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Kathleen Allen

Director / Professor of Clinical Entrepreneurship – Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies

Kathleen Allen PhD is an entrepreneur and professor of entrepreneurship at the USC Marshall School of Business where she is also the founding director of the USC Marshall Center for Technology Commercialization. She is the author of more than 15 books in the fields of entrepreneurship and technology commercialization in which she is considered an expert. Her personal entrepreneurial endeavors include two successful companies in commercial real estate brokerage, development, and investment, two technology-based businesses that commercialized patented technologies, and a non-profit venture that incubated technology and healthcare-related startups in underserved areas in the Midwest. Dr. Allen served as entrepreneur-in-residence to a major aerospace firm, currently serves as advisor to several private companies, is director of an S&P 500 NYSE company, and a visiting scholar to the Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate. She was selected as Entrepreneurship Educator of the Year for 2014 by the U.S. Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

Alan Arkatov

Katzman/Ernst Chair for Educational Entrepreneurship, Technology and Innovation

Alan Arkatov is the Katzman/Ernst Chair for Educational Entrepreneurship, Technology and Innovation at USC’s Rossier School of Education, an appointment with an interdisciplinary emphasis, leveraging the work at USC’s Schools of Communications, Cinematic Arts, Medicine, Public Policy, and Business.  He previously was the President of Changing.edu, CEO of the Teaching Channel, one of the creators and an EVP for 2U, President of eEducation Group, and the founder and Chairman of OnlineLearning.net.  Alan has guided some of the preeminent communications companies in the US, and as a political media consultant, helped produce the ads for over a dozen successful Mayoral, Gubernatorial, US Senate and Presidential campaigns.

In addition to serving on California’s State Board of Education, Alan was the Chair of California’s Post-Secondary Education Commission, a US Secretary of Education appointee to the Congressional Web-Based Education Commission, President of the LA Commission for Children, Youth and Families, and Chair of the LA Information Technology Agency.  He currently serves on the National Boards of Facing History and Ourselves, Road Trip Nation, Alliance for College Ready Schools, Think Together, and 2U.  A happily retired concert violinist and graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Alan resides in Los Angeles with his wife, two sons, and their Labradoodle.


Phone: (21)3740-4398

Email: arkatov@usc.edu

Website: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/alan-arkatov/3b/75b/241

Patrick Auerbach

Associate Senior Vice President for Alumni Relations

Patrick Auerbach was named Associate Senior Vice President for Alumni Relations in July 2013, and is responsible for managing all operations of the USC Alumni Association and serving as the University’s primary representative to its alumni.  He advances USC’s mission by developing and implementing programs, events and services to engage the Trojan Family’s diverse alumni constituency and works closely with the USC Alumni Association Board of Governors.

Patrick has been with the USC Alumni Association since January 2008 and has served as Executive Director of Alumni Relations since March 2010.  He initially joined the Trojan Family in July 2000, when he was hired by USC Athletics as Director of Women’s Basketball Operations & Marketing, managing all team operations, directing marketing and ticket sales initiatives and supporting local USC community outreach projects.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in sociology from UCLA in 1992 and master’s degree in sport administration from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in 1994, Patrick spent the first six years of his career in the sports and entertainment industry, working as Director of Media and Public Relations for the Atlanta-based Women’s Basketball Coaches Association and then serving as Assistant General Manager/Director of Public Relations for the WNBA’s Detroit Shock expansion franchise.

He became a USC alumnus in 2008 when he earned his doctorate from the Rossier School of Education upon completion of his dissertation, “Decisions Under Influence:  College Presidents’ Athletics-Related Decision-Making Behavior at NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision Institutions.”  He currently serves on USC’s University Convocations Committee, USC University Club Board of Councilors Fundraising Committee, and recently completed a ten-year term on the NCAA Women’s Final Four Media Coordination Committee.  He is also a member of PCAUD (Private College and University Alumni Directors) and CASE (Council for the Advancement and Support of Education).

Randy Beatty

Dean & Professor of Accounting – USC Leventhal School of Accounting

Professor Beatty’s scholarship spans accounting, finance, and management, with articles published in The Accounting Review, Journal of Accounting Research, Contemporary Accounting Research, Accounting Horizons, Journal of Law & Economics, Journal of Financial Economics, Administrative Science Quarterly, andStrategic Management Journal. He has won or been nominated for teaching awards at USC Marshall School of Business, Southern Methodist University, the University of Chicago, the Wharton School, and the University of Illinois. In 1994, Business Week selected him as one of twelve Masters of the Classroom. Beatty has consulted for a variety of organizations providing expert witness testimony on bankruptcy prediction, valuation, and financial accounting issues. Beatty serves on the Advisory Board for the USC Caruso Catholic Center and the City of Hope Board. He is also the Chair of the City of Hope Medical Center Board.

David Belasco

Co-Director – Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies

David Belasco is an experienced entrepreneur, educator, and lawyer. His current roles include:

  • Co-Director and Adjunct Professor at the Lloyd Grief Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at USC Marshall;
  • CEO and co-founder of Ditto Greetings, a tech platform that allows you to customize video greetings with clips from your favorite movies and TV shows [www.dittogreetings.com];
  • Professor and creator of The Leap, a popular series at USC featuring discussions with entrepreneurs, innovators, and thought leaders [The Leap – YouTube];
  • Co-founder of Jazz on the Pond, an annual concert benefitting music scholarships at The Eastman School of Music [www.jazzonthepond.org]; and
  • Serving on the Board of Teach for America L.A., The Show Me Campaign, and as faculty advisor for USC’s EdMonth.

David started his career as a lawyer at Latham & Watkins in Los Angeles. He went on to start, build, and sell companies in environmental services and manufacturing. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California and University of Pennsylvania Law School.

James Bottom

Project Director – Blackstone LaunchPad USC / IncubateUSC

Entrepreneur currently building up the Startup Ecosystem at USC.

He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations and an MBA from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. James’ expertise is in startups, incubators, mentors, crowd funding and crowd sourcing. James is also a founder of IncubatriX, a premier Trojan Incubator that works to develop and enhance ecosystems at USC. He is a lifelong student and an entrepreneur that builds dynamic teams, provides mentorship, clearly articulates the vision and creates organizational alignment.

Prior to returning to USC, James was an IT business strategy specialist responsible for overseeing a portfolio of consulting projects in the U.S., Australia and Canada. His skills include deep project management expertise, business intelligence proficiencies, enterprise social media strategies and customer relationship management (CRM). He has experience leading offshore software development, implementing supply chain management, facilitating requirements gathering and streamlining business flows. He has nearly a decade of international technical computer experience in hardware and software in the industries of Aerospace & Defense, Entertainment, Financial Services, Healthcare, Government and Non-Profits.

James’ undergraduate accolades include being part of: USC Interfraternal Council, the USC Rugby team, USC Deep Water Cruising – Sailing program, a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon – National Fraternity, the USC Football team, and the Captain of the National Champion Rose Bowl Team in 2003.


Phone: 213-810-1307

Email: jbottom@usc.edu

Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamesbottom

Jay Chang

Partner, Head of Product Innovation – Sidebench
Product Venture Consultant – USC Blackstone Launchpad / IncubateUSC
Founder, Executive Chef – @BehindTheKnife on Instagram

Jay graduated from USC in 2009 with a BS in Business Entrepreneurship focused on technical entrepreneurship and marketing. He has worked with a number of brands across industries such as Consumer product goods, to ecommerce, adtech, and a number of b2b / b2c platforms with a consistent role in a Technical Product Manager / Product marketing capacity. He’s consulted with and launched a number of startups in his 8 year career developing a deep understanding of user first product experiences and approaching business from their customer’s perspective and in order to understanding how and why they interact with a product in order to continually develop and improve that user’s experience. The ability to speak both “Business” and “Tech” help him to bridge the communication gaps between teams and help clearly articulate a company’s business goals as a technical product.

A keen eye for marketing crossed with a love of technology and focus on identifying product needs has evolved into a deep understanding of what it means to build products. The companies he’s consulted with recognize a value add in helping to identify, validate, and iterate on product market fit leading the development of features within products that can help optimize sales processes, scale user bases, and increase engagement. Having an entrepreneurial background has helped work well with companies expanding into new product segments that need a well-rounded team member that can think critically about a new market, identify key players, research and define potential entry points, and ultimately create a product roadmap for a build.

Currently, Jay is a partner and head of product innovation at Sidebench and consults with the Blackstone Launchpad @ USC as a Product Venture Consultant. He and the team at BLP created the IncubateUSC Website uniting the USC startup ecosystem creating a single destination for USC students, staff, and alumni to find all the entrepreneurial resources available through the Trojan Network. In his spare time, he’s an amateur chef and food instagrammer @BehindTheKnife, interviewing chefs, hosting pop up dinners, and catering private events.


Phone: (424) 354-0921

Email: Jay@JayDChang.com

Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jaydchang

Michael Chasalow

Clinical Professor of Law & Director – USC Small Business Clinic 

Michael Chasalow directs the USC Small Business Clinic, where students gain hands-on experience handling transactional legal problems and providing basic corporate legal assistance to small businesses, entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations. He also teaches Counseling the Start-up Company, Partnerships & Limited Liability Companies and Business Organizations. Prof. Chasalow’s scholarly interests involve the development and structure of business ventures as well as corporate governance issues and issues relating to the governance of partnerships and LLCs.

Prof. Chasalow attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he received a B.A. in both English and economics. He received his J.D. from Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law and his M.B.A. at the University of California, Los Angeles. After law school Prof. Chasalow practiced law for several years, initially as a transactional attorney with Latham and Watkins in Los Angeles, where he specialized in such complex corporate transactions as mergers and acquisitions and the issuance of sophisticated debt securities. Prof. Chasalow also spent several years involved with private equity groups focused on the development and financing of start-up and early stage companies.

In 1993, Prof. Chasalow founded the ARI Consulting Group, which provided business consulting and legal services to start-up companies. In 2004, he was given the Outstanding Adjunct Professor Award by USC Law’s Student Bar Association. He has also taught at Whittier School of Law and Loyola Law School.


  • Experiencing Business Organizations, West Academic Publishing, 2014

Tory Cox

Clinical Associate Professor, Field Education and Assistant Director, Field Education

TORY COX, LCSW/PPS, joined the USC School of Social Work field faculty in 2010, where he teaches integrative seminar courses for foundation year students and collaborates on the development of non-traditional social work internships. Prior to his USC appointment, he taught community organizing and social work administration for master’s students at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) and chaired the university’s committee on community collaboration.

Cox currently serves on the boards of the California Association of School Social Workers and End Abuse, Long Beach, a child abuse and domestic violence prevention council. As the lead school social worker for Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) from 1998-2010, he successfully wrote grants to increase the number of social workers, helped develop the MSW internship program and presented nationally on subjects such as crisis intervention and social work advocacy. In addition, Cox served as a team leader at the 2009 and 2010 National Association of Social Workers-California (NASW-CA) Legislative Lobby Days and as CSULB faculty liaison for the Lobby Days’ student organizing committees.

In 2010, he received the “Social Worker of the Year” award from NASW-CA Region I, Long Beach Unit and the Most Inspirational Professor Award from the CSULB senior class of 2010.


Phone: (213) 740-5832

Email: torycox@usc.edu

Website: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/tory-cox/2b/732/8b8

Clotilde Dedecker

Venture Consultant – Blackstone LaunchPad USC / IncubateUSC

Originally from Buffalo, NY, Clotilde is currently pursuing a dual-masters MBA-MSW at USC with a focus on the intersection of behavioral health and technology. Prior to USC, Clotilde lived in New York City where she managed operations for Philanthropy is Beautiful, a non-profit designer jewelry company whose model is to donate the profits from each purchase to the charity of the purchaser’s choice. Clotilde founded Circle of Women, a non-profit organization that provides access to education for women without it. Founded in 2006, Circle of Women currently operates through 14 chapters nationally with six project sites in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Malawi, and Kenya. Since pursuing her Masters at USC, Clotilde has interned for Gathr Films, Propper Daley, TOMS, and Apple.
Clotilde received her Bachelor of Arts at Harvard University majoring in History and Literature: Postcolonial Theory. Her specialities include hybrid business models, multi-channel marketing, 501c3 certification, start-up operations, and team development.

Specialties: Organizational framework design, team development, digital strategy, multi-channel marketing, start-up operations, brand management, wholesale retail strategy and market research.


Phone: (424) 261-4887

Email: clotilde.dedecker@gmail.com

Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/clotildededecker

Ian Donahue

Lead Venture Consultant – Blackstone LaunchPad USC / IncubateUSC

Ian Donahue is the Lead Venture Consultant at the Blackstone LaunchPad USC Program. In his role, he assists in recruiting and progressing alumni and student teams as well as connecting them with other coaches and resources. Ian’s expertise is in digital media, digital products, recruiting and managing technology developers, and early stage venture fundraising. Ian advises IncubatriX, a premier Trojan Incubator that works to develop and enhance ecosystems at USC. He also consults on digital media products and strategy for media companies. Most recently, he headed digital strategy for a print and online magazine that led to an acquisition offer. Previously Ian co-founded a technology startup that raised over $2 million and built a cloud-based multichannel Pay TV system. In that role, he ran operations and strategy and spoke on the company’s behalf at industry conferences including CES, Digital Hollywood, and NAB. Ian studied at the School of Cinematic Arts at USC as well as the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurship at the Marshall School of Businesse. He is a Kairos 50 and Marcia Israel Award recipient and a Los Angeles Global Shaper for the World Economic Forum.


Phone: 323-202-9443

Email: iandonahue@usc.edu

Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/donahuei

Jennifer Dyer

Executive Director – USC Stevens Center for Innovation

Jennifer Dyer is the Executive Director of the USC Stevens Center for Innovation, a university-wide resource that helps USC innovators make an impact with their ideas through commercialization of their research. In this role, she leads a team of 30 to ensure that USC supports translational research, intellectual property management, patenting, licensing, startups, mentoring and translational funding.

Dyer has 20 years of experience and a strong record of success in technology transfer, including serving as Director of Technology Development at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI). At TSRI, Dyer contributed to growth in both licensing activity and corporate sponsored research, including the management of major funding relationships with Novartis, Johnson & Johnson and PPG. Her experience at TSRI includes supervising 800 licensing negotiations for equity, royalties and other financial terms, formation of 30 start-up companies and more than 300 research funding agreements.

Dyer joins USC from Life Technologies Corporation, where she served as a Corporate Development Consultant, leading the development of negotiation strategy and negotiating key licensing deals. Prior to Life Technologies, Dyer served as Vice President of Business Development for Wellspring Worldwide where she developed the strategy for the marketing and sales of Wellspring’s Knowledge Management System to corporations and academic institutions, as well as expansion into Asia-Pacific markets.

Dyer is a Certified Licensing Professional and has a degree in Physiology from California State University, Long Beach. Dyer has been an active member of the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) and the Licensing Executives Society (LES) since 1993.


Phone: (213) 821-6062

Email: jennifer.dyer@stevens.usc.edu

Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jedyer

Jennifer Ellis

Venture Consultant Blackstone LaunchPad

Jennifer Ellis is a Venture Consultant at the Blackstone LaunchPad USC program. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Human Resources from Brandman University (Chapman University Network). She received Payroll certification from Chapman University and Human Resources Management certification from University of California, Irvine. Jennifer is an advocate for STEM education. She is a curriculum developer with CoderDojo Los Angeles, a non-profit coding club for kids run by volunteers. In this position, she successfully co-wrote grants that were funded by Google and Yahoo. She is also a member of the Computer Science Teachers Association.  She is the founder of Giggle Chips STEM Toys + Games.  Jennifer and her daughter successfully crowdfunded their STEM Toy and Game, Giggle Chips’ ABC Computer Science Game Cards, on Kickstarter. Her goal with her brand and product line is to inspire children to learn computer and coding literacy. Her product is sold on Amazon.com. Her favorite technologies include the Adobe Creative Cloud, Adobe Illustrator, Google Docs, Pantone App, MIT App Inventor and MIT’s Scratch program. From Los Angeles, CA.


Phone: (213) 821-1099

Email: jennifme@usc.edu

Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenniferellisjuncaj

Scott Fisher

Associate Dean of Research, Professor & Founding Chair, Interactive Media Division, Director Mobile and Environmental Media Lab

Scott Fisher is a Professor and founding Chair of the Interactive Media Division and Associate Dean of Research at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. He is an interaction designer whose work focuses primarily on mobile media, interactive environments and technologies of presence. He is also Director of USC’s Mobile and Environmental Media Lab.

Fisher’s media industry experience includes Atari, Paramount, and his own companies Telepresence Research and Telepresence Media, and he is well known for his pioneering work in the field of Virtual Reality at NASA. A graduate of MIT’s Architecture Machine Group (now Media Lab), he has taught at MIT, UCLA, UCSD,  and Keio University in Japan. His work has been recognized internationally through numerous invited presentations, professional publications and in the popular media. In addition, he has been an Artist in Residence at MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies and his stereoscopic imagery and artwork has been exhibited in the US, Japan and Europe


Phone: (213) 821-5219

Email: sfisher@cinema.usc.edu

Website: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/scott-fisher/0/2/593

Richard Fliegel

Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs

Richard Fliegel is Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs in USC Dornsife College.  Working with the Vice Dean for Academic Programs and faculty across the College’s departments, Dr. Fliegel creates new interdisciplinary curriculum, manages University-wide academic programs, and researches the assessment of critical thinking.   He directs the USC General Education program, the Freshmen Seminar program, and Interdisciplinary Major, and oversees Dornsife College’s on-campus summer programs through the Interdisciplinary Studies (INDS) office.   He has report responsibility for the Writing Program and Thematic Option, and at one time or another has overseen the Dornsife Advisement Office, the Language Center, the community-based service-learning Joint Educational Project, and other programs and projects.

Dr. Fliegel’s research explores the use of student writing for their classroom instructors as a method for assessing the growth in critical thinking that takes place over their undergraduate years.  In addition to his research and administrative duties, Dr. Fliegel writes fiction and original work in other media.   He has published detective novels with Bantam and Simon and Schuster and short stories in collections.  His book A Minyan for the Dead was nominated for a Shamus Award by the Private Eye Writers of America, and as a member of the WGA West he has written for Star Trek and ABC network television.


Phone: (213) 740-2961

Email: fliegel@college.usc.edu

Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rfliegel

Randolph Hall

Vice President of Research – USC

Randolph Hall is the vice president of research and a professor in the Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. As vice president, he is responsible for leading research initiatives across the university and overseeing research advancement, administration, and ethics activities. His office supports USC’s faculty in every discipline and works to build strong relationships with federal government agencies and foundations, in areas ranging from the biological and medical sciences, physical sciences, and engineering to the humanities and social sciences. Hall oversees the Office for Research Advancement in Washington, D.C. and the Office of Contracts and Grants, which manages a sponsored research budget of over $560 million annually. He also oversees the Institutional Review Board, the Office for the Protection of Research Subjects, and the Department of Animal Resources. He works closely with the associate deans for research of the USC Dornsife College, the Keck School of Medicine of USC, and the other USC Schools, as well as with Research Center Directors and faculty leaders to develop cross-disciplinary partnerships. He is also charged with bridging USC’s Health Science and University Park campuses through creative and astute academic partnerships.

Hall’s experience includes serving as the founder/principal investigator for two national research centers, the Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE), and the National Center for Metropolitan Transportation Research (METRANS). He also served as senior associate dean for research in the Viterbi School of Engineering for four years. Hall was chair of Industrial and Systems Engineering during a period when the faculty size grew by 50%, and when it became the first named academic department at the University of Southern California, upon receipt of a $10 million gift from Daniel J. Epstein. Prior to joining USC, Hall was manager of systems engineering at Partners for Advanced Transit and Highways, a faculty member at the University of California, Berkeley, and a senior research engineer at General Motors.

Sarah F. Hamm-Alvarez

Professor and Chair – Department of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Associate Dean for Basic and Translational Research – USC Keck School of Medicine

Specialties: Tear film and ocular surface, vision research, Sjogren’s syndrome, drug delivery, nanotechnology, tear fluid biomarkers of autoimmune disease, imaging, epithelial cell biology, exocytosis, membrane trafficking.

As Associate Dean for Basic and Translational Research, Sarah Develops and supports research programs associated with basic and translational sciences in the School of Medicine. Develops and fosters entrepreneurship and corporate collaborations to increase translational research impact. Aids in the assembly and support of new research teams to compete for new initiatives. Identifies strategies for sustained support and expansion of research programs including new strategies for research funding. Increases the effectiveness of communication regarding research opportunities and research success.



Phone: 323-442-1445

Email: shalvar@usc.edu

Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarah-hamm-alvarez-71804623

Alvin Huang

Founder and Design Principal – Synthesis Design + Architecture
Assistant Professor – School of Architecture

Alvin Huang, AIA is the Founder and Design Principal of Synthesis Design. He is an award-winning designer and educator specializing in the integrated application of material performance, emergent design technologies and digital fabrication in contemporary design practice. This exploration of “digital craft” is identified as the territory where the exchange between the technology of the digitally conceived and the artisanry of the handmade is explored. His wide ranging international experience includes significant projects of all scales ranging from hi-rise towers and mixed-use developments to bespoke furnishings.

Alvin is currently an Assistant Professor at the USC School of Architecture in Los Angeles, co-chair of the 2014 ACADIA Conference, and co-director of the AA Visiting School Los Angeles.

Alvin received a Master of Architecture and Urbanism from the Architectural Association Design Research Laboratory (2004) in London and a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Southern California (1998) in Los Angeles.

His work has been widely published and exhibited and has gained international recognition, including being selected to represent the UK at the Beijing Biennale in 2008 along with numerous awards including a 2014 ACSA New Faculty Teaching Award, 2014 ACSA Faculty Design Award (Honorable Mention), 2014 AIA Small Projects Award, 2014 Autodesk Small Business Innovation Award, 2013 Time Magazine’s 20 Best Inventions of the Year, 2013 AIA|LA NextLA Design Award, 2013 AIACalifornia Council Merit Award, and 2009 D&AD Award for Environmental Design. He has been an invited critic, guest lecturer, and keynote speaker at various institutions in the US, Canada, UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Israel, Japan and China.


Phone: (323) 698-7001

Email: alvin@synthesis-dna.com

Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alvinh1

Mike Lee

Senior Lecturer of Digital Entrepreneurship & Enterprise Systems – USC Viterbi’s Information Technology Program
Owner of Innovation – The Digital Entrepreneur Minor
CTO – USC Annenberg Media Impact Project

Mike, an innovator in the media & entertainment and technology space, has split his career between major studios (Fox & Warner Bros) and innovative start-ups that have revolutionized the Internet (Netscape & YEKRA). He is now at his dream job of engaging with students at USC.  Mike teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in digital entrepreneurship and enterprise systems for USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering and Marshall School of Business. He is also the CTO of USC Annenberg’s Media Impact Project.  Prior to USC, he spent the previous decade at Fox and Warner Bros, as a VP of Technology and Director; Netscape as a Technology Evangelist; and CTO/VP Technology for various Internet/software companies.  Mike holds dual degrees in Computer Science and Economics from the University of California, San Diego.

Paul Orlando

Venture Partner at USC Incubator and Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship

Runs Startups Unplugged lean startup advisory. Co-founder of AcceleratorHK.

Wrote Startup Sacrilege for the Underdog Entrepreneur — a book for startups and tech community organizers outside of the mainstream hubs. (leanpub.com/StartupSacrilege)

Part of TechCrunch Hackathon 2012 winning team. Has been written about in Forbes, TechCrunch, The Next Web and other publications.

BA from Cornell and an MBA from Columbia. Fluent in Mandarin.

Specialties: entrepreneurship, lean startup, customer development methodology, startup accelerators, international business, business models, new product development.


Phone: (888) 888-8888

Email: porlando@usc.edu

Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/porlando

Erin Reilly

Managing Director & Research Fellow, Executive Director Blackstone LaunchPad @USC

Erin Reilly is Managing Director & Research Fellow for Annenberg Innovation Lab at USC’s Annenberg School for Communications & Journalism and Executive Director of Blackstone LaunchPad USC. In her role, she oversees all aspects of lab programming, product design and mentoring students in developing applications and business ideas using digital media and how it impacts society. Her research focuses on new media literacies, transmedia play and learning, social entrepreneurialism, audience engagement and the future of media and entertainment.

Erin’s most recent research is on Leveraging Engagement with an initial case study on Fans. Passions. & Brands. Global Study on Football (Soccer). Currently, she leads multiple teams who conduct engagement research in the areas of unscripted entertainment, transmedia entertainment, music and sports. Having received multiple awards, such as Cable in a Classroom’s Leaders in Learning, Erin is a recognized expert in the development of processes and resources for educators and students and conducts field research to collect data and help shape the field of digital media and learning. Erin has successfully designed and implemented the Annenberg Innovation Lab’s CRUNCH Student Design Challenge. This incubator supports student teams to learn new skills, meet industry leaders, and learn about what it takes to design new products, and in the past four years, two of the winning teams have gone on to accelerators and launch their startups. Erin has also developed the lab’s Think & Do ideation session to engage the wider community in re-envisioning the media and entertainment industry. This ideation process was a finalist in the MIX prize awarded through Harvard Business Review and McKinsey.

Before coming to USC, Erin was Research Director for Project New Media Literacies at MIT and also has conducted classes as a Visiting Lecturer at MIT’s Comparative Media Studies Department and Harvard University’s Project Zero Summer Institute. She is most notably known for her social entrepreneurship activities in founding Zoey’s Room, one of the first social media citizen science programs and networks for young girls to connect with women role models. She has also led many R&D teams to explore the future of media.

Erin published her first digital book, Flows of Reading, to inspire teachers and student to reflect on what can be considered as reading and what kinds of reading they perform in their everyday lives. An exploration to define the concept of Transmedia Play was applied in developing a dynamic book prototype using the wordless picture book Flotsam as a transmedia play experiment. This experimental platform explores new forms of reading and writing as well as joint media engagement between children and their caregivers. Her recent publications also include T is for Transmedia: Learning through Transmedia Play, Visualization as a New Media Literacy, Shall We PLAY?, PLAY! (Participatory learning and you), and Designing with Teachers: Participatory models of Professional Development.

Reilly is a graduate of Emerson College and has her Master of Fine Arts degree from Maine Media Workshops + College. She is a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the Vice President board member of NAMLE (National Association for Media Literacy Educators) and serves on advisory boards, such as Disney Junior and PBS Emmy-award winning Sci Girls. Erin consults with private and public companies in the areas of audience engagement, creative strategy and transmedia projects.


Phone: (213) 740-1621

Email: ereilly@usc.edu

Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ebreilly

Chris Rico

Director of Innovation for the LAEDC

In his role as Director of Innovation for the LAEDC, Chris Rico leads the continued development of an innovation program for LA County, where he will build broad external support and provide thought leadership and strategic direction for the mission of the Innovate LA program, as well as its goals and priorities. Chris manages the day-to-day operations, programs and initiatives of the Innovate LA Program, including LA Innovation Week, the Blackstone LaunchPad Program in support of Southern California’s entrepreneurial economy, and all of the external communications, marketing and social media for Innovate LA. Chris will also be charged with developing new initiatives and approaches within the Innovate LA Program to increase its relevance, impact and influence within the broader innovation economy and business and economic development communities.

Chris has extensive experience creating, producing and executing projects. Chris honed his creative skills during a successful career in film and television development and production in Hollywood. Chris’s film and television experiences, along with his passion for social change, led him to the political arena where he worked with Arianna Huffington as a state organizer, Moveon.org as a lead organizer, and as campaign director for a ballot initiative to promote water conservation and sustainability. Recently, Chris consulted for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on ActivateED, a campaign of leading education organizations to positively impact student achievement. Most recently, Chris worked with Bright Funds to attract more philanthropic donors, and overseeing an open source digital voting project for the OSET Foundation. Chris’s campaign experience and innovative approach to digital and social media have precipitated exponential growth in visibility for every project he leads. Chris is a graduate of Duke University, where he designed his own major focusing on 20th C. Western European International Affairs. He is also a licensed special needs educator in California.


Phone: (888) 888-888

Email: chris.rico@laedc.org

Website: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/chris-rico/49/b16/a5a

Kathleen Rodgers

Associate Professor Clinical Pharmacy – USC School of Pharmacy

Kathleen E. Rodgers, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Titus Family Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Economics & Policy in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Southern California. Throughout her career, Dr. Rodgers has conducted research into a broad array of topics including gynecological cancers, medical device safety, drug effectiveness and toxicology.

Since joining USC in 1986, she has been interested in applied research. Early in her career, she continued her doctoral research in the immunotoxicology of organophosphate pesticides. Her research interests also included the development of an immunoassay for gynecological cancers and an understanding of the process of peritoneal healing and the formation of intraperitoneal adhesions. After identification of key processes in these healing events, one focus became the identification of therapeutic interventions by which adhesions can be prevented. Further, she discovered that molecules generated by the renin angiotensin system have potential therapeutic benefit.


Phone: 323 442 2574

Email: krodgers@usc.edu

Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kathy-rodgers-2619b013

Chris Sampson

Vice Dean Division of Contemporary Music – USC Thornton School of Music

Christopher Sampson enjoys a multi-faceted career as a performer, educator, producer, and arts administrator. Sampson is the founding director of the Popular Music program at the USC Thornton School of Music. As a professor of songwriting, Sampson’s students have penned number one hit songs, won national songwriting competitions, placed songs in numerous television shows and films, written musicals, secured recording contracts, are among the top most subscribed musicians on YouTube, and currently work in multiple areas of the music industry including A&R, publishing and administration. Through the Popular Music program, Sampson has presented collaborative seminars with Glen Ballard, Lamont Dozier, Flea, Randy Newman, Steve Miller, John Fogerty, Andy Summers, and Patrice Rushen to name a few.

As a traditional blues artist, Sampson performs regularly throughout Los Angeles, has been recorded on several movie soundtracks, and presents workshops on blues history, culture, and performance practice. In addition to his teaching, Sampson also has extensive experience as an arts administrator and currently serves as an associate dean for the USC Thornton School of Music, where he has provided leadership in curriculum development, career launching initiatives for musicians, community outreach programs, and international partnerships.


Phone: (213) 740-3224

Email: sampson@usc.edu

Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chris-sampson-9525a766

Brian Shepard

Professor of Audio Design Practice and Assistant Dean of the USC Iovine and Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation

Dr. Brian K. Shepard is professor of Audio Design Practice and assistant dean of the USC Iovine and Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation, where he oversees curriculum development and teaches the integration of sound and audio into design and technology.

For more than 20 years, Shepard’s research has focused on the technological skills and tools necessary to prepare students for life as 21st century musicians. In 1999, he conducted the very first demonstration of a private music lesson using uncompressed audio and video over Internet2 Network, an optical fiber Internet protocol, and continues to research the uses of high-performance networks for musical purposes. For his research in this area, he has twice been honored by Internet2 with their IDEA Award. In 2009, Shepard released EchoDamp, the only audio mixing and echo-control software application specifically designed for musical videoconferences and in use at more than 100 cultural and educational institutions around the world. His book Refining Sound: A Practical Guide to Synthesis and Synthesizers is published by Oxford University Press.

Personal Website: http://briankshepard.com/


Phone: (213) 821-1575

Email: brian.shepard@usc.edu

Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/briankshepard

Ashish Soni

Executive Director of Digital Innovation Viterbi Startup Garage

Ashish is the Founding Director of the Viterbi  Startup Garage, the Viterbi Students Institute for Innovation(VSi2), Executive Director of Digital Innovation,  and Associate Professor of Engineering Practice at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. He crafted the vision and roadmap and is leading the launch of the newly formed VSI^2 which is the hub for innovation and engineering entrepreneurship and helps engineering students transform their ideas into successful business ventures. He also founded and leads the USC Viterbi Startup Garage, the only technology incubator at a top engineering school launched in collaboration with Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers

He teaches courses related to high tech entrepreneurship, user experience design and innovation and recently launched one of the nation’s first educational programs in Digital Entrepreneurship.

He was chosen as one of the top innovators in Southern California and was honored to be on the Socaltech 50 and TechWeekLA 100 lists in 2013. 
Mr. Soni is actively involved in the technology industry, advising startups, government agencies and Fortune 500 companies and has served on the advisory boards of early stage technology and media companies including Slingshot Labs, Brighter, Tilofy and myblife. He also serves on the Los Angeles Mayor’s Council of Technology and Innovation

Mr. Soni holds an MS in Computer Science from the University of Southern California.


Phone: (213) 821-2993

Email: asoni@usc.edu

Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ashishsoni77

Jonathan Taplin

Director Annenberg Innovation Lab

Jonathan Taplin is a Professor at the Annenberg School with areas of specialization in international communication management and the field of digital media entertainment. Taplin began his entertainment career in 1969 as Tour Manager for Bob Dylan and The Band. In 1973 he produced Martin Scorsese’s first feature film, Mean Streets, which was selected for the Cannes Film Festival. Between 1974 and 1996, Taplin produced 26 hours of television documentaries and 12 feature films. His films were nominated for Oscar and Golden Globe awards and chosen for The Cannes Film Festival seven times. In 1984 Taplin acted as the investment advisor to the Bass Brothers in their successful attempt to save Walt Disney Studios from a corporate raid. This experience brought him to Merrill Lynch, where he served as vice president of media mergers and acquisitions. In this role, he helped re-engineer the media landscape on transactions such as the leveraged buyout of Viacom. Taplin was a founder of Intertainer and has served as its Chairman and CEO since June 1996. Intertainer was the pioneer video-on-demand company for both cable and broadband Internet markets. Taplin holds two patents for video on demand technologies. Taplin is a member of the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and sits on the International Advisory Board of the Singapore Media Authority and the Board of Directors of Public Knowledge. Taplin was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to the California Broadband Policy Task Force in January of 2007. He currently sits on Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Council on Technology and Innovation


Phone: (213) 821-5611

Email: jtaplin@usc.edu

Website: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/jonathan-taplin/33/384/555

George Tolomiczenko

Administrative Director, HTE@USC

Experience as a clinician, researcher, teacher and administrator informs the multifaceted role I have with HTE@USC. After earning an undergraduate degree at Caltech, I left LA, for graduate study in the Boston area where I earned a doctorate in clinical psychology at Boston University and a master’s in public health at Harvard. As both a scientist and clinician working at medical institutions, my focus shifted to public health and policy issues involving homelessness and mental illness. I am now returning to LA from Toronto where I worked on technology-enabled approaches to healthcare management.
In Canada my work building research capacity was broadened to include directorships in technology-based regional economic development, medical research funding and non-profit organizations. I have always been devoted to creating and funding programs and partnerships enabling research, knowledge translation and chronic disease management. I have done this through energizing interactions with students, faculty, staff and clinical personnel in a variety of settings. I am thrilled to be part of HTE@USC’s leadership team re-designing medical and graduate engineering education to train front-line innovators. We’ll make sure that HTE@USC graduates will be leaders among interdisciplinary thinkers and inventors in healthcare.
You can reach me through HTE@USC.edu.