Biographies for Speakers and Judges

Entrepreneurship Symposium & Innovation Pitch Competition 2019

Event Moderator

Minu KumarMinu Kumar

Associate Professor of Marketing, San Francisco State University

Minu Kumar is an Associate Professor of Marketing at San Francisco State University (SFSU) and serves as the Vice President of Academics for the Product Development Management Association (PDMA). PDMA publishes the Journal of Product Innovation Management. He received a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from the Government College of Pharmacy (Bangalore University, 1996), a Masters in Business Administration (Concentration in Pharmaceutical Marketing, 2002) and a Ph.D in Marketing (minor: pharmaceutical marketing, 2008) from the University of Mississippi. His primary scholarly interest lies in the area of Innovation and New Product Development (NPD). Some notable topics of interest include but are not limited to, product design, aesthetics, knowledge management, acquisition and in-licensing innovation, DTCA (Direct to Consumer Advertising) and drug safety, among others and research methodology using multivariate statistical techniques such as structural equation modeling and multilevel modeling. One healthcare related research interest that has piqued his interest in recent times is in the risk assessment of currently marketed prescription only lifestyle drugs.

Professor Kumar has published in journals such as the Journal of Product Innovation Management, Journal of Consumer Psychology among others. He serves on the Editorial Review Board of Journal of Product Innovation Management. He is also an ad hoc reviewer for journals such as the Journal of Marketing, Journal of Retailing, European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Business Ethics among others. He has won several awards such as the Best Overall Conference Paper award at the Summer AMA conference (2011) and the University President’s Award for Research. He has also worked for or consulted with firms such as Barilla, SAP, Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals (Now Daiichi Sankyo), Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals, Schering Plough Pharmaceuticals (Now Merck), Medtronic, Glaxo Smithkline, among others on sales and marketing projects.

Keynote Speaker

Kate SofisKate Sofis

CEO and Co-Founder, SFMade
Co-Founder, Urban Manufacturing Alliance

Kate Sofis works at the intersection of maker-manufacturing economies, social and economic equity, and cities. Kate is the co-founder and CEO of SFMade, an internationally-recognized public-private partnership launched in 2010 that has helped catalyze a resurgence in local manufacturing in one of the most prosperous yet economically divided and expensive regions in the world: the San Francisco Bay Area. Kate is also co-founder of the Urban Manufacturing Alliance, a collaboration of more than 150 North American cities, all working to connect major urban centers to each other and promoting the replication of successful urban manufacturing models across cities. Internationally, Kate has participated in manufacturing-based economic development projects in London, Berlin, Goteborg and Algeria.

Kate speaks widely on the topic of manufacturing, urban economic development, and the intersection of cities, work, and shared economic prosperity. She has been a featured speaker at South by Southwest, CityLab, the Clinton Global Initiative, Techonomy, and the US Conference of Mayors. Kate has been published or featured in Forbes, the Atlantic, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Monocle Magazine. She has been recognized twice as a Most Influential Woman by the San Francisco Business Times and recently was awarded the prestigious Irvine Foundation Leadership Award for her work.

Kate holds an M.S. in City Design and Social Policy from the London School of Economics and an A.B. in Economics from Harvard University.

Symposium Speakers

Zack OniskoZack Onisko

CEO, Dribbble

Zack Onisko is CEO at Dribbble, the global community for designers and creative professionals to showcase, promote, discover, and explore design. Dribbble was founded in 2009 and has grown to become the designer community it is today for tens of millions of people around the world. Dribbble is on a mission to build the world’s best platform for designers to gain inspiration, feedback, education, community, and job opportunities.

Before Dribbble, Zack began his career nearly 20 years ago as a web designer before shifting into business and executive roles at Autodesk, Creative Market,, BranchOut,, and He is responsible for scaling multiple companies to successful exits over the past decade including the Creative Market acquisition by Autodesk in 2014.

Zack is a startup investor and advisor working with Indicator Ventures, Dwell magazine, Reforge, and others. He holds a degree in industrial arts and communication design from San Francisco State University.

He works from his home office in Walnut Creek, CA where he lives with his wife, two daughters, and an Australian Shepherd named Iggy.

Melissa StollerMelissa Stoller

VP, Senior Corporate Social Responsibility Officer,
Northern California Division

Melissa serves as Vice President and Senior CSR Officer for Bank of the West’s Northern California Division.  In her role, Melissa manages Bank of the West’s community engagement strategy in Northern California, Northern Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Idaho.  She directly supports Bank of the West’s commitment to community by managing nonprofit relationships, community initiatives and volunteer activities that meet the social and economic development needs in her geography.

Melissa holds a B.A. in Journalism with a Minor in Business from the University of Oregon and has been with Bank of the West since 2006 and a member of the CSR Department since 2008. 

She currently serves as a member of the board of directors for HIP Housing as well as the Alameda County Workforce Development Board.

Fred GibbonsFred Gibbons

Adjunct Professor at Stanford University
Former CEO and Founder, Software Publishing Corporation

Fred is a pioneer in the tech industry, an entrepreneur, board member/advisor, and a professor at Stanford University. He has lectured on entrepreneurship and has been an advisor on early-stage investment.

Pitch Competition Judges

Brett LoveladyBrett Lovelady

Founder / Creative Capitalist / Designer;
ASTRO Studios Inc. of San Francisco

Brett founded ASTRO Studios in 1994 to innovatively blend design, technology and lifestyle insights into a wide range of iconic, culture defining products and brands. Since then Brett has become one of Americas top design leaders, advocating for design and directing some of the world’s most culturally relevant products and brands, while helping clients generate billions in new revenue worldwide.

ASTRO & Brett have worked on hundreds of products and brands, from Fortune 100 clients to start-ups, receiving numerous industry and design awards including 2018 Fast Company Most Innovative Companies in Design Award. Additionally, ASTRO has received 2 BusinessWeek Design of the Decade Awards and 7 nominations for Cooper Hewitt National Design Awards. Project highlights include: Nike’s Triax Watch Series, the Nike Fuelband, Microsoft Xbox360 gaming console, Shinola Electric & Audio, Bose Sleepbuds and many more. Prior to ASTRO, Brett was VP of Design at Frog Design & Lunar respectively and started his career as a designer in with the Advanced Concept Team at Tandem Computers (Google it).

Also, in 2008, Brett co-founded and spun-off, venture backed ASTRO Gaming Inc., extending the ASTRO design brand into a hi-performance e-sports brand. Brett was the CEO until 2011 when ASTRO Gaming achieved #13 on the INC. 500 fastest growing companies list, then was acquired by pre-IPO, Skullcandy Inc., who in 2017 sold it to Logitech to take the brand worldwide.

Chris ChanChris Chan

Principal Engineer, Splunk

Chris has over 15 years of experience building software with a focus on user experience, performance, collaboration, and architecture. He is currently a principal iOS engineer at Splunk where he is reimagining mobile experiences for users to get valuable insights out of machine data.

Chris is also an avid hackathon competitor with a total of 13 wins with his teams. He loves the creative chaos and ideas that emerge from hackathons. He's a frequent public speaker and often talks about what team culture and values are required to bring out the best in teams at hackathons

Chris holds a Bachelors and Masters of Computer Science from the University of Victoria, Canada.

Xi HanXi Han

Associate Professor of Finance, San Francisco State University

Xi Han is an Associate Professor of Finance from the College of Business School at San Francisco State University. She graduated from University of Washington in Seattle with a Master in Economics and PhD in Business Administration. She was an Assistant Professor of Finance at Tsinghua University in Beijing from 2007 to 2012. She was an Associate Professor of Finance at Lingnan University (Hong Kong) for one year before she joined the Finance Department at San Francisco University in the fall of 2016. She has published several finance articles at the top-tier finance journals including Journal of Financial Economics and Review of Finance. Her research interests are empirical asset pricing, corporate finance, venture capital and private equity.

Rana ChakrabartiRana Chakrabarti

Senior UX Designer, SAP

Rana is an experienced designer with a deep interest in shifting behavior. He enjoys researching big hairy challenges and arriving at elegant interventions. These days you can find him immersed in conversation design figuring out how to design engaging conversations between humans and machines. It's like the Lumiere brothers all over again.

He has shifted behaviors on a variety of stages from cafes to colleges. Most recently, he has been teaching educators in schools and colleges across the U.S how to re-design their courses to integrate design-doing. Over 100 educators currently use this approach. He also enjoys helping teams design rituals and companies shift culture.

Rana is an expert facilitator, a side-effect of teaching his design process. He has been teaching his process - Startup By Design - to startups in the Bay Area since 2016. He also has a few super-powers:  systems-thinking ( only 2% of the world, he is told), sketching to think ( because he's a leftie, he is told) and deejaying (that was a long time ago, he is told).

hassanHassan Ali

Liquidity Regulatory Reporting Analyst,
MUFG Union Bank, N.A.

Hassan Ali graduated from the accounting program at Brigham Young University. He has worked at KPMG as an external auditor for various banks in San Francisco for three years. Later, he joined MUFG Union Bank. While at MUFG Union Bank, N.A., he has worked in comprehensive capital analysis and review (CCAR) reporting to the Federal Reserve Bank (FRB) for two years. In July 2017, he changed departments and currently works in liquidity reporting to FRB for MUFG Union Bank, N.A.

Awards Presenter

Dan MealsDan Meals

SOX Program Management
MUFG Union Bank, N.A.

Dan graduated with two degrees in Finance and Chinese & Japanese studies from Valparaiso University. Post-graduation, Dan joined PwC’s consulting arm and focused on process improvements within the Banking and Capital Markets sector. In 2015, Dan joined MUFG and has juggled initiatives ranging from regulatory reporting, process improvements, SOX program management, employee engagement and has played a major role in furthering the Bank’s overall global diversity efforts. In his spare time, Dan finds enjoyment in exploring new cities, meeting new people and experiencing new cultures.