Chief Digital Evangelist, Salesforce
Vala Afshar is Chief Digital Evangelist at Salesforce. His prior role was Chief Marketing Officer at Extreme Networks, and previously Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Customer Officer of Enterasys Networks, responsible for global marketing and customer service and support. He’s been recognized in Forbes as the top influential digital business leader for CIOs and CMOs three years in a row. Afshar is the author of “The Pursuit of Social Business Excellence” and contributes weekly technology, business and leadership articles to Huffington Post, INC Magazine, and other publications. He also hosts a weekly video show called DisrupTV with the top business executives in the world covering the topics of digital business transformation - digital marketing, information technology, and the changing role of CIOs, CMOs and CDOs. He is a 2017 US patent recipient for a social Internet of Things communication platform.
Managing Director, Progress Partners
David joined Progress Partners as a Managing Director in January 2018 after working with the team as an Executive in Residence since September 2017. A close associate of the firm for over a decade, David is a seasoned entrepreneur with over twenty years of experience in technology, finance, and strategic partnerships.
Prior to joining Progress Partners, David has held various senior operating roles at emerging video technology, biotechnology, and financial technology services companies. Most recently, David served as the Vice President of Corporate Development and Strategic Partnerships at Telaria. His prior experiences include co-founding and serving as President of AppliedQ, Vice President of Strategy and Integration at Pointroll, and Chief Operating Officer of Inanovate, Inc.
David received his B.A. in Economics from the University of Massachusetts Boston and earned his MBA from Babson College in 2006 with a concentration in Global Strategic Management, where he was the recipient of the Roger W. Babson award for outstanding leadership.
Senior Director of Engineering, Mobile Virtual Player (MVP)
James Beaulieu has over 20 years of experience developing and delivering complex embedded, real-time systems. While working as a Federal government contractor, James built a reputation at rapidly identifying and solving complex customer issues in highly secure environments. His deep understanding of network technologies, network security, encryption, and communication protocols kept him in demand in the security world prior to his employment at Mobile Virtual Player.
An avid RC and robotic enthusiast, James builds his own custom RC multi-rotor copters and autopilots. At Mobile Virtual Player, he brings this expertise in robotic controls, diverse sensor integration, and motion control. As Senior Director of Engineering, James helps drive MVP's success with both their sports robot models as well as their new Military Tactical training robots.
Co-Chair, Emerging Companies Group, Nutter
William J. Bernat is a partner in Nutter’s Corporate and Transactions Department. He co-chairs the firm's Emerging Companies Group and co-leads the firm's Food and Beverage group. Clients rely on Will to navigate through private equity, venture capital, and angel financing transactions, as well as mergers and acquisitions, commercial lending transactions, and other corporate governance issues. Tech, life sciences, consumer/retail, and food and beverage companies engage Will for assistance throughout their lifespans, from initial planning and formation to operations and exit, including formulating the strategy to realize their business goals and to build the foundation to secure third party investment. Investors in emerging growth companies seek Will’s counsel when structuring their financing transactions. Will has counseled clients in angel and venture backed financings representing an aggregate of over $250 million in investment in local early stage companies. He serves as a lecturer and guest speaker at the MIT Enterprise Forum, the Babson Entrepreneurship Forum, and Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, presenting on topics such as the fundamentals of term sheets and capitalization tables, and general corporate finance and formation issues. He earned his J.D., magna cum laude, from Suffolk University Law School and his B.A., summa cum laude, from Providence College.
Founder & CEO, Witlingo
Dr. Ahmed Bouzid is Founder and CEO of Witlingo, a McLean, Virginia, based startup that builds products and solutions for Voice First devices and platforms, such as Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Assistant, and Samsung’s Bixby. Prior to Witlingo, Dr. Bouzid was Head of Alexa's Smart Home Product at Amazon and VP of Product and Innovation at Angel.com. Dr. Bouzid holds 12 patents in the Speech Recognition and Natural Language Processing field and was recognized as a “Speech Luminary” by Speech Technology Magazine.
Founder & Former CEO, athenahealth; Executive Chairman, Firefly Health
Jonathan Bush is the former Chief Executive Officer of athenahealth, Inc. He co-founded the company in 1997 and took it public in 2007 in the most successful initial public offering that year. Today, athenahealth remains one of the healthcare information technology industry's fastest growing companies.
Bush's views on healthcare and the idea for athenahealth were born from failures with the earliest iteration of its business model. Bush and his partners set about designing a solution to address the costly administrative inefficiencies that plagued their business. In doing so, they came to realize that their circumstance was more typical than unique and that the solution they designed had great application and utility for the broader health delivery system. Bush is focused on creating a true, win-win marketplace that enables a broad and efficient exchange of health information.
In addition, Bush is the author, with Stephen Baker, of the New York Times bestseller, "Where Does It Hurt? An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Fixing Health Care.” It's a provocative, irreverent, sometimes harrowing and, of course, always humorous journey through the dark underbelly of the American healthcare system – why it’s broken, what the fix will involve, and where innovation is already taking hold.
Global Chief Executive Officer, Engine Group
Kasha is Engine Group’s first global Chief Executive. She oversees the company’s 17 offices across North America, the UK, Europe and Asia Pacific. Powered by technology, driven by insight and fueled by imagination, Engine Group is a market services and technology company built to meet today’s unique needs of marketers, agencies and publishers.
With more than 20 years of experience spanning media, data and analytics, direct marketing, content and consulting, she works with Engine’s regional leadership to uncover new ways to reach consumers and help clients make sense of an increasingly complicated digital and data-driven ad business.
Kasha joined Engine from IPG’s UM, where she served as U.S. CEO. Prior to UM, she held positions at McCann Erickson, Ogilvy, Cheil Communications, Wunderman and Accenture. She is particularly passionate about how science drives art and how data fuels content, creative and strategy. Her industry accolades include: Adweek Media All-Star, Adweek 50’s “most indispensable executives”, AdAge’s Women to Watch, and She Runs It’s Impact and Working Mother of the Year Awards.
On the weekends, you can find Kasha relaxing at her beach house with her kids.
Managing Partner, Jump Capital
Sach Chitnis is currently Managing Partner of Jump Capital, a Chicago-based venture firm that invests $2-15mm in series A/B technology companies within the Fintech, IT & Data Infrastructure, Media and B2B SaaS sectors. Jump is sector focused & thesis-led, operating centered and investing in companies throughout the US & Canada.
Sach brings perspective to his investments as both a successful executive & investor with experience in diverse industry verticals. Prior to founding Jump, Sach spent six years as an Operating Partner for Tarsus, a growth capital and middle-market private equity firm. His investing and operating roles spanned companies within the logistics, digital marketing and pharmaceutical research industries. Preceding Tarsus, Sach led the $670M consumer businesses for SIRVA, a Chicago-based Clayton, Dubilier & Rice portfolio company that IPO’d on NYSE in 2003. Sach began his career with GE in global roles within their premier management programs, including the Corporate Audit Staff. He graduated with a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Rochester and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
When he’s not working alongside entrepreneurs, Sach dedicates much of his free time to his wife and 2 kids in Chicago.
Chief Product Officer, Brightcove
Charles Chu manages the product management, engineering, and operations functions at Brightcove, ensuring alignment of all teams that design, develop, and operate the company’s cloud-based products. He is a seasoned, hands-on executive with a proven track record of combining product innovation, business acumen, and streamlined, complex cloud service implementation for large-scale, global businesses.
Previously Charles served as Head of R&D at PTC, leading the $1.3Bil company’s global engineering organization. Prior to joining PTC, he spent more than 14 years at IBM in a variety of senior leadership roles in Product Management, Engineering and Sales. He is a graduate of George Washington University with a double major in International Business and Finance.
Managing Director, Progress Partners
Jeff joined Progress Partners as a Managing Director in November 2018 after working as an Executive in Residence since September 2018. Jeff is a trusted advisor on programmatic advertising, data, audiences, analytics, and market research trends globally. He brings over twenty years’ experience in technology, ranging from software engineering, leading teams within early-stage startups and Microsoft, and founding his own startups.
Prior to Progress Jeff held senior strategy and alliances roles at InMobi, one of the largest mobile advertising platforms, and Quantcast, the second largest provider of analytics and a top performance advertising DSP.
In the years prior to joining Quantcast Jeff co-founded and served as CEO of Makegood, a marketing and advertising intelligence startup, acquired by Quantcast. Jeff also led the media and advertising business unit of CarDomain Network, a top automotive social network, e-commerce site and advertising network. Before moving into advertising Jeff spent several years at Microsoft, and as an early employee building several startups including DataChannel, MathSoft and Park Software.
Jeff received his B.A. from the University of Washington in Geographic Information Systems, as a National Merit Scholar and served the on the UW Alumni Association’s recent graduate Board.
Tracy Curley, CPA, has more than 25 years of experience providing audit and financial reporting services to companies in both the public and private sectors, with concentrations in technology, life sciences, and renewable energy. In addition to her concentrations, she has a broad range of industry expertise in the fields of advanced manufacturing, retail and distribution, construction, and professional services. As a member of the Firm’s Technology and Life Sciences practice, Tracy plays a key role advising technology and life sciences clients on accounting, business and industry related issues including raising capital and addressing complex accounting and reporting issues.
Tracy also has extensive expertise in Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) registrations, as well as ongoing SEC reporting and compliance, and audit engagements. Her experience spans working with private, developmental stage and start-up organizations all the way through publicly traded, international multi-billion dollar corporations.
In addition to working with Big Four and national accounting firms, Tracy has also served in senior roles with various international publicly-traded companies.
Associate, Progress Partners
Morgan joined Progress Partners as an Analyst in February 2016 and was promoted to Senior Analyst and most recently, Associate in August 2018. She supports M&A and private placement engagements by conducting market and financial research, developing deal marketing material, and supporting the Managing Directors with business development opportunities.
Before joining the team at Progress Partners, Morgan worked as Manager, Business Development at Highway Entertainment, an Omnicom Company in Toronto, Ontario.
She completed her undergraduate degree in Business from the University of Western Ontario in 2014. While at Western, Morgan was the president of the Sailing Club, an active member of the Triathlon team, the Western Investment Club and the Foreign Exchange Club.
David Delmar Sentíes
Founder & Executive Director, Resilient Coders
Resilient Coders is a highly competitive, free, nonprofit coding bootcamp that trains people of color for high growth careers as software engineers, and connects them with full time jobs. David is a workforce equity activist, passionate about democratizing access to the high growth careers that can stabilize the vulnerable, and restore the middle class to our city. He looks forward to a day when Boston's innovation landscape is led, not by the smartest among the luckiest, but by the smartest, full stop. In defiance of pervasive stereotypes of Latinx people, David is an abysmal dancer.
Founder, Good Move Sustainable Moving; Strategy Consultant
Amy DeTavis helps large organizations make decisions about digital technology and innovation based on 14+ years in marketing, brand strategy, communication strategy and product development. Her client roster includes Procter & Gamble, LVMH, Ford Motor Co., Net-A-Porter, Warby Parker and Henkel Beauty Care. She’s launched new digital products including Olay’s Skin Advisor - an AI powered app helping more than a million women find skincare products for their unique skin profile, SalonLab - a digital ecosystem of IoT products for Henkel Beauty Care, and FordPass - Ford Motor Company’s first digital product offering mobility services. After spending years advising companies on how to roll out new products and services, Amy has put her experience and expertise into starting her own company, Good Move Sustainable Moving, which offers reusable moving boxes as an alternative to single-use cardboard. She believes people can use their purchasing power to make the world a better place by choosing to support - and build - companies that offer environmentally-friendly products and services. Amy is based in Berlin and currently focused on the operation and rollout of Good Move.
Partner & Chief Investment Officer, Bainco International Investors
Justin DuMouchelle, CFA, CFP is a Partner and the Chief Investment Officer of Bainco International Investors, an independent wealth management firm. Justin has over 15 years of experience advising wealthy families and building portfolios to meet their unique goals while integrating multigenerational estate and tax planning strategies. As Chief Investment Officer, Justin leads Bainco’s investment group, setting the firm’s asset allocation and overseeing a team of analysts who conduct the due diligence on individual stocks ensuring all investments meet the firm’s rigorous criteria.
In addition to overseeing client’s public investments, Justin also oversees the due diligence of private investments. He enjoys working with entrepreneurs as they build their company acting as adviser and board member to several venture backed companies. He currently serves on the board of Tego Inc. a smart asset tracking company, and Brilliant Move, LLC, a white glove furniture delivery platform. Justin is a graduate of Boston College with a double major in Chemistry and Economics and holds both a Chartered Financial Analyst and a Certified Financial Planner designation.
Co-founder & CEO, Common Citizen
Michael Elias is the co-founder and CEO of Common Citizen and Michigan Pure Med, the largest vertically-integrated license holder in Michigan.
Michael has spent over 21 years re-engineering health care operations, leading organizational improvement and cultural transformation, and sustaining change. Most recently, Michael was the CEO and founder of Elias Group Corp, an international consulting practice specializing in health care transformations world-wide. He has taken over underperforming health systems and strategically transformed their clinical and non-clinical business practices.
Michael was a major catalyst of transformational change at North York General Hospital in Toronto, Canada as the Chief Transformation Officer. He developed, deployed and sustained NYGH’s award-winning improvement system utilizing Lean and Six Sigma principles. NYGH was recently named the second best hospital in Canada by Newsweek Magazine, and ranked among the top 100 in the world for efficiency and clinical outcomes.
A native of Michigan, Michael earned his Bachelor of Science from Michigan State University. He attended Wayne State School of Medicine Master’s program in Community Medicine. In addition, he has a cognate in Applied Statistics. Michael is a Master Black Belt and holds two certifications from the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center and General Electric Medical Systems.
Chairman, MARCorp Financial LLC; Member of the Board of Directors, PaySend
Michael A. Fazio is Co-Founder and Chairman of MARCorp Financial, a lower mid-market private equity and debt investment firm. He is a highy accomplished, results driven investment executive with over 30 years of experience in advisory services in connection with acquisitions, divestitures, corporate strategy, operational oversight and restructurings. Presently, Michael is responsible for overall strategy of the firm and sits on the firm’s Investment Committee. He actively advises management of portfolio companies including sitting on board of directors of CompuSystems, VeriDaaS, Juniper Unmanned, Services Capital, PaySend PLC and Yieldmo.
Since its inception in August 2012, Michael has served as the chairman of MARCorp Financial LLC, a private equity firm located in Illinois. Previously, he held various senior management roles at Houlihan Lokey, a global investment banking firm, serving as managing director and co-head of the European Financial Institutions Group. In addition, Michael has also served as President and CFO of Comdisco, a multibillion equipment leasing company. Prior to Comdisco, Inc., he served as EVP and COO of Deutsche Bank of the Americas, a global banking and financial services company as well as Partner in Charge - New York Banking, Brokerage and Investment Banking Industry Practice for Arthur Andersen, LLP.
VP Cloud Technologies, Tallan
Dan Fluet is the Vice President of Cloud Technologies, Integrations, and Portals & Collaborations at Tallan, a digital transformation consulting agency. Dan has over 21 years of experience designing and delivering enterprise software solutions, and reviewing technology architecture and infrastructure. Dan is active in the Cloud Computing network, particularly in the Microsoft community, and regularly speaks nationwide at industry events. Dan is also recognized as a Microsoft Virtual Technology Specialist (vTSP) in the areas of Azure, Office 365, and DevOps.
Dan has served clients across the country in a variety of different industries, providing him the knowledge to make recommendations based on industry experience, not just technology expertise. Dan is an Ironman and currently lives in Connecticut with his wife and three boys.
Founding Partner, MathCapital
Eric Franchi is a partner at MathCapital, an early-stage venture capital fund focused on the transformation of media and marketing. He oversees all facets of the Fund's operations and has led investments in over 20 startups including HudsonMX, Thunder, Narrative.IO and many others.
Prior to MathCapital, Eric was a cofounder at Undertone which he helped grow from bootstrapped startup to a leader in advertising technology. In 2015, Undertone was acquired by a publicly traded software company for $180 million.
Co-Founder & CEO, IRIS.TV
Field Garthwaite is the Co-Founder and CEO of IRIS.TV, the leading video intelligence and programming platform. Since inventing the core technology behind IRIS.TV in 2010, Field has led the company to provide video publishers with software and lightweight APIs that enable them to personalize the streaming video experience based on users’ preferences and behavior across all platforms and devices. His background inside media companies and tech providers to provide unique insight into the challenges facing the industry and how to better manage and monetize digital video. IRIS.TV’s product suite is used by hundreds of publishers and broadcasters globally, including Fox, NBCU, CBS, Telepictures, Gannett, Hearst, and McClatchy.
Prior to IRIS.TV, he worked with Rubicon Project to develop tools to handle massive volumes of ad tag and metadata and solutions and workflows to move operations from manual to automated processes. He spent a year as an Assistant Editor for the Emmy award-winning PBS documentary "Girls on the Wall" and before that, was a Research Assistant at Universal Pictures. Earlier, he held various technical positions at Machine Project, HBO and Columbia Records. Mr. Garthwaite holds a B.A. from Pomona College with a focus on Art, Media, and Technology.
Phoenix Gonzalez is a co-founder and President at dotstudioPRO, a Video Distribution and Monetization SaaS Platform. With over 15 years of experience in sales/ business development and entertainment media, her passion and profession lie at the intersection of media and technology. Gonzalez has been instrumental in driving the company's investment success, market penetration, customer growth, and channel partnerships. Some clients include the Minnesota Vikings, Washington Redskins, and Lifetimes Hit TV show turned Beauty Network “American Beauty Star”. Recognized as a Female Digital Disruptor in 2018, Gonzalez continues to defy all odds in her career.
Co-Founder & CEO, Capture Higher Ed
Steve Huey is the CEO and co-founder of Capture Higher Ed, an industry-leading technology firm that provides predictive modeling and marketing automation software to university recruitment offices nationwide through its Behavioral Intelligence Platform. Founded in 2011, the Louisville-based startup is Steve’s third successful early stage company since 2005. A passionate entrepreneur and visionary with a gift for disrupting industries with innovative technology, Steve has been featured in Forbes’ Built to Sell, ranked by Insider Louisville as Louisville’s #1 “Startup Standout” and named the 2018 Kentucky Mentor of the Year. Steve holds an MBA from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University and a bachelor’s in Finance and Accounting from Miami University, Ohio.
Head of Acquisition and Paid Retention Marketing, Wayfair
Jess Jacobs leads Acquisition and Paid Retention Marketing for Wayfair and their family of brands. Her team of 50 controls a global budget of over $200M in ad spend. Jess has spent most of her career in Digital Marketing, making stops in an NYC-based Ad Tech start up, McKinsey’s Tech Media Telecom practice, and Vox Media. She received her MBA from Chicago Booth and her BA from University of Pennsylvania. She is also honored to be included in the 2018-class of REV Boston, which recognizes the top-20 women in Boston tech.
Founder & CEO, Snackable AI
Mari Joller builds companies that are enabled by artificial intelligence. She is Founder & CEO at Snackable AI, creating a new discovery engine for the voice-first world. Prior to Snackable, Mari ran services at Skybuds (acquired by Lifebeam) and before that founded Scarlet, a proactive voice assistant backed by Samsung Accelerator. Earlier in her career, Mari led the creation of new product units at Nokia and Virgin Mobile. Mari holds a BA from Middlebury College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Managing Director, Progress Partners
Chris brings over twenty years of commercial and leadership experience in digital media sales, strategy, ad technology, data, and marketing to Progress Partners. Throughout his career, he has driven change and innovation into the marketplace in a wide variety of areas that have been sources for significant growth and maturation of the digital advertising ecosystem.
He has been a vocal advocate for enabling publisher technology independence and transparency of markets, creating optimal pathways for data driven marketers. In 2014, Chris introduced the ad tech marketplace to Display Header Bidding via a supply side technology company as company’s Chief Strategy Officer, and joined MediaMath as SVP of Enterprise Sales in 2012, a global DSP enabling self-directed marketers and agencies to leverage buyside technology for driving superior performance and ROI.
Chris also held business development roles at Yahoo!, MTV Networks, and Alloy Media, where he developed marketing solutions and custom products across all media types while working with marketers like Procter and Gamble, Kraft, Pepsi, IBM, Ford, GM, and Verizon. Chris is a graduate of The University of New Hampshire and majored in Business Administration and Marketing.
Dennis Kelly is the CEO of Postalytics, a fast growing direct mail automation software company. Postalytics helps marketers at SMB and mid-tier companies with ground-breaking software that drastically reduces direct mail production cycles, tracks delivery and response, and integrates direct mail into CRM and Marketing Automation tools.
As CEO, Dennis is involved in all aspects of Postalytics’ operations. He’s a hands on company builder, having founded or been an early executive at Genesis Business Systems (sold to Achieve Healthcare), AnyDay.com (sold to Palm, Inc.), Adjoin Solutions (sold to Computer Associates) among others.
Dennis is actively involved in the New England Direct Marketing Association, HomeStart (eliminating preventable homelessness), and has served as Chairman of Hingham Boys Basketball for several years. He and his wife Jen are enthusiastic travelers, foodies and Boston Celtics fans. Dennis holds a BA in Economics from Colgate University.
CEO & Chief Diversity Officer, Nielsen
Kenny has spent his career in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, especially focused on the retail, marketing, and media industries. He has a deep and holistic understanding of media and advertisers and how best to serve them, and he has been a long time Nielsen customer and partner. Kenny has a proven track record of implementing growth strategies, overseeing strategic transactions and creating value for stakeholders.
Most recently, Kenny served as Senior Vice President of Cognitive Solutions at IBM. There, he oversaw IBM’s artificial intelligence initiatives, using machine learning to support enterprise customers across a large number of verticals, including healthcare, financial services, retail, and media. Prior to that, he was Chairman and Chief Executive of The Weather Company, which was acquired by IBM. He served as President of Akamai, a cloud platform technology company; Managing Partner of VivaKi, a media company; and Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Digitas, Inc.
Currently, David is Chief Executive Officer at Nielsen and serves on the Board of Directors for Best Buy and Teach for America. David received his bachelor’s degree in industrial administration from the GM Institute (now Kettering University) and holds a Masters of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.
Head of Direct to Consumer Marketing - North America, New Balance
Allison Khurana leads Direct to Consumer Marketing in North America for New Balance, across the brand’s physical and digital outlets. This includes responsibility for full-funnel media planning & execution including paid, owned, and earned driving growth of NB’s DTC business inclusive of digital marketing, CRM and loyalty, and digital creative & design. Prior to joining New Balance, Allison was a senior leader of the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) loyalty program at Starwood Hotels & Resorts, where her team focused on creating personalized customer experiences through utilizing big data at scale. Prior to Starwood Hotels, Allison was a Consultant with management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group and received her MBA from Harvard Business School.
Executive Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School
Aditi Kumar is the Executive Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School, where she also leads the Economic Diplomacy Initiative. Her research interests include U.S. international economic policy, financial technology, and financial regulation.
Kumar was previously a Principal at management consultancy Oliver Wyman in the financial services and public policy practices. She worked primarily with U.S. commercial and investment banks as well as U.S. regulators and policymakers on designing and implementing financial regulation. Kumar also served as a Project Manager at the World Economic Forum, responsible for leading policy discussions among financial sector executives and policymakers on managing financial risk and designing effective global financial regulation.
Kumar is a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School and the Harvard Business School, where she studied international affairs, and specifically the nexus of national security and financial and economic policy. She holds undergraduate degrees from the Huntsman Program for International Studies and Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
With 30 years of financial experience in the media technology industry, Nancy excels at developing scalable financial models to drive rapid expansion, and has spearheaded several complex acquisitions and successful exits throughout her career. Prior to Pixability, Nancy spent three years as the first CFO of video advertising management and distribution solutions provider, Extreme Reach Inc., and before that served as CFO of digital marketing technology company x+1 Solutions. Nancy is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island.
Senior Managing Director, Progress Partners
Chris Legg serves as a Senior Managing Director at Progress Partners and as a General Partner at Progress Ventures, the firm’s venture capital arm.
He works with companies to develop strategic partnerships, and organize and act upon merger and acquisition strategies. Areas of particular focus include emerging growth technology sector.
Chris has spent more than 20 years working with growth equity companies, and he previously held similar investment roles at Tandem Expansion Fund and Argo Global Capital. He also has extensive international investing experience having spent considerable stages of his career or made investments in Canada, the United States, Europe, and Asia.
Prior to his experience as an investor, he held senior roles Credit Suisse and Merrill Lynch as an investment banker. Chris has direct experience and involvement both as an advisor and investor with 35 liquidity events, including acquisitions and IPOs, and has raised over $500M in private equity for a variety of high-growth companies.
Chris holds a BCOMM. with High Distinction from Queen's University and an MBA in accounting and finance from Harvard Business School.
President & CEO, Viamedia
Mark Lieberman joined Viamedia, the country’s largest independent local cross media advertising company, as president and chief executive officer in January 2014 after an extensive career in the media and technology industry. While at Viamedia, he was inducted into the class of 2016 Cable TV Pioneers.
Prior to Viamedia, Mark was the co-founder, Chairman and CEO of TRA a leading big TV data, media analytics, software and research technology firm sold to TiVo. He also was the co-inventor of TRA System and is on several U.S. patents.
Earlier, Mark was Chairman/CEO of IVT, a video streaming software company backed by Cisco, Sun Microsystems and several financial investors.
He has also served as Executive Vice President of Reed Elsevier Business Information where he oversaw Variety, Broadcasting & Cable, Publishers Weekly and MultiChannel News magazines. In the mid-1990s, he founded Sarnoff Real Time Corp., a video server company that became DIVA systems, the first commercially viable video-on-demand provider.
Mark served in the George H.W. Bush Administration as Associate Deputy Secretary and Assistant Secretary for Technology (Acting) at the U.S. Department of Commerce and clerked for Judge Oscar Davis at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
Mark is involved in a number of charities including as Chairman of the Tufts University Computer Science External Advisory Board, and lives in Westchester County, NY and Montauk, NY with his wife and children. He still plays street ball.
Co-Founder & COO, DraftKings
Paul Liberman is chief operations officer of DraftKings. Liberman co-founded DraftKings in 2012 and oversees the company’s product development while leading efforts in maintaining the company’s current product set. He has acted as both CTO and CMO before moving into his current position as COO.
Liberman’s data-driven mindset has been instrumental in catapulting DraftKings from a small Boston start-up to a global sports-tech entertainment enterprise. Under his leadership, Paul’s team has developed award-winning, stand-alone apps and products including DraftKings’ DK Live and Leagues, DraftKings Fantasy Sports app and, most recently, the DraftKings Sportsbook platform.
Among his honors, Liberman was named to Boston Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” list of the most influential people in Boston. Liberman attended Worcester Polytechnic Institute where he received his degree in electrical engineering and computer science. He lives with his wife and twin sons in the Boston area.
Founder & Senior Managing Director, Progress Partners
Nick is the founder and a Senior Managing Director of Progress Partners. He is a proven technology marketer and M&A banker with 20 years of experience working with early to mid-stage companies in mergers and acquisitions, capital raising, and business and partnership development. He is also an investor and advisor to early-stage technology companies as a Founding Partner at Progress Ventures, an early-stage venture fund that invests in media and marketing technology companies.
Nick has significant transaction experience and has closed numerous digital media deals, including the sales of AdsWizz to Pandora, Going.com and PrecisionDemand to AOL, Teletrax to 4C Insights, Adazzle to Strata/Comcast, the acquisition of PureCars by Raycom (served as a buy-side advisor), and financings for various companies including Tremor Media, ContextWeb (PulsePoint), and MediaMath.
Nick is a graduate of Skidmore College and has served on the screening committee of Launchpad Venture Group. He currently holds investments in 20 early stage companies through his own investments and now through Progress Ventures.
Nick MacShane is a Series 79, 63, and 62 registered representative of an independent broker/dealer, Applied Capital. Member FINRA/SIPC.
Chief Content Officer, The Action Network
Chad Millman is the Chief Content Officer for The Action Network, a media company that delivers premium content and analytics, focused on fantasy sports and betting. Launched in January of 2018, the company was founded by The Chernin Group. Millman joined The Action Network from ESPN, where he was the VP, Editorial Director for ESPN Domestic Digital Content. Prior to that he served as editor-in-chief of ESPN The Magazine, during which time the magazine was honored with numerous awards for storytelling, design and photography. During his 16-year tenure at ESPN he was a regular contributor to many of the network’s television programs, launched the popular podcast Behind The Bets, wrote weekly columns and created the gambling beat. Millman hosts The Favorites podcast and has written or co-authored seven books, including the bestselling The Odds, about a trio of Vegas bookmakers and professional gamblers.
Director of Investment Strategy, BNY Mellon Wealth Management
Jeffrey Mortimer is the director of investment strategy for BNY Mellon Wealth Management. In this role, he leads a team that sets capital market expectations and is responsible for making asset allocation recommendations.
Jeff has more than 25 years of experience in the financial services industry. Prior to joining the firm, Jeff worked for Charles Schwab for 13 years in increasingly senior positions, culminating with his appointment as chief investment officer. He also worked for nearly 10 years in boutique firms in the Boston area, serving high net worth individuals and families.
Jeff received a Bachelor of Science degree in finance from Babson College and a Master of Business Administration from the University Of Chicago Graduate School Of Business. He is a CFA charter holder. Jeff is a national speaker on issues of investment strategy, the financial markets and the economy. He has been featured in numerous media outlets, including Barron’s, Fortune, Bloomberg and CNBC. He serves on the Advisory Board for the Stephen D. Cutler Center for Investments and Finance at Babson College.
CRO, Capture Higher Ed
As Chief Revenue Officer, Len brings two decades of executive sales management experience to Capture, having ascended leadership roles at top education companies, including: Parchment, Presidium, and Blackboard, where he was one of its original employees. Prior to joining Capture, Len was Senior Vice President of Member Development for Parchment. Under his guidance the organization grew from 2011 – 2019 to under $5mm USD to $35mm USD, with an NRR of 106%, and a client renewal rate of 98%. This established Parchment as the industry leader in credential management. Other successes included Presidium acquisition by Blackboard Inc. after 3 years of unprecedented growth, and Blackboard’s successful NASDAQ listing. Len is also a 13-year veteran of the US Army, having served in both the enlisted and officer ranks as a member of such notable units as the 82nd Airborne Division. He received his BA from Centre College, and an M.Ed. from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College. Len is a board member of Centre College’s President Advisory Board, National Stem Cell Foundation Advisory Board, Endeavor’s Mentor Team, and the Phoenix Storm Rugby Team.
Senior Director, Media Innovations + Technology, Centro; Podcast host of “AdTech Unfiltered”
Noor nationally leads innovative strategy development at Centro. She helps clients strategize smarter digital media plans with consideration for emerging ad formats, data types, platforms, tech integrations and partnerships across the digital media landscape.
Prior to joining Centro, Noor held planning and buying roles at Starcom MediaVest Group for consumer and enterprise brand Blackberry and global CPG brand, P&G. She is also the host of digital media and marketing podcast, AdTech Unfiltered. Noor is a graduate of Northwestern University with an M.S. in Integrated Marketing.
Software Engineer, O’Reilly Media
Nnenna Ndukwe used to be a Tanning Consultant in Houston, Texas before she decided to move to Boston and teach herself how to code. Now, she is a 23-year-old Software Engineer at O'Reilly Media, the online learning platform and publishing powerhouse for technical books. Nnenna is a graduate of Resilient Coders bootcamp and is currently a senior majoring in Computer Science at Boston University. Outside of work and academics, she focuses on writing tech articles on Medium, building her brand as a self-proclaimed tech nerd, and developing technical workshops for underrepresented minority students.
CRO, the dtx company
Jim Norton is Chief Revenue Officer at the dtx company, which is focused on building the infrastructure for the direct-to-consumer economy. In his role he is responsible for building and managing relationships with partners across the industry who are looking to enhance their omnichannel and direct to consumer strategies. He joined dtx from Dosh, a mobile cash back app based in Austin, Texas where he was Chief Revenue Officer.
Previous to Dosh, Jim served as Chief Business Officer, President of Revenue at Condé Nast, where he led revenue diversification efforts in direct-to-consumer subscriptions, events, licensing, and eCommerce. Prior to Condé Nast, he spent seven years at AOL as Global Head of Media Sales, and earlier in his career he held sales roles at Google and Tribune Broadcasting. Jim has both an undergraduate and graduate degree from Boston College
Founder & CEO, DART Displays
Kenny is an experienced entrepreneur (1 previous exit) and the co-founder and CEO of DART Displays. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Kenny worked in Brand Management at P&G. He is an award-winning Shopper Marketer with deep experience working with some of the world’s largest retailers and driving some of the world’s largest CPG brands.
Kenny loves guiding DART Displays on its mission to help marketers and retailers unleash the power of digital communication in the physical retail environment. In the span of just 3 short years, DART has established fruitful relationships with Fortune 500 retailers like Kroger, Safeway, ShopRite and Rite Aid, and top GPG’s like P&G, American Greetings, Johnson & Johnson, and Coty.
Kenny studied business as an undergrad at UNC-Chapel Hill and as a graduate at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
President of Cinedigm Networks, Cinedigm Corp.
Erick Opeka brings over 18 years of experience as an executive at the intersection of entertainment and technology. Currently, he is the President of Cinedigm Networks (NASDAQ:CIDM), where he oversees the company’s multi-million user base of OTT entertainment services available online, on mobile app, gaming consoles, connected TVs, and multichannel providers. He oversees the development, planning, launch and operations of the company’s portfolio of ten linear, ad-supported and subscription networks.
Previously, Erick was SVP of Global Digital for Cinedigm, where he oversaw the distribution of the company’s 60,000+ hours of content in the digital ecosystem, managing multi-platform content strategy & distribution with partners including Netflix, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and Hulu. Prior to Cinedigm, Erick co-founded and served as GM of New Video Digital, the largest global aggregator of independent film & Television with more than 650 customers including A&E Network, History Channel, and Lifetime. Erick began his career in theatrical film advertising, working with clients including New Line Cinema and Orion Pictures, among others.
Erick received his Bachelor of Arts degree from The University of Texas at Austin and his MBA from Florida State University. He is a member of the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Producers Guild of America.
Managing Director, Wealthsimple
Sharman helps companies breathe life into their brand and share it with the world. Whether at a global advertising agency or an emerging tech startup, Sharman helps identify projects that will contribute to the company’s success. And she partners with the team to produce creative work in various forms (e.g. photography, animation, design, experiential, video) across all mediums (e.g. online, broadcast, print, outdoor).
Over the years, Sharman has been fortunate to partner with incredible brands, including Google, Chevrolet, Starbucks, Target, American Express, Facebook, MAC Cosmetics, Nintendo, and Red Bull.
She is currently the Managing Director at Wealthsimple, a Canadian fintech startup that provides financial advice and services that are accessible, affordable, and human. They’re on a mission to help everyone build a strong financial future regardless of net worth, age, gender, or ethnicity.
Co-founder, CEO & CTO, dotstudioPRO
Joe Pascual, Co-founder, CEO and CTO at dotstudioPRO, a Video Distribution and Monetization SaaS Platform. His inspiration for innovation in media and technology meet at the intersection of video content distribution and revenue generation. With a proven track record in leadership, Pascual spearheads his team at dotstudioPRO, delivering scalable Over-The-Top video solutions that transform the way media companies meet their audience digitally, across platforms and devices. Clients include Minnesota Vikings, Washington Redskins, and Lifetimes Hit TV show turned Beauty Network “American Beauty Star”. Fluent in 5 languages, having lived in 5 countries, Joe has spent the last 30+ year in the entertainment industry globally, where he has been recognized by industry peers multiple times.
Lead Investor, Portfolia & Advisor
Lorine is an executive and attorney with extensive experience in the legal, technology and entertainment industries. She invests in and advises women and diverse-led companies. She has invested in over 25 early-stage companies. She is a Lead Investor in Portfolia’s recently launched Rising America Fund, which will invest in companies with founders of color, women, LGBT or companies with products and services that address these markets. Portfolia is an innovative platform bringing together growth-stage companies and a collaborative network of investors in a unique combination of angel investing and VC funding. Portfolia has invested in over 50+ companies since its inception in 2016.
Lorine is on the Board of the Angel Capital Association (ACA), the largest angel professional development organization in the world. She is a sought-after speaker on the state of women and diverse entrepreneurship, angel investing and diversity at organizations to drive innovation and growth.
She was named by Worth as one of the “16 Financial Powerhouses,” Marie Claire as one of the “Most 50 Connected Women in America,” Business Insider as one of the “22 Female Angel Investors Every Startup Founder Should Know,” Crunchbase as “39 Black Women Investors Inspiring a New Generation of Investors,” and Medium as one of the “200 Women of Color to Follow on Twitter.” Lorine is a graduate of Brown University (B.A. Economics), New York Law School (JD), Kauffman Foundation FastTrac New Ventures Entrepreneurship (Graduate Certificate) and Lean Startup Machine.
Managing Director & CIO, RiverForce Partners
Mr. Penney has over 25 years’ experience as a research analyst in the financial services industry, on both the sell and buy side capacities. Prior to joining the RiverForce group of companies, Mr. Penney was a senior research analyst focused on special situations at Northland Capital Markets starting in October 2016. Prior to Northland, Mr. Penney served as a Managing Director for the Lang Media Group (LMG), where he held several strategic, operating and investing roles across a wide range of both private and public media and technology-related companies. Prior to LMG, Mr. Penney served in Senior Analyst / Portfolio Manager roles at Cypress Funds (a TCW-related investment firm) and as a founding partner at Compass North Capital, dating back to 2008. Prior to his direct investing industry experience, Mr. Penney worked in institutional equity sales at Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers. He commenced his sell-side experience as Senior REIT analyst at Robertson Stephens in San Francisco. Mr. Penney earned his B.S. degree in Business (Accounting) at Santa Clara University.
CEO, American Harvest
Mr. John Piracha is a seasoned entrepreneur with more than three decades of experience in creating, scaling and operating successful commodity businesses. In 2018, John and his partners at ITC International identified hemp as a major expansion opportunity for their commodities platform and launched American Harvest. In less than two years, the fully-financed, Montana-based company has become one of the largest, vertically-integrated hemp processing and extraction businesses in the U.S. with more than 5,000 acres ready for harvest in 2019.
Professor & Founding Director, M.S. Cybersecurity Policy and Governance, Boston College
Kevin is the founding Director for the MS in Cybersecurity Policy and Governance Program at Boston College, and an Assistant Professor of the Practice at Boston College Law School and in Boston College’s Carroll School of Management’s Business Law and Society Department. With a combined 20 years of law enforcement, military, national security, business, higher education, and teaching experience, he has worked as an analyst and an attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Navy, U.S. Department of Defense, law firms in Boston and Washington, D.C., and as the General Counsel for an international software company based in Seattle, Washington. Along with his teaching at Boston College, Kevin is a Research Affiliate at the MIT Sloan School of Management and he has taught courses at the U.S. Naval Justice School and the U.S. Naval Academy, where he was also the Deputy General Counsel to the Superintendent. From 2016-2017, he was the Panel Lead for the Collegiate Working Group for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE). Kevin also serves as a Board Member for the Boston College Law School Business Advisory Council, a Regional Bank, and an International Software Company. Kevin regularly provides expert commentary regarding cybersecurity and national security issues for varying local, national, and international media outlets.
CFO, Movencorp, Inc.
Richard has over 20 years of operating in the finance and accounting community. Currently CFO at Movencorp, Inc., a mobile banking platform, leading the strategic finance and accounting function in support of a multi-channel distribution model. As founder of Treehouse Consulting Group, LLC (2010-present), he continues to operate in a chief executive capacity for other development-stage businesses. Prior to that, he held the CFO role at Eagle Advisors, Inc. (2006-2010), a $4 billion single member family office (co-founder of SAP AG). He has held management positions at both PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and Deloitte’s assurance practice over the course of 7 years.
Contributing Editor, WIRED
A recovering former Newsweek correspondent and long-time contributor to WIRED, Spencer focuses on the global impact of innovation and technology, including media, energy, the environment & space. Since 2016, he's been running the main stage program at VivaTechnology, Europe's newest and largest startup event, co-hosted annually in Paris by Publicis Groupe & LVMH.
Chief Product Officer, White Ops
Sonali Shah joined White Ops in early 2019 as Chief Product Officer. Sonali has a long history working with cybersecurity companies, first as an investment banker with Credit Suisse, and then in product management, marketing and strategy roles at McAfee, Guardent, Verisign, BitSight and Veracode. Sonali received her BS in Economics from Georgetown University, MS from the London School of Economics, and MBA from The Wharton School of Business. She lives in Lexington, MA with her husband and two sons.
Senior Associate, Progress Partners
Peirce joined Progress Partners in July of 2017. He supports M&A and private placement engagements by conducting market and financial research, developing deal marketing material, and supporting the Managing Directors with business development opportunities.
Prior to joining the firm, he was an Associate at Tully & Holland, an investment banking advisory firm focusing on the consumer product sector. Peirce also worked at the Greenwich Group International where he was a principal partner in the creation of Greenwich Green Holdings, the green transactions and project development arm of the Greenwich Group International.
Peirce received his MBA from the Carroll School of Management at Boston College and was awarded admission into the Beta Gamma Sigma honors society for his academic achievements. Peirce also holds a Bachelor's Degree in Finance from the University of Notre Dame.
Founder & CEO, Tru-Optik
Andre is a proven leader and entrepreneur with a wide range of experience in marketing, finance, and starting and growing companies. As CEO and co-founder of Tru Optik, he has led the company’s business development, product innovation and go to market strategy. Under Andre’s leadership, Tru Optik has become the preferred over-the-top data and technology partner for many of the world’s largest media companies, brands, and agencies. Before founding Tru Optik, Andre served as a Vice President of Investments at JP Morgan Chase and also led the Media and Entertainment division at a boutique investment bank in New York City. Prior to that, he owned one of the region’s largest night clubs and special event production companies working with many of the largest millennial-facing brands and entertainers in the world. Andre holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Connecticut.
Senior Managing Director, Progress Partners
Sam is a Senior Managing Director, providing guidance to growth stage companies in Media, Marketing, and Enterprise software and technology. He is also an investor and advisor to early-stage technology companies as a Founding Partner at Progress Ventures, an early-stage venture fund that invests in media and marketing technology companies.
Sam works with companies to develop strategic partnerships, and organize and act upon merger and acquisition strategies. Areas of particular focus include enterprise software and the convergence of marketing and retail technology, where Sam has built a strong strategic network for both early and growth stage business alike.
Before banking and investing in software and technology, Sam was an entrepreneurial manager with a twelve-year history in media sales, business development and leadership.
Sam has held interim positions in management of design at Pod Consulting and The Procter & Gamble Company, finance and sales at the Phoenix Media/Communications Group, and client relations at IGN Entertainment, Inc., and Snowball.com.
Sam began his career in commercial photography after graduating with a BA in Fine Arts from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR, and then earned his MBA from the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College, Magna Cum Laude.
Sam Thompson is a Series 7, 63, and 79 registered representative of an independent broker/dealer, Applied Capital. Member FINRA/SIPC.
Former Global Chief Marketing Officer and Member of the Executive Board, Hero Group
Najoh Tita-Reid is a global marketing leader known for spurring growth, turnarounds and a multicultural focus across multiple billion-dollar consumer brands. The former Global Chief Marketing Officer at Hero AG and a senior business leader at international consumer care businesses at Merck and Bayer, Najoh has a record of innovation that has changed products, companies and consumer marketing in diverse industries.
She began her career at Procter & Gamble, where she led sustainable growth across several billion-dollar brands, launched the company’s first dot-com business, and oversaw some of its earliest and most successful multicultural campaigns. After 15 years at P&G, Najoh managed multicultural marketing for GlobalHue Advertising Agency in New York before taking strategy and operations roles at Merck. She later served as general manager of Merck and Bayer consumer care businesses in Europe, delivering turnarounds in difficult market conditions. At Hero, a global food company based in Switzerland, she was a member of the Executive Baord and was responsible for marketing, brand strategy, R&D and sustainability.
Najoh earned an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University and a BA in English from Spelman College.
Co-founder & CEO, Instreamatic
Stas Tushinskiy is CEO and Co-founder of Instreamatic.ai, Inc based in San Francisco, CA. Stas earned his Bachelor of Science degree and Master’s degree from the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, Russia. All of his work experience has revolved around media technology including Internet, social gaming, e-commerce, digital audio and launching a Chinese branch for an advertising technology company.
In four short years, Instreamatic, under Stas’ vision and management, has established itself as an industry leader in the burgeoning field of Voice Dialogue Advertising. Based on AI and deep learning, Instreamatic provides brands with an end-to-end platform to run continuous dialogue advertising across many publishers.
Head of Fidelity Labs, Fidelity Investments
Mona M. Vernon is the head of Fidelity Labs, the business incubator at Fidelity Investments, a leading provider of investment management, retirement planning, portfolio guidance, brokerage, benefits outsourcing, and other financial products and services to more than 28 million individuals, institutions, and financial intermediaries.
Prior to joining Fidelity, Mona was the Chief Technology Officer of Thomson Reuters Labs. She founded and scaled the Thomson Reuters network of global innovation labs and oversaw the research and development function, including the Center for Cognitive Computing and blockchain engineering. She also managed the corporate startup investment fund.
Mona holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in mechanical engineering from Tufts University and a Master of Science in engineering and management from MIT. She is an executive board member of the FinTech Sandbox, a corporate council member at Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College, and a committee member for the Continuous Improvement of NASA’s Innovation Ecosystem.
Co-Founder & CMO, Garden Society
As co-founder and head of marketing for Garden Society, Karli’s communication and marketing prowess makes the brand shine. As a working mom and wife to a cancer survivor, she understands the positive wellness impact low-dose edible cannabis can have on the mind, body and soul.
Karli began her career in communication and marketing in the wine industry at a boutique PR agency in Napa, where she learned the ropes of pitching and building media relationships. While also expanding her wine education and knowledge, her interest in the wine business quickly deepened and lead her to explore other aspects of brand and event marketing. As her career progressed, she moved to Constellation Brands, the world’s leading wine company. There she emerged as a top-tier marketer, learning firsthand the importance of partnerships and cross-brand collaborations. Through thoughtful storytelling, pitching, and partnerships, Karli landed media coverage for brands in national media outlets including Today Show, Wall Street Journal, Wine
Spectator and Food & Wine magazine.
While at Constellation, Karli helped launch a wine brand that, at the time, she didn’t know would eventually shift her career from wine to cannabis – this is when her Garden Society story began. In 2016, Karli reconnected with her former wine industry peer, Erin Gore, who had recently launched Garden Society, a cannabis company focused on women’s wellness. Shortly thereafter Erin asked Karli to join the Garden Society team to lead marketing and communication efforts. Together, Erin and Karli have quickly built a well-recognized luxury cannabis brand that has garnered the interest of Today Show, CNBC, Marie Claire, Los Angeles Times, Forbes and many more.
Adriaan Zur Muhlen
Partner, Progress Ventures
Adriaan brings more than 20 years of private capital market investing and fund management experience to Progress Ventures. Previously, he was a Partner at Glouston Capital Partners (fka Permal Capital), where he was a member of the Executive Committee and co-managed the Investment Team. Adriaan started his career in Brand Management at Procter & Gamble and subsequently worked in corporate development, as a growth strategist, and as an alternative asset investor. He has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a B.S. in Economics from Miami University.
Resilient Coders, is a highly competitive, free and stipended nonprofit coding bootcamp for people of color from Boston’s low income neighborhoods, to train them for high growth careers as software engineers and connect them with jobs.
Through this partnership, Progress Connect (and our sponsors) are helping to build connections for the new wave of industry leaders to impact society and transform human potential.