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Leadership

Blake Garrett

Founder and CEO

Blake is the Founder and CEO of Aceable, a mobile-first education platform that transforms stale institutional knowledge into practical understanding. Since founding Aceable in 2012, the company and it's family of brands has educated over 13 million customers and has raised $100 million dollars from HGGC, Sageview Capital, Silveron, Floodgate, and a slew of other angels. Blake started his career as a systems integration consultant for Ernst & Young. While at EY, Blake developed his passion for education by founding the EY Austin college MAP program that helps high school juniors and seniors get through graduation and into college. After six years at EY, Blake decided to follow his passion for education and his entrepreneurial instincts to start Aceable.
  • Hometown: Los Gatos, California
  • Education: B.S. in Management, concentration in Accounting, from Boston College.
  • Favorite Aceable Value: I can't pick a favorite as they are all invaluable in my personal and professional life.
  • Hobbies/Interests: My wife and daughter, reading, traveling, staying in shape so I feel great when I'm 100, home improvement projects, chess (although I'm mediocre, at best).
  • Favorite Taco: Carne asada, guacamole, peppers & onions, lime juice, homemade tortillas.

Marissa Tarleton

President

Marissa leads day-to-day operations at Aceable, including Product, Engineering, Marketing, Sales, and Business Development. She joined Aceable from RetailMeNot where she served as CEO. She has demonstrated leadership in building digital marketplaces that benefit both consumers and brands. Marissa has over 20 years of e-commerce and marketing leadership experience for companies including RetailMeNot, RxSaver by RetailMeNot, Dell, and Ogilvy & Mather. She was named a top 50 CMO on the inaugural Forbes CMO Next list in 2018, is a member of YPO Austin, a member of the UT Advisory Council, and is a 2020 Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute.
  • Hometown: Somewhere in Northern California.
  • Education: B.A. from Colgate University, MBA from the University of Texas at Austin.
  • Favorite Aceable Value: #GetS#itDone
  • Cake or Pie: Cake.
  • Favorite Taco: Breakfast Tacos.
  • Favorite Condiment: A Good Jam (and yes that counts!)

Erin Defossé

Chief Product Officer

Erin oversees Product Management, LX, CX, and Enablement at Aceable. He is responsible for building, maintaining, and executing the product, content, and customer support strategy and roadmaps that ensure Aceable achieves its mission, vision, and corporate goals. Immediately before joining Aceable, he was SVP of Product Management at Bazaarvoice. He started his career as a spacecraft mission design engineer for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He is also the Founder of The Magellan International School in Austin and was the Co-Founder and CTO of Isochron Data.
  • Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico
  • Education: B.S. in Aerospace Engineering & MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, M.S. in Aeronautics & Astronautics from Stanford University.
  • Favorite Aceable Value: #SeekToUnderstand
  • Cake or Pie: Cake.
  • Favorite Taco: Al Pastor Taco.
  • Most memorable teacher: Mr. Sasha Rosovsky, highschool - Mr. Rosovsky saw that I could achieve my dream and took me under his wing to mentor me and give me the confidence I needed to strive for my dreams.

Justin Kvasnicka

Chief Finance Officer

Prior to joining Aceable as the leader of all things Finance, Justin spent over five years at RetailMeNot where he served as Vice President, Corporate & Business Development, as well as the CFO of the company’s Gift Card segment. He also worked at Capital Southwest Corporation, a private equity and venture capital firm, and at J.P. Morgan, where he was an Investment Banking Analyst.
  • Hometown: Dallas, Texas
  • Education: B.B.A from Texas A&M University and MBA from Cornell University’s SC Johnson College of Business, where he was a Park Leadership Fellow.
  • Favorite Aceable Value: #HelpOthersSucceed
  • Cake or Pie: Cake.
  • Favorite Taco: Fish Tacos.
  • Favorite Condiment: Tzatziki Sauce.

Leslie Cleaver

General Counsel

Leslie leads the Legal Department at Aceable, Inc. Prior to joining Aceable, she was Senior Counsel for the Houston Astros and Crane Capital Group, Inc. As Senior Counsel, she managed all legal matters related to the team and its parent company. Prior to this position, Leslie was counsel for Ignite Restaurant Group, Inc., a publicly traded restaurant company that operated over 150 restaurants domestically and internationally. She also worked as a corporate associate at three international law firms in New York and Houston.
  • Hometown: Houston, Texas
  • Education: J.D. from Cornell Law School and B.A. from the University of Notre Dame.
  • Favorite Aceable Value: #BeAuthentic
  • Hobbies/Interests: Traveling. My favorite countries traveled to are Iceland and New Zealand.
  • Favorite Taco: Trailer Park from Torchy's Tacos.

Emily Lawrence

VP of Learning Experience

Emily oversees course strategy, development, and production. Previously, as SVP of Content and Production at Craftsy, Emily grew an online education business from its inception to 12M members, partnering with 800+ instructors and creating 1300+ classes across 16 verticals. The company was acquired by NBC Universal in 2017 and rebranded Bluprint in 2018.
  • Hometown: Boulder, Colorado
  • Education: B.A. in Religious Studies from Haverford College and an MFA in Dance Documentation and Criticism from The Ohio State University.
  • Favorite Aceable Value: #SeekToUnderstand
  • Cake or Pie: Fluffy diner chocolate cake for my birthday, sour cherry pie for my half-birthday.
  • Favorite Taco: Veracruz Migas Taco.

Howard Schaffer

VP of Marketing

Howard Schaffer is the VP of Marketing and oversees Paid Marketing, SEO, Nurture, and the CRO teams. Previously Howard was the SVP of Product, Partnerships and Consumer Marketing at Beneplace. He helped lead the Beneplace executive team through a successful acquisition to Entertainment Benefits Group (EBG) in 2019. Previously to that Howard was part of the Offers.com leadership team where he led Marketing, Partnerships and Merchandising. Offers.com was acquired by Ziff Davis in 2016.
  • Hometown: Wilmette, Illinois
  • Education: B.A. in Business Communications from the University of Oklahoma.
  • Favorite Aceable Value: #HelpOthersSucceed
  • Favorite Hobbies: I love to run and play sports. Geek out an all things business and finance.
  • Favorite Taco: Chicken Taco.

Nancy Spencer

VP of Finance

Nancy is responsible for all things Finance and Accounting. She previously spent nearly three years in the Google Finance organization and over 10 years at Ernst & Young, where she was a Senior Manager in Assurance Services. An experienced accounting and finance leader, Nancy has a demonstrated history of working in multiple industries with a focus in tech and real estate.
  • Hometown: Austin, Texas
  • Education: Certified Public Accountant with a B.B.A and MPA from the University of Texas at Austin’s Red McCombs School of Business.
  • Favorite Aceable Value: #BeAuthentic
  • Favorite Taco: TacoDeli - Sausage, Papas, Cheese.
  • Most Memorable Teacher: Mr. W in the 4th Grade lifted up a shy and uncomfortable young girl with words of encouragement and acknowledgement, making math really fun and engaging.

Kristen Haga

VP of Customer Experience

Kristen ensures that Aceable is a delight for our students! She leads Customer Support and Fulfillment teams responsible for delivering memorable and valuable customer experiences to our students. With over 15 years’ experience leading customer teams in high growth, early-stage companies, Kristen thrives helping organizations anticipate and decode complex growth stages during critical seasons of change.
  • Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
  • Education: B.A. in Sociology from the University of Michigan.
  • Favorite Aceable Value: #SeekToUnderstand
  • Cake or Pie: Frosting! Skip the cake...go straight to the good stuff!
  • Favorite Taco: No more tacos! Breakfast bagel sandwich instead!

Meredith Cosgrove

General Manager of Driving Verticals

Meredith Cosgrove is Aceable's General Manager of Driving Verticals. Meredith has deep background in building amazing customer experiences and growing customer reach, and GM experience across a diverse set of businesses, ranging from gift cards to premium airport lounges (with many stops and stories along the way). After 10 years at American Express in New York City, Meredith relocated to Austin with her family, where she enjoys cooking, reading and a relative lack of snow and ice.
  • Hometown: Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Education: B.A. in Psychology from Barnard College.
  • Favorite Aceable Value: #GetS#itDone
  • Favorite Taco: Al Pastor.
  • Most Memorable Teacher: My middle school speech teacher Tyrone Wilkerson was marvelous to watch as an actor and taught his students to be confident in who we are as individuals.

Erica Holland

VP of Corporate Development

Erica helps to make strategic decisions around growing the Aceable business, whether it’s pursuing a new educational vertical or buying a company. Erica started her career in Investment Banking, and prior to joining Aceable, spent six years in Private Equity. Throughout her career, Erica has gained corporate finance and operating experience across multiple industries, from financial services to technology, and even from construction services to industrial manufacturing.
  • Hometown: El Paso, Texas
  • Education: B.S. in Economics, Minor in Cultural Anthropology, and Certificate in Markets & Management Studies from Duke University.
  • Favorite Aceable Value: #PursueGrowth
  • Favorite Taco: I could eat the Migas taco from Veracruz all day every day.
  • Cake or Pie? Cheesecake! (Is it cake or pie?).