Meet the VentureWell staff— a team of experts, leaders, and high-performing individuals committed to expanding the impact of innovation and entrepreneurship.
Meet the VentureWell staff— a team of experts, leaders, and high-performing individuals committed to expanding the impact of innovation and entrepreneurship.
Phil has led VentureWell since its founding in 1996 and today serves as President and CEO. By developing and expanding VentureWell's programs on a national and global scale, Phil has helped advance VentureWell's mission to solve global challenges through science- and technology-driven innovation and entrepreneurship. He’s accomplished this goal by designing and overseeing a suite of programs that encourage and support the deeper engagement of higher education and research institutions in curricular innovation, and developing and strengthening innovation communities. Phil is committed to sharing VentureWell’s learnings and resources to support the creation of inclusive and more equitable pathways for student innovators to succeed in venture creation. Under Phil’s leadership, VentureWell has collaborated with key science funding agencies, major philanthropies, and hundreds of universities to train and support thousands of emerging students, researchers and faculty innovators. After celebrating VentureWell's milestone 25-year anniversary in 2021, Phil remains driven to fortify the broader innovation ecosystem and continue guiding the launch of groundbreaking innovations. Phil attended the University of Massachusetts where he was a co-founder of a biotechnology company developing naturally occurring pest control products. He is a Founder and Past Chair of the ASEE Entrepreneurship Division, and a recipient of the 2008 Price Foundation Innovative Entrepreneurship Educators Award, the 2014 Engineering Entrepreneurship Pioneers Award from ASEE, and the 2016 Deshpande Symposium Award for Outstanding Contributions to Advancing Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education.
Chithra Adams brings to the Director of Learning and Evaluation role 15 years of experience in program evaluation, including successfully leading an evaluation team for the last nine years. She has worked across multiple disciplines evaluating programs of varying scale in: special education, employment, mental health and substance use, community integration, health and wellness, translation science, and assistive technology. Chithra has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and a Doctoral Degree in Educational Sciences from the University of Kentucky.
Jameelah provides support for federally-funded programs at VentureWell including NSF I-Corps™, I-Corps™ at NIH, and Industry-University Cooperative Research Center Assessment Management Program. She brings experience from the Chicago nonprofit and philanthropy space in the financial development and programmatic support of emerging organizations and social entrepreneurs. Jameelah holds a B.A. in Psychology and Communication and an M.A. in Nonprofit Management, both from DePaul University.
Rachel leads VentureWell’s Information Systems team, which is responsible for securing, maintaining and scaling the organization’s IT infrastructure and delivering technology solutions that enhance mission-critical business operations. Rachel’s work prior to VentureWell centered around nonprofit organizational capacity building, education, and combating food insecurity. She holds a B.A. from Bates College.
Gila is responsible for the day-to-day configuration, maintenance, and improvement of the Salesforce database in addition to serving as a partner in community engagement tools. Her work at VentureWell began as a program officer for the I-Corps and Frontier Set programs. Through that role, she had the opportunity to help redesign a Salesforce site and later became a system administrator after discovering that she really enjoyed it. Gila has a B.A. from the University of Arizona and an M.Sc. in Practicing Sustainable Development from Royal Holloway University of London.
Camillo coordinates activities that are key for the implementation of the VentureWell Industry-University Cooperative Research Center (IUCRC) Assessment Management Program. He supports the development of a range of industry partners to support the VentureWell early stage innovators and a vibrant i&e ecosystem. Previously he worked as a commercial lines underwriter, consultant, and startup co-founder. His education background includes a B.B.A. in Finance and Operations and an M.B.A. with a focus on data analytics from the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst.
Olivia leads the data management for Higher Education and Global Programs, including developing data infrastructure and creating data products. Previously, Olivia worked in nonprofit data roles where she streamlined data systems, conducted a quantitative analysis to drive program decision-making, and created compelling data visualizations. Olivia holds a B.S. in Cognitive Sciences and a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a M.Ed. in Measurement, Evaluation, Statistics, and Assessment from the University of Illinois, Chicago.
Cara leads VentureWell’s early stage innovator programs both domestically and globally and has deep experience in medtech venture development. With a background technology development and public health, she helps innovators address the challenges of developing and implementing innovative solutions in complex global health systems. Prior to joining VentureWell, Cara was a scientist at Diagnostics For All, where she developed point-of-care diagnostics for low-resources settings and led field trials in Zambia. Cara has an M.S. in chemistry from the University of Utah and an M.P.H. from the Johns Hopkins University.
Tom specializes in endpoint, server, and app management and automation and brings twelve years of experience managing complex technological systems in higher education. He loves problem solving, improving workflows, and getting technology out of the way to enable users to do their job effectively and enjoyably. Tom has a B.A. in history from Rowan University as well as certifications in ethical hacking, agile and lean methodologies, ITIL, and Mac management.
Em ensures the quality and reproducibility of VentureWell’s data through utilizing best collection and management practices. She joins VentureWell from the financial sector where she applied machine learning methods to large scale marketing and investments data. Prior to that, she cleaned and analyzed longitudinal social networks surveys in her role as research assistant for a study on cyberbullying. Em holds a B.A. in Sociology from Smith College.
Adam analyzes the impacts of VentureWell’s programs and assesses their outcomes using a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods. His prior experience includes applied economics research on behalf of public, private, and not-for-profit organizations, with specific emphasis on the energy industry and economic impact analyses. Adam holds an M.A. in International Commerce with a concentration in Development Economics from the Patterson School at the University of Kentucky.
Andrew (he/him/his) brings 13 years of experience to the IS team. Most recently, he was a Creative/Teacher with Apple. Andrew also worked with advanced robots at Springfield Technical Community College’s School of Health to facilitate experiences for students earning their degrees in the health sciences field. Andrew has degrees in Theater and Mortuary Science.
Julianne works with team leaders to ensure that VentureWell’s culture supports growth, learning, and development across the employee lifecycle. Prior to joining VentureWell, Julianne partnered with executive leaders in the nonprofit, municipal government, and private sectors to align their organizational goals to their programs and talent processes. She has a background in education entrepreneurship, program development, talent acquisition, and organizational effectiveness. Julianne has a B.A. in Psychology from Purdue University and a B.A. in Psychology and an M.Ed. in Special Education from George Mason University.
Patricia oversees the efficient intake, review, processing, and finalization of all submitted student and faculty grant proposals and competition entries. She manages pre- and post-award processes and works with student and faculty grantees and institution sponsored research staff to ensure procedural compliance on funded awards. During her time at VentureWell, Patricia has worked on many student and faculty programs. Patricia has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Sarah assists with financial reporting and accounting functions at VentureWell, including federal award compliance, budget management, and account reconciliations. She is also responsible for overseeing accounts receivable, and accounts payable. Sarah is a C.P.A. with a background in Audit and received her B.B.A. with a concentration in Accounting from the Isenberg School of Management at University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Dani manages the development team’s data systems and provides support for a wide breadth of grant proposals, concept notes, and funder reports. Prior to VentureWell, Dani worked in the arts nonprofit sector, where she developed, coordinated, and managed a portfolio of programs and funding opportunities centered in social justice and accessibility. Dani received a B.A. in Latinx Studies, Art Activism, and Photography from Hampshire College, and an M.P.A. in Nonprofit Management and Social Welfare Policies from the City University of New York – Baruch College.
Allyson leads the financial reporting and accounting functions at VentureWell including grants accounting, funder/federal compliance, tax matters, and budget management. She also oversees the payroll, accounts payable/purchasing, and accounts receivable functions of the organization with a focus on internal controls and process efficiency. She holds a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst as well as an M.S. in Accounting from Western New England University.
Nadine brings over 20 years of experience in national recruiting and executive search experience to VentureWell. She has led full-cycle talent searches, and successfully recruited diverse leaders across sectors for organizations including City Year, Teach for America, the Boston Consulting Group. In her work as a Vice President of Executive Search with Koya Leadership Partners, Nadine evaluated and placed executives at multiple non-profits and institutions of higher education. Nadine holds a B.A. in Business from Northeastern University.
Tricia implements and supports VentureWell’s early-stage entrepreneur programs, providing training for innovators on topics ranging from customer discovery to investment-readiness. Previously, Tricia founded and led DayOne Response, a science and technology startup providing clean drinking water solutions to vulnerable communities. During her tenure, she built a company with international reach, developed key partnerships, invented and scaled water technologies, and secured financing, which resulted in reaching 35+ countries and saving lives. Tricia received her B.S. in Civil Engineering and M.S. in Civil/Environmental Engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
Daniel manages and delivers resources to support the RadX program at VentureWell. He brings to the position a wealth of experience in the medical device industry with pre-market devices as well as with post-market surveillance. He has also been involved with medtech startups as a part-time endeavor. He holds a B.A. and an M.A. in Biomedical Engineering from Texas A&M University.
Chris manages the financial and accounting functions of the organization. Some of the activity he oversees includes accounting, grants and contracts, financial reporting and budget management. Chris gained his business and accounting experience as an entrepreneur primarily in the mortgage and real estate industries. He earned his M.B.A. from American International College and is also a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with a B.A. in sociology.
Katie works on the federal innovation team focusing on NSF I-Corps™ national courses and supports Global Innovation through Science and Technology’s Innovation Hub community. She brings more than 12 years of experience in entrepreneurship education and learning experience design. Prior to returning to VentureWell, she scaled a global leadership program across 15 countries through community development, efficient operations, and program management. Katie holds an M.B.A. and an M.A. in Nonprofits & Communications and a B.A. in Management, Marketing, and Entrepreneurship from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
Martín develops and facilitates relationships with federal agencies to strengthen VentureWell’s mission and vision. Prior to joining VentureWell, Martín served in science and technology program management roles at the National Science Foundation, AAAS, and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, engaging with an array of different topics and stakeholders domestically and internationally. Martín holds an M.S. in Biomedical Anthropology from Binghamton University (SUNY) and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Public Administration at The George Washington University.
Jesse supports GIST (Global Innovation through Science and Technology) programming for entrepreneurs around the globe. He has experience leading innovation teams and scaling up operations for a social enterprise that provides agricultural support services in East Africa, and has been supporting idea-stage entrepreneurs since 2014. He started his career as a Peace Corps volunteer in El Salvador. Jesse holds a Masters of Public Policy from the University of Minnesota, and a B.A. in Social Sciences from Trinity International University.
Bria currently supports entrepreneurs in emerging global economies by coordinating and implementing an online webinar series and serves as the liaison to the State Department for the program. Bria brings to VentureWell her enthusiasm for STEM and experience as a public health innovator and community development worker who has managed numerous community health projects across Africa and the Caribbean. She gained valuable experience by supporting the creation of livable and sustainable communities worldwide. Bria holds a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from the University of Massachusetts–Amherst and a Master of Science in Community Health Education from Merrimack College.
Eliza oversees digital content as part of VentureWell’s marketing and communications strategy, with a focus on websites, social media, and email marketing. Prior to joining the company, she worked in university communications, launching and developing a variety of websites, blogs, and social media channels, with the goal of presenting institutional content in an engaging, appealing way. Eliza also draws on her experience as a magazine journalist, at publications ranging from Architectural Digest to Archaeology Magazine. She holds a B.A. from Columbia University.
Max is the designer for marketing and communications for VentureWell and partner programs. He oversees the visual brand voice throughout the organization and strives to create engaging, impactful design in print and web. Max has 25 years of leading creative teams, including as senior designer for E-commerce at Yankee Candle and art director for Darby O’Brien Advertising. Max holds a B.S. in Graphic Design from Keene State College.
Kelly supports the intake and processing of accounts payable, and assists with consultant contracting. Drawing on her strong background in administration and customer service, she cheerfully balances the routine of regular implementation against the ever changing tide of as-needed items. Her prior work experience is predominantly administrative, but also includes several years of organic farming. She is deeply invested in sustainability, as well as supporting innovators and entrepreneurs working to change the world.
Jillian focuses on writing and editing content to support VentureWell’s thought leadership work. Previously, Jillian supported Pace University’s rebrand efforts, ran its official student newsletter, and was selected to serve on its first Presidential Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion committee. She has also launched her own digital publication, FemHype, for women and nonbinary video gamers. Jillian is a double alumna of Pace University, having earned a B.A. in English Language and Literature as well as an M.S. in Publishing with a digital focus.
Khandle is passionate about equity and inclusion and promotes both through the implementation of US and global venture development programs. Khandle has been managing projects between higher education, government, NGOs, and industry for over ten years. Her expertise ranges from programs with a grass roots local focus to those with a global impact. A former Peace Corps Volunteer to the Dominican Republic, Khandle holds a B.A. in Spanish and a B.S. in International Business from Pepperdine University and an M.A. in Communication from Arizona State University.
Hannah works with colleagues across the organization to tell the story of Venturewell programs while stewarding donor relationships and grants in support of our development goals. Hannah has extensive experience as a nonprofit program director and philanthropic fundraiser for regional, national, and international organizations with much of her work focused on the science of the environment and climate change. She holds a B.A. in Anthropology and Religious Studies from NC State University, and an M.S. in Nonprofit Management and Jewish Studies from Gratz College.
Jennifer champions a spirit of collaboration and open communications across all VentureWell departments and operations to provide leadership and ensure efficiency for organizational initiatives and priorities. She manages implementation of the strategic plan to ensure systemic alignment of the development, program, and functional units within the organization. She oversees the financial integrity, growth and stability of VentureWell and ensures that talent and technology act in support of administrative goals. Jennifer holds an M.B.A. with a concentration in public and non-profit management from Boston University.
M Jackson works on the federal innovation team focusing on the I-Corps™ national courses at the NSF and NIH. M is a National Geographic Society Explorer, TED Fellow, and three-time U.S. Fulbright Scholar including two U.S. Fulbright-National Science Foundation Arctic Research grants. M holds a post-doctorate and Ph.D. in climate change and glaciology from the University of Oregon, a Master of Science in Environmental Sciences from the University of Montana, and a Bachelors of Arts from Western Washington University; serves as a Fulbright Ambassador, a climate change expert for the National Geographic Society; and was a Peace Corps Volunteer to Zambia.
Margo assists with information management and communication for NSF I-Corps™, I-Corps™ at NIH, and the Industry-University Cooperative Research Center Assessment Management Program. Prior to joining the Programs team, she supported the Finance department by processing accounts payable, tracking consultant information, and facilitating panel discussions, with a primary focus on the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics initiative. She joined VentureWell as a Webinar Facilitator for NSF I-Corps™ and I-Corps™ at NIH. She is a 2020 Hampshire College graduate with a B.A. in Mixed Media and Creative Writing.
In her role, Brianca develops storytelling and digital marketing campaigns for students, faculty, and entrepreneurs to spread the word about VentureWell and its programming. In past experiences, Brianca has built national marketing campaigns for political movements that have raised multiple six figures, garnered national press attention, and mobilized tens of thousands of volunteers. She holds a B.A. in Business Administration with Marketing Concentration from University of Missouri–St. Louis and an M.A. in Marketing and Advertising Communications from Webster University.
Shari deploys a myriad of financial reporting and accounting functions at VentureWell, including grants accounting, budget management, proposal development, and contract compliance. Her previous experience includes performing reconciliations, closing processes, tasks involved in the full grant/contract life cycle, proposal development, budget development, project management, contract compliance, and coordination of technical and financial deliverables. Shari holds a B.A. in Business Administration with a focus in Accounting, an M.A. in Public Administration, and an M.A. in Educational Administration from the University of Nebraska.
Emma works in accounts payable and receivable functions, handles VentureWell’s expense reports and credit card expenses, and assists in month-end and year-end close tasks. She has worked in the accounting field for eight years, predominantly in accounts payable, where prior accomplishments include process improvement and the development of different accounting systems. She holds a B.A. in Accounting from Colorado State University.
Stefanie provides support for learning and evaluation within VentureWell’s early-stage entrepreneurship programs. Stefanie has served as an evaluation analyst for 13 years in nonprofit, higher education, and philanthropic organizations for programs in social services, workforce development, education, and public health. She holds a B.S. in psychology from Worcester State University and an M.A. in psychology with a co-concentration in organizational behavior and program evaluation from Claremont Graduate University.
Hope leads the Higher Education Catalyst Team, supporting faculty in developing programs that cultivate student innovators and promote institutional change. Prior to VentureWell, she was the founding Dean of the School of Continuing and Online Learning at Cardinal Stritch University and was the Senior Director of Knowledge and Learning at Social Current, a national nonprofit that services the social sector. She has a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Virginia Tech.
Leah supports VentureWell’s mission via strategic, well organized, and creative marketing and communications. She has over a decade of experience promoting entrepreneurship education in grades K-14+. She has collaborated with executives at the National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship on a communications strategy including email, website, webinars, print materials, social media, events, and press, and more. She graduated from Miami University of Ohio with a B.A. in Communications and Spanish and a Minor in Child Studies.
Tara manages the I-Corps™ national courses, including faculty development and curriculum improvements. In addition, she leads the development of new I-Corps™ initiatives such as I-Corps™ at NIH. Tara also manages the Lean LaunchPad for Educators workshop, which takes place twice a year. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Loyola University New Orleans, an M.A. in Higher Education Administration from the Ohio State University, and an M.B.A. from Rochester Institute of Technology.
Mandy leads the implementation of VentureWell’s internal Knowledge Management strategy helping to create a culture of learning and sharing. She serves as a liaison across departments and roles within the organization, building awareness of existing tools and identifying ways these tools can be improved to better meet the needs of staff. She previously worked in libraries focusing on metadata creation and management in addition to reference services. Mandy holds an M.L.S. from Simmons University and a B.A. in Marketing from Baylor University.
Shaheen oversees the coordination of planning activities and resources across multiple stages of VentureWell’s program development and delivery, and supports the engagement of new strategic partners. She enthusiastically embraces the role of intrapreneur, and previously applied her passion for creating positive social change through cross-disciplinary collaboration as Health Policy Advisor to the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services at the New York City Mayor’s Office. Shaheen is the original project director for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Leadership Network and earned a B.A. from The College of New Jersey and an M.P.A. from CUNY – Baruch College.
Mark leads the implementation of Venturewell’s growth strategy, including new business cultivation and portfolio expansion of individual, foundation, corporate, and government revenue. He also serves as Principal Investigator and Project Director for a number of VentureWell initiatives. Mark has over 18 years’ experience in US and global health organizations leading operations, business development, board governance, program development, and administration. He has a background in molecular biology and infectious disease diagnostics and received a B.A. in Zoology and Neuroscience from Miami University (OH) and an M.P.H. from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Colleen is responsible for full cycle contract administration with the many vendors and consultants VentureWell engages with. As a member of the Finance team, vendor relations and commitment management are among her top priorities. With a background in hospitality and corporate finance, Colleen brings a solutions based approach to the management and adherence of funder rules and regulations. Colleen holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Robert Morris University.
Victoria leads VentureWell’s Community of Practice and social learning initiatives, with a focus on providing faculty with resources, tools, and a support network. Previously, Victoria led VentureWell’s collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Frontier Set and the NSF-funded Pathways to Innovation program. She also worked for more than a decade in higher education—developing and managing degree programs; teaching online; and recruiting and training online faculty. Victoria holds a B.S. from the University of Hull and an M.S. from Marlboro College.
Justin leads the development of VentureWell’s early-stage innovator programming that focuses on providing equitable access to underrepresented student innovators and underserved institutions across the US. With a background as entrepreneur and marketer, he helps innovators at the earliest stages of their startup journey identify a problem to solve, build a team, and create a minimum viable solution to transform their ideas into a business. Justin has a B.A in marketing from the Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University.
Erika provides project management systems, cohort oversight, and manages staffing needs for several federally-funded programs at VentureWell, including NSF I-Corps and the SBIR Bootcamp. Her work in this role draws on long and varied experience as an educator, at institutions such as Temple University and Bennington College, and as a media producer, including the co-founding of Artifact Pictures, a documentary and animation production company in Philadelphia. Her education includes a B.A. from Vassar College and an M.F.A. in Filmmaking from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Liz supports the Finance Department and the RADx Initiative in processing accounts payable and tracking consultant documentation. She has a background in Social Work and has worked in area nonprofits for five years in homelessness and mental health, with a focus on helping youth and young adults. Liz holds a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Rebekah oversees VentureWell’s participation in the NIH Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative and provides support and expertise across VentureWell’s biomedical engineering and medical technology-focused programs. Prior to VentureWell, she managed a portfolio of investments in discovery science, technology, and innovation ecosystem development, focused on early-stage innovation and innovators as a Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Rebekah holds a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the University of Virginia and a B.S. in biomedical engineering from Georgia Tech.
Olivia supports VentureWell’s evaluation work across programs, including leading the Evaluation Team’s questionnaire development and methodology efforts. She brings a keen organizational eye from her previous positions with local and international nonprofits, which she uses to ensure consistency and efficiency in program evaluation at VentureWell. Olivia holds a B.A. in Anthropology from Hampshire College, where her research focused on globalization and traditional foodways.
Brandi secures funding for new and existing programs at VentureWell by collaborating with leadership, program staff, funding partners, and external experts in addition to colleagues on the development team to cultivate funder relationships and solicit mission-aligned gifts and grants. Brandi has spent more than 25 years working in the higher education and non-profit sectors, having served in multiple fundraising, marketing communication and advancement roles over that time for institutions such as Georgia Tech, NC State, Meredith College, Catawba College, and Barton College. She holds a B.A. from NC State University.
Jeff works on the higher education catalyst team to advance environmental sustainability initiatives across VentureWell programs, developing and presenting knowledge, designing and leading workshops, and developing and refining curricula. Previously, Jeff served as an assistant professor at The Citadel, teaching engineering and project management courses. He has over a decade of experience leading academic programs and courses, including managing sustainable infrastructure and economic development projects in developing communities. Jeff holds an M.B.A., a B.S., an M.S., and a Ph.D. in civil engineering from Clemson University.
Lisa Ponce supports the implementation, training, and use of tools with a specific focus on event management and registration, marketing, and project management. She also ensures consistent support and delivery of quality virtual events. She brings to this role a background in event and hospitality management, as well as a B.F.A. from Catawba College and an M.A. from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
Addison conducts evaluative data analysis for VentureWell’s programs supporting the Federal Innovation team. Her previous experience includes managing community-based intervention focusing on increasing care via telehealth for populations experiencing homelessness, recent incarceration, and substance use. She has also worked on implementing quality improvement programs nationwide for elderly populations experiencing adverse cardiac outcomes. Addison holds a B.S. in Neuroscience from the University of Texas at Dallas and an M.P.H. in Health Promotion/Health Education concentrating in Health Disparities from the University of Texas Health Science Center.
Ahmed leads the financial planning and analysis function at VentureWell. He is responsible for managing the overall budget of the organization, assists with departmental budgets, manages cash flow, and is the point of contact for Adaptive. Ahmed holds a B.A. in Biology from The University of Texas at Austin and an M.B.A. from The University of Houston.
Stacey contributes to the overall success of VentureWell as a key contributor to the candidate experience from initial application and interviews through welcoming and setting new hires up for excellence. She plays a key role in our culture by ensuring that all employees have a sense of belonging here at VentureWell, and works diligently at connecting with staff on a regular basis across the organization to provide support in various ways. She has a passion for community development and is deeply committed to issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion and how VentureWell can have a positive impact now and in the future.
Ariel promotes learning and program improvement through monitoring and evaluating the impact of federal innovation programs. She brings experience of evaluating programs and outcomes of state economic development programs, along with a previous career as a trial attorney in England and Wales. In addition to her legal qualifications, she holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Southern Maine and an M.A. in Human Rights from the University of Essex (England).
Austin (they/them/theirs) will be focused on supporting the People & Culture Team with recruiting, hiring, and onboarding new VentureWell employees. They bring seven years of experience in the environmental education and conservation fields to our team, including three years managing a tight-knit community of AmeriCorps service members, working collaboratively to build a healthy culture of mutual respect, resilience, communication, and fun. They received a B.A. in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Spatial Studies from UC Santa Barbara in 2015.
Sydney supports the Finance team with a focus on consultant payroll processing within the RADx initiative. She has a background in Human Resources and hospitality with a focus on community health. She values approaching each situation with positivity and readiness to learn. Her experiences outside of the US have her deeply invested in sustainability and health of our ecosystems. Sydney holds a B.A. in Marketing from Southern Illinois University.
Angela supports the marketing and promotion of VentureWell early-stage venture programs, faculty grants, and events, as well as collateral development and design. Prior to joining VentureWell, she worked in publishing, higher education, and technology development, where she helped both corporations and non-profit organizations find their vision and stay true-to-brand. She has expertise in marketing strategy, collateral design, and project management. Angela received a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Ursa leads strategic human resources for VentureWell with a focus on creating and sustaining a culture of belonging for all staff and enabling a values-driven, productive, and joyful work environment. She brings with her over 15 years of people-centric experience in non-profits, including leadership in diversity, equity, and inclusion work at these organizations. Ursa has a B.S. in Management of Non-Profits from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
Harrison maintains data integrity across various VentureWell systems and provides insights with his data analytic capabilities. He previously worked at an environmental engineering consulting firm where he produced statistical analyses and data visualizations for high-profile client projects. Harrison holds an M.S. in Statistics from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Erik supports VentureWell’s grant making activities including the intake, review, processing, and management of all grants, competitions, and other submissions from students, faculty, and innovators. He brings six years of grants management experience to the role, having formerly managed medical student and residency research grants programs at a medical association. Erik has an M.A. in Anthropology from the College of William & Mary.
Mike is the content marketing strategist for VentureWell. He manages the development of engaging content and helpful resources to impact the ecosystem that supports early-stage innovators on their entrepreneurship journey. During Mike’s 25 years of publishing and marketing experience, he cultivated and managed the online presence for many organizations and personalities, including bestselling author Daniel Goleman. Mike holds a B.A. in Communications from Central Connecticut State University and a Certificate in Technical Writing/Web Content from California State University of Sacramento.
Alyssa supports the VentureWell team by creating various marketing strategies for our plethora of initiatives, specifically for the early-stage innovator programs, events and organization’s branding. As a communications professional, Alyssa has excelled at sharing companies’ stories, mission and vision, both internally and externally. Prior to joining VentureWell, she most recently worked at the non-profit Share Our Strength, where she served as the Communications and Marketing Manager. Alyssa is a proud graduate of Howard University in Washington, DC, where she received a B.A. in Journalism.
Mandy organizes and implements GIST (Global Innovation through Science and Technology) programming for young innovators around the world. She brings to this role nearly a decade of higher education student services experience, having worked in the fields of study abroad and international entrepreneurship at UCLA and University of Texas-Austin. Mandy holds a B.A. in English from UCLA and an M.S. in Information Studies from The University of Texas at Austin.
Christina oversees VentureWell's early stage innovator and venture development programs. She has a decade of experience working with startups as an investor, instructor, coach, and program manager. Prior to VentureWell, she worked at a seed-stage impact venture fund where she built a portfolio of 18 companies around the world. Christina holds an M.B.A. and a B.S. in Management from the University of Massachusetts Boston.
Cindy oversees data management efforts at VentureWell. She brings over ten years of experience in the data archives field, where she focused on the areas of data quality, metadata development, and enhanced usability. Prior to joining VentureWell, Cindy managed the day-to-day operations within a public opinion data archive, and led efforts in the development and adoption of standards for digital curation.
Jahannie leads the data management for L2M and USVD programs. She facilitates data access and use by creating products such as visualizations, reports, and integrations with third-party data. Before joining VentureWell, Jahannie worked in developing non-profit data strategies, particularly assessing and measuring innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems. Jahannie holds a B.S. in Computer Engineering with a specialization in Computing Systems and a Minor in Entrepreneurship from the University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez. She also completed a Professional Certificate in Data Science.
Sarah supports VentureWell's early-stage entrepreneurship programs, providing training for innovators in the Pioneer and Propel stages of the VentureWell Accelerator Program. Sarah has managed educational programs in both the nonprofit and higher education sectors; she has worked closely with social enterprises and social entrepreneurs, as well as student founders. Prior to joining VentureWell, Sarah managed entrepreneurship programming for undergraduate students at The Ohio State University. Sarah has a B.A. in Comparative Religion from Capital University and an M.T.S. in Ethics, also from Capital University.
Ani conducts research and evaluation data analysis in her position at VentureWell, supporting the higher education portfolio. In her previous experience, Ani worked on programs and research projects aimed at improving the lives of young children. She holds a B.A. and an M.A. in Psychology, a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology, and a Project Management Professional Certification.
Jaime works as a program officer on the higher education catalyst team supporting faculty through grants, workshops, and conferences. Prior to VentureWell, she was the Program Manager for Educational Initiatives in the Office of Academic Innovations at Portland State University. Jaime has sixteen years experience teaching English composition, literature, creative writing, and business communications in community colleges, universities, and at an Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound middle school. Jaime holds an M.A. in education from Colorado State University, an M.F.A. in creative writing from Eastern Washington University, and an M.S. in Sociology from Portland State University.
Samuel supports faculty and institutions in the creation and expansion of programs that promote sustainability-focused I&E. In previous roles, he led the charge on sustainability-focused program, project, and grant management at the University of Illinois, and taught science in public schools, where he was recognized for excellence in classroom instruction and community impact. Samuel holds a B.S. in Molecular & Cellular Biology; an M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instructions: Biology, Chemistry, & Physics; and an M.Div. in Ministry Studies. He is a certified LEED Green Associate.