We’re tapping the GSV Community—a deep global network of business leaders, educators, investors, celebrities, authors, media personalities, policymakers, and fellow entrepreneurs—to deliver a “Live Aid for Startups” talent collective.
John Chambers is the founder and CEO of JC2 Ventures. In his role, Chambers focuses on helping disruptive startups from around the world build and scale, while also promoting the broader development of startup nations and a startup world. He invests in companies across categories and geographies that are leading market transitions, such as ASAPP, Aspire Food Group, Balbix, Bloom Energy, Cloudleaf, Dedrone, IoTium, Lucideus, OpenGov, Pensando, Pindrop, Privoro, Quantum Metric, Rubrik, SparkCognition, Sprinklr, and Uniphore. He serves on the Board of Directors for Bloom Energy, OpenGov, Pindrop, Sprinklr, and Uniphore.
In addition to investing in and mentoring startups, Chambers is focused on promoting entrepreneurship, gender equality, and accelerating overall new business creation around the world, as he believes that startups will be the core driver of economic growth and job creation in the Digital Age. He was appointed Global Ambassador of the French Tech by President Emmanuel Macron of France. Chambers is also the Chairman of the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF). He will work closely with business and government leaders in France, India and the U.S. to create meaningful opportunities that have the power to change the lives of citizens.
Prior to founding JC2 Ventures in January 2018, Chambers served as CEO, Chairman and Executive Chairman at Cisco Systems. During his 25+ years at Cisco, he helped grow the company from $70 million when he joined in 1991, to $1.2 billion when he became CEO in 1995, to $47 billion when he stepped down as CEO in 2015. As Executive Chairman, a position Chambers held until December 2017, he led the Board of Directors and provided counsel to the CEO and leadership team on strategy, digital transformation and strategic partnerships. John also spearheaded the creation and development of Cisco’s country digitization program, where he partnered with government leaders across the world to harness the power of technology to create economic opportunities.
With countless lessons learned during his tenure at Cisco, as well as from his experiences working with startups, Chambers wrote Connecting the Dots: Lessons for Leadership in a Startup World in 2018, sharing the management, leadership and business principles that brought him and his teams unmatched success for decades. Connecting the Dots unleashes new rules for disruption and lasting success in the Digital Age that gives readers a playbook on how to act before the market shifts, tap customers for strategy, partner for growth, build teams, and disrupt themselves.
Chambers has received numerous awards for his leadership, including being named the number two “Best-Performing CEOs in the World” in 2015 from Harvard Business Review and receiving the Edison Achievement Award for Innovation. Chambers was also awarded the Outstanding Civil Service Medal by the U.S. Army, as well as France’s National Defense Gold Medal, the only foreign business leader to ever receive the award in its 35-year history. Most recently, Chambers was awarded the Padma Bhushan, one of the highest civilian awards recognized by the Government of India, for his contributions to trade and the tech industry in India.
Chambers was also named one of Barron’s’ “World’s Best CEOs,” “CEO of the Year” by Chief Executive Magazine, Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People,” the “Best Boss in America” by 20/20, one of BusinessWeek’s “Top 25 Executives Worldwide,” the Business Council’s “Award for Corporate Leadership,” “Best Investor Relations by a CEO” from Investor Relations Magazine three times, and the 2012 Bower Award for Business Leadership from the Franklin Institute.
Chambers has worked closely with government leaders around the world, including nine U.S. Secretaries of State. Chambers also served two American presidents during his career. He was Vice Chairman of President George W. Bush’s National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC), where he provided industry experience and leadership to help protect critical U.S. infrastructure. He also served on President George W. Bush’s Transition Team and Education Committee, and on President Bill Clinton’s Trade Policy Committee.
He has been widely recognized for his philanthropic leadership, including receiving the U.S. State Department’s top corporate social responsibility award (ACE) twice, from both former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2010 and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in 2005. He also received the first-ever Clinton Global Citizen Award from former U.S. President Bill Clinton and has been awarded the Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship and the prestigious Excellence in Corporate Philanthropy Award, an award given by CEOs to their CEO peers.
Jeff Hoffman is an award-winning global entrepreneur, proven CEO, worldwide motivational speaker, bestselling author, Hollywood film producer, a producer of a Grammy winning jazz album, and executive producer of an Emmy Award winning television show. In his career, he has been the founder of multiple startups, he has been the CEO of both public and private companies, and he has served as a senior executive in many capacities. Jeff has been part of a number of well-known successful startups, including Priceline.com/Booking.com, uBid.com and more.
Jeff serves on the boards of companies in the US, Europe, the Middle East, South America, Africa, and Asia. He supports entrepreneurs and small businesses on a worldwide basis. He is the Chairman of the Global Entrepreneurship Network, which works with entrepreneurs in 180 countries, as well as being a founding board member of The Unreasonable Group, whose startup companies have operations in 185 countries and have raised over $4 billion in funding. He is also the Global Chairman of Dream Tank, a worldwide youth problem solving network. Jeff supports the White House, the State Department, the United Nations, and similar organizations internationally on economic growth initiatives and entrepreneurship programs.
Jeff is a frequent keynote speaker, having been invited to speak in over 60 countries. He speaks on the topics of innovation, entrepreneurship, and business leadership, and is the author of the book SCALE, a how-to guide for growing your business. Jeff also teaches innovation workshops to major corporations on a regular basis.
Jeff is a featured business expert seen on Fox News, Fox Business, CNN, CNN International, Bloomberg News, CNBC, ABC, and NPR, and in publications including Forbes, Inc., Time, Fast Company, the Wall Street Journal, and more.
Jeff was honored with the Champion of Entrepreneurship Award from JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, and Rising Tide Capital, as well as receiving the George Brown Award for International Cooperation from the US State Department. Jeff received the Commitment to Excellence Award from CitySummit in 2019, as well as receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award and being inducted into the Entrepreneurs Hall of Fame for his contributions to the field of entrepreneurship. He was also honored with the Best of the Best Award from the national CEO association (Collegiate Entrepreneurship Organization).
Outside of the world of technology, Jeff has produced TV shows, has produced movies in Hollywood, has produced musical events including concerts, tours, and charity events with such artists as Elton John, Britney Spears, NSYNC, Boyz II Men, and others, and serves on numerous charity and non-profit boards.
Rachael Jarosh is president and chief executive officer of Enactus, a global community of student, academic and business leaders committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and help shape a better, more sustainable world.
Ms. Jarosh brings to Enactus a distinctive professional portfolio in communications and philanthropic strategy, law and finance. Previously, Ms. Jarosh provided strategy and communications counsel to clients in the media, technology and philanthropy sectors.
Earlier, Ms. Jarosh served as president of the Foundation at Pentair plc (NYSE: PNR), where she led the effective repositioning of the organization, and launched a multi-year water initiative in partnership with the Center for Disease Control and non-profit organizations. Initially aimed at creating sustainable access to safe, clean drinking water for 300,000 people in target markets, the project reduced the incidence of water borne illnesses by 80 percent. The global roll-out of Project Safewater now provides sustainable access to safe water for 3.0 million people.
In addition, Ms. Jarosh served as global head of Pentair corporate communications with responsibility for crafting a compelling, coherent vision of Pentair for all stakeholders which articulated vision, growth and performance strategies. In this role, she led corporate and segment brand development, including brand rationalization, new multi-channel brand architecture and positioning; built go-to-market strategies through a cross-functional, global team; and was responsible for cultural alignment strategies and implementation plan for acquisition integrations impacting 12,000 employees. Ms. Jarosh was also involved in the coordination of operating unit leadership communication and performance analysis, and launched the company’s corporate citizenship council.
Prior to her role at Pentair, Ms. Jarosh worked in investor relations and equity analysis, and began her career as an attorney. In addition, Ms. Jarosh is a writer; her work has been published in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, and the Star Tribune among other outlets, and she is the author of a forthcoming nonfiction book.
Arun M. Kumar, Chairman and CEO, KPMG in India is an accomplished global executive with experience spanning multiple sectors from high technology to Government and many geographies from Silicon Valley to India.
Most recently, Arun served as the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Global Markets and Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service in the Obama Administration. He led the trade and investment promotion efforts for the U.S. Government and served as the International Trade Administration’s lead official advocating for better market access for U.S. exporters. He traveled to over thirty countries around the world, engaging with senior Government and business leaders.
Before his tenure in public service, Arun was a Partner and member of the Board of Directors at KPMG, LLP. He led the firm’s West Coast Management Consulting practice serving major global clients as well as emerging Silicon Valley ventures while creating thought leadership to advance business practices in financial management. He also founded and led KPMG’s US-India practice.
Previously, Arun was a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, founding CEO and CFO of three technology ventures. Over the years, he has been a mentor and advisor to a number of new ventures in Silicon Valley and India.
Arun is a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, New York. He chairs the India Advisory Council of the US India Business Council. He has formerly been a member of advisory councils at Stanford University and the University of California, Santa Cruz. An early Charter Member of TiE Silicon Valley, he also served on its Board.
Arun has authored a book of poetry, Plain Truths (2010), and co-edited a book, Kerala’s Economy: Crouching Tiger, Sacred Cows (2007).
Arun received his Master’s degree in Management from the Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Bachelor’s degree in Physics from the University of Kerala, India. He started his career in India as a member of TAS, the central management cadre of the Tata Group.
Jaime Schmidt is an entrepreneur and the founder of Schmidt’s Naturals, a brand of natural personal care products that she started in her kitchen in Portland, Oregon in 2010. Jaime is known for modernizing natural personal care products, including the customer-favorite deodorant, and bringing them to the mainstream market. Under her leadership, Schmidt’s grew into a household name lining the shelves of retailers including Target, Costco, Whole Foods, Walmart and CVS across 30 countries. In 2017, Schmidt’s partnered with CPG giant Unilever, with Jaime continuing as the brand’s founder.
Today, Jaime is focusing her efforts on helping emerging entrepreneurs pursue their own dreams. Jaime is the co-founder of Color, an investment portfolio that supports women and people of color, and this spring Jaime launched the Entrepreneurial Dream Project, a grant fund and mentorship program supporting early stage entrepreneurs impacted by the recent economic recession. Recipients will receive capital and coaching from a dream team of 50 business leaders including Mark Cuban to Rebecca Minkoff and execs from Adidas to Harry’s.
Jaime recently released her first book entitled Supermaker: Crafting Business on Your Own Terms, a personalized guide on how to put your business on the map, turning your passion into profit.
She is regularly profiled in prominent press including Inc.,Entrepreneur, Forbes and Fast Company. Jaime is an inaugural member of the Inc. Founders Project and has also been recognized as 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs (Goldman Sachs, 2017 & 2018), PNW Entrepreneur of the Year (Ernst & Young, 2017), Women of Influence (Portland Business Journal, 2018) and Executive of the Year (Portland Business Journal, 2017).
As ferocious and hard-hitting as he was on the football field during a celebrated collegiate and professional career, Ronnie Lott is equally warmhearted and compassionate in his role today as entrepreneur, businessman and philanthropist.
The combination of his unbelievable tenacity as a player and conscientious concern as a human being make Lott one of the seminal figures on the American sports scene.
Perhaps the greatest defensive back to ever play the game, Lott was given the highest honors at every level of participation – college All-American at USC, NFL All-Pro with the San Francisco 49ers, world champion, college and pro football Hall of Fame. Ronnie was honored once again as the top defensive player in the 100-year history of the Pac-12 conference.
In 2004, Lott lent his name to the Lott IMPACT® Trophy, one of the nation’s most prestigious awards, given annually to the college student-athlete who makes the biggest IMPACT® on his team both on and off the field. To date, the Pacific Club IMPACT® Foundation has raised in excess of $1.4 million for numerous charities throughout California and the country.
At Eisenhower High School in Rialto, California, just a few miles from Riverside, Ronnie was a superb athlete, excelling at quarterback, wide receiver and safety on the football team (the high school field is now named after Lott). John Robinson recruited Lott to USC where he was part of the fabled Trojan dynasty, starting on two Rose Bowl teams and a national championship team. Was captain of the 1980 team and a consensus All-American. The eighth choice in the NFL draft by the 49ers, Lott was an instant success. He started at cornerback his rookie season, intercepted seven passes and helped San Francisco win Super Bowl XVI, the first of four they would win during his tenure. “He’s like a middle linebacker playing safety,” Hall of Fame coach Tom Landry once remarked. “He’s devastating. He may dominate the secondary better than anyone I’ve seen.”
During his brilliant 14-year NFL career, Lott was named All- Pro eight times, intercepted 63 passes and was named to the 75th anniversary all-NFL team. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000. USA Today praised Ronnie as “one of the most successful athletes at making the transition to business.”
He now manages $2.4 billion in private-equity investments and owns both Toyota and Mercedes-Benz car dealerships. He also opened World Sports Cafe in Fresno, California. He also advises professional athletes who are making a transition to the business world.
In 1999, Ronnie, along with former 49er teammate Harris Barton, co-founded HRJ Capital, a private equity investment company. Lott is a managing partner of the firm that began with a $40 million fund, investing exclusively in the venture capital sector, but has evolved into a diversified global private equity investment platform with a series of funds focused on top performing venture capital, leveraged buy-out, distressed asset, real estate and hedge fund managers. Lott’s Toyota dealership has been awarded the prestigious Toyota President’s Award twice, for demonstrating a commitment to maintaining the highest standards for customer satisfaction.
In addition to the phenomenal success of the Lott IMPACT® Trophy, Ronnie is a man who believes in using his platform for others. In 1989, he founded All-Stars Helping Kids, a nonprofit organization that pools the resources of world class athletes, corporations and individuals to promote a safe, healthy and rigorous learning environment for disadvantaged children in low-income communities. With Ronnie leading the way, All-Stars has distributed millions of dollars to non-profits throughout the Bay Area.
Today, Ronnie lives in Cupertino with his wife, Karen.
Harry Stebbings is the Founder of The Twenty Minute VC, the world’s largest media asset in venture with over 300,000 subscribers and 100M downloads. Prior guests have included the likes of Reid Hoffman, Bill Gurley, Howard Marks, Ashton Kutcher and more. Harry is also the Managing Partner @ 20VC Fund with investments in the likes of Hopin, Roam Research, Nex Health and Linktree. If that was not enough, Harry is also a General Partner at Stride.VC, one of Europe’s leading early-stage funds having led the seed for Cazoo, Europe’s fastest ever unicorn.
Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande is a venture capitalist and entrepreneur born in Hubli, Karnataka, India. He holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, an MEng in Electrical Engineering from the University of New Brunswick, and PhD in Data Communications from Queens University, Kingston.
Although an engineer by training, he is most often considered a “serial entrepreneur”, and has pursued an entrepreneurial career for the past three decades. He is the founder, founding investor and/or chairman of several companies, including Cascade Communications, Sycamore Networks, Coral Networks, Tejas Networks, Cimaron, Webdialogs, Airvana, Sandstone Capital, A123 Systems and Curata.
Dr. Deshpande began his engineering career in Canada at the Motorola Corporation before moving to the U.S. in 1984. In 1990, he co-founded Cascade Communications, a company that played a key role in the infancy of the internet, before selling the company in 1997. Dr. Deshpande went on to found Sycamore Networks and is currently President and Chairman of Sparta Group LLC.
Dr. Deshpande serves as a life-member of the MIT Corporation, and his generous donations are behind the creation of the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at MIT. Leveraging the experience gained there, the Deshpande Foundation has supported the work of hundreds of emerging entrepreneurs by setting up three other centers: the Deshpande Center for Social Entrepreneurship in India, the Merrimack Valley Social Entrepreneurship Sandbox in Massachusetts and the Pond-Deshpande Center at the University of New Brunswick.
In addition, Dr. Deshpande chairs Akshaya Patra USA, which raises awareness and funds for Akshaya Patra in India, a secular non-profit organization that simultaneously addresses childhood hunger and promotes education for over 1.3 million underserved children in India.
Dr. Deshpande also co-chairs a U.S. National Council to support President Obama’s innovation and entrepreneurship strategy.
Ms. Archambeau is an experienced CEO and Board Director with a track record of accomplishments building brands, high performance teams, and organizations. Ms. Archambeau currently serves on the boards of Verizon [NYSE:VZ], Nordstrom [NYSE: JWN], Roper Technologies [NYSE: ROP], and Okta [NASDAQ: OKTA]. She is also a strategic advisor to Forbes Ignite and to the President of Arizona State University, and serves on the boards of two national nonprofits, Catalyst and Braven.
She is the former CEO of MetricStream, a Silicon Valley-based, governance, risk, and compliance software company that enables corporations to improve their business operations through better risk management across the enterprise. Ms. Archambeau built the company into a global market leader with over 1200 employees serving customers around the world. Under her leadership MetricStream was recognized for growth and innovation over the years and was named in the top 10 of the “Deloitte Technology Fast 50” and named a global leader in GRC by leading independent analyst firms for 9 consecutive years.
Ms. Archambeau has over 30 years of experience in technology leading organizations focused on business to business as well as business to consumer. She is a recognized expert in marketing and co-authored, “Marketing That Works: How Entrepreneurial Marketing Can Add Sustainable Profits to Any Sized Company.” She has held EVP of Sales and Chief Marketing Officer roles for two public companies and as President of Blockbuster.com, launched the entertainment retailer’s first online presence.
She was named the second most influential African American in IT by Business Insider. She was ranked one of the “100 Most Influential Business Leaders in America” by Newsmax and that same year received the NCWIT Symons Innovator Award from The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT).
She is the author of Unapologetically Ambitious: Take Risks, Break Barriers and Create Success on Your Own Terms (Published by HBG Grand Central 10/2020). A book that helps professionals achieve their aspirations and create the life they want.
Shellye is also a sought-after speaker on governance, risk and compliance as well as marketing and entrepreneurship. She has guest lectured at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and The Wharton School of Business. She is a Forbes contributor and has been featured or referenced in major publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Financial Times.
In her spare time Shellye enjoys exercising, the performing arts, entertaining and cooking.
Jim Mellon is a British entrepreneur with interests across a number of industries who studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at the University of Oxford.
Jim began his investment career in Asia and then moved to the US, working for two fund management companies, GT Management and Thornton & Co, during which time he gained valuable insights into the companies and economies which would drive global growth over the following decades He established his own business in 1991, which today persists as Charlemagne Capital, recently acquired by Fiera Capital, and as Regent Pacific Group, a Hong Kong-listed company which he still controls.
Through his private investment company, The Burnbrae Group, he has substantial real estate investments in Germany and in the British Isles, as well as major shareholdings in private and public companies in sectors such as banking, commodities, leisure and healthcare.
Jim’s investment philosophy, which has led him to be recognized as a successful private investor is underpinned by his ability to identify so-called “money-fountains” – market trends which will lead to step changes and to investment opportunities. His first book Wake Up! Survive and Prosper in the Coming Economic Turmoil, co-authored with Al, foresaw the global financial crisis of 2007-08, while Fast Forward, also co-authored with Al and published in 2015, identified technologies and companies which are reshaping people’s lives.
Jim spends most of his time investigating and working on start-up ideas. He is an Honorary Fellow of Oriel College, at University of Oxford and is a trustee of the Biogerontology Research Foundation, as well as of Lifeboat, and is a Board Member of the Buck Institute of California.
Jeff Atwood is an American software developer, author, blogger, and entrepreneur. He writes the computer programming blog Coding Horror. He co-founded the computer programming question-and-answer website Stack Overflow and co-founded Stack Exchange, which extends Stack Overflow’s question-and-answer model to subjects other than programming.
Ryan Nece is Founder and Managing Partner of Next Play Capital, a venture investment firm that invests in the most access-constrained venture funds and companies. Prior to starting Next Play Capital, he was Co-founder of StraightCast Media which was acquired by FOX Sports in 2015. Ryan also spent time as an investor at both Arenda Capital and Provident Investment Advisors. He is an advisor to tech start-ups Tonal and Bridge Athletics, asset-manager Rocky Mountain Resources and sports market research firm Sports Innovation Lab.
He began his career as a professional football player starring for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and winning the 2002 Super Bowl before finishing with the Detroit Lions. Ryan spent five years post-NFL as a Football Analyst for FOX Sports, Pac-12 Conference and Versus along with three years hosting a radio show on 640 WADE in Tampa and on 1040 ESPN Radio.
Ryan remains active in the Tampa Bay area as Founder and Chairman of the Ryan Nece Foundation, which creates opportunities for teens to embrace the power of giving through volunteerism and inspirational leadership programs. He was a 2010 Fellow for the Lifework Leadership. He also serves as a board advisor to the Tampa Bay technology redevelopment project and the Tampa sports commission.
Ryan holds a BS in economics with honors from UCLA and completed the Harvard Business School NFL Executive Business Program and the Stanford Graduate School of Business NFL Entrepreneur Executive Program. He also serves as an advisor to the NFLPA’s one team collective and a board member for the V foundation for cancer research (WCB). He co-wrote Go Pro Like A Pro, a booklet published in 2011 advising athletes and their parents. He is a member of the 2018 Class of Henry Crown Fellows within the Aspen Global Leadership Network at the Aspen Institute.
Michael Moe is the founder and CEO of GSV, a growth focused investment platform based in Silicon Valley. GSV has invested in companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, Snap, Lyft, and Spotify. GSV has several funds focused on the emerging education technology sector and has invested in Coursera, Chegg, Pluralsight, 2U, and Course Hero. GSV stands for “Global Silicon Valley,” the Megatrend of innovation and entrepreneurship that has made Silicon Valley such a remarkable place, which continues to spread throughout the World.
Before GSV, Michael was the founder and CEO of ThinkEquity, Head of Global Growth Research at Merrill Lynch, and was voted to be on the Institutional All-American Research Team, and named “Best on the Street” by the Wall Street Journal. Michael is a Board Member at Course Hero, SharesPost, Whittle Schools, OZY Media, a Board Observer at Coursera, and an advisor to TAL and Arizona State University. Michael is the founder of GSV University and GSV MBA, an accredited graduate program for entrepreneurs. He is the author of three books, Finding the Next Starbucks, The Global Silicon Valley Handbook, and The Mission Corporation (publishing later in Q1 2021), which he co-authored with longtime friend and business partner Michael Carter. In addition, he is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).
As a dedicated champion of women, Sam has devoted her career to advocating and supporting women in the pursuit of their dreams. Thousands of women from C-level leaders to administrative assistants to moms returning to the workforce have benefitted from Sam’s unique guidance. She finds that spark within each of them and turns it into a fire. In Sam’s quest to help women achieve financial independence, she launched Park Place Payments.
Since earning her undergraduate and MBA degrees from Harvard, Sam has become a best-selling author of five books, a renowned speaker and host of a nationally syndicated call-in radio show. Sam’s most recent book is The Pie Life: A Guilt Free Recipe for Success and Satisfaction. She writes a popular weekly work/life newsletter and penned a Washington Post Op-Ed that landed in the top 10 Op-eds in 2017.
Sam makes regular national television appearances on shows including NBC News, The Doctors, Access Hollywood, Good Morning America and the TODAY Show, among others. She has been featured and quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, Inc, Fast Company and Success Magazine. She was the host of leading Internet talk show Obsessed TV, which she created and produced with entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk.
Sam is active in causes relating to women and girls and is Co-Founder of the Los Angeles Women’s Collective, aimed at supporting women to run for office nationally and win. She serves on the advisory board of the Forbes School of Business and Technology. Sam lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three children.
Michael M. Carter is an entrepreneur and former venture capitalist, who founded BizEquity in 2010 with the support of a top financial institution and leaders in the accounting, finance, venture capital, and technology arenas.
Prior to this he was the Managing Director of the Musser Group, former CEO and co-founder of Dashboard Systems (sold to CXO Systems acquired by Cisco Systems) and former CMO of US Interactive. To date, he has co-founded or helped to create five technology companies including leaders in IT Services, Enterprise Software and Mobile Technology.
Michael Clifford has created companies in Christian Psychological Treatment, helped raise over $400M in gifts, major ad branding & public relations, sold the largest Six Sigma consulting agreement ($80M), co-managed a Presidential Campaign, created the second largest grossing political documentary in history, produced the award-winning film D.O.P.E., several online content sites, and created two companies that were back-to-back IPOs in Higher Education (LOPE & BPI)…the best performing IPO’s in 2008 and 2009 respectively.
Michael’s real joy as an entrepreneur has been the catalyst to help create thousands of high paying jobs, $1.2B invested in real estate for schools, graduated hundreds-of-thousands of students with billions-of-dollars in return to institutions as well as investors.
A member of the CWRU community for over nine years, Bob assists students and alumni explore starting a business and provides guidance to expand their knowledge and skills to be successful. Previously, he was a member of Information Technology Services, managing key strategic technology partnerships.
Bob was part of the management of a Bain Capital backed company growing 80 plus annual High Tech recruiting events and 600 employment sites to a successful sale to the Washington Post and Chicago Tribune. Since the inception, Bob has been involved with the international top level domain .jobs – www.goto.jobs.
Bob began his career with Revco Drug/CVS Pharmacy and continued for over 18 years. He was part of the team which took the company from bankruptcy to a successful IPO. He directed various marketing areas with a strong emphasis on the creative use of technology.
As Principal at Republic, a one-stop-shop for founders to raise capital, Cheryl Campos is passionate about the intersection of finance, technology, and social impact. After graduating from Harvard College in 2015 with a degree in economics, Cheryl started her career in finance at Barclays within the investment banking division. Prior to Republic, she worked as an analyst in private equity. Cheryl is focused on introducing underrepresented founders to traditional and alternative funding sources in order to help their startups thrive.
J.D. LaRock is currently the President and CEO of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), a global nonprofit organization that activates the entrepreneurial mindset and builds startup skills in young people from underserved communities. Reaching more than 100,000 middle and high school students annually, NFTE works with 2,000+ schools and community partners in 10 metropolitan regions across the U.S., as well as eight countries spanning Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America.
Previously, J.D. served as senior education advisor to the late U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy, leading work on the renewal of the federal Higher Education Act, as well as passage of a law that provided $20 billion in new Pell Grants to college students.
Soon after earning her Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from Washington University, Dr. Ivy began working for prominent companies such as Honeywell Aviation and 3M, where she thoroughly immersed herself into the world of information technology. She continued her schooling, going on to get her Master’s Degree in Business and Administration from the University of St. Thomas and then her PhD in Organizational Management from Capella University. Says Dr. Ivy, “I took my technical know-how, and I wanted to learn how to lead. So, this is where my MBA came in, and then my doctorate focused on how to organize and restructure businesses. My total background gave a pathway for me. It let me step into areas that I hadn’t been a part of, such as technology (which I love, love, love!) and business.”
Eventually, Dr. Ivy’s career trajectory landed her in Colorado, where she worked in senior management at Lockheed Martin for more than a decade. While there, she began teaching part-time at the university level. She was also becoming very active in volunteering her time, by public speaking and sharing her expertise with her community.
When layoffs impacted her at Lockheed Martin, Dr. Ivy quite happily made the jump into full-time teaching as the Department Chair and Professor of Technology Studies at the Forbes School of Business and Technology.
Michael Hayden is Lead Faculty, Master of Information Systems Management and Bachelor of Business Information Systems, and an Assistant Professor at UAZ Global Campus.
Joy is currently based in Silicon Valley, where she supports TAL Education Group in its overseas M/A and investments, business development, etcas TAL’s US Chief Investment Officer. Joy is also a limited partner at Future Works, an education entrepreneur incubator in China.
Joy Chen received her master’s degree from the Indiana University School of Education. She was among the first group of people doing research in online education around the end of last century. Joy is also a Stanford Business School alumnus. She attended Stanford Executive Program of year 2015.
Before Joy was the founder and advisor for FirstLeap Future Leaders Institute, which got acquired by TAL in 2015. She has also worked for consulting company Ernst & Young, and Fortune 500 companies such as Microsoft and Verizon.
Joy is also an author. She has published three books and is a columnist for three magazines. Her writing focuses on parenting and education.
Celestine Schnugg is founder and General Partner of Boom Capital, an early stage fund for deeply technical, under networked founders building companies of consequence. Investment themes include computational health, synthetics (sensors, synthetic intelligence, simulators, mixed reality), machine intelligence, serverless computing / containers, autonomous, aerospace, computational genetics, synthetic biology, and life extension. Prior to Boom, she was an Innovation Partner at Eric Schmidt & Dror Berman’s VC firm, Innovation Endeavors. Celestine received the Top 100 Most Innovative People award in 2015. Notable invests include Mammoth Biosciences ($68M+ raised), Swarm Technologies($80M+ raised), System1 Biosciences($25M+ raised), A-Alpha Bio($4M+ raised), and FaunaBio($4M+ raised).
Jai is the founder at Countdown Capital since Dec 2020. He is also an investor at Rocana Venture Partners. He is a venture partner at Republic and a mentor at Plug and Play Tech Center.
Janine Sickmeyer founded and built legal startup NextChapter, serving as CEO and Founder for 6 years until it was acquired in September 2019 by Fastcase. In that time, she grew her team to 20 employees, 14% month-over-month revenue, and 5,000 attorney users in all 94 US Districts.
As a first-time founder, she learned and managed software development, product management, sales and marketing, finance and accounting, fundraising, user experience design, branding, customer success, client partnerships and most importantly, how to take a sketch and turn it into a living, breathing product that people love to use.
Janine joined Fastcase as Director of Practice Workflow as part of the acquisition. As a business leader and entrepreneur, Janine provides strategic vision for NextChapter and is particularly fascinated in the intersection between law and technology and more specifically, forms automation. Ms. Sickmeyer is a member of the American Bar Association (ABA), the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI), and a proud partner of the Lean In movement where she encourages and supports young women who are ready to make the leap as an entrepreneur or become a leader in their industry.
Janine was recognized as a Fastcase 50 Honoree in 2019, Women of Legal Tech 2017 presented by American Bar Association’s Legal Technology Resource Center (LTRC) and celebrated in the 2017 Women Who Lead campaign by Pledge 1% for her philanthropic efforts with NextChapter.
Janine is passionate about sharing her startup story with female entrepreneurs and business leaders to help them overcome challenges when starting a new venture. Janine is writing her first book to inspire other women to take a leap into entrepreneurship in the tech space. Outside the office, spends her time reading books of all genres, practicing yoga, traveling with her husband, and playing make believe with her four young children.
Renee Delos Santos is a people ops executive and entrepreneur, passionate about bridging US-APAC groups and leadership to keep the world spinning.
LA-based for the past 16 years, Renee’s private sector and project management portfolio includes cross-sector initiatives bringing television and film’s most memorable media properties and Fortune 500 brands together. In social impact, her proudest achievements were in development, narrative, and campaign amplification towards: eradicating global poverty (ONE/RED); fighting climate change (Climate Reality Project/24 Hours of Reality); preventing AIDS within a generation (CTAOP, EGPAF); developing empathy and respect through testimony (Shoah Foundation); promoting mental wellbeing (Bring Change To Mind); and, most critically uplifting women and youth empowerment (Love Our Girls, CTAOP, USOW).
Currently, Renee serves as California Ambassador for the United State of Women, with her platform focus on advancing economic leadership of women and AAPI communities on Main Street to reflecting true C-suite/ Board Room diversity.
Jason is the Vice President of Curriculum and Research at The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) since 2009 where he oversees the strategy and design of NFTE’s project-based, interdisciplinary core entrepreneurship education programs aimed at activating the entrepreneurial mindset of at-risk youth.
Julianne Hummelberg is a Senior Associate at PowerPlant Ventures. Julianne leads deal sourcing and execution projects and is a board member and observer for portfolio companies including Veggie Grill, Jot Coffee, and OWYN.
Julianne entered financial services in 2012 at Emerging Global Advisors where she was a Director and Portfolio Specialist, heading Western US distribution for their ETFs across both institutional and retail channels. She then joined Invesco as a Regional Vice President in their institutional sales group, managing the firm’s West Coast relationships and strategizing with the top private wealth advisors and family offices on portfolio construction and asset allocation. In 2018, she transitioned into venture capital during business school, working as an Investment Associate at Trial Mix Ventures and Spring Mountain Capital.
Julianne earned her MBA from Columbia Business School where she was a Venture and Private Equity Fellow, President of the Healthy Living Club and Vice President of the Venture Capital Club. She also holds a BA in Economics from Wake Forest University, where she graduated cum laude, and an associate degree in Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
In her free time, she enjoys international travel, HIIT workouts, learning Spanish and contributing as a board member of Synergist Network, a non-profit organization that work towards gender parity in the private equity and venture capital industries.
Lolita Taub is the interim Head of Sales at Catalyte and the Co-Founder and General Partner at The Community Fund where she invests in community-driven companies. With 15 years working within the Silicon Valley ecosystem, she has accomplished +$50 million in sales and made +40 investments as an angel investor and VC at Backstage Capital and The Community Fund. Lolita is also a Co-Founder of the Startup-Investor Matching Tool, a scout at Lightspeed Venture Partners, and an LP at Operators Collective. Forbes and Inc Magazine have featured her as a woman promoting investment in underestimated founders. She has a BA from the University of Southern California and an MBA from the IE Business School.
Maurice is an investor at seed+speed Ventures in Berlin, Germany and a Venture Partner at Maschmeyer Group Ventures in Los Angeles, USA. He is continually an active mentor to accelerators across Europe and the US. Earlier in his career, Maurice excelled as a designer in the yacht and automotive industry for Ferrari and Porsche, before pivoting his role towards his passion in supporting entrepreneurs, startups and their ecosystems. He graduated with a Transportation Design degree from ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena and a Master of Science in Entrepreneurship and Innovation from USC. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, surfing, skiing, weightlifting, and meeting new people.
McKeever (Mac) Conwell, II is the Founder and Managing Director of RareBreed Ventures, a pre-seed stage venture fund based in Baltimore, MD. is a Pre-seed Fund that is investing in exceptional founders outside of the large tech eco-systems earlier than everyone else.With early meaningful cash upfront, wraparound services to increase capacity, and institutional knowledge from the additions of an executive RareBreed Ventures accelerates a company’s growth at the earliest stages.
Before starting Rarebreed Mac worked at the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) as the Portfolio manager. There his role was to find, help make investment decisions on, and help build Maryland-based startups. Mac works closely with many TEDCO portfolio companies to help them secure customers, partnerships, and funding. Mac also conducts extensive outreach to all of the tech communities and ecosystems in Maryland and does a lot of work supporting founders who consider themselves to be economically or socially disadvantaged. In 2017 Mac helped launch the Minority Business Pre-seed Fund and what was later transitioned to the Builder Fund which is the first state-backed pre-seed fund for women and minority-led startups.
Mac uses the knowledge he gained working in both public and private sectors as a software engineer and CEO to help startups be successful. A Baltimore native, Mac joined a co-op program with the Department of Defense in 2006 and obtained a top-secret security clearance. He went on to become a government contractor working in software development for several companies, including Northrop Grumman and Booz Allen Hamilton.
In October 2009, he co-founded his first tech startup, Given.to, which completed two accelerators, Accelerate Baltimore and NewMe Accelerator. Mac was later named entrepreneur-in-residence at NewMe. Mac and his team sold the technology in 2014. His next venture, RedBerry, was accepted into the Dreamit Ventures Accelerator in Philadelphia.
Mac has been a guest on Huffington Post Live several times and his companies have been featured in many media outlets such as USA Today, Washington Post, BET, CNN Headline News, and Black Enterprise. He attended Morgan State University, majoring in Computer Science.
Paulo is the Anti-CEO of EmprendHEC, a bridge for undiscovered early-stage tech entrepreneurs in Latin America since 2018.
Ruban is the senior global director and technical sales architect at Western Digital since 2013. Previously, he was the Global Director at Virident Systems.
Ruchi is currently the President, COO of Duluth Medical Technologies Inc, a Silicon Valley based Robotic Medical device startup. Duluth is focused to develop intelligent, agile and affordable surgical robots, to improve patient care. Ruchi has been working on medical devices right through her undergraduate college days and has presented various papers, publications on low-cost medical devices at international conferences. While at Stanford, Ruchi was part of the Stanford BioDesign Team and her team won the NIH grant for needs finding under the C-IDEA consortium at Stanford. Ruchi has also worked with Golden Seeds, a women focused Angel Network in New York and New Silk Route Growth Capital, a PE firm in Dubai, she has mainly focused on healthcare related investments at both these firms.
Steve Hamm is an experienced pharmaceutical and biotech executive with a focus on marketing, sales and drug development. Steve is a hands-on leader with a wealth of knowledge and experience delivering innovative solutions, technologies, and strategies for startups, mid and large corporations seeking to commercialize new products/operations. A stand-out contributor for many years at GlaxoSmithKline where he led the launch of one of GSK’s blockbuster drugs. Steve has complied a consistent record of personal achievements in developing growth strategies, revitalizing mature product lines, having launched over 25 new products and services, and generating increased sales and profits to the business.
Founder and CEO of POPmedia Brands, and PopStar Club, Inc., Sherry Gunther Shugerman is an award-winning producer, media executive, and entrepreneur. She’s produced animated hits such as The Simpsons, Family Guy, Rugrats, Dexter’s Laboratory, Johnny Bravo, The Powerpuff Girls, Looney Tunes; and headed production at Hanna Barbera, Warner Bros., Twentieth Century Fox Television, Nickelodeon, and more. At PopStar Club, Inc., Sherry created and launched The Beatrix Girls, a multi-platform media brand of fashion dolls. POPmedia Brands focuses on creating, developing and launching multi-platform media brands. Sherry is the recipient of two Emmys, a Cable Ace award, and a Humanitas Award.
Steve is a proud double Bruin and graduated with his Bachelor of Arts from UCLA in 1995 and his Master of Business Administration from UCLA Anderson School of Management in 2003. He currently serves as the CFO and Assistant Dean at UCLA School of Law where he has worked for the past 21 years. Steve was past president of the UCLA Alumni Los Angeles Westside Network and received the UCLA Alumni Volunteer of the Year Award in 2017.
Taj Eldridge (he/him) is the Senior Director of Investment at Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI). There, he spearheads a division geared towards facilitating the successful growth of sustainable high-tech startup companies engaged in entrepreneurial research and development of advanced technologies with the intent to create high-tech jobs throughout California. Taj was formerly part of the steering committee for The Highlander Venture Fund, dedicated to investing in startups at the University of California Riverside. Taj was also the Director with the ExCITE Incubator affiliated with the University of California Riverside. Taj is also Advisor in Residence for the Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship and as serves as a judge for the California Dreamin’ Business Plan Competition, the UCLA/Knapp Venture Capital competition, and Big Ideas Berkeley.
Tamas Haiman is an angel investor and entrepreneur. He has spent most of his career on the trading floor at BarCap, Citi and SocGen, and most recently as Head of Global Markets and member of the Board at Sberbank Switzerland.
Anita is Chief of Staff to the CEO at GSV Asset Management. Anita’s experience encompasses roles as an entrepreneur, investor, and advisor to global companies in the Technology sector. Prior to GSV, she was an investment professional at Vantage Point Capital Partners and an investment consultant at The Three Cairns family office where she invested in early to growth stage technology companies across the Consumer, Enterprise and Energy sectors. Anita is also the founder of a vertically integrated plus size womenswear retail startup, an invaluable experience that contributes richly to the perspective she brings as an investor and advisor.
Anita is a distinguished graduate of Manipal Institute of Technology, where she earned an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering. Following Manipal, Ms. Rehman graduated from the MSEE program at Stanford and later earned an MBA from the Wharton School of Business.
Tess Manning is a Principal at GSV Ventures based in San Francisco. Tess joined GSV in September 2019 after graduating from Stanford Graduate School of Business in spring 2019 where she was a Teaching Assistant for “Diverse Leadership in Education.” Her Stanford summer was spent at GSV portfolio company, Pluralsight. Prior to business school, Tess was a client success and top sales executive at Andela, another GSV portfolio company, and was also the head of talent at Timehop, a mobile app with 25mm users that displays a user’s historical social media content.
Tess has a passion for dance and founded a 501(c)(3) that taught dance in New York City homeless shelters.
Thea Knobel is the Vice President of Platform and Marketing at GSV Ventures. She is focused on the investor and startup community, brand strategy, strategic portfolio support for founders, and GSV backed initiatives like the ASU+GSV Summit.
Thea has venture capital investment experience at 2 VC funds and the Techstars LA Accelerator. At Techstars Thea worked on the venture team for the LA Accelerator sourcing and evaluating startups. She also was a Marketing Associate in the program working with founders on designing their communications strategies.
Thea is passionate about education. Starting in high school she cross-age tutored lower school students. During her masters she worked with underserved high school students on their college applications. Now she guest lectures at the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business.
Thea graduated with honors awarded to 1% of graduate students from USC Marshall School of Business with a M.S. in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She also sits on the advisory board of ThinkNow, a technology-driven market research firm that provides multicultural insights. Thea is multilingual, a public speaker, and an avid world traveler.
Vignesh Rajendran is an investment associate at GSV Ventures. Vignesh interned at GSV in summer 2018, prior to joining the GSV team full-time in August 2019. Vignesh is a 2019 graduate of Princeton University where he earned a BA in computer science and co-directed the Princeton Entrepreneurship club. Vignesh wrote his senior thesis on decentralized blockchain applications.
Jonathan works with startups at GSV. A 2020 graduate of UCLA majoring in statistics with a minor in film, TV and digital media, Jonathan is interested in data science and using machine learning for sports. He is also a passionate filmmaker and photographer.