After nearly 20 years as a CPA specializing in international tax with Andersen, Darlene co-founded a pharmaceutical manufacturing company with her father and brother. Her father died soon after the company was founded and Darlene bought her brother’s half of the company and became the CEO, leading the company to tremendous growth. She was named the only American on the list of the nine Leading Women Entrepreneurs of the World in 2004 and was on the Inc 500 list for three years in a row. Following her sale of the company in 2006, she became Executive Director of TechFW, a technology business incubator in Fort Worth, establishing multiple programs for entrepreneurs, universities and angel investors, including the Cowtown Angels Network. She has coached dozens of local startup companies. Darlene has served on the national boards of the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration, the International Business Innovation Association, and DePauw University, as well as several local boards, including Junior Achievement, Girl Scouts, and the American Heart Association. Since stepping down as the Executive Director of TechFW in November 2018, Darlene has continued her work with entrepreneurs: coaching TechFW clients, investing as a member of the Cowtown Angels, joining the management team of BioNorth TX, and working with VIC Technology Venture Development to commercialize university technologies. She holds a BA in math and German from DePauw University, an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and a graduate certificate in genealogical research from Boston University.
Jorge Varela’s is an entrepreneur, startup evangelist, international speaker, consultant, and investor. He has started and/or been a part of the executive team at numerous companies most notably in telecom, software, and IT, with financially successful exits in each market segment. He has mentored and coached startups in the life sciences with exits in the last 5 years exceeding $3 Billion.
Jorge is CEO, of BioNorthTexas, the nonprofit that represents, connects, and promotes the life sciences and healthcare industries in North Texas. He is also Managing Director of AltusVista, a consultancy that works with leadership to build better companies, non-profits and executives.
Jorge was most recently Founder and CEO of VelocityTX, an innovation superhub offering incubation, mentorships, and seed investments to startups with disruptive technology. VelocityTX is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Texas Research & Technology Foundation (TRTF) where Jorge served as Executive Vice President of Innovation & Investments and managed the McDermott Legacy Fund. TRTF is a non-profit dedicated to economic development through investments both in early stage companies and in the entrepreneurial ecosystem with a focus on biosciences, medtech, & technology – especially cyber security.
Jorge is on the Executive Board of the Alliance of Texas Angel Networks, an organization consisting of accredited angel groups in Texas. He is also a reviewer for the National Science Foundation on SBIR/STTR grants.
Jorge’s passion is working with leadership to develop and grow for- and non- profit organizations to enable:
• financial independence and the creation of economic opportunities globally; and,
• to improve the quality of life through the commercialization of new technologies.