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Peter Gardner

Peter Gardner, Founder & CEO, Startgrid

Peter has been in the startup community for more than 20 years, initially as a venture capital investor helping early stage entrepreneurs build their businesses. More recently Peter founded Startgrid, a company that provides a software platform for managing global startup networks. Startgrid’s platform is used by some of the world’s largest enterprises to connect with global innovators and deliver solutions to internal product and R&D teams. Peter has an M.B.A. from UCLA and undergraduate degrees in Biology and Environmental Science from Tufts University. He has advised PATH on applying venture capital to the development of technology that meets the health needs of underserved populations in the developing world. He also served for six years on the Advisory Board for the Miller Center.


Allen Hammond

As an Executive Fellow, Dr. Hammond is focused on the GSBI's strategy. He has published extensively in 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 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 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.



Jitendra is passionate about applying Machine Learning and Data Science approaches to drive insights and make better decisions.  He is deeply curious about tapping the human potential to solve the planet’s key problems.  His first startup Infonics Software (renamed EasyLib) continues to provide software to educational institutions.  His second venture Broman Wireless developed its own VoIP chip and the solution sold very well in the Philippines and in India.  His latest startup CollaMeta is striving to help Manufacturers to apply Machine Learning to dramatically improve productivity, solve complex problems and amplify workers’ innovation. 

Jitendra has trained with Prof. Michael Ray to teach Creativity in Business, a famed Stanford Business School course that Jim Collins took as an MBA student, and said it completely changed his life.  Jitendra proudly credits his alma mater, the Santa Clara University (especially Prof. Eric Carlson) for his love of social ventures.  As an Executive Fellow, Jitendra is focusing on the Data Science and Machine Learning strategy and its execution for the Miller Center and its ecosystem.  An engineer at heart, he ponders a lot about the nexus of logic and intuition, and how much can be achieved by Artificial Intelligence.



Peter O’Riordan

Peter O’Riordan has 30 years of hardware, software, and management experience in the Telecommunications and Networking sector. Most recently he was a VP at Cisco where he headed up a business unit responsible for a $1.4B product line. Peter was at Cisco for 19 years, working on a range of Data Center hardware and software products. Prior to Cisco, Peter worked at Octel Communications and at ROLM corporation.

Since leaving Cisco, Peter has worked as an Encore Fellow at Breakthrough Silicon Valley where he also held a role as Interim Executive Director. Peter is currently engaged in piloting a possible new Encore offering–Encore Coaching.

Peter is originally from Ireland, and holds a BSEE from the National University of Ireland at Dublin (better known as UCD) and a MSEE from UC Berkeley.

As an Executive Fellow, Peter's focus is on leveraging the power of social enterprise to address climate change. He is supporting the design, development, and implementation of the new Energy Access Affinity Group, about to debut as part of GSBI in 2019. This work includes developing energy access-specific training materials for both mentors and entrepreneurs that complement standard Miller Center curriculum. 


Rob Shelton

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.



Karen Tilstra, Ph.D., wants to live in a world where work is fast, people are free, and chocolate is devoid of calories; but, in the meantime she has co-founded the award-winning Florida Hospital Innovation Lab (FHIL), renowned as one of Florida Hospital’s most transformational initiatives.

One year after launching FHIL, Karen became the consulting founder of the Orlando Magic's Innovation Lab, as well as a co-designer of the nation's first undergraduate degree in Social Entrepreneurship and Business at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. In 2016, she designed San Diego State University’s Idea Lab.

Karen holds a Ph.D. degree in Innovation and Creative Leadership. Her competencies include developing creative leaders, along with creating innovative experiences for business professionals, university professors, and students seeking to learn how to remain relevant in disruptive times.

Karen’s focus at Miller Center includes the development and distribution of human-centered design thinking curriculum to social enterprises around the world, as well as the creation of Santa Clara University’s innovation lab.

A licensed Educational Psychologist, Karen ran a private practice for more than 10 years. She has also published in both academic journals and children's literature.

Watch Karen Tilstra: Two words that can change the world: Yes, and (TEDxOrlando); Why I Created an Innovation Lab (TEDxLaSierraUniversity)


Steven White

Steve has been a GSBI mentor for eight years, working with more than 20 social entrepreneurs including Nazava, a Tech Awards laureate and Eco-Fuel Africa, winner of the Verizon Powerful Answers Award.  Steve served as the GSBI Mentor Network Director from 2014 through 2016.  He helped create the GSBI Boost program and enhanced the curriculum for the Online and Accelerator programs. 

Prior to Miller Center, Steve was the CEO and member of the Board of Directors of Svaya Nanotechnologies, a venture-backed company developing nano-structured thin films and surface engineering solutions and an entrepreneur-in-residence at Sigma Partners. Steve founded 0-In Design Automation (pronounced “zero-in”) in 1996 and served as the company’s President and CEO and as a member of the Board of Directors. 0-In was acquired by Mentor Graphics in 2004. In 1987 Steve founded Logic Modeling and served as the company’s Vice President of Operations. The company grew rapidly and was purchased out of IPO registration by Synopsys in 1993. Steve joined Valid Logic Systems in 1982 and served as Vice President of Manufacturing. The company had a successful IPO in 1984. 


Banner photo courtesy of thethirdhalf