Introduction to The Ion + DivInc + MBE Aerospace Innovation Hub

Learn about programming at The Ion that will be specifically designed for small business owners.

About this Event

Get to know The Ion and programs designed to take your small business or tech startup to the next level, while interacting with local leaders ready to assist you in getting the resources you need for success.



  • Welcome: Carol Guess, Chair, Greater Houston Black Chamber
  • What is The Ion: Jan Odegard, Interim Executive Director, The Ion
  • Programming and MBE Innovation Hub Overview: Deanea LeFlore, Senior Director, Partnerships, The Ion
  • DivInc Overview: Preston James, CEO, DivInc


About the Speakers

Carol Guess, Chair, Greater Houston Black Chamber

Carol Y. Guess, Esq., is a seasoned lawyer who has represented individuals and businesses with passion and professionalism. She is currently General Counsel for The Guess Group, Inc., A Commercial Real Estate Company, where she serves as in-house counsel for all real estate clients, responsible for review and execution of sales contracts and all other real estate legal documents, as well as financial and human resource matters. She is also involved in the sales and leasing of properties, tenant representation, property management and consulting. Additionally, Ms. Guess is the Principal Attorney for The Guess Firm, P.L.L.C., Attorneys and Counselors at Law, where she represents clients regarding Wills, Probate and Estate Planning matters.

Jan Odegard, Interim Executive Director, The Ion

Dr. Jan E. Odegard is the Interim Executive Director of The Ion. Prior to joining The Ion, he was the Executive Director of the Ken Kennedy Institute at Rice University, focusing on building strategic partnerships to serve as a catalyst for research, education, and external engagements. Dr. Odegard has 20 years of experience supporting and enabling research and life-long learning engagements in computing, data science, and information technology. Odegard was an associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Stavanger, Norway, and served as department chair in 2000 – 2001. He was the founding executive director of the Computational Mathematics Laboratory and research associate in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rice University. He served as the founding executive director of the Rice Center for Multimedia Communication. In 2009, he received the Michael Pearlman Memorial Service Award from Rice University and was elected Senior Member of IEEE in 2002.

Deanea LeFlore, Senior Director, Partnerships, The Ion

Deanea LeFlore oversees the identification of strategically-aligned partnerships and community engagements, as well as the development and management of relationships for The Ion. She leads The Ion team in planning and delivering events that cultivate positive, productive relationships and community engagement to meet the needs of Houston’s diverse community of entrepreneurs, investors, students, and those seeking to get connected to the tech and innovation economy.

Preston James, CEO, DivInc

Preston is the Co-Founder/CEO of DivInc, which is the first early stage tech startup accelerator in Texas exclusively for people of color and women tech entrepreneurs. Founded in 2016, DivInc has helped launch 55 companies. They are expanding in Houston this year with other cities on the roadmap which will enable them to launch hundreds of startup companies per year. DivInc most recently announced their Fall 2020 cohort will be focused on Social Justice Innovation. In addition, DivInc has a women of color entrepreneur initiative, Startup Sistas, that serves 300+ women per year across Texas.


About the Moderator

Desion Hubbard, Chair, Tech Committee, Greater Houston Black Chamber

Desion K Hubbard I is the owner and Principal Data Scientist of DataSterical, LLC. With close to 10 years of industry experience, Desion understands the data-driven requisite of his clients needed to bring value to their companies, harnessing data science and analytics. His latest effort is in developing a curriculum to provide training in software development and coding to felons and emerge them into the field of technology. Desion is a graduate of Texas Southern University from the College of Science and Technology with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Master of Science degree in Data Analytics. In addition, he was a participant in Houston Black Leadership Institute (HBLI), Class V. He serves on the board of Directors of Acceler8. He also serves as the co-chair on the CITTI committee within the Greater Houston Black Chamber of Commerce. He is a leader and deacon at the Fountain of Praise. Desion is married and has the privilege of being a father to four beautiful children.


About the Organizations

About The Ion: The Ion will anchor the 16-acre Innovation District and is destined to become the epicenter for Houston’s innovation ecosystem as an inclusive, dynamic, vibrant, and dense hub focusing on quality collaborations between entrepreneurs, incubators, accelerators, corporations, academics, and the Houston community when it opens in 2021. The 300,000 square-foot building will accommodate multiple uses, including shared workspace, prototyping and maker resources, event space, classrooms, food and beverage offerings as well as indoor/outdoor communal areas with shared amenities. For more information, please visit

About DivInc: DivInc transforms the existing entrepreneur tech ecosystem into a more authentically inclusive environment. Through its efforts, DivInc inspires, empowers and enables underrepresented founders to build successful high growth businesses. It aims to unleash the untapped and hidden innovative talent within our communities and generate an entrepreneur mindset shift for generations to come.

About GHBC: The GHBC is the “go-to” organization for business development and community outreach partnership opportunities in the Houston African-American community. The GHBC is dedicated to supporting African-American small businesses in the areas of education, certification and accessing contracting opportunities and capital. We are Houston’s premier source for identifying quality and qualified African-American, multi-sectored small businesses to do business with. With a database of over 2,000 unique resources, the GHBC assists its partners and members in navigating Houston’s large, diverse population, industries and the many nuances, which are unique to our city.

The event is finished.


Dec 07 2020


12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

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