Miller Center Team
Spencer brings energy and passion everywhere he goes, and he goes nearly everywhere. He is committed to connecting people globally to impact lives both now and in the future, inspiring the next generation to change the world. With a background in the U.S. Air Force and a heart for bringing out the best in others, Spencer walks a life dedicated to the planet and its people. His degrees from Macquarie University (in Sydney, Australia), extensive experience overseas, and values based in Jesuit traditions of educating the whole person take part in all that Spencer does. Students, colleagues and social entrepreneurs around the globe link with Spencer, the “global connector.”
What Drives Spencer’s Passion?
Fostering change through human connection.
Director, Impact Investing
Mark’s background includes leadership positions in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. He has over 20 years of experience in the investment management industry, including 10 years at Nicholas-Applegate Capital Management (NACM), a global investment management firm with $60B in assets under management. At NACM, Mark was a Partner and Member of the Management Committee, he led business units and was Lead Portfolio Manager for both traditional equity and alternative hedge fund investment strategies. During his time at NACM, Mark also raised substantial investment capital as Head of Global Marketing. NACM has since been purchased by Allianz Global Advisors. Mark went on to found Vigilant Partners, a consulting firm servicing investment managers and nonprofits in strategic planning, organizational development, and revenue generation. Most recently, he held executive director, institutional advancement, and investment committee responsibilities for of an international nonprofit. Mark began his career with IBM. He earned his Juris Doctorate (J.D.) from Loyola Law School; his B.S. in Biology from Loyola Marymount University; and his B.A. in Psychology from Loyola Marymount University. Mark completed graduate coursework at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, specializing in environmental studies and displaced populations.
Director, Finance and Administration
Mary started her career in the High Tech Industry working for Tandem Computers, Madge Networks, SGI, and Cisco as a Financial Controller and Analyst. She moved to Johnson & Johnson and prepared Budget and Variance Analyses for various Clinical Trials, assisting with Project Management. For the past 5 years, she provided Financial support to the Dean of the School of Psychology at Alliant International University in San Francisco. She has a BS in Graphic Communications from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo and received her MBA in Corporate Finance from Golden Gate University. Mary and her husband love their two cats, Ghost & Inky, and travel to Europe and the South Pacific.
Program Manager, GSBI
Marie Haller is a skilled connector and program manager with an extensive background in a variety of education-focused roles. Before joining GSBI, she built and ran social entrepreneur education programs at Impact Hub San Francisco. Previously, Marie managed an undergraduate international business program in Boston, MA while getting her Master's degree in Education from Northeastern University. In addition to her day job, Marie helps lead the Bad Ass Women Entrepreneur's group and enjoys any type of spontaneous adventure that comes her way.
David is Miller Center’s fundraising liaison from the university. He is focused on developing resources and relationships for Miller Center. David served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uganda and as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer in the Republic of Georgia where he worked with the School of Management at Batumi State University. David has also served as a management consultant for the Romanian government in partnership with Oxford Brookes University. In addition to his international development experience, David has a background in fundraising and corporate operations. David holds an MS in Organizational Development from University of San Francisco and volunteers as a fundraising adviser with local non-profits, including New Creation Home in East Palo Alto.
Associate Director of Replication, GSBI
As Associate Director of Replication, Neal is focused on advancing social entrepreneurship by developing new opportunities with partners, experimenting with project design, and looking for ways to scale impact. He has extensive experience working on economic development projects and finding sustainable solutions to pressing social challenges across sectors and geographies. Among his past roles, he has led a venture providing technical assistance and middle management training to agribusinesses throughout Ghana, worked on major post-Katrina development projects in New Orleans, and researched entrepreneurship and social innovation in London. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and holds an MSc in Global Economics and Politics from the London School of Economics.
Executive Fellow and Director, Impact Capital
For the past several years, John has been Director of Impact Capital at Santa Clara’s Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship and has also been a mentor to social entrepreneurs at the Global Social Benefit Accelerator. In 2011 he authored a report on impact investing entitled Coordinating Impact Capital: a New Approach to Investing in Small and Growing Businesses and recently co-authored a chapter on equity investing in New Frontiers of Philanthropy (Oxford Press-2014). He is now pioneering a new investment vehicle – the Demand Dividend - that presents investors with a ‘structured exit’ alternative to equity. In addition, he is co-founder and Director of Toniic, a syndication network of impact investors. John manages investments through Redleaf Venture Management, a venture capital operating company founded in 1993. John's earlier background includes twenty years of executive level positions at Hewlett Packard, Silicon Graphics, Convergent Technologies and Unisys. He was one of the founding executives at Netscape Communications. He led investments at AdRelevance (JMXI), Mosaic Communications (TWX), NetGravity (DCLK), RedCreek Communications (SNWL), and Wireless Online. John serves as a board member at PACT, an NGO based in Washington D.C. He received his bachelor’s degree concentrating in international economics from UCLA and completed executive programs at Wharton and Stanford business schools. Over the last 15 years, he was a managing member of the UCLA Venture Capital Fund and still serves on the UCLA Sciences Board of Visitors. Other recent advisory committees include the World Economic Forum, and HUB Ventures. He is a nationally accredited soccer coach, an avid skier and sailor.
Director of Business Development
Kevin has over 15 years experience in various roles in operations, R&D, sales, and marketing within the telecommunications industry. Most recently, he has held senior leadership positions in Product Line Management, focusing on cross-functional team leadership and working closely with customers, vendors, and technology partners to bring successful products to market. Now as Director of Business Development of Miller Center, Kevin is focused on establishing and leveraging partnerships with businesses, foundations, and other mission-aligned organizations to multiply the impact of Miller Center. In addition, Kevin has served as a mentor with GSBI since 2012, working with social entrepreneurs to help them improve their business models, acquire funding, and scale their businesses. Kevin holds an MBA from Santa Clara University with a dual emphasis in Managing Technology and Innovation and in Leading People and Organizations. He also earned a bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from Arizona State University.
Executive Director, Howard & Alida Charney University Professor
Thane has served as Executive Director of Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University since 2010, where he is also Howard & Alida Charney University Professor of Science and Technology for Social Benefit. Thane was previously Founder, President, and CEO of PhyloTech, Inc. (now Second Genome) as well as Founder, President, and CEO of Presage Biosciences, Inc. Thane was the start-up President and CEO for iZumi Bio, Inc. (now iPierian). Prior to his efforts as a "parallel entrepreneur", Thane spent 14 years in senior leadership roles at Affymetrix, Inc. Thane currently serves on the Board of Directors for the BioBricks Foundation and as a Board member for Didimi, Inc.. Thane earned his MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business; his Ph.D. in Neurosciences from Stanford University School of Medicine; and his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Texas, Austin.
Director of New Programs, GSBI
Andy's passion is to apply his background in education, international development, and technology to advancing the field of social entrepreneurship. As Director of New Programs, he has developed strategy, curriculum, and partnerships for numerous Miller Center initiatives.
Before joining Miller Center in 2008, Andy lived in Guatemala for many years, pioneering efforts to bring educational technology to rural indigenous communities and founding the NGO, Ajb'atz' Enlace Quiche. His work received awards from the United Nations’ World Summit on the Information Society and The Tech Awards, and he participated in the Global Social Benefit Incubator in 2005.
Andy has a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from U.C. Berkeley, a M.S. degree in Education from Capella University, and did coursework in the Social Leaders program at the Tecnológico de Monterrey. He is also on the teaching faculty of the Master’s in Social Impact program at Claremont-Lincoln University.
Mentor Network Director
Alex has been on the founding team of multiple startups and a veteran in data communications and media technologies. Alex has seen all sides of the entrepreneurship experience including, raising capital, building a company from scratch and acquisition by Microsoft, Creative Labs and others public companies.
At Microsoft he was the Director of Wireless, Broadband and Consumer Electronics in Microsoft’s Digital Media Division where he drove Microsoft’s success in the ubiquitous adoption of Windows Media into the consumer electronics, wireless and broadband ecosystems.
Alex holds several patents in digital signal processing, user interface elements, and media technologies. He studied electrical engineering at Drexel University, where he left to form his first startup and holds an MBA from Santa Clara University. He serves as an executive mentor at the SCU Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship and is an executive advisor to several early stage startups.
Alumni Engagement Program Manager, GSBI
Alex is an experienced program manager with a background in building the ecosystem that supports social enterprises in emerging markets. Before joining Miller Center, Alex worked for the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) where he coordinated ANDE’s global network of regional chapters, facilitated collaboration and knowledge sharing among ANDE’s 240+ members, and led ANDE’s efforts around talent and invention-based businesses. Before joining ANDE, Alex worked for several international development NGOs in China, India, and Uganda. Alex has also worked for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy where he assisted in the development of their impact investing policy. Alex holds an M.A. in International Science and Technology Policy from George Washington University and earned his B.A. from Colby College where he studied International Development and East Asian Studies.
Chief Innovation Officer
Pamela Roussos has worked with and for early stage software companies as a business and marketing strategy leader, helping founders create, refine, and execute their business strategy and go-to-market plans. She has over 20 years of experience growing teams and delivering products for both large and start-up software companies, working in various managerial capacities as business unit manager, vice president of marketing, COO and CEO. Some of the companies Pamela has worked with include: Amdahl, Pure Software, Rational Software, 555-1212.com, Consera, Zend, and AppFirst. Pamela has been a mentor for the GSBI for 5 years. She also serves on the board of Pact, an international NGO that benefits communities by promoting healthy lifestyles, decent livelihoods, and sustainable natural resources. Pamela also serves as board chair for Livelyhoods, an organization that creates jobs for youth in slums.
Program Manager, GSBI
Before joining Miller Center, Karen Runde worked for Responsible Sourcing Network (RSN), a project of the larger non-profit organization, As You Sow. At RSN she worked to help end human rights abuses and forced labor associated with the raw materials found in everyday products. Her work includes policy analysis and company outreach of human rights and raw commodity sourcing of Uzbek cotton and conflict minerals. Karen attended Roskilde University in Denmark and Lund University in Sweden, earning two MS degrees in Technological & Socio-Economic Planning and Environmental Studies & Sustainability Science. Her thesis work brought her to the highlands of Vietnam where she researched community forest management and biomass energy alternatives for rural villages living off the grid. She also holds a BA from UCLA. When she’s not working, you can find Karen at Pure Barre, where she is a certified instructor or at CrossFit where she enjoys working out with her husband.
Chief Operations Officer
Cassandra Staff (formerly Cassandra Thomassin) was raised in a home in East San Jose and on a boat in Baja California and the Pacific Northwest. An appreciation for diversity and global communities was planted at an early age between her travels to visit family in Malaysia, living in Mexico, and attending some of the most culturally diverse schools in the country. Cassandra has been with the Miller Center since 2010, when she first learned about social entrepreneurship through Santa Clara University's MBA program. There, she was able to combine her business training with her passion for doing good and supporting the under privileged and under resourced around the world. Through her work with Miller Center, she has had the honor of working with over 100 social entrepreneurs directly through GSBI programs. She hopes it will be at least 1,000 before her 10-year anniversary. Between work hours, Cassandra plays volleyball, cooks vegetarian food for friends and family, goes to live shows, and spends time with her dogs, chickens, and wonderful family.
Associate Director of Education and Action Research
Michelle teaches social innovation and entrepreneurship at SCU, and serves as the associate director of education at the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, where she designs curriculum and mentors Global Social Benefit Fellows. Michelle created the world’s first Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)-accredited major in social entrepreneurship and is a founding coach for Ashoka U Commons. Her research focuses on nonprofit sustainability, benefit corporations, and social entrepreneurship in the U.S. and developing world. Michelle holds a Ph.D. in American History and a juris doctorate from the University of Toledo, and is a member of the Ohio bar. Michelle earned her master’s of divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary and studied at Princeton Theological Seminary; she is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church USA and has served churches for 18 years. For her entire professional life, Michelle has worked with changemaker students who have the passion to solve the world’s most pressing problems.
Assistant Director of Digital Marketing
Jennifer Curry (formerly Jennifer Trayan) is a marketing and communications professional specializing in digital marketing and social media strategy. She most recently comes from the Eurest team at Microsoft Marketing as the Field Site Marketing Manager for Microsoft Dining. She graduated from Texas State University in 2010 with a degree in Mass Communication focusing on advertising. At Miller Center, Jennifer is responsible for all things digital marketing, including the social media, website, and video storytelling. She is a self-proclaimed "foodie", an avid runner, and she loves spending time with her husband and two dogs.
Director, Education and Action Research
Keith Douglass Warner, OFM directs Miller Center's education, fellowship, grants and action research activities. He is a practical social ethicist in the Franciscan tradition. He has designed and implemented innovative, inter-disciplinary educational programs that advance social justice and Catholic identity in higher education since he came to Santa Clara in 2004. He directs the Global Social Benefit Fellowship, which provides a comprehensive program of mentored, field-based study and research for SCU juniors within the Center's worldwide network of social entrepreneurs. With Thane Kreiner he designed the fellowship and wrote the grant that funds it. He also teaches in the Honors Program, School of Engineering, and Religious Studies Department. Keith is an active participant in the retrieval of the Franciscan Intellectual Tradition, and on the Board of Regents at the Franciscan School of Theology. His personal research webpage is www.scu.edu/kwarner. PhD: Environmental Studies, UC Santa Cruz, 2004. MA: Theology, Franciscan School of Theology/GTU, 1996. BA: Geography and Environmental Studies, San Francisco State University, 1991.
Geoff Desa is an assistant professor of management in the College of Business at San Francisco State University. He is a member of the Sustainability Group within the College of Business and teaches business & society, strategic management, and social entrepreneurship. Geoff's research examines resource mobilization and venture development in the technology and social entrepreneurship sector. He earned his Ph.D. in business from the University of Washington in Seattle with emphases in technology entrepreneurship, strategic management, and public affairs. Prior to that, Geoff worked at Novera Optics and at Hewlett Packard as an optical engineer. He earned his M.S in electrical engineering from Stanford University. He is on the board of the Common Data Project, a technology social venture engaged in information technology privacy.
As a Executive Fellow, Dr. Hammond focused on the GSBI's strategy. He has published extensively in the scientific and policy research literature; has lectured widely; and has served as a consultant to the White House science office, to several U.S. federal agencies, to the United Nations, and to several private foundations. He is also on the senior leadership team of Ashoka, where he is focusing on health care and rural connectivity sector development. Dr. Hammond holds degrees from Stanford University and Harvard University in engineering and applied mathematics.
James L. Koch
Dr. James L. Koch is the Don C. Dodson Distinguished Service Professor of Management at Santa Clara University and Founder of the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship (formerly Center for Science, Technology, and Society). Professor Koch’s research focuses on technology and business model innovation for social progress, with an emphasis on underserved markets. His scholarly work appears in Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Vocational Behavior, Journal of Social Entrepreneurship, California Management Review, and Journal of Applied Behavioral Science. Professor Koch served as Dean of the Leavey School of Business from 1990-96, leading a school-wide transition to mission-based AACSB accreditation, growth of MBA enrollments to 1200 students, and a national ranking of its MBA Program (11th among part-time programs) by U.S, News and World Report. He founded the Miller Center (formerly Center for Science, Technology, and Society) in 1997 and in 2001 co-founded the Tech Awards—Technology Benefiting Humanity, an internationally acclaimed awards program that celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2016. Since 2005 a total of 2590 MBA students have taken Professor Koch’s course, Leadership for Justice and Prosperity, in which they develop candidates for the Tech Awards by analyzing the technology and business model innovations needed to take venture concepts to scale. In 2003 Professor Koch co-founded the Global Social Benefit Incubator with Pat Guerra and Al Bruno and served as its Executive Director of the GSBI from 2004 when it became a permanent offering until 2007 when he took time out to serve as Acting Dean of the School of Engineering. He returned in 2008 to provide leadership with Al Hammond of the GSBI sector strategy with a focus on innovation clusters in safe water and off-grid energy as well as to provide early leadership support for Thane Kreiner’s interest in developing the GSBI network. His current work focuses on systems thinking and pedagogical resources for extending work in the Miller Center to the teaching of social entrepreneurship to MBA and undergraduate students. With co-author Eric Carlson, he is writing a forthcoming book—Building Successful Social Ventures—which argues for a “bottom-up” approach to social innovation and incorporates best practices from the GSBI.
Through her social venture law practice, Barb works with social entrepreneurs, impact investors and corporations at the forefront of community led change. Barb has nearly 15 years experience as a “corporate generalist,” counseling leading Bay Area public and private companies primarily in tech and the financial services industries, institutional investors, and commercial lending institutions through global AMLAW 100 law firms (Bryan Cave, DLA Piper and Bingham McCutchen), through boutique firms and through her solo practice. Barb has worked in-house on a project basis and as outside general counsel on a range of business transactions including high dollar M&A, leveraged buyouts, debt and equity finance and general corporate matters. Barb represents social ventures and impact investors in formation, finance, governance, regulatory compliance, licensing. commercial transactions and general business matters. Currently Barb serves as Senior Corporate Counsel and Director of Singularity University, an organization focused on utilizing exponential technology to solve humanity’s grand challenges. Barb extends her impact in the social venture community by teaching and mentoring legal and business professionals. Barb is Adjunct Professor at Santa Clara University Law School, where she supervises students working with social entrepreneurs through the Entrepreneurs Law Clinic and the Low Income Tax Payers Clinic. Barb serves the Miller Center as a content expert for the GSBI accelerator, as a mentor with BOOST, GSBI online and the GSBI Accelerator, and as an Executive Fellow engaged in various legal and finance focused research initiatives.
Sangeeta is a social sector professional with deep policy research and programmatic experience in sustainable international development projects. She has worked as a project manager, policy researcher, and consultant for think tanks, nonprofit organizations, and academia in India and the US, and for clients ranging from the World Bank and United Nations Development Program to Coca Cola India and TechSoup Global. A socio-economist by training - Sangeeta has a PhD in Economics from the University of Mumbai, and she wrote her dissertation on environmentally sustainable development - she enjoys integrating multiple stakeholder perspectives into her programmatic work. Sangeeta has published and peer-reviewed articles on cross-sector sustainability issues, and is very excited about exploring impact opportunities in the social entrepreneur space at the Miller Center.
Currently, Rob is a Managing Director, founder, and Leader of PwC’s Global Financial Services Innovation Center. Over his career, Rob has been a leader in the design, implementation, and operation of over 25 leading edge innovation incubators, accelerators, and venture operations for global organizations in the US, Europe, China, and Japan. Rob co-authored Making Innovation Work. The book is in its second publication, 13th printing, and has been translated into 10 languages. Rob co-edited a three-volume book, The Creative Enterprise that integrates insights from the fields of management, economics, technology, psychology, and sociology to cover the spectrum across individual and organizational innovation and change management. Rob sits on the Advisory Board of Points of Light Civic Accelerator, the first accelerator program in the country focused on civic ventures. Rob is co-founder of a leading cleantech incubator in Silicon Valley selected as Best Business Incubator and one of the Ten Top Incubators (Forbes). Rob was designated an Innovation Champion by the World Economic Forum and an invited speaker at Summer Davos, House of Commons, Stanford University, University of California, USC, MIT Media Labs, and Carnegie Mellon University Silicon Valley. Rob’s work has been highlighted in Bloomberg BusinessWeek, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Forbes Japan, Financial Times, strategy+business, CNN Financial News, Fast Company, Bloomberg Radio, and National Public Radio.