Board and advisors
Board of directors
Raj L. GollamudiChair
Raj Gollamudi joined Intel Capital in 2013 and focuses on investments in the mobility sectors. Previously, he was an Investment Partner at Omidyar Network, an impact investing firm where he was responsible for mobile technology investments in emerging markets. Before joining Omidyar, Raj was a General Partner of BlueStream Ventures, a $300 million technology venture capital firm which he co-founded in 2000. Raj also spent five years as an equity research analyst at technology investment banking firms Thomas Weisel Partners and RBC Capital Markets, where he covered a range of software sectors. Raj began his career as a software developer at Sun Microsystems and was an early employee at Lucid, a venture-funded software startup. Raj has an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School, a Master's in Computer Science from Clemson University, and a Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering from BITS Pilani in India. Raj is Charter Member at TiE, a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship across the world. Raj has also served as a mentor at Santa Clara University’s Global Social Benefit Incubator.
Leetha Filderman is a skilled strategist intrigued by the power of collaboration as a tool for solving big global challenges.
Leetha serves as the President/COO of PopTech and is a principle architect of the PopTech Accelerator—an incubation platform that supports robust cross-sector collaborative projects. Under her leadership the Accelerator has successfully launched Project Masiluleke, a globally recognized program that employs mobile technology as a high impact, low-cost tool in the fight against HIV/AIDS and TB in South Africa. She is currently leading PeaceTXT, a collaboration of the world’s best technologists and social innovators that is exploring how mobile tools and text messaging can be used to stem violent behavior and enhance early warning systems to prevent the spread of violence in the US and abroad.
Leetha has a deep and diverse background in innovative program development and the use of mobile technology as a tool to scale innovative projects in a variety of challenging settings. In the 1980s and 90s she developed a number of initiatives that opened access to state-of-the art care for the urban poor suffering from HIV/AIDS, serving as the Administrative Director of the Yale-New Haven Hospital AIDS Program and research liaison for the Boston City Hospital AIDS Research Program. Leetha has been a guest lecturer at the Yale School of Medicine, addressed national and international conferences, and co-authored manuscripts and abstracts. She has advised and served on the boards of numerous organizations and agencies and been a peer reviewer of funding applications for government and non-government funding entities.
Kimberley has been a strong supporter and advocate of PopTech for the past 10 years, spearheading Lexus, Scion and Toyota's partnerships with the organization from 2005-2014. After 15 years with Toyota, and a short stint in the startup world, she recently joined Kia Motors America as their Director of Marketing Communications where she heads up the brand's advertising, media, digital/social and experiential marketing programs. Known for being an action-oriented visionary, Kimberley is looking forward to working with the Board to help PopTech grow its partner/sponsor programming.
Erik Hersman is an entrepreneur and technologist focused on advancing the use of technology in Africa. He is the CEO of BRCK a rugged wireless WiFi device designed and engineered in Kenya for use throughout the emerging markets. In 2010 he founded the iHub, Nairobi’s innovation hub for the technology community, bringing together entrepreneurs, hackers, designers and the investment community.
He is also a co-founder of Ushahidi, and has also established afrigadget.com and whiteafrican.com as key online communities promoting creative solutions entrepreneurship and development challenges across Africa. He is also a general partner in the Savannah Fund, and sits on the boards of Akirachix, Angani, the Kijabe Forest Trust, and the Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative (WPDI). You can find him on Twitter at @WhiteAfrican.
Alexandra Lee is the New Business Director at Redscout, a brand strategy and innovation agency dedicated to transforming the futures for ambitious brands and businesses.
Prior to joining Redscout, Alexandra was the Senior Vice President of Strategy and Partnerships for Crush & Lovely, a creative design and digital agency in NY. During her tenure, she established relationships with clients such as NPR, National Geographic Society, Neighborhood Centers Inc, and Tippet Rise Arts Center. Alexandra also spent four years leading online strategy and communications for Doctors Without Borders. She began her career spearheading fundraising and community outreach initiatives for education and arts non profits in the US and UK. Alexandra holds a degree in Political Science from Wellesley College, with additional coursework from the London School of Economics. She is a board member of the Friends of Art at the Davis Museum and advises education and public health non-profit organizations in New York and South Africa.
John Legend is a five-time Grammy-winner and multi-platinum singer, songwriter, and performer who has been heralded as one of the most striking, vital and important American musical artists to emerge in the 21st century.
Legend, who began playing piano at the age of 4, made his name primarily as an in-demand all-star studio session writer and musician, working with luminaries including Lauryn Hill, the Black Eyed Peas, Alicia Keys, Common and Kanye West. In 2005, Legend's critically-acclaimed debut album, "Get Lifted," helped him earn an astounding eight Grammy nominations – tying Mariah Carey and Kanye West for the most nominations for any individual artist or band that year – with the album selling more than three million copies worldwide. In 2006, John’s second release, "Once Again," quickly achieved an RIAA platinum certification and brought him a Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance (for "Heaven").
In 2007, inspired by reading "The End Of Poverty" by Columbia University Professor Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, John Legend traveled to Ghana in West Africa where he recognized "the real, tangible impact of extreme poverty on millions of people around the world." His response was to launch the Show Me Campaign (www.ShowMeCampaign.org), a grassroots movement whose mission is "to fight economic and spiritual poverty through fostering sustainable development (personal, social, educational, economic) at the individual, family, and small community levels."
Nick Martin is an educator, technologist, and social entrepreneur with over ten years of experience. He is the founder and CEO of TechChange, a Washington DC-based social enterprise that provides online training for social change. The TechChange model for technology training has been featured in the New York Times, Forbes, Economist, Fast Company and more. Nick is a PopTech Social Innovation Fellow (2013), an Ariane de Rothschild Fellow (2014), and an International Youth Foundation Global Fellow (2009). He is also an adjunct faculty member at Georgetown and George Washington Universities where he teaches graduate courses on Technology for Social Change, Technology for International Crisis Response, and Mobile Phones for International Development. Nick received his BA with honors from Swarthmore College and holds an MA in Peace Education from the United Nations University for Peace (UPEACE).
Cheryl Heller is the Founding Chair of the first MFA program in Design for Social Innovation at SVA and the founder of the design lab CommonWise. She is a business strategist and communication designer who has founded two companies and taught creativity to leaders and organizations around the world, helped grow businesses from small regional enterprises to multi-billion global market leaders, launched category-redefining divisions and products, reinvigorated moribund cultures, and designed strategies for hundreds of successful entrepreneurs. Cheryl received the prestigious AIGA medal for her contribution to the field of design in 2014.
She is the former Board Chair and Advisor to PopTech, a Senior Fellow at the Babson Social Innovation Lab and the Lewis Institute, on the Innovation Advisory Board for the Lumina Foundation, and serves as an advisor to DataKind. She has written for many publications on the subject of social innovation design and creativity.
Her clients have included Ford, American Express, Reebok, Mariott International, Cemex, Gap, Bayer Corporation, Seventh Generation, L.Oreal, Hearst, Sappi, WWF, Audubon, IDE, Concern Worldwide and the Girl Scouts of America. She created the Ideas that Matter program for Sappi in 1999, which has since given over $12 million to designers working for the public good. She also advised Paul Polak and the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum on the exhibit, “Design for the Other 90%.”
She is a Matrix Award winner for excellence in communication and has been profiled through articles in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, BusinessWeek and many others. Her work in included in the permanent collection of the Library of Congress.
Sarah Laskin is Vice President and COO for Mission Programs at the National Geographic Society. Through the Mission Programs Special Projects group, she oversees the Explorers Program, including the Society's relationships with the Explorers-in-Residence, the NG Fellows, and the Emerging Explorers, and key program initiatives such as the Enduring Voices Project and Genographic. In 2004, she was among the founders of National Geographic's All Roads Film Project, which showcases breakthrough film and still photography from indigenous and under-represented minority cultures around the globe. She currently serves on the All Roads Advisory Board.
She is also a member of the Society's Conservation Trust, a grant-making committee which supports conservation of the world's biological and cultural diversity. Prior to joining National Geographic in 2000, Sarah worked on ocean, coastal, and fishery policy issues in the Clinton/Gore Administration as Associate Director for Fisheries and Coastal Issues at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. She also held the positon of Program Examiner for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration programs at the White House's Office of Management and Budget. She was involved in organizing the U.S. Commerce Department and U.S. Navy's National Ocean Conference in 1998, and was a co-author of the Clinton Cabinet's "Looking to the Sea: America's Ocean Future," a special report on ocean policy.
Bob joined Polaris Venture Partners as a general partner in January, 2001. He specializes in Boston-based IT start-ups. He had three careers before becoming a venture capitalist:
While an engineer-scientist (1965–1979), Bob helped build the early Internet. In 1973, at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, he invented Ethernet, the local-area networking (LAN) standard on which he shares four patents. In 2003, Ethernet’s 30th year, 184 million new Ethernet connections were shipped for $12.5 billion.
While an entrepreneur-executive (1979–1990), Bob founded 3Com Corporation, the billion-dollar networking company, where at various times he was chairman, CEO, division general manager, and vice president of engineering, sales, and marketing.
While a publisher-pundit (1990–2000), Bob was CEO of IDG's InfoWorld Publishing Company (1992–1995). For eight years, he wrote an Internet column read weekly by more than 500,000 information technologists. He spoke often; appeared on radio, television, and the web; and produced conferences, including ACM97, ACM1, Agenda, Pop!Tech, and Vortex.
Bob’s book credits include Packet Communication (Thomson), Internet Collapses and Other InfoWorld Punditry (IDG Books), and Beyond Calculation: The Next Fifty Years of Computing (co-edited for Springer Verlag).
Mr. Schaeffer is Managing Director of Strategy & Thought Leadership for Forward Management. He is well known in the financial services industry as a business strategist, speaker and author with a knack for anticipating emerging trends and innovations. Mr. Schaeffer came to Forward Management from SEI, where he was Managing Director of the Investment Manager Services Group, a provider of operating services to mutual fund, alternative investment and separate account management organizations. He led that unit’s business strategy, product development and thought leadership initiatives. Prior to SEI, Mr. Schaeffer was Managing Partner of Investment Counseling, Inc. (IC), where he advised investment management firms on competitiveness and performance issues. It was during his tenure at IC that he pioneered-along with partner Chas Burkhart- the comprehensive annual survey “Competitive Challenges,” which remains the leading monitor of best practices in the industry. Widely published and quoted in major industry publications, Mr. Schaeffer is a frequent speaker at conferences held by the ICI, ABA, AIMR, IAA and U.S. Institute. Earlier in his career, Mr. Schaeffer worked in publishing, the entertainment industry, government and public policy.
John is former president and CEO of Pepsi; former CEO of Apple Computer; high-tech entrepreneur and venture capitalist.
Named “Man of the Year” by Financial World, “CEO of the Decade” by Financial News Network and “Advertising Man of the Year” by Adweek as well as Ad Age, John draws from his boardroom experiences to offer valuable insight into leading change, the new global marketplace and the innovative concepts companies are developing to transform business.
John was Pepsi’s CEO for five years, during which time the company’s successful “Pepsi Generation” and “Pepsi Challenge” marketing campaigns enabled the brand to become the largest-selling packaged goods in America.
In 1983, Steve Jobs recruited John to Apple to bring big-brand marketing to the high-tech industry. Together, Jobs and Sculley successfully launched Macintosh and desktop publishing. During John’s decade as Apple's CEO, Macintosh went on to become the #1-selling PC in the world.
Since leaving Apple, John has pursued venture capitalism. Successful early-stage companies he worked with, which either went public and/or were sold, include Professional SportsCare, Select Comfort, NFO Research, Intralinks, Hotwire and InPhonic.
Andrew Zolli is a well known author, researcher, and curator working at the intersection of global innovation, foresight, social change and resilience. From 2003-2013, he served as the Executive Director and Curator of PopTech. He has advised dozens of leading companies, start-ups, social innovation programs, and governmental organizations. More about Andrew is at andrewzollli.com/about.