Sekou Bermiss

Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Sekou Bermiss’ research is in the area of strategic management and organizational theory.

Specifically, he investigates how institutional factors shape the perception of firms by critical stakeholders. His research also explores the antecedents and consequences of human capital mobility and how different forms of employee movement impact a firm’s ability to compete with rivals.

Dr. Bermiss teaches courses in people analytics, managing human capital, leading for impact and organizational theory and design

He is a Fellow at the Filene Institute where he leads the research efforts of the “War for Talent” Center of Excellence.

His award-winning research has been published in the Academy of Management JournalAdministrative Science QuarterlyOrganization ScienceStrategic Management Journal and Research in Organizational Behavior. His research has been highlighted by Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal and National Public Radio.

He was honored as a Poets & Quants 2018 Top Undergraduate Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, where he served on the faculty before joining UNC Kenan-Flagler.

Before entering academia, Dr. Bermiss worked for Deloitte Consulting in New York City.

He received his PhD and MS management and organizations from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and his BS in chemical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.


Chris Bingham

Philip Hettleman Distinguished Scholar, Professor and Area Chair of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Chris Bingham’s general research interests revolve around organizational learning, adaptation, growth, innovation and strategic decision making in entrepreneurial firms and firms in dynamic markets.

He has studied how firms develop alliance, acquisition, product development and internationalization capabilities; how they assimilate new technologies; and how they systematically capture new opportunities and innovate over time.

Currently he is studying the processes and outcomes of business accelerators, the evolving form of crowdfunding and the nature of effective synergy capture.

Dr. Bingham is an award-winning researcher and teacher. Administrative Science Quarterly, Strategic Management Journal, Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, MIT Sloan Management Review, Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal and the Academy of Management Review have published his work. Most recently, he won the 2015 Award for Excellence in MBA Teaching at UNC Kenan-Flagler.

His industry experience includes work with McKinsey & Company, Deloitte Consulting and Price Waterhouse, as well as with several entrepreneurial firms. He frequently works with executive audiences and has consulted with numerous organizations, including Astellas, 3M, Corning, Procter & Gamble, 2U, FedEx, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, IHRSA, Sport Management Institute, ExxonMobil, and WL Gore.

He is a former nationally sponsored snowboarder and is fluent in Spanish.

He received his PhD in strategy, organizations and entrepreneurship from Stanford University. He received his BS in accounting and his MBA/MA from Brigham Young University, where he graduated with honors.


Ashley Brown

Director of Research Services, Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise

Ashley oversees the logistics of institute-sponsored, faculty-led research projects on entrepreneurship, economic development and global commerce. She consults on a variety of research tasks, including secondary research, literature searches, survey methodology support and database assistance.

She also serves as research director for the Kenan Scholars program, providing instruction on best practices in business research.

Ashley holds master’s degrees in library science and public administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a bachelor’s degree in journalism and history from Indiana University.


Greg Brown

Executive Director, Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise; Sarah Graham Kenan Distinguished Professor of Finance, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

In addition to his leadership as director of the institute, Greg is also the founder and research director of the Institute for Private Capital, an institute-affiliated research center.

Greg’s research focuses on financial risk and the use of financial derivative contracts as risk management tools.

He also studies private investment strategies such as hedge funds and private equity. His research has been published in leading academic and practitioner finance journals, including The Journal of Finance, The Journal of Financial Economics, The Review of Financial Studies, The Journal of Derivatives, Financial Analyst Journal and RISK.

Greg received his doctorate in finance from the University of Texas at Austin and graduated cum laude from Duke University with a bachelor’s degree in physics and economics.


Diane Burton

Professor and Department Chair, Department of Human Resource Studies, The ILR School, Cornell University

I am a faculty member in the ILR School at Cornell University. My primary appointment is in human resource studies with courtesy appointments in organizational behavior and sociology. Prior to joining the Cornell faculty in 2009, I was a faculty member at the MIT Sloan School of Management. I started my academic career at the Harvard Business School teaching leadership and organizational behavior. I earned my Ph.D. in sociology at Stanford University and served as a lecturer and researcher in organizational behavior and human resources management at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

I am an organizational sociologist interested in innovation and entrepreneurship. I study how management systems affect firms and individuals. My primary research is a major study of high-tech start-ups in Silicon Valley including the study of entrepreneurial teams and executive careers. More recently I have been studying R&D teams. I am also studying leadership in the non-profit sector and employment practices in law firms.


Kathleen Boyle Dalen

Chief Talent, Integration and Culture Officer, Kauffman Foundation

Kathleen Boyle Dalen is chief talent, integration and culture officer at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, where her role is to foster a positive team culture and ongoing learning across the organization and maximize the Foundation’s efficiency and impact. Her role includes engaging team members to explore new partnerships, project development, and relationship management through nurturing key connections that support the Foundation’s goals.

Prior to joining the Kauffman Foundation, Boyle Dalen was the vice president and a founding member of PREP-KC, where her responsibilities included partnership development, talent development, and organizational learning. While at PREP-KC, Boyle Dalen led the development of effective strategies to prepare urban, low-income students for success in postsecondary education and the workforce.

Boyle Dalen holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from American University in Washington, D.C.; a master’s degree in psychology from Columbia University; and a doctorate in psychology from Rutgers University. She is an adjunct professor at Rockhurst University, where she teaches social psychology and psychology of gender and community engagement. She also is an Educational Policy Fellow of the Institute for Educational Leadership, was appointed by Governor Nixon to the Board of the Children’s Trust Fund, and serves on on the Donnelly College Board of Trustees. She has been invited to speak at national conferences including Grantmakers for Education, is an annual speaker in the Kansas City Tomorrow leadership program, and has been honored by the Girls Scouts for her work to create new strategies to provide girls with access to STEM careers.


Chuck Eesley

Associate Professor, Stanford School of Engineering; W.M. Keck Foundation Faculty Scholar, Stanford Technology Ventures Program

Chuck Eesley is an Associate Professor and W.M. Keck Foundation Faculty Scholar in the Department of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University. As part of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program, his research focuses on the role of the institutional and university environment in high-growth, technology entrepreneurship. His research focuses on rethinking how the educational and policy environment shapes the economic and entrepreneurial impact of university alumni.

His field research spans China, Japan, Chile, Bangladesh, Thailand and Silicon Valley and has received awards from the Schulze Foundation, the Technical University of Munich, and the Kauffman Foundation. He is a faculty affiliate at the Stanford Center for International Development, the Woods Institute for the Environment and the Stanford King Center on Global Development. He is also a member of the Editorial Board for the Strategic Management Journal. Before coming to Stanford, Prof. Eesley completed his Ph.D. at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management. He started his first company while earning a Bachelor’s degree from Duke University in 2002. His work has been published among other places in Organization Science, Strategic Management Journal, Research Policy, and Biological Psychiatry. Prof. Eesley previously was an entrepreneur, early employee, board member/advisor, and investor in the areas of life sciences, online education and machine learning. He has also been an advocate and mentor for immigrants and historically under-represented groups in STEM, academia and the tech sector via programs such as Diversifying Academia, Recognizing Excellence (DARE), Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST), and SURF among others. When not occupied with his Stanford responsibilities, Eesley is actively involved as a co-founder, board member and angel investor in many high-tech start-ups.


Brad Feld

Managing Director, Foundry Group; Co-founder, TechStars

Brad has been an early stage investor and entrepreneur since 1987. Prior to co-founding Foundry Group, he co-founded Mobius Venture Capital and, prior to that, founded Intensity Ventures. Brad is also a co-founder of Techstars.

Brad is a writer and speaker on the topics of venture capital investing and entrepreneurship. He’s written a number of books as part of the Startup Revolution series and writes the blogs Feld Thoughts and Venture Deals.

Brad holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Management Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Brad is also an art collector and long-distance runner. He has completed 25 marathons as part of his mission to finish a marathon in each of the 50 states.


Jon Fjeld

Director, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative; Professor of the Practice of Strategy, The Fuqua School of Business; Professor of Philosophy, Duke University

Jon Fjeld serves as the Director of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative at Duke University. The I&E initiative is a university-wide effort to stimulate and teach innovation and entrepreneurship to students, faculty and staff across the university.

He has been teaching entrepreneurship and strategy, and leading the entrepreneurship efforts at the Fuqua School of Business since 2005. He has created a three course sequence called the Program for Entrepreneurs (www.dukep4e.org) that applies a disciplined approach to entrepreneurial ventures ranging from social ventures to life science and technology start-ups. In addition, he teaches strategy and entrepreneurship at all levels of the university from undergraduate to executive MBA. His primary focus is studying innovation in large and small firms as well as the methodology of strategy research.

Before returning to academia, he spent over twenty years in marketing, engineering and general management in start-ups and public companies. From December, 2000, until July, 2004, he served as vice president of engineering for Align Technology in Santa Clara, CA. Between 1995 and 2000, he served as CEO of two RTP venture backed firms: Geomagic, a 3D software company and NetEdge Systems, a data networking equipment company. Prior to that, Fjeld spent 13 years at IBM, where he served in a number of management and executive positions within the networking and software business units. He began his professional career as an assistant professor in the philosophy department at Duke University.

Fjeld holds a Ph.D. (1977) and MA in philosophy from the University of Toronto, an MBA from Duke University, an MS in computer science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a BA in mathematics and philosophy from Bishop’s University.


Vickie Gibbs

Executive Director, Entrepreneurship Center, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Vickie started her career at Mitsubishi Semiconductor as a hardware design engineer after earning her Electrical Engineering degree at Duke University. Seeking to be a bridge between technology and business and with the long-term goal of launching her own business, she attended UNC's Kenan-Flagler Business School to earn her MBA in 1998.

Since then she has worked at a number of high tech startups, including OpenSite, Art.com, Motricity, as well as Viacom/ MTV Networks and Capitol Broadcasting where her focus was launching new products and businesses. In addition, she has launched 4 organizations as a co-founder, including a clothing store, a SaaS software company, a consulting practice, and a non-profit focused on closing the funding gap for female entrepreneurs, Soar Triangle, now a part of NC Idea.

Vickie has been involved in the general entrepreneurial ecosystem in RTP as an advisor/mentor and connector for over 15 years. In Sept 2018, Vickie joined the Entrepreneurship Center at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School as the Executive Director to expand her work with entrepreneurs and support the ecosystem in a more direct way.


Yael Hochberg

Head, Rice University Entrepreneurship Initiative; Ralph S. O’Connor Professor in Entrepreneurship & Finance, Rice Business

Professor Hochberg's research and teaching interests are focused on entrepreneurship, innovation, and the financing of entrepreneurial activity. Her research focuses on the venture capital industry, accelerators, networks and corporate governance and compensation policies.

In addition to her doctorate in finance from Stanford, she holds a B.Sc. in Industrial Engineering and Management from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and an A.M. in Economics from Stanford University. Her research has been published in top tier journals, including Science Magazine, the Journal of Finance, the Review of Financial Studies, the Journal of Accounting Research, and the Journal of Financial Economics, and has been presented at numerous universities and governmental bodies around the world. She is an Associate Editor at the Journal of Banking and Finance and the Journal of Empirical Finance, and previously served as an Associate Editor at the Review of Finance.

Prof. Hochberg serves as the Head of the Entrepreneurship Initiative at Rice University and as Academic Director of the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship.

She holds a Research Affiliate position with MIT’s Sloan School of Management and is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Prof. Hochberg is also Managing Director of the Seed Accelerator Rankings Project, which publishes the annual ranking of accelerator programs in the U.S.

Prior to her appointment at Rice, Prof. Hochberg was previously on the (tenure track) faculty at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and the Johnson School of Management at Cornell University, and was a visiting faculty member at the MIT Sloan School of Management. She is currently a visiting faculty member at University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. Previously, she was employed in the technology industry in both larger and startup companies. She serves on the advisory board and board of directors for a number of early stage startups. In 2015, she was named one of the world’s 40 under 40 best business school professors by Poets and Quants. In 2016, she was awarded the Ewing Marion Kauffman Prize Medal for Distinguished Research in Entrepreneurship.


David Hsu

Richard A. Sapp Professor of Management, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

David Hsu is the Richard A. Sapp Professor of Management at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He graduated from Stanford University with undergraduate majors in economics and political science. After a few years working in industry, he received his master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University, followed by his Ph.D. in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Hsu’s research interests are in entrepreneurial innovation and management. Within that domain, he has investigated topics such as intellectual property management, start-up innovation, technology commercialization strategy, and venture capital. His research has appeared in leading journals such as Management Science, Journal of Finance, Strategic Management Journal, and Research Policy. He is past department and associate editor of Management Science. In 2008, Hsu was awarded an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Industry Studies Fellowship. At Wharton, he teaches two MBA electives, Entrepreneurship and Technology Strategy. At Penn, Hsu is Associate Faculty Director of the Weiss Tech House, which encourages and supports students in the creation, development, and commercialization of innovative technologies.


Steve Kaplan

Neubauer Family Distinguished Service Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance and Kessenich E.P. Faculty Director, Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, University of Chicago Booth School of Business

Steven Neil Kaplan conducts research on issues in private equity, venture capital, entrepreneurial finance, corporate governance and corporate finance. He has published papers in a number of academic and business journals. Kaplan is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and an associate editor of the Journal of Financial Economics.

He ranks among the top 60 in paper downloads and in paper citations (out of over 280,000 authors) on SSRN (Social Science Research Network). He is the co-creator of the Kaplan-Schoar PME (Public Market Equivalent) private equity benchmarking approach. A Fortune Magazine article referred to him as “probably the foremost private equity scholar in the galaxy.”

Kaplan teaches advanced MBA and executive courses in entrepreneurial finance and private equity, corporate finance, corporate governance, and wealth management. BusinessWeek named him one of the top 12 business school teachers in the country.

Professor Kaplan co-founded the entrepreneurship program at Booth. With his students, he helped start Booth’s business plan competition, the New Venture Challenge (NVC), which has spawned over one hundred companies that have raised almost $600 million and created over $4 billion in value including GrubHub and Braintree/Venmo.

Kaplan serves on the boards of Morningstar, Zayo Group and the Illinois Venture Capital Association. He has been a member of the faculty since 1988.

He received his AB, summa cum laude, in Applied Mathematics and Economics from Harvard College and earned a PhD in Business Economics from Harvard University.


Aaron McKethan

General Manager, New Ventures, Aledade; Senior Policy Fellow, Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy

Aaron McKethan recently joined Aledade as General Manager of New Ventures. He is also Senior Policy Fellow at the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy. Aaron was co-founder and CEO of NoviSci, Inc., a data science startup in Durham, NC which was acquired by Target RWE late last year.

He was previously the co-founder and Executive Vice President of RxAnte, Inc., a data science company focusing on improving medication use (acquired in 2016 by UPMC Enterprises). Aaron has also served in state and federal governments. Most recently, he was Chief Data Officer for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Previously, he served in Washington at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT. Aaron’s academic work has appeared in such publications as the Journal of the American Medical Association, the New England Journal of Medicine, and Health Affairs.


Martha Legg Miller

Director, Office of the Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Martha Legg Miller was named the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s first director of the Office of the Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation in December 2018, leading the new office created the SEC Small Business Advocate Act of 2016.

As the Advocate for Small Business, Miller oversees the office dedicated to advancing the interests of small businesses and their investors at the SEC and in the capital markets. The office is responsible for advocating for small businesses and their investors by conducting outreach to solicit views on relevant capital formation issues, providing assistance to resolve significant problems, analyzing the potential small business impact of proposed regulations and rules, and recommending changes to mitigate capital formation issues and promote the interests of small businesses and their investors.

Prior to joining the SEC, Miller was a partner at the law firm Balch & Bingham LLP in Birmingham, Alabama, where she represented companies and investors across a spectrum of corporate transactions.

Miller holds bachelor’s degrees in Cognitive Neuroscience and Communications Studies from Vanderbilt University and a juris doctor degree from Georgetown University Law Center.


Mahka Moeen

Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Mahka Moeen’s research focuses on the co-evolution of entrepreneurial firms and nascent industries. She seeks to understand the entrepreneurial strategies that firms undertake prior to their foray to nascent industries, and the effect of these strategies on their capability development and economic value capture. She has studied these questions within the agricultural biotechnology and bio-pharmaceutical industries.

Her research has been published in Organization Science and the Strategic Management Journal.

Dr. Moeen received the 2016 Kauffman Junior Faculty Fellowship for her ongoing entrepreneurship research. Her doctoral dissertation was recognized by the Kauffman Foundation dissertation fellowship, the Academy of Management’s Technology and Innovation Management division, the Industry Studies Association and the Strategy Research Foundation dissertation scholarship.

She serves on the editorial boards of the Strategic Management Journal and Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal.

Dr. Moeen teaches courses in strategic management.

She received her PhD in strategy and entrepreneurship from the University of Maryland, her MBA from the Sharif University of Technology’s Graduate School of Management and Economics and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Tehran.


Sandra M. Moore

Managing Director, Advantage Capital

Sandra M. Moore is managing director and chief impact officer at Advantage Capital, a 29 year old growth equity firm with over $3 billion AUM. The firm focuses on high growth and high wage business investing in communities where access to investment capital has historically been hard to find. Ms. Moore is a member of the Advantage Capital investment committee and a direct advisor to the diligence and structuring teams.

Ms. Moore is also a member of the Advantage Capital fundraising team and with that team, has brought in $225 million in capital for the firm during her 4–year tenure. In addition, she has built the Advantage Capital Impact team, which creates data driven initiatives to track and expedite portfolio growth. Her suite of responsibilities also includes the communications and branding team. Ms. Moore is the external-facing representative for Advantage Capital.

Prior to joining Advantage Capital, Ms. Moore was the president of Urban Strategies, a national nonprofit corporation that works exclusively with for profit housing developers to rebuild distressed urban core communities using mix-finance, multi-family housing as the revitalization platform.

Ms. Moore formerly served as the CEO of the Missouri Family Investment Trust, a public-private partnership entity leading Missouri’s multi-system reform efforts. Prior to joining the Family Investment Trust, Ms. Moore was senior vice president of St. Louis 2004, Inc., a region-wide effort, led by business, civic and political leaders, to transform the St. Louis regional economy and gear it for exponential growth in the 21st century.

She is the former director of the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DOLIR), where she served as a member of then Governor Mel Carnahan’s cabinet, and a former administrative judge with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Ms. Moore is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, MO. She received her J.D. from the School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies from the College of Arts and Sciences.

Ms. Moore is committed to the growth, development and empowerment of people and the communities where they live. She serves on several local and national boards and committees that work to strengthen the fiber of community, and she is a sought-after speaker and thought leader on these issues.


Gillian Munson

Chief Financial Officer, Iora Health; Venture Partner, Union Square Ventures

Gillian joined Iora Health in January 2021 as Chief Financial Officer. Most recently a partner at Union Square Ventures and CFO of XO Group (parent of The Knot), Gillian brings close to 30 years of finance and operating experience to Iora.

Her career includes successful tenures at Allen & Company, Morgan Stanley and Hambrecht & Quist and Symbol Technologies. A graduate of The Colorado College, Gillian serves as a Director at Duolingo, Phreesia (ticker: PHR), Sweet Briar College and The St Regis Foundation.


Fay Cobb Payton

Professor of Information Technology/Analytics, North Carolina State University; Program Director, Division of Computer and Network Systems, National Science Foundation

Dr. Fay Cobb Payton is a Full Professor (with Tenure) of Information Technology/Analytics at North Carolina State University and was named a University Faculty Scholar for her leadership in turning research into solutions to society’s most pressing issues. She is on rotation as a Program Director at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the Division of Computer and Network Systems. At the NSF, she works with the CISE Minority-Serving Institutions Research Expansion Program (CISE-MSI Program), Smart Health and Biomedical Research in the Era of Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Data Science (SCH), AI-FEAT, Computing In Undergraduate Education, Broadening Participating Alliances in Computing and a number of other cross-directorate programs (INCLUDES, ADVANCE, HBCU Excellence in Research and NSF Research Traineeship). She (along with a group of colleagues) received the 2020 NSF Director’s Award.

She is a full member of Sigma Xi,  and serves in the following capacities:

  1. Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) Education Advisory and co-chair of its Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee
  2. American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Science and Technology Fellows Selection Committee
  3. Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers, Health Systems and Diversity-Equity-Inclusion Committees

Dr. Payton has received the North Carolina Technology Association Tech Educator of the Year, PhD Project Hall of Fame and National Coalition of Women in Information Technology Undergraduate Mentoring Awards.  She is a named SAS Institute Fellow for her work in analytics and teaching in the IT classroom, and as received two NC State University Alumni Extension Awards.  She is a National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Fellow where she worked on data management, technology and communications strategies for a health disparities study. As an American Council on Education Fellow, she worked on issues of academic review, interdisciplinary graduate research and education, and institutional economic and community impact.

Her research interests include healthcare IT/informatics/disparities; data quality; bias in AI/information seeking/HCI; access and participation in computing/STEM and entrepreneurship pathways. She has published over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles, conference publications and book chapters.  Her research has been published and/or forthcoming in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, Issues in Science and Technology, Communications of the ACM, European Journal of Information Systems, Journal of Medical Internet Research, IIE Transactions on Healthcare Systems Engineering, Information Systems Journal, Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, Health Care Management Science, Telemedicine and eHealth, just to name a few.  The National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, AT&T, Kenan Institute and others have supported Dr. Payton’s research and teaching.

She serves on several local and national boards and has been recognized in NC State and other media outlets for research and mentoring work.  She has presented her research at national and international conferences and symposia in China, Nigeria, Netherlands, Canada, Germany, Greece, Ireland, UK, Ghana, just to name a few.  Dr. Payton has worked in an advisory and/or volunteer capacity with the PhD Project Information Systems Doctoral Student Association, YMCA, Wake County Public School Systems and the City of Raleigh.  She is often the speaker or panelist for corporate career development and leadership programs, and serves as a consultant for leadership development programs for current mid-level corporate African Americans in IT careers.


David Robinson

James and Gail Vander Weide Professor of Finance, Duke Fuqua School of Business

David T. Robinson is a Professor of Finance and the J. Rex Fuqua Distinguished Professor of International Management at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He is an internationally recognized expert in the fields of private equity, venture capital and entrepreneurial finance.

His work has appeared in leading academic journals in finance and economics and has been featured in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, and The Economist.

Professor Robinson is a scientific advisor to the Swedish House of Finance in Stockholm, Sweden, the Private Equity Research Council, the Private Capital Research Institute, as well as a number of private equity firms and technology startups.  He is the former Vice Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Private Capital.

He earned his PhD and MBA degrees at the University of Chicago, a Master of Science from the London School of Economics, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an honorary doctorate from the Stockholm School of Economics. Prior to joining Duke University he was a Professor of Finance and Economics at Columbia University.


Davyeon Ross

Co-founder & President, ShotTracker and EIR R/GA Ventures - Coalition

An innovative technology leader and widely recognized entrepreneur, Davyeon Ross has over 20 years of experience in the technology sector. Ross is Co-founder / President of DDSports Inc. of which ShotTracker is the first product. ShotTracker is a sensor-based technology providing comprehensive real-time stats & analytics to players, coaches and fans in practice and live games.

In Oct. 2011, Digital Sports Ventures, founded by Ross, was acquired by Digital Broadcasting Group, a top 5 Video Ad Network headquartered in New York, NY, with offices in Los Angeles, Calif., Chicago, Ill., and now Overland Park, Kan. As part of the acquisition, DBG named Ross, Executive Vice President, Publisher Solutions. Ross’ responsibilities included overseeing product development around the company’s Content Library Platform (CLiP), content acquisition and the syndication and distribution of DBG’s six content verticals within CLiP.

 As CEO of Digital Sports Ventures, Ross negotiated the rights to Division I college sports video across seven major conferences, and set the strategy for the company’s portfolio of content and interactive technologies.

Prior to launching Digital Sports Ventures, Ross served as lead technical and management consultant for eVergance Partners (acquired in 2007), managing projects across the United States, Europe and Canada for clients including Research in Motion (BlackBerry), T-Online, Business Objects, Sasktel, Mattel, Siemens Medical Systems, Nortel Networks and others. Prior to eVergance, Ross began his technology career as a software engineer for Sprint, playing critical roles in the development of the company’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Knowledge Management applications.

A native of Trinidad & Tobago, West Indies, Ross left Trinidad in 1996 on a full basketball scholarship where he was a four-year starter, captain and letterman for Benedictine College’s basketball team while leading the nation in field goal percentage his senior year. Ross also earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and later earned his MBA from Mid-America Nazarene University. Ross is also an active angel investor with investments in several startup companies including eyeVerify (acquired by Alipay), Opendorse, Metactive, Flow forward and others.


Rodney Sampson

Executive Chairman & CEO, Opportunity Hub (OHUB); Nonresident Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution

Rodney Sampson is heralded as the leading inclusive innovation, entrepreneurship and investment ecosystem builder in the world, particularly given his mission to ensure that everyone, everywhere, particularly socially disadvantaged communities, have equitable access to the new multi-generational wealth creation opportunities afforded in the future of work and fourth industrial revolution as definitive paths to reducing poverty and the racial wealth gap everywhere.

Throughout his 20 year entrepreneurial career, Sampson has cofounded startup companies that have overcome the odds by collectively raising more than $20 million in angel and venture capital, created hundreds of new jobs and generated tens of millions in revenue before acquisition or going public. At the beginning of the 21st century, Sampson co-founded, built and sold Multicast Media Technologies (Streamingfaith.com) and EFactor (EFCT).
He was one of three Black co-founders during this era whose high growth technology startups raised over $1 million in angel and venture capital and were subsequently acquired for eight figures. During this time, Sampson also built Intellectual Currency, a world class integrated go-to-market, publishing and advisory firm with clients ranging from major Hollywood film studios, cable networks, tech companies, global corporates, publishers, the United States government, African heads of state and leading Black church denominations. Since 2007, Sampson has worked closely with high growth startups and seed stage venture funds as a selective advisor, investor, and limited partner. His current investment and advisory portfolio include Cross Culture Ventures, TechSquare Capital, Digit, York Exponential, Plum.io, Patientory, The Mentor Method and Momentum Learning.

In 2013, Sampson cofounded Opportunity Hub (OHUB) as a follow up to the highly successful Kingonomics’ book release and large-scale conferences in Atlanta, GA and Washington, D.C. OHUB scaled quickly to become the leading multi-campus coworking space, entrepreneurship center and tech hub featuring over 300 events a year, a startup pre-accelerator, coding boot-camp, and scholarship initiative and angel investing platform for founders from underestimated and under-tapped communities. Over 15,000 people walked through OHUB’s doors each year. From 2015-17, Sampson was a Partner at TechSquare Labs, a tech hub, seed stage venture fund and creator of the $100,000 Atlanta Startup Battle.

Today, TechSquare Labs’ portfolio companies have raised follow on capital of nearly $300 million, are valued at over $1.5 billion, generate over $100 million in annual recurring revenue and employ over 1000 people and growing. He remains the largest minority limited partner in the fund. Today, as Executive Chairman & CEO of Opportunity Hub and OHUB Foundation, Sampson is focused on scaling OHUB as the definitive global future of work, opportunity and wealth creating platform by ensuring that everyone, everywhere has early exposure to tech, startup and venture; in demand technology education, training and talent placement; inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem building; and capital formation. This is driven by the thousands of college and young professional members and growing from hundreds of colleges and universities across America and beyond. OHUB is a supplier, vendor and partner to over 50 tech companies, major corporations, high growth startups, venture funds, municipalities, foundations, associations, colleges and universities and growing.

Current national initiatives include OHUB@Cities, OHUB@Campus, HBCU@SXSW, 100 Black Angels Fund I and DEIS, a new strategy, service and future software platform to operationalize diversity, equity and inclusion across the major divisions of growing enterprises. Sampson is also a Nonresident Senior Fellow in the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. and a Professor of Entrepreneurship at Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA. Sampson previously served as the 1st Head of Diversity at Mark Burnett Productions, executive producers of the hit ABC show, ABC’s Sharktank.

A strong believer in philanthropy and its role in social impact and advocacy, Sampson supports and serves on the boards of Artificial Intelligence for All (AI4All), Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC), International Bishops Conference, and GA Technology for All Policy Summit.Sampson was educated at Tulane University, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine and Keller Graduate School of Management.Sampson resides in Atlanta, GA with his wife and six children.


Olav Sorenson

Joseph Jacobs Chair in Entrepreneurial Studies; Faculty Research Director, Price Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation; Professor of Strategy, UCLA Anderson School of Management

Olav Sorenson joined the UCLA Anderson faculty in 2020. His primary stream of research pertains to economic geography, focusing on how entrepreneurship influences the growth and competitiveness of regions within countries, and on why some regions appear more supportive to entrepreneurs than others. “I was in graduate school in the mid-1990s at Stanford, in Silicon Valley, and it seemed like everybody and their brother was getting involved in a startup,” Sorenson says. “That’s really what got me interested in entrepreneurship and interested in ‘Why Silicon Valley?’ What was different about Silicon Valley than other places?”

He has called attention to unexpected consequences of the fact that social capital plays an important role in entrepreneurial success. Largely in recognition of this research, Sorenson received the 2018 Global Award for Entrepreneurship Research.

His secondary streams of research have addressed the relationships between basic science and innovation and how organizations can better learn from their interactions with customers and from their manufacturing experience.

In total, he has delivered nearly 400 research presentations and has had more than 90 papers published on these subjects, in journals such as Science, the American Journal of Sociology, the Journal of Financial Economics, the Review of Economics and StatisticsAdministrative Science QuarterlyStrategic Management Journal and Research Policy. Sorenson serves as a department editor for Management Science and as a deputy editor at the American Sociological Review. He has also served in editorial positions at more than a dozen other journals.

Sorenson’s Venture Capital Strategy course is a version of one he’s taught since 2005. “My goal with that course is to do something that’s a little different from the typical venture capital course, which is usually about valuation and contract terms,” says Sorenson. “This course comes more from the perspective of someone who would be an active venture capital or angel investor, and some of the types of strategic decisions that are involved with that.” He’ll also be teaching Entrepreneurship and Venture Initiation, an introductory entrepreneurship course.

In addition to his research and teaching responsibilities, Sorenson joins the Harold and Pauline Price Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation as faculty research director. In that role, he plans to build on the curricular offerings of the Price Center and create a research arm dedicated to entrepreneurial studies. Sorenson also plans to mentor student entrepreneurial teams within the Anderson Venture Accelerator and those participating in the school’s Business Creation Option field study.

From 1999 to 2005, Sorenson taught strategy courses at UCLA Anderson. Prior to returning to Anderson, he held the Frederick Frank ’54 and Mary C. Tanner Professorship at the Yale School of Management and, before that, the Jeffrey S. Skoll Chair in Technical Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Toronto. He has also served on the faculties of London Business School and the University of Chicago, and has held visiting appointments at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, SDA Bocconi, Universidad Carlos III, Melbourne Business School, Singapore Management University, the National University of Singapore, BI Norwegian Business School, the Stanford Graduate School of Business and INSEAD.

Sorenson received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard College and his master’s and doctoral degrees from Stanford University. He has also received an honorary doctorate from Aalborg University.


Bradley Staats

Professor of Operations, Faculty Director of the Center for the Business of Health, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Brad Staats examines how individuals and organizations learn and improve in order to stay relevant, innovate and succeed on an ongoing basis. His teaching focuses on learning and analytics. In addition to teaching on these topics at UNC Kenan-Flagler, he works with many companies around the world on their learning and analytics strategies.

Dr. Staats integrates work in operations management and human behavior to understand how and under what conditions individuals, teams and organizations can perform their best. His field-based research in such settings as health care and software services, consulting, call centers and retail, uses archival data and field experiments to provide an interdisciplinary perspective to improve both operations’ theory and practice.

He publishes frequently in both leading academic journals and practitioner-focused journals. He is an associate editor at Management ScienceManufacturing & Service Operations Management and Production and Operations Management.

Dr. Staats leads the Business of Health Care Initiative (BOHC), a cross-disciplinary initiative targeting some of the biggest health-care challenges of our time, at UNC Kenan-Flagler. Although the business school is leading efforts to establish and grow the  BOHC Initiative, it is by design a pan-university effort that draws upon the wide health sciences strengths across campus including our top-ranked schools of pharmacy, public health, nursing, dentistry, arts and sciences, medicine and business. By building on this collaborative powerhouse of resources and talent through the BOHC Initiative, UNC Kenan-Flagler seeks to distinguish both itself and the University as one of the leading national voices in education, research and thought leadership in the business of health care.

He received his DBA in technology and operations management and MBA from Harvard Business School. He received his BS with honors in electrical engineering and his BA with high honors in Plan II and Spanish from The University of Texas at Austin.



Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise

Leveraging the Private Sector for the Public Good

Established in 1985 by Frank Hawkins Kenan, the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise is a nonpartisan business policy think tank affiliated with the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. The nonprofit institute and its affiliated centers convene leaders from business, academia and government to better understand how the private sector can work for the public good. The institute leverages best-in-class research to develop market-based solutions to today’s most complex economic challenges. In doing so, the institute aims to support businesses and policies that better the lives of people in North Carolina, across the country and around the world.



UNC Entrepreneurship Center

Inspiring, motivating, and developing entrepreneurial leaders who will create a positive impact in the world, locally and globally.


A Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise Event