Leadership

Team Members

CEO Brooke Gillis
Abby Guerin Russell
Chief Development Officer Abby Guerin Russell
Director of Marketing & Operations Ritchie Kruunenberg

Brooke Gillis

CEO

Brooke is a veteran leader in the tech startup space and is dedicated to advancing the growth of Birmingham's startup community. She previously served as the Program Manager at Techstars, where she worked to launch the company's first-ever Alabama EnergyTech accelerator program. No stranger to Innovation Depot, Brooke spent multiple stints there in different capacities—most notably an 8+ year run with Instagift, a Birmingham startup with roots in The Depot. She also was instrumental in helping design and develop the Velocity Accelerator that ran in the building for 6 years. Brooke's passion for entrepreneurship and community culture inspires her to strengthen an already vibrant ecosystem in Birmingham. She holds a bachelor's degree in communications from the University of Alabama. She and her husband have resided in Birmingham for 17 years, and they have two teenage sons and an adorable Cavalier named Annie.

Events & Operations Specialist Maggie Wiginton
Experience Manager Shaun Pollard
Receptionist Tayun Harrison

Maggie Wiginton

Events & Operations Specialist

Maggie is bringing a fresh wave of excitement and a touch of innovation as our Events & Operations Specialist. A proud UAB graduate in Public Relations, Maggie brings a wealth of experience from renowned organizations like Coca Cola, Yelp, and Pihakis Restaurant Group. Hailing from Birmingham, she is not just a professional powerhouse but a passionate advocate for the city's growth. A true local gem, Maggie thrives on outdoor adventures, be it hiking or enjoying live music. As the designated planner and host among her friends and family, Maggie is the go-to person for creating experiences. A self-proclaimed dog person who unexpectedly found love with a cat. Maggie is dedicated to enriching the Depot and Birmingham community through unforgettable moments.

Shaun Pollard

Experience Manager

Shaun has served as the Experience Manager at Innovation Depot for 17 years. Her job consists of many responsibilities: from customer service to billing. She is also an entrepreneur who launched her own cleaning business (Pollard’s Janitorial Service) in 2014 and now serves several small businesses in the area. Shaun has two pet parakeets named Charlie and Parker.

Intern MarKaylee Talton

MarKaylee Talton

Intern

MarKaylee Talton is excited to bring superior ideas and an open mind Innovation Depot Team! MarKaylee is a freshman at Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, majoring in Kinesiology and pursuing a career in physical therapy. She has had experience in event planning and has orchestrated events in her former high school community. Her passion for sports and dedication to creating a positive environment for future generations drive MarKaylee's commitment to excellence. Alongside her interests in music and family, she finds joy in meeting new people, fostering connections, and making wonderful discoveries. In her role as a first-time intern, MarKaylee is eager and prepared to embrace new experiences and seize opportunities at Innovation Depot.

CEO Brooke Gillis
Abby Guerin Russell
Chief Development Officer Abby Guerin Russell

Brooke Gillis

CEO

Brooke is a veteran leader in the tech startup space and is dedicated to advancing the growth of Birmingham's startup community. She previously served as the Program Manager at Techstars, where she worked to launch the company's first-ever Alabama EnergyTech accelerator program. No stranger to Innovation Depot, Brooke spent multiple stints there in different capacities—most notably an 8+ year run with Instagift, a Birmingham startup with roots in The Depot. She also was instrumental in helping design and develop the Velocity Accelerator that ran in the building for 6 years. Brooke's passion for entrepreneurship and community culture inspires her to strengthen an already vibrant ecosystem in Birmingham. She holds a bachelor's degree in communications from the University of Alabama. She and her husband have resided in Birmingham for 17 years, and they have two teenage sons and an adorable Cavalier named Annie.

Director of Marketing & Operations Ritchie Kruunenberg
Events & Operations Specialist Maggie Wiginton

Maggie Wiginton

Events & Operations Specialist

Maggie is bringing a fresh wave of excitement and a touch of innovation as our Events & Operations Specialist. A proud UAB graduate in Public Relations, Maggie brings a wealth of experience from renowned organizations like Coca Cola, Yelp, and Pihakis Restaurant Group. Hailing from Birmingham, she is not just a professional powerhouse but a passionate advocate for the city's growth. A true local gem, Maggie thrives on outdoor adventures, be it hiking or enjoying live music. As the designated planner and host among her friends and family, Maggie is the go-to person for creating experiences. A self-proclaimed dog person who unexpectedly found love with a cat. Maggie is dedicated to enriching the Depot and Birmingham community through unforgettable moments.

Experience Manager Shaun Pollard
Receptionist Tayun Harrison

Shaun Pollard

Experience Manager

Shaun has served as the Experience Manager at Innovation Depot for 17 years. Her job consists of many responsibilities: from customer service to billing. She is also an entrepreneur who launched her own cleaning business (Pollard’s Janitorial Service) in 2014 and now serves several small businesses in the area. Shaun has two pet parakeets named Charlie and Parker.

Intern MarKaylee Talton

MarKaylee Talton

Intern

MarKaylee Talton is excited to bring superior ideas and an open mind Innovation Depot Team! MarKaylee is a freshman at Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, majoring in Kinesiology and pursuing a career in physical therapy. She has had experience in event planning and has orchestrated events in her former high school community. Her passion for sports and dedication to creating a positive environment for future generations drive MarKaylee's commitment to excellence. Alongside her interests in music and family, she finds joy in meeting new people, fostering connections, and making wonderful discoveries. In her role as a first-time intern, MarKaylee is eager and prepared to embrace new experiences and seize opportunities at Innovation Depot.

The Depot is fortunate to have a board made up of many local Birmingham leaders. Together, they help guide Innovation Depot toward growing its impact.

Board Members