Entrepreneurship Symposium & Innovation Pitch Competition Speakers and Judges 2020

Event Moderator

Minu Kumar

Minu Kumar

Professor of Marketing, San Francisco State University

Minu Kumar is a Professor of Marketing at San Francisco State University (SFSU) and serves as the Vice President of Academics for the Product Development Management Association (PDMA). 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 Design and Development.

He has published in journals such as the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, International Journal for Research in Marketing, Journal of Consumer Psychology, Journal of Product Innovation Management, among others. He serves on the Editorial Review Board of Journal of Product Innovation Management. 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

John Edson

John Edson

Principal, johnXdesign

John Edson is a global leader and expert in product innovation, design and development. He brings 28 years of experience delivering growth for executive-level clients to his firm, John by Design, where he helps organizations transform who they are and what they make.

Edson was previously a partner at McKinsey & Company where he helped establish one of the largest design teams in the world, building from zero to 400 design consultants in four years. While with McKinsey, Edson led engagements that delivered $500M in impact for clients by using design to identify massive new growth opportunities at the intersection of customer need and company capability. Edson was also a key contributor to the firm’s groundbreaking studies that irrefutably confirm the business value of design.

Prior to McKinsey, Edson led the award-winning innovation, design and development firm, LUNAR, for two decades—creating successful products and services for global leaders like Apple, HP, Cisco, Oral-B, and Philips. In 2015, LUNAR was recognized with the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for a body of work that has made considerable positive impact on people and society.

In 2012, Edson wrote Design Like Apple, Seven Principles for Creating Insanely Great Products, Services and Experiences (Wiley), a book translated into seven languages that makes the business case for great design through real world examples and experiences. Passionate about education, he is an adjunct at Stanford University where he teaches courses on design and innovation. Edson earned a master’s in design from Stanford in 1993 and a bachelor’s degree in engineering at the University of Texas at Austin.

When not leading design transformations, Edson can be found at the helm of Siduri on San Francisco Bay.

Symposium Panelists

Elaine Chow

Elaine Chow

Cofounder, Lingrove

When she was studying Industrial Design at SFSU, Elaine had a hard time reconciling her love for functional and delightful products with the implications of industrial manufacturing and climate change. Today, she is grateful for the opportunity to be at the forefront of climate tech, addressing 11% of global greenhouse gases emitted by the building and construction industry.

Elaine is a cofounder of Lingrove, an early stage company making clean and green building products that replace conventional, carbon-intensive materials. Ekoa, Lingrove's award-winning composite, is made of carbon negative plant fibers and clean resins. Beautiful, high performing and authentically eco-friendly, Ekoa products stand out in a marketplace severely lacking in sustainable and healthy options.

Elaine is a product designer with over 10 years of experience in sales, specifically focused on building sales teams from scratch for startups and established companies. In 2019, Elaine was featured by GreenBiz as a 30 under 30 Honoree.

Brian Green

Brian Green

Director, Technology Ethics, Markkula Center

Brian Patrick Green is the director of technology ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. His work is focused on the ethics of technology, including such topics as AI and ethics, the ethics of space exploration and use, the ethics of technological manipulation of humans, the ethics of mitigation of and adaptation towards risky emerging technologies (including ones with catastrophic risk potential), and various aspects of the impact of technology and engineering on human life and society, including the relationship of technology and religion (particularly the Catholic Church). Green teaches AI ethics in the Graduate School of Engineering and formerly taught several other engineering ethics courses. He is co-author of the Ethics in Technology Practice corporate technology ethics resources.

Green is a member of the Safety-Critical AI working group at Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society. He also coordinates the Center’s partnership with The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, the Hackworth grant program, the Technology and Ethics Faculty Group, the Environmental Ethics Fellows, and several other initiatives. His background includes doctoral and master's degrees in ethics and social theory from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. His undergraduate degree is in genetics from the University of California, Davis, and he has conducted molecular biology research in both academic and industrial settings. Between college and graduate school, he served for two years in the Jesuit Volunteers International teaching high school in the Marshall Islands.

He has been published, interviewed, or mentioned in media including America, The Atlantic, The China Global Television Network, CNN.com, The Daily Beast, IEET, Nature, NBC Bay Area, Religion News Service, Revista Instituto Humanitas Unisinos (Brazil), Revue Boussole (France), The San Jose Mercury News, and Smithsonian.com.

Melody Ivory

Melody Ivory, Ph.D.

Founder and CEO, Ethiom LLC

Melody Ivory is a long-time tech fan who has turned into a fierce tech critic. At Ethiom, she advocates against tech harm with and for womxn of color so they feel empowered, included, and connected in shaping the experiences, products, and industry. She builds ethical tech and is relentless about championing people over profits.

Since 11, she’s poured energy into tech to rise above the parental abandonment experienced by age 7. She’s the first Black woman to earn a computer science PhD from UC Berkeley. She holds a Wharton MBA and an honor’s computer science/math BS from Purdue. She’s an author, speaker, and performer who blends science and poetry to inspire others into action.

Her tech expertise is far-ranging. She’s been a Google innovation facilitator and product manager for consumer electronics and software. She was an inaugural Bill and Melinda Gates Scholar. She has decades of experience in data science/ethics, software technology, and tech education across industries and organizations like GE, Microsoft, and the University of Washington.

Melody has seen firsthand tech's benefits and harms and brings this perspective to benefiting its marginalized majority and disrupting tech's status quo.

Daniel Malmer

Daniel Malmer

Founder, Center for the Study of Internet Extremism

Daniel Malmer is a software executive and social activist. He was Netscape's first college hire, worked as Senior Director of Data Science at Under Armor, and has co-founded several software startups . He is a tech ethicist, currently focused on online propaganda, radicalization, and disinformation. He currently advises a number of startups and nonprofit organizations on management, culture, and misuse of the Internet. Dan holds computer science degrees from the University of Illinois and Stanford University.

Pitch Competition Judges

Scott Kelly

Scott Kelly

CEO, Black Dog Venture Partners

Scott is a 25-year fundraising, marketing, sales, training and publicity veteran. Scott has raised millions of dollars in capital for disruptive companies, garnered national media coverage for hundreds of regional and national brands and generated millions of dollars in revenues for the companies he has represented. He has also trained over 1,000 sales people and has taught marketing at the university level in the United States and Europe. Scott is a founder and CEO of top public relations and digital marketing agencies, and has secured over 10,000 TV, radio, print and online interviews for clients. Scott has also achieved social media outreach of over 8 million and is a frequent speaker and lecturer on PR and Digital Marketing. He has also provided venture capital and media relation services for dozens of start-up, development stage and public companies. Scott has also started and operated businesses in Russia, India, Central and South America, and has raised $4 billion in public and private capital for corporate clients. He is the recipient of the Arizona Excellence Award Small Business Institute for Excellence in Commerce (SBIEC) September 2013, Service Above Self Award Chandler Rotary Club April 2012, has ranked Arizona’s Top Marketing Firm Selection February 2012, and is volunteer of The Year Junior Achievement Of Arizona September 2011. Scott holds a Masters Degree from San Francisco State University and a Bachelors Degree from Adelphi University.

Joe Luttwak

Joe Luttwak

CEO, Lingrove

Joe Luttwak is a designer, manufacturer, songwriter and backpacker, and founded his first company in pursuit of a wood-free travel guitar. Using the knowledge gained working at Ferrari, Blackbird Guitars was formed to replace the ancient rain-forest wood favored to make musical instruments. In 2013, he created the world’s first plant fiber composite Ekoa® to mold revolutionary musical instruments which are lighter than carbon fiber, more resonant than old-growth spruce, and have a higher strength-to-weight ratio than steel. Luttwak spun-off Lingrove in 2014 to offer Ekoa for other applications ranging from furniture to construction to transportation. Lingrove develops materials from fast growing CO2 negative plants to meet demand from the diminishing supply of high-quality wood. Natural fiber composites are an alternative to deforestation with the promise to also replace heavy, energy-embodied metal structures and help reverse climate change.

Zack Onison

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

Onisko 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.

Marcelle Van Beusekom

Marcelle Van Beusekom

Design Director, IDEO

Marcelle van Beusekom is a design director helping to lead IDEO’s design of hardware products. Fueled with a passion for craft, she aims to develop products that attract, intrigue and delight users and enhance the overall brand experience. Together with other leaders at IDEO, she strives in her work to humanize technology.

With experience rooted in hardware design development at global design consultancies and in-house corporations, Marcelle has developed an in-depth ability to balance rational business considerations with strong emotional aspirations. Marcelle excels in leading projects that involve “smart” consumer products and innovative technology, as well as large scale projects with multiple design disciplines and user experience ecosystems.

Her work, including a VR camera and a smart thermostat, has received several internationally acknowledged design awards. Marcelle holds a BSc and MSc (with honors) from Delft University of Technology in Industrial Design Engineering. She has also studied at Umeå’s Institute of Design and has as a Guest Lecturer taught various classes at California College of Arts.

Benjamin Vanderford

Benjamin Vanderford

Vice President, Relationship Manager, MUFG Union Bank, N.A.

Benjamin Vanderford is a relationship manager in the middle market commercial banking group of Union Bank. Benjamin provides lending and treasury management services for mid-sized businesses in all industries, including technology, non-profit, healthcare, insurance, construction, and food & beverage.