Terrence “Terry” Hicks ’73
(Keynote Speaker) Vice-President of the Investment Group for Ben Franklin
Terrence Hicks is responsible for all of Ben Franklin’s investment activities, which includes a portfolio of over 120 early and emerging-stage technology companies; one of the largest such portfolios in the country.
Hicks came to the Ben Franklin in 1993 after twenty years of experience in small business lending and corporate treasury activities with Fidelity Bank (currently Wachovia) and Sun Company respectively. Hicks previously served as Vice President of Sun Company’s Specialized Small Business Investment Company. In addition to managing Ben Franklin’s investment activity for over ten years, Hicks also co-founded the Minority Angel Investor Network, the nation’s only organized angel group investing in high growth minority owned or led companies. Hicks earned a B.A. in economics from Swarthmore College and an MBA in finance from LaSalle University.
Gustavo Alberelli ’00
Managing Director, Trident Capital
Gustavo Alberelli joined Trident Capital in 2012 as a Managing Director. He focuses on growth equity and buyout investments in software, internet and technology-enabled services. Previously, Gustavo was a Director at Kennet Partners where he led growth equity investments across the technology sector, typically as the first institutional investor, and worked extensively with portfolio companies to optimize the efficiency of their respective sales models. Gustavo started his investment career at Trinity Ventures, where he primarily worked with seed and early stage technology companies. Gustavo has served as a Board Director or Board Observer at AcademixDirect, Intelepeer, MyPerfectSale (acquired by Sugar, Inc.), Prolexic Technologies, Revolution Prep and TradingPartners.
Prior to becoming an investor, Gustavo held several business development and marketing positions at Saltare, a venture-backed enterprise software company. He began his career as an analyst in the technology investment banking division of Robertson Stephens. Gustavo received an MBA from Columbia Business School and a B.A. in economics from Swarthmore College.
Michael Bertuch P’14
President and CEO, ViaTech Publishing Solutions
Michael Bertuch is the President and Chief Executive Officer of ViaTech Publishing Solutions based in New York, USA. The Company builds software and provides manufacturing services that streamline the publishing process in complex and distributed environments for 4,000 publishers around the world. Companies like Delta Airlines, LegalZoom, and Little Ceasars Pizza, depend on ViaTech’s worldwide software and distribution systems to run document intensive programs that facilitate communications, training and compliance. Companies depend on ViaTech to protect their brands around the world while communicating with clients and government.
The business was founded by Mr. Bertuch in 1995 and is based on a business plan he wrote while attending graduate school at Columbia University. Today, ViaTech’s 400+ employees operate seven facilities in the US as well as facilities in the UK, Malaysia, India, and China. Mike began his career at PPG Industries in Pittsburgh where he was part of an internal turn around practice that was implementing JIT and self directed teams at the worlds largest paint, glass and fiberglass company.
A graduate of Lehigh University (BS Finance/Marketing ’82) Mr. Bertuch is active in mentoring entrepreneurship students at both Columbia University (MBA ’95) and Lehigh. He serves frequently as a guest lecturer at Columbia and was conferred the Farrington Award for Outstanding Achievement in Entrepreneurship by Lehigh in 2006. Mike, and his wife Moe, met at a Lehigh football game and have been married for 24 years. They are the parents of Matt Bertuch ’14.
Grace Bulger ’88
Vice President of Marketing for Forsythe Technology
As Vice President of Marketing for Forsythe Technology, Grace Bulger is responsible for corporate branding, field marketing, solutions marketing, partner marketing and integrated marketing communications, including strategic messaging, advertising, public relations, corporate communications, direct mail, collateral and publications, online and interactive media, corporate events and employee communications. Bulger has more than 15 years of experience in marketing communications and branding. She has been with Forsythe since 2007. Prior to joining Forsythe, Bulger ran her own marketing communications firm, consulting with a variety of organizations, including GE Capital, Aon, USG, CareMark, Frankl and Forsythe. Previous to that, Bulger served as Vice President of Communications at GE Capital’s Railcar Services division in Chicago for several years.
Bulger earned her B.A. in psychology and sociology & anthropology from Swarthmore College and her M.A. in Communications from the University of Texas at Austin.
Way-Ting Chen ’94
Partner & Co-Founder, Blue Garnet Associates
Blue Garnet Associates is a business strategy consulting firm that provides expertise in organizational visioning, strategic and business planning, market opportunity and growth strategy, impact assessment, and leadership and governance. Its mission is to work with organizations to create lasting social change by harnessing the combined power of business acumen and nonprofit passion Way-Ting Chen has over 14 years of management consulting experience working with nonprofit organizations and corporate clients on addressing issues related to outcomes, impact and performance. She is also a regular speaker for national and regional audiences, on topics related to strategic and business planning, management and impact.
Prior to this, she served as engagement manager at Booz Allen Hamilton (now Booz & Company) in New York, where she led projects involving business strategy and organizational design and transformation for Fortune 500 clients. Way-Ting is also a Founding Partner and Board Director of Los Angeles Social Venture Partners (LASVP). She recently served as Vice-Chair of the California Association of Nonprofits (CAN), and continues to sit on the advisory board of additional nonprofits. Way-Ting holds an International MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a B.A. with honors in economics and political science from Swarthmore College.
Robert “Bob” Cleaves P’14
Managing Director & Co-Founder of Stratex Energy, LLC and President of the Biomass Power Association
Bob Cleaves is a Managing Director and Co-Founder of Stratex Energy, LLC; President of the Biomass Power Association; and investor in various early stage companies seeking to promote alternative energy and fuels. Bob is an environmental entrepreneur and a pioneer in creating business opportunities around sustainable business practices. He founded New England’s first wetlands bank, negotiated the nation’s largest trade of renewable energy credits from biomass, and has counseled Fortune 500 companies on a broad range of green initiatives. He is based in Portland, Maine.
After practicing law for nearly two decades including three years as a federal prosecutor at the Department of Justice, Bob left the practice to focus exclusively on the renewable energy sector. He leads the efforts of the Biomass Power Association, a national coalition of biomass generators. In addition, he has managed the renewable energy credit portfolio for Wheelabrator Technologies, and also assisted its parent, Waste Management, Inc., in various incentive programs and development efforts. He is an early stage investor/founder in DriveGreen, LLC (a Waste Management portfolio company) and Dirigo Gas, LLC (a company seeking to commercialize certain forms of pipeline quality biogas).
Bob is a frequent lecturer on renewable energy. He has served on the Board of the New England Clean Energy Council, Maine Audobon, and Greater Portland Landmarks. Previously, he served on the Massachusetts Biomass Working Group, the GIS Working Group, and the PJM GATS Working Group. He is a graduate of Wesleyan University (Anthro major), a Boston College Law School (too long ago to mention the year), and father of Sam Cleaves ’14.
Claire Hartten ’91
Co-Founder of Dirt Café and Hungry New York
Claire Hartten is a sitopian* designer, educator and co-founder of a social enterprise called Green Rabbits Projects based in Brooklyn, New York. Through her approach to working, Claire brings together experts from a spectrum of fields of research and practice to gather, share knowledge and solve systemic problems relating to food and society. She and chef Trine Hahnemann co-founded The Rye Bread Project in 2010 in partnership with The Danish Consulate General, New Amsterdam Market, New York City government’s Local Grains at Greenmarkets project, Food Karma Projects, and Little Bean Documentary Film Productions. Claire has a B.A. in art history from Swarthmore College and a M.A. in Design Studies (now called Applied Imagination) from Central St. Martins College of Art & Design in London. She is a founding faculty member of the new MFA Products of Design program at SVA in New York which was launched in 2012. There she teaches a course called Design for Sustainability and Resilience with a focus upon creatively solving problems while looking through the lens of food. Claire has run an annual workshop for the past four years on the relationship between food and regional green development for Masters students of Urban Planning at Columbia University. She is guest teaching work shops on food systems planning with a rural ecologist/farmer and green architect/writer at New York University during the spring of 2013. After graduate school, she was an inaugural team member of the new RED Unit, an incubator established by the UK government’s Design Council, for which she was hired to use design research methods to look at the future of food in the UK which led to exploring the future of British citizenship. (*Sitopia means food place and is a term coined by Carolyn Steel from ancient Greek roots and presented in her book, Hungry City: How Food Shapes Our Lives.)
Feng He ’03
Co-Founder of DemoHour
Feng He is co-founder of DemoHour, the first and largest crowd-funding website in China. DemoHour is a crowdfunding platform to realize the dreams of creative Chinese people. Founded in May 2011 in Beijing, the founders believe that there are many creative people in China, but most of them lack financial support and do not have access to publication and distribution channels.
“The biggest doubt from investors was there would not be enough creative individuals to make DemoHour a profitable business,” he says. “It’s a deeply held belief, even by the Chinese, that there is not enough creativity in China.” Through DemoHour, he hopes to highlight that these entrenched attitudes are misconceived. “I think it’s simply that the investors, most of whom are in their 40s, are simply too out of touch with the youthful culture in China.”
Previously Feng worked at the Lenovo Group, the Chinese PC and mobile phone manufacturer, and the Boston Consulting Group, where he worked with retail industry clients. Born and raised in China, Feng has a B.A. in mathematics from Swarthmore College and an M.B.A. from Stanford University.
Nick Martin ’04
Founder and President of TechChange
Nick is the Founder and President of TechChange, a Washington DC-based organization focused on technology training for social change and international development. As President, he oversees all strategy and programming for the organization. Nick is an educator, technologist, and social entrepreneur with significant international peacebuilding and development expertise. He is an adjunct faculty member at American University, George Mason University, George Washington University and the United Nations University for Peace (UPEACE), and has given a number of guest lectures and speeches on the role of technology in peacebuilding, development and humanitarian work. Nick received his BA in English Literature with honors from Swarthmore College and an MA in peace education from the United Nations mandated University for Peace (UPEACE).
Managing Principal, Meidlinger Partners
Dr. Karen Meidlinger is a Founder and Managing Principal of Meidlinger Partners, LLC. Meidlinger Partners invests in, grows and develops water technology, product and service companies that have scalable solutions to clean water and wastewater in an energy efficient manner while meeting governmental standards.
Prior to co-founding Meidlinger Partners in 2008, Dr. Meidlinger was an Associate at Johnson & Johnson where she spent almost four years leading innovation management projects, identifying new technologies that would drive future business growth for the corporation. Prior to her work at Johnson & Johnson, she ran the life science business incubator at the University City Science Center. She advised over 100 start-up companies, including several biotech companies that went from start up to exit, turning $432 million of VC investment into $1.2 billion.
Dr. Meidlinger earned her M.B.A. at the University of Cape Town (South Africa). She completed her Ph.D. in marine ecology at the University of Southampton (UK) and her B.Sc. in marine biology at the University of Liverpool (UK). She also completed an entrepreneurship fellowship at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Among other things, she is a professional SCUBA diver who has SCUBA-dived under ice in Antarctica.
Omar Mencin ’97
Director in the Investment Group at Ben Franklin Technology Partners
Omar Mencin is a Director in the Investment Group at Ben Franklin Technology Partners, an early stage venture capital firm and economic development organization which makes seed stage investments in Information Technology, Life Science, and Clean Technology companies. Omar focuses on sourcing, due diligence, and negotiating investment opportunities in the software, mobile, e-commerce, and digital technology sectors. He also serves as a board observer and advisory board member for several investment portfolio companies.
Before joining Ben Franklin, Omar was the president and co-founder of the US Market Access Center (USMAC), a Silicon Valley-based high-tech business accelerator which provided management consulting, capital raising services, and office space to foreign based companies seeking to successfully enter the Silicon Valley technology market. Prior to founding the USMAC, he held positions at the World Bank and Goldman Sachs. Omar holds a B.A. from Swarthmore College with a major in political science and a minor in economics and a M.A. from Stanford University in Management Science and Engineering and East Asian Studies. He has also completed the executive general management program at Harvard Business School.
Iqbal Quadir ’81
Professor of the Practice of Development and Entrepreneurship, MIT and Founder and Director, Legatum Center at MIT
Iqbal Quadir is a long-time champion of the critical role of entrepreneurship and innovations in creating prosperity in low-income countries. He is an accomplished entrepreneur who, 20 years ago, saw the potential of mobile technology to transform low-income countries. Quadir realized in the early 1990s that the ensuing digital revolution could facilitate the introduction of telephone access throughout Bangladesh, including its rural areas. To make this vision a reality, he established a New York based company, Gonofone Development Corp (meaning “phones for the masses” in Bengali), and assembled a global consortium of Gonofone, micro-credit pioneer Grameen Bank of Bangladesh, and Norwegian telecommunications company Telenor to create Grameenphone. Grameenphone is now Bangladesh’s leading telecommunications operator providing access to over 35 million subscribers irrespective of their geographic location or economic standing. From 2001-2004, Quadir was a Fellow and Lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School, focusing on the democratizing effects of technologies in low-income countries. He co-founded the journal Innovations (MIT Press) and, in 2005, moved to MIT where he founded the Legatum Center in 2007. Quadir founded Emergence BioEnergy to produce decentralized energy, and in 2010 co-founded Money in Motion, a start-up company to provide mobile phone-based banking services. He sits on the Advisory Council of the World Wide Web Foundation.
Quadir’s work and thinking has been cited in nearly 30 books and profiled in publications including The Economist, The New York Times, and The Financial Times. His writing has been published in The Financial Times, Harvard Business Review, Science, Nature, and The Wall Street Journal. He received the prestigious Science, Education and Economic Development award in Bangladesh and was listed as one of 125 Influential People and Ideas for the 125-year celebration of the Wharton School in 2006. He is the recipient of the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Swarthmore College (2011), the honorary Doctor of Science from Case Western Reserve University (2011), and the Russell-Whitehead Business Humanitarian Award presented by the Business Humanitarian Forum Association (2012). He holds both an MBA and an MA from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and a BS with honors from Swarthmore College.
Shalom Saar ’74
Senior Lecturer at MIT and Owner, Center for Leadership Development
Dr. Shalom Saada Saar believes that everyone has the capacity to lead, and he has dedicated his career to helping leaders identify and cultivate their unique leadership talents. Believing deeply that you can’t lead others until you know how to lead yourself, Dr. Saar developed the highly acclaimed program, Know Thyself, that has ignited a passion for leadership in people around the globe.
Whether working one-on-one with a leading CEO, or challenging his students in seminars at MIT, Shalom brings his unique experiences and perspectives to everything he does. CEOs rely on his counsel because Shalom understands the challenges business leaders face. He also knows that leadership is the only sustainable competitive advantage—he challenges CEOs and their senior teams to think and act differently in order to create fundamental change that will create exceptional value for the firm’s clients.
Throughout his career as head of a naval academy, academic administrator, vp for executive development and consultant to governmental agencies and corporations, Shalom has dedicated himself to provide coaching and counseling to individuals and teams around the world. At MIT, and previously at Harvard, he challenged emerging leaders to thoroughly understand who they are as leaders so that they can think and act in fundamentally different ways to solve the complex challenges they face.
Shalom has brought his unique perspective on leadership to audiences around the globe. Participants consistently remark that they are inspired by his insights and common sense approach to leading oneself and leading others. He has captured the essence of his teaching in his recently published book with co-author Michael J. Hargrove, Leading with Conviction: Mastering the Nine Critical Pillars of Integrated Leadership.
Shalom is currently teaching leadership and management at MIT and serving as a Professor of Management Practice at Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business in Beijing.
In addition to teaching at MIT and Harvard, Shalom taught at the State University of New York, University of Vienna, Luiss University in Rome, Southern Methodist University, and Loyola College.
Michael Silton ’86
Executive Director of UCLA Venture Capital Fund
Michael currently serves as Executive Chair of the UCLA Venture Capital Fund, which benefits UCLA by fostering entrepreneurship and connecting the worlds of university, capital and entrepreneurship. Michael is an entrepreneur himself, having founded and co-founded both private and public companies in the last 28 years. Most recently, Michael served for ten years as CEO/Founder of Rainmaker Systems, a NASDAQ-listed company. Rainmaker began as a CRM Services company, transforming into the leading SaaS (Cloud Software) company providing Business to Business e-Commerce to brands worldwide. Michael previously co-founded UniDirect, a pioneer in electronic software licensing and distribution. His very first company was a software retailer, which he co-founded during what would have otherwise been his junior year at Swarthmore. Michael graduated from Swarthmore with a B.A. in Economics in 1986.
Joe Turner ’73
Pharmaceutical Industry Consultant
Joe Turner has over 25 years of financial management experience in pharmaceutical and biotech industries worldwide. He currently serves as an independent director of emerging firms, primarily in the biotech industry. Over the past six years, he has served on the boards of ten biotech firms, of which six were publicly traded. He previously served as Chief Financial Officer of three development stage biotech companies, where he was responsible for eight equity offerings, including three Initial Public Offerings (IPOs), raising a total of $450 million in the public and private markets. He spent seven years as Chief Financial Officer at Myogen, Inc. where he led two private and three public rounds of financing and was a key player in the negotiation of the $2.5 billion sale of the company to Gilead Sciences in 2006.
Prior to Myogen, Turner was Vice President of Finance at Cortech, Inc. where he led the transition from a private concern to a public company and successfully completed both IPO and follow-on offerings. Other financial leadership roles include Director of Finance, Eli Lilly and Company (Switzerland); Treasurer, Eli Lilly and Company (Switzerland); and Vice President of Finance, Centaur Pharmaceuticals.
Ali Usman ’91
Founder of Credit Market Intelligence and Sunergix
Ali Usman has played a leading role at several start-ups, acquired businesses and growth companies. Ali is the Founder of Credit Market Intelligence (CMI) and Sunergix. CMI serves the research and analysis needs of investment firms worldwide. It’s mission is to give greater transparency to buyers and sellers of underlying asset classes, and provide customized solutions for the global loan, leveraged loan and CLO markets. Sunergix provides an array of IT-enabled business solutions to Global 5000 and growth companies.
Early in his career, Ali was a Project Manager at Time Warner and Engagement Manager at Lante when it went public. Ali is a Board Member of Innovation Pavilion and Founder of Click Workspace, a coworking business incubator in western Massachusetts. He has served on two national task forces with HIMSS (Healthcare and Information Management Systems Society), as Team Leader at New York Cares, and on the steering committee of Regional Technology Corporation, an economic development organization. Ali graduated from Swarthmore College with a B.S. in engineering.