Meet Our Luminaries

An exclusive group of top CEOs, founders, and leading academics who are committed to supporting our students

Rebekah Bastian
CEO of OwnTrail

Rebekah Bastian is an entrepreneur, award-winning writer, artist, tech executive, mentor, wife, mother, and aerial acrobat. She is the CEO & Co-founder of OwnTrail and was previously vice president of product and vice president of community and culture at Zillow. Rebekah is the author of Blaze Your Own Trail, is a contributor to Forbes, and an investor and advisor to AuthenTech companies.

Chris Albinson
CEO of Communitech

Chris Albinson is the President & CEO of Communitech, & Co-Founder & Managing Director of BreakawayGrowth Fund. Albinson has been an early investor in companies that have created $45bn+ in value, including Pinterest, Docusign, Newbridge Networks & Juniper Networks. Prior exits include Pinterest (IPO NASDAQ: PINS), DocuSign (IPO NASDAQ: DOCU), Ticketfly (acquired by NASDAQ: Pandora), Elemental Technology (Acquired by NASDAQ: Amazon), Good Technology (Acquired by NASDAQ: Blackberry), PasswordBox (Acquired by NASDAQ: Intel), and Juniper (IPO NASDAQ: JNPR).

Chris is currently on the board of, and an investor in GameClub, HarperWilde, SignalWire, Gentreo, CareerList, Pinterest, Turo, Stance, 33Across, Uberflip, People.AI, Lovepop, and 7 stealth companies. In addition, he is a mentor and advisor for TechStars, Garage Capital, SAAS North, CIX – Canadian Innovation Exchange Top 20, and TiEcon 2020.

Previously, Chris was a General Partner at JP Morgan Partners ($6.5B AUM private equity firm). General Partner & Founder of FCC ($412M AUM secondary fund). Chris also helped grow four startups, most recently as Chief Strategy Officer for Digital Island (NASDAQ: ISLD; acquired by Cable & Wireless in 2001) and Newbridge Networks (NYSE: NN).

Steve Woods
CTO of Benevity

Steve Woods is a serial entrepreneur who is a driving force in high-growth startups like Eloqua. As co-founder and CTO, Steve helped guide Eloqua to market leading position in Marketing Automation, through its IPO on the NASDAQ, and to its ultimate acquisition by Oracle for $957 million.

He is also co-founder and CTO of, a startup that was recently acquired by Affinity. is an autonomous deal intelligence layer for CRM that shows revenue leaders the risks and next steps in every deal in the pipeline.

Currently, Steve is CTO at Benevity, the leading global provider of corporate social responsibility and employee engagement software. 

J.D Schramm,
Stanford Professor (retired)

J.D Schramm is a former Stanford Professor, Keynote Speaker, Communication Consultant and Coach, and author of Communicate with Mastery: Speak with Confidence and Write for Impact. 

For over twenty years JD has taught at NYU. Columbia, and Stanford where he founded the Mastery in Communication Initiative at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. 

See JD on the TED stage delivering a talk that has since been seen by 2 million people: Break the Silence for Suicide Attempt Survivors

J.D shares his vast expertise in communication with our teenpreneurs, helping them hone their pitching, speaking, and conversation skills.

Alan Cook,
CEO of BrilliantPad

Alan Cook built the best-selling ScoopFree self-cleaning litter box – from inventing it, to scaling and eventually being acquired by Systems Corporation (now owned by CD&R). HE generated 30x returns for their earliest investors. NowScoopFree sales exceed $100 million annually.​

His latest product, the BrilliantPad Self-Cleaning Dog Potty, is poised to replicate ScoopFree’s success — just this time for puppy pads instead of kitty litter. The former ScoopFree team launched BrilliantPad via crowd-funding (IGG), and Cook later appeared on Shark Tank. During the product development process alone, they generated $4M+ in sales.​

Alan is a successful inventor turned CEO who is a wizard at creating and massively scaling products. He shares his vast experience with CPG, patenting, product development, and rapid scaling with our teenpreneurs.

Don Chapman,
CEO Advisor

Don Chapman has spent his career helping companies achieve unprecedented levels of achievement.

For 11 years, Don was President of Novell Canada. Here, he helped the company achieve significant growth in Linux and resource and infrastructure management. He was also a Senior Executive at many other large corporations (like Corporate Software Canada, SHL, ComputeInnovations, IBM, and more).

Presently, as a CEO Advisor, Don has helped many leadership teams grow revenue, reduce cost, reduce risk, and empower employees.

Mike Pinkus
CEO of ConnectCPA

Mike Pinkus is a Co-founder of ConnectCPA, a company that is revolutionizing the way businesses do accounting via tech innovations. ConnectCPA is one of the largest companies in their industry.

Mike’s experience with taxation, financial reporting, investments, and real estate has helped ConnectCPA help others. Prior to co-founding ConnectCPA, Mike worked as a Senior Associate for PricewaterhouseCoopers. Mike also spent time as a tax and accounting manager at a mid-sized accounting practice and an Investment Associate at a real estate private equity firm.​

Mike holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Schulich School of Business and is a Chartered Accountant. Mike helps support teenpreneurs as they navigate the world of finance.

Joel Lessem
CEO of Firmex

Joel Lessem is the CEO and Founder of Firmex, an industry leader in the virtual data room software category. Under his leadership, Firmex has delivered double-digit growth, profit, and IRR since its inception.

Today, tens of thousands of organizations in 66 countries use Firmex’s VDR SaaS software. Moreover, with Joel at the helm, Firmex is rapidly becoming a standard for sharing large volumes of highly confidential documents.​

Previously, Joel was President of Crescent Logic, a research software and web development services company. Clients included GMP Securities, Caldwell Partners, TSX, and Sun Life Insurance.

Dr. Saikat Chaudhuri
Director of MET Program at UC Berkley

Dr. Saikat Chaudhuri is the Faculty Director of the Management, Entrepreneurship, and Technology Program at the University of California, Berkely (flagship dual-degree program in engineering and business).

Previously, Dr. Saikat Chaudhuri was the Executive Director of the Mack Institute for Innovation Management and a Professor at the Wharton School of Business. As Director of the Mack Institute, Dr. Chaudhuri advised leading global corporations and governments.

Much of his research has focused on understanding operational drivers in innovation-focused acquisitions and investigating the implications of R&D outsourcing projects.