Pierre Landaiche – CEO
Pierre Landaiche joined UMRF Ventures in September 2020. Prior to joining the company, he led the startup of the Memphis Sports Hall of Fame and for 22 years, managed the Renasant Convention Center – formerly the Memphis Cook Convention Center. He is a native of Baton Rouge and graduate of Louisiana State University. He is involved in various community boards including the former chairman of the Better Business Bureau Board of Directors, The Hospitality Hub, the Dorothy Day House and the Bridge Street Newspaper among others. He is a member and former President of the Rotary Club of Memphis. Pierre enjoys spending time with his wife of 31 years, Gay, and his daughter Caroline, a student at Spring Hill College. He also enjoys duck hunting, fishing, tinkering with his 1967 Mustang convertible, cooking and breaking bread with friends and family.
Sherita Johnson – Managing Director | Business Division A
Sherita Johnson joined UMRF Ventures in July 2017 and prides herself on being the first employee of the company. She currently serves as Managing Director responsible for business operations, strategic leadership, and IT support for several customers, including FedEx, Raymond James, and the City of Memphis. She manages an energetic and talented team of IT professionals who support employee development and manage the customer experience. Prior to joining UMRF Ventures, she worked for the University of Memphis IT department, where she acquired her love for student development, higher education, and supportive communication. She has more than 8 years of management and business operations experience. She graduated from the University of Memphis with a B.S. in Chemistry and is a magna cum laude graduate with a Master of Science in Computer Science with a concentration in Data Management and Analysis.
Keith Sisson – Managing Director | Business Division B
Keith Sisson joined UMRF Ventures in March 2018 as Managing Director for the IT Command Center. Prior to his tenure with Ventures, Keith served as graduate program director and senior lecturer at the University of Memphis and Johns Hopkins University. He also served as Chief Research Consultant for the TN Board of Regents’ Office of Emerging Technologies and Mobilization. In addition to his years of experience directing and teaching in graduate degree programs, Keith has published scholarship and lectured widely on the incorporation of digital technology in higher education. In 2011, he co-authored a chapter published in the peer-reviewed work The Professor’s Guide to Taming Technology. In 2013, he gave the lecture “From Medieval Lectores to Mobile Devices: Innovations in Higher Education and Methods of Delivery” at the University of Oxford. He holds a BA, MA, and PhD from the University of Memphis.
Jutta “JT” Schneider – Director | Project Management & Corporate Initiatives
Jutta “JT” Schneider joined UMRF Ventures in November 2019 as Director of Project Management and Corporate Initiatives, bringing over 25 years of experience in organizational development and customer service. Prior to joining UMRF Ventures, she worked at TRUGREEN managing the call center workforce planning team. A native of Germany, JT relocated to Memphis with her family in 2016. After earning a master’s degree in Information Science from Saarland University in Saarbruecken, Germany, she held several leadership positions in customer service, process improvement, and organizational structure. In 2009, she created her own management consulting firm with clients including an international online bank and a global telecommunications company. In her free time, JT enjoys spending time with family and cooking. Her German dishes are a favorite among friends and neighbors in Memphis. She is happiest juggling multiple home improvement projects at once. Training the family dog Maya is an ongoing “process improvement” project.
Jasmine Sankhon – Manager | ECS
Jasmine Sankhon is a proud Memphis native and University of Memphis graduate. She started with the company in 2017 as a supervisor and became a full-time employee through UMRF Ventures’ talent pipeline program.
LaShawn Willingham – Manager | Sedgwick
LaShawn Willingham joined UMRF Ventures in July 2018 and currently serves as Manager for the Sedgwick Support Center. She previously served as the Supervisor of the Sedgwick Support Center. Before her management role with Sedgwick, she was a Level 1 agent with the ECS Venture, where she was shortly promoted to shift lead as well as a Level 2 agent. She is a University of Memphis graduate with a B.S. in Health Service Administration with a minor in Public Relations. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, reading, and journaling.
Katy Higgins – Manager | FedEx Command Center
Katy Higgins joined UMRF Ventures in June 2018 and currently serves as Manager for the Systems Analytics and Information Security teams. She previously served as Operations Lead. Before her position with UMRF Ventures, she held a variety of different leadership positions in retail and academic research settings. She is a magna cum laude graduate with B.S. degrees in Psychology and German, and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Information Systems and a master’s certificate in Business Project Management. In her spare time, she likes to read, paint, and ride her horse.
Tyra Jackson – Manager | Healthcare Advocacy
Tyra Jackson joined UMRF Ventures in August 2017 and is currently Manager of Healthcare Advocacy, previously working as an L1 ECS and L2 agent. She is currently a Senior Nursing Student at the University of Memphis with a minor in pre-health in society. Originally from Savannah, TN, Tyra has lived in Memphis for seven years but claims Memphis as her home. In between studies, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, watching a good movie, and reading a good book. She credits UMRF Ventures for increasing her communication skills, networking, and leadership experience in preparation for her nursing career.
Dane Norvell – Manager | Raymond James
Dane Norvell is a native Memphian who is currently pursuing a Master’s in Business Administration at the University of Memphis. He joined UMRF Ventures in August 2017 and was a part of the company’s initial launch. Within UMRF he has had the opportunity to serve in multiple capacities of leadership across 2 ventures including, shift lead, supervisor, and currently manager for the company’s ventures with Raymond James. Dane enjoys music and has been a musician for 19 years. He plays the piano, trumpet, and harmonica. Additionally, he is the author of the upcoming children’s book, Little Black Bird, where he looks to inspire children to love themselves regardless of how different they are.
Cruz Segura-Ramirez – Manager | Workforce Management
Cruz Segura-Ramirez joined UMRF Ventures in September 2017 and currently serves as Manager of Workforce Management and Business Analyst. He previously served as a Technical Support Agent, Technical Support Shift Lead and Level 2 Technical Support Agent. Prior to UMRF Ventures, he worked in education through curriculum design, lecture and instruction, and tutoring. Cruz holds a B.S. in Physics from the University of Central Arkansas and an M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Memphis.