Advisory Board

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Craig Asher

Principal, Vital Financial LLC

Craig Asher is a principal at Vital Venture Capital LLC, a venture capital group investing in life sciences platforms and business-to-business software. Before Vital he was a product manager at three software startups—one in e-commerce that went public; one that he helped grow from near-death to a category leader that was purchased by IBM; and a third within IBM that is now a key part of the IBM Smarter Planet initiative. Before working in software, Craig was a consultant for retailers, distributors, and manufacturers in the supply chain strategy group at Andersen Consulting (now Accenture). He has an MS degree from IEMS and an MM from Kellogg.

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Tom Brody

Environmental Systems Engineer, US EPA Region 5

Tom Brody works for the U.S. EPA-Region 5 Chicago office. He serves as an Environmental Systems Engineer in the Resources Management Division. His interests are in the areas of planning, design, development and implementation of Geographic Information Systems. Recent publications of note examine critical ecosystems in the Midwest as well as threats, vulnerabilities, and management of crude oil spills at the subwatershed level. Before joining the EPA, Tom served as a laboratory/graduate participant at Argonne National Laboratory. He received a PhD in IEMS from Northwestern University in 1998.

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Rupesh Doshi

Senior Director, Strategy + Business Development, Fandango


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Jeff Dvorett

Executive Vice President, Midwood Investment and Development

Jeff Dvorett is responsible for the planning, development, marketing and sales of Midwood's development pipeline including 150 East 78th Street in New York and the Shops at Sportsmen’s Lodge in Los Angeles. Midwood is a 90+ year old, vertically-integrated investment, development and management platform that owns over 100 properties across the US.  Prior to joining Midwood, Jeff oversaw the planning and development of over two million square feet of mixed used, residential and hospitality projects in New York. Jeff received his MBA from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor's Degree in Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences from Northwestern University.

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Tony Gambell

Partner, McKinsey & Company

Tony Gambell is a Partner in McKinsey & Company’s Operations Practice and leads the North America Manufacturing Practice.  Tony’s clients are predominantly global leaders in Pharmaceutical, Medical Device, Advanced Industries, and Consumer Packaged Goods.  He holds BS degrees in Manufacturing Engineering and Industrial Engineering from Northwestern University and is a graduate of the Leaders for Global Operations program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he earned a MBA and a MS, Mechanical Engineering.

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Brittany M. Graunke

VP of Operations & Finance, Pearachute and Founder & CEO, Zealous Good

Brittany Martin Graunke is a passionate social entrepreneur and founder of Zealous Good, a website that connects people with extra goods to local charities with matching needs. Brittany studied Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences at Northwestern University and began her career in the Chicago office of Bain & Company as a strategic business consultant. After time in the for-profit, non-profit and start-up sectors, Brittany currently consults high growth start-ups on operations.

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Sania Irwin

Senior Vice President of Systems Engineering, EagleRail Container Logistics

Sania Irwin is an accomplished technology executive. At EagleRail Container Logistics, she is responsible for intelligent, data driven solutions for port automation. Previously, as Senior Director of Engineering at Motorola/Nokia, she established and directed the Connected Car & Smart Roads initiative, and drove the 4G/LTE wireless network launch. She also defined the Intelligent Enterprise business line at Cimphoni, guided operations research efforts at General Motors, and championed Information Technology (IT) solutions at Xerox. Sania is Co-founder & President of One Community, an elected member of the Board of Directors of the League of Women Voters of the United States (LWVUS), and serves on its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee, as well as the Leadership Development task force.  She is the recipient of the 2020 Adade Wheeler Woman of Distinction Award, which recognizes significant contributions by an individual, to the personal and professional advancement of women, through education, advocacy, and mentoring. Sania earned her Bachelor of Arts degree (Magna Cum Laude) in Computer Science and Mathematics from University of Rochester, and Master of Science and PhD degrees in Industrial Engineering & Management Sciences from Northwestern University. Sania lives with her family in the Chicago suburbs, enjoys distance running, and loves to travel.

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Jon Izenstark

Managing Director, CultureFactors

Jon Izenstark is a founder and Managing Director at CultureFactors, a global management consulting and leadership assessment firm. He focuses on driving CultureFactors’ brand and growth strategy and overseeing the firm’s research agenda for managing organizational culture and leader impact.   Jon holds degrees from both the IEMS and MEM programs from Northwestern University where he serves on the Advisory Board

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Hina Jaffery

Program Manager, Hamilton Sundstrand

Hina Jaffery is a Program Manager at Hamilton Sundstrand, the aerospace division of United Technologies Corporation (UTX). She has worked with customers in Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, and Spain. Her prior roles include assignments in: new business development, the formation of a joint venture in China, supply chain, quality, and operations and factory transfers.  Ms. Jaffery holds both a BS IEMS and an MEM from Northwestern.

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Saba Jaffery

Business Manager, UTC Aerospace Systems

Saba Jaffery is a Business Unit Supply Chain Manager at UTC Aerospace Systems (NYSE: UTX). Her prior roles include assignments in: program management, business development, the formation of a joint venture in China, quality, and operations and factory transfers.  In addition to serving on the MEM advisory board, Saba serves on the IEMS advisory board and the boards of Keith Country Day School and the Members Alliance Credit Union in Rockford, Illinois. Saba is also a chair for Rockford Chamber of Commerce’s Lead 360 organization. Saba holds a BS IEMS and an MEM, both from Northwestern University.

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Michael P. Johnson

Faculty, University of Massachusetts, Boston

Michael P. Johnson has served as principal investigator on a project, funded by the National Science Foundation, to develop decision models that assist community development corporations to design foreclosure response strategies for neighborhood revitalization. Professor Johnson's work has appeared in a variety of journals, conference proceedings and reference works, including Annals of Operations Research, Decision Support Systems, Encyclopedia of Operations Research and Management Science, Encyclopedia of Housing, Environment and Planning, Housing Studies, Journal of Geographic Systems. Degrees: PhD, Northwestern University, Operations Research, MS, University of California, Berkeley, Operations Research, MS, Georgia Institute of Technology, Electrical Engineering.

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Carley Kauble

Senior Product Manager, Asurion

Carley Kauble is a Senior Product Manager at Asurion, a technology company providing protection and support solutions for major wireless carriers, cable providers and retailers. In her current role, she is responsible for driving the product growth strategy for a major wireless carrier. Prior to Asurion, she spent nine years with Rockwell Automation as a simulation consultant, sales account manager and a product manager. She received her Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering and her MEM degree, both from Northwestern.

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Emily Kelly

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Molly Kelly

General Manager, Exact Software

Molly Kelly is the VP of Business Development at BT Partners, a division of Miller Cooper & Co. She oversees BT Partners growth initiatives in identifying new markets and overseeing outreach programs to potential clients. In addition to new business initiatives, Molly manages the sales and marketing teams focused on adding new managed services and ERP customers. Prior to joining BT Partners, Molly owned and managed an ERP consulting firm which was purchased by Exact Software, based in the Netherlands, where she then served as General Manager for the Americas. She received a BS from IEMS and holds MCP, MCSE, MCDBA, ISO Auditor certifications.

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Joseph Martinich

Faculty, University of Missouri-St. Louis

Joseph S. Martinich is Professor Emeritus of Supply Chain and Analytics at the University of Missouri - St. Louis. He holds a B.S. degree in Industrial Engineering from Northwestern University; an M.A. in Economics from California State University - Fullerton; and a Ph. D. in Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences from Northwestern University. He has worked and/or consulted for several organizations in manufacturing and service industries as well as not-for-profit organizations.  He has held visiting and adjunct faculty positions at the John M. Olin School of Business Administration of Washington University (St. Louis), the Engineering Management Department of the Missouri University of Science and Technology, and the Industrial Engineering Department of California State Polytechnic University - Pomona. His current research and professional activities deal with environmental sustainability of business operations, and the economic development aspects of recycling, re-use, and re-manufacturing. He also serves on the City Council of the City of Creve Coeur, Missouri.

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Patrick R. McCarter

Managing Director, Technology & Business Services Telecom & Media

Patrick R. McCarter is a Managing Director and the Co-Head of the Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications ("TMT") group. He focuses on buyout and growth equity investments in larger companies including software, business services, semiconductors, communications, systems and related distribution businesses. Mr. McCarter is based in Menlo Park, California.  Since joining Carlyle in 2001, Mr. McCarter has been actively involved with the firm's investments in Veritas, Dealogic, CommScope, Inc. (NASDAQ: COMM), Open Link Financial, Inc. (acquired by H&F), Open Solutions, Inc. (acquired by Fiserv), Freescale Semiconductor (acquired by NXP Semiconductors), Jazz Semiconductor (acquired by Acquicor Technology, Inc.), Sippican, Inc. (acquired by Lockheed Martin), and CPU Tech (acquired by Boeing).  Prior to joining Carlyle, Mr. McCarter was at Morgan Stanley with a focus on financial institutions in New York.  Mr. McCarter received his B.S. with a double major in industrial engineering and economics from Northwestern University and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School.  Mr. McCarter is currently a member of the Boards of Directors of Veritas and Dealogic.

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Eva McGoey

Executive Director, Innovation Leader

Eva McGoey is Executive Director, Innovation Leader at Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), where she leads the deployment of new solutions and delivers business technology innovation for the largest customer-owned health insurance company — the fourth largest health insurer overall — in the United States. McGoey’s solid track record of producing new and improved solutions has helped HCSC solve complex challenges with technology and moved HCSC forward as a leader in healthcare technology innovation. A native of Chicago, Illinois, McGoey holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering & Management Sciences from Northwestern University. She is an active member of the Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences Alumni Advisory Board. 

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Fernando Mercé

Chief Executive Officer, Melissa & Doug LLC

Fernando Mercé (McCormick ’92) was born in Brazil and trained in the United States and Europe. In 1992, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Northwestern University and an MBA from the University of Virginia, Darden. With more than 25 years of professional success to draw on, Fernando became Chief Executive Officer of Melissa & Doug LLC in February 2020. In his role, Fernando oversees all operations for the company globally. Melissa & Doug is the leading toy manufacturer in the preschool arena, entirely committed to open-ended, technology-free, sustainable toys. Fernando previously served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Nestlé Waters North America and President of Nestlé Purina, Latin America. Outside of work, Fernando enjoys spending time with his family and playing tennis. He is a member of the Board of Directors of DOMUS Kids, Corporate Advisory Board of the Darden School of Business, and Board of Governors of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

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George L. Nemhauser

Faculty, Georgia Institute of Technology

George L. Nemhauser was educated at the Bronx High School of Science, City College of New York (B.Ch.E. 1958) and Northwestern University (M.S. 1959, Ph.D. 1961).  Dr. Nemhauser joined the faculty of the Johns Hopkins University as Assistant Professor of Operations Research and Industrial Engineering in 1961. In 1970, he was appointed Professor of Operations Research and Industrial Engineering at Cornell University and Leon Welch Professor in 1984. He served as School Director during the period 1977 - 1983. He came to Georgia Tech's School of Industrial and Systems Engineering in 1985 as the A. Russell Chandler Professor and was appointed Institute Professor in 1991. He has held visiting faculty positions at the University of Leeds, U.K. the University of Louvain, Belgium and the University of Melbourne, Australia. His honors include membership in the National Academy of Engineering and several INFORMS (Institute of Operations Research and Management Science) awards.  He has received a distinguished alumnus award from Northwestern.

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Jonathan H. Owen

Director of Operations Research, General Motors Global Research & Development

Jonathan H. Owen is Director of Operations Research (OR) at General Motors Global Research and Development.  Dr. Owen began his career with GM in 1999 and was named OR Director in 2013. In this role, he leads strategic innovation activities for applied OR across diverse areas of the business that include pricing and revenue management, portfolio planning, vehicle technology selection and content optimization, supply chain and logistics, market demand modeling, and dealer effectiveness. Dr. Owen received his B.S. in Mathematical Science and Operations Research from the University of North Carolina in 1992 and M.S. and PhD. degrees in Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences from Northwestern University in 1993 and 1998. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), and serves on its Analytics Certification Board and as VP of Practice Activities. He is the author or several journal articles, book chapters and conference proceedings and co-inventor of multiple patents.

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Rajesh Oza

President, Organization Alignment Consulting Group, Inc.

Rajesh C. Oza specializes in helping senior executives better align their organizations to achieve success. Simply put, he facilitates alignment of strategy and organization through a systems approach to client viability. Client viability includes change management, executive coaching, strategic planning, organizational design, culture and leadership development, double-loop communication and learning, high-performance teaming, stakeholder transition, roadmap implementation, and M&A integration. Dr. Oza received an MS from IEMS and a PhD in Organization Change from Pepperdine. As well, he facilitates T-Groups for MBA students at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

Rich Padula

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Kenneth J. Porrello

Executive Director, CEO Perspectives

Ken Porrello is a senior executive and investor focused on cyber/technology innovation and developing next generation leaders.  
Ken spent 30 years as a partner in Deloitte Consulting, retiring from the firm in 2017.  He held significant executive/P&L responsibilities in the firm, including building and leading significant practices in North America and India.  Ken now serves as Executive Director of CEO Perspectives, a leadership development program for C-level executives of Fortune 500 companies.  Ken also serves as an Operating Partner with Kinzie Capital Partners.
Ken is a board member of SteelCloud, LLC, a leader in cybersecurity solutions in high-security federal environments; of MetroEdge Development Partners, LLC, an edge computing service provider; and Colony Display, LLC, a supplier to the retail sector.  He also serves as chair of the board of advisors for the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University, a post he assumed in 2011.

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Vicki Sauter

Faculty, University of Missouri-St. Louis

Vicki Sauter joined the faculty of the College of Business Administration in 1979 after receiving her Ph.D. in systems engineering from Northwestern University, and serves currently as Professor of Information Systems at UM-St. Louis. Her research interests began with decision support systems, especially in the model-management area. You can view her book, Decision Support Systems for Business Intelligence. Currently Professor Sauter is working in the area of systems analysis with a focus on the improvement of methodologies. In addition, she is conducting research in the role of women in the information systems profession.

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Michael Sheldon

Co-President, Vincere Resource Group

Michael Sheldon has been a partner with Vincere Resource Group and RK Equity, after a 20 year career in private equity, investment banking and operations, during which he was actively involved in about 40 companies worldwide, and associated with over $5 billion of deal value.  He has been an investment committee member of six funds, and served actively on numerous boards.  From 1999-2009, Michael was president of ETF Group, a Swiss-based global venture capital group, and Nexam Capital, with investments in 10 U.S. portfolio companies, including Commerce One, Hotspot FX and Portero (where he served as CEO). From 1992-1999, Michael was Managing Director and founder of the international private equity business for Trust Company of the West, where he built joint venture offices in India, Taiwan, Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina.  Michael holds a B.S. degree in Engineering from Northwestern University and an M.B.A. from the Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth.

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Malik Thompson

Senior Manager, Samsung Electronics America

Malik Thompson has twelve years of professional experience as a leader in process optimization, business process reengineering, and change management; 8 years in the commercial sector at both large, medium and startup companies, and 4 years in the federal sector as a federal management consultant. Mr. Thompson has managed large-scale total lifecycle strategic sourcing initiatives from solution identification through contract negotiations. Mr. Thompson uses his Lean Six Sigma background and a strategic, results-focused approach to enhance opportunities from design through implementation. His degree in Industrial Engineering, certifications in Lean and Six Sigma, and his Total Cost of Ownership full lifecycle project experience have contributed to his success in company and organizational process improvement.

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Alan Wasserstrom

Alan Wasserstrom is a lifelong resident of Columbus, Ohio. He is married to his wife Diana. Alan is a big Northwestern University football fan. He is also an avid golfer and the owner of five dogs. Mr. Wasserstrom has spent his entire working career with the family business. N WASSERSTROM and Sons manufactures, designs, and installs turnkey foodservice facilities - from quick service to large institutional projects.

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Sandra Waters

Vice President, National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners

Sandra Waters is Vice President for Collaborative Initiatives at the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME).  In this role, Ms. Waters facilitates relationships with key stakeholder groups as the “Chief Collaborative Officer” for the organization.  She has been instrumental in developing strategy, improving operations and leading innovation in diverse organizations and industries.  Ms. Waters holds a Master of Engineering Management degree from Northwestern University where she serves on Advisory Boards to two programs.

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Audrey Williams-Lee

VP, Corporate Human Resources & Global Philanthropy, Hyatt Hotels Corporation

Audrey Williams-Lee is an experienced business executive with passion for building organizational excellence through strategic talent management, leadership development, culture and change.  Her experience encompasses serving as a HR leader and advisor for C-suite executives and their leadership teams, community engagement, and setting and directing strategies for philanthropic giving.  She has worked across several industries, holding Human Resources roles at Unilever, McDonald’s and W.W. Grainger.  On the nonprofit side, she was the HR leader for Opportunity International.  Ms. Williams-Lee receives her BSIE from Northwestern University and her MSOB from Benedictine University.  She serves on the board of directors for Youth Guidance in Chicago, Illinois.  She is a also a board member of Hephzibah Children’s Association and a member of the Oak Park & River Forest High School’s Community Council, both in Oak Park, Illinois.

Gigi Yuen-Reed

Chief Data and AI Officer, Availity

Availity is a health technology company that connects health plans and providers. Gigi Yuen-Reed directs the data and AI strategy for the business, and leads the R&D of data science initiatives aim to reduce waste and increase automation in the healthcare ecosystem. Prior to Availity, she was the Distinguished Engineer and Master Inventor in IBM Watson Health.  She received her BSc degree in Civil Engineering, and BSc, MSc, and PhD degrees in IEMS from Northwestern University.