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Our Team

Our Team

Lee Hall

From lender, to entrepreneur, to fractional CFO, to nonprofit executive and program manager, Lee Hall’s working experience has been focused on launching and growing small business ventures, with a particular focus on proper capitalization and financial management.  His breadth of experience has taught him how to apply entrepreneurial thinking to any situation. Lee excels at supporting businesses with long-term planning, management, and capitalization plans. He is a strategic thinker, who enjoys helping entrepreneurs take stock of the big picture and craft actionable strategies to achieve their long-term visions. In addition to his duties as CEO, he is the primary contact and provider for entrepreneurs operating in Carver and Scott Counties.

Contact Lee:


Kris Maritz
Business Advisor

Kris Maritz started her career in corporate purchasing before launching several successful businesses focused primarily in the real estate and food industries.  Over the years, she has provided technical assistance, loan packaging and credit counseling as a management consultant and nonprofit business advisor through a variety of community organizations. Kris joined NextStage in 2020, where she provides technical assistance to emerging entrepreneurs in Minneapolis and Hennepin County, and specializes in financial analysis, underwriting and loan packaging for businesses expansions and real-estate acquisitions.

Contact Kris:


Alan Estévez
Business Advisor

Alan Estévez is a business owner and entrepreneur with roots in traditional and experiential marketing, as well as live concert and event management. Alan is the owner of El Diablo Amps and Guitars in Minneapolis. In addition to his small business and music management experience, Alan has served as an adjunct professor of Spanish at the University of St. Thomas.  As a NextStage Business Advisor, Alan brings his real-world experience and first-person understanding of the challenges new and early-stage entrepreneurs in Minneapolis face turning their passion into a viable small business.

Contact Alan:


Journey Gosselin
Business Advisor

Journey Gosselin is a big-picture change agent skilled at blending a conversational approach and an understanding of hard numbers to support strong business planning. Outside of his work at NextStage, Journey is the founder and chief manager of City Food Studio, a commercial kitchen and food business incubator in Minneapolis. At NextStage, he provides one-on-one start-up and growth strategy guidance to small businesses throughout Hennepin County, specializing in business and financial planning. Journey’s business advising is informed by many years of for-profit and nonprofit experience in regulatory consulting, data analytics, business development, and client management.

Contact Journey:


Hiromi Yokoi
Business Advisor

With experience leading international marketing efforts, serving as a financial marketing analysis, and providing marketing and sales project management, Hiromi is known as a results-oriented professional.  She has a wide range of professional experiences with Six Sigma certification and PMP training, which led her to develop the Implementation Roadmap Process™ (IRP). IRP ensures alignment of implementation to developed strategies by integrating budget modeling, resource alignment and metric/ROI measures.  Hiromi brings this experience to the role of NextStage Business Advisor, specializing in assistance to established small businesses to stabilize and improve operations, helping them to grow and thrive.

Contact Hiromi:


Mara O’Neill
Business Advisor

Mara O’Neill has 40 years of experience in the field of community economic development providing technical assistance and loans to new and emerging small businesses. At NextStage, she provides consulting services to small nonprofit organizations in the areas of small business loan program development and management. From 2011 until 2020, Mara was the Loan Program manager for Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers (MCCD). Before joining MCCD, Mara was director of capital investments for First Children’s Finance (FCF), a nonprofit organization supporting the business side of childcare, where she oversaw the loan and grant program and developed FCF’s childcare business training program. 

Contact Mara:


Noah Her
Business Advisor

Noah Her is the son of Hmong refugees whose parents taught him the value of working hard for the American Dream. He learned about entrepreneurism alongside his parents as they pursued businesses such as residential rental businesses, ginseng gardens, in-home daycare, and an oriental grocery store to an indoor flea market in Central Wisconsin. After graduating from college, Noah worked in various sales and sales operations positions. Since then, Noah has advised countless businesses and connected entrepreneurs to lending opportunities. In addition to his work at NextStage, he keeps busy with his real estate rental business and his three young kids.

Contact Noah:

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