About Connor Chelsky
Connor Chelsky is the Analyst / Operations Coordinator at Impact Engine. He provides support to Impact Engine portfolio companies, in addition to helping identify new investment opportunities. Connor also oversees the internal infrastructure at Impact Engine and assists in other operational capacities.
Connor previously served as a research associate for Strong Bodies Fight where he helped to conduct a feasibility analysis on entering the Bangladesh garment industry in the form of a social enterprise, which ultimately led to his interest in the impact investing and social entrepreneurship world.
Connor graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2015, where he earned a B.A. in Political Science while minoring in Education, School, and Society. He served as a senior captain of the Notre Dame Men’s Boxing team.
About Elizabeth Coston
Elizabeth Coston is a Senior Associate at Impact Engine. She is responsible for identifying and evaluating investment opportunities and conducting financial and business due diligence. She also manages the fund’s operations and investor relations. Prior to joining Impact Engine in 2015, Elizabeth was active in developing the social impact community in Chicago as manager of the social innovation and impact investing programs at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. She previously worked in investment banking and wealth management at UBS and Hightower Advisors. Elizabeth earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Harvard University and an MBA from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.
About Linda Darragh
Linda Darragh recently joined the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University as the executive director of the Levy Institute for Entrepreneurial Practice and the Heizer Center for Private Equity and Venture Capital. In this role, she is Kellogg’s senior administrator overseeing and integrating the school’s curricular, co-curricular, and alumni outreach activities in entrepreneurship, social enterprise, venture capital and private equity. Linda is a cornerstone of the Chicago entrepreneurship community and recognized globally as a leader in entrepreneurship education. Prior to Kellogg, she served as the director of Entrepreneurship Programs at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where she was instrumental in furthering entrepreneurship. Linda received her Master’s degree from the University of Toronto and her Bachelor’s degree from Queen’s University.
About Jessica Droste Yagan
Jessica Droste Yagan is CEO of Impact Engine, a venture fund that invests financial and human capital in early-stage, for-profit technology startups that are improving education, health, economic empowerment, and resource efficiency.
Prior to Impact Engine, Jessica led the creation of McDonald’s Corporation’s sustainable sourcing strategy, most recently as Director of Sustainable Supply for McDonald’s USA. In that role, she enabled the integration of ethical, environmental, and economic sustainability across all food and packaging sourcing. She also architected numerous specific projects including Marine Stewardship Council-certified fish and a multi-million dollar investment in improving the livelihoods of Guatemalan coffee farmers while simultaneously strengthening the coffee supply chain.
Prior to her work with McDonald’s USA, Jessica led strategy and alignment of global sustainable sourcing at McDonald’s and consulted with city, non-profit, and corporate clients in the areas of strategic planning, corporate social responsibility, and inner city economic development. She has co-authored two Harvard University case studies on public-private partnerships and currently serves as a board member for Social Venture Partners Chicago, OneGoal Chicago, The Honeycomb Project, Metropolitan Planning Council, and Piece & Co. Jessica earned recognition on Chicago Crain’s 40-Under-40 list in 2013 and served as a 2014 Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow.
Jessica holds a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy from Haverford College, an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, and a Master of Public Administration from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government. She attended the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora, IL for high school.
Most importantly, Jessica tries to keep up with logistics for her wonderful and active family. She lives in Chicago with her husband Sam and three children.
About Valerie Hedge
Valerie assists with legal projects and research initiatives as an advisor to Impact Engine. Previously, she provided securities and M&A legal services to multinational companies, investment banks, and other financial services firms as an attorney for Winston & Strawn, and then moved on to be an in-house attorney for Crescent Heights, a large-scale real estate developer. She decided take some time off of the practice of law to devote a few years to full-time parenting, volunteer work, and to reevaluating her career path. Something clicked when she heard about the work that Impact Engine is doing. She loves being part of a collaborative effort to merge best business practices and innovative ideas with the intention to improve the health, wellbeing, and education of people, and the sustainability of the planet.
Valerie earned a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of California, Irvine (go Anteaters!) and a law degree from Northwestern University School of Law. Valerie also spent four years in the U.S. Navy – Hospital Corpsman Reserve, is a certified mediator and an irregular athlete.
About Jamie Jones
Jamie N. Jones is an Innovation Advisor at RTI International, one of the world’s leading research institutes, dedicated to improving the human condition by turning knowledge into practice, and board member at Impact Engine. Prior to RTI, Jamie was the Director of Social Entrepreneurship at Northwestern University’s Kellogg (SEEK) Program, where she worked with students, alumni, and members of the community to apply business principles to affect social change. Jamie firmly believes that the greatest social challenges can be mitigated with innovation and the application of sound business practices. She is in constant search for new opportunities to foster collaboration between Kellogg students and the community toward significant social impact.
Since starting her role at Kellogg, Jamie has launched the International Impact Investing Challenge, conducted research in collaboration with the U.S. Department of State, co-hosted the Impact Investing Summit, and facilitated the creation of the NUvention Innovate for Impact course. Jamie’s current research interests are in the design of inclusive business models to create sustainable social impact.
Jamie earned an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Prior to Kellogg, Jamie was a product development chemist and worked in several areas including medical devices and material science. She earned a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin and a BS in Chemistry from the University of Tennessee. Any free time Jamie has is spent running or biking the trail near Lake Michigan.
About Greg Lernihan
Greg Lernihan is an impact investor, committed to making a positive difference in the lives of others and has refocused his life with this purpose. He currently dedicates his time to mentoring budding entrepreneurs and helping others who are passionately serving the nonprofit world.
Greg is co-founder of Convergint Technologies, an electronic security, life safety, and building management company. Started in a basement in 2001, Convergint Technologies has grown from two colleagues to 1,600 in 2014 with 45 offices throughout the world. Passionate about helping others, Greg instilled a sense of social responsibility in Convergint’s culture through their unique values and beliefs, and recently led multiple company mission trips to Haiti. Greg now serves as an active board member. Prior to starting Convergint Technologies, Greg spent 20 years in various roles at Siemens Building Technologies before leaving his last position as senior vice president for North America.
Active in professional and civic organizations, he has been involved in mentoring inner city youth for many years. He is a board member and teacher for the Barrington High School Incubator program, a partner at Social Venture Partners, a board member at Impact Engine, and an advisor to the Center for Companies that Care. He is also actively involved in philanthropy and social investing.
Greg holds a bachelor’s of science degree in business management from Purdue University. Greg is married and has been blessed with three children and one grandson.
About Steven N. Miller
Steven N. Miller is a principal and co-founder of Origin Ventures. Prior to co-founding Origin, Steve spent 10 years at Quill Corporation, a direct marketer of office products started by his family in 1956. His experience there included running the Canadian distribution center as well as P&L responsibility for a $30 Million product line. Steve’s final two years at Quill were devoted to starting up the e-commerce operation. He wrote the business plan for the company’s first web site,www.quill.com, and managed the team that executed it to $15 Million in annual revenue. In 1998, the Miller family sold Quill to Staples and achieved a $1 Billion exit.
Steve serves on the board of VHT, and was previously a director of GrubHub and Shoutlet. Prior to its sale in 2004, he served on the board of directors of iNest. He was also an investor and advisor at Golf.com, before it was acquired by Time Inc. in early 2006.
Steve is president of the board of Victory Gardens Theater. He serves on the board of OneGoal, an innovative college persistence program working to make college graduation possible for all students. Steve is a board member and committee chair of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, as well as the Better Government Association. He is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago, and the University of Illinois Foundation.
Steve received a B.S. degree in Business Administration/Marketing from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1987, where he now serves on the Dean’s Business Council and the board of the Hillel Foundation. He also provides the funding for the Steven N. Miller Entrepreneurial Scholarships and the Diane & Steven N. Miller Endowed Professorship in Business at the University of Illinois.
About Dan Ratner
Dan Ratner is Executive Chairman and co-founder of Public Good Software, which is redefining online philanthropy. Prior to PGS, he was Director of Development helping to build the technology team for President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign. Before the campaign, Dan served as co-founder and COO/CTO at Sittercity, the nation’s largest service dedicated to helping parents find quality childcare online. In addition to his startup and campaign work, Dan is on the boards of Open Books, a Chicago literacy organization, and Fulcrum Point New Music Project. When not working, he loves to write and has published two non-fiction books on nanotechnology and is working on an upcoming novel. He lives in Chicago with his wife Genevieve Thiers and their amazing twin sons Ari & Leo.
About Elizabeth Riley
Elizabeth Riley is an experienced journalist, digital content strategist, and operations manager who was part of the founding team at Impact Engine, Chicago’s first social impact investment fund and accelerator. As Director of Operations & Communications, Elizabeth oversaw the company’s overall processes, day-to-day planning and finances, curriculum development, marketing strategy, and community outreach. Prior to Impact Engine, Elizabeth spent three years at Chicago magazine, most recently as its Digital Engagement Editor, where she managed the organization’s social media and reader engagement initiatives. Elizabeth also works as a freelance content strategist, writer, and communications consultant. Her recent writings on impact entrepreneurship have been featured by the Huffington Post and Crain’s Chicago Business. In 2007, Elizabeth helped open a private school for underprivileged children while volunteering for a nonprofit organization in the Dominican Republic. This experience inspired her to quit a paper-pushing job at an insurance brokerage firm to pursue a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. Elizabeth also holds a bachelor’s degree in American studies from the University of Texas at Austin.
About Tasha Seitz
Tasha Seitz is a Partner & Chief Investment Officer at Impact Engine. Tasha has been a technology venture capital investor with JK&B Capital since 1997, focusing on enterprise software, Internet infrastructure and mobile infrastructure investments. She serves on the board of and is the Chief Investment Officer for Impact Engine, where she coaches impact entrepreneurs in fundraising as well as identifying the ever-evolving landscape of impact investors.
Tasha serves on the board of directors for Baynote, Vormetric, Spark Ventures, Social Venture Partners, and Impact Engine.
About Maggie Stohler
Maggie Stohler is the Communications Associate at Impact Engine. She oversees all inbound and outbound communications, digital marketing, and social media outreach.
She recently completed the RISE Fellowship through the New Sector Alliance, where she served as the Partnerships & Engagement Coordinator at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics. A Philadelphia native, Maggie also worked as the Communications Associate at Philadelphia VIP, the pro bono legal services arm of the Philadelphia Bar Association.
Maggie is a recent graduate of the University of Delaware, where she earned a Honors B.A. in International Relations with minors in International Business, Public Policy, and Spanish. She served as the top student director for University of Delaware’s Alternative Breaks at the Office of Service Learning and Institute for Global Studies and managed a year-long program of 200+ students participating in eight service-learning experiences.
About Chuck Templeton
Chuck Templeton is passionate about early stage and emerging companies, and is focused on using business principles to find solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. He has had the pleasure of being involved with over two-dozen startups as an investor, board member, or advisor, but spends the majority of his time helping impact companies as Chairman of the Board for Impact Engine.
He took his first big step as an entrepreneur in San Francisco when he founded OpenTable, which went public on the NASDAQ in May of 2009 (OPEN). He helped build an industry leading company that changed the way full-service restaurants manage their top-line growth and diners make their dinner reservations. While CEO, he recruited and hired the first management team, obtained and allocated company resources, led the business and product strategy, and carefully crafted a highly dedicated culture. OpenTable is the global leader in restaurant reservations with customers in all 50 states and more than a dozen countries.
He used that experience to support the GrubHub team as an Advisor and Director. They grew to be a national leader in providing hungry diners with food delivery and take-out options, while also helping independent restaurants use technology to operate more profitably.
He spent three years serving in the US Army, becoming Ranger and Sniper qualified. Most importantly, he has an amazing wife and two awesome daughters.