Instructors, Mentors, and Judges

Chris Beaman 

Chris is a UX/UI professional with 10 years of experience designing, building, and monetizing desktop and mobile web properties. He is process-oriented, strategic, and ROI-focused. With a broad range of experience with front-end technologies/methodologies, Chris is a standards-compliant developer with a passion for community.

Chris began designing and building websites in 2003. Despite pursuing a degree in Political Science, Chris fell in love with the web and decided to make a career out of it. After working with a number of design agencies and small businesses, Chris joined IDG as a User Experience Designer in 2009. IDG taught Chris valuable lessons in process and collaboration, however Chris felt disenchanted with his lack of a voice in such a big company. As such, Chris started his own company, Moving Metrics, a web platform that helps brands find and hire niche YouTube influencers to produce integrated/branded video content.  Among many responsibilities, Chris also lead focus groups with local users and usability tests with remote users, incorporating feedback into an iterative design cycle. For the next few years, Chris built Moving Metrics into a small but profitable company.  In January 2013, Chris left Moving Metrics to join CoachUp, a TechStars/MassChallenge startup as Product Manager and oversees UX/UI Design/Development. (Specialties include entire design process from sketches to wireframes to visuals to visual design to coding to testing).

Chris is originally from Wellesley and now lives in Belmont. He is passionate for startups, design, community, and ultimate frisbee.

Natalya Brickner

Natalya Brikner

Natalya is a recent PhD grad from MIT’s Aeronautics and Astronautics department. Her research focused on plasma discharges in electric thrusters for satellites. She founded a company called Accion Systems to commercialize the thruster technology and now works as Accion’s CEO. During her Master’s degree she developed a micro-chemical rocket and founded a separate company; that one didn’t end so well but it taught her a lot about the importance of a strong team.  In her free time, she reads a lot of fiction novels, plays squash, and tinkers with electronics.

Steve Charkoudian

Steve Charkoudian

Steve Charkoudian is a partner and chair of Goodwin Procter’s Technology Transactions Practice and a member of the firm’s Technology Companies Group. Mr. Charkoudian concentrates on technology and intellectual property transactions, including technology transfers and licensing; collaboration, strategic alliance and joint development agreements; open source issues; and due diligence and other intellectual property issues in mergers, acquisitions and venture capital and private equity transactions. He is a regular contributor to Founder’s Workbench <> and frequently speaks to start-ups and early-stage companies about IP issues.

Steve is a member of the Boston and Massachusetts Bar Associations and the International Technology Law Association. He has been selected for inclusion in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business and has been recognized as a “Leading Licensing and Technology Transactions Lawyer” by Intellectual Asset Management magazine as part of its IAM Strategy 300 survey.

Daniel Choi

As co-founder and CPO of Plastiq, Dan coordinates efforts across all company divisions and brings his hands-on, engaging leadership approach to turning the Plastiq vision into a reality.

A driven creator, innovator, and adventurer, Dan has long been fascinated with leveraging technology to solve real-world problems.  While in college, in an attempt to study virtual currency models and improve social engagement in communities, he developed a mobile application that facilitated and rewarded peer-based favor exchange.  Dan also pioneered a college mentorship platform for low-income high school students, which won top honors at Harvard Business School and Penn Graduate School of Education business plan competitions.  On the side, he founded and managed a full-service, international web development firm, completing contracts ranging from turn-key solutions to large, custom development projects.  Dan also served as business manager and bass singer for a world-famous jazz a cappella group, whose highlights included an 18-country, 90-day concert tour around the world and performances for such celebrities as Herbie Hancock and Conan O’Brien.

Currently Dan spends the majority of his spare time with his pots and pans – having once prepared a 15-course dinner party on a day’s notice – and his trusty guitar, occasionally performing original songs in venues around Boston.

Dan graduated cum laude from Harvard with a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science and a secondary concentration in Economics.  He lives in Boston.

David Diamond

David Diamond

David has over 30 years of experience in engineering leadership, advanced manufacturing, product innovation, sales, and building global relationships. David has led several technology companies in telecommunications, military, automotive, and satellite industries. He is currently CEO of Precision Fabricators Limited.

Prior to Precision Fabricators Limited, David was VP Business Development and Strategy for Levant Power (CleanTech/Automotive), having previously served as Head of Business Development for Boston Power (Batteries/Automotive). David is formerly the cofounder and COO of Amperion (Internet/Telecom), Managing Director of Redleaf Group (Venture Capital), GM Corporate Technology Planning, Verizon (Telecom/Wireless), CEO MicroE Defense and Aerospace (Optical HW) and Division Director for the Army’s Communication Electronics Command.

David has a lifelong love of technology and innovation that he channels into his work, and that has led to numerous awards and citations from the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, publications such as Fortune Magazine, Supply Executive, and Mass High Tech, and customers and partners alike.

David has an MS/MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan Fellows), a BSEE/MSEE from Monmouth University, and a BSME from the Pennsylvania State University. He is also an SM/MBA from MIT where he is an active mentor of startup companies. David cites Marcy, his wife of over 25 years, and sons Joshua and Zachary as enduring inspirations.

Mark Ethier

Mark Ethier

Mark Ethier is the co-founder and CEO of iZotope, an industry-leading audio technology company based in Cambridge, MA. Mark holds degrees in both Music and Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and is a member of the Boston Committee for the New York Chapter of The Recording Academy®. Over the last decade, Mark has worked with many of the world’s leading musicians and audio professionals to develop innovative audio products and technology used by millions of people in over 50 countries.

iZotope was recently honored with an Emmy® Award for Outstanding Achievement in Engineering Development for its flagship audio repair suite, RX®. iZotope was also recently honored by the Boston Globe as a “Top Place to Work” and honored by the Smaller Business Association of New England (SBANE) with a 2014 Innovation Award, recognizing innovation in the field of audio technology.

Jeff Fagnan

Jeff Fagnan

Jeff Fagnan is a partner in the technology group and focuses on emerging companies in enterprise and Internet infrastructure.

Jeff is well known as a founding investor and has worked with many companies since inception.  Jeff incubated Bit9, angel funded and seeded AngelList, and co-founded Abine and Veracode.  Jeff led Atlas’ investment in Wanelo and sits on the board of DataXu, Gizmox, Hopper, Learnist, Skillz, and Whoop and has been instrumental in developing many portfolio companies’ initial business plans and go-to-market strategies.  He is responsible for leading the initial seed rounds in InsightSquared, LuckyLabs, Objective Logistics, Snapguide, and Keas.  Jeff was also a seed investor in Learnboost (acquired by Automatic), MileWise (acquired by Yahoo), Streetwise Media (acquired by ACBJ) and FeeFighters (acquired by Groupon).

Prior to joining Atlas in 2004, Jeff was a partner with Seed Capital Partners where he focused on spinning innovation out of MIT and Harvard.  While at Seed Capital, Jeff was the lead and founding investor in several companies including DataPower Technology (acquired by IBM) and Polychromix (acquired by ThermoFisher).  Before venture, Jeff worked for Booz Allen & Hamilton and Nortel Networks.

Jeff is founder and president of TUGG (Technology Underwriting Greater Good), a non-profit foundation harnessing “crowd-sourced philanthropy” to catalyze social innovation in New England.  Jeff was also a founder of Koffee for Kids, a non-profit company in Rochester, New York.  He is a prominent speaker on innovation.  In 2012 and 2013, Jeff was voted to the “Power 50″ list of most influential Bostonians in the Boston Business Journal and was also named to its “40 under 40″ list in 2009.  In 2012, Jeff was awarded the “50 on Fire” distinction by Bostinno.

Jeff received an MBA, with distinction, from the William E. Simon Graduate School of Business at the University of Rochester, and a BS from the University of Alaska.

An adventure athlete and environmental enthusiast, Jeff is a frequent mountain climber and recently completed his first IRONMAN.

Michael Foster

Michael Foster

Michael S. Foster is Co-Director of MIT VMS.  He sits on the Board of Xtalic, a company that custom tailors unique metal alloys to deliver new levels of performance, reduce use of high cost raw materials and replace toxic or unsafe materials.

Michael is a graduate chemical engineer with an MBA in international finance retired from Rohm and Haas Company (acquired by Dow Chemical April 2009) as a Corporate Vice President and President of their $600 Million Circuit Board Technologies Electronic Materials Business in 2001. Prior to his retirement, Mr. Foster held positions of increasing responsibility as Financial Director of Mexico and Central American subsidiaries, along with leadership positions in operations, marketing and mergers and acquisitions.

Presently, Mr. Foster teaches and guest lectures on the subjects of business strategy and mergers & acquisitions at Bentley University and Babson College. Mr. Foster also mentors entrepreneurs as part of MIT’s Venture Mentoring Service and is on the Board of “Design that Matters” a not for profit Social Enterprise venture based in Cambridge, MA as well as Xtalic.

Paul Franzosa

Paul is a leader and technologist specializing in embedding electronics into smart devices – today this is called the “Internet of Things”.  Paul spent much of his career doing product development, bringing novel technologies to market, developing tangible user experiences, building and leading teams at startups, and managing engineering teams in diverse, international, cross-disciplinary environments covering industries that include toys, consumer products, health care, industrial, wireless, lighting and public transit.

In another role, he followed his passion for youth empowerment and global learning as a volunteer leader and youth mentor in a number of cultural and socially active organizations. Most recently he helped build a thriving youth group at a local UU congregation.

In his “spare time” he enjoys raising his family, reading, puzzle and problem solving, game-playing, cooking, and anything to do with music.

Josh Goldfine

Josh Goldfine is a High School History Teacher in the Belmont (MA) Public Schools, where he has taught Psychology as well as World and American History since 2003. Josh led a team of teachers which developed a curriculum for teaching oral communications to high school students. Lessons were comprised of the following subtopics: engagement of the audience, posture & body language, command of material and projection & pacing.

In addition to his work as an educator, Josh is a licensed Certified Public Accountant, is involved with several charitable organizations and serves on the Board of Advisors for XperienceU, a start-up providing unique experiences for families. He is also a four-time finisher of the Boston Marathon, having raised over $60,000 for Dana-Farber and The Brain Tumor Society.

Josh lives in Needham, Massachusetts with his wife, Amy, and three children, Emma, Jake & Lindsey. He considers himself an amateur landscaper, having built a replica of Fenway Park in his backyard for his children’s – and his own – enjoyment.

Josh holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Trinity (CT) College, a Master of Arts in Teaching from Simmons College and a Master of Science in Accountancy from Bentley University.

Sasha Hoffman

Sasha Hoffman

Sasha is currently Head of Strategy and Partnerships at Plastiq, a Boston-based online payments solution provider created to offer consumers more convenient, flexible and secure payment options for credit card purchases. Prior to Plastiq, Sasha worked in the technology investment banking practices of Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Barclays Capital and the consumer investment banking practices of Lehman Brothers. She has advised on and executed a number of M&A and capital markets transactions for leading public and private companies in the Internet, social media, software, semiconductor and consumer verticals. She has worked on $100bn+ worth of transactions for such clients as Facebook, Yelp, Fusion-io, SanDisk, Jive Software, SunGard, Actel, Unilever, Altria and more. Prior to her career in finance she worked at Gucci Group (now PPR Luxury Group) and was an early employee of Apprentice-launched Theresa Kathryn. Outside of finance and fashion, she has a love for food and has spent time consulting for and investing in new restaurant concepts.

Sasha graduated summa cum laude from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Economics and Accounting. She serves on the Local Advisory Board of BUILD Boston, the Young Professionals Committee of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay, the Review Committee of the Greenlight Fund and is actively involved in several other local non-profits.

Tito Jackson

Richard P. Kivel – Director Baufest

Rich is a business leader who rapidly assesses business opportunities and builds companies through disciplined execution of strategic corporate development and operating plans. Global Operations & Finance Leader, C-Level Executive, Board Chairman, Trustee, Advisor, International Speaker & Presenter, Innovation Thought leader, Serial Entrepreneur. Global network of business, financial, government, institution and foundation contacts.

Current Boards: Executive Chair, ViS Research Institute; Trustee, Fundación Innovación Bankinter; Director, Rexahn Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: RNN); Co-Founder/Chair, Rhapsody Biologics.

Corporate: Senior Manager, Bridgewater Associates; Founding-CEO, Rhapsody Biologics; CEO, TheraGenetics; CEO, MolecularWare; VP, Interliant. Extensive experience with private and public company investors, equity analysts, investment banking firms, and the media. Sought-after speaker and panelist at major economic forums and international investor and industry conferences.

Entrepreneur: Passionate about developing high-growth companies, global entrepreneurial ecosystems, and the innovation economy. Leverage every opportunity to collaborate with like-minded global leaders. Co-founded the Singapore-based Rhapsody Biologics, committed to developing next-generation personalized vaccines.

MIT: MIT Enterprise Forum Chair & President; MIT Alumni Association Director; Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lecturer; MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition Judge; Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation Catalyst; Frontier Research Fund & Bridge Project, MIT Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research Supporter.

Business Builder: Maintain strong worldwide relationships with private and public investors, analysts and bankers to generate innovative ideas and strategies that position companies for growth and expansion. Engineer M&A transactions, secure investor funding, coordinate SEC filings, structure IPOs, establish cutting-edge technology and biotech companies.

Rich holds an M.S. in Management from Boston College, and a B.A. from American International College. Rich has completed the “Advanced Course in Genomics, Drug Discovery, Therapeutics and New Innovations” at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also a graduate of the prestigious MIT Executive Management Program, “Birthing of Giants”. He was awarded both the Mass High Tech: Journal of New England Technology: “All-Star” award for Biotechnology and the Boston Business Journal 40-under-40 award.

Brendan Kohler

Brendan Kohler is a software engineer who specializes in buiding the first products, or MVPs, for startups. His most recent startup, Seldera, was acquired in 2012. His project prior to Seldera included cyberphysical systems research at Yale and developing geophysical security systems for the Department of Homeland Security.

Brendan started his first profitable computer business at 16, but quickly found that a sustainable business model can be elusive. Years later he discovered the Lean Startup through the first Lean Startup Machine Boston. Since winning LSM Boston, he has been actively working to teach the Lean Startup methodology to companies in Boston through mentorship and workshops at organizations ranging from the Harvard Innovation Lab to Lean Startup Machine.

Brendan holds a B.S. in Computer Science from the College of Computing at Georgia Tech. He was one of the first graduates of the Threads program, with a specialization in systems and networks design.

Tito Jackson

Tito Jackson

Emcee for Youth CITIES kickoff reception

Tito Jackson became the City Councillor for District 7 on March 26, 2011. He was elected with 82% of the vote during a Special Election. Tito was raised in the Grove Hall section of Roxbury and is a proud life-long resident of District 7, which includes all of Roxbury and parts of the South End, Dorchester, Jamaica Plan and the Fenway.

Councillor Jackson is the son of Herb and Rosa Jackson, two beloved community activists. He graduated from the Universityof New Hampshire with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History. On campus, he was Student Body President and well-known for his commitment to civic engagement and social justice. Upon graduation, Tito continued his involvement with academic-related programs as a member of the UNH Alumni Board and a graduate of the Dunk The Vote Leadership Institute Initiative for Diversity in Civic Leadership. He is an active leader in youth development programs such as Citizen Schools and Anytown/The Leadership Initiative.

Tito is a much sought after public speaker at career days, motivational seminars and community events. In this capacity, he addresses youth development issues, such as how to better motivate young people to pursue careers in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) Education.

Tito spent more than 10 years as a sales and marketing professional. He won numerous awards and honors during that time. Through that experience, he developed extensive knowledge of the healthcare, technology and government sectors.

In 2007, Tito became the Industry Director for Information Technology in Governor Deval Patrick’s Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development where he was responsible for creating and sustaining jobs within Massachusetts and helping local businesses grow. As a member of the Patrick Administration, Tito brought 2,500 jobs to Massachusetts. Later, he became the political director on Governor Patrick’s successful re-election campaign in 2010. He now sits on the boards of Heading Home and the Global Citizens Circle.

As City Councillor, Tito is working on the economic revitalization of District 7, starting with The Dudley Plan. Tito knows that the key to economic recovery is entrepreneurship and facilitating a range of employment opportunities. Providing our children with world-class education is also high on Tito’s agenda.

Tito is now the Chair of the Committee of Arts, Film, Humanities and Tourism, and Vice Chair of the Post Audit & Oversight Committee. The Councillor also serves on the Committees of City and Neighborhood Services and Veteran Affairs, Education, Environment and Health, Labor, Youth Affairs and Human Rights, Ways and Means, Women & Healthy Communities, and the Special Committee on Asthma.

Carolyn S. Morrill

Mark Kampert

Mark Kampert joined Youth CITIES in November 2012, volunteering to assist with the Monthly Mini-Hack program. Since that time, his interest and commitment to the organization has grown into a position as Project Director on the startup team.

Previously, Mark spent a year with the Boston-based nonprofit, Edvance Foundation, helping the newly formed organization develop a business plan and implementation strategy. From 2006-2009, Mark served as a US Peace Corps Volunteer in Namibia. He was recognized for his success as a teacher and project manager in the rural village of Andara and invited to extend his stay to serve as Educational Officer for Continuous Professional Development at Namibia’s National Institute for Educational Development. In this role, he helped lead the design of a national program for novice teacher mentoring and induction and, also, devised the five-year implementation plan for mentor teacher training.

Mark is the founder of Computers for Kavango, a nonprofit fund that established twelve computer labs and trained out-of-school youth across the Kavango Region of Namibia. He graduated from Bucknell University with bachelor’s degrees in Mathematics and Classics. In 2011, Mark was awarded a Peace Corps Fellowship to pursue an MBA at Duquesne University, where he was honored by faculty with the Donahue Graduate School of Business Living Our Values award and elected by classmates as student commencement speaker.

Warren Katz

Warren co-founded MÄK Technologies with John Morrison in 1990 and acted as chief operating officer for 16 years. In December 2006, MÄK was acquired by VT Systems of Alexandria, Virginia at which time Katz became chief executive officer. Katz is a noted industry advocate of open interoperability standards and commercial business models in Department of Defense procurement. Katz also has expertise in the collaboration between the defense and video game industries.

He is a prolific author of articles, reports and papers, and frequent speaker on these subjects. He holds two patents on a low-cost eye-tracking device and one patent on a networking protocol for simulated distributed force-feedback. Katz was six-term chairman of the Simulation Interoperability Standards Organization, the international not-for-profit consortium that manages the process for developing open interoperability standards for synthetic environments.

From 1987 to 1990, Katz worked for Bolt, Beranek, and Newman on the SIMNET project. Katz was the resident drive train simulation expert, responsible for mathematical modeling of physical systems. Katz holds dual bachelor’s degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Katz is a mentor at TechStars.  He is also an investor in Bolt, an accelerator program that focuses on helping hardware startups grow.

Mike Lake

Mike Lake

Michael is the Executive Director of the World Class Cities Partnership at Northeastern University. As ED, Michael establishes and develops relationships with governments and universities around the world, creating a global network of partner cities dedicated to implementing public policy to address shared challenges facing 21st century cities. Michael’s career in public service has spanned from serving two United States Presidents as Special Assistant for White House Operations to serving the former Prime Minister of Ireland as a policy research analyst and most recently serving as Director of Development for United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley.

A native of Melrose, Massachusetts, Michael was the first and only graduate in history from Northeastern University or the state of Massachusetts to have completed five undergraduate degrees simultaneously. He graduated summa cum laude studying Finance, Political Science, Communications, Entrepreneurship and Management Information Systems. Michael also serves as a Board member for the Neighborhood Organization for Affordable Housing (NOAH), a Boston Representative for the German Marshall Fund’s Transatlantic Cities Network, a member of the Boston Public Library’s Young Professionals Committee, and the Executive Director of Northeastern’s College of Business Talent Development Committee. Michael is involved in a number of other charitable organizations.

Maria Malavenda

Maria Malavenda

Maria believes Innovation is a mindset, not a skill set. She has worked with a multitude of individuals and companies with the intent of helping to inspire and motivate them to sustain, grow, and succeed. With experience running strategy, corporate development, marketing and operations for large, mid-sized and start-up corporations, Maria spent the last 15 years as an advisor and Senior Executive of life sciences, financial services, technology and media/entertainment companies. As a Management Consulting Partner, COO & CMO, she has raised over $2B in seed, venture capital, Private Equity, IPO and post IPO financings’ and achieved considerable returns for investors. She has founded, grown, turned around, bought and sold companies and taken them public. 

She continues to apply what she has learned in helping the businesses she is engaged with improve their performance and avoid mistakes.

Maria’s love and passion for her community where she lives and works and the passion for inspiring youth and adults alike is evident in her activities outside her normal work week as a Board member for Future Boston Alliance, Health Jump, and Quincy Center for Innovation.

Maria is a graduate from Brown University, University of CT School of Business and Harvard Business School Executive Program. In her off hours she enjoys travel, dance, the arts, and of course keeping up with the newest fashion trends.

Adam McGowan

Adam McGowan

Adam McGowan is the founder and CEO of, a venture that helps innovators validate and execute their early stage ideas through a combination of strategy consulting and agile development of web and mobile applications.

His experience with entrepreneurship began when he co-founded his first venture from his Harvard dorm room more than 15 years ago. Following graduation, Adam worked as both an investment banker and hedge fund analyst for the better part of a decade.

Since founding Firefield, Adam has helped dozens of innovators. Based on the stage of the venture and the unique needs of the team, Adam has taken on varied roles – from Head of Product or CTO for funded startups to acting as a product creator, collaborator, and advisor for teams looking to turn a diagram on a napkin into a sustainable business.  On any given day, Adam may find himself brainstorming a venture’s next minimum viable product, pitching to an investor group, or whiteboarding a go-to-market strategy.

In addition to his involvement with YouthCITIES, Adam’s participation in the entrepreneurial ecosystem includes mentoring at LearnLaunchX and Lean Startup Challenge. He also teaches various workshops regularly at both and General Assembly. In order to help as many innovators as he can, Adam also shares his experience and advice via Firefield’s weekly office hours and volunteers as Boston’s ambassador for CoFoundersLab.

Ravi Mehta

Ravi Mehta

Ravi has over 15 years of experience in the digital media and interactive entertainment space. Currently Ravi is founder, Slidevana; Director of Consumer Product, TripAdvisor.

Shortly before college, Ravi founded his first venture, Terminal Sunset Software—an entertainment & multimedia software firm that commercially published four products in the United States and Japan. Subsequently, Ravi joined Microsoft’s Entertainment & Devices division where he led the MSN Gaming Zone’s retail game business, defined strategy for Xbox Live as an early member of the Xbox team, led several MMO initiatives, and served as Producer for Mass Effect.

After Microsoft, Ravi was appointed COO of AdvisorNow, a VC-backed startup using advanced SEM algorithms to provide lead generation services to financial services clients such as Forbes and Morningstar.

Ravi is an advisor to Fire Hose Games, a Cambridge-based video game studio focused on the downloadable game market and an advisor to The Tap Lab, a location-based mobile social game company. He holds MBA from MIT Sloan and a BS in Computer Engineering from Boston University.

Ravi is also the creator of Slidevana, a presentation toolkit that enables presenters to quickly create powerful and effective presentations.

Ravi Mehta

Jay Moody

Jay Moody has been leading the innovation programs of publicly traded companies for the last 6 years, and is now working with nonprofits to bring innovation and entrepreneurship skills to Boston-area youth.  In 2000, after a postdoctoral fellowship at MIT in the Research Lab of Electronics, he helped launch a web-based startup called Vistaprint, which he helped grow to 3,000 employees and $2B market capitalization within 10 years.  At Vistaprint, Jay led the New Products Group, and then conceived and directed Vistaprint’s Innovation Program.

In 2011, Jay joined Intuit (maker of TurboTax, QuickBooks, etc.) as an Innovation Leader in the Grassroots Innovation Group, where he led several innovation initiatives including Lean Startup Workshops and Intuit’s Entrepreneur Challenge, a program designed to help employees launch new lines of business for the company.  Jay is now applying innovation strategies developed in corporate environments to solve problems outside of the corporate world. He teaches courses in innovation to middle schoolers via Citizen Schools and is advising other nonprofits on innovation and entrepreneurship.  Jay holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry, a master’s in Japanese Language Pedagogy, and a Ph.D. in Cognitive Science.  He lives with his wife and three basketball-loving boys in Wayland, MA.

Boris Mordkovich

Boris is the co-founder of EVELO Electric Bicycle company. As a serial entrepreneur specializing in technology and alternative transportation, his goal is to get more people on bikes more often.

His current company, EVELO, offers stylish, long-range electric bicycles that make cycling more attractive and accessible for commuting, exercising, and recreational opportunities in an environmentally friendly manner.

Prior to EVELO, Boris helped launch RelayRides – the world’s first person-to-person carsharing organization, which garnered a $13 million investment from Google and has expanded to multiple cities across the US. He also contributed to Tour d’Afrique, a bicycle adventure company organizing and leading trans-continental cycling expeditions in Africa and other remote destinations. Boris has also been a Kiva fellow, helping to arrange micro-loans in a number of third-world nations.

Boris is passionate about startups, smart technology, and helping people live a more fulfilling and enjoyable lifestyle.

Chad O'Connor

Carolyn S. Morrill

Accomplished life science executive search professional Carolyn Morrill is tasked with overseeing Cytel’s human capital management including all aspect of talent management and organization development.  With more than 20 years of retained executive search experience, she has facilitated the growth of many early and late-stage companies by helping them to attract and retain top talent.

Most recently, Cary Morrill was a Cook Associates Executive Search Vice President where she executed assignments for multinational corporations and leading private equity and venture capital firms.

Prior to Cook Associates, Cary was Managing Partner of Barrack Hill Partners, a retained search and human resources consulting firm she co-founded in 2001. Her earlier career included senior positions with executive search firms Christian and Timbers (now CT Partners), OakBridge (based in Tokyo), Executive Alliance and Chestnut Hill Partners.  She entered search following a successful career in management consulting with  Arthur D. Little and International Data Corporation.

Cary’s interests reflect her passion for entrepreneurship and mentoring. She remains involved with MIT’s Venture Mentoring Service, Babson’s Center for Women’s Leadership Program and YouthCITIES.  She is a board member of the New Art Center, and an advisory board member of NEADS and Second Chance Rescue.

Cary graduated from the University of Wisconsin and holds an MA from Columbia University.

Chad O'Connor

Chad O’Connor

Chad O’Connor teaches Organizational Communication & Culture courses in undergraduate and graduate programs in Communication Studies at Northeastern University, where he is also a communications advisor for NU IDEA, Northeastern’s accelerator program.

Chad serves as primary editor of the Global Business Hub blog on, begun while Chad was a volunteer with civic nonprofit Boston World Partnerships but continuing beyond the organization’s sunset in the fall of 2012. Chad is also an active volunteer on the WCCP’s MassAction unCommittee, helping to launch Innovation Week in 2012 and in 2013. He consults for public, private and nonprofit clients in the areas of internal and external communication strategies and executive messaging and serves on the Advisory Board of REEL Entrepreneurs, a startup documenting the entrepreneurial ecosystem through video.
Chad is a graduate alumnus of Emerson College and undergraduate alumnus of UMass Amherst. He is a devoted fan of hardcore punk, old Jamaican ska and reggae, and the Yo! MTV Raps era of hip hop amongst many other styles. He enjoys taking his dog to the park, discussing all things Boston sports, and discovering craft beers.

Chad O'Connor

Tom O’Donnell

Tom is currently a full-time Visiting Faculty member at the Manning School of Business at UMass Lowell. He teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in New Venture Planning & Implementation, Managing Innovation, Corporate Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management. He is also actively engaged in mentoring student teams interested in starting new ventures and expanding the innovation and entrepreneurship programs on campus for students, researchers and faculty.

In addition, Tom is also Vice President, Business Development for Product Genesis, a Cambridge, MA – based strategic innovation management consulting company that works with Global 1000 clients to develop systematic and analytical approaches to delivering customized, high impact, technology-based innovation. In this role, Tom works directly with senior executives from a range of industries to guide them through the process of identifying, developing and commercializing innovative new business opportunities.

Prior to Product Genesis, Tom was Director, Business Development for TIAX, LLC, a Cambridge, MA – based technology processing company that transforms emerging innovations into technology platforms ready for interactive hand-off to established companies. TIAX’s primary technology areas included energy & energy storage systems, advanced materials / nano-materials, green chemistry and building / appliance systems. In his role reporting to TIAX’s President, Tom focused on identifying and developing new business opportunities for TIAX, including technology development and commercialization partnerships with established companies, marketing partnerships with industry organizations and research partnerships with university labs.

Prior to TIAX, Tom spent 14 years at Cisco Systems, Inc. in sales, business development and consulting roles. Most recently, Tom was a Senior Business Development Manager within the Technology Center Group, an internal advanced technology and market opportunity incubator for Cisco. In collaboration with Technology Center’s advanced engineering team, Tom focused on identifying and developing emerging technology and market opportunities for Cisco.

Previously at Cisco, Tom held leadership roles in the technical sales organization on the Enterprise, Service Provider and Channel teams. Prior to Cisco, Tom was a senior network consultant for Bolt Beranek and Newman’s (BBN’s) Systems and Technologies Division in Cambridge, MA and a system engineer for GTE Government Systems in Needham, MA.

Tom holds a B.S.E.E. from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, M.S. Computer Engineering from Boston University and M.S. Management from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

In addition, Tom is a Board Member for the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge, a mentor with MIT’s Venture Mentoring Service (VMS), a member of the Research Advisory Board for the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative’s (MTC) John Adams

Katie Rae

Katie Rae

Katie Rae is the Managing Director of TechStars in Boston, and is also a founder of Project 11, a firm that invests in and assists early-stage startups. Katie specializes in rapid product development and customer growth strategies for Internet businesses that scale.

She has spent her career building significant Internet businesses in the community, self-publishing and search spaces. Most recently she was the Head of Product for Microsoft Startup Labs, an early stage product development lab focused on collaboration, location-based services and social applications, where concepts were tested for consumer enthusiasm. Before that she was SVP of Product at Eons, a business focused on new products for 50+ community. Katie pioneered early freemium business models at Lycos for the Tripod and Angelfire communities. She learned the ropes of product and business development at AltaVista, RagingBull, Zip2 and Mirror Worlds.

She holds an MBA from Yale University and a BA in Biology from Oberlin College.

Todd Reily

Todd has over 13 years of professional experience working in industry and the public sector with focus on the interaction between humans and technology and the design of innovative solutions. His skills range from design consulting and innovation leadership to the detailed development, design, and animation of user experiences. He is currently the Principal Design Engineer at APX Labs, designing user experiences the Skylight “smart glasses” software platform.

Todd holds a Master of Science in Engineering and Management with a focus on System Design from MIT. His thesis, entitled “User Experience Design of Complex Systems”, focused on the user experience of products and service ecosystems. In this work, he applied the design principles and Human Factors Engineering to the principles of systems theory for optimal user experience design in the face of complexity.

Todd also holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Psychology from Tufts University where he served as President of the Tufts Chapter of the Human Factors & Ergonomics Society, received the De Florez Prize in Human Engineering, and was a member of the Varsity Football Team.

He currently lives outside Boston with his wife, newborn daughter, and two dogs.

Specialties: Creative/Design Leadership, User Experience Design (e.g. Concept Animations, Detailed Interface Design, etc.), System Design, User Research (e.g. Ethnographic Observation)

Sara Remsen

Sara Remsen

Sara Remsen is a scientist and entrepreneur working at the intersection of biology, education, multimedia, and design. She has experience in strategic thinking, data analysis, and project management. She has been recognized for love of collaborating to generate creative solutions, especially for K-12 and higher education. Her goal is to inspire intellectual curiosity through 3D visualization.

Sara works at Boundless Learning as a Content Associate. She has previously worked as a Project Assistant at the Concord Consortium and as a high school Biology teacher at Noble and Greenough School. Sara graduated from Dartmouth in 2012 with a major in biology and a minor in digital arts.

Dan Ross

Dan Ross

Dan Ross has more than 20 years executive experience in the technology industry. Dan currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Options Media at Cellular Spyware, Inc. and serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Promisec Limited. Prior to that, Dan served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Illume Software Inc which develops solutions that leverage location to power high-value applications and services.

Before Illume Software, Ross was managing partner of Maxis Capital in Boston, a global private equity firm where he served on the Investment and Management Committee and led private equity investments in Information Technology and Software sectors.  Dan was also a member of CommonAngels, an organization of successful entrepreneurs in the software, information technology and internet business communities. Over the past decade as CEO, Ross led the turnaround of middle-market software and services companies including Optiant, Manna and DarwinSuzsoft (now Dextrys), which became one of the top three U.S.-based Chinese offshore IT services companies. As senior executive at OpenMarket, Ross played a major role in building the company to become the global market leader in e-commerce and taking it public for the most successful IPO on NASDAQ during 1996.   Dan was also an Entrepreneur in Residence at GrandBanks Capital.

Previously, Ross led the financial and operational turnaround of Picturetel, where he doubled profitable revenues to $500 million in less than two years. In his 16 years at Digital Equipment Corporation, Ross held various senior management positions building several units to over $2 billion in profitable revenue.

Dan formerly served as Director of the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, where he is a past board member, and serves as an advisor to the MATCH school in Boston. He has lectured at MIT Sloan School, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Babson College on Entrepreneurship speaking on the topic of how to make money while serving the greater good. Dan holds a B.S. from the Wharton School of Finance. He Graduated from INSEAD.

Dana Samuels

Dana Samuels

Dana Samuels is the Executive Director of TUGG (Technology Underwriting Greater Good), a nonprofit dedicated to catalyzing and spreading social entrepreneurship in New England. By harnessing the power of the region’s technology ecosystem to source, screen and fund social innovation, TUGG helps young people to realize their full potential through entrepreneurship, education and life experiences.

Dana joined Atlas Venture in 2007 as Investor Relations Director. Prior to joining Atlas Venture, she was a senior research associate at Cambridge Associates, an investment consulting and research firm. While at Cambridge Associates, Dana was responsible for analyzing private equity partnerships as part of the firm’s non-marketable alternative assets group. Prior to this, she was a finance associate in the private equity group at Bain Capital. Dana holds a BA from Lafayette College.

Walter Somol

Walter Somol

Walter uses his 18 years of business and legal experience, including 10 years in the gaming industry, to run one of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business Development and Publishing teams. Walter’s role at Microsoft as Director, Tech Community Outreach, combines structuring and negotiating complex strategic partnerships, evaluating new business models, driving online business via Xbox LIVE, publishing/distributing new video games and developing and fostering long-term relationships with partners. Walter has worked with many of the top tier Xbox 360, PC, online and mobile publishers and developers.
Prior to Microsoft, Walter served as Director of Business Development/Business Affairs at Atari, where he worked directly with the publisher and marketing organizations to bring Atari’s games to market. Previously, he represented developers, creatives and licensors in providing their content to entertainment companies and protecting their intellectual property. An avid gamer, Walter began in the interactive business by working on total conversion for Quake 3, building some of the more popular levels and creating and animating character models.

Kent Summers

Kent Summers

Kent is Managing Partner of PCA (Practical Computer Applications), a nationally-recognized database application consulting and design-build engineering firm. Kent joined in January 2005 to lead business development planning and management activities. Prior to PCA, Kent was a Partner with Garofalo & Associates LLC, a Boston-based investment banking boutique, where he developed and negotiated the sale of a number of early- and mid-stage technology companies. From 1991 thru 2001, Mr. Summers served as Chairman & CEO of Collego Corporation (acquired by MRO Software), founder and CEO of MyHelpdesk, Inc. (acquired by PC Support, Inc.), and VP of Marketing at Electronic Book Technologies (acquired by INSO Corporation).

Prior to the software industry, Kent worked as an Options Trader on the Proprietary Trading Desk at Bear Stearns & Co in NYC, and served as a Technology Analyst at EJV Partners LLC. A graduate from the University of Houston (BA English), Kent is a co-founding member of the World-Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Technical Advisory Board (MIT 1994), and served as past Director with the X Consortium and OASIS.

Kent is an active Mentor with the MIT Venture Mentoring Services program, serves as a board member and advises a number of early-stage software companies in the Boston area.

Eliza Wentworth

Eliza Wentworth

Eliza Wentworth has worked as a freelance multimedia producer for 15 years.  Eliza worked as an audio engineer and Web Designer at Wesleyan University.  Upon graduation, she worked as the Press and Marketing Coordinator for Wesleyan’s Center for Fine Arts.  Four years of filmmaking and website production for clients such as Novartis followed in New York City.  San Francisco was the next stop where she set-up the media lab at Singularity University and continued pushing the boundaries of digital production by working on Stereoscopic 3d environments for Neurofocus (a Nielson Company).  For the last few years Eliza has been producing intranet and social media tools, interactive lab portals, 3d data visualization and scientific game design in Boston.  She also went back to school to study science in order to improve her ability to produce innovative digital projects that explore scientific concepts.

Steve Willis

Steve Willis

Steve is currently a consultant to various startups providing financial, management and technical support. In 2010, he co-founded Overlook Networks, a networking company focused on data center networking.

Previously, he served as the VP of Advanced Technology at Datapower, and drove the development of a hardware-based XML processor. The company developed high performance XML processing and transformation engines for web based services, and was sold to IBM in 2005.

Prior to Datapower, Steve co-founded Argon Networks, a maker of Internet core switch/routers. He led the architecture effort to build a large, hardware-based IP router and ATM switch supporting OC48c interfaces. Argon was eventually purchased by Siemens.

He also co-founded Wellfleet Communications, a pioneering Internet router company, and became the Director of Software Development. He started Wellfleet’s Advanced Engineering Group, which developed leading edge technology Internet and ATM standards and technology, such as the silicon-based forwarding engine for the next generation of Wellfleet technology. Steve has a BS in BDIC/Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts. He is a member of the MIT Venture Mentoring Service, and a board member at Solano Labs, among other advisory boards in the Boston area.

Steve holds nine patents in the field of computer networking. He is also a member of the Common Angels.

Ken Zolot

Ken Zolot

Ken Zolot is a senior fellow for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, where he is working with senior Kauffman leaders to develop the Foundation’s new initiative, Kauffman Laboratories for Enterprise Creation. The mission of Kauffman Labs is to accelerate the number and success of high-growth, scale firms. Combining a wealth of experience teaching innovation and entrepreneurship in academic settings with first-hand, practical experience as a serial entrepreneur, Zolot is uniquely positioned for this role.

Zolot is the founder of MIT’s Innovation Teams program—a partnership with MIT’s Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation—where multidisciplinary teams of students collaborate with MIT lab directors, evaluating go-to-market strategies for breakthrough discoveries. He also co-teaches the X-Prize Lab class at MIT, in partnership with The X-Prize Foundation. Zolot’s teaching and mentoring have guided numerous MIT-spawned companies, including A123 Systems, Arch Therapeutics, Brontes3D, HubSpot, Myomo, QD Vision, Robopsy, Saaf Water, Semprus Biosciences (fka SteriCoat), Vertica Systems, and Visible Measures.

In addition to his work at MIT, Zolot has held full-time founding roles in several startups, most recently Heartland Robotics, which he co-founded in 2008. In 2000, Zolot co-founded Egenera, Inc., which was named to Red Herring’s list of “100 companies most likely to change the world.” Zolot’s previous startup, Geer Zolot Associates—a spinoff from MIT Project Athena—developed network security software for electronic trading and commerce, and designed the Internet security architecture for much of the financial services industry. Zolot’s first startup was Spectra Communications, specializing in satellite telecommunications.

Zolot serves on the global Board of the MIT Enterprise Forum. He also is an advisor to the MIT Portugal Program and launched Portugal’s BioEngineering Innovation program. He served as a research scientist at the MIT Media Lab, and was instrumental in the creation of the Center for the Future of Banking. Zolot also was a director of Yoga301, which focused on advancing the art, science, and practice of the timeless discipline of yoga. Zolot holds a Master of Science degree from MIT in management of technology. His undergraduate work was at Syracuse University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy.