mentors & judges

Each team gets the opportunity to work with trained professional mentors with deep experience in coaching and entrepreneurship.

Talia Fox

Affiliation: Georgetown University

Talia Fox is the CEO of KUSI Training, a global transformational leadership development firm. She graduated as a Harvard University fellow who continues to support Harvard faculty and leadership with communication, diversity, and leadership strategies. She is also a leadership coach and strategist for Harvard fellows across the university.
Talia has transformed hundreds of thousands of executives over the last twelve years and has developed leaders at all levels for major corporations. She has been working side-by-side with government, industry, and educational leaders to study and test leadership teaching approaches that support extraordinary success and advancement.

Mike Malloy

Affiliation: Georgetown University

Mike Malloy is the Program Director at the Halcyon Incubator, which supports early-stage social entrepreneurs from around the world. Prof. Malloy teaches Social Entrepreneurship at Georgetown University, where he also serves as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence to advise undergraduate and graduate students on startup ideas. He has 12+ years of professional experience as a Deloitte management consultant and social enterprise sunglasses company CEO.

Barbara White

Affiliation: Georgetown University

Barb has spent her 25-year career helping Fortune 500 companies, Government Agencies, start-ups, and C-Level executives design and execute transformational change programs centered on strategy, organizational effectiveness, and innovative capabilities. In 2019, she founded The Avoka Group, a consulting firm focused on applying the same innovative approaches to help individuals design and execute a personal strategy to navigate their own transformational change.
Prior to founding The Avoka Group, she spent 12 years with Accenture serving clients across financial services, healthcare, and government before joining a Washington-based start-up firm. As Chief Strategy Officer of Arc Aspicio, she was responsible for planning and delivering the firm’s multi-year strategy that helped grow it into a profitable and sustainable organization that attracted entrepreneurial employees and built a strong reputation through innovative capabilities and outstanding service. During her tenure, the company won numerous awards for rapid growth, innovation, and a strong company culture.
In addition to being an EiR at Georgetown, she serves a similar role for The Johns Hopkins University where she provides expertise, thought leadership, mentoring, and coaching to students and alumni to advance their entrepreneurial capabilities.
Barb is a graduate of The Johns Hopkins University with advanced training in strategy, leadership, and coaching from the University of Pennsylvania, MIT, and Case Western Reserve University. She lives with her husband in Washington, DC and Annapolis, MD and dedicates her time to several local charities.

Khuram Zaman

Affiliation: Georgetown University

Khuram Zaman is the CEO of Fifth Tribe, a leading digital agency serving the Washington DC Metropolitan Area based out of the 1776 Startup Co-working Space. In his professional capacity, he has provided digital marketing services to clients as diverse as the Department of Defense, Kaiser Permanente, Oxfam America, Ernst and Young, and The Hult Prize. His writing has been featured in Forbes,, and Business2Community. Khuram is the host of the Campfire: Impact and Innovation live podcast on Youtube. In his free-time, Khuram serves as a mentor to startups through the Peace Tech Accelerator, the Halcyon Incubator, and is also an Entrepreneur in Residence at Georgetown University.

Brooke Smith

Affiliation: University of Maryland

Brooke Smith engages learners in innovation and entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland and beyond through human-centered courses, workshops, and programs. She creates and facilitates design thinking and lean startup experiences for UMD students, faculty, and staff along with public and private sector partners including the Department of Health and Human Services, NASA, USDA, and local non-profits to empower learners to become creative problem solvers.

Howard Eisenberg

Affiliation: Georgetown University

Howard is founder and President of EuroSort Inc. a provider of high speed sorters for retail and postal distribution centers, and is founder and former President of United Sortation Solutions (USS), an engineering/manufacturing company that designs, manufactures, and installs automated material handling equipment for e-commerce and retail distribution customers.  Both companies were acquired in 2016 and Howard recently exited USS.
In Howard’s high school yearbook his motto was “only those that attempt the absurd can achieve the impossible.”  This sentiment has guided him throughout his career as he has been involved in new ventures within large companies and startup companies throughout his career.  Howard started his career as a mechanical engineer and advanced through positions of varying responsibility including New Product Development, Manufacturing, Operations, and Project Management throughout North America in a wide range of industries including electric vehicles, postal automation, and fiber optics. As Howard’s experience has been at both small and large companies, as an employee and as an owner, at successful and unsuccessful ventures, across several industries, and in varying job responsibilities, Howard has a breadth of insight and knowledge to be helpful to a large range of startup opportunities. Howard has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Buffalo, an MS in Financial Management from Johns Hopkins University and an MS in Manufacturing Systems Engineering from Stanford University.  

Laura Clark

Affiliation: Georgetown University

Laura Clark is an experienced retail entrepreneur and communications executive. She founded Wylie Wagg, a regional retail chain in the pet industry, and was the company’s CEO until its acquisition by a large national retailer in late 2016. During her time with Wylie Wagg, she served on an advisory board for an international brand, was an industry research consultant, and acted as a frequent spokesperson in publications and on panels. Wylie Wagg won numerous awards and received extensive press, including coverage on CNN and a full page in the Washington Post.
Currently, Laura is heading up the launch of an organic pet food created by the founder of Cisco Systems and Urban Decay. Prior to Wylie Wagg, Laura worked with both Fortune 500 and global start-up companies, specializing in navigating the internal and external communications challenges of mergers, acquisitions, and IPO’s. Laura has a BA in Communications from Wake Forest University. She and her husband live in Middleburg, VA.

Clare Burnham

Affiliation: Georgetown University

Clare is equal parts strategist and operator, with expertise driving strategic innovation and new business growth across consumer brands. She has a decade of experience leading large-scale initiatives for major brands, including Abercrombie & Fitch, lululemon athletica, Amazon, Starbucks, Marriott International and, most recently, DoorDash. In her current role at DoorDash, she is leading the expansion of the same-day retail delivery business, working with major retail brands across the globe to evolve their delivery services, enabling them to offer more products faster than ever before. In her free time, Clare serves as a part-time startup mentor for entrepreneurship programs through Georgetown University and runs a pro bono virtual wellness platform where she creates fitness content for a member-base of 60+ users around the world.

Troye Bullock

Affiliation: Georgetown University

Troye is the Founder and CEO of TB Global Impact Strategies, a consulting firm that works with corporations and large scale institutions to create, launch, and magnify their ESG, CSR, and social impact goals while elevating their brand. TB Global Impact Strategies also works with start up to expansion stage businesses on web design, marketing, and operational strategies. Troye currently works with Brevan Howard Asset Management, a leading global macro strategy hedge fund in the investor relations and business development departments. Previously, Troye co-founded GOODProjects and GOODPartners which became nationally known social impact brands based out of Washington D.C. Troye acted as the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Marketing Officer in his tenure with GOOD. Under his leadership, GOOD impacted over 3,000 families in Washington D.C. while working with local governments and nationally known brands to execute social impact projects throughout the country. Troye graduated from Georgetown University with his BA in Sociology in 2016 and has been an Entrepreneur in Residence at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business since 2019.

Le-Marie V.J. Thompson

Affiliation: University of Maryland

Le-Marie V.J. Thompson is an entrepreneur, educator and technologist looking to make the world a better place one innovation at a time. She spends a good bit of her energies advocating for women and girls in STEM, tech for good and STEM education among the underserved.
Le-Marie is the Founder and CEO of Nettadona, and was selected by Fast Company magazine as one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business and Social Good. She has over ten years of experience with global 100 telecom companies and 5 years experience with innovative education programs. She holds an M.A. in Communication, Culture and Technology from Georgetown University and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland.

Cedric Nwafor

Affiliation: University of Maryland

A passion for agriculture and its people drives Cedric Nwafor, a social entrepreneur and speaker who has organized, facilitated, and spoken at numerous events worldwide. He is the founder of various initiatives and organizations, including ROOTS Africa, whose mission is to combat hunger and poverty by engaging students and connecting expertise to farming communities in Africa. Cedric is an agricultural evangelist, engaging African youth in civic affairs in both cities and rural communities. He believes that engaging the young generations in agriculture is vital to the future of the African continent and the socio-economic well-being of its peoples. Cedric previously served as a Managing Partner of the Afrika Youth Movement, leading its five strategic committees, and as a Mentor and Advocate for StreetwisePartners, an organization supporting low-income populations. He was a 2016nominee for the African Youth in Agriculture Award and commencement speaker at his graduation from the University of Maryland's College of Agriculture &Natural Resources with a BA in Agriculture and Resource Economics with a focus on Entrepreneurship. He has co-created and instructed a Global Agriculture course at UMD and is now managing the Agriculture Innovation Program (AgEnterprise)for the university. He is currently enrolled in a Non-Profit Leadership graduate program in the School of Public Policy, he is also a Do GoodAccelerator Fellow and an Academy for Innovation Fellow. Cedric, who was born and raised in Cameroon, immigrated to the United States in 2010 and now resides in suburban Washington, DC.

Sarah Ajani

Sarah Ajani is an Innovation Strategist & Consultant, partnering with corporations and startups to apply Design Thinking/Agile frameworks to discover new digital products. She has 9 years' experience as a digital product manager and strategist at Fortune 500 companies and startups like Intuit, Capital One, and SessionM by Mastercard. She has led 9 cross-functional teams to design, develop, deliver cutting-edge technologies in-market. She brings a track record of having transformed 10 multi-channel experiences across industries like Finance, Healthcare, Human Resources, Retail. Sarah is a 2x entrepreneur; she launched a dance design company in 2019 and is currently growing her innovation consultancy, applying Design Thinking to define and evolve her business offerings.


Teams compete for prizes during a Shark Tank style competition at the end of the program, judged by entrepreneurs and experts.

Michael O’Neil

Affiliation: Georgetown University

Following treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Michael O’Neil emerged humbled and to finish the graduate studies interrupted unexpectedly by cancer. Steering the final year of his J.D./M.B.A. program from business plan to life mission, Michael established GetWellNetwork® to tackle an unaddressed problem in healthcare: educating, engaging and empowering patients and families to take control of their healthcare journeys. Today, he leads the global digital health company as founder and CEO. Two decades later, GetWellNetwork has given millions of patients around the world a voice in their own care. In 2014, he founded the O’Neil Center, a think tank and research institute. With GetWellNetwork, Michael raised three rounds of venture capital and closed two private equity transactions totaling over $500 million. Michael has served on many boards and In 2019, he was named an Aspen Institute Health Innovators Fellow and received The Global Good Fund’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year award and Georgetown Entrepreneurial Alliance’s Social Impact award.

Alyssa Lovegrove

Affiliation: Georgetown University

Alyssa is the Academic Director of the Georgetown Pivot Program and a Professor of Entrepreneurship in the Georgetown McDonough MBA and Undergraduate programs. Prior to teaching, Alyssa worked for management consultants McKinsey & Company in the US and Europe, before becoming the co-Founder of the Great Little Trading Company Ltd, a UK-based children’s retailer. Upon returning to the US, she launched New Venture Mentors, a platform to support aspiring entrepreneurs from underserved economic communities. She now serves as an advisor to a number of startup companies and local non-profits.

Jeff Reid

Affiliation: Georgetown University

Mr. Reid Founding Director of the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative & Professor of the Practice of Entrepreneurship at McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University
Jeff Reid is a catalyst for entrepreneurship and well known leader in entrepreneurship education, currently serving as Senior Vice President United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship.  In 2009, Reid launched the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative to catalyze entrepreneurial thinking and activities across Georgetown University and impact the growing DC startup community.  Both Reid and the Initiative have been recognized in recent years by the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers (Leadership Award, 2012), Washingtonian Magazine (“Tech Titan,” 2015 and 2017) and DC Inno (“50 On Fire,” 2013).  
Earlier in his career, Reid founded UNC-Chapel Hill’s Center for Entrepreneurship and grew it from inception to a No. 1 national ranking by Forbes and Princeton Review and was chosen by his peers and Entrepreneur magazine as one of the top five entrepreneurship center directors in the United States.  Before coming to Georgetown, Reid held leadership roles at NFTE and DLA

Illysa Isenberg

Affiliation: Johns Hopkins University

Illysa Izenberg is a faculty member at The Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering in the Entrepreneurship and Management and Business programs. She began teaching in 2006, teaches both undergraduate and graduate students, and specializes in management practice and business ethics. Prior to her teaching career, Izenberg worked in “Corporate America” and as a strategy and management consultant and executive coach where she helped leaders and managers communicate effectively, coach employees for sustained superior performance, work productively in face-to-face and virtual teams, overcome conflict, and manage projects. In 2016, she was awarded the JHU Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award and in 2020, the Pond Excellence in Teaching Award and is a graduate of Harvard Business School.

Lisa Friedlander

Lisa Friedlander is an attorney, entrepreneur, mentor, and angel investor. After practicing corporate and telecommunications law for 15+ years in both large and small firms, as well as serving in a VP General Counsel role for a satellite telecom company, she co-founded Activity Rocket in 2013. Activity Rocket was an aggregated marketplace for kids’ activities and summer camps. Lisa led the company as CEO. Thrively, a west coast edtech company, acquired Activity Rocket in 2017. Lisa joined Shulman Rogers to help launch and grow the NEXT Platform for startups and emerging growth companies as well as to support the Business Services Group. Lisa is a mentor and speaker for a variety of entrepreneurship and investment groups, and sits on the advisory board for several startups. Lisa is also a founding member and on the Board of Directors for Citrine Angels, a women investing in women angel group in the DC Metro Area, and Main Street, an inclusive living community in Rockville, MD. Lisa also founded 2 organizations that raise money for Children’s National Medical Center – The Heartsongs Luncheon Fund (2001) and Teens with Heartsongs (2020) – together these organizations have raised over $2 million for Children’s Hospital.