Innovation Depot hires Brooke Gillis as new CEO

Innovation Depot
(Innovation Depot)

The Southeast’s largest startup incubator, Innovation Depot, has hired Brooke Gillis as the organization’s new CEO.

“We are very excited to welcome Brooke to the role of CEO at Innovation Depot,” said Bebe Goodrich, Board Chairperson and Interim CEO. “As a seasoned leader in Birmingham’s startup ecosystem, the board is confident she will continue to make a positive impact. Brooke brings the right skill set to the table to propel The Depot into a new era of growth and success.”

The selection of Gillis caps an extensive search process facilitated by Apt, a local, woman-owned staffing firm that specializes in IT and IT-adjacent talent.

15 Years in Birmingham

This year is the 15th anniversary of Innovation Depot’s presence at 1500 1st Avenue North in downtown Birmingham. Since its doors opened in 2007, The Depot has become the physical anchor of the Switch District as well as the primary convening place for the local tech and startup ecosystem. 

“Innovation Depot has been the foundation of entrepreneurship in our region for many years,” said Gillis. “I am thrilled for the opportunity to help enhance Birmingham’s future while working with such passionate entrepreneurs. I want to thank The Depot’s board for trusting me to continue building on the success of our great startup ecosystem.” 

Strong Ties with Innovation Depot

Innovation Depot
Brooke Gillis, new CEO at Innovation Depot. (Innovation Depot)

Gillis has strong ties with The Depot. She previously served as the Director of Sales and Event Planning at Virginia College/Culinard Cafe, one of the Depot’s earliest member companies. From there, Gillis launched her startup career as the Director of Sales and Marketing at Instagift. While at Instagift, she and founder Nate Schmidt worked together to oversee the creation and launch of Innovation Depot’s Velocity Accelerator program—the first accelerator in Alabama. Gillis designed and coordinated the creation of the multi-use Velocity Accelerator space inside of The Depot. 

Her previous position was program manager at Techstars Alabama EnergyTech Accelerator, where she facilitated the creation and execution of the company’s first Alabama accelerator program, in partnership with Alabama Power. 

An experienced leader in the Birmingham tech and startup community, Gillis will officially assume the role Monday, Dec. 12. 

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Pat Byington
Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.

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