- Events and Networking
Joan Affleck, M.A., M.B.A., is Executive Director, Head of Medical Writing, Merck & Co., Inc. Joan has 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. She joined Merck 4 years ago to build a superb team to develop clinical regulatory documentation and informed consent in support of the innovative and science-driven pipeline. In this new environment she has had support to enable her game-changing work in the management of clinical information, focused authoring, and improving patient-facing materials. Promoting educated consent is one of Joan’s passions and she is involved in several activities to improve the consent process.
Joan has served as an advisor to TransCelerate initiatives, as a member of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association Circle of Advisors, and as the Chair of the 2018 inaugural meeting of the American Medical Writers Association’s Medical Writing Executives Forum. In 2018, she was named a Lang Center Innovation Fellow of Columbia University, where she is a regular guest lecturer. She is a Registered Nurse and holds an MBA from Columbia University, has been a member of two American record-setting track relay teams (4×400, 4×800), and lived in Paris, France for 9 nine years.
Michael Auerbach is a Senior Vice President at Albright Stonebridge Group, where he specializes in working with financial services clients and in special projects which provide strategic intelligence, advisory, and risk management services.
He previously served as a Vice President at global risk consultancy Control Risks. A dot-com bubble veteran, Mr. Auerbach started his career in technology, running Panopticon Inc., a VC incubator concentrating on internet and mobile technology.
Mr. Auerbach held senior positions at the Center for American Progress and The Century Foundation, where he concentrated on issues related to U.S. Foreign Policy, National Security, and Conflict Resolution. His work has been published in a variety of national and international publications. He has also served as a Visiting Professor at the New School for Social Research, and has taught at the University of Cape Town and Cyprus College. Mr. Auerbach is a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations, a National Security Fellow at the Truman National Security Project, and sits on the board of the Theodore C. Sorensen Center for International Peace and Justice. Through his role as General Partner of Subversive Capital, Mr. Auerbach holds board director seats at numerous start-up companies, with a focus on disruptive companies which face regulatory challenges.
Mr. Auerbach has served as an advisor to the Wargaming departments of both Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and the RAND Corporation.
He received a M.A. in International Relations from Columbia University and a B.A. in Critical Theory from the New School for Social Research.
Mr. Auerbach is based in New York City, NY.
David Beale has been the Founder and CEO of several companies with extensive experience in fast-growing multi-location business-to-business service companies, as well as leading and integrating acquisitions. He has a proven track record of value creation through combining vision and pragmatism. David often serves as an advisor and investor to emerging entrepreneurial companies. Where appropriate, he seeks to access institutional funding at all layers of the capital structure. In recent assignments involving the Coworking space, he functioned as CEO and/or CGO of various coworking companies. Most recently, David has been focused on productizing strategic partnerships between select coworking operators and owners of commercial real estate.
From 1986-2000, David was the founder and CEO of Vantas Business Centers, a flexible workspace company providing furnished office space and business support services. He grew Vantas from a single location to over 210 locations on three continents, prior to the merger with HQ Global Workplaces in 2000. He took the business from startup to over $290 million in run rate revenue and $46 million in run rate EBITDA. Raising a total of $230 million in equity and debt he made 37 acquisitions over a four-year period and improved the operating results of the acquired locations on average by over 30% in the first year. As a result of the merger with HQ/Regus, he actualized significant ROI for all shareholders.
In the past, David has been a member of the Board of Directors for Nobel Learning Communities and HQ Global Workplaces and has been an active member of Young Presidents Organization - YPO.
David graduated from Long Island University with a BS in Marketing and Management.
Pamela Bell founded prinkshop to prove a model she calls “creative capitalism.” prinkshop creates advocacy graphics for our most pressing social issues and then translates them on to products that allow customers to wear what they care about. prinkshop produces in the USA and aims to create jobs at the same time as it spreads awareness and a passion for change. In the creative capitalism model, a business can be at once profitable and socially beneficial.
Prior to prinkshop Pamela was a founding partner of the global, iconic brands Kate Spade and Jack Spade. Her role there included leading and following, depending on the year, and spanned the scope of production management, retail store development, e-commerce, merchandising multiple products, global licensing, and retail design & roll-out, product development, and merchandising. She and her three partners sold the company to Neiman Marcus in 2006. The partners honored their midwestern values in developing Kate Spade beginning in 1993; creating thousands of jobs and were known in the industry as the company whose growth was least leveraged: Kate Spade did not run on credit and did not borrow to grow. The partners financed the business for 15 years on savings and earnings alone.
Pamela currently sits on the board of Project Renewal, a 50 million dollar homeless agency in New York City. There, Pamela co-founded the Bowery Arts Project. The Project’s volunteers teach art classes to homeless addicts at the non-medical detox unit at Project Renewal’s East 3rd street location www.boweryartsproject.org Pamela also sits on the Board of The American Theatre Wing, is a Tony voter and is a new member of the 3Generations board, a non-profit dedicated to helping survivors tell their stories to the world using film.
Evan Bienstock provides counsel and guidance to companies in all stages of their life cycles, from the seed of an idea to its execution and funding, and eventual exit. He works closely with founders, investors, boards, and entrepreneurs across a wide range of technologies.
Evan has handled and negotiated hundreds of venture capital and private equity financings for those providing and seeking capital. In addition, he is well-versed in corporate governance, securities laws and mergers, and acquisitions, and regularly advises clients through complex exit transactions. And with a home in Brooklyn's DUMBO neighborhood (a nexus for many tech startups), Evan’s roots are firmly planted in the New York City startup community.
In addition to his work for the firm, Evan often serves as a mentor to the startup community, writing, speaking, and leading seminars on legal and business issues for various groups, incubators, and accelerators in and around NYC. He is co-author of Fenwick’s Convertible Debt Terms - Survey of Market Trends 2019, a report that provides insight into what is market in convertible note terms of interest to founders, board members, and investors.
Marcus Brauchli is co-founder and managing partner of North Base Media, a global venture-capital firm that invests in innovative media and technology. Its portfolio includes leading digital media players in Indonesia, India, the Philippines and Mexico, as well as global media brands like Minute Media, Atlas Obscura, and media-tech platforms like Piano, OpenSlate and Syte.
Before co-founding NBM, Mr. Brauchli was The Washington Post’s executive editor. During his tenure, the Post became a digital-news leader and extended its record of journalistic excellence with seven Pulitzer Prizes. Mr. Brauchli came to the Post from a long career at The Wall Street Journal, where he was the top editor, responsible for the Journal globally, as well as the Dow Jones Industrial Average and MarketWatch, the financial website. He was the Journal’s national editor on Sept. 11, 2001, and helped to guide its Pulitzer-winning coverage that day. Before that, Mr. Brauchli spent 15 years as a Journal correspondent and bureau chief in Asia and Europe, living in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo and Stockholm. He left the Journal in 2008 after its acquisition by News Corp.
Mr. Brauchli is a native of Boulder, Colo., and a 1983 graduate of Columbia University. He was a 1991-92 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. He has served on the boards of the Overseas Press Club, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong, the Knight-Bagehot Fellowships at Columbia University and the International Center for Journalists. He is chairman of the Arthur F. Burns Fellowship, a U.S.-German exchange program, and a trustee of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. He also is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Washington Economic Club.
Michel Brogard is Founder and Managing Partner of Lalaye Investments, LLC. During 2019-2020 Michel was CEO, Americas for $20BN London-based hedge fund CQS. From 2005 to 2015, Michel was a Managing Partner, COO, CFO and Head of Business Development at Amber Capital, a New York and London-based hedge fund he co-founded in 2005. In 2012, Michel founded Lalaye Investments, LLC., a private investment partnership.
Prior to 2005, Michel was a Managing Director with Credit Suisse First Boston in New York. Before this, he held senior positions with Paribas, HSBC Securities, Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers. Since 2003, Michel has served as a Trustee, Executive Committee member and chair of the Finance Committee and the Endowment Committee of the Lycee Francais de New York. Michel also chairs the Investment Committee of the NY French American Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the Board of Advisers of the Chazen Institute at Columbia Business School. From 2007 to 2011, and again in 2019-2020, Michel served as an elected Board Member of the Washington-based MFA-Managed Funds Association, the advocate for the global hedge fund industry.
Michel earned his degree in Mechanical Engineering at INSA Strasbourg, France in 1984 and his MBA at Columbia University in 1986. In 2008 the French Minister of Education awarded Michel the title of Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Academiques.
Dominick Correale is a visionary creative director with over three decades of experience designing corporate identities and building brand awareness for a range of companies – from start-up to legacy brands.
Most recently, Dominick consulted with a global private label manufacturer of retail and promotional products, as well as an emerging co-working venture startup, and helped architect their creative design, business development and marketing plans.
Dominick spent the majority of his career at Avon Products, Inc., one of the world’s leading direct selling company with operations in over 100 countries. Dominick led the brand and identity development for this dynamic, purpose-driven brand that is dedicated to the empowerment of women. He built the company’s first centralized corporate identity function to drive consistent, resonant branding across the enterprise, and also managed a network of agency partners to produce all visual assets, including web site design, social media, broadcast commercials, and print media, as well as global relations programs.
Dominick is most proud of his work leading the creative vision for the Avon Foundation for Women, the world’s largest corporate foundation for women’s causes, with a focus on ending breast cancer and domestic violence. As the creative partner to the Foundation, Dominick designed disruptive consumer engagement campaigns that drove critical awareness and raised over $1 billion in funds to support these important women’s causes.
Dominick holds a Bachelor of Arts in Commercial and Advertising Art from the School of Visual Arts in NYC. He actively mentors high school and college students in their pursuit of creative careers, and serves as a Columbia Innovation Fellow for the Columbia Business School.
Michael Costa is a Board Member, Strategic/M&A Advisor and Startup Investor/Mentor. He is a Senior-Level Professional who has deep experience and a proven track record as a Strategic/ M&A Advisor, Board Member and Start-Up Investor/Mentor. With 25 years of investment banking leadership, he has served as a Financial Advisor to multiple boards of directors in the technology, media and telecommunications industries and successfully directed the mergers, acquisitions and corporate restructurings for globally recognized businesses on transformative transactions totaling in excess of $300B.
During a nearly 10-year tenure as a key independent director for Scripps Networks Interactive, he fostered corporate strategies toward the achievement of significant milestones for this publicly traded lifestyle media company with leading brands HGTV, the Food Network and the Travel Channel. From the spin off from its legacy newspaper parent to its acquisition by Discovery 10 years later, he oversaw the creation in excess of $6B in value.
Over the last three years, he has sourced, cultivated and mentored over 50 startups in the digital media, SaaS, gaming and entertainment sectors resulting in several investments with an average capital raise of $1.5mm and a pre- money valuation of $8mm. He is quite active in the NYC Metro area ecosystem for entrepreneurs as a member with New York Angels and an AI Leadership Council Member with r4 Technologies.
Meghan Cross Breeden is a Partner at Amplifyher Ventures, investing in early-stage businesses with diverse leadership teams. Previously, as the first Managing Partner of Red Bear Angels, she built the firm’s investment strategy and operations, leading 25+ investments including Lyft. Meghan received her venture training from Foundation Capital and Bowery Capital. Prior to investing, she was an early Director at StyleCaster, Inc (acq. She Knows Media), a lifestyle publication that pioneered the convergence of media and technology. Meghan received her B.S. from Cornell University in Fiber Science and M.B.A. from Columbia Business School. She resides in New York City where she serves on the junior boards for Lincoln Center and Facing History.
With a background in education, leadership and finance, Melina Denebeim has a passion for empowering people and organizations to reach their highest potential. In 2019 she launched MFL Coaching LLC to provide coaching, training and educational consulting to executives and organizations. Her “passion practices” include communication, leadership, street smart finance, teambuilding and change management. She also is a divorce coach helping people to restructure their lives through divorce and manage the divorce process. In her capacity as an educator, she directs the Program for Financial Studies (PFS) at Columbia Business School. The PFS bridges academia and industry in the realm of finance & economics, with a focus on creating content and bringing together leaders in the cross-over of finance & economics into data science, analytics, technology and innovation.
One of her current projects at MFL Coaching includes creating the “Business of Life” curriculum that includes over 20 modules organized thematically into business values & principles, “street smart finance” and personal finance. Melina has a vision of addressing the financial education gap in the U.S. education and social value system through her curriculum, which can be applied in the public and private sectors.
Prior to her work as a coach and educator she worked in capital markets and M&A advisory for 8 years at banks including Credit Suisse and Guggenheim Partners. Melina has co-authored a Columbia CaseWorks technical note on LBO Valuation. At the business school she facilitates an NYC immersion course for MBA and EMBA students titled “Creative Destruction in Financial Services” and created a seminar on leadership in investment banking, held each spring through the career management center.
Melina earned an MBA from Columbia Business School and a BA in English Literature from Georgetown University. She is also trained through the Neuroleadership Institute in brain-based coaching. Melina is an advisor to Savvy Ladies, an organization that provides free financial education and resources to women with the goal of empowering them to achieve financial independence.
Al Drewes ’82 is the Director of the Executives in Residence Program at the Columbia Business School He brings over 35 years of executive experience with both global public and private equity portfolio companies in the consumer products space. Most recently he was the Chief Operating Officer of the Sun Products Corporation. Sun was a portfolio company owned by the private equity sponsor, Vestar Capital Partners.
Al joined Sun in 2012 at a time when the company was struggling. Responsible for supply chain, finance, procurement, IT, and customer service, he led the turnaround of the company through productivity and topline growth initiatives resulting in a highly successful monetization. In 2016, Sun was sold to Henkel AG for $3.6 Billion, a 12.9x multiple of EBITDA and one of the five largest private equity monetizations that year. Prior to joining Sun Products, Al was the Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the Pepsi Bottling Group for nine years. PBG was a $13.2 Billion NYSE company with operations across the globe. During his tenure as CFO, Al led initiates including multibillion-dollar acquisitions in Mexico and Russia, successfully navigating the 2008 financial crisis while generating 10% CAGR EPS growth and a nearly 4x improvement in stock price.
Prior to Sun, he held multiple leadership positions with PepsiCo, including CFO, VP of Manufacturing Operations, General Manager of Sub Sahara Africa, and VP of Planning and Business Development with PepsiCo International. He previously was a member of the Board of Directors and Chair of the Audit Committee of Tab Foods Investments, based in Istanbul. He was formerly a Director of the Meredith Corporation. Al took his BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts and his MBA from Columbia, where he was Class Respondent.
Woody Driggs: An accomplished consultant and member of the Digital 50, Woody’s wavespace™ team supports clients by helping them build capabilities, platforms, and culture they need to transform their businesses from “doing” digital to “being” digital. He joined EY to build the marketing, sales, and service consulting business, where he focused on customer experience transformation – the heart of EY’s digital transformation service.
Prior to joining EY, he helped clients across many different industries to build and deploy large scale business/technology platforms to manage their enterprise. He helped clients through large scale implementations of enterprise requirements planning, customer relationship management, and product lifecycle management solutions.
Woody received his BA in Computer Science from Boston College.
Deborah Dugan (strategic leader, exemplary visionary) is a social impact innovator and entrepreneur who uses creative innovation to solve global needs. Recognized as one of the "100 Most Powerful Women" (Forbes "Social Entrepreneurism") and Elle's "Top Women To Help Change the World", she is also a Tribeca Disruptor Awards Fellow, a Columbia University Business School Innovation Fellow and was honored with PTTOW!'s "Nelson Mandela's Changemakers Award” as CEO of (RED).
Deborah serves as Board Member of The Moth, an award-winning not for profit organization dedicated to promoting the art of storytelling. For over 12 years as its Co-Chair, and in collaboration with its Directors, Dugan steered The Moth towards a sustainable future and is instrumental in setting strategic vision, partnerships, and content development. The Moth aligns with Deborah’s career focus to impact audience engagement through storytelling.
As CEO of (RED), the organization founded by Bono and Bobby Shriver to raise AIDS awareness, Deborah united with iconic brands such as Coca Cola and Salesforce to show the impact technology, corporate responsibility, and innovation create in philanthropy and social engagement. Under her leadership, (RED)’s inspiring partnerships included Beats by Dre, Starbucks, Latin America's Claro and Telcel, Super Bowl, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Amazon, and Snapchat. During Dugan’s 8 years of leadership,(RED) reached $600M for the Global Fund- impacting the lives of 110M people.
As the first woman CEO in 62 years to run The Recording Academy™, Deborah advanced the mission of diversity and inclusivity within the music industry. She served as President/CEO of the Academy's charitable affiliate MusiCares®, sat on the Boards of the GRAMMY Museum Foundation® and The Latin Recording Academy®, and collaborated to create a strategic vision for the annual GRAMMY Awards®.
Her career background focuses on media, tech, and corporate social responsibility. Having presided for 8 years as President of Disney Publishing Worldwide, Deborah created a myriad of innovative solutions, content, and franchises. At EMI/Capitol Records, she led as EVP and worked with groundbreaking artists such as Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Tracy Chapman, and Placido Domingo.
Deborah Dugan continuously creates ways for people to engage in philanthropy and frequently speaks on the role of the private sector in driving social impact. She is a consultant for the IBM Call to Code as well as Elle’s Female Entrepreneur of the Year initiatives and regularly contributes to Forbes and Huffington Post.
Max Engel is the Founder and Principal of Awecelot, a product innovation consultancy. He embeds deeply to aid both the strategy and tactical implementation plan while creating any additional necessary armatures along the way. Awecelot is unique in that it operates under the hypothesis that the best way to help a client is to collaborate on working towards the goal of empowering the company to reach the point where he is no longer needed. Previously, Max built and launchedQuillto solve the problem of distributed ideation. Quill is a collaborative iPad application for teams that brings real-time and asynchronous collaboration to visual communication; a way to help with brainstorming and easily integrate the spark of an idea into workflows.
Additionally, Max has led the conversation around the concept of “Happiness Debt” and the importance of quantifying the cost of individual fulfillment in the workplace. The original piece can be found here: LinkMax also works as an advisor to startups, mentors at the Robin Hood Foundation’s accelerator, and consults with venture-backed startups and companies at various stages to help develop both practical and strategic plans to launch new businesses or reimagine existing ones. Max has worked at both startups and larger companies including the BBC, Yahoo!, SpinMedia, Honest Buildings, Gravity, Myspace, and more. Max also runs a LEGO design blog:Brickd.com.
R.A. Farrokhnia, recipient of the Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence, is the founding Executive Director of the “Advanced Projects and Applied Research in Fintech” Initiative at Columbia (fintech.gsb.columbia.edu), centered on innovation and research in financial services. He teaches at both Columbia Business and Engineering Schools and is a lecturer and board member of the Knight-Bagehot Program at the Columbia School of Journalism. He is also the founder and Managing Principal of research, development, and deployment DevLab with a focus on new ventures in fintech, data/AI, and enterprise software. Being at the intersection of academia and practice, his teaching, research, and professional endeavors center on innovation and integration of industrial, operational and business analyses with practical ideation and implementation of agile, inventive and design-centric tech solutions -of special focus are financial services, technology, and transport/mobility industries. Having earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Columbia University, he has extensive global professional experience and collaborates often in numerous capacities with tier-1 multinationals. His programs and commentary have been featured in bestselling books and leading publications such as The New York Times, Barron’s, and Wired.
With a background in public health and communications, Brianna Ferrigno was on the founding team of McCann Global Health, a social impact agency within McCann Worldgroup that uses creative communications to address the world’s most intractable social challenges. As president of the agency, Briana works with governments, NGOs, and companies to build cross-cultural, multidisciplinary teams that apply the art and science of communication to inspire social and behavioral change. She has supported clients at the United Nations, UNICEF, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer, and AB InBev, to name a few.
Briana is also the co-founder and CEO of Changemaker Chats, a global organization that equips and connects the next generation of female leaders. The organization hosts off-the-record, unfiltered, real-time "chats" with the world's most powerful women. Changemaker Chats continues to expand to new cities and build new offerings that support women in their personal and professional lives.
Briana holds a masters in public health and a masters of science in strategic communications from Columbia University. She earned her bachelor of arts in communications at The George Washington University. Though an avid traveler, her heart belongs to New York City.
Michael Frank has more than 35 years of experience in capital markets. He has a deep understanding of the financial services industry including capital markets, banking, exchanges, and fintech. He started his career as an options market maker on the floor of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange. In 1984 he moved to the American Stock Exchange where he was the driving force in building out Rockrimmon Securities. The firm grew from 3 people to well over 50 employees spanning all options exchanges. In 1995, Michael, a partner of Rockrimmon, left to found Gateway Partners. At Gateway, he planned the overall strategy of the firm, overseeing its growth to become a leading options specialist unit on two exchanges with significant market-making operations on all five options exchanges. He developed and implemented a sophisticated proprietary options valuation and risk management system (GTS). At its height, Gateway traded over six million options contracts annually while implementing portfolio style dispersion trading across the firm. In 2001, Michael sold his specialist business to Knight Capital Group, a publicly-traded corporation. In 2012 Michael became a partner and COO of Invessence. Invessence is a B2B provider of automated digital wealth management technology. It enables asset managers, broker-dealers, banks, and advisors to deliver their investment solutions through a customized white-labeled online platform. As COO of Invessence, he also leads the culture, drove business priorities, formulated and executed special projects and initiatives. Invessence was sold to a large bank in Southern Asia. Michael is currently running Gateway Partners, a risk consulting group providing objective and unbiased risk management advice to pension funds, hedge fund managers, insurance companies, family offices, banks, trustees, and plan sponsors to manage risk, evaluate risk/return performance, create investment policies, and allocate assets. Michael received a B.S. in Business Management from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Robert Friedman is CEO of Bungalow Entertainment. Bungalow was founded by Friedman, a 30-year entertainment veteran, who has held an array of senior executive positions including President of Radical Media & Entertainment; President of AOL, Interactive Marketing, TV & Ad Sales; Co-Chairman of New Line Cinema in charge of worldwide Theatrical Marketing and Licensing and President of New Line Television, which he launched for the company.
Among the New Line Cinema content included Lord of the Rings, Austin Powers, Rush Hour, Dumb & Dumber, Shine as well as a wide array of television and documentary projects. Friedman was an original member of the start-up team at MTV.
Bungalow’s credits include, Emmy Award winning “GIVE” on NBC, Fox’s “APB”, Seasons 1 & 2 of “Big Bad BBQ Brawl” on Cooking Channel, PBS’s “Landmarks Live in Concert”, NBC Sports World Series of Beach Volleyball, Travel Channel’s “36 Hours”, and Amazon’s 30-minute comedy “Highston”. Docs and features include “The Panama Papers”, Showtime’s “Spring Broke”, the theatrical doc “We the People: The Market Basket Effect”, the five-part mini-series “The Preppy Murder” for AMC/Sundance, the upcoming doc series “Surviving Jeffrey Epstein” for Lifetime and “The Confirmation” starring Clive Owen. Friedman is also working on a variety of specials, digital series, branded and commercial initiatives.
His industry honors include being named "Media Man of the Year" by ADWEEK, and named one of the top 100 marketers in the country by AdAge. (and most recently a inductee into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame where he was also distinguished with the Chairman’s Award.) Friedman serves on the Board of International Radio and Television Society (IRTS), The International Academy of TV Arts and Sciences and the TV industry’s NATPE association. He has been a member of Young Presidents' Organization (YPO/WPO) for over two decades. Friedman also serves on the boards of AccuWeather, Mount Sinai Health System, and Columbia Graduate School of Business. He is a Trustee Emeritus of Vassar College, and was the 2009 Commencement Speaker at the Business School commencement.
Friedman was one of the first men admitted to Vassar College where he received a B.A. in psychology in 1978. He earned his M.B.A. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Business in 1980.
Nick Gernert is the CEO of WordPress VIP, the enterprise WordPress organization supporting brands such as Capgemini, Microsoft, Salesforce, and Merck. With more than two decades working across the open web, Nick is responsible for WordPress VIP’s overall business strategy. His passion lies in enabling the world’s most demanding businesses to drive results through digital customer experiences.
Neale S. Godfrey is an acknowledged expert on family and children’s finances who has been in the financial field for more than 30 years. Neale became one of the first female executives at The Chase Manhattan Bank. Later, she became the President of The First Women’s Bank and founder of The First Children’s Bank. In 1989, Neale formed her own company, Children’s Financial Network, Inc., whose mission is to educate children and their parents about money. She is the author of 27 books that deal with money, life skills, and value issues, and has been honored with a #1 New York Times Best Seller, Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Financially Responsible Children. Neale was the first to develop money curricula for children and young adults Pre-K through High School, which are available in CD-ROM and iOS game app formats. Neale was also a former Nationally Syndicated Columnist for the Associated Press and currently is a Contributor for Forbes.com.
Neale has served as a National Spokesperson for such companies as: Aetna, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Fidelity, Quaker Oats, Nuveen and AOL-Time Warner. She is a professional speaker for both domestic and international audiences. Neale has appeared as a financial expert on programs, such as; The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, The Today Show, CNBC, and CNN, as well as in the PBS special Your Money, Your Children, Your Life.
Neale has served on White House and Governor’s Task Forces, as well as on the Board of Directors of The NY Board of Trade, UNICEF, University of Charleston, Morris County Chamber of Commerce, UN Women, and YPO. She also serves on NJ’s State Employment and Training Commission Council on Gender Parity in Labor and Education as well as NJ’s Science and Technology Workforce Subcommittee. Neale helped found a YPO global entity called RISE, an international social and ecological movement and incorporated into WorldMerit (WM). WM connects Millennials in 160 countries to address global issues. She is also a faculty member of the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) and VWise, Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship, operated by The Institute For Veterans and Military Families, The Whitman School of Management, Syracuse University. Both programs provide tools to Vets to become successful entrepreneurs. Neale has been honored with recognition from the White House via her program, LIFE, INC: The Ultimate Career Guide for Young People, sponsored by Deloitte Foundation. Neale has a B.S., cum laude, from The School of International Service, The American University. Areas of interest: entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, writing/publishing.
Mattan Griffel is a recipient of the Dean's Award for Teaching Excellence. Mattan is a two-time Y Combinator-backed entrepreneur and the Co-Founder of Ophelia, a company that helps people quit opioids without having to go to rehab.
Mattan teaches entrepreneurship, leadership, and technology. He has advised and worked with companies like Goldman Sachs, Bloomberg, NYSE, and JPMorgan and his work has been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, and MIT Technology Review. Mattan was selected as one of Forbes' 30 Under 30 in Education.
Mattan studied Philosophy and Finance at New York University and wrote his thesis on the metaphysics of consciousness.
Richard Harris is the CEO and Founder of <intent>, based in New York City. The company, which operates in 40 countries, is a machine learning platform for large-scale digital commerce enterprises. <intent> uses ML at scale to predict individual user value and behavior in real-time, and then activates those predictions in mission-critical retail functions such as customer acquisition, merchandising, and site monetization. They currently make about 4 billion predictions per month. Investors include Matrix Partners, Redpoint Ventures and Insight Ventures. LinkedIn Founder Reid Hoffman is an investor, as is Kevin Ryan, CEO of AlleyCorp.
Prior to co-founding <intent>, Richard was SVP, Strategy and Distribution at Travelocity. Richard led the Travelocity Partner Network, which grew to over $2B in revenue during his tenure. In 1999, he co-founded Site59, an innovator in online travel technology and merchandising which was acquired by Travelocity. Earlier in his career, Richard worked at the Boston Consulting Group.
Richard graduated with a BA from Harvard and an MBA from INSEAD in France. In addition to his entrepreneurial life, he's become a pretty good sculptor, grows corn on his fire escape, and lived in a Buddhist monastery.
Nitzan Hermon is a designer and researcher fascinated with complexity. He works with brands and academic institutes on ways to approach complex situations in order to help people to have agency, in their own domain, without telling them what to do. He helps companies find core insights to their work, through desk and field research, and to design and measure their innovations. As an educator he teaches creative computing, system thinking and co taught the first complexity course at The New School.
He focuses on the impact of emerging technologies on the future of creativity, and what these changes mean for businesses. In his work he helps companies understand the future in tangible ways. In previous roles he worked with brands such as TATA Communications and Cartier as an embedded resources, connecting lab innovation work, c suite and the organization as a whole.
Tom Higbee is the founder of Versa, an organization that expands opportunity by helping individuals and organizations “see differently.” In 2019 he co-created Darkhorse, an Idea Realization company that works with entrepreneurs and innovators to turn unconventional thinking into products and services that sell.
In 2018 Mr. Higbee Launched ECHO Brands, a sustainable products company pioneering ways to convert America’s food and farm waste into fully biodegradable, non-petroleum-based polymers for use in daily consumables (e.g., drinking straws.)
In 2010 Mr. Higbee Introduced Solbeso, the world’s first spirit distilled from fresh cacao fruit. This category-defining product transformed the by-product of chocolate production into an incremental source of revenue for fair-trade family farms across the Andean region.
As Chief Executive for New World Brands, a Venture company he co-founded, he oversaw and/or participated in the development of 15 consumer brands, primarily in Food & Beverage, Wellness, and Beauty.
Mr. Higbee is a Columbia Business School Lang Center Innovation Fellow, a Clayton Christensen Disruptor Foundation Fellow, and frequent speaker, host, and sponsor of Innovation conferences.
Sara Holoubek is the CEO and founder of Luminary Labs, a consultancy that develops strategies and innovation systems to help Fortune 500, government, and nonprofit organizations thrive in the face of change. She is also an active early stage investor.
Sara is a director and former chair of the Step Up National Board, a nonprofit that propels girls from under-resourced communities to fulfill their potential by empowering them to become confident, college-bound, career-focused, and ready to join the next generation of professional women. Sara’s previous advisory roles include serving on the inaugural RWJF Pioneer Fund Advisory Group and the Aspen Health Innovation Project Planning Committee.
Sara has been widely quoted in publications such as Fast Company, The Washington Post and WSJ.com. She has been recognized by LinkedIn as a 2017 Top Voice in Technology, Mashable as a female founder to watch, SmartCEO magazine as a 2017 New York Brava award winner, and PepsiCo WIN for her contributions to women in technology. Her company has been profiled in business books, Geek Girl Rising, Here’s the Plan, The Big Enough Company, and Stiletto Network. She also serves as a frequent guest lecturer on the subjects of technology and innovation.
Prior to founding Luminary Labs, Sara served as the Chief Strategy Officer of iCrossing and President of SEMPO, the global trade organization for the search marketing industry. Sara also brings an international perspective to her work, having lived and worked in Latin America and Europe; she is fluent in Spanish and French, and conversant in Portuguese. She holds a B.A. from the University of Iowa and an M.B.A. from HEC in France.
Pamela Horn is Director of Cross-Platform Publishing and Strategic Partnerships at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. She develops content workflow systems and oversees interpretation, research, and strategy development cross-departmentally, to publish accessible and discoverable content through books, exhibitions, digital interactions, and websites. She cultivates strategic partnerships dedicated to extending Cooper Hewitt’s brand and reach through collaborations based on mission focused initiatives. Prior to joining Cooper Hewitt in 2012, she worked for twenty years in trade book publishing, focusing predominantly on illustrated non-fiction, with experience in developing book-plus products, and custom publishing programs. She received a B.A. in Literary & Cultural Studies and Professional Writing from Carnegie Mellon University and a J.D. from Cardozo School of Law.
Brown Johnson is the Executive Vice President and Creative Director at Sesame Workshop. Johnson is responsible for the development and production of the Workshop's domestic television content, as well as creative services. Johnson is an award-winning producer of some of the most successful children's programs.
Before joining the Workshop, she served as president of animation and preschool entertainment at Nickelodeon, where she managed development and production of more than 200 episodes of programming each year. Johnson pioneered the interactive format of the groundbreaking preschool programs Dora the Explorer and Blue's Clues. She also conceived and oversaw the development of the Nickelodeon preschool block, featuring hit shows including Go Diego Go!, Yo Gabba Gabba!, Team UmiZoomi, The Backyardigans, and Ni Hao Kai Lan. Her focus on the development of multi-ethnic children's media spurred Johnson to create fellowships in writing and art to grow the next generation of diverse creators.
Jake Kahana is a designer and entrepreneur, with a background as an advertising creative director.
He is a cofounder of Caveday, a company founded to maximize productivity for individuals and corporations through facilitated deep focus sessions and deep work training. Their global community has participated in over 10,000 hours of deep work “in The Cave.” As a founding US faculty member with The School of Life, Jake teaches workshops in emotional intelligence for corporate teams. He speaks at conferences and companies around the world. He’s proud to have his work as part of the permanent collection at MoMA and his parents' fridge since 1989.
Currently, Jake is working on The Creative Department, a management training curriculum for creative leaders.
Shah Kerim is a seasoned business leader and CEO of SafeRock who provides strategic, growth, and turnaround advice to companies ranging from global entities to growth technology companies. He has deep experience in e-commerce, retail, energy, education and consumer goods with Fortune 500 enterprises, midcap, as well as disruptors in the US, Europe and Asia.
A collaborative team player, Shah believes that data-driven decisions provide the edge to align teams and create greater shareholder value. Adhering to the mantra that 'change is the only constant’, he recognizes that consumer companies today have to simultaneously engage customers, compete with Amazon, and succeed in online and physical stores. Shah is an expert on big data and multi-channel business, and has guided domestic and international organizations, Private Equity, Company Executives, and Board Members to successfully tackle these challenges head on.
Among his accomplishments, Shah advised management on the sale of their company for $8+ billion to a private equity firm; enabled an international retailer to grow 19.6% cumulatively over 4 years; and created a content platform that helped a $4 billion company grow to $12+ billion over a ten-year period.
Shah is an Innovation Fellow at Columbia Business School and he is also elected to Yale University’s Alumni Board of Governors. As a published author, Shah speaks widely at international conferences in North America, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific on Megatrends, Big Data, Fintech, and Disruption. He is a Fellow of the Tribeca Disruptors Foundation for the Tribeca Film Festival.
Shah holds a patent from the US Patent Office for multi-channel publishing that was used to market to 80+ million households. He developed and donated digital educational content to the Skin Cancer Foundation to educate middle and high school students on health care. He received his B.A., M.A., and M.Phil. from Yale University.
Ceci Kurzman is a private investor, entrepreneur, and independent board member. Her experience building artists’ careers in the media and entertainment industry have made her a business leader at the intersection of talent and business. Ceci is the founder of Nexus Management, a private investment company dedicated to innovative growth-stage businesses in the consumer, media, and technology sectors.
As a manager, Ceci pioneered the concept of “artist as enterprise”. Ceci has guided the careers, business strategies, and brand development of many “living brands” and iconic recording artists including Shakira and Alicia Keys. In transforming Nexus Management from a talent management operation into a private investment vehicle, Ceci uniquely capitalized on the artists’ influence by sourcing and co-investing in private investments, thus evolving it from a transactional business model to an asset-driven one. Utilizing her artist development expertise to develop businesses and entrepreneurs, Ceci has grown a portfolio of companies taking on varying degrees of operational involvement.
Prior to founding Nexus, Ceci was Vice President of Worldwide Marketing at Epic / Sony Music where she led the marketing team and oversaw the US and International strategy for priority artists. She oversaw a roster of artists that included Pearl Jam, Sade, George Michael, Gloria Estefan, Celine Dion, and Michael Jackson. She began her career in the record business at Arista Records working for the legendary Clive Davis as Director of Artist Development and Special Projects.
Ceci sits on the board of directors of Revlon where she is a member of the Compensation and Audit committees. Her additional board seats include Spring Studios, Johnson Publishing (former), Migreat, and The Women’s Forum of New York. Her non-profit board positions include Medecins du Monde, The Mayor’s Office for Global Partnerships, Choate Rosemary Hall, and The Council on Foreign Relations Global Communications Advisory Committee. A graduate of Harvard who grew up in several countries throughout Africa, Middle East, and Asia, Ceci resides in NY with her husband and 2 sons.
Jeffrey Lagomarsino launched the GLeaM Program in 2011 with Professor Sheena Iyengar. He has since led the development of the GLeaM software (www.gleam.org) and GLeaM's custom executive education and research program. He travels extensively to establish GLeaM education programs and research collaborations with companies around the world in support of GLeaM’s mission to advance the science of leadership in a global context. He also works closely with GLeaM’s interdisciplinary faculty and staff to develop new research initiatives, educational content, and technology related to leadership, particularly in the area of social networks.
In addition to his work with GLeaM, Jeffrey is involved in a number of private and public sector initiatives promoting sustainable development. He serves as deputy secretary-general of the Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Organization (IREO), strategic advisor to Global Thermostat, and advisor to the board of Mississippi International Water. Jeffrey was previously a director at Global Thermostat, which has developed the leading technology for the direct capture of CO2 from the atmosphere. At Global Thermostat he led the company’s market research, developed strategic initiatives with industry leaders such as BASF and Corning, and served as a liaison to the United Nations. He also previously worked as a senior research and editorial officer at Columbia Business School’s Center on Japanese Economy and Business. Jeffrey holds an M.A. in Liberal Studies from Columbia University and a B.A. in International Affairs from George Washington University.
Douglas L. Maine is a Senior Advisor to Brown Brothers Harriman & Co, a 200-year-old, privately held, Wall Street financial services firm. Maine is the Lead Director for public company Acreage Holdings (Cannabis). Maine is also a Director of three private companies: Olympusat (Cable Content and Distribution), R4 Technologies (AI and Data Science), and Noble Systems (Call Center software). He has previously served on the Board of four public and five private companies which were all acquired by strategic or financial investors. Maine joined IBM as Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President in 1998. In that role, he was responsible for all financial, treasury, tax, business development, internal audit, and real estate activities, as well as IBM Global Financing Corporation. He later was General Manager of two operating units and retired in 2005.
Before joining IBM, Maine was Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of MCI (now part of Verizon) from 1991-1998 and prior to that, he held a variety of sales, operating, and financial leadership roles during his 20-year career. Maine is a former two-term member of the Standing Advisory Group of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board which is the Federal Regulator of the Auditing profession. He has a BS from Temple University and an MBA from Hofstra University. Maine is also a CBS Executive in Residence with his areas of interest: entrepreneurship, private equity, international business, corporate governance and strategy, and family-owned businesses.
Milind Mehere is an award-winning entrepreneur with a track record of building large scalable businesses and creating new product categories. Milind is the Founder and CEO of Yieldstreet, a digital wealth management platform focused on income generation. In 2020, Yieldstreet was named Financial Time's 12th Fastest Growing Company in US and in 2019 was named Inc 5000’s 14th fastest growing company, #1 in NY, and # 1 in Financial Services.
Previously, Milind Co-Founded and scaled Yodle (an ad-tech platform for SMBs) to $200M+ in revenue and 1,400 employees. Yodle was ranked 4 times in the Inc 500 list and was acquired by Web.com for $342M in 2016. Milind was named an Innovation Fellow at Columbia University’s Lang Center, and is an international keynote speaker, having spoken at Forbes, Bloomberg, Cheddar, LendIt, Citi Bank, Goldman, Columbia, and Harvard among others.
Eduardo G. Mestre is a Senior Managing Director and Chairman of Global Advisory at Evercore and a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. Since joining Evercore, Mr. Mestre has been involved in many of the firm’s most important transactions in various industry sectors, including media, consumer, industrials, chemicals and financial institutions.. Mr. Mestre was responsible for the day to day management of the firm’s U.S. advisory practice from 2004-2012.
Mr. Mestre serves as a member of the boards of the International Rescue Committee, where he is Chair of the Board of Advisors, and the Cuba Study Group, a Cuban issues advocacy group that favors engagement and support of civil society. He is past Chairman of the Board of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, one of the nation’s leading cancer, genetics and neuroscience research and educational institutions, and past Chairman of WNYC, New York’s public radio stations. He is also a past trustee of The Taft School.
Prior to joining Evercore in November 2004, Mr. Mestre was Vice Chairman of Citigroup Global Markets, Inc. and Chairman of its Investment Banking Division. Mr. Mestre was head of investment banking at Citigroup and its predecessor firms from 1995-2001 and co-head of Salomon Brothers’ mergers and acquisitions department from 1989-1995. Prior to joining Salomon Brothers in 1977, Mr. Mestre was an associate with the law firm of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton. Mr. Mestre graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University in 1970 with a B.A. degree in Economics and Political Science and is a 1973 cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School. Mr. Mestre was born in Havana, Cuba in 1949.
Jonathan Mariner is a private investor, entrepreneur, and independent board member with more than two decades of experience working in major league sports. He’s currently the Founder and President of TaxDay, LLC, a private software firm that helps users track their multi-state travel for tax purposes.
Mr. Mariner recently completed an appointment by The Walt Disney Company to the role of Interim Head of Regional Sports Networks (RSNs). As part of the DOJ’s consent decree to operate the 22 RSNs acquired from 21st Century-FOX separate from Disney-owned ESPN, he was responsible for overseeing the independent operation of the RSNs, including all programming, distribution, sales and operational functions until Disney successfully sold them in August 2019.
Mr. Mariner spent over 14 years with Major League Baseball, Office of the Commissioner, having previously served as Executive VP and CFO from March 2002 to December 2014; and, as Chief Investment Officer, from January 2015 until May 2016. His career in professional sports started in 1992, with a nine-year stint as Executive Vice President and CFO of the Florida Marlins Baseball Club. He also concurrently served as Vice President and CFO of the Florida Panthers Hockey Club for the team’s initial startup and inaugural seasons in 1993 and 1994, and as Vice President and CFO for Pro Player Stadium, the multi-use sports complex that was home to both the Florida Marlins and Miami Dolphins at the time.
Mr. Mariner currently serves on the Board of Directors of Tyson Foods, Inc (NYSE: TSN); McGraw Hill Education; and Investors Exchange (IEX, the new public stock exchange featured in Michael Lewis’ book, “Flash Boys.”) He also serves on the board of Little League Baseball International; and the Board of Trustees of the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business and the McIntire School of Commerce; and the advisory boards of Florida Atlantic University’s Tech Runway, SparkLabs Foundry and Olympusat Telecom. He is also a member of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Sports.
Mr. Mariner graduated from the University of Virginia with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, received his MBA from Harvard Business School and is a former Certified Public Accountant. He has been featured on the cover of CFO Magazine and was included among the Top 10 in Sports Illustrated’s annual listing of the “101 Most Influential Minorities in Sports.” Mr. Mariner has been a frequent public speaker on the topic of the business of professional sports, including participating in symposiums at Harvard Business School, the Yale School of Management, Wharton, Princeton, MIT’s Sloan School, NYU’s Stern School, Columbia, the Booth School at the University of Chicago, the Darden School at the University of Virginia, the CFO Forum and the GSV Pioneer Summit in Silicon Valley.
Amy Murphy is a director at Strategy&, part of the PwC network, where she advises business clients around the world on innovation, strategy, and creativity. She has 8 years of consulting experience with Fortune 500 clients, primarily focused on consumer packaged goods and retail sectors. Amy teaches a course on idea generation and innovation at Columbia Business School in the Executive Education program (since 2015) and taught a Master Class at Columbia Business School (2012-2015) solving business challenges for clients, including IMAX, IKEA, Kimberly Clark, Philips, NASA, and others. Amy co-authored the book The Art of Ideas with Professor William Duggan (published 2019), and has written several articles on innovation, creativity, and business, including: How to Unleash Creative Thinking • The 1% innovation Solution • Tax Reform Changes Nothing – And Everything • The Thought Leader Interview • What’s Old is New: The Secret of Innovation. Amy is a licensed architect in the state of New York and holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University and an MBA from Columbia Business School.
Sham Mustafa is the Co-founder & Co-CEO of Correlation One, a technology company that helps countries and enterprises develop AI talent ecosystems. Prior to launching Correlation One, Sham directed Operations at two specialty finance firms. He has also developed several national entrepreneurship development programs on behalf of the US Department of Commerce and advised more than 600 start-ups. Prior to that, he practiced criminal defense in India. He is a published author in Data Science talent markets. Sham holds an MBA and MPA from Columbia University and a BA & LLB from the University of Madras, India
David Park is Dean of Strategic Initiatives for the Faculty of the Arts and Sciences at Columbia University. Dr. Park is a member of Columbia University’s Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering New Media Center, Director of Special Projects at the Applied Statistics Center and Fellow at the Center for the Management of Systemic Risk at Columbia University. Dr. Park is also a founding member of Columbia University’s Digital Storytelling Lab. Dr. Park has co-founded several New York-based technology companies.
Dr. Park is currently exploring the historical arc of universities, limitations and possibilities of “big data”, how failure and vulnerability are the foundations of innovation and creativity across organizations, as well as the electoral origins of congressional polarization. Dr. Park is also working on several manuscripts including, The Twentieth Century Sectional Reversal: How did the Republican States Switch to the Democrats and Vice Versa? and Is History Repeating Itself? Comparing 1875 to 1928 and 1971 to 2008.
Dr. Park received his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland and his Ph.D. in political science at Columbia where he focused on historical comparative institutional analyses of societal change. He was an Assistant Professor of Political Science and Applied Statistics at Washington University, Assistant Professor at George Washington University, Visiting Professor at Columbia University and Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation. He has written numerous articles and co-authored Red State Blue State Rich State Poor State: Why American Vote the Way They Do (Princeton University Press, 2008).
David Pham is Co-Founder, Chief Technology Officer and Chief Product Officer of Mogul, a technology platform for women worldwide, connecting users to trending content including stories, products, and jobs personalized to their interests. Before joining the Mogul team, he worked as a Lead Frontend Engineer at Blink Health, and a Product Engineer at Compass and Custora. From 2011 to 2012, he co-founded and served as Chief Product Officer for Mostec. Pham attended the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied Business Administration and Corporate Finance.
Tiffany Pham is CEO and Co-Founder of Mogul, a company that provides tools to individuals & organizations to achieve optimal growth. A coder, she developed the first version of Mogul, now reaching millions of people across 196 countries and 30,470 cities. She is the bestselling author of YOU ARE A MOGUL and GIRL MOGUL.
Tiffany was named one of Forbes “30 Under 30” in Media, Business Insider “30 Most Important Women Under 30” in Technology, ELLE Magazine “30 Women Under 30 Who Are Changing the World,” Good Housekeeping “Awesome Women Award” Winner, “Alice Paul Equality Award” Honoree, Cadillac “IVY Innovator” Award Winner, SmartCEO Magazine “Smart CEO Award” Winner, “Innovation & Inclusion Award” Winner for Social Entrepreneurship, NY Business Journal “Woman of Influence” Winner, Tribecca Film Festival “Innovation Award” Fellow, and SE “Top 100 Social Entrepreneur.”
Tiffany is a Judge on the TLC TV show “Girl Starter,” produced by Alk Roker, and Co-Host of the show “Positive Pushback” from the Producer of The View. She speaks on a regular basis at the United Nations to present gender policy recommendations, as well as MSNBC, Bloomberg, Viacom, Microsoft, AOL, Prudential, SXSW, Harvard Business School, Wharton Business School, Scripps Research Institute, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Panama & Dubai. She is a graduate of Yale and Harvard Business School.
Ryan Riegg is a licensed attorney (California, UCLA Law) with over 15 years of combined legal and app development experience. He's worked in 70 countries, lived in 12, and provides business-oriented solutions to clients' problems.
Riegg has produced 15+ apps and given Agile workshops to startups around the world. In 2014, he won the Audience & Demo Award at Slush in Finland, for his talk on Nordic-MENA economic cooperation & tech. The tech companies Riegg co-founded or worked in the C-Suite for, have been featured on the front-page of major press outlets like the Wall Street Journal, Polygon, and more.
Additionally, Riegg has been an attorney for 12 years. He has established companies and commercial operations across dozens of countries, and helped funds, HNIs, family offices, and a variety of businesses successfully solve their legal problems.
Riegg is passionate about education and sharing information, and have been honored to give talks, workshops, and keynotes at Duke, Hult, and dozens of universities and tech conferences around the world. He also sometimes teach university and MBA classes related to Business Law, Emerging Markets, Future Societies, Entrepreneurship, and Social Impact Startups. And has published articles in Vice, The Hill, Vox, Newsweek, and in specialized law journals at top-tier universities like Cornell, UCLA, and U.Denver.
Riegg also gives back when he can via social impact entrepreneurship. He has served as a Council Member, Judge, and Mentor for the Hult Prize ($1 million social impact competition, involving a "Castle Accelerator," 120,000 students, and the UN) for over 4 years, where he has helped hundreds of social impact entrepreneurs around the world. (His history in social impact began years ago, in a refugee camp in 2003, where Riegg built a startup and changed a US Customs law in the process. Ruling below.)
Riegg holds a Bachelor of Arts from USC and a Juris Doctor from UCLA. And he is a Fellow at Columbia Business School's Entrepreneurship Center, as well as in Tribeca's Disruptor Foundation.
Jaime Robertson-Lavalle is the Managing Director of Zermatt Dusk, the firm he founded in 2007 to develop innovative approaches to sustainable growth.
Jaime has over 20 years of domestic and international leadership experience, including managerial and executive positions at Intel Corporation, ExxonMobil, and Dialogic. He is a business builder, a former venture capitalist, and a trained implementer of the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS®), a proven approach to drive alignment, accountability, transparency, and growth in organizations. Jaime received his MBA from Harvard University and an Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. He speaks Spanish, French, and Portuguese. He serves on the board Carrier Clinic (Belle Mead, NJ) and as Alumni Advisor for Harvard Business School. Jaime lives in New Jersey with his wife and four children.
Stacy Ruchlamer has more than 20 years of experience in the financial industry, focusing on the consumer sector. She was the Specialty Retail Analyst at Shearson Lehman Brothers from 1984 to 1993, and was ranked #1 on Institutional Investor's “All American Research Team” each year from 1988 to 1992, among the youngest analysts to ever achieve this award. She was also listed on Crain's 40 under 40.
Known as a stock picker, Stacy was lauded for getting her Institutional Investor clients into winning stocks as well as advising them on getting out. She developed a consumer franchise, working on a multitude of investment banking transactions as well as managing money for the firm. She served on the Board of Directors of Stein Mart, Inc., The Icing and New West Eyeworks. In 1993, Stacy founded and served as General Partner of The Consumer Fund, one of the early sector hedge funds. She successfully managed the fund for 8 years while simultaneously advising two large hedge funds.
Over the last decade, Stacy has consulted for private consumer companies on strategy, growth initiatives and capital raising. Throughout her career, she has been active in the non-profit arena, spearheading programs to improve literacy in children and instill a love of reading. Stacy is a graduate of Union College. She and her husband Antoine have three children. Areas of interest: Social Responsibility and Business Strategy, Brand Development, Women and Leadership.
Maneesh Sagar is a serial entrepreneur, VC, and coach. He is also the founder of Thynk Ventures, an early-stage VC, investing in AI, IoT, machine learning, and process automation. He has an MBA from Columbia Business School, and a BA in Economics (Magna Cum Laude) from Ohio Wesleyan University, where he was a Presidential Scholar.
He has a history of investing in and scaling up disruptive startups. He was the Co-Founder of NeuVis (acq by IBM-Rational) where he raised over $80 million and grew the company to over 350 employees. At Huntington House, he created the first online sustainable development marketplace. At MondoWindow, he set up the worlds first browser-based moving map #IFE company, and at Sirl.io, he made retail searchable.
He was Managing Director at Connecticut Innovations, where he invested in mobile, enterprise software, marketing automation, and IOT. Investments and advisory roles include Frevvo, Keisense (acq by Nuance), NetKey (acq by NCR), ROI (acq by Revionics), Premise (acq by Eclipsys), SilverSky (acq by BAE Systems) ShopText (acq by Anomaly), HigherOne (NYSE) and SmartEquip. Maneesh is an Innovation Fellow and a Founding Career Coach at Columbia Business School, where he teaches classes on startups, venture capital, conducts industry panels, advises students and alumni one-on-one, and leads global trips. He also advises the Lang Entrepreneurial Center, W. Edward Deming Center, and judges the Columbia Venture Competition.
Mark Schneider has been an angel investor for over two decades, and currently serves as Chairman of the NY Angels. His investments span a wide range of interests including health information systems, new media, infrastructure software, web-enabled business services, greentech and industrial products. Mark serves on the board of Innroad, Inc., a SAAS (Software as a Service) company for hotel management (www.innroad.com). For many years (since 1982) his day job was as founder and CEO, and then non-operating Chairman of a group of software companies which provided software, systems, and transaction services to the pharmaceutical fulfillment industry(*). After a series of acquisitions and mergers, that company announced two liquidity events in 2006 and 2007. One division was sold to a public company, the other division to a private equity firm. Mark’s earlier experience included Director of Planning for a publicly held computer consulting firm; and Manager of Strategic Planning for a division of PepsiCo, Inc. Mark holds a Master’s degree from the MIT/Sloan School of Management (1978) as well as a Master’s degree in Engineering from MIT (1977) and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Tufts University (1976).
Joseph Schneier is the founder and CEO of Trusty.care, a company dedicated to improving the financial and health outcomes of older adults. He has been working at solving complex social issues for the past twenty years. With a commitment to leaving the world a better place, Jo has been privileged to build products around early childhood literacy, foreign language acquisition, workforce development and has also conducted research on behalf of the Department of State, USAID, Johns Hopkins SAIS, and many other organizations.
Jo Schneier has built and sold two companies, with exits in the ed-tech space. Jo went on to form a consultancy focused on patient behavioral change that worked in coordination with research scientists on topics like drug adherence. In 2013, he co-founded Cognotion and served as the CEO until January 2018. Jo is currently working on a new startup in the digital health space looking at the home as the center of health and community.
Mr. Schneier is a frequent speaker and mentor and has recently spoken at TEDMed, Lake Nona, and StartupHealth JP Morgan. He is a mentor at Cornell, NYU, Columbia, and Wharton. Cognotion is a Techstars and StartupHealth company and won the 1776 Challenge Cup.
Kunal Sood is a social impact entrepreneur and award winning disruptive innovator. From serving in the slums of Mumbai as a Global Health scientist with Harvard at PUKAR to building global movements at the United Nations General Assembly with iconic leaders, explorers, and artists, Sood is on a mission to make the impossible possible as the Founder of X Fellows, NOVUS and #WeThePlanet. Forbes highlighted him as a movement builder given his work as the founding curator for TEDx at the United Nations and launching highly successful global impact campaigns such as #SDGInnovation, #SDGMoonshots, #FirstWoman and #NeverAlone. His work for social innovation and impact has also been featured in the Hindu, Fortune Magazine, Times of India, Entrepreneur and Republic TV. He is a TED Resident, Forbes Impact Icon, Tribeca Disruptor Fellow and Innovation Fellow at Columbia University. He is a global ambassador for the Non-Violence Project, Singularity University, OpenEXO and Hands Across the World Project.
Sood has a lifelong love for learning having earned five Master’s degrees that includes an A.M./M.Sc., from UCSF, M.B.A., from Kellogg at Northwestern University and M.A./M.Phil., from University of Pennsylvania. He started his career in the fashion and wellness industry in New York City 20 years ago after graduating from Parsons School of Design before dedicating his life’s purpose towards transforming the world and positively impacting a billion lives over the next decade.
Alyssa Surina Dixon is passionate about empowering people to do work that is both meaningful and impactful. Her educational background in economics and mathematics along with her work experience in strategy and innovation have given her opportunities to research, consult, teach and create across diverse industries and cultures. Allie is a data scientist at Priceline, where she infuses marketing strategy with statistical and machine learning methods, creating actionable performance insights and metrics that drive decision-making. In addition, she has facilitated and co-designed data science and machine learning courses for international professionals from diverse industries since 2018. Allie also has deep experience as an innovation consultant, drawing from research in creativity, cognitive science and product engineering. Allie co-created innovation strategies with clients, coaching project teams until ideas were fully embedded. Her work has been utilized by Fortune 500 companies looking to increase team creativity and innovation. She has coached over 150 executives in online courses in design, innovation and strategy, playing a large role in developing the online version of Professor Bill Duggan’s Strategic Intuition course. She has also co-taught enterprise-level innovation summits with Professor Duggan, teaching teams of 50-100 and creating tools for individual and group problem-solving. Allie spent a year in Xi'an, China, on a Fulbright Scholarship, researching the role that mindsets about creativity and personal ability play in early math education in China. In her ongoing role as a Fulbright Alumni Ambassador, Allie speaks on behalf of the State Department and the Institute for International Exchange about the power of cross-cultural exchange and the work of building trust and respect across cultures. Her experiences have been featured on public television and she also shared her story at the U.S. Senate in 2019. Allie received her MA in Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences from Columbia University. She received her BA dual-degree in Economics/Mathematics from Western Kentucky University. Allie is also passionate about empowering women in STEM fields. She serves as a panelist and workshop speaker for middle and high school students. She currently leads the committee for Education initiatives for Women Impacting Priceline. She formerly founded the Leadership Lab for Women in Science at Columbia University, where she designed and hosted leadership and creativity workshops for female graduate students in STEM majors.
Hope S. Taitz is currently the CEO of ELY Capital. After graduating with honors from the University of Pennsylvania majoring in economics and concentrating in marketing, Ms. Taitz began her investment banking career as a mergers and acquisitions analyst at Drexel Burnham Lambert, first as an analyst and then as an associate. Ms. Taitz continued as a Vice President at The Argosy Group (now part of CIBC) and a Managing Director at Crystal Asset Management before founding her own money management firm, Catalyst Partners. Now acting as an investor and advisor with expertise in media, technology and the consumer, she helps innovative enterprises grow through financial leadership and connections to established corporations. Ms. Taitz, a strong advocate of women on boards, currently sits on Athene Holding Ltd., MidCap Finco Holdings Limited, Summit Hotel Properties, Inc. and ATTN. She had previously served on the boards of Apollo Residential Mortgage, Inc., Diamond International Resorts, Inc., as well as Lumenis Ltd. On the not for profit side, Ms. Taitz focuses on education and is an advocate for STEM. Originally sitting on the board of Girls Who Code, she now is a board member on The New York City Foundation for Computer Science working on CS4All and the 2025 STEM Initiative. Ms. Taitz is also a founding board member of YRFDarca, a member of the Wharton School Undergraduate Executive Board as well as a member of the Center for Social Innovation, and an emeritus board member of Pencils of Promise.
Lloyd G. Trotter is one of the Founders/Managing Partner of GenNx360 Capital Partners. He came to GenNx360 in January of 2008 full time, capping a 40-year career at General Electric (GE) where his last position was Vice Chairman.
As a Vice Chairman of GE and President and Chief Executive Officer of GE Industrial, Trotter was responsible for a $28 billion business with nearly 80,000 employees worldwide. GE Industrial, comprises GE Consumer & Industrial and GE Enterprise Solutions and provides a broad range of products and services throughout the world, including appliances, lighting and industrial products, factory automation systems, security and sensor technology, along with equipment financing, management and operating services. Earlier, Trotter was Executive Vice President of Operations where he led efforts to improve operational excellence across GE's businesses.
Mr. Trotter was a founding member of GE's African-American Forum and is actively involved in professional and community organizations. He represented GE for America's Promise, an organization aiming to increase volunteerism in support of youth. He has served on the boards of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME), the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), and the GE Foundation. He is currently on the board of Textron, Inc., and Meritor, Inc. He also served on the board of PepsiCo for nine years and Daimler A.G. for five years.
Mr. Trotter graduated from Cleveland State University with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration, and in 2001 the school awarded him an honorary doctorate degree. He has also been awarded an honorary doctorate degree from the school of business at North Carolina A&T State University as well as St. Augustine’s University of Raleigh, North Carolina.
In addition to her impressive investment portfolio including 17 startups (13 of which are women-founded), Joanne Wilson is co-founder of the Women Entrepreneur Festival. She is an avid writer with a massive following on her blog, Gotham Gal.
At the age of 22, Wilson was responsible for the second-largest cosmetics departments at Macy’s, responsible for overseeing 100 employees. She tried many careers in various industries, moving from retail to wholesale and then to media technology. Wilson experimented in friends’ businesses, led sales of a startup company called Silicon Alley Reporter, and chaired the nonprofit MOUSE (Making Opportunities in Upgrading Schools in Education). The organization focused on technology in inner-city schools.
In 2008, after encouragement from her husband (a partner at Union Square Ventures) and an interest in the company Curbed, Wilson launched her career as an angel investor. She focuses primarily on companies owned or founded by women, ranging from coffee shops to tech. Wilson’s successful investments include Blue Bottle Coffee, Food52, Nestio, TaxiTreats, DailyWorth, and Kitchensurfing, among others.
Ed Zimmerman co-founded & chairs the Tech Group at Lowenstein Sandler, where he’s been a growth company, startup and venture lawyer for 25+ years. He has negotiated and documented hundreds of venture and M&A deals. Ed has served as: an Adjunct Professor of VC in Columbia's MBA program (15 years), on the Wall Street Journal’s Panel of Experts (he’s published 80 columns), and as an advisor on VC matters to the President of France. Best Lawyers in America named Ed as 2017 New York City Venture Capital Lawyer of the Year. Chambers USA ranked Ed among the 22 best lawyers in Startups & Emerging Companies–USA–Nationwide (the only of those based in New York (2018). Dow Jones Private Equity Analyst has listed Lowenstein Sandler as among the five (5) most active law firms in venture in America. Ed co-founded and runs VentureCrush and has published more than 40 columns in Forbes (mostly on venture, tech and startups).
Ed advocates on issues concerning race, gender, the LGBTQ community, reproductive rights and gun control. In February 2014, Ed co-organized (with the Obama White House’s Liaison for LGBTQ matters) a summit of LGBTQ leaders in the tech community at the White House. He separately co-organized an event at the White House on the Future of Work & AI in 2016. In 2014 at VentureCrushNY, Ed announced a pledge against gender bias in tech, which he later published on The Wall Street Journal's Accelerators page, with subsequent coverage in Fortune magazine. In 2013, Ed published a column also on The Wall Street Journal’s Accelerators page, calling out bias in VC, noting a majority “of VCs had degrees from a small cluster of 10 schools … and a staggering 87% were Caucasian.” He published a companion Columbia University case study (2013).
Ed was profiled for his advocacy for gender equality in several books, notably Pulitzer Prize winner Joann S. Lublin's Earning It: Hard-Won Lessons from Trailblazing Women at the Top of the Business World (Harper Business 2016) and Julia Pimsleur’s Million Dollar Women: The Essential Guide for Female Entrepreneurs Who Want to Go Big (Simon & Schuster 2016). Ed’s (non-musical) contribution to the musical (political) collaboration “Put a Woman In Charge” between multi-Grammy winning musicians Keb’ Mo’ and Rosanne Cash was reported in Billboard Magazine (2018). He and his wife Betsy have written about music (Sister Rosetta Tharpe) in Forbes (2016) and published a case study about the Blues (Columbia Business School, 2018).
Ed serves on the Boards of Harvey Mudd College and the Center for Policing Equity He was a board member of and, since 1994, has been pro bono counsel to New York Live Arts (formerly Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company), which named Ed its 2018 Live Ideas Honoree.