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 Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship and Area Chair of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School; Faculty Director, UNC Entrepreneurship Center

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.


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.


Gerald Cohen

Chief Economist, Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise

Gerald provides strategic vision and leadership of the translational economic research and policy initiatives at the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise.

He has worked in both the public and private sectors focusing on the intersection between financial markets and economic fundamentals. During the Obama Administration, Gerald was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Macroeconomic Analysis at the U.S. Department of Treasury where he helped formulate and evaluate the impact of policy proposals on the U.S. economy. Prior to Treasury, he co-managed a global macro fund at Ziff Brothers Investments.

Gerald holds a bachelor of science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University and is a contributing author to 30-Second Money as well as a co-author of Political Cycles and the Macroeconomy.


Waverly Ding

Associate Professor, Smith School of Business, University of Maryland

Waverly Ding is Associate Professor of Management & Organization at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business. Dr. Ding earned her MBA and Ph.D. in business from the University of Chicago. Prior to joining the Smith School faculty, she was an assistant professor at Haas School of Business, the University of California at Berkeley.

Dr. Ding’s research focuses on high-tech entrepreneurship and strategy, knowledge transfer between universities and industrial firms, and the U.S. biotech industry. She has also conducted research relating to labor force in science and technology. Her work has been published in Science, American Journal of Sociology, Management Science, Journal of Industrial Economics, and Research Policy.


Philip Gaskin

Vice President of Entrepreneurship, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Philip Gaskin is vice president of Entrepreneurship for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, where he is responsible for leading the Kauffman Foundation’s efforts to build an economy that works for all people by making entrepreneurship an integral component of economic development policies, practices, and programs.

As a leader with deep expertise in implementing strategies that change conditions in communities of all types, Gaskin provides the vision, strategic thinking, and thought leadership to scale and deepen the impact of the Foundation’s comprehensive entrepreneurship portfolio, which aims to eliminate systemic barriers and enhance economic activity through inclusive entrepreneurship. With deep experience in organizational management in a variety of settings, he is also responsible for the department’s strategic planning, talent acquisition, program execution, grants process, budgeting, and operations. Charged with leading the team of more than 30 associates, Gaskin uses his collective life and work experiences to inspire each associate to achieve extraordinary things, reach their full potential, and impact the lives of those the Foundation serves.

Prior to joining the Kauffman Foundation, Gaskin was chief operating officer for Impact Hub in the U.S., where he led organization-wide initiatives to develop and scale a social innovation marketplace to support entrepreneurs and impact investors to build sustainable businesses that drive long-term social and environmental change. He served as lead partner to Impact Hub’s global association to promote interorganizational alignment, shape global business strategy, and advance strategic efforts in developing regions of the world – including Africa and Latin America.

Previously, Gaskin served in various campaign positions for national candidates, including Cory Booker for U.S. Senate and President Barack Obama, directing efforts in Pennsylvania for Obama for America. In leading the grassroots operations, Gaskin opened and managed multiple offices, and built, scaled, and activated teams of staff and volunteers who delivered historic results by aligning community, city, state, and federal leaders to support policy initiatives.

Earlier, Gaskin held private sector executive leadership roles with leading global firms providing strategic enterprise and travel management consulting to Fortune 50 companies. Gaskin served as senior vice president for multinational business strategy and solutions where he led global operations, customer strategy, account and contract management, technology, human resources, finance, and business development teams across 35 countries for a standalone, 400-person business unit representing $1B in revenues. Gaskin led the industry’s first global service marketplace, an automated follow-the-sun service delivery platform providing real-time service solutions to thousands of customer employees in over 30 countries. Gaskin also provided executive leadership for the firm’s global entertainment and media business unit providing enterprise consulting, high-touch services, and production logistics to the majority of music and motion picture studios across the globe.

A native of Los Angeles, Gaskin attended Pennsylvania State University and graduated from California State University with a Bachelor of Science in marketing.


Fay Horwitt

President & CEO, Forward Cities

Fay serves as the President of Forward Cities, where she oversees organizational strategy and serves as the executive lead of the ESHIP Communities initiative.

In addition, Fay is a dedicated advocate for the emerging profession of ecosystem building, and as a founding member of Ecosystems Unite. Beyond her formal roles, she is a sought after presenter, trainer, and thought leader on the topic of equitable entrepreneurial ecosystem building. Never one to be content with status quo, Fay has also recently begun addressing a new need in local communities: ecosystem healing–helping pivot ecosystems and institutions in this time of the dual COVID-19 and systemic racial injustice pandemics.


Tim Jenkinson

Professor of Finance, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

Tim Jenkinson is one of the leading authorities on private equity, IPOs, and institutional asset management.

Tim is renowned for his ability to collect critical, previously inaccessible, data by building strong links with institutional investors, regulators and other players in the financial industry. His research is widely quoted and has been published in the top academic journals.

Tim is Director of the Oxford Private Equity Institute and one of the founders of the Private Equity Research Consortium. Tim is a renowned teacher and presenter, and teaches executive courses on private equity, entrepreneurial finance, and valuation. He is a frequent keynote speaker at practitioner conferences and his research has won many awards, including the 2016 Harry Markowitz Prize (from the Journal of Investment Management for his work on private equity), the 2015 Commonfund Prize (for the paper with the most relevance to institutional investors) and a 2014 Brattle Group Prize (awarded by the American Finance Association for the best research on corporate finance).

He is also a Professorial Fellow at Keble College, University of Oxford and a Research Associate of the European Corporate Governance Institute.

Tim’s published papers, and current working papers, are available at SSRN.

Outside of academia, Tim is a partner at the leading economics consultancy Oxera. He specialises in valuation, regulation, and finance, and he has been an expert witness in several high-profile cases. Tim has given evidence to the UK Treasury Select Committee on private equity and he was a Specialist Advisor to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee of the UK Parliament during their investigations into broadband provisions. He has also held board positions in several funds and companies.

Tim joined Saïd Business School in 2000. He previously worked in the economics department at the University of Oxford, which he joined in 1987. He studied economics as an undergraduate at Cambridge University, before taking up the role of a Thouron Fellow to the University of Pennsylvania. Tim then returned to the UK and obtained a DPhil in Economics from Oxford.


Victor Lyonnet

Assistant Professor of Finance, Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University

Victor Lyonnet joined the Fisher College of Business Department of Finance in 2018 after earning a PhD in Economics from Ecole Polytechnique and visiting HEC Paris for several years. His research interests include financial intermediation, life insurance, corporate finance, and entrepreneurship. He received the 2018 AFFI FNEGE best thesis award in corporate finance.

During his PhD, he was a visiting scholar at Harvard University (2015, 2017) and Columbia University (2014). He has worked as a researcher at the Bank of France (2016) and International Monetary Fund (2014). Professor Lyonnet teaches corporate finance.


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.


Jacquelyn Pless

Fred Kayne (1960) Career Development Professor of Entrepreneurship, MIT Sloan School of Management

Jacquelyn Pless is the Fred Kayne (1960) Career Development Professor of Entrepreneurship and an Assistant Professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Her research interests are in the economics of innovation, energy and environmental economics, and public economics.

Her research focuses on understanding how policy affects firm behavior and innovation outcomes, with a particular interest in clean energy innovation. Current projects concentrate on the role of public subsidies in driving private research and development investments and the direction of innovation. Other work examines renewable energy markets and how environmental policy impacts firm competitiveness.

She holds an MS and PhD in mineral and energy economics from the Colorado School of Mines, and a BA in economics and political science from the University of Vermont.


Eric Toone

Executive Managing Director and Technology Lead, Breakthrough Energy Ventures; Professor of Chemistry (Emeritus), Duke University

Professor Eric Toone received his doctoral degree in Chemistry from the University of Toronto in 1988 and completed post-doctoral studies with Professor George Whitesides at Harvard University. He began his independent career at Duke in 1990, and retired from Duke in 2017 as Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Biochemistry.

During his academic career Dr. Toone authored nearly 300 original papers, reviews, book chapters and abstracts in physical organic and biophysical chemistry. He is also listed as an inventor on more than 30 patents in a range of biomedical fields and is a scientific founder of three research-based pharmaceutical companies, including Aerie Pharmaceuticals, a publicly-traded ophthalmology (glaucoma) company.

From 2009 to 2012 Dr. Toone was detailed to the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E). During that time, he served as Program Director and Deputy Director for Technology before leading the Agency in 2012. Dr. Toone returned to Duke in 2013 as Vice Provost and Director of the Duke University Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative, an initiative designed to foster entrepreneurship across the entire university community.


Sophie Calder-Wang

Assistant Professor, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania


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