iSPI staff.


a small but mighty team.

creating a more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem

Sarah Beth Ayers, MPA
Director, Business Incubation

Sarah Beth Ayers serves as the Director for business incubation with Innovate Springfield. In this role, Sarah is responsible for the overall management, development, and promotion of Innovate Springfield, a local initiative with statewide implications to foster the incubation of new businesses and effective social innovations to improve the quality of life for individuals living in Illinois. Sarah leads all programming for Innovate Springfield, catalyzing member companies' growth by connecting them with supporters, investors, advisors, and the resources provided by Innovate Springfield and through the connection to University. In her time leading the business incubation program at Innovate Springfield, membership has grown to more than 100 individuals representing 70+ companies. Sarah is an artist and public servant with a passion for creating an equitable entrepreneurial ecosystem where everyone feels supported in achieving their vision of success.


Trish Schlobohm
Office Manager, Program Coordinator

Trish Schlobohm serves as Office Manager and Business Incubation Program Coordinator at Innovate Springfield, which means she wears all the hats. She grew up in nearby Petersburg but spent most of the last two decades in Portland, OR before returning to Central Illinois in 2017. While living in Oregon, she earned a undergraduate degree in Organismal Biology and a Master of Science Teaching degree, both from Portland State University. She is delighted to be working for an organization that has such a clearly positive impact on the local community, due to its mission to support local entrepreneurs and increase equity. When not at work doing the job she adores at Innovate Springfield, Trish spends her time   cooking, gardening, birding, hiking, hanging with family, leading her daughter's Girl Scout troop, mastering her fermentation skills, and otherwise doing her best to live a life full of gratitude and creativity. Returning to Springfield has been a joy - especially the opportunity participate in the vibrant and dedicated downtown Springfield community and support local economic development.


all images graciously provided by the talented, Patrick Russell.