Faculty & Staff

Yael V. Hochberg, Ph.D.

Head of Rice Entrepreneurship Initiatives (Liu Idea Lab, MBA Entrepreneurship Initiative) Ralph S. O’Connor Professor in Entrepreneurship Professor of Finance

McNair Hall 331 713-348-3596 yaelpublic@rice.edu

Close

Professor Hochberg’s research and teaching interests are focused on entrepreneurship, innovation, and the financing of entrepreneurial activity. Her research focuses on the venture capital industry, accelerators, networks and corporate governance and compensation policies. In addition to her doctorate in finance from Stanford, she holds a B.Sc. in Industrial Engineering and Management from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and an A.M. in Economics from Stanford University. Her research has been published in top tier journals, including Science Magazine, the Journal of Finance, the Review of Financial Studies, the Journal of Accounting Research, and the Journal of Financial Economics, and has been presented at numerous universities and governmental bodies around the world. She is an Associate Editor at the Journal of Banking and Finance and the Journal of Empirical Finance, and previously served as an Associate Editor at the Review of Finance.

Prof. Hochberg serves as the Head of the Entrepreneurship Initiative at Rice University and as Academic Director of the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship.

She holds a Research Affiliate position with MIT’s Sloan School of Management and is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Prof. Hochberg is also Managing Director of the Seed Accelerator Rankings Project, which publishes the annual ranking of accelerator programs in the U.S.

Prior to her appointment at Rice, Prof. Hochberg was previously on the (tenure track) faculty at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and the Johnson School of Management at Cornell University, and was a visiting faculty member at the MIT Sloan School of Management. She is currently a visiting faculty member at University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. Previously, she was employed in the technology industry in both larger and startup companies. She serves on the advisory board and board of directors for a number of early stage startups. In 2015, she was named one of the world’s 40 under 40 best business school professors by Poets and Quants. In 2016, she was awarded the Ewing Marion Kauffman Prize Medal for Distinguished Research in Entrepreneurship.

For more information on the Rice University Entrepreneurship Initiative, visit entreprenuership.rice.edu.

Teaching Interests: 

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Innovation
  • Financing of entrepreneurial activity

Research Interests: 

  • Venture Capital
  • Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  • Organizational Networks
  • Ecosystems

Kyle Judah

Executive Director, Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

kj25@rice.edu

Close

Kyle Judah is the Executive Director at Lilie, where he also teaches Financing the Startup Venture, Founders’ Dilemmas and E-Lab New Enterprises courses. Kyle works on building on new programming outside the classroom, with a focus on research commercialization and experiential opportunities for all students in the Fall, Spring and Summer

Kyle has experience as a two time founder, non-profit creator, turn around operator, and investor. After his founding experience, Kyle helped run MIT’s Center for Entrepreneurship, scaling the Delta-V summer accelerator before leading work at the MIT Innovation Initiative supporting research commercialization and new venture capital models. He then continued these efforts after being hired as the first Executive Director of Entrepreneurship at CU Boulder’s College of Engineering & Applied Science, running the Catalyze CU accelerator and launching the Entrepreneurship Minor for the College.

With his vast background in a variety of innovation, leadership, and higher-education roles, Kyle is dedicated to creating systems and processes to help develop new ideas, programs and technologies, and translate them into real world impact – helping students launch startups in and out of the classroom.

Kyle earned his BA in Sports Marketing from University of Massachusetts, and holds and MBA from the Babson F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business.

Hesam Panahi, Ph.D.

Director of Strategic Initiatives and Programs, Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, and Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

McNair Hall hpanahi@rice.edu

Close

Hesam Panahi is a Lecturer in Entrepreneurship at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in entrepreneurship and design thinking. He is also a faculty member at Rice University’s Entrepreneurship Initiative and the Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Lilie).

Prior to Rice, Panahi was a clinical assistant professor at University of Houston’s Bauer College of Business, where he taught courses in management information systems, computer science, industrial design, and entrepreneurship. While at the University of Houston, Hesam also founded RED Labs, the University of Houston’s startup accelerator and technology entrepreneurship program. He holds a Ph.D. and Bachelors of Business Administration in Management Information Systems from the University of Houston.

Teaching Interests: 

– Entrepreneurship
– Design Thinking

Micaela McGlone

Senior Associate Director, Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

micaela.mcglone@rice.edu

Close

Micaela McGlone is the new Senior Associate Director at Lilie. Prior to joining Lilie in summer 2021, she spent seven years at OpenStax, the non-profit publisher of open educational resources (OER), also based at Rice. Micaela helps teams set vision and work together to meet ambitious goals, facilitating shared mindset and removing blockers along the way.

Priscilla M. Hernandez

Marketing Specialist , Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

priscilla.hernandez@rice.edu

Close

Priscilla M. Hernandez is the Entrepreneur Marketing Specialist at Lilie. Prior to joining, Priscilla spent a few years as freelance marketing consultant in Troy, NY and then as an associate at Energy Circle in Portland, ME. They eventually went on to co-own a marketing agency with their partner, with a focus on small businesses and nonprofits.

They graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a B.S. in Cognitive Science & Psychology and a M.S. in Marketing for New Product Development.

With their experience, Priscilla is determined to develop Lilie’s communications and brand strategy and support students, faculty, and alumni in their entrepreneurial endeavors!

Al Danto

Lecturer in Management - Entrepreneurship

McNair Hall 360 aldanto@rice.edu

Download CSV

Close

Al Danto is the managing partner of the Danto Burks Group which advises the owners of privately held companies in developing and completing exit strategies, valuations and due diligence representation. He is also a partner in Danto Langerud investments which makes investments and actively manages businesses in a variety of industries. Al has over 25 years’ experience with startup and entrepreneurial companies as well as expertise in the acquisition and divestiture of business interests. He started Structured Graphics at the age of 24 and grew the company through a series of acquisitions into one of the southwest’s largest printing and document management businesses. The company was acquired in 2000 by a Private Equity Group. After exiting the company he went on to fund and launch several enterprises, including Universal Worker, an international health care recruitment firm and Arcemus which was sold to publicly traded Iron Mountain. Al has served as lead representative on a wide range of business acquisitions and has proven experience working with lenders, private equity groups and individual purchasers. He has served on a variety of boards, including the alumni board of the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University and the Entrepreneurs Organization. Al is an Accredited Valuation Analyst received his undergraduate degree in business administration and mathematics from Central Michigan University and an MBA from Rice University.

Teaching Interests: 

-Enterprise acquisition
-New enterprise
-Entrepreneurship

Adrienne Garland

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

adrienne.garland@rice.edu

Close

Angela Schmeidel Randall

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

Close

Angela Schmeidel Randall is a Lecturer in Management at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business, where she teaches the undergraduate course in design thinking. Schmeidel Randall is also an adjunct professor at Kent State University’s Master of User Experience Design program, where she teaches courses in research, design, and leadership.

Schmeidel Randall has over two decades of experience tackling tough challenges with human-centered design. She is the founding principal at Normal Modes & UX.training, where she and her team provide research, coaching, and training to organizations that want to improve experiences with their products and services. She specializes in complex, data-driven, mission critical experiences with clients including Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and venture-backed startups in a variety of industries.

Schmeidel Randall is a graduate of University of St. Thomas (BA – International Studies) and Rice University (MLS). She is also a graduate of Rice’s Doerr Institute for New Leaders.

Her mission is to change the world, one experience at a time.

Teaching Interests: 

– Experience Research & Design
– Design Thinking
– Entrepreneurship
– Leadership

Aziz Gilani

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

gilani@rice.edu

Close

Aziz Gilani is a Managing Partner at Mercury, where he focuses on investments in enterprise SaaS, Cloud and data science startups. Aziz currently serves on the boards of Mercury portfolio companies Datical, GameSalad, Graylog, Koupon Media (observer), Label Insight (observer), ShareThis (observer) and Trendkite (observer). Aziz’s previous investments at Mercury have included BlackLocus (acq. by The Home Depot), Infochimps (acq. by CSC), Modest (acq. by PayPal), and Phurnace Software (acq. by BMC Software).

Prior to joining Mercury, Aziz was a Senior Engagement Leader with Infosys Consulting, an early executive at ABB Performance Services, a Senior Consultant at Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, and an Analyst at Lotus Development Corp. Aziz received his BBA from the University of Texas where he was a TILF Scholar, and his MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management where he was an FC Austin Scholar.

In addition, Aziz is a graduate of the Kauffman Fellows Program through the Center for Venture Education, where he completed industry-defining field work on Seed Accelerators.  Aziz is a recognized expert in Seed Accelerators, and has been quoted in several national publications including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, ReadWriteWeb, TechCocktail, and The Business Journals.

Outside of Mercury, Aziz serves in advisory roles for Knight Foundation, the Mayor of Houston’s Tech and Innovation Council, Seed Accelerator Rankings, and SXSW Interactive. He is also an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at Rice’s Jones Graduate School of Business where he teaches a course on venture capital.

Teaching Interests:

  • Financing start-up ventures
  • Foundations of entrepreneurship: strategy & funding

Blair Garrou

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

blair.garrou@rice.edu

Close

Blair Garrou is a co-founder and Managing Partner at Mercury, where he focuses on investments in enterprise SaaS and cloud computing startups. Blair currently serves on the boards of Mercury portfolio companies Apto, Koupon Media, Label Insight, LISNR, ShareThis, TrackX, and Trendkite. Blair’s previous investments at Mercury have included Alert Logic (acq. by Welsh Carson), BlackLocus (acq. by The Home Depot), Dònde (acq. by Mobify), Infochimps (acq. by CSC), Patient I/O (acq. by athenahealth), and Phurnace Software (acq. by BMC Software).

Prior to co-founding Mercury, Blair was the CEO of Intermat, a leader in product information management software (acq. by IHS). Prior to Intermat, Blair was a Principal of Genesis Park, a Houston-based venture capital and private equity firm, where he focused on the firm’s software investments, including Intermat, FuelQuest (acq. by Saracen Energy), and SAT Corporation (acq. by Invensys). Prior to Genesis Park, Blair helped launch and was the Director of Operations for the Houston Technology Center (HTC), the largest technology incubator in the state of Texas, and he led the formation of the Houston Angel Network, one of the largest and most active angel investment organizations in the U.S. Previously, Blair was an investment banker with BMO Nesbitt Burns, and an auditor with Deloitte & Touche. He received a B.S. in Management with special attainments in Commerce from Washington & Lee University.

Blair is also a co-founder of Station Houston, the largest coworking accelerator in Houston, and SURGE Accelerator, a mentor-driven seed accelerator focused on entrepreneurs seeking to solve the world’s energy problems using software. Outside of Mercury, Blair serves in board and/or advisory roles for the Post Oak School, Rice Alliance, Texas Venture Capital Association, UTHealth, and YPO – Gulf States Chapter. Blair is an Adjunct Professor at the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University where he teaches a course on venture capital.  Blair also was named to the Houston Business Journal’s inaugural “40 under 40.”

Teaching Interests:

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Foundations of entrepreneurship: strategy & funding

Carol Tyger

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

caroltyger@gmail.com

Close

Carol is a product leader and agile coach who has held management roles at a wide range of organizations, from seed-stage to mature startups to publicly traded companies. Currently, she consults for various startups focusing on everything from product metrics to value-based pricing to leading an agile transformation. Previously, she was Head of Product at Spruce, a managed marketplace for multifamily apartment residents to book services such as chores, housekeeping, or pet care. As an executive team member at Spruce, Carol oversaw the product, roadmap, and backlog. She also led the remote development team through the transition to agile and the rebrand that prepped Spruce for national rollout and Series A funding.

Carol previously worked as a Product Manager in Interconnected Retail at The Home Depot, Chief of Staff to the CMO at blinds.com and as an Email Marketing Manager at Zocdoc. She has used these experiences to lead lunch and learns, mentor entrepreneurs, and moderate panels within the Houston startup community. She has also supported founders looking to manage their teams with scrum through workshops and agile coaching.

Before working in tech, Carol was a middle school math teacher with Teach for America. She is passionate about making agile accessible throughout organizations and industries, ruthless prioritization, design thinking, collaborative meetings, diversity in tech, mentorship, and travel.

She holds a Master’s in Industrial Engineering from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s in Mathematics from the University of Texas at Austin.

Teaching Interests

-Technology Product Management
-Agile Software Development
-Design Thinking

Carolyn Zhoujing Bao

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

carolyn.bao@rice.edu

Close

Carolyn Bao is a faculty member of Entrepreneurship at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business for the MBA@Rice program.

In addition to teaching at Rice, Carolyn works as a the Vice President of Marketing at Moomoo Inc. Prior to that, Carolyn worked as a Product Marketing Consultant for Intuit. She has experience leading global product marketing for advertising measurement products at Facebook and held product marketing leadership roles at global leading companies, such as BrightEdge Technologies, Inc. and Visa.

Carolyn is passionate about developing others through teaching with real-world examples. Since 2013, she has been invited as guest lecturer at a few leading universities, such as University of Connecticut’s MBA program and Tsinghua University. She also published a self-paced online product marketing course in 2019 on the MartTechApe platform.

A firm believer in entrepreneurship, Carolyn frequently advises startups and has personally invested into startups such as Volta Charging and Lime.

Carolyn holds an MBA from Goizueta Business School at Emory University.

Cooper Etheridge

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

lee.c.etheridge@rice.edu

Close

Douglas A. Schuler, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Business and Public Policy

McNair Hall 348 713-348-5472 schuler@rice.edu

Close

Professor Schuler’s research and teaching interests focus on public policy, business-government relations, social responsibility, non-profits, and social entrepreneurship. He received his B.S. in Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley, and Ph.D. in Strategic Management and Organization from the University of Minnesota. He has published research articles in top tier journals, including the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Strategic Management Journal, and Business & Society.  Dr. Schuler is an Associate Editor at Business & Society and serves on the editorial board of Business Ethics Quarterly. He is also the outgoing chair of the Social Issues in Management Division of the Academy of Management.

Dr. Schuler teaches the Social Entrepreneurship course for undergraduates. It is a project-based approach to understand the context of social innovations. Specifically, the projects focus on food insecurity innovations and interventions in the greater Houston area. Students analyze such interventions and make recommendations for improvements necessary to achieve greater social impact. This course received the Rice University award for Best Inquiry-Based Learning in 2018.  Dr. Schuler teaches a related MBA course on Social Enterprise that has more of a corporate social responsibility focus.

In parallel, Dr. Schuler conducts research on these interventions and has published a report, Challenges of Social Sector Systemic Collaborations: What’s Cookin’ in Houston’s Food Insecurity Space?, published in March 2019 on Rice’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research’s website: https://kinder.rice.edu/research/challenges-social-sector-systemic-collaborations-whats-cookin-houstons-food-insecurity. This report is one of the centerpieces of the new Greater Houston Coalition on Social Determinants of Health, of which he is a member, that sets out to tackle food insecurity and related issues in the community.

Farzad Soleimani, M.D.

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

farzadsoleimani@gmail.com

Close

As the Associate Director of the TMC Biodesign Innovation Fellowship and an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, Farzad Soleimani, M.D., applies his extensive experience and leadership in health care entrepreneurship to ushering in the next generation of innovative startups.

He has served as the founding CEO of telemedicine company eTherapi, strategist and business developer for Hansen Medical (HNSN), co-founder of IGAN Biosciences and founder and CEO of product review platform Review2Buy, and was as an early-stage financial supporter at Mohr Davidow Ventures and XSeed Capital Management. In addition to his work as an entrepreneur and venture capitalist, he has also published a wide array of articles on health care innovation and currently holds numerous medical technology patents.

Soleimani completed his residency training and served as chief resident at Baylor College of Medicine. He earned his M.B.A., M.D., M.S., and B.S. from Stanford University, where he was also a member of the Stanford Biodesign Innovation Program, as well as the co-founder and executive editor of the Stanford Scientific Review (SSR).

Teaching Interests:
-Healthcare Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Jim Cohen

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

Jim.Cohen@rice.edu

Close

Jim is Co-Founder and Managing Director of Fitz Gate Ventures, a venture capital fund investing primarily in early stage companies where a Princeton alum, faculty member or student is a founder or member of the senior management team. Through its 200+ Friends of Fitz network of alumni, faculty, administrators, trustees and students, the fund leverages the Princeton community to help it discover the best startups and then help its founders succeed. Fitz Gate’s portfolio companies have been profiled in the New York Times, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times and other media sources. Fitz Gate has seen its portfolio companies receive follow-on funding at premiums from Sequoia, Canaan, Tribeca, Andreessen Horowitz, Citi Ventures, Focus Financial Partners (KKR) and other leading VC firms after Fitz Gate invested.

Fitz Gate invests alongside other world class VC funds but is also willing to lead and/or invest alone.

Prior to co-founding Fitz Gate, Jim was the head of Corp Dev and M&A for a $1bb+ NYSE listed company, a partner in a private equity fund (Main Street Capital), a corporate lawyer (Simpson Thacher in NY and London; Baker Botts in Houston) and an investment banker (Morgan Stanley in NY). Jim is a member of the Executive Committee of the Alumni Council of Princeton University, the worldwide governing body for Princeton University alumni. Jim also co-leads a seminar series on venture capital for Princeton University graduate students and is a Lecturer at Rice University on Venture Capital Finance. Jim is an honors graduate of Princeton University and received his law degree from New York University School of Law.

Joanna Nathan

Lecturer in Management - Entrepreneurship

jnathan@rice.edu

Close

Joanna Nathan is the Manager of New Ventures at the Johnson & Johnson Center for Device Innovation at Texas Medical Center (CDI @ TMC). In this role, Joanna is responsible for sourcing and supporting external opportunities to accelerate breakthrough technologies at CDI. Prior to this role, Joanna was a Venture Fellow at Mercury Fund, a $300M venture capital fund focused on early-stage enterprise software. In this role, Joanna sourced investment opportunities in next-gen enterprise software, cloud biology, and intelligent manufacturing, and represented the fund on a working board for the City of Houston to grow the local innovation ecosystem. Previously, Joanna was Director of Product Development at Saranas, a cardiology medical device startup spun out of Texas Heart Institute.

Outside of CDI, Joanna is passionate about building Houston’s innovation ecosystem, leveraging her experiences to educate and empower the next generation of entrepreneurs. In 2012, Joanna founded Enventure, a non-profit organization that provides education and experiential learning opportunities to over 2,000 aspiring entrepreneurs across Texas, where she currently serves on the board. Additionally, Joanna currently supports the National Institute of Health’s RADx initiative to speed innovation in COVID-19 testing

Joanna received her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Bioengineering and MBA at Rice University, where she served as the Jones School of Business Student Association President. She is an active alumna, serving as President-Elect of the board of the Rice Engineering Alumni Association.

Joey Rodriguez

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

joeyjuanrodriguez@rice.edu

Close

Joey Rodriguez is the VP of Product at MacroFab, the world’s first software-based cloud manufacturing platform and marketplace for electronics manufacturing. He has grown the MacroFab Product organization through Seed to Series B+ rounds, overseeing the Product Management, Design, Product Marketing, and Product Training departments. He is also a Lecturer in Management at Rice University, where he teaches Tech Product Management to MBA students.

As a tech executive, his career has focused on leading product and software teams at high-growth VC and PE-backed companies spanning several industries and verticals. Before his position at MacroFab, Joey led cross-functional teams as a Business Development Manager at Acteon-Pulse, a KKR backed oil and gas services startup focused on using smart IoT sensors for predictive maintenance insights. He also has held Product Manager, Systems Engineering, and Software Engineering roles at other companies varying from startups to large enterprises.

He graduated with his MBA from the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University and holds a bachelor’s degree in Electrical & Computer Engineering from Baylor University. During his time at Rice, he interned at Goose Capital, a super angel investment group that has invested >$30M in startups with four exits of 5-10x and has 16+ current investments spanning digital, life sciences, energy, and enterprise software.

Teaching Interests:

  • Tech Product Management
  • Entrepreneurship

Mark Poag

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

mark.poag@rice.edu

Close

Mark is Co-Founder and Managing Director of Fitz Gate Ventures. Fitz Gate Ventures invests a majority of its capital in early stage companies from the Princeton ecosystem, and a portion of its capital is available to be invested more broadly. Through its 200 “Friends of Fitz” network of alumni, faculty, administrators, trustees and students as well as the broader worldwide Princeton alumni network, the fund engages with the Princeton community to help it discover and vet the best startups and then help its founders succeed (introductions to more capital, customers, mentors). Fitz Gate’s portfolio companies have been profiled in the New York Times, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times and other media outlets. Fitz Gate has seen its portfolio companies receive follow-on funding at premiums from Sequoia, Canaan, Tribeca, Andreessen Horowitz, Citi Ventures, Focus Financial Partners (KKR) and other leading VC firms after Fitz Gate invested. Fitz Gate invests alongside other world class VC firms but is also willing to lead and/or invest alone. Fitz Gate currently manages two funds and has approximately $25mm under management.

Mark brings to Fitz Gate Ventures 19+ years of experience as an experienced entrepreneur and executive with a proven track record of successfully growing companies from the ground up to mature industry leadership. Prior to Fitz Gate Mark was the head of Product, Marketing, Legal and Alliances at Datacert, Inc., an enterprise software company (sold 2014) and Founder and CEO of Digicontract, Inc., a SaaS company (sold 2001).

Mark received an A.B. from Princeton University in 1993 and a JD and MBA with honors from Tulane University in 1997. Mark also leads a seminar series on venture capital at Princeton University’s Graduate School and is currently President of the Princeton Alumni Association of Houston and Co-Chair of the Alumni Schools Committee of Houston. Mark previously served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Alumni Council of Princeton University.

Teaching Interests:

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Rice Student Venture Fund: Evaluating Startup Investment Opportunities

Nique Fajors

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

Close

Rafael Alvarez

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

ralvareztx@gmail.com

Close

Named by Forbes Magazine as one of the world’s top 30 social entrepreneurs, Rafael Alvarez was founder and CEO of Genesys Works and is currently Co-founder and Chief People Officer of Moderno Porcelain Works.

Established in 2002, Genesys Works is a national non-profit social enterprise that changes the trajectory of life for underprivileged high school students, from one destined to a lifetime of low wage, dead-end jobs, to one in which they will fully participate in the economic mainstream. This is done by training and employing students to work in meaningful internships at major corporations during their senior year in high school so they can discover that they can indeed enter and succeed in the corporate world. Alvarez took Genesys Works from an idea in his head to a national social enterprise, employing over one thousand people in seven major American cities.

In 2019 Alvarez co-started Moderno Porcelain Works, a corporation with not only a profit motive but also a strong purpose. Working with the newest technology in large format porcelain surfaces, Moderno seeks to hire thousands of young people and engage them into successful career paths.

Alvarez became an Ashoka Fellow in 2006, was awarded the sole Entrepreneurial Leadership Award from Texas A&M University in 2012 and was inducted into the Immigrant Entrepreneur Hall of Fame also in 2012.

Professor Alvarez has been a faculty member of Rice University’s Jones Business School, teaching social entrepreneurship, since 2015.

Prior to starting Genesys Works, Rafael worked for eleven years at Compaq Computer Corporation (now HP) as a corporate strategist and in other engineering management positions. Rafael holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University and a M.S. in Engineering Management from the University of Houston. He resides in Houston with his wife and three daughters.

Teaching Interests:

  • Social Entrepreneurship
  • Business Planning

Shruthi S. Sriram

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

Close

William Gaydon (Don) Porr

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

william.g.porr@rice.edu

Close

Don Porr is an owner/partner at Diamond Fiberglass, an industrial fiberglass tank and vessel manufacturer, which he and his business partner purchased in 2003 through an equity raise and SBA loan.  Since the purchase, Diamond has grown revenues by over five times by expanding product lines, improving quality & customer service, and streamlining production processes.  In his years as a business owner and CEO, he has experienced a breadth of challenges and successes typical of an entrepreneur.

Prior to Diamond, Don worked for M.W. Kellogg (now KBR-Halliburton), FMC Technologies, Network International and British Petroleum. He advises on several local community boards (St. Joseph High School, Victoria County Sheriff’s Department).

Don earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Tulsa University (’92) and a Rice MBA (’97).  A founding member of the JGSEO, he now participates as a member of JGSEO’s successor, the Rice Alumni Entrepreneurs and Innovators group.  Through this Alumni organization, Don is a 10-year member of a CEO Roundtable, advising other members and CEOs on startups, failures, business acquisitions and business harvests. Don enjoys entrepreneurship advising and investing, broadening his world perspective by traveling with his wife and family, cycling with friends, and tinkering on classic vehicles.

Yelena Ioffe

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

yelena.ioffe@rice.edu

Close

Yelena is an early stage VC investor, start-up mentor and an entrepreneur at heart. With over 10+ years of experience in the investments industry, she has been featured as one of the Top Women Investing in Latin American Tech by LAVCA.

Prior to joining Lilie, Yelena was a partner at Cantera Capital and a fund manager at Soldiers Field Angels (SFA), where she led seed and follow-on investments in early stage startups across Latin America. She started her career in venture capital after co-founding Zapatito Blanco, a marketplace for children’s products in Mexico. Her work experience also includes Laudex in Mexico City, J.P. Morgan & Chase in New York and Morningstar Inc. in Chicago.

Yelena holds an MBA degree from Kellogg School of Management and a BA degree in economics from Northwestern University. Originally from Kazakhstan, Yelena has lived in the United States, France, Brazil, and Mexico and is fluent in multiple languages.

Yael V. Hochberg, Ph.D.

Head of Rice Entrepreneurship Initiatives (Liu Idea Lab, MBA Entrepreneurship Initiative) Ralph S. O’Connor Professor in Entrepreneurship Professor of Finance

More Info

Kyle Judah

Executive Director, Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

More Info

Hesam Panahi, Ph.D.

Director of Strategic Initiatives and Programs, Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, and Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

More Info

Micaela McGlone

Senior Associate Director, Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

More Info

Priscilla M. Hernandez

Marketing Specialist , Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

More Info

Al Danto

Lecturer in Management - Entrepreneurship

More Info

Adrienne Garland

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

More Info

Angela Schmeidel Randall

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

More Info

Aziz Gilani

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

More Info

Blair Garrou

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

More Info

Carol Tyger

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

More Info

Carolyn Zhoujing Bao

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

More Info

Cooper Etheridge

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

More Info

Douglas A. Schuler, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Business and Public Policy

More Info

Farzad Soleimani, M.D.

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

More Info

Jim Cohen

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

More Info

Joanna Nathan

Lecturer in Management - Entrepreneurship

More Info

Joey Rodriguez

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

More Info

Mark Poag

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

More Info

Nique Fajors

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

More Info

Rafael Alvarez

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

More Info

Shruthi S. Sriram

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

More Info

William Gaydon (Don) Porr

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

More Info

Yelena Ioffe

Lecturer in Management – Entrepreneurship

More Info