JumpStart Instructors

Bret Hodgdon, CPA, CFP®, CFE, CGMA | Davis & Hodgdon

Since being admitted as Partner in Davis & Hodgdon Associates CPAs in January 2005, Bret Hodgdon has had a key role in the firm’s growth into one of the area’s most innovative public accounting firms. Bret focuses on strategic tax planning and compliance for businesses within many industries as well as nonprofit organizations. He is one of Vermont’s only accountants with the designations of Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), and Certified Global Management Accountant (CGMA) with expertise in fraud prevention, corporate investigations, and forensic accounting. He also serves on the board of Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR). Originally from Hardwick, VT, Bret is a graduate of Lyndon State College with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting and Business Administration.

Matt Cleare, CPA, CGMA

Matt Cleare, CPA, CGMA specializes in accounting, business management and strategy, tax, and finance. Matt graduated from Champlain College with a Bachelor degree in Business and Certificate of Advanced Accounting. He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA). Matt has over 10 years of experience working in a mix of positions in both public and private accounting and finance, including positions that have included Controller, Chief Financial Officer, and Director of Finance for multiple local enterprises.

Cairn Cross – FreshTracks Capital

Cairn Cross is a co-founder of FreshTracks Capital and serves as a Managing Director of the Fund. Cairn presently serves on the boards of FreshTracks portfolio companies Vermont Teddy Bear, NativeEnergy, Faraday, Budnitz Bicycles and Mamava. Cairn is a lecturer at the UVM Grossman School of Business where he teaches Financing Sustainable Innovation for the Sustainable Innovation MBA program. Prior to starting FreshTracks Cairn was a strategic and financial adviser to Vermont banks and growing businesses, the Assistant General Manager of Green Mountain Capital, L.P. from 1996 to 1998 and spent a decade working as a commercial banker.

In 2014 he created Road Pitch a four-day motorcycle tour around Vermont bringing investors and entrepreneurs to 7 towns to listen to entrepreneurs pitch their ideas. In 2011, the United States Small Business Administration named Cairn its Vermont, New England, and National Financial Services Champion.

Christine Hammer – CWE | Hammer Consulting

After a few years as a social worker in the field of mental health, Cristine Hammer left to start a home-based wearable arts business, making hand-painted and silkscreened clothing. In 1992, Hammer helped launch a Burlington-based graphic design company, growing the business from 1 employee to 15, and eventually becoming a VP and partner in the company. In 2009, she started her freelance marketing consulting and copywriting business, Hammer Consulting & Copywriting, LLC. The company consults on brand development, strategic marketing, graphic design art direction and management, small business development, and provides creative copywriting services. Hammer is also an instructor at CWE (the Center for Women & Enterprise), serves as Vice Chair of the Essex Town Conservation & Trails Committee, is a certified Vermont Master Gardener, a member of the League of Vermont Writers, and with her dog, Nikki, works as a certified therapy dog team.

Over her career, Hammer has worked with a diverse range of local, regional, and national companies including Sharp Electronics, Showtime Networks, Discovery Channel, Avon, Rossignol Ski and Snowboarding Company, Long Trail Brewing Company, Blockbuster, Spafinder, Polygram, ADT Home Security Systems, Republic Pictures, Landmark College, Gaiam, The Curtis Fund, NPI, Lightworks, and many others.

Justin McCabe – Dunkiel, Saunders, Elliott, Raubvogel & Hand

Justin McCabe is an intellectual property law partner at the law firm of Dunkiel Saunders Elliott Raubvogel & Hand PLLC. Justin’s law practice has a heavy focus on assisting start-up ventures and entrepreneurs with patents, trademarks, copyrights, licensing, and agreements. When he’s not patenting inventions, he can usually be found building maple sap evaporators for his family’s new start-up venture, the Vermont Evaporator Company, located in Montpelier, VT.

Kimberly Stellavato – Center for Women & Enterprise

Kimberly Stellavato is a brand marketer with a passion for building brands and bringing products to market. After completing her MBA at Boston College, Kimberly has worked in marketing and brand management for a number of consumer packaged good companies, including Keurig Green Mountain, Playtex Baby, illy coffee, and most recently Vermont Teddy Bear. Kimberly is actively involved in supporting Vermont entrepreneurs as an instructor and consultant at the Center for Women and Enterprise. Kimberly also serves on the Advocacy Committee of the Junior League of Champlain Valley and is a regular volunteer for Girls on the Run Vermont. Kimberly and her husband live in Burlington with their new puppy, Silo.

Michael Jager_Founding Partner/Chief Creative Officer, Solidarity of Unbridled Labour (formerly JDK Design)

For more than twenty-five years, Michael Jager, Vermont’s first awarded AIGA Design Fellow, has been creating and collaborating with brands, driven by the idea that design distinction matters most. His groundbreaking work with JDK Design continues with Solidarity of Unbridled Labour, a studio that conceptualizes and realizes ideas that help guide and create a culture and positive change within it. Guided by Ezra Pound’s simply but elegantly stated principle, “Make it new,” his collaborative output for a multitude of today’s most recognizable and relevant brands—including Burton Snowboards, Microsoft’s Xbox, Nike, Levi’s, Phish, MTV, Virgin, Lululemon, Yara, Seventh Generation, and Patagonia—is recognized worldwide. Through Solidarity’s own brand-design incubation platform, Michael has helped create unique home, sport, and lifestyle brands, such as Mamava and Maglianero. He is also the co-founder of the Karma Bird House, a creative-economy coworking space now home to more than 60 inspiring entrepreneurial entities.