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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.
Gorana KolarGorana Kolar
Gorana Kolar

Gorana Kolar

Senior Associate Director

5807 South Woodlawn Avenue, Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
773-702-4073

Gorana Kolar leads the Polsky Center’s alumni and global programming efforts, including the Alumni Growth Forums, Startup Summer, the Entrepreneurial Internship Program, and the Global New Venture Challenge. She enjoys working with students across campus as well as University of Chicago alumni who are aspiring entrepreneurs and growth-stage entrepreneurs.

Prior to the Polsky Center, Gorana Kolar spent four years working at Carnegie Mellon University’s technology transfer office. She worked with faculty and students to help commercialize their research and technology out of the University. She holds a BA, MS, and MBA from Carnegie Mellon University.

Mary Kay LoncarMary Kay Loncar
Mary Kay Loncar

Mary Kay Loncar

Associate Director, Operations

5807 South Woodlawn Avenue, Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
773-834-4526

Mary Kay Loncar organizes and supervises the administrative duties of the Polsky Center, working closely with leadership and staff across the university.

Hannah ManninoHannah Mannino
Hannah Mannino

Hannah Mannino

Associate Director

5807 South Woodlawn Avenue, Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
773-702-4047

Hannah is responsible for leading and administering the New Venture Challenge, the Polsky Center’s capstone program. This includes oversight of all tracks of the program, including coordination of marketing, fundraising, logistics, and strategic planning.

Nora MansfieldNora Mansfield
Nora Mansfield

Nora Mansfield

Senior Program Manager

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., 207
Chicago, IL 60637

773-834-9767

nora.mansfield@ChicagoBooth.edu

Nora splits her time supporting the activities of the George Shultz Innovation Fund and Harper Center initiatives, including student awards and fellowships, Booth student-facing conferences, and programs in private equity and venture capital. Additionally, she works closely with Starr Marcello to support the Polsky Center’s key priorities.

Erika MercerErika Mercer
Erika Mercer

Erika Mercer

Director, Entrepreneurship Programs and the Svider Private Equity Program

5807 South Woodlawn Avenue, Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
773-834-1521

Erika Mercer oversees private equity and venture capital programming at Chicago Booth, including the Private Equity and Venture Capital Lab, the Sterling Partners Investment Thesis Challenge, and the Oxford Chicago Global Private Equity Challenge. In addition to advising students on career-related questions, she helps organize the annual student-run private equity and entrepreneurship/venture capital conferences.

Cerise MillerCerise Miller
Cerise Miller

Cerise Miller

Assistant Director

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
773-702-3998

cerise.miller@chicagobooth.edu

Cerise Miller primarily focuses on programs in Polsky’s private equity, venture capital, and entrepreneurship through acquisition portfolio, including the Private Equity and Venture Capital Lab, the Oxford Chicago Global Private Equity Challenge, the Sterling Partners Investment Thesis Challenge, and the Venture Capital Investment Competition. Additionally, Cerise manages annual conferences such as SeedCon and the Private Equity Conference, and co-runs the Entrepreneur- and Investor-in-Residence programs.

Lucas PeraltaLucas Peralta
Lucas Peralta

Lucas Peralta

Assistant Director

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
773-702-8310

lucas.peralta@chicagobooth.edu

Lucas Peralta focuses on  innovation programming including the Polsky I-Corps program, the Collaboratorium,  the Polsky Founders’ Fund Fellowship (PF3), and the New Venture Challenge among others. Lucas has valuable experience coordinating volunteer boards, implementing mentoring programs, managing digital marketing, and recruiting volunteers for key programs.

Crissy RitterCrissy Ritter
Crissy Ritter

Crissy Ritter

Assistant Director, Experiential Entrepreneurship and Venture Support

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637

crissy.ritter@chicagobooth.edu

Crissy Ritter supports the Polsky Accelerator, the Global New Venture Challenge, and additional programs for the Polsky Center. She is a contact and resource for teams, speakers, attendees, and more while managing these events.

E.J. ReedyE.J. Reedy
E.J. Reedy

E.J. Reedy

Senior Director, Polsky Exchange

5807 S. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 207
Chicago, IL 60637
O: 773.834.0812
M: 512-294-9547

E.J. Reedy is the senior director of the Polsky Exchange, the Polsky Center’s 34,000 square foot co-working space on 54rd street in Hyde Park. In addition to his role at the Polsky Exchange, E.J. leads the Polsky Center’s fintech initiatives and the Polsky Accelerator program. He is a global thought leader in entrepreneurship, having spent the last decade working for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the largest philanthropy devoted to promoting entrepreneurship. E.J.’s research and commentary has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and a host of other global outlets.

Steph Avalos-BockSteph Avalos-Bock
Steph Avalos-Bock

Steph Avalos-Bock

Assistant Director, Educational Programming

1452 East 53rd Street, 2nd floor
Chicago, IL 60615
773-834-5168

Steph Avalos-Bock is a UChicago alumna and hardware entrepreneur. At the Polsky Exchange, she is responsible for the educational workshops and events and the mentorship program. She also runs the Polsky Incubator, a program for ambitious startups working full-time out of the Polsky Exchange. Steph offers weekly office hours to advise entrepreneurs on all aspects of starting a startup, from ideas to testing and building products.

Cindy DomeckiCindy Domecki
Cindy Domecki

Cindy Domecki

Receptionist

1452 East 53rd Street, 2nd floor
Chicago, IL 60615
773-795-0075

Cindy Domecki is responsible for all visitors’ first impressions of the Polsky Exchange both in person and through telephone. Additionally she assists with various administrative tasks.

Elizabeth KopruckiElizabeth Koprucki
Elizabeth Koprucki

Elizabeth Koprucki

Assistant Director, Fab Lab and Design

1452 E. 53rd St.
Chicago, IL 60615
773-795-0558

Elizabeth Koprucki manages the Polsky Center’s Fab Lab where she works with entrepreneurs and researchers to create prototypes. She oversees the Fab Lab’s programming and connects Polsky Exchange members with the hardware and software resources and expertise they need.

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