chief executive officer, Doug Weintraub, will retire after serving the organization for five years. Current chief operating officer Jessica Sublett will succeed him.
As CEO, Weintraub has been passionate about helping entrepreneurs succeed. He also knows what it’s like to be in their shoes, having started several companies of his own.
Weintraub said he has been preparing for this transition and knows that as he steps away from the CEO position, there is a great team in place to continue to support entrepreneurial growth.
“Leaders need to know when it is time to transition to new leadership. I didn’t want a hiccup,” he said. “The prospects are great going forward and that’s a result of the hard work from everyone who has been involved in building something special.”
What first brought you to Bounce Innovation Hub?
I first came to Bounce to consult on behalf of JumpStart. Being from Akron, I knew the resources that are available in this community, as well as what was missing. When I met with Jessica (Jessica Sublett, Bounce’s COO), she told me about the open position for a CEO. Along with my passion for real estate, I liked the idea of helping the city and re-engaging at the grassroots level, so the position just made sense for me.
Looking back on your time as Bounce’s first CEO, what have been your biggest contributions?
I was able to move pretty quickly to get the build-out of our space completed, while the team developed the programs to support entrepreneurs. Although I took the brunt of a lot of naysayers, we kept our eye on the prize and I’m pretty proud about what we’ve been able to accomplish.
It’s been very refreshing to see so many people who are passionate about Akron – from politicians to the business community to non-profit leaders – who recognized the value in what we are doing. I’m not sure that this could have been accomplished in another city. We needed everyone to pull this together.
What accomplishments make you most proud?
I am most proud that we’ve established a place in Akron to be a resource for entrepreneurs and that we found great people to carry on the work. I’ve made incredible friendships and relationships with business associates that will survive beyond me being at Bounce.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Bounce is essentially a startup, which is why we’ve been able to move fast in establishing our programs and creating the next level of working with entrepreneurs. However, there have still been challenges in figuring out how to maneuver through the red tape and work with people. This is the first job where I felt old. I learned a lot from the younger generation of entrepreneurs and the challenges they face, and they saw value in the guidance I was able to offer.
What is the best piece of advice you were ever given in your career?
One never gets wealthy on a salary, as you expand your lifestyle to spend that salary. Make no mistake – it’s all about building equity for real wealth. Another piece of advice is to stop and smell the roses. I didn’t have the time to spend with my kids. Now I am able to slow down and spend time with my grandkids.
What advice do you have for incoming CEO Jessica Sublett?
Jessica is much more analytical than I am and while we have different styles, my advice is to trust your gut. Although we share the same vision, I know she will continue to build on that with her own vision for the future.
What advice do you have for the team?
I believe the team can make a real difference. By looking outside of themselves, they will continue to grow. We have something very unique that we’ve built from scratch. No one person is responsible for Bounce’s success. It takes an army of people to move Bounce and our entrepreneurs forward.
What will you miss the most?
I like talking to the entrepreneurs and facilitating introductions, but I hope I can still do that while I’m on the board of directors. It’s been an adventure and it has been good for me to bring it back to the entrepreneur level.
What’s next for you?
Although I’m retiring from Bounce, I am not retiring completely. I have a portfolio of entrepreneurial companies and a number of real estate projects, so I’ll continue to do that work. I’ll also continue to stay involved with Bounce as a board member. I’m looking forward to not having a set schedule and more personal time to enjoy the hard work.
Our team wants to thank Doug for his contributions during his time at Bounce Innovation Hub. We look forward to having Doug on our board and wish him the very best on his next adventure.