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Meet the Team

Meet the Team

The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation team is paving the way for Chicago’s entrepreneurial spirit. Housed on a collaborative campus, we are a group of committed professionals dedicated to promoting and supporting students, faculty, staff, alumni, researchers and local entrepreneurs as they navigate the complex process of creating and growing a startup. To see a full list of Polsky Council members, click here. For general inquiries, questions, and feedback about the Polsky Center, please contact us at polsky@uchicago.edu.

Polsky Center Leadership

John FlavinJohn Flavin
John Flavin

John Flavin

Associate Vice President for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

5454 South Shore Drive, 2C
Chicago, IL 60615

Jflavin1@uchicago.edu

Executive assistant:
Rose Boyd Jones

773-834-3209
rjones2819@uchicago.edu

John Flavin, MBA is the Associate Vice President of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago. He leads the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which brings together the University’s nationally recognized programs in venture creation and education, technology commercialization, and business incubation, streamlining access to venture support resources for University and community entrepreneurs and corporate partners. Prior to this role, John was the founding executive director of the Chicago Innovation Exchange, a start-up hub at the University of Chicago that is now part of the expanded Polsky Center.

An entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience in the life sciences field focused on finance and operations, Flavin has co-founded and built several companies, raised over $220 million in private and public capital, and led 2 successful NASDAQ IPOs. John is Managing Director at Flavin Ventures, LLC, a venture creation and management firm, as well as a board member at the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition, and he sits on Governor Bruce Rauner’s Illinois Innovation Council, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s ChicagoNEXT technology council and the City of Chicago’s Small Business Advisory Committee.

Steven N. Kaplan
Steven N. Kaplan

Steven N. Kaplan

Faculty Director and Neubauer Family Distinguished Service Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance

5807 South Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637

steven.kaplan@chicagobooth.edu
773-702-4513

Steven Neil Kaplan conducts research on issues in private equity, venture capital, entrepreneurial finance, corporate governance and corporate finance. He has published papers in a number of academic and business journals. Kaplan is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and an associate editor of the Journal of Financial Economics.

Full Bio

Starr MarcelloStarr Marcello
Starr Marcello

Starr Marcello

Executive Director; Adjunct Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship

5807 South Woodlawn Avenue, Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
773-834-2838

Starr Marcello, MA, MBA, ’17 , oversees the strategic development of the Polsky Center and works with University of Chicago students, faculty, and staff to launch the next generation of high-impact ventures as the Polsky Center’s executive director. She has been with the Center since 2005.

She runs the Edward L. Kaplan New Venture Challenge (NVC), which awards over $500K in funding and services to top entrepreneurial companies each year. This year the NVC is celebrating 21 years and is ranked the #1 university accelerator program in the nation. Since 1996, the NVC has fostered more than 800 start-ups, with 160+ that are still in operation and growing strong, has created thousands of jobs, and has produced exits of over $4 billion, including Grubhub (NYSE: GRUB) and Braintree (acquired by eBay’s PayPal for $800 million). In 2017, Starr testified before the U.S. Congress’ Committee on Small Business on the merits of accelerator programs for job creation and economic development.

With funding from the National Science Foundation, Starr launched the Polsky Center I-Corps Program and helped designate the University of Chicago as an official I-Corps site in 2014. Through this interdisciplinary program, Starr teaches elements of the customer development process and human-centered design to researchers and technologists on campus with the goal of helping teams test the commercial viability of their STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) projects.

Starr spends her free time teaching entrepreneurship to high school students. She sits on the Executive Advisory Board of TechWeek and is a board member for United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USABE).

Starr holds a B.A. from Wesleyan University and both an MA and MBA from the University of Chicago.

Nancy HarveyNancy Harvey
Nancy Harvey

Nancy Harvey

Managing Director; Director, Technology Commercialization; Director, Venture Growth

5113 South Harper Ave., Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60615

Nancy Harvey, PhD, guided entrepreneurial new ventures to bring innovative products and services to market and provided experienced Fortune 500 business vision, strategy, and execution to refresh and grow existing enterprises. She served as an Executive-in-Residence at the University of Chicago before joining as Director of Venture Support. Currently, she serves as Managing Director of the Polsky Center.

In recent years, she conceived and established Wolfram Solutions, directed the innovative social media marketing campaign that launched Wolfram|Alpha, and negotiated the largest strategic business relationship in the history of Wolfram companies. She architected and executed the restructuring and refinancing of TenFold (TENF), an enterprise software company.

In the health care sector, her experience ranged from serving as Executive VP of Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) Healthcare Group, a multi-faceted $400 million global business vertical, to advising a global developer of specialty hospitals, to providing strategic counsel to the executive leadership of renowned academic medical centers and regional delivery systems.

As an Executive-in-Residence at the University of Chicago, she helped conceive of the business that, as Agile Diagnosis, won the 2011 New Venture Challenge at Chicago Booth, and advised UChicago Impact, a university affiliated startup dedicated to improving urban public education in America by disseminating tools developed through the Urban Education Institute.

Nancy is a graduate of the College of Creative Studies of the University of California at Santa Barbara. She earned a PhD in Chemical Physics from the University of Minnesota as a National Science Foundation Fellow, held a post-doctoral fellowship at the California Institute of Technology, and subsequently earned an MBA in Finance from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Nancy is an avid skier, hiker, and global adventurer.

Steve KuemmerleSteve Kuemmerle
Steve Kuemmerle

Steve Kuemmerle

Senior Director, Industry Relations

5113 S Harper Avenue, Suite 2C
Chicago, IL 60615
773-834-3211

Steve Kuemmerle, Ph.D., serves at the lead of Industry Relations for the Polsky Center, where he is responsible for developing and maintaining collaborative relationships with Industry Partner in the research sector.

Kristin BarrettKristin Barrett
Kristin Barrett

Kristin Barrett

Senior Director

1452 East 53rd Street, 2nd floor
Chicago, IL 60615
773-834-5641

As Senior Director at University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Kristin leads the University’s 34,000 square foot coworking space and educational content for entrepreneurs looking to scale their businesses.

Prior to the Polsky Center, Kristin was vice president of 1871, one of the nation’s largest startup hubs, and led educational content for the organization. Kristin was the COO of Excelerate Labs (now Techstars Chicago), a top-ranked technology startup accelerator, and worked with startups and early-stage investments through Hyde Park Angels.

Kristin started in entrepreneurship while working on new ventures and corporate strategy for Redbox, participating in the company’s growth from 6,000 locations to more than 30,000. She has also worked in management consulting with A.T. Kearney, touching a variety of industries including pharmacy, logistics, and agricultural goods.

Kristin earned an MBA with Honors at University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and her BS in journalism and economics from Northwestern University.

Timothy HonakerTimothy Honaker
Timothy Honaker

Timothy Honaker

Director, Finance and Operations

5454 South Shore Drive, 2C
Chicago, IL 60615
773-834-3203

As Director of Finance and Operations for the Polsky Center, Tim Honaker is responsible for the Center’s financial and administrative support infrastructure.

Tim Honaker joined the UChicagoTech as Chief Operating Officer in September 2003. His responsibilities include managing all aspects of the office’s financial and administrative support infrastructure. In addition he provides support and guidance to the office’s efforts in education technology commercialization.

Tim has spent most of his career as an entrepreneur focused on the use of information technology to streamline business processes. He was the Vice-President and General Manager of a Menasha Corporation start-up division that revolutionized the use of logistics technologies to improve supply chain productivity. The business operates today as National Consolidated Services and is a major supply chain partner to Walgreens Corporation. Earlier he was Senior Vice-President of Operations for a management team that purchased and took private a U.S.-based financial publishing and training subsidiary of Pearson. The business was later sold to the Washington Post for a 30-fold return to the original investors and operates today as Kaplan Professional Schools.

Tim received his Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and MBA in Finance from Indiana University and is a Registered Certified Public Accountant in the State of Illinois. He has been an active member of the Association of University Technology Managers, Counsel of Logistics Management, American Association of Publishers, Direct Marketing Association, and Illinois CPA Society.

Micheline PergandeMicheline Pergande
Micheline Pergande

Micheline Pergande

Director, Marketing and Communications

5807 South Woodlawn Avenue, Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
773-702-7732

As director of marketing and communications, Micheline Pergande oversees the marketing strategy for the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She focuses on defining the brand identity and delivering a consistent experience across all marketing touchpoints.

Prior to joining the Polsky Center, Micheline worked in brand management at Unilever Food Solutions supporting category performance in North America for Hellmann’s, Best Foods, Country Crock, Promise, Becel, and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. Before that, Micheline was the senior manager of e-commerce strategy and digital marketing for Chicago-based Argo Tea where she initiated the company’s first-ever gift box packaging concept, facilitated industry-wide recognition as Nation’s Restaurant News Top 50 “2013 Breakout Brands”, managed the company’s social media engagement strategy across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Yelp, and completely overhauled the company’s e-commerce website in time for the 2012 holiday shopping season. Before her rewarding stint at Argo Tea, Micheline was named director of product marketing for Publicis Groupe’s VivaKi Nerve Center, the R&D hub responsible for developing next generation advertising solutions during the time when the advertising world embarked upon its digital transformation as social media, programmatic media buying, and audience targeting solutions emerged as new core competencies for agencies. Before becoming a seasoned marketer, Micheline gained technical skills as a web developer in the Bay Area, where she was born and raised. She developed database-driven web applications in PHP and MySQL for her alma mater, Saint Mary’s College of California, before moving out to Chicago in 2006 to attend graduate school.

Micheline earned a B.A. with honors in Communication from Saint Mary’s College of California, an M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications with a specialization in Direct, Database and E-Commerce marketing from Northwestern University’s Medill School, and an MBA with concentrations in Marketing, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and International Business from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. She was awarded the Walter Dill Scott Award from Medill faculty. She also earned a Professional Certificate in Web Design from the University of California at Berkeley in 2001.

As a proud daughter of an entrepreneurial family, Micheline is passionate about the Polsky Center’s role in supporting students, faculty, alumni and community entrepreneurs with their entrepreneurial ambitions.  Micheline and her husband, Shaun, a Chicago Booth ’13 graduate, reside in Chicago with their daughter Madeleine.

Jason ParisoJason Pariso
Jason Pariso

Jason Pariso

Director, Innovation Fund

1452 East 53rd Street, 2nd floor
Chicago, IL 60615
773-834-8112

Jason Pariso is the Director of the University of Chicago Innovation Fund, an early stage fund dedicated to the commercialization of research and technology generated at the University. He also develops strategic initiatives and programming for the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. He previously served as the Vice President of product management for Pinpoint MD, a healthcare startup building the first patient-physician engagement platform. Jason built a diverse set of skills while working as a Media & Telecommunications Investment Banker, founding an educational nonprofit, restructuring a textile manufacturer, developing corporate strategy for Dell Financial Services, and launching a SaaS call center telephony startup. Jason earned an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, holds a BA in Economics from Princeton University and is a Kauffman Fellow.