About MATTER

MATTER is a community of healthcare innovators, an incubator of ideas, and a catalyst for change. We are boots-on-the-ground entrepreneurs pushing against the status quo and established institutions dedicated to improving patients’ lives. At MATTER we are all hungry for change, and we’re working together to solve real and complex healthcare problems.

What We Do

One thing’s for certain: complex healthcare challenges aren’t solved in silos, so what we do at MATTER is equip, embolden, and empower players from across the healthcare ecosystem to tackle them together.


We equip.
  • A curriculum purpose-built for healthcare innovators
  • Mentors-in-residence who’ve built healthcare businesses and have deep expertise in healthcare, technology, and entrepreneurship
  • State-of-the-art facilities including the Shop, the Stage, and the AMA Interaction Studio
We embolden.
  • A culture of innovation, experimentation, and collaboration so crucial in today’s changing healthcare landscape
  • Inspirational keynotes, fireside chats, and panels
  • A community of like-minded individuals who are passionate about solving healthcare challenges
We empower.
  • Access to innovators from across the healthcare ecosystem including pharmaceutical, medical device, diagnostics, and health IT companies; venture capitalists; health systems and hospitals; payers; scientists; and physicians
  • Innovative programs, built with our partners, designed to enhance collaboration between stakeholders

Our mission is to accelerate the development of technologies that solve the right healthcare problems in the right ways. We’re here to do something that matters. Join us.

Our Space

Hundreds of healthcare and life sciences entrepreneurs, innovators, and industry leaders participated in the design of our facility. Our 25,000-square-foot space includes workspace, meeting and learning space, and specialty healthcare environments.

JOIN US

AMA Interaction Studio

The AMA Interaction Studio replicates an outpatient environment in which entrepreneurs and physicians collaborate. Learn more.

The Shop

The Shop is our medical device prototyping lab for entrepreneurs and tinkerers to build, iterate, and test.

The Simulation Stage

The Simulation Stage is our high-acuity simulation environment, built in partnership with the Jump Training Education and Simulation Center at OSF Healthcare. Learn more.

Learn More

Join us for an event at MATTER. Or to arrange a tour, drop us line.

Team

We’re a team of restless innovators working to change healthcare. We believe rapid technology advances hold the keys to better health and healthcare. We're ambitious, entrepreneurial, and optimistic. We're here to change lives. If that sounds like you, check out our open positions.


Steven Collens

CEO Steven Collens is CEO of MATTER, the healthcare technology startup center and community hub. MATTER opened in February 2015 and nurtures entrepreneurs and innovators building the next generation of health IT, medical device, diagnostic and biopharma technologies. More than 100 healthcare technology startups operate at MATTER, and the company partners with 10 hospitals and health systems, 3 universities and more than 40 industry-leading companies. Steven is also a senior advisor at Pritzker Group Venture Capital, where he focuses on seed-stage investments.

Prior to assuming his current role, Steven was senior vice president at Pritzker Group, the investment firm led by Tony and J.B. Pritzker. In that capacity, he led the team that created 1871, Chicago’s center for digital startups that now houses more than 400 early-stage companies. He previously worked at Abbott in a variety of domestic and international functions, including product management, policy and public affairs. In 2005, Steven helped found ConstantWellness.com to give patients control over their health data and allow healthcare providers to coordinate care of their patients. Prior to Abbott, Steven served as a policy advisor to a U.S. Senator.

Steven holds an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and a BA from Washington University in St. Louis. He serves on the boards of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center, the Chicago Artists’ Coalition and the IMSA Fund. He is also a Leadership Greater Chicago fellow and a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago and the Economic Club of Chicago.

Maryam Saleh, PhD

Vice President, Programs Maryam is passionate about moving research into the market, where it can have impact and improve lives. Her path started off at Cyberkinetics Neurotechnology Systems, Inc. where she teamed up with neuroscientists at Brown University to spin out a brain implant designed to help restore movement in paralyzed individuals. She’s also performed research herself, while pursuing her PhD in computational neuroscience at the University of Chicago. Most recently, she founded the Center for Device Development at Northwestern University, a fellowship program in medical device innovation, where doctors and engineers test drive their own medical device business ideas. Through her work, she’s come to realize the importance of building bridges between stakeholders in order to move opportunities forward. Her goal as MATTER’s vice president of programs is to actively engage with MATTER’s members to build an experience that is customized to address their individual needs.

Melissa Lederer

Head of Marketing Melissa Lederer is a strategic marketing consultant who leads MATTER’s marketing and communications functions. A seasoned professional with nearly 20 years of broad experience in both agency and corporate settings, Melissa has served a variety of digital and traditional businesses of all sizes and has a passion for working with high-growth startups to help build their brand foundations. Most recently, Melissa was part of the launch team for 1871, Chicago’s digital hub for entrepreneurs, and served as its chief marketing officer for more than 2 years. Prior to starting her marketing consultancy in 2008, Melissa was the SVP of marketing for Q Interactive (formerly CoolSavings) where she oversaw all marketing, communications and creative functions and served on the company’s senior leadership team. Melissa is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and currently resides with her family in Glencoe, IL.

Vincent Cabansag

Operations Director Vincent is an entrepreneur and developer who makes organizations effective and leads others to do the same. He brings a decade of start-up experience to MATTER. For the last 4 years, Vincent led operations at the The Starter League, the school that pioneered the bootcamp revolution in 2011. Before that, he managed and helped scale Chicago Apartment Finders, which was acquired by Coldwell Banker. Over the years, Vincent has earned a reputation as a respected and multi-talented leader with extensive experience in education, compliance, business development, project management, IT, sales, and marketing. He is also a developer, designer, and photographer.

Kelli Enright

Partnerships Director Kelli Enright is the partnerships director at MATTER. In this role she is responsible for building relationships with key stakeholders across the healthcare industry. Kelli collaborates closely with the CEO and VP of programs to develop mutually beneficial partnerships that encourage collaboration between industry partners and MATTER members. Kelli is passionate about bringing industry experts, leaders, and entrepreneurs together to innovate, ideate, and disrupt the healthcare status quo. Kelli has over 10 years of management consulting experience in a wide range of strategy and operations projects across various industries for Slalom Consulting and Booz Allen Hamilton. Prior to consulting she was a strategic pricing analyst for Northrop Grumman. Kelli has her BA from University of Puget Sound and is originally from Washington state.

Mark Kaiser

Business Development Director As director of business development, Mark’s mission is to establish long-term relationships with MATTER partners to enhance the innovation capabilities of healthcare organizations that align with MATTER’s value proposition. As a member of the leadership team, he tracks and reports on developing healthcare trends and strategic opportunities to expand and deepen partner relationships. Prior to joining MATTER, Mark represented orthopedic and neurosurgical device companies Arthrex and Globus Medical, respectively, as well as Dupuy Synthes Spine, a subsidiary of J&J. There, he worked primarily to restore growth in sales territories with declining numbers. Mark graduated from the University of Missouri and explored concepts in entrepreneurship through graduate courses there.

Shareef Ghanem

Senior Program Manager Shareef develops programs that bring together MATTER’s members and partners to solve significant healthcare problems. He is passionate about using technology to improve the way we manage our health. Prior to joining MATTER, Shareef worked at Avalere Health, a healthcare-focused public policy and business strategy consultancy, where he managed regulatory and reimbursement due diligence assignments with private equity firms investing in healthcare. He graduated from The Johns Hopkins University with a degree in Public Health and a focus on social and behavioral interventions, and is currently pursuing his MBA at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Devon Leichtman

Associate Marketing Manager Devon brings a broad marketing background to MATTER and focuses on content creation and promotion. He graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2013, majoring in entrepreneurship and psychology while minoring in writing. In college Devon purchased, owned, and sold small business Wash-U-Wash, acting as chief operating officer and head of sales. Devon later worked as an account executive at west coast startup FindTheBest (now Graphiq), and managed online marketing campaigns for OneIMS before coming to MATTER.

Kelli Rojek

Associate Manager, Membership Experience Kelli brings customer service and strategy expertise to MATTER’s member experience team. She has worked in both nonprofit and startup settings, most recently as the coaching director at GiveForward, a startup focused on helping communities support loved ones experiencing personal hardship by coordinating meal delivery, fundraising, and social networking. Kelli crafted strategy to maximize fundraising success, customer development, and front line support for users, and served as a liaison between department and external partners. In this position, she helped users raise millions of dollars while maintaining a high standard of customer support. Kelli has her undergraduate degree from Western Michigan University, and her master's in leadership and professional administration from Duquense University.

Amanda Azadian

Community Engagement Associate Amanda is passionate about building a healthcare system that empowers patients to seek holistic wellness, and she believes that innovative business solutions are the best way to improve health outcomes. While attending Wheaton College, Amanda studied kinesiology and international relations, was published in the American College of Sports Medicine for exercise physiology, and launched a co-working space for students interested in entrepreneurship. As a community engagement associate at MATTER, Amanda designs opportunities for entrepreneurs, industry leaders, and community members to collaboratively solve healthcare’s biggest challenges.

Seide Hood

Events Associate Seide works with MATTER members, partners, and the community to curate and execute events that highlight healthcare’s latest discoveries and technologies. Seide believes that innovation is most impactful when realized through a diverse network, and is passionate about building creative collaborations to inspire social change. With a background in public policy and economic development, Seide is an advocate for building sustainable business opportunities for healthcare entrepreneurs. She hails from the great state of Minnesota by way of San Francisco and is a graduate of the University of Minnesota.

Karuna Relwani

Program Associate Karuna helps develop meaningful programs for our members and partners. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a bioengineering degree and a certificate in engineering for humanity. She has spent most of her time at the intersection of healthcare and technology, working both on the engineering and educational sides. In college, Karuna started an organization that hosted skills workshops in medical device design focused on innovations for UPMC physicians, and then she worked as a research engineer for Northwestern’s Global Health Initiative in TB diagnostics for limited resource settings.

Samuel Lee

Program Coordinator Samuel assists in the development of MATTER programs, events, and mentor offerings to provide our members and partners with educational and network opportunities. An alumnus of the University of Illinois, Samuel brings a varied research background to MATTER’s program team. Most recently, he worked at Rush University Medical Center tracking the cross-sectional and longitudinal expansion of Klebsiella pneumonaie carbapenemase (KPC) in clinical settings, and at Opternative improving user experience and prototyping new technologies for their online refractive eye exam. He also served at Bethesda Medical Centre in Kampala, Uganda as a medical missions volunteer coordinating medical outreach to rural villages.

James Taylor

Operations Coordinator James, a biology major from the University of Chicago, is driven by the concept of bringing scientific discovery out of the lab and into the hands of the rest of the world. As operations coordinator he is able to use his organizational and workplace management skills to embolden and empower MATTER’s community of entrepreneurs in the ways they need to find success. While in college, James was a competitive member of the UChicago varsity swim team, earning multiple Division III All-American honors, and draws from this experience his capacity for dedication and tenacity.

Katie Albrecht

Help Desk Lead Katie graduated from University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point in 2014, after which she led and organized youth groups at the Stevens Point YMCA. Katie designed after school programs to empower young adults, help them step out of their comfort zones, and build life skills and self-esteem. Katie moved to Chicago in 2015, joining MATTER as a full-time receptionist. In addition to greeting and checking in all visitors and members, Katie handles tasks related to office management, event execution, and general operations. Katie is passionate about entrepreneurship and prides herself on being cheerful and empathetic, striving to better the lives and careers of those around her.

Noelle Sales-Griffin

Operations Assistant Noelle is a Chicago native who graduated from Kalamazoo College in 2012 with a major in biology and a minor in art. During her junior year, she studied and lived abroad in Ecuador for 6 months. While in college she held a leadership role on the Student Activities Committee and was a senior resident assistant. After college, she learned HTML/CSS and UX Design at The Starter League, later becoming Start League's office manager. Before joining The Starter League team, she worked at The University of Chicago Survey Lab administering surveys via phone in English and Spanish.

Patrick Flavin

Advisor Patrick Flavin is an entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in the life sciences field. Pat currently serves as the director of industry strategy at ContextMedia:Health, the leader in patient education at the point of care. He is also an advisor to MATTER, the Chicago healthcare technology startup center and innovation hub, where he previously served as executive director of partnerships. Prior to this role, Pat helped build several life sciences companies in the Chicago area, including MediChem Life Sciences and Advanced Life Sciences, both of which he helped take public on NASDAQ while serving as each company’s chief legal executive. As an attorney, Pat has served as counsel and advisor to several area companies in the medical device, diagnostic, health IT, and drug development space. In addition to his experiences as a chief legal executive, Pat also co-founded a venture capital fund to invest in and manage early-stage life science companies in the Midwest. Before working in the industry, he served as an assistant counsel to the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives.

David Johnson

Author-in-Residence Johnson is the CEO and founder of 4sight Health (4sighthealth.com), a boutique advisory firm specializing in healthcare thought capital, strategic advisory services, and venture investing. He is the author of Market vs. Medicine: America’s Epic Fight for Better, Affordable Healthcare, author-in-residence at the Health Management Academy, and writer of the widely read Market Corner commentaries. Johnson is also an advisor, investor, and board member of a number of early-stage healthcare companies. During his 28-year investment-banking career, he managed over $30 billion in healthcare revenue bonds and led significant strategic advisory engagements for health system clients.

Board of Directors

Our board of directors includes senior leaders from across the healthcare industry who are dedicated to fostering collaboration and innovation to spark meaningful change.


Jeffrey S. Aronin

Co-Chairman of the MATTER Board, Chairman & CEO, Marathon Pharmaceuticals Jeffrey S. Aronin is the chairman and chief executive officer of Marathon Pharmaceuticals, a prescription pharmaceutical company that develops, manufactures and commercializes treatments for patients with rare diseases. He is also the chairman and chief executive officer of Paragon Pharmaceutical Capital, a privately-owned global investment firm that creates, builds and manages innovative pharmaceutical companies.

Prior to Marathon, Mr. Aronin founded Ovation Pharmaceuticals. Under his leadership, Ovation became one of the world’s premier pharmaceutical companies developing drugs for rare diseases. Ovation was sold in 2009 to H. Lundbeck A/S for $900 million. After the acquisition, Mr. Aronin served as Lundbeck Inc.’s president and CEO.

Mr. Aronin is recognized in the community for his civic and philanthropic endeavors. He serves on the boards of Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS), the Museum of Science and Industry, the executive committee of World Business Chicago (led by Mayor Rahm Emanuel), the Commercial Club of Chicago and is a member of the executive board of the Economic Club of Chicago. He is a founder of MATTER, a health technology center for entrepreneurs and industry leaders in Illinois.

Mr. Aronin is also a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute and lectures at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Timothy P. Walbert

Co-Chairman of the MATTER Board, Chairman, President & CEO, Horizon Pharma Tim Walbert joined Horizon Pharma in June 2008 as the president and chief executive officer and has served as chairman of the board of directors since 2010. Prior to joining Horizon Pharma, Mr. Walbert served as president, chief executive officer and director of IDM Pharma, Inc., a public biopharmaceutical company which was acquired by Takeda America Holdings, Inc., or Takeda, in June 2009.

Prior to IDM, Mr. Walbert served as executive vice president, commercial operations at NeoPharm, Inc., a public biopharmaceutical company. From 2001 to 2005, Mr. Walbert served as divisional vice president and general manager, immunology, where he led the global development and launch of the multi- indication biologic HUMIRA and divisional vice president, global cardiovascular strategy at Abbott, now AbbVie.

From 1998 to 2001, Mr. Walbert served as director, CELEBREX North America and arthritis team leader, Asia Pacific, Latin America and Canada at G.D. Searle & Company. From 1991 to 1998, Mr. Walbert also held sales and marketing roles with increasing responsibility at G.D. Searle, Merck & Co., Inc. and Wyeth.

Mr. Walbert received his B.A. in business from Muhlenberg College, in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Mr. Walbert serves on the board of directors of XOMA Corporation (NASDAQ: XOMA), Egalet Corporation (NASDAQ: EGLT), the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), the Illinois Biotechnology Industry Organization (iBIO), ChicagoNEXT, a World Business Chicago (WBC) led council of technology leaders and the Greater Chicago Arthritis Foundation. Mr. Walbert was also a member of the Illinois Innovation Council.

Laura Ferris Anderson

Chief of Staff, Office of the Midwest Chairman, JPMorgan Chase & Co. Laura Ferris Anderson serves as chief of staff to the Office of the Midwest Chairman for JPMorgan Chase & Co. She manages the strategic planning and initiative implementation for the region’s senior leadership across multiple business lines and staff functions.

She had served as a senior banker in J.P. Morgan’s private banking business, managing relationships and banking needs for a wide variety of clients, including corporate executives and business owners. Previously, Laura served as a director of payments strategy, eCommerce, and of a major image enabled transformation of check processing. She also has experience in consulting and government affairs.

An active civic leader, Anderson serves on the executive committees of the board of directors of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center and of the Wood Family Foundation. She serves on the board of directors of the IL Mentoring Partnership and the advisory board of Best Buddies Illinois as well as the Women’s boards of the Field Museum and the Joffrey Ballet.

She is a member of the Alumni Board of Governors of Georgetown University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science, a Master of Public Policy and a Master of Business Administration.

A native of Massachusetts, Anderson lives in Chicago with her husband, Matt, and their daughter, Ellen.

Andrew Cittadine

President & CEO, Diagnostic Photonics Andrew Cittadine is the president & chief executive officer of Diagnostic Photonics, which is developing advanced imaging technology to assist physicians in the real-time evaluation of tissue microstructure.

Andrew has 15 years of leadership experience as a co-founder or chief executive in four medical device companies. He co-founded and served as CEO of medical device startup American BioOptics, served as the interim CEO for venture-backed startup SonarMed, and co-founded Sensant Corporation, a Silicon Valley-based 3-D medical imaging firm that was acquired by Siemens.

Andrew received a BA in history and a BS and MS in electrical engineering from Stanford University where he was elected to Tau Beta Pi. He holds an MBA with distinction from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Steven Collens

CEO, MATTER Steven Collens is CEO of MATTER, the healthcare technology startup center and community hub. MATTER opened in February 2015 and nurtures entrepreneurs and innovators building the next generation of health IT, medical device, diagnostic and biopharma technologies. More than 100 healthcare technology startups operate at MATTER, and the company partners with 10 hospitals and health systems, 3 universities and more than 40 industry-leading companies. Steven is also a senior advisor at Pritzker Group Venture Capital, where he focuses on seed-stage investments.

Prior to assuming his current role, Steven was senior vice president at Pritzker Group, the investment firm led by Tony and J.B. Pritzker. In that capacity, he led the team that created 1871, Chicago’s center for digital startups that now houses more than 300 early-stage companies. He previously worked at Abbott in a variety of domestic and international functions, including product management, policy and public affairs. In 2005, Steven helped found ConstantWellness.com to give patients control over their health data and allow healthcare providers to coordinate care of their patients. Prior to Abbott, Steven served as a policy advisor to a U.S. Senator.

Steven holds an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and a BA from Washington University in St. Louis. He serves on the boards of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center, the Chicago Artists’ Coalition and the IMSA Fund. He is also a Leadership Greater Chicago fellow and a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago and the Economic Club of Chicago.

Will Collie

General Manager of Healthcare Chicago, Edelman Will Collie is general manager of Edelman’s Chicago healthcare business where he now leads the company’s second largest team of healthcare communications specialists. Will is an integrated communications specialist who consults to major healthcare organizations on their marketing and communications strategy including digital media and advocacy engagement as well as issues and crisis.

Prior to his role in Chicago, Will led the company’s Australian healthcare operation delivering communications and engagement programs for pharmaceutical, patient, and consumer wellness organizations.

In 2014, Will was named the Australian Public Relations and Advertising industry Public Relations Professional of the Year across all sectors. That same year, his work in hearing health saw his team awarded the Golden Sabre best digital marketing program at The Holmes Report’s 2014 Asia-Pacific SABRE Awards.

In 2013, Will led Edelman in partnership with Sanofi Diabetes to win the Australian Public Relations Industry Association (PRIA) Golden Target Best Healthcare campaign, the Gold Award for Healthcare Providers/Medical Technology at The Holmes Report’s 2013 Asia-Pacific SABRE Awards as well as Australian pharmaceutical PRIME Awards Best Product Launch. He served on the National Communications Council Healthcare Committee from 2012 to 2015 and from 2010 to 2013 was a member of the Medicines Australia Media Working Group.

He has Bachelor of Arts degree from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and has completed further communications and health policy studies at Sydney University and Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore.

Thomas J. DeRosa

CEO, Welltower Thomas J. DeRosa is chief executive officer of Welltower, Inc. Mr. DeRosa has served as chief executive officer since April 2014. Mr. DeRosa is former vice chairman and chief financial officer of The Rouse Company (real estate development and operations), a position he held from September 2002 until November 2004 when The Rouse Company merged with General Growth Properties, Inc. From 1992 to September 2002, Mr. DeRosa held various positions at Deutsche Bank (Deutsche Bank AG) and Alex Brown & Sons, including global co-head of the health care investment banking group of Deutsche Bank and managing director in the real estate investment banking group of Alex. Brown & Sons. Mr. DeRosa also serves as a director of Value Retail PLC (U.K.-based owner, operator and developer of luxury shopping villages in Europe) and Empire State Realty Trust, Inc. (owner, manager and operator of office and retail properties). Mr. DeRosa served as a director of Dover Corporation (global provider of equipment, specialty systems and services for various industrial and commercial markets) until 2010, Georgetown University (where he also served on the audit committee) until 2014, and CBL & Associates Properties, Inc. (owner and developer of shopping centers) until 2015.

Steven A. Gould, MD

Founder & Principal, The Gould Consulting Group For the past 2 years, Steven A. Gould led Chicago Innovation Mentors (CIM), which supports university-based and local new technology innovation ventures through the use of mentor teams. MATTER acquired CIM in January 2016. Steve has extensive and broad-based experience in both clinical and scientific research in an academic environment, and executive management throughout the entire life cycle of an entrepreneurial biotechnology company.

Steve is also the founder and principal of The Gould Consulting Group LLC, which provides advisory services to companies and universities seeking to develop and capitalize on biotechnology and life science innovations, and to venture investors evaluating promising and potentially transforming companies working in areas of disruptive science. Steve was previously a scientific founder and chairman and CEO of Northfield Laboratories Inc., a publicly traded biotechnology company that was focused on developing a hemoglobin-based oxygen carrier as a blood substitute. Prior to Northfield he was chief of surgery at Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center and professor of surgery at the University of Chicago and then the University of Illinois at Chicago.

He has dealt with the full spectrum of issues related to financing start-up companies from the initial venture investment through multiple subsequent rounds, the initial public offering and follow-on offerings, and the wide range of challenges in the development of new and innovative therapies. Steve received his BA from Williams College and his MD from Boston University School of Medicine. He completed his residency training in surgery at Yale and the University of Vermont, and a research fellowship at Michael Reese and the University of Chicago.

James L. Madara, MD

CEO & Executive Vice President, American Medical Association James L. Madara, MD, serves as the CEO and executive vice president of the American Medical Association, the nation’s largest physician organization. He holds the academic title of adjunct professor of pathology at Northwestern University.

Prior to joining the AMA, Dr. Madara served as CEO of the University of Chicago Medical Center, bringing together the university’s biomedical research, teaching, and clinical activities.

Immediately prior to arriving at the AMA, Dr. Madara served as senior advisor with Leavitt Partners, a highly innovative healthcare consulting firm started by former Secretary of Health and Human Services, Mike Leavitt. Dr. Madara has served as dean of the Pritzker School of Medicine and dean of the Biological Sciences Division at the University of Chicago, as the chair of pathology and laboratory medicine at the Emory University School of Medicine and as director of the Harvard Digestive Diseases Center.

In addition to Modern Healthcare often naming him to its list of the nation’s 50 most influential physician executives, as well as to its list of the nation’s 100 most influential people in healthcare, he is a past recipient of a prestigious MERIT Award from the National Institute of Health. Dr. Madara earned his medical degree from Hahnemann Medical College in Philadelphia, completed his internship and residency at New England Deaconess Hospital, his fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and his post-doctoral research training in cell biology at Harvard Medical School, where he joined the faculty and became a tenured professor.

Peter McNerney

Founder & Senior Advisor, Thomas, McNerney & Partners Peter McNerney has over 30 years of healthcare operating and venture capital experience. In addition to co-founding Thomas, McNerney & Partners, Pete co-founded Coral Ventures in 1992, where he was responsible for healthcare investing. Pete has served on the boards of a number of the Coral Ventures’ and Thomas, McNerney and Partners’ portfolio companies.

Prior to joining Coral in 1992, Pete was a co-founder and managing partner of The Kensington Group, a firm specializing in providing management services to early stage companies in the healthcare field. In 1986, he founded and was chief executive officer of Memtec North America, a company established to commercialize cross flow membrane microfiltration technology in North America. Previously, Pete spent 11 years with Baxter Healthcare Corporation, where he held various general management positions in the U.S., Europe, Middle East and Southeast Asia. He has served as president of the Minnesota Venture Capital Association and is on the board of trustees of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.

A Certified Public Accountant, Pete received a BA from Yale and an MBA from Stanford University. Pete was a 2014 fellow at Harvard’s Advanced Leadership Initiative program.

James O’Connor, Jr.

Global Head of Venture Capital, William Blair James O’Connor is the global head of Venture Capital for William Blair and Company. Mr. O’Connor focuses on extending the company’s advisory services among venture capital firms, corporate venture groups, and entrepreneurial hubs in domestic and international markets.

Mr. O’Connor is a senior investment professional with over 20 years of private equity and venture capital experience. Prior to joining William Blair, Mr. O’Connor was a senior managing director at MVC Capital, a boutique middle market private equity firm focused on equity and debt offerings. Mr. O’Connor also held senior management positions within Motorola, Inc. Before Motorola, he worked for A.T. Kearney as a management consultant and the U.S. Treasury Department in the areas of domestic and international finance as a White House Fellow. Additionally, he held roles at Ariel Capital Management, Sidley & Austin, the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee and the City of Chicago Finance Committee.

Mr. O’Connor is founding chairman of 1871 and the Chicago Entrepreneurial Center (CEC) and a board member of MATTER, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, the Big Shoulders Fund for the Archdiocese of Chicago’s inner-city school fund and serves as a trustee and vice-chair of the board of the Field Museum of National History. He is a former board member of the Chicago Urban League, Kohl Children’s Museum, and Children’s Home + Aid. He is a Henry Crown Leadership Fellow of the Aspen Institute, a White House Fellow, a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations Young Leadership Program. He holds a BA (Government) and JD from Georgetown University and an MBA from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.

David Ormesher

Founder & CEO, closerlook inc. David Ormesher provides leadership and direction for closerlook, inc., a digital marketing agency serving the pharmaceutical industry. As founder and CEO, Ormesher has grown it into a recognized leader in creating innovative relationship-marketing solutions that help pharmaceutical brands build and maintain meaningful relationships with their most valuable healthcare professionals.

Since founding the company in 1987, David has created a rich, cohesive culture at closerlook by maintaining a hands-on approach to building client success and sustaining lasting account relationships. He has guided the growth and evolution of the firm, attracting a world-class team of account, strategy, user experience, design, technology, data analytics and relationship-marketing services experts. David is a frequent speaker at marketing conferences and a recognized thought leader in the areas of interactive and relationship marketing for the pharmaceutical industry.

This past year, Ormesher was named to the board of the Lurie Children’s Hospital Foundation and to the Innovation Board of the XPRIZE Foundation. He serves on the boards of the Lyric Opera of Chicago; i.c.stars, an innovative business and leadership training program for inner city youth; and is a founder of Bigger Future, a social-enterprise building the capacity of high-potential entrepreneurs in Rwanda. He is also an adjunct professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology Stuart School of Business where he teaches customer relationship management.

James (Jim) Robinson

President of Americas, Astellas Jim Robinson is president, Americas Operations, for Astellas Pharma, a global research-based pharmaceutical company committed to serving unmet medical needs in oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, urology, neuroscience, diabetes complications, and kidney diseases. Jim leads the company’s pharmaceutical operations in the Americas which spans across a diverse and growing portfolio in the oncology, urology, transplant, and cardiovascular markets. Jim has over 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. He is a member of Astellas’ management committee.

Before assuming his present role, Jim was president, Astellas Pharma US and previously was senior vice president for sales & marketing and led the company’s expansion into the oncology area. Jim joined Astellas in 2005 as the vice president of health systems responsible for managed markets, reimbursement strategy, state government affairs & government accounts.

Jim started his pharma career at Schering-Plough in 1992 as a sales representative and moved through positions of increasing responsibility until he was promoted to vice president of hepatitis sales and managed care in 2003. In this position he led the largest specialty pharmaceutical sales division within Schering-Plough.

Jim is a native of Illinois and earned his BS in marketing at DePaul University in Chicago. He is a board member of the PhRMA trade association.

Sheli Z. Rosenberg

Consultant, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom Sheli Z. Rosenberg is a consultant to Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. Prior to January 1, 2014, she was a member of Skadden’s real estate group, having joined the firm’s Chicago office in 2011. She has extensive, board-level corporate experience, in addition to her considerable knowledge of real estate law and the greater Chicago business community. Ms. Rosenberg is listed as a leader in the real estate industry in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business.

Ms. Rosenberg is the former president, chief executive officer and vice chairman of Equity Group Investments, LLC. She joined EGI in 1980 as the company’s general counsel and rose to become CEO before departing in 2003. Prior to joining EGI, Ms. Rosenberg was a managing partner of a major Chicago law firm, where she focused on real estate, finance and corporate law, and was the first woman to become a partner at that firm.

Ms. Rosenberg serves on the board of directors/trustees of a number of public and private corporations, foundations, and community and charitable organizations.

Ms. Rosenberg was an adjunct professor at Northwestern University’s J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management until 2007. She is a co-founder and previous president of the Center for Executive Women at the Kellogg School, where she continues to serve on the center’s steering committee.

Ellen A. Rudnick

Clinical Professor of Entrepreneurship, Chicago Booth & Executive Director, Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation Prior to joining the Chicago Booth faculty, Ellen Rudnick spent 25 years in business management and entrepreneurial activities, primarily in the healthcare and health information services industries. During this time, she was president and CEO of Healthcare Knowledge Resources, president of HCIA, chairman of Pacific Biometrics, and corporate vice president of Baxter Healthcare Corporation.

She serves on numerous corporate and non-profit boards including Liberty Mutual, First Midwest Bank, HMS Holdings, Patterson Companies, NorthShore University HealthSystem Research Institute and Foundation and the CEC/1871. She previously served on the Oxford Health Plans board prior to its sale to United Healthcare. She is an advisor to many start-ups that emerge from Chicago Booth’s entrepreneurship programs.

Rudnick has been the recipient of a number of honors, including Today’s Chicago Woman 20th Anniversary Hall of Fame and the YWCA Leadership Award. Rudnick holds a BA from Vassar College and an MBA from Chicago Booth.

David Schonthal

Professor of Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Kellogg School of Management David Schonthal is a clinical assistant professor of entrepreneurship & Innovation at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management where he teaches courses in new venture creation and leads the school’s internal startup accelerator – the Zell Scholars program. He also serves as a business designer at the global innovation and design consultancy, IDEO, where he focuses on venture design and corporate entrepreneurship.

David is also a co-founder of Fusion Ventures, an investment and advisory firm focused on growing technology startups in the early stages of their development. He was formerly director of strategy and venture development at Tavistock Life Sciences, a private investment firm located in San Diego, CA, and has held numerous senior management positions at startups in the technology and life sciences sectors. David began his career as a management consultant for Andersen, Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers based in both the United States and the United Kingdom.

David serves as a member of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship council, ChicagoNEXT, and was previously an advisor to the State of Illinois’s Invest Illinois venture capital fund. He currently mentors and advises with several startup accelerators and incubators throughout the United States, including Techstars, CONNECT, San Diego Sports Innovators (SDSI), and Chicago Innovation Mentors.

David earned his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and his BA in international relations from Boston University.

Rishi Shah

Founder & CEO, ContextMedia Rishi Shah, chief executive officer and founder of ContextMedia, is a successful media and technology entrepreneur who founded ContextMedia in 2006 to improve health outcomes by serving actionable health information to chronic disease patients. Today, the company’s digital place-based media networks and mobile media offerings impact hundreds of millions of patient visits across 10,000+ hospital & health systems and the firm’s clients include 33 of the 35 largest life science manufacturers.

Rishi serves on the board of directors of many civic organizations including Young Presidents Organization (YPO), 1871, MATTER, and the Academy for Global Citizenship, an internationally renowned charter school. In 2012, he co-founded a personal venture investment firm, Jumpstart Ventures, through which he has made over 45 investments in fast growing early- to late-stage startups.

Previous to ContextMedia, and while in his first year in college, Rishi founded the Northwestern Business Review, a Northwestern University-based collaborative publication distributed to more than 60 leading campuses worldwide. In high school, he founded a home computer consulting firm whose clients were acquired by a national electronics retailer. Rishi has also started and led several non-profit initiatives including the Urban-Suburban Domestic Exchange Initiative, a program sponsored by the Gates Foundation to facilitate cross-school interaction.

Crain’s Chicago Business recognized Rishi as the youngest ever member of their annual 40-Under-40 class in 2009 and he frequently lectures at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management & McCormick School of Engineering. A Chicago, IL resident, Rishi is an avid fan of his hometown Bulls, ancient Indian philosophy and smoothies.

Jim Sullivan

Vice President, Discovery, AbbVie James Sullivan, Ph.D., is AbbVie's vice president, discovery. In this role, he is responsible for AbbVie’s research efforts in a variety of diseases including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, hepatitis C, and a number of autoimmune disorders. He oversees a global network of scientists that includes AbbVie researchers at sites in the United States and Europe and external research partners around the world. Dr. Sullivan is a member of the R&D Leadership Team that has responsibility for the advancement of compounds in all stages of development, the Executive Licensing Steering Committee and the Scientific Governing Board for Abbvie. He is also an executive sponsor for the AbbVie Women in Science organization. Jim joined Abbott in 1991 and has held various positions in the R&D organization.

Jim has advanced multiple compounds into clinical development across multiple therapeutic areas including AbbVie’s recently launched combination product for HCV, the Bcl2 selective inhibitor, ABT-199, for oncology and a number of dual variable domain immunoglobulins (DVD-Igs) for rheumatoid arthritis and cancer. He has more than 130 scientific publications and is an inventor on 11 patents. He is an adjunct faculty member at Northwestern University of Chicago. He earned his bachelor's degree and Ph.D. in biochemistry from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, and conducted post-doctoral research in neurobiology at Northwestern University.

Nancy Sullivan

CEO & Managing Director, IllinoisVENTURES Nancy Sullivan serves as the CEO and managing director of IllinoisVENTURES, LLC, a premier seed- and early-stage technology investment firm focused on research-derived companies in information technologies, physical sciences, life sciences and clean technology. Nancy is also the interim executive director of the Office of Technology Management at the University of Illinois at Chicago. With over 10 years of experience in the commercialization and entrepreneurial sector, Nancy leads the IllinoisVENTURES economic development and seed-stage investment portfolio.

Nancy promotes the development of new companies commercializing university technologies by assisting the companies in obtaining seed and venture capital funding, recruiting management talent and obtaining necessary business services. She serves as a valuable link to regional and national venture capital and angel networks to enhance Illinois company formation.

Prior to joining IllinoisVENTURES, Nancy was the director of the Office of Technology Management at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the senior director of business development for KeraCure, an early-stage biotechnology company. Previously, Nancy was a director at Northwestern University focused on the creation and commercialization of technologies emanating from the University.

Nancy earned her MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and a master’s in biotechnology, also from Northwestern. She earned her bachelor’s in business administration from Loyola University.

Rajeev Venkayya, MD

President, Global Vaccine Business Unit, Takeda Dr. Rajeev Venkayya is responsible for Takeda’s global vaccine business, including a longstanding business in Japan and a global development pipeline that includes advanced vaccine candidates for norovirus and dengue, gained through the acquisitions of LigoCyte Pharmaceuticals and Inviragen Inc.

Dr. Venkayya was previously the director of vaccine delivery at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he was responsible for the foundation’s top two priorities of polio eradication and new vaccine introduction. Prior to the Gates Foundation, Dr. Venkayya was special assistant to the president and senior director for biodefense at the White House where he directed the development of policies to prevent, protect and respond to bioterrorism and naturally occurring biological threats.

He was co-director of the medical intensive care unit and director of the high-risk asthma clinic at San Francisco General Hospital, and the principal investigator for a 5-year research grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the immunologic mechanisms leading to asthma.

Dr. Venkayya completed his fellowship training in pulmonary and critical care medicine at UCSF. He completed his undergraduate and medical school education in the 6-year BS/MD program at the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, where he was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha honorary medical society. He is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Advisory Boards

Our advisory board members are leaders from among our industry, health system and academic partners. They help us design our programs and initiatives.

Industry Advisory Board

  • Rick Avery

    Vice President of Sustainability, Engineering & Project Management, Welltower
  • Jeffrey Blackman

    Vice President of Portfolio Management, American Medical Association
  • Bob Chib

    Executive Director, Corporate Strategy, Planning, and Initiative Management and Delivery, Astellas
  • Holly Copeland

    Director of Public Affairs & Corporate Social Responsibility, Horizon Pharma
  • Jerry DeVault

    Global Client Service Partner & Life Sciences Leader, Americas Central Region, EY
  • Daniel Gandor

    Head of Digital Accelerator, USA, Takeda
  • Nathan Hansen

    Managing Director of the Midwest Life Sciences Practice, Accenture
  • Addison McGuffin

    Vice President of IT Strategy & Innovation, Health Care Service Corporation
  • Evan Norton

    Divisional Vice President of Venture Investments, Abbott Ventures
  • Francisco Rausa, PhD

    Senior Principal Research Scientist, Future Therapeutics & Technology, AbbVie
  • Matthew Warrens

    Vice President of Innovation Partnerships, OSF HealthCare

Health Systems Advisory Board

  • Gabrielle Cummings Hatley

    Senior Vice President, NorthShore University HealthSystem
  • Michael Dandorph

    Executive Vice President, Rush University Medical Center
  • Dan Derman, MD

    Chief Innovation Officer, Northwestern Medicine
  • Monica Heenan

    Chief Ambulatory Executive, Lurie Children's Hospital
  • Jason Keeler

    Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, University of Chicago Medicine
  • Karl Kochendorfer, MD

    Assistant Vice Chancellor & Chief Health Information Officer, University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System
  • David Lundal

    System Vice President & Chief Information Officer, Presence Health
  • Tanvir Mangat

    Chief Strategy Officer, Sinai Health System
  • Jeffrey Tillery, MD

    Chief Transformation Officer, OSF HealthCare

Chicago Innovation Mentors Advisory Board

  • Steven A. Gould, MD

    Chair, CIM Advisory Board
  • Steven C. Kuemmerle, Ph.D.

    Director, Technology Commercialization and Licensing, Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, University of Chicago
  • Jeff Coney

    Director of Economic Development, Northwestern University
  • Suseelan Pookote

    Assistant Director of Business Development at the Office of Technology management, University of Illinois
  • Warren Ribley

    President & CEO, Illinois Biotechnology Organization (iBIO) & the iBIO Institute
  • Greg Morin

    Director of Strategy & Innovation, Argonne National Lab

Mentors-in-Residence

Our mentors-in-residence are successful, experienced entrepreneurs who have built healthcare businesses from the ground up. They advise our members on every facet of building new ventures, coaching members through unexpected obstacles and setting them up for success.


Cristian Acosta

CEO, LAACMA Consulting Cristian Acosta is an entrepreneur and management consultant with over 10 years of experience in go-to-market strategies, product development and operational excellence in the healthcare and technology sectors. He is the founder and CEO of LAACMA Consulting, where he has driven consistent, double-digit top, and bottom-line growth since its founding in 2004. LAACMA Consulting is a management consulting firm focused on working with senior executives to effectively scale growing organizations, turn around underperforming organizations, and commercialize new opportunities. Cristian has successfully leveraged his consulting expertise and resources to develop commercialization strategies, secure funding and acquire distribution channels for early-stage companies in the healthcare and technology sectors. Additionally, Cristian serves as an entrepreneur-in-residence at Northwestern University’s Innovation and New Ventures Office. Prior to founding LAACMA Consulting, Cristian consulted for The Boston Consulting Group. He has also lectured at the Wharton School of Business and worked in the JP Morgan M&A group. Cristian holds an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BSE in systems civil engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.

Mark Crockett, MD

CEO, Verge Solutions Mark is a pioneer in the healthcare industry’s accountable care movement with extensive knowledge in the fields of emergency medicine, medical informatics and systems architecture. Prior to taking the leadership role at Best Doctors, Mark was chief executive officer at Rise Health and chief medical officer at Optum Insight’s Accountable Care Solutions. His systems technology expertise helped drive product development at companies such as Ibex Healthdata Systems, where he was CEO and later president of emergency care for Picis. Mark earned his MD at the University of Illinois College of Medicine after graduating from Wheaton College. He practices emergency medicine at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downer’s Grove, IL and is a published author and a fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Jordan Dolin

Co-founder, Emmi Solutions Jordan is a 25+ year veteran of Chicago’s entrepreneurial community. He has founded two companies, helped to launch a third and has served as advisor/investor/board member for several dozen early stage companies across multiple industries. He is a frequent speaker, has published numerous articles on the topic of entrepreneurialism and is an adjunct professor at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

For the past 14 years, Jordan has been with Emmi Solutions, a company he founded in 2002. Emmi is a healthcare technology company that leverages interactive media to engage and empower patients to take a more active role in their care. The company combines innovation and expertise to help leading healthcare organizations improve clinical and financial outcomes. In late 2012, Primus Capital, a private equity firm based in Cleveland Ohio, acquired Emmi Solutions.

Jordan combines an entrepreneur’s mentality with well over a decade’s worth of experience in the healthcare industry. Prior to founding Emmi, Jordan spent 3 years on the leadership team of an artificial intelligence software company and 14 years successfully leading a consumer products company that he co-founded in 1986. Jordan received a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin Madison and a master's degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.

Richard Ferrans, MD

Chief Medical Officer & Vice President, VOV Enterprises Richard Ferrans is a 20 year veteran of healthcare delivery, management and policy as well as startups in healthcare IT. Richard started his career as a internal medicine physician and academic chief of medical informatics and assistant professor of medicine and public health. He has participated in numerous startups in healthcare IT and biotech including founding Avreo in 1997, which trailblazed the use of Internet protocols and automated workflow in radiology. He is of the handful of physician executives in the country with broad experience as a former CEO of a Medicare ACO, health system CIO and CMIO, a Medicare Advantage medical director, and a health system executive responsible for clinical integration. He advises health systems around the country on transformation strategies to better manage populations in the era of value-based care.

Richard is an innovator in designing and delivering clever and intuitive technology solutions to address complex clinical problems and their social determinants in the delivery of care to populations. He is a graduate of George Washington University, Tulane Medical School, and Harvard School of Public Health.

Steve Gould, MD

Founder & Principal, The Gould Consulting Group For the past 2 years, Steven A. Gould led Chicago Innovation Mentors (CIM), which supports university-based and local new technology innovation ventures through the use of mentor teams. MATTER acquired CIM in January 2016. Steve has extensive and broad-based experience in both clinical and scientific research in an academic environment, and executive management throughout the entire life cycle of an entrepreneurial biotechnology company.

Steve is also the founder and principal of The Gould Consulting Group LLC, which provides advisory services to companies and universities seeking to develop and capitalize on biotechnology and life science innovations, and to venture investors evaluating promising and potentially transforming companies working in areas of disruptive science. Steve was previously a scientific founder and chairman and CEO of Northfield Laboratories Inc., a publicly traded biotechnology company that was focused on developing a hemoglobin-based oxygen carrier as a blood substitute. Prior to Northfield he was chief of surgery at Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center and professor of surgery at the University of Chicago and then the University of Illinois at Chicago.

He has dealt with the full spectrum of issues related to financing start-up companies from the initial venture investment through multiple subsequent rounds, the initial public offering and follow-on offerings, and the wide range of challenges in the development of new and innovative therapies. Steve received his BA from Williams College and his MD from Boston University School of Medicine. He completed his residency training in surgery at Yale and the University of Vermont, and a research fellowship at Michael Reese and the University of Chicago.

Sachin Gupta

Partner, Skyline Global Partners Sachin Gupta has over 15 years of experience as an early and late stage investor, operator, and consultant. Prior to co-founding Skyline Global Partners, a middle-market private equity firm based in Chicago, Sachin spent 12 years in principal investing within the healthcare, technology, business services and manufacturing industries, both in the US and abroad, with firms such as UIB Capital, Toucan Capital and VentureEAST. Currently, Sachin also co-manages a small angel investment fund focused on healthcare and technology. He is the co-founder of a handful of healthcare and technology companies, including Avaz Surgical, Bijali Surgical, GoTrak Systems, and Complete Clinics. Sachin sits on the board of directors of Captek Softgel and PatientFirst Infusion. Sachin earned his BA in economics from the University of Michigan, his MS in bioengineering from the University of Illinois, and his MBA from Northwestern University's Kellog School of Management.

Gregory Kris

COO, Rithmio Gregory Kris is a CEO and angel investor who specializes in building shareholder value in the hyper-growth business sectors of data (big and small), mHealth, mobile, IoT and eCommerce. A specialist in top-line growth and value creation, Greg works with market-ready core technology businesses and focuses on fast revenue and market penetration. Greg has been running international tech companies for 15 years and has been named a Top 100 Influential European Technologist (Telegraph), Fast CEO (Fast Company), Top 50 Digital Tastemaker (Guardian). Most recently, Greg was CEO of the $60m Norway-based mHealth phenomenon, Your.MD – Your Mobile Doctor – a Samsung global commercial partner and the most downloaded health & fitness mobile app in 15 countries. A 90’s dot-com entrepreneur, Greg co-founded and sold the social network Uniserve in 2001. After founding and selling Fresh Enterprise (an eCommerce strategy firm) in 2009, Greg ran media data company Decibel, growing the business by 600 percent in 24 months. An occasional investor, Greg also enjoys being a digital innovation advisor to the European Union, several VC firms, and Imperial College Executive MBA students. He has also spoken and keynoted at the EU, WIPO, SxSW, MIDEM and writes the "Data Baron" column for the London Business Magazine. A British and French national, Greg spends most of his weekends collapsing scrums (rugby scrums, not agile ones) and struggling to chip out of bunkers. Currently in Chicago, he has worked in Beijing, Boston, Dubai, Paris, Brussels and London.