Keynote Speakers

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker


Charlie Baker was inaugurated on January 8th, 2015 as the 72nd Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Elected in November of 2014 on a platform of making Massachusetts great for everyone, Governor Baker’s arrival in the Corner Office continues a long, successful career in both the private sector and public service where he has worked hard to put the people of Massachusetts first.

 Governor Baker is committed to making Massachusetts a truly great place to live, work, start a business and raise a family. As Governor, he has pledged to work toward a growing economy with family-sustaining jobs; ensure that schools across the Commonwealth provide opportunity for every child regardless of zip code; and make Beacon Hill a true partner with our local governments to create safer and thriving communities across Massachusetts.

Jim Koch, Founder of The Boston Beer Company


Jim Koch is the founder of The Boston Beer Company and the brewer of Samuel Adams beers. Samuel Adams Boston Lager helped pave the way for the craft brewing movement, bringing rich, full-flavored beer to the American beer landscape. Today, The Boston Beer Company brews more than 60 styles of beer, relentlessly innovating and looking to push the brewing envelope. Drawing upon his own struggles to start a business, Jim launched the Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream program in 2008. With a focus on helping low-to-moderate income businesses involved in food, beverage, hospitality, and craft brewing, the program has provided over $8.5 million of micro-financing to 825 small business owners as well as coaching and mentoring to 6,000+ small business owners. In April, Jim released a book, Quench Your Own Thirst: Business Lessons Learned Over a Beer or Two, which has become a national best-seller. Jim provides surprising advice that goes far beyond brewing, providing lessons on sales, marketing, hiring, and company culture. A fun, engaging guide for building a career or launching a successful business based on your passions, Quench Your Own Thirst is the key to the ultimate dream: being successful while doing what you love. With Jim at the helm for the past 32 years, The Boston Beer Company has become the leading American craft brewery but still only accounts for one percent of the U.S. beer market.

David Fialkow, Co-founder and Managing Director at General Catalyst Partners

David Fialkow, Co-founder and Managing Director at General Catalyst Partners


David Fialkow co-founded General Catalyst, a venture capital firm with offices in Boston, New York and Palo Alto, with Joel Cutler. Prior that, David and Joel built and sold four companies including National Leisure Group; Alliance Development Group; Retail Growth ATM Systems; and Starboard Cruise Services. His focus areas include travel, financial services and e-commerce. In addition to leading General Catalyst’s XIR program, some key investments at General Catalyst include: BBN Technologies; CLEAResult; Datalogix; Datto; Highwinds; NatureBox; Outdoor Voices; Rue La La; TrueMotion; and Vitrue. Before going into business, David studied film at Colgate University, earned a law degree from Boston College and made documentary films. Over the last few years, he has raised millions of dollars for kids’ programs by biking, running, climbing and rowing. He and his wife, Nina, still make documentaries focused on healthcare and social justice. His non-profit boards include: Facing History and Ourselves and Debate Mate, as well as serving as chairman of the board.

Innovation at Every Stage

Julia Austin, Senior Lecturer of Business Administration at Harvard Business School


Julia Austin is a Senior Lecturer in the Entrepreneurial Management Unit at the Harvard Business School. She co­-teaches Product Management 101 and Product Management 102 in the second­-year MBA program. Julia is also a Principal at Austinfish, LLC and works with technology entrepreneurs to help them start and scale great companies. She is a board member, advisor and angel investor to several startups and is often called upon as a leadership coach with a focus on the engineering process, staffing and functional operations. Prior to Austinfish, Julia was the VP of Innovation and the Cambridge Site Director for VMware, Inc.. Prior to VMware, Julia was the Vice President of Engineering at Akamai Technologies and has held technical management and consulting positions at several other startups and mature companies. She also serves as a Trustee for the Becket Chimney Corners YMCA and is an active volunteer for both BUILD and Year Up in Boston. Julia received her BA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and is a graduate of Boston University’s School of Business where she received her Master of Science degree in Management Information Systems.

Rob Biederman, Co-Founder and CEO of HourlyNerd

Rob Biederman, Co-Founder and CEO of HourlyNerd


Rob Biederman is the co-founder and CEO of HourlyNerd, a leading technology platform delivering elite business talent. Founded with the collaboration of faculty members at Harvard Business School in 2013, HourlyNerd boasts more than 22,000 independent experts, including elite business advisors and industry experts from leading corporations, and serves more than 5,000 companies. Based in Boston, HourlyNerd focuses on innovative workforce solutions with primarily Fortune 500 companies including GE, Microsoft, Hess and Staples, as well as countless others on a confidential basis. Currently, HourlyNerd serves 10% of the Fortune 1000. Prior to founding HourlyNerd, Biederman was a private equity investor at Goldman Sachs and Bain Capital, where he focused on the healthcare and high-tech industries. Biederman attended Princeton University and graduated from Harvard Business School.

John Gordon, Chief Digital Officer of Current, powered by GE


John Gordon is the first chief digital officer of Current, GE’s new startup focusing on bringing to market a holistic energy-as-a-service offering. John will oversee a team of 150 engineers, software developers, designers and product managers in launching “Intelligent City” pilots San Diego and Jacksonville, FL. John formerly served as Vice President at IBM Watson Solutions, where he was responsible for launching over 2,400 smarter city projects. His new GE role will allow him to build on that expertise. John earned his MBA at the University of Texas at Austin.

Sarah Hodges, Vice President of People and Places at Pluralsight (Moderator)

Sarah Hodges, Vice President of People and Places at Pluralsight (Moderator)


Sarah Hodges is the Vice President of People and Places at Pluralsight, the world’s leading online training company for technical and creative professionals, which has been ranked among the Top 25 Best Large­-Company Cultures by Entrepreneur magazine. In her role, Sarah is responsible for recruiting, facilities and the well­-being of all of Pluralsight’s people. Sarah has played a pivotal part in the growth of several successful companies, advised other entrepreneurs in their ventures, and co­-founded an organization dedicated to connecting entrepreneurs and startup experts so they can learn from each other. After graduating from Scripps College, Sarah ditched her plan to attend law school and joined Pavo Real, where she was made a partner and helped launch the company’s e­-commerce and mail order businesses. Five years later, she joined Carbonite to lead web analytics just as the company experienced rocketship growth and went public; she left to lead marketing at RunKeeper. In 2012, she joined Smarterer, which Pluralsight acquired in 2014, to run marketing and later took a role in leading strategy and client services. Sarah is also the co­-founder of Intelligent.ly and an advisor at Flybridge Capital Partners.

Corey Thomas, President and CEO of Rapid7


In addition to being President and CEO, Corey Thomas is also a member of the Rapid7 board of directors. He has more than 15 years of experience in leading companies to the next stage of growth and innovation. His previous positions include VP of Marketing at Parallels, Inc., a virtualization technology company, Group Project Manager of the Microsoft Server and Tools division, launching the worldwide availability of SQL Server 2005 and steering product planning for Microsoft’s data platform, and a consultant at Deloitte Consulting. Corey received a B.E. in electrical engineering and computer science from Vanderbilt University and a MBA from Harvard Business School.

The Dark Side: When Founders Turn Investors

Maria Cirino, Co­Founder and Managing Director of .406 Ventures

Maria Cirino, Co­Founder and Managing Director of .406 Ventures


Maria Cirino is the Co­Founder and Managing Director of .406 Ventures. Maria has been building and founding technology businesses for 20+ years. Her operational and entrepreneurial experience in VC backed tech companies includes two Massachusetts IPOs of the Year, the founding of two successful security companies and a venture capital firm. Prior to co­founding .406 Ventures, Maria held executive roles in successful venture backed start ups Guardent, i­cube, Razorfish, Shiva and Lotus. Maria currently serves on the boards of .406 portfolio companies Attend, AuthAir, Carbon Black, Jisto, Lexumo, Mineral Tree, Onapsis, Pwnie Express, Threat Stack, Vaultive, Veracode and formerly served on the boards of Adtuitive, Digitalsmtihs and Memento until their respective acquisitions by Etsy, TiVO and FIS. Maria holds an AB in English literature from Mount Holyoke College where she has served as a Trustee and as a member of the college's investment committee.

Jordan Fliegel, Founder of CoachUp


Jordan Fliegel is an entrepreneur, startup investor and advisor, and author. He is the Founder of CoachUp, Inc., America's leading sports coaching company, whose online service connects athletes of all ages with private coaches to help them reach the next level in sports and life. CoachUp has more than 16,000 coaches across the country and has raised more than $15 million in venture funding and won numerous awards, as well as celebrity endorsements from NBA MVP Stephen Curry and NFL star Julian Edelman. Jordan also plays several active roles in the startup ecosystem: as an early­stage technology investor in more than 40 startups through Bridge Boys, a seed fund he co­founded in 2012; as an advisor to numerous venture-backed startups; and as a mentor at top incubators such as Techstars Boston and Mass Challenge. He was named to the Inc. "30 Under 30" list in 2015 and to the Boston Business Journal "40 under 40" list in 2014.

Ric Fulop, CEO of Desktop Metal

Ric Fulop, CEO of Desktop Metal


Ric Fulop is the founder and CEO of Desktop Metal which is developing a new metal 3D printing process. Prior to this Ric was a General Partner at North Bridge for five years following a fifteen­-year career as an entrepreneur that spanned hands-­on experience from seed to IPO. He is the founder of six technology companies in multiple sectors (software, internet, semiconductors, wireless communications and energy storage) including A123Systems, Boston's largest IPO in the past decade. At North Bridge Ric led the Series A rounds in Onshape, MarkForged, Salsify, Gridco Systems and Dyn as well as the Series B for Disqus and Lytro. Ric led the North Bridge software and 3D investing practices. North Bridge was the original Series A investor in several of the companies that have changed the 3D and CAD/CAM landscape including SolidWorks (acq. by Dassault Systemes), ProtoLabs, SpaceClaim (acq. by Ansys) and Revit (acq. by Autodesk). Ric is a former Board Member of the Electric Drive Transportation Association, is an avid pilot and holds an MBA from the MIT Sloan School where he was a Sloan Fellow.

Diane Hessan, CEO of Startup Institute (Moderator)


Diane Hessan is a successful entrepreneur, angel investor, marketer, and author. She is currently CEO of Startup Institute, which is dedicated to helping people transform their careers. Via Startup Institute’s programs, people gain the skills, mindset and networks to succeed in the exciting innovation economy. She is also Chairman of C Space, where she was CEO for 13 years, leading the company to 13 years of exponential growth. She has spent her career as a business executive, and as co­author of the book Customer­Centered Growth: Five Strategies for Building Competitive Advantage. The book, a Businessweek best­seller, was published in 11 languages. Diane serves on the boards of Tufts University, Mass Challenge, Panera, CoachUp, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and is Special Advisor to Datapoint Capital, a leading early-­stage venture firm. She received her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and her B.A. in Economics from Tufts University.

Michael Skok, Co-Founder and Partner at _Underscore.VC

Michael Skok, Co-Founder and Partner at _Underscore.VC


At _Underscore.VC, Michael Skok and his team partner with daring entrepreneurs to invest in founders and build from inception to market leaders. As a former entrepreneur turned VC, Michael has backed and built teams that have created billions of dollars of value focusing on large, market-changing technologies such as Cloud Computing, IoT and Big Data as well as disruptive business models such as Open Source and SaaS. Current representative investments include Acquia, Cazena, Demandware, Salsify and TetraScience. Michael is also an Entrepreneur in Residence at Harvard Business School.

Keeping Boston's Tech Talent

Ellen Chisa, VP Product at Lola


Ellen Chisa is the VP Product at Lola. Previously, she was a Product Manager at Kickstarter and Program Manager for Office Mobile at Microsoft. She has a B.S. in Electrical & Computer Engineering from the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, and is currently on leave from the MBA program at Harvard Business School. In her free time she writes for her blog at blog.ellenchisa.com.

Carol Fulp, President and CEO of The Partnership

Carol Fulp, President and CEO of The Partnership


Carol Fulp is President and CEO of The Partnership, Inc., New England’s premier organization dedicated to enhancing the competitiveness of the region by attracting, developing, retaining and convening multicultural professionals. Fulp has expanded offerings by creating the C­Suite Program for multicultural executives at the highest levels of corporations. Prior to The Partnership, Fulp was Senior Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Brand Management at John Hancock Financial. Under her leadership, the company created the largest corporate summer jobs program of its kind in the country and received the Points of Light Foundation’s Corporate Excellence Award. Previously, Given her leadership in business and public service, President Obama appointed Fulp as a Representative of the United States of America to the Sixty­fifth Session of the United Nations General Assembly. She is also a founding co­chair of the Massachusetts Conference for Women, the largest professional women’s conference in the country, attracting 10,000 attendees annually. Boston Business Journal has listed Fulp as one of the “50 Most Influential Bostonians” and in 2015 Boston Magazine listed her as one of the “50 Most Powerful People in Boston.”

Jodi Goldstein, Managing Director of the Harvard iLab (Moderator)


Jodi Goldstein is the managing director of the Harvard Innovation Labs, a cross­-disciplinary ecosystem for the Harvard community to explore innovation and entrepreneurship. Jodi brings over 20 years experience as a high-­tech entrepreneur and investor with a focus on innovative consumer technologies. She has been on the management team of several venture­-backed startups including iMarket (sold to D&B), Planetall (sold to Amazon for over $100M), Send.com, Hoteluxury.com, Mobicious, and most recently was a co­founder of Drync, a mobile app for wine that was a 2011 MassChallenge winner. Jodi was also an investor at venture capital firm TA Associates, and began her career at GE in their Financial Management Program. Jodi has an MBA from Harvard and a BS in International Business from the University of Vermont.

Rich Levandov, Partner at Avalon Ventures

Rich Levandov, Partner at Avalon Ventures


Rich Levandov is a Partner at Avalon Ventures. Rich has over 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur, operator, angel investor and venture capitalist involving a variety of cutting-­edge, high growth, early­-stage technology companies. It was after he co­-founded Phoenix Technologies (PTEC), a company that helped launch the PC revolution, and served as an early Vice President at America Online, Inc. that he started his venture capital career. Rich holds a B.S. from Binghamton University. He codes in PHP and Ruby these days. Rich is active in the Boston, New York City, San Francisco and Seattle venture and entrepreneurial communities. As a past judge on the MIT 100k business plan competition he remains very active in various organizations on both coasts promoting the creation of new disruptive enterprises.

Vinayak Ranade, Founder and CEO of Drafted


Vinayak Ranade is the founder and CEO of Drafted. Before that, he served as the Director of Mobile Engineering at Boston-based KAYAK which was sold to Priceline for $1.8 billion. Vinayak holds a B.S and M.Eng in Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and is proud to have recently completed 10 years as a Greater Boston resident. He enjoys ballroom dancing and helping people find their tribe.

Rise of the Programmatic Salesperson

W. Sean Ford, Chief Marketing Officer at LogMeIn (Moderator)

W. Sean Ford, Chief Marketing Officer at LogMeIn (Moderator)


W. Sean Ford serves as LogMeIn's Chief Marketing Officer. Sean is responsible for leading all aspects of LogMeIn's global marketing organization including product marketing, field marketing, demand generation, communications, brand and ecommerce. An experienced strategic marketing executive, Sean joins LogMeIn from Avid where he led worldwide marketing strategy and operations as a member of the company's executive leadership team. Prior to Avid, Sean held several executive marketing roles including Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Operations Officer of Zmags, Chief Marketing Officer of Syncsort, and Vice President of Global Business Unit marketing at Oracle where he reported to the CMO and was responsible for Oracle's vertical industry applications worldwide. In early 2016, Sean was named as one of the 100 most influential B2B tech marketers in North America. At the start of his professional career Sean spent seven years as a senior strategy consultant with Monitor Group, and in 1999 he co-founded Upromise, Inc. where he was vice-president of product management and product marketing. Sean earned a B.S. in English from Williams College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

Jennifer Lum, Chief Strategy Office & Co­Founder of Adelphic


Jennifer Lum is the Chief Strategy Officer and Cofounder of Adelphic, a leading mobile advertising platform. Prior to Adelphic, Jennifer played significant roles at Apple, Quattro Wireless and m­Qube, working with Fortune 500 brands and building industry­leading mobile marketing and advertising platforms. Jennifer has been recognized in Business Insider’s "Most Powerful Women in Mobile Advertising,” Inc.com’s "Women to Watch" and Boston Business Journal's "Top 40 Under 40. Jennifer advises startups at MIT, TechStars and 500 Startups.

Steve McKenzie, VP of Sales at InsightSquared

Steve McKenzie, VP of Sales at InsightSquared


Steve McKenzie is the VP of Sales at InsightSquared. Before joining InsightSquared, Steve McKenzie spent six and a half years at enterprise cloud provider Mimecast where he wore many hats including head of European Sales, Head North American; marketing, strategic alliances and enterprise sales. Prior to Mimecast Steve ran a media business in South Africa and in the early part of his career had roles in finance and sales. Steve has an MBA from the University of Cape Town.

Art Papas, Co­Founder & CEO of Bullhorn


Art Papas is the co­founder and CEO of Bullhorn; he has led the company through more than ten consecutive years of growth. Today, more than 350,000 people use Bullhorn’s software to run their businesses and manage their customer relationships. Art speaks regularly at industry and financial events and has appeared on TV and radio programs including ABC News, NPR, NECN, and more. He sits on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Staffing Association, Portfolio Science Inc., and is Chairman of the Board at Career Collaborative, an organization striving to end working­class poverty. Prior to starting Bullhorn, Art developed software for Thomson Reuters, where he co­designed and built First Call Insight. Art is a Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude graduate of Tufts University, holding a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics.

Baba Shetty, CEO & Founder of Invisible Science

Baba Shetty, CEO & Founder of Invisible Science


Baba Shetty is the Founder & CEO of Invisible Science, the first research & advisory firm focused exclusively on programmatic marketing. Prior to Invisible Science, Baba was Global Chief Media Officer of DigitasLBi, responsible for media strategy, execution, and technology across all channels. In 2015 DigitasLBi won four Adweek Media Plan of the Year awards — the most wins ever by a single agency in a single year. Roles prior to DigitasLBi include: CEO of Newsweek / The Daily Beast, Managing Director at Fallon Worldwide, Research Director at Forrester Research, and department head for Marketing Communications at BMW of North America. Baba was a 2015 Cannes Lion Juror, a 2014 Grand Effie judge, and is a member of the Global Advisory Board of the Wharton Future of Advertising Program.

Workshop Series with General Assembly

Maggie Foley, Senior Experience Design Lead, at Hill Holliday


Maggie is the Senior Experience Design Lead at Hill Holliday, one of the top advertising agencies in the country. WIth a passion for interaction design and responsive web, she has crafted experiences for brands including Above the Influence, Bank of America, the City of Boston, IdeaPaint, Necco, Novartis, and the One Fund.

Austin Gardner-Smith, VP, Product Marketing at Nanigans

Austin Gardner-Smith, VP, Product Marketing at Nanigans


Austin Gardner-Smith is currently the VP, Product Marketing at Nanigans, a five year-old Boston company that makes ad automation software for in-house marketing teams at some of the world’s best companies. Prior to Nanigans, he spent three years in the agency world in Boston and helped found Streetwise Media. In addition to his full-time role, Austin leads workshops, bootcamps and a 10-week Digital Marketing course for General Assembly.

Steph Parker, Engagement Supervisor, at AMP Agency


Steph is a digital strategist who has launched campaigns for brands like Nerf, Transformers, Carnival Cruise Line, and First Citizens Bank. With a social and content lean, her work often focuses around the intersection of user behavior and impactful creative. Steph's work as a community manager earned her a nod from Forbes as a 30 Under 30 in 2013, and her work has appeared on Digiday, The Huffington Post, and Ragan's PR Daily. Her video game tattoo also made the front page of Reddit once.

Cait Porte, VP of Product Management at ZMags

Cait Porte, VP of Product Management at ZMags


Cait Porte is the VP, Product for ZMags, a shoppable content platform that empowers marketing and eCommerce professionals to create engaging digital experiences. She is also on the board of directors for the Boston Product Management Association (BPMA), a co-founder of Boston Women in Product (BWP) and a part-time instructor at General Assembly. She has her MBA from Babson College and has worked in Product Management for small and large organizations in the Boston area. You can find her blog at www.PMinHeels.com.

Ben Spear, founder of Human Experience


Ben Spear is the founder of Human Experience, a strategy firm in Boston, and a design instructor at General Assembly. His work spans disciplines, connecting people, process, and vision to build brands and increase capacity for innovation. His clients range from pre-seed startups to teams in the hundreds like Berklee College of Music. He’s currently working on a field guide to the emerging economy and recently provided mentorship to SXSW Interactive attendees.

Scott Staiti, Director of Channel Development at Testive, Inc.

Scott Staiti, Director of Channel Development at Testive, Inc.


Scott Staiti is the Director of Channel Development at Testive, Inc, a Boston-based ed tech start up. He has nearly a decade of sales and training experience in wholesale, travel, and educational software. Scott is passionate about sales process and strategy, and believes strongly that you can never ask too many questions during the sale --- as long as you pay attention to the answers.

Laura Wallendal


Laura Wallendal is a passionate traveler, language learner and entrepreneur. She loves to work on projects that solve tough problems simply and elegantly. Board Member at WorldBrain, Inc and Wallendal Supply, Inc; Laura is an experienced sales and business development professional.


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