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.
Megan supports the VentureWell and National Institutes of Health RADx® partnership program. Previously, she provided technology transfer assistance and education to academic early-stage innovators in Kentucky and Ohio as a licensing and new ventures manager. Megan is a co-founder of GEDITT and serves on the board of the Association of University Technology Managers. She received her doctorate and completed postdoctoral training from Colorado State University in Biomedical Engineering, after earning an M.S.E. from the University of Utah and a B.S.E. from Case Western Reserve University.
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.
OKina is responsible for managing vendor relationships and overseeing procurement processes at VentureWell. She has 10 years of federal procurement experience in the public sector, specifically school district procurement. She holds a Doctorate in Business Administration, an MBO in Operations Management, and a Bachelor’s in Journalism; she is also a certified Registered Texas School Business Administrator through the Texas Association of School Business Officials.
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.
Emi will be guiding VentureWell in developing and implementing compliance policy. She brings her considerable experience collaborating with cross-departmental teams and governing boards to create user-friendly compliance programs at organizations, including association management firms, colleges, and medical schools, as well as government and healthcare institutions. Emi has a J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of Law and a B.A. in Communication from Loyola University Chicago.
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.
Cat provides programmatic and administrative support to VentureWell’s partners within the Blueprint MedTech Incubator Hubs initiative. Cat brings eight years of program coordination experience, including roles as assistant director of Disability Services at the University of Georgia and senior program coordinator for the Robert A. Winn Diversity in Clinical Trials Career Development Award. Cat holds an M.Ed. in Rehabilitation Counseling and Human Services and is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor.
Wen Yi will support the Data Systems team with the management, documentation, cleaning, and quality assurance of data related to NSF I-Corps™ regional hubs. She previously worked as part of an academic research team collecting data on small chocolate makers; most recently, she cleaned and managed data for a math tutoring center and for a vote tracking software. Wen Yi holds a B.S. in Applied Math and an M.S. in Information Management from the University of Washington.
Kendra is involved in all aspects of the accounts payable process at VentureWell. Kendra has experience in a number of complex aspects of accounting, including managing a company’s credit card system, reconciling accounts, and applying proper practices and procedures to finance work. She is currently enrolled at Southern New Hampshire University, pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Accounting.
Cara leads VentureWell’s early-stage innovator programs both domestically and globally and has deep experience in medtech venture development. With a background in 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.
Lauren supports data management, including data cleaning, quality control, research, and documentation of program outcomes, specifically focused on NSF I-Corps™. She has over 10 years of experience working with data in the context of ecology research. She holds a B.S. in biology and an M.S. in ecology.
Baindu cultivates federal funding relationships to enable the growth of VentureWell. Prior to joining VentureWell, Baindu was a Principal Consultant for BBC Entrepreneurial Training and Consulting, where she specialized in the NIH and NSF Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs. Previously, she was an AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow in the NIH Small business Education and Entrepreneurial Development Office. Baindu earned her Ph.D. in Medical & Molecular Genetics from the Indiana University School of Medicine.
Patrick focuses on the Ventures programs Ascend and Aspire. He has a rich and exciting background in healthtech and entrepreneurship, including serving as the first employee at Diagnostics For All, a nonprofit point-of-care diagnostics company, and co-founding Redbird, a digital healthtech startup enabling pharmacies to offer rapid diagnostic test services in West Africa. Patrick holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University and an M.B.A. from the University of Oxford and is a Skoll Scholar for Social Entrepreneurship.
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.
Kelly supports new and existing programs on the ESI/global programs team. She brings over 25 years of experience managing international development programs, focusing on professional development, arts diplomacy, citizen exchange, and entrepreneurship. Her professional background includes employment with the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program and the Institute for International Business. Kelly has an undergraduate degree in Linguistics and an M.B.A. with graduate certificates in Innovation and Leadership from the University of Iowa.
Allison focuses on learning, maintaining, and improving a portfolio of Information Systems (IS) systems and tools, and acts as the go-to IS resource for the teams that use them. Allison brings more than 10 years of experience to the role; her background includes technical project management, Salesforce platform design and delivery, and building high-impact teams in social sector organizations. She holds a B.A. in International Affairs from The George Washington University and an M.S. in Public Health from the Harvard Chan School of Public Health.
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.
Quasi Brereton works with staff across VentureWell to build and maintain our security posture and help elevate security awareness. He has worked with companies such as Coke, Twitter, and ICE (New York Stock Exchange), as well as smaller companies, to maintain cybersecurity and compliance. He holds Associate’s and Bachelor’s Degrees in IT, is CompTIA Security+ certified, and is a member of both the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Open Web Application Security Project.
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.
Collin Bunch will be expanding the impact for the E-Team and ASPIRE programs in his role as Marketing and Communications Officer. He has a proven track record for reaching and engaging with diverse student and faculty teams, including meeting them through channels and groups they already trust. Collin holds an M.B.A. in Ethical & Strategic Leadership and an undergraduate degree in Marketing.
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.
Marcia Chaffin Brown works closely with the Planning & Partnerships team on various projects throughout the organization. She brings more than 10 years of project management experience to this new role, having previously worked in the education sector. Marcia holds a Master’s in Forensic Psychology, as well as a Master’s of Education, and she is studying for her Project Management Professional Certification.
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.
Claire Coletti coordinates ongoing communications on behalf of the GIST Program at VentureWell. She has a rich and varied background, including design work for various community organizations and nonprofits, often with a strong emphasis on social justice and advocacy; she is also the founder of a tech-finance startup dedicated to developing cooperative housing. Claire holds a Master’s Degree in Architecture and a minor in Tech Entrepreneurship.
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.
Philip focuses primarily on manager support and leadership development, in addition to organizational learning and development initiatives. He is both a healthtech entrepreneur—co-founder of Jamaa Health, a global database of black healthcare providers—and a seasoned people partner, having supported nonprofits to build strong teams and leaders for over 15 years. He holds a B.A. in Marketing from Lourdes University and an Executive M.B.A. from the University of Toledo.
Chris Desrosiers oversees the accounting, contracts, compliance, financial planning, and analysis functions of the organization. Chris has over 15 years of experience managing federal awards with various government agencies. Prior to joining VentureWell, Chris was an entrepreneur in the mortgage and real estate industries. Chris earned his B.A. in sociology from the University of Massachusetts and his M.B.A. from American International College.
Rokia works in accounting with the finance team at VentureWell. She began her career in accounting several years ago, when she started her own business providing tax and bookkeeping services to local small businesses. Since then, she has held a range of roles in the field, including Staff Accountant, Senior Accountant, Accounting Office Manager, and Human Resource Administrator. She holds both an Associate’s degree and a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting.
Elana Diaz focuses on NIH I-Corps™ and NIH Bootcamp programming. Previously, Elana served as a coordinator with the City University of New York (CUNY) Blackstone LaunchPad Program, where she engaged in innovation & entrepreneurship programming, internal and external relationship-building, developing and managing the Student Ambassador program, student coaching and mentorship, reporting to stakeholders, and more. Elana holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and Teaching from Butler University.
Ian supports VentureWell’s data systems team in management, reporting, and product creation for the NSF I-Corps™, SBIR Bootcamp, I-Corps™ at the NIH, and more. He previously worked at a nonprofit economic consulting company, where he used data to study a variety of topics related to labor markets, economic development, and demographics. He holds a B.A. in Economics and an M.S. in Data Analytics and Computational Social Science.
Courtney oversees brand- and development-related marketing across the organization through the design of full-scale integrated marketing and communications campaigns. With over 15 years of experience in marketing and communications, Courtney has worked for companies of all sizes in fields including advertising, publishing, higher education, and healthcare. Courtney holds a Bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Colby College and a Master’s in Corporate and Organizational Communication from Northeastern University.
Maurice focuses on identifying foundations and corporations that align with VentureWell’s mission, as well as supporting the cultivation of stewardship of these partners. During his time at Johns Hopkins University, he identified more than 300 new research funding opportunities and standardized corporate and foundation prospect strategy. He holds a B.A. in Public Health Studies from Johns Hopkins University.
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.
Joy Felton provides event planning strategy for VentureWell Programs. She has been in the hospitality industry for nearly a decade, with experience across sectors including clinical research, financial planning, association planning, and special events. Joy has a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing Management from Southeast Missouri State University and a Meeting and Event Planning Certification from Belmont University. She also holds two highly esteemed hospitality industry designations: Healthcare Meeting Compliance Certification (HMCC) and Certified Meeting Professional (CMP). She recommends best practices, incorporates corporate social responsibility, and adheres to Events Industry Council (EIC) standards.
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.
Demetria leads the Evaluation and Marketing & Communications teams at VentureWell, and supports the development and implementation of an organizational knowledge and learning agenda. She has led across multiple sectors including government, STEM, entrepreneurship, and innovation. Notably, she co-founded the Jamii Group, leading cross-sector business development, innovation, and social impact; she also served as a policy analyst and White House Political Appointee in the administration of former President Barack Obama. Demetria holds a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master’s in Sustainable Urban Planning from George Washington University.
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.
Tiffanye focuses on learning, maintaining, and improving a portfolio of core IS-related systems and tools, and acts as a go-to IS resource for the teams and staff who use them. She brings 15 years of experience to the role; her background includes managing teams, serving as a liaison for internal and external stakeholders, and honing skills in project management, operations, and organizational development. She holds a B.A. in History from Maryville College and an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from Howard 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.
Mohini Ghoshroy works closely with both the Marketing & Communications team and the People & Culture team to coordinate in-person and virtual events and to support office administration at the VentureWell headquarters in Hadley, Massachusetts. She previously worked as a tutor at the UMass Amherst Writing Center, and she has contributed logistically and creatively to many live music and art events. She holds a B.A. in English, with a minor in Music, as well as a certification in Literature as History—all from UMass Amherst.
Briana performs contracts administration functions and acts as a Contracts team leader. She brings six years of experience to her role at VentureWell, during which time she oversaw federal and state government contracts, including pre- and post-award functions. Briana holds a Master’s in Business Administration from the Jack Welch Executive Management Institute and has a Federal Acquisition Certification in Contracting Level III.
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.
Lauren Gunterman supports data stewardship and management efforts to aid VentureWell in using data for decision-making. In a previous position at Eastern Kentucky University, she helped to pioneer the Data Initiatives Team by training new members, supporting university projects, and streamlining processes. She holds a B.A. in Psychology, a B.A. in Spanish, and a M.S. in Psychology.
Vicky Harris is responsible for leading VentureWell’s team of senior experts to provide internal solutions, infrastructure, and program support. She brings over 15 years of experience in aligning business strategy objectives with established project management methodologies, organizational change management, and the development of process optimization paradigm. She holds a Doctorate in Business Administration, a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, and an undergrad degree in Computer Science.
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.
Joey Kleiner designs and builds data infrastructure, including maintaining and improving data processes at VentureWell. He previously worked for nearly 10 years at the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s Office of Water Supply, where he helped lead data engineering and modeling efforts, with a focus on environmental sustainability in water resources. Joey holds a B.S. in Biological Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech, and has continued his professional development over the years by completing several technical courses ranging from SQL to tools in Python.
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.
Dhaya manages the development, execution, and monitoring of VentureWell goals and strategies, including the allocation of related financial and human resources and the execution of all initiatives and programs based on those strategies. In previous chief of staff roles, she handled myriad responsibilities including investor updates, board of directors communications, total addressable market analysis, positive matrix factorization and competitive landscape analysis, internal communications, and tracking 10+ key performance indicators. She holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s in Energy Economics & Infrastructure Finance from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Calvin supports the administration of contracts and works to help lead and develop Contracts staff. Calvin has over 14 years of experience in the federal contracting space, supporting various agencies and contracting vehicles, and he has spent the last eight years in the managed healthcare industry. Calvin is a lifelong learner and has his sights set on a National Contract Management Association certification for Federal Contract Managers.
Sam provides evaluation support for VentureWell’s Higher Ed Catalyst Team. She has worked both internally and independently as an evaluator, collaborating closely with stakeholders to design and conduct formative and developmental evaluations, facilitating logic modeling with staff working within complex systems, and helping lead strategic development and planning work. She holds a Ph.D. and a Master’s in Applied Psychology from Claremont Graduate University, and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
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.
Ming manages and delivers resources to support the National Institutes of Health (NIH) RADx and Blueprint Neuro MedTech programs at VentureWell. Previously, Ming served as research faculty at Purdue University, where he led a neuroengineering research group and co-founded a biotech company commercializing antimicrobial products. Ming was a National Science Foundation (NSF) Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship and NSF GK-12 fellow and received his postdoctoral training and Ph.D. from Purdue University. He also holds a B.S.E. in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
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.
Patrick works to extract insights from data and to supply program teams with the information and tools they need to succeed. He was previously an analyst for Northwestern University in the international security department, where he developed predictive models for assessing risks on international programs; he has also worked as a data science consultant for insurance companies, NGOs, and political campaigns. Patrick holds a Bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University, and a Master’s degree in Data Science from the City University of New York.
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.
Emily lends her evaluation expertise to the biomedical engineering programs portfolio, including the Innovation Funnel projects. Emily previously worked at a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives and mental health of foster children and others in the community, and was recognized for her work collecting and analyzing data that helped further the organization’s goals of safety, well-being, and permanency. Emily holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, with a minor in Biology.
Jenny provides programmatic support and manages vendor relations within the Blueprint MedTech Incubator Hubs and Translator initiative. She holds seven years of research experience, has been involved with outreach in various leadership positions, and also worked in teaching and tutoring in STEM fields for five years. She holds a B.S. in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology, a B.S. in Quantitative Science from Emory University, and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Iowa State University.
Daniel focuses on learning, maintaining, and improving a portfolio of core IS-related systems and tools, and acts as a go-to IS resource for the teams and staff who use them. In past positions, he has overseen the implementation of new tools and processes to improve workflow and communication, and has worked to train others on updated procedures. Daniel holds an associate’s degree in Math and Science, and is working to finish his bachelor’s degree.
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.
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.
Rebekah supports the development team by managing the creation of proposals and reports, coordinating development activities, and maintaining and enhancing the team’s use of systems and tools. She has experience managing events and working on donor fundraising efforts. Rebekah holds a Bachelor’s in History and Legal Studies from William Paterson University, and a Master’s in Global Affairs from Rutgers University.
Sara Kay brings over a decade of experience working in nonprofit marketing and communications. Most recently, she served as the director of Marketing & Communications for Education Pioneers, where her work included leading an enterprise-level rebranding initiative, a comprehensive website redesign, updating core collateral, and establishing a regularly convening cross-functional communications committee. Sara Kay holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Davidson College and a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of North Carolina–Greensboro.
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.
Rebecca supports the People Recruitment and Rewards work and owns the scheduling and coordination of interviews across a high volume of talent acquisition searches. She joined VentureWell after 10 successful years as an educator in the public school system, working with students diverse in race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from the University of Tampa.
Danika supports the finance team by processing accounts payable invoices and payments, and plugging in to work on other accounting projects as needed. She brings three years of accounting experience to VentureWell, and is also a former social worker and has vast experience working with youth and underserved populations. She holds a B.S. in Family and Consumer Science from the University of Georgia.
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.
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.
Jacki supports the evaluation of the type I Princeton and University of Georgia’s regional innovation engine. For nearly 10 years, Jacki was the program evaluator and strategic plan coordinator for the DukeEngage program at Duke University, where she developed evaluations for all stakeholders. Throughout her career, Jacki has focused on creating inclusive evaluations. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in History and Latin American Studies from Plattsburgh State University, and a Master of Public Policy from Duke University.
Ana’s work on the finance team includes assisting in reviewing, verifying, and processing consultant and vendor invoices for payment. Ana brings three years of accounts payable experience to VentureWell, including work dealing with hundreds of invoices every week, making sure everything is processed accurately and on time. Ana holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and a Certificate in Organizational Planning and Management.
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.
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.
Lyris Safa works closely with members of the Finance team to support in the financial planning of VentureWell. With over a decade of previous accounting experience, she has prepared budgets for multiple programs, overseen process flow for managing budgets, and successfully helped a charter organization spend down restricted state funding before its expiration date. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business, with an emphasis in Accounting, from California State Polytechnic University.
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.
Jalen is VentureWell’s Social Media and Data Manager, based in his Denver home office. Jalen previously spearheaded organic strategy on multiple platforms, and he has successfully launched new accounts for various brands. Jalen holds a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Science with double concentrations in Digital Culture and English from Arizona State University.
Michalla focuses on learning, maintaining, and improving a portfolio of core IS-related systems and tools, and acts as a go-to IS resource for the staff who use them. She brings over 10 years of experience to the role; her background includes digital workplace technology, knowledge management, and library technology. She holds an M.L.I.S. from Dominican University and a B.A. in International Studies from Loyola University Chicago.
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.
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 leads VentureWell’s portfolio of venture development programs, supporting a community of entrepreneurs, startups, and investors. She has over a decade of experience working with startups as an investor, accelerator program instructor, coach, and program manager. Prior to VentureWell, she worked at a seed-stage impact venture fund, where she built a portfolio of 18 technology 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 10 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.
Pa provides learning and evaluation support for VentureWell’s federal innovation team. Pa has a decade of experience in higher education, supporting student success and institutional decision-making by designing, conducting, and reporting on key research topics. She completed both her undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Minnesota: a Master of Public Policy with a concentration in Higher Education Policy; and a Bachelor of Individualized Studies with focus areas in Asian American Studies, Communication Studies, and Family Social Science.
Josh supports leaders across VentureWell in all stages of the hiring process for open positions. Josh got his start at Teach For America, 2014 teaching middle school science; he then joined the staff as manager and later became director of Recruitment, directing all of Teach for America’s HBCU recruitment efforts for over five years. Josh holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Howard University.
Rachelle supports the Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) team and other early-stage innovator programming for inventive entrepreneurs around the world. She is passionate about promoting equitable access to valuable STEM and experiential education opportunities and brings to VentureWell her experience in managing all aspects of impactful, high-quality programming in both the business and education spaces. Rachelle holds a B.S. in Human Services Leadership from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.
Terik leads VentureWell’s efforts in creating a cohesive body of equity-centered programmatic work by expanding and creating new programs, frameworks, and partnerships that center innovators and institutions which have been historically marginalized or excluded from science & technology entrepreneurship & innovation. He brings experience in inclusive tech-based economic development, having worked with foundations, corporations, and federal agencies. Terik holds degrees in Finance, Marketing, and IT from Monmouth University, as well as certificates in Venture Capital Finance and Enterprise Design Thinking.
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.
Colby’s accounting work at VentureWell focuses on government contracts and grants, specifically supporting Biomedical Engineering (BME) programs. His professional experiences include accounting work at organizations of various sizes, where he helped achieve greater efficiencies in internal workflows. Colby holds an accounting degree from Albion College.
John Ross leverages his data analytics and visualization expertise to uncover actionable insights from complex data sets, skills honed through years of dairy industry experience. His commitment to data integrity and efficiency and his collaborative nature foster an environment conducive to innovation. John Ross holds a B.S. in Business Administration from CSU Stanislaus and an M.S. in Business Analytics from the College of William & Mary.
Nichole supports the finance team by processing accounts payable invoices and payments, and plugging in to work on other accounting projects as needed. She comes to VentureWell with vast experience working in the diverse field of clerical accounting, from government accounting with the City of Oak Grove, Kentucky, to accounting with a generationally owned corporate newspaper office in New York. She holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Auburn University Montgomery and is finishing a B.S. in Accounting at Southern New Hampshire University.
Beth produces proposal applications, reports, and other written materials across VentureWell’s entire portfolio of funders to further VentureWell’s mission, and supports the Growth Strategy & Development team at all stages of the development pipeline. Beth served for over 30 years in the nonprofit, higher education, and healthcare sectors, with a focus on grant writing, project management, strategic planning, and systems development. Beth holds an M.A. in East Asian Studies from Yale University and a B.A. in History from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
Wendy focuses on the coordination of federal proposals and reports, expanding VentureWell’s capacity and deepening its expertise with regard to agency-specific pre- and post-award processes and procedures. A biomedical researcher by training, Wendy spent 13 years at the National Institutes of Health as a postdoctoral fellow and staff scientist, before leaving the agency to teach at Salish Kootenai College and Flathead Valley Community College. Wendy holds a B.S. in Biochemistry and a Ph.D. in Medical Sciences from Ghent University in Belgium.
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.
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.