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Social New Venture Challenge

Social New Venture Challenge

Faculty

Rob Gertner
Rob Gertner

Rob Gertner

Joel F. Gemunder Professor of Strategy and Finance; Faculty Co-director of the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation at Chicago Booth

Robert H. Gertner has been on the Chicago Booth faculty since 1986. His research interests include strategic decision-making, corporate finance, organization structure, theory of the firm, and social enterprises. He has published papers in numerous scholarly journals including the Quarterly Journal of Economics, Review of Economic Studies, and the Yale Law Journal. He is co-author, with colleagues Douglas Baird and Randy Picker, of Game Theory and the Law. Gertner teaches courses in strategic decision-making, entrepreneurial strategy, and social entrepreneurship.

Gertner received a National Science Foundation Research Grant, an Olin Fellowship in Law and Economics and was a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He has held visiting positions at CEPREMAP in Paris, Cornell Law School, The University of Chicago Law School, and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Gertner is a trustee of the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, a national organization devoted to large-scale social research in public interest. He is also a board member of the Interfaith Youth Core, and a member of the Evaluation Advisory Council of the Chicago Public Education Fund.

Gertner received a bachelor’s degree summa cum laude in economics from Princeton University in 1981 and a PhD in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1986. He worked as a consultant for AT&T prior to attending MIT.

Christina Hachikian, AB ’02, MBA ’07
Christina Hachikian, AB ’02, MBA ’07

Christina Hachikian, AB ’02, MBA ’07

Executive Director, Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation, Chicago Booth

Christina Hachikian is the executive director of the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She leads the center’s global work as the hub for people solving complex social and environmental problems. In particular, she is responsible for strategy and direction, as well as resource development and partnerships. She is also an Adjunct Associate Professor at Booth, and teaches courses on scaling social innovation and on social enterprise strategy, as well as serving as a coach for the school’s Social New Venture Challenge.

Prior to joining Booth, she was vice president and head of investor relations and corporate development for Cole Taylor Bank. In this role, Hachikian was responsible for building relationships within the investment community and crafting financial communications, as well as managing projects such as corporate capital actions and strategic planning. Prior to Cole Taylor, Hachikian was an assistant vice president at ShoreBank (now Urban Partnership Bank), a triple-bottom line community development bank. There she was responsible for managing projects including growth strategy, capital raising initiatives, and operational efficiencies. She held several other related positions at ShoreBank during her seven year tenure. Hachikian also has served as a research and planning analyst for Raytheon Company, directing research projects.

Hachikian holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, with a focus on strategic management and managerial & organizational behavior. She also earned an AB in public policy from the University of Chicago.

In her spare time, she works with a Westside early education center, VOCEL, and is passionate about early childhood education access. She is inspired every day by her two children to support this issue.

Coaches

Dave Friedman
Dave Friedman

Dave Friedman

Founder and CEO, AutonomyWorks

David Friedman is the founder and CEO of AutonomyWorks, a technology social enterprise that employs autistic individuals to provide cost-competitive process execution services to companies needing these particular skills. Before starting AutonomyWorks in 2012, Friedman spent 25 years assisting retail and consumer organizations in building brands through great customer experiences—digitally, online, and in-store. Most recently, Friedman served as president of marketing for Sears Holdings. In his position, Friedman was responsible for customer and supplier loyalty programs, branding, market research, advertising and promotion, public relations, and creative services.

Prior to Sears Holdings, Friedman spent 11 years as an executive with Razorfish, one of the world’s largest interactive marketing and technology companies. Most recently he served as president, Americas, leading Razorfish business in North and South America. Notably, while at Razorfish, Friedman directed the development and growth of the company’s marketing process outsourcing business.

Earlier in his career, Friedman spent 10 years with Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) working with retail and consumer products companies. He earned an MBA from Chicago Booth and has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

Will Gossin, AM ’08
Will Gossin, AM ’08

Will Gossin, AM ’08

Senior Associate Director, Cross-Campus Entrepreneurial Education and Training, Polsky Center

Will Gossin works with Waverly Deutsch to evaluate the coursework and educational programming serving the Polsky Center’s various constituents (scientists, researchers, students, community members, etc.) and ensure that it serves the diverse needs of all schools and divisions across the University of Chicago. In addition to his role at the Polsky Center, he supports several initiatives at the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation.

Will is also a Lecturer at the Harris School of Public Policy where he teaches graduate courses on social entrepreneurship, human-centered design, and innovation.

Will holds a Master’s degree in social science research from the University of Chicago, a Master’s degree in mental health counseling from the University of Cincinnati, and a BA in economics from Wake Forest University.

Starr Marcello, AM ’04, MBA ’17,
Starr Marcello, AM ’04, MBA ’17,

Starr Marcello, AM ’04, MBA ’17,

Executive Director, Polsky Center; Adjunct Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship

Starr Marcello, AM ’04, 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 22 years and is ranked the #1 university accelerator program in the nation. Since 1996, the NVC has fostered more than 800 startups, with 230+ that are still in operation and growing strong, has created thousands of jobs, and has produced exits of over $13 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 BA from Wesleyan University and both an MA and MBA from the University of Chicago.

Mark Tebbe
Mark Tebbe

Mark Tebbe

Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship, Chicago Booth

After many years of judging and mentoring in Booth’s New Venture Challenge (NVC), Mark Tebbe brings a wealth of successful entrepreneurial experience into the classroom by leveraging his founding of two NASDAQ-listed corporations as well as direct involvement in numerous start-up and high-growth companies over the past thirty years. As both an Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship and Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the University of Chicago Polsky Center, Tebbe aids students in their entrepreneurial efforts and helps other professors enhance their classes. Outside of the classroom, Tebbe serves as Chairman of ChicagoNEXT, a dedicated public-private effort to improve Chicago’s competiveness in science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship.

In 1984, Mark founded Lante Corporation, (NASDAQ: LNTE) a Chicago-based technology-consulting firm in which he served as CEO and Chairman. Using $10,000 borrowed on his credit card, Tebbe launched the technology advisory firm that helped to create over 250 new businesses as well as building backend infrastructure and websites for established companies including Microsoft, Dell, American Airlines, American Express and Charles Schwab. Lante was taken private by SBI Group in September 2002 and sold (as Razorfish) to aQuantive in July 2004.

Full Bio

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