Mentors In Residence
Kassie is Managing Director at CITY, where she focuses on engaging students and fostering conversations around entrepreneurship and innovation across Yale’s campus through programming. Prior to joining CITY, she served as Program Director for the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute. She has launched and managed a wide variety of programs and served as an academic advisor to graduate students at MIT and Boston University. She holds a BS in Business Administration from the University of Mary Washington and a MBA from Babson College.
Onyeka Obiocha is Associate Director at CITY. Previously, he was the inaugural Director of Innovation at Dwight Hall, focusing on developing trainings, programs, and partnerships to support members of the Yale and Greater New Haven communities dedicated to creating social change. Outside of Yale, Ony’s work spans community development, social entrepreneurship, and civic consulting. He recently moved from President and Co-Founder of A Happy Life, a social enterprise dedicated to creating a happier world for all, to launching Breakfast Lunch & Dinner a design studio that aims to build social cohesion through economic and cultural development. Prior to his entrepreneurial endeavors Ony consulted for Special Olympics International and launched a microcosignment program in South Africa.
Emma Funk is the Social Innovation Fellow at Tsai CITY, where she builds accelerators, intensives, and workshops that support students in creating and contributing to innovative projects that address pressing social issues. Her previous work includes roles with +Acumen and Ashoka U, working as a 2015 KPCB Design Fellow, and helping to redesign Brown University's social entrepreneurship curriculum. She has also been a solopreneur designer for the last seven years (emmafunk.com). She holds a BA in Science, Technology, & Society from Brown University, with an emphasis on social impact design and the intersection of ethics and data visualization. She has also studied at the Design & Technology program at Parsons the New School for Design in NYC, and the Graphic Design program at Rhode Island School of Design. Emma was born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Nya is a proud native of the Bronx, NY. At Yale, she earned a joint degree—a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree of Public Health in Health Care Management. As a first generation American, she grew up in a Caribbean family who believes that with each opportunity comes the great responsibility to improve the lives of those around you. From an early age, Nya has been passionate about using business strategy to make a difference in the world. In 2017, she launched a project in her hometown to introduce mindfulness practices and creative self-expression to help young women better navigate the high-pressure environment of high school with grant funding from Yale. In 2017, she also worked for a health reform consulting firm to develop strategic plans to support New York City's public hospital system. She is currently building a new program to enable financial sustainability and professional development for up-and-coming entrepreneurs. Nya uses her leadership opportunities, academic endeavors, and professional experiences to continue to promote positive social change.
Martin is the 2018 Open Innovation Fellow at the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale, where he will lead the development of the Yale Open Innovation Lab. He is also a research associate at the Yale department of Electrical Engineering, and a research affiliate at the Digital Currency Initiative of the MIT Media Lab. Martin did his PhD at the Australian-German Climate & Energy College in the University of Melbourne, Australia and holds an undergraduate degree from The University of Southern California where he focused on Geo and Astrobiology. Thinking holistically about big picture sustainability and translating this into innovative entrepreneurial action is by far what he enjoys the most!
After his undergraduate studies he returned to Argentina, his home country, to start a social enterprise that provides products and services for the low-carbon transition. As an entrepreneur, Martin has developed projects in renewable energies for the built environment, biofuel projects for large agriculture farms, forest conservation initiatives, marketing and corporate social responsibility campaigns for multinationals and established a network of sustainable architecture to engage in social innovation. Prior to starting his PhD in Melbourne, he co-founded a startup on wellness living in New Zealand. If he is not thinking about the planet, new social startups and the evolution of humankind, he’d rather be on a surfboard, snowboard, kitesurf or wakeboard. He likes to communicate his ideas through graphic design and visual art. Learn more at martinwainstein.com
Dr. Margaret Cartiera is the Investment and Innovation Director for Yale’s Center for Biomedical Innovation and Technology (CBIT) and Yale New Haven Health’s Center for Health Innovation. She also serves as a Mentor in Residence at Tsai CITY. Margaret is passionate about healthcare innovation and building capacity in people and organizations.
After spending more than a decade in varied roles in management, investment, business development, regulatory affairs, and operations in different settings, Margaret has first-hand appreciation of the challenges involved in the innovation lifecycle, perspectives of the multiple stakeholders involved, and understanding of the current shifts in the healthcare landscape and where gaps exists.
Margaret earned her Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Yale University, where her studies focused on polymer drug delivery systems. She completed her Master of Science from the University of Pennsylvania in bioengineering with business coursework at the Wharton School, and received her B.S. in biomedical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
At Yale, Peter is a Mentor-in-Residence at Tsai CITY and an Executive Fellow at the Yale Center for Business and the Environment. This involves guest-lecturing on selected courses, helping accelerate social and environmental entrepreneurship across campus, offering career advice for students, and hosting a new Net Zero Action Group.
Outside Yale, Peter’s work spans strategy, marketing, climate change solutions and entrepreneurial opportunity. He recently moved from launch director and COO of the Carbon War Room to advising The B Team on their Net-Zero initiative leading up to COP21 in Paris, and is now focused on launching his own company Time4Good. Peter’s private sector experience includes more than 10 years with Virgin Group (including time as CEO of Virgin Mobile South Africa) and McKinsey & Co.; after graduating BA Hons. from Oxford University reading Philosophy, Politics & Economics.
In his hometown of Westport, CT he is a member of the board of trustees at Earthplace and serves on the town’s Green Task Force.
Ellen is the co-founder and CEO of Wellinks, a wearable medical device company, and handles product design, general operations, and fundraising. She graduated from Yale University and has a background in Product Design, Graphic Design, and Software UI/UX. She is passionate about human-centered design and healthcare and has applied HCD principles in the development of Wellinks, her past work as a UI/UX designer in startups, her work at the CEID, and past research human-machine interaction. As CEO of Wellinks, she has established and negotiated partnerships, built relationships with surgeons, researchers, and patient support groups, and pitched for and raised over $1 million in funding for Wellinks.
Ask her about:
- Product development
- Pitching and funding strategies
- Building stakeholder relationships
- Accounting/Finances/Other Operations questions
- Building a healthcare startup
Levi is a Mentor in Residence at CITY, where he provides guidance to startups and compiles resources for technology based startups. He grew up along the Mississippi gulf coast before attending Yale, where he received a B.S. in mechanical engineering. Levi is a co-founder and the CTO of Wellinks, a wearable medical device startup that has developed a sensor and software platform for the orthotic and prosthetic market. He had two major back surgeries as an adolescent that sparked a deep interest in the medical field and strongly influenced the direction of his career.
Ask Levi about:
-Hardware design and development
-Software architecture and implementation
-Launching a startup in the medical field
-FDA and HIPAA regulations
-Grant and award applications
Konstantine is an experienced early-stage entrepreneur and investor focused on proprietary IMPACT technologies. As an “Entrepreneurial Engineer,” he gravitates to technology companies within the software, med-tech and green-tech markets. He has led over 40 investments for LaunchCapital and the Pritzker Vlock Family Office to date and serves as a strategic adviser for many of his portfolio companies. He represents LaunchCapital as a board member on the following portfolio companies: Amastan Technologies, EpiEP, Biorez, TearSolutions, and Affinimark Technologies. Konstantine is actively involved in the incubation stage of the entrepreneurial ecosystem and serves as an adviser to CURE’s Bioscience Clubhouse, the Entrepreneurship Foundation and the Donaghue Foundation. He is also the chief strategy officer for Amastan. Before joining LaunchCapital, Mr. Drakonakis was the manager of new technology investments and infrastructure development at Connecticut Innovations. He holds a master's degree in environmental management from Yale and a bachelor's degree in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Vermont. He is a board certified Professional Engineer and is a member of the National Civil Engineering Honors Society.
Justin Freiberg joined West Campus in 2013 as the Yale West Campus Urban Farm and Sustainability Manager. He directs the development, design, and execution of the initiative to utilize Yale’s West Campus for large scale, land-based, and community-engaged applied research programs. This includes directing efforts at the Yale West Campus Urban Farm, which, like the rest of the campus, is used to spur innovations in through experimentation and collaboration. Justin also continues to support the work of the Yale Sustainable Food Program.
Justin’s background is in building environmental collaborations: he co-founded Encendia Biochar, as well as the Urban Foodshed Collaborative, both of which aimed to close material and social loops to create resilient, sustainable systems. Past work with the Wildlife Conservation Society, Added Value, and Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture has taught Justin to create programming that engages communities around the natural environment, food and farming, and entrepreneurship. Justin holds a Masters from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, an M.A. and B.A. in psychology from Wesleyan University, and a Certificate in Conservation Biology from Columbia University.
Sophie Janaskie is an Environmental Innovation Fellow who works with both the Yale Center for Business and the Environment and the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale. In this position, she works to advance Environmental Entrepreneurship across Yale’s campus via programming, coaching, and outreach. As an alumna of Yale College and the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, she is passionate about working closely with partners, leaders, and students to build meaningful innovation and entrepreneurship programs on Yale’s campus. Previously, Sophie served as a Fellow with Venture for America, a two-year program that provides intensive training for entrepreneurs committed to building impactful companies. During this time she worked at a Philadelphia-based greentech startup, where she led the development of their Customer Success and Operations departments.
Dr. Marquita Taylor is a Leadership Engineer and Researcher who conducts high quality in-depth qualitative and quantitative research in the areas of entrepreneurship and human development. In her current role, she is the Assistant Director for Innovation and Leadership Development at the Center for Public Service and Social Justice at Yale University. Her aptitude and academic excellence have resulted in her passion to lead and research, which has been fostered through the pursuit of a Doctorate in Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service, while obtaining a certificate in Race and Equity from the University of Pennsylvania. She earned her Master of Business Administration from in 2012 immediately after receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in Business and Management and Political Science.
She champions inclusivity and equity in education among diverse groups, particularly underserved populations and women. Moreover, her career objectives include inspiring and cultivating all to pursue socially responsible endeavors while building non-cognitive, entrepreneurial and leadership skills for the betterment of communities and personal outcomes. During her doctoral studies, she founded The Woman Doctor, a nonprofit in which she works to inspire women and girls to pursue higher education while building noncognitive, entrepreneurial and leadership skills- this year she will award her first academic scholarship. After several years in the corporate sector and within government agencies she became a Professor. She teaches in the School of Business at Concordia University, and has taught business at the University of California Los Angeles.
Baljeet Sandhu is a UK human rights attorney, a Visiting Fellow of the Information Society Project at the Yale Law School, and Innovator in Residence at the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale (CITY). Baljeet’s core interests span human rights, social innovation, and social and economic justice. She believes that the work of organizations tackling social problems needs radical reform and transformation, and has spoken widely on the need for inclusive and equitable opportunities for changemakers with direct lived experience of the social issues and injustices we collectively seek to tackle. She is an adviser to UK philanthropists, funders, and government departments, and is a founding partner of the 2027 Project, which is helping to diversify the UK philanthropic sector and bring community power into grant giving. As the founding director of the Migrant & Refugee Children’s Legal Unit (MiCLU) she developed pioneering strategic legal, policy and practice reform programs and spearheaded a wide range of national and global access to justice and legal education strategies to address the protection needs of vulnerable migrant children in the UK and EU. She was awarded UK Young Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year, is a UK Clore Social Leadership Fellow, a 2017 Yale World Fellow, and a fellow of the Vital Voices Female Global Leaders Partnership. In recognition of her work, she was honored with the DVF International Award during the Women in the World Conference at the United Nations in April 2017. This year at Tsai CITY, she has launched the Knowledge Equity Initiative (KEI), which will focus on how we can meaningfully and equitably value the knowledge gathered through lived experience to lead social change, innovation, and entrepreneurship. The KEI is a groundbreaking research, education, and practice hub seeking to share knowledge and learning, as well as build partnerships across local, national, and global communities.
Abdul-Rehman Malik is an award-winning journalist, educator, and cultural organizer. Currently a Postgraduate Associate at Yale University’s Council on Middle East Studies, he is also programs manager for the Radical Middle Way, which offers powerful, faith-inspired guidance and tools to enable change, combat exclusion and violence and promote social justice for all. Abdul-Rehman has pioneered platforms which champion the intersection of arts and social change, promote civic action and promote resilience to violence. He recently trained over 150 young civil society leaders in Indonesia to use the power of storytelling to bridge interfaith and intercultural divides against the backdrop of violence and discrimination as part of a Google.org funded initiative called Project Cerita.
Abdul-Rehman is a journalist for BBC Radio, offering contemporary perspectives on spirituality and presenting documentaries and programs for Radio 4, Radio 2 and the World Service. His recent documentary work includes the “The Muhammadan Bean: The Secret History of Islam and Coffee”. He also regularly presents the popular Pause for Thought segment on Radio 2 and Something Understood on Radio 4. In addition to providing curation and content guidance to a variety of cultural and literary institutions, Abdul-Rehman is also director of the Insight Film Festival, a unique year-round festival that celebrates the intersection between faith and film. He was creative advisor to English Touring Theatre’s acclaimed, radical reimagining of Othello in 2017. He continues to curate The Othello Project, a multidisciplinary festival of artistic responses to the production which tours the UK again in late 2018.
He was a 2017 Yale Greenberg World Fellow and is currently a Postgraduate Associate at Yale University's Council on Middle East Studies, where he is Outreach Coordinator 208 and is also undertaking a project on “rethinking” the field of Countering Violent Extremism. He is also the director of the Muslim Social Justice Leadership Lab being incubated at Yale’s Dwight Hall Center for Social Justice and Public Service. Abdul-Rehman also serves on the advisory board of the Said Foundation’s Amal Muslim Cultures & Arts program fund.
Laura Mitchell Tully loves connecting people and ideas. Prior to joining Tsai CITY, she led communications and public programs as part of the founding team of the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation, an interdisciplinary hub for design and emerging technology at UC Berkeley. Over the years, she’s been involved with organizations like SFMOMA and Harvard’s metaLAB and has worked on projects that range from exploring new ways of activating journalism archives to creating experimental publications about art and open data. Laura holds a B.A. in history from UCLA and an M.A. in public humanities from Brown.
Victor Padilla-Taylor is Director of Mentor, Advisor, and Partner Networks at Tsai CITY, where he works to build a support network for students interested in entrepreneurship and innovation at Yale University.
Previously, he was a Global Leadership Fellow at the World Economic Forum, where he brought together key decision-makers and experts from business and society to work in collaborative activities addressing the most crucial global issues, such as the provision of humanitarian aid and access to transportation in rural areas. Prior to joining the Forum, he held strategic positions for more than 10 years at trading firms in Latin America to optimize their worldwide operations and business development in a diverse range of industry verticals such as chemicals, agriculture and transportation.
Victor is a Master of Advanced Management graduate from Yale University. He holds an MBA from Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile and a Chemical and Industrial Engineering degree from his adopted country Guatemala, where he was captain for the Men's National Basketball Team. He has dabbled as a musician, a drama director, and blogger to bridge barriers between people from diverse backgrounds. A new resident to New Haven with his wife Maria and four children, he enjoys welcoming international students and scholars to Yale.
Abby Winslow is the Operations and Events Manager at Tsai CITY and as a relative newcomer to higher education, she is excited to lend her entrepreneurial skills to the center and Yale University as a whole. Abby is a long-time resident of the greatest small city in America (New Haven) and deeply passionate about the Yale-New Haven community. With 20 years of experience in the restaurant industry, she is entrenched in the local and national food scene and has helped open and operate more than 20 restaurants including Barcelona Restaurant in New Haven. After a stint in Johnson & Wales University’s Culinary Arts program, she studied Spanish and Women’s Studies at Southern Connecticut State University, furthered by Accounting at UConn, and speaks fluent Spanish as well as un petit peu de French