YEI's Lead Venture Mentor is Wes Bray '74. Wes began his career with Kraft General Foods and later joined Pepsico as Manager, New Products and New Packages in the International division, and was eventually promoted to Director of Marketing, overseeing both the global defense against the roll out of Diet Coke and the international launch of Slice.
In 1984 Wes joined Marketing Corporation of America (MCA) and four years later left MCA to co-found Market Growth Resources (MGR). During this time, he co-founded SmartDemo, a retail sampling company which was purchased by Time Warner. In 1995, MGR was sold to True North Communications.
In 2000, Wes co-founded Bray Hood Associates. Clients included Miller Brewing, Network Solutions, IBM, Sikorsky Aircraft, AOL, People’s Bank, Intelsat, Nextel and MCI, among others. He also co-founded a wireless marketing company called HipCricket in 2004, serving as President and COO. HipCricket went public in 2007 on the London Stock Exchange. Wes returned to retail and brand consulting with Wes Bray & Associates until being recruited to join Retail Optimization, Inc., initially as a consultant and then full time as COO, transitioning into CEO & President in 2009.
Wes holds a B.A. from Yale University and an M.B.A. from Harvard University. He is married with two children and lives in Essex, CT.