Board of Directors

3DS board members volunteer their time, energy, and resources to provide critical support and governance to the organization.  Our board is comprised of talented volunteers committed to helping the organization achieve its mission.

Board Chair

Jim Pacey


Tolu Akindunni

Tolu Akindunni is an energetic problem solver who has spent the last 17 years developing and delivering innovation stategies for organizations with B2C and B2B models. Having lived and worked globally (USA, UK, Middle East, and Africa), Tolu enjoys connecting with communities and uses her diverse background to create richer, more inclusive and insightful ecosystems for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Founder & Director

Joel Hestness


Brooke Turner

Vice Chair

Courtney Zaugg

Courtney is the Founder and President of Plaka + Associates, a woman-owned, innovation and impact consulting firm based in Indianapolis, Indiana. Courtney has over 14 years of experience and leads the firm’s work in impact analysis, real estate development, and ecosystem development. She specializes in connecting leaders in government, economic development, and entrepreneurship at the intersection of innovation, industry, and talent. She is a certified by the International Economic Develpment Council as an Entrepreneurship Development Professional.

Rafa Barroso

Rafa Barroso is an NYC-based Partner Engineer at Apple. He has also been a Solutions Architect at Google and a member of the Google for Startups team where he ran mentorship programs focused on unrepresented founders and advised startups on technology, strategy and cloud related topics starting 2017. He also contributed to Google's internal incubator - Area 120 and is the technical founder and former CIO of Parlevel, a Texas Techstars-backed company that develops unattended retail technology since 2013.

His experience includes application development, R&D, cloud architecture, product management, team / culture building, GTM, fundraising and partnerships/integrations within startups and enterprises in the Retail, Payments/FinTech, Media and Geo/GIS spaces. In the last 10 years, Rafa has been a strategic advisor for several early stage startups while also mentoring 60+ founders and supporting multiple accelerators including Y Combinator, Acceleprise (forum) and Techstars. He's also a part of 3 Day Startup Board of Directors, an angel investor, a DEI Champion and an instructor for Code Next where he has been coaching black and latino students in NYC since 2020.


Lesley Robinson

Lesley Robinson empowers women to find the best path to their own destination. Robinson’s higher education experiences, nonprofit management, and corporate partnerships have supported early-stage entrepreneurs to be innovative and impact-focused. She has worked with the Chanel Foundation’s “PowHER in Tech” project and INCO’s Global Academy training program to support recruiting, retaining, and providing equitable access for women in the tech sector. Lesley is an active member of BEAM and Young Women’s Alliance and the proud mother of a dinosaur-loving 4-year-old girl.

Currently, Lesley is the inaugural Director for the newly launched Kendra Scott Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute (KS WELI) at The University of Texas at Austin. As the Director of KS WELI, Lesley supports curricular and co-curricular efforts to equip, build community, and empower women and creatives often underrepresented in entrepreneurship. In this position, Lesley actively works to confront the gaps and obstacles women face by creating a community focused on diversity, inclusivity, and empowerment. The goal of the KS WELI is to redefine leadership and entrepreneurship. She currently teaches the FA310 Entrepreneurial LeadHERship course focused on guiding student leaders on a journey to discover their values, strengths, and authentic leadership style through a gender-informed perspective. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership from Colorado State University. Her dissertation is focused on gender-aware approaches to teaching entrepreneurship education.


Dr. Rohan Thompson


Shayna Dunitz

Shayna was born and raised in New York and moved to Texas after college to escape the winter weather. She’s a problem solver by nature and the title of her memoir will be, “There’s Gotta Be a Better Way To Do This.” She’s spent the last 10 years of her career working in the startup space and helping organizations scale to the next level. When she isn’t working, Shayna can be found running around Town Lake or curled up on the couch reading a book with her cat and dog. Giving back to the community is an important part of her life. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors for 3 Day Startup she is also on the Austin Steering Committee for Annie’s List. Shayna is also the Austin Team Leader for the Texas Oiselle Volée.

Sheffie Robinson

Sheffie Robinson is a serial entrepreneur, software engineer, and sociologist that specializes in solving racial and gender equity with technology. She is currently the CEO of Shamrck, an artificial intelligence platform designed to bring data mining and predictive analytics to career and technical education programs to increase the effectiveness of workforce development. She has over 20 years of experience in technology development and over 15 years of experience in retail sales and marketing.

She has spent significant time in her career working to impact gender and racial equity to enhance diversity and inclusion. She is a second time founder, her first company being a fintech product that brought banking services to virtual currencies. Sheffie is a graduate of Thomas Edison State University with a degree in Sociology and is currently pursuing her MBA at Georgia Southern University. Sheffie has been named the Top 10 under 40 and a Top CEO by the Mississippi Business Journal and the Cloud Solution of the Year by Women In Cloud.


Ben Pfeffer

Ben is a technology driven marketer and development executive based in Austin, Texas. He currently is the Director of Development at Notley, an organization focused on providing knowledge, collaboration, and capital to the social-impact community.

Prior to Notley, Ben worked for management consultancy, West Monroe Partners out of their Dallas office where he focused on software implementations and improving customer experiences for Fortune 500 clients. he also spent time at Next Ventures, a VC fund focused on the growing health and wellness space.

Advisory Council


Jason Seats

Texas Treasury Safekeeping Trust Company

Ruchit Shah


Ekaterina Matveeva

CPP Consulting

Issam Ourrai

Innotech Advisory

Leon Ploubidis

Global Entrepreneurship Network

Michelle Samuel