Shaping Leaders, Driving Results

UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

« Back

Entrepreneurship & Innovation in the City of Charlotte - Luncheon & Panel

Date: 1/31/2017
Time: 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM

Join UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, our talented panelists and our moderator, Paul Wetenhall (MBA 1975) as we discuss entrepreneurship and innovation in the City of Charlotte.

Panelists include:

  • La’Naeschia O’Rear – Acquisitions Manager, Google Fiber
  • Andrew Dunn – Editor in Chief, Charlotte Agenda
  • Tom Reddin – Managing Partner, Red Dog Ventures & Former CEO of LendingTree


Panelist Bios:

La’Naeschia O’Rear - After being born and raised in Charlotte, La'Naeschia left North Carolina to join Google four years ago. During her time in California and New York, she worked to develop and acquire new business for Google, specializing in digital strategy across startups, small&medium businesses and traditional media agencies. La'Naeschia now works as an acquisitions manager here in Charlotte, leading the commercial and MDU business. Her team works across marketing, product and other teams to execute the go to market strategy and grow the fiber footprint in Charlotte, NC. Prior to Google. She is thrilled to be back in Charlotte and excited to see what the city and its residents do with a Fiber connection!

Andrew Dunn - Andrew is the editor-in-chief of Charlotte Agenda, a fast-growing digital news and media start-up. He is passionate about guiding the future of local news and information through this period of change. Andrew graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2010 after serving as editor of The Daily Tar Heel. 

Tom Reddin - Tom Reddin is Managing Partner of Red Dog Ventures LLC, a venture capital and advisory firm focused on helping early stage digital companies achieve the next level of growth. Red Dog Ventures’ portfolio includes equity positions in companies in the following sectors: content marketing, data analytics, search engine optimization, Internet lead-generation, social media management, and online education.

Reddin is the former President, and then CEO of LendingTree.  He was an early stage member of the team that built the company from a small Internet start-up to a national brand and the country’s leader in online lending.  LendingTree launched the successful “When Banks Compete, You Win” advertising campaign, conducted a successful IPO, and was ultimately acquired by IAC/InterActiveCorp for $735MM.

Prior to LendingTree, Reddin spent 17 years in the consumer goods industry including five years at Coca-Cola USA, where he was responsible for the Coca-Cola brand as VP of Consumer Marketing, and played a lead role in Coca-Cola’s decision to enter the bottled water market with Dasani bottled water.  He also spent twelve years with Kraft Foods in various brand management and finance capacities.

Tom is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and received his MBA from New York University, with Distinction.

Paul Wetenhall - Paul Wetenhall is president of UNC-Charlotte’s Ventureprise whose mission is to to ignite an entrepreneurial boom in the Charlotte region by: identifying the most promising innovation-driven talent and ideas; provide entrepreneurial education and business advisory services; make valuable connections, help launch growth ventures; accelerate business growth.

Prior to his return to the Carolinas, Paul served as president and director of High Tech Rochester, Inc. (HTR). Paul started with HTR in 1997 where he launched and managed the Lennox Tech Enterprise Center incubator. As HTR's venture coach, he worked with over 100 start-up and early stage companies. He began his service as HTR's President in January 2004 and was responsible for all aspects of the organization's work, supporting innovators, entrepreneurs, and manufacturers in the nine-county Finger Lakes region. He worked closely with HTR's Board of Directors and with academic, economic development, government and private sector partners. Paul was an adjunct lecturer in entrepreneurship at the University of Rochester's Wiliam E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration and a regular guest speaker at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He has been director of Odyssey Software, Inc. and a director of a statewide economic development initiative, New Jobs for New York.

Prior to joining HTR, Paul founded and was president of QSoft Solutions Corp., a business software company formed in 1993. In 1985, Paul co-founded Microlytics, Inc., a Xerox-funded software company formed to commercialize technology from Xerox' Palo Alto Research Center. As Chief Operating Officer and a Director, he managed rapid growth, mergers, Hong Kong manufacturing, and public company issues. Previously, he held a variety of management positions in pricing, marketing, and operations during 13 years at Xerox Corporation.

Paul is a graduate of Georgia Institute of Technology with a Bachelor degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering with Honor and earned a Master in Business Administration degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Foundation for the Carolina

Kearney Solarium & Silverman Pavilion

220 N Tryon St
Charlotte, NC 28202


Carrie Dobbins