Watch the Global New Venture Challenge (GNVC) Finals today from 9am-1pm CT!

The Entrepreneur-in-Residence program provides mentorship and coaching to University of Chicago students. Successful Chicago-based entrepreneurs are available to meet throughout the academic year, and have provided key insight and mentorship to dozens of companies. We also host regular small group sessions and workshops with the EIRs over breakfast and lunch.

available to meet throughout the academic year (from September through early June). To book an appointment with an EIR, please fill out this form to request an appointment. 
Focus: Entrepreneurship, operations, manufacturing, supply chain & logistics, customer acquisition within 2-sided exchanges, and international business
Program involvement: New Venture Challenge, various accelerators, student lunch and learns
is a serial entrepreneur, faculty coach for New Venture Challenge (NVC), and entrepreneur-in-residence. Chagal has been a long-time judge-mentor for the NVC advising numerous early stage companies. 

Chagal is a senior advisor at Dentons, the world’s largest law firm with 15,000+ lawyers operating in 80+ countries with over 200 offices. 

Chagal was the acting CEO of UICO (2018-19) and the chairman of the board since 2013.  UICO is a venture backed company with proprietary technology that enables touchscreens to work when exposed to water, liquids, and through gloves. Chagal spent the majority of his career in international private label manufacturing (Turkey & Israel) and distribution of products & components for the industrial and building materials sectors in the USA – product design, prototyping, certifications, global manufacturing, supply chain optimization, logistics, merchandising, post sales-support.

Chagal started his entrepreneurial career in 1999 at FastWeb, a technology start-up. FastWeb became the destination site and search engine for college bound students looking for scholarships, and the prominent one-to-one marketing & customer acquisition platform for companies targeting the youth market (acquired by TMP Worldwide). After receiving his MBA from University of Chicago Booth, Chagal was recruited by Booz Allen & Hamilton and helped launch their office in Istanbul. Chagal joined the Ameritech Executive Development Program after college and held several senior corporate and operating positions with increasing responsibilities for a decade in the telecom sector. 

Chagal was born and raised in Cyprus and came to the USA on a Fulbright Scholarship in 1984. Chagal earned a BS in computing and information science and math from Roosevelt University, and an MBA from Chicago Booth. Chagal was admitted to the Lincoln Academy in 1988 as a Student Laureate. The Lincoln Academy elects several Laureates each year to the Order of Lincoln, the highest award given by the State of Illinois.

CJ is an entrepreneur and business leader with experience in all company stages, from founding/early startups to late-stage growth companies and steady-state corporations. He co-founded Snapsheet after leading the pivot of BodyShopBids from a consumer brand into a B2B innovator at the forefront of the Insurtech revolution, raising over $100M and scaling the business to over 400 employees with over 100 insurance customers. He conceived the Snapsheet app, the first photo-based mobile app for claims, an innovation that has become industry standard.

CJ then led the stealth development and launch of Snapsheet Cloud, a SaaS platform which enables fully automated claims from FNOL to digital payment, in partnership with multiple corporates, including Zurich Insurance, Key Bank, and JPMorgan Chase.  CJ architected and led Snapsheet’s expansion beyond the US, into Canada and multiple countries in Europe.

CJ is an avid angel investor and advisor, focusing on unique GTM methodologies, corporate strategic partnerships, business development and fundraising advice. He is passionate about using technology to enable more automation for humans. In addition to his day-to-day activities at Snapsheet, CJ is an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, an advisor at the Creative Destruction Lab in Wisconsin and Duality (the nations first quantum startup accelerator), an advisor to the OCA Ventures EDGE fund, and he currently serves on the board of directors of the department of physics and optical engineering at Rose-Hulman.

CJ holds a bachelor’s degree in optical engineering from the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Mia Saini Duchnowski is a journalist, engineer, investor, and a successful entrepreneur who sold her first VC-backed company, Oars + Alps, to SC Johnson. Currently, she serves as the cofounder and Board Member of Oars + Alps, a digitally native skin care brand for people who lead an active, on-the-go lifestyle. The products are made with naturally-derived, premium ingredients and are sold on Target and Amazon to name a few. The company launched in 2015 after Mia quit her high-profile job as a TV reporter/anchor with Bloomberg TV, one of the largest financial TV networks in the world.

Mia spent over three years with Bloomberg TV in Hong Kong and in New York City where she was responsible for global economic, political and business coverage. She was the first person at the network to interview the chairman of Microsoft, John Thompson, after he became chairman. She’s interviewed hundreds of CEOs and heads of states including the former CEO of Burberry, Angela Ahrendts, and Virgin founder, Sir Richard Branson. She’s routinely covered breaking news stories, such as the disappearance of MH 370, Nelson Mandela’s death, and Steve Job’s passing. 

Prior to joining Bloomberg in June 2011, Mia served as an anchor and reporter for Forbes TV. She reported from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland as well as interviewed prominent business leaders including Warren Buffett, former FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair, Blackstone co-founder Pete Peterson, former Bear Stearns CEO Ace Greenberg, SAP CEO Bill McDermott and more. Earlier in her career, Mia was a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs, working in hedge fund sales and marketing. There, she helped establish strategic relationships with hedge funds representing over $1.2 billion in portfolio value.Mia earned an MBA from the Harvard Business School. She earned a double major from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in neuroscience and media studies, and a double minor in civil engineering and management science. While at MIT, she interned at NASA Ames Research Center doing artificial intelligence research. She was featured in 40 Under 40 in 2020 and was the emcee for the 2020 TedX Wrigleyville event. Currently, she sits on the Auxiliary Board of the Chicago Lincoln Park Zoo. Mia actively interviews high school seniors looking to study STEM subjects at MIT. She is also active in the Chicago startup ecosystem and enjoys mentoring students. She loves cycling and watching film noir movies and lives in Chicago with her husband and their five kids: Tabytha, Thiesson, Kempson, Aubrienna and Sienna.
Program involvement: College New Venture Challenge, Global New Venture Challenge, and student seminars

Melissa Harris, MBA ’16, is founder and CEO of M. Harris & Co., a Chicago-based marketing consultancy. She formerly was an accomplished journalist who spent 15+ years at the Chicago Tribune, the Baltimore Sun, and the Orlando Sentinel. Prior to launching her company, she served as vice president of marketing at a real estate private equity firm, helping it raise about $70 million. She has been named among the 50 most influential people in Chicago tech on Twitter by both Built In Chicago and Chicago Inno. She and her colleagues won a Clio Award for her work on Cards Against Humanity Saves America. In 2021, she began angel investing.

Alex Hodgkin, MBA ’14, has spent the bulk of his career in investment banking and entrepreneurship. He has worked at Salomon Smith Barney and Headwaters MB. He is the cofounder and CEO of Intrinsic, a financial services firm providing valuation opinions and transaction advisory services to venture- and private equity-backed companies and high net worth individuals. Hodgkin has been instrumental in creating the entrepreneurship through acquisition program and community at the University of Chicago.
Program involvement: College New Venture Challenge and student lunch and learns
is currently CEO and executive chairman of UICO,  a rugged touch screen manufacturing company in Chicago.   UICO was founded at Chicago Booth in 2008 and is backed by PE and venture capital.  Monieson has successfully led two previous exits,  Fishidy which was acquired by RayMarine in 2018 and Gradebeam which was acquired by Textura in 2011.   
Program involvement: New Venture Challenge, Alumni New Venture Challenge, and alumni programs

Ellen Rudnick, MBA ’73, is a successful startup executive, having served as chairman of Pacific Biometrics and CEO of Health Care Knowledge Resources. She has held positions as corporate vice president at Baxter Healthcare and president of Baxter Management Services Division, which she founded. Her current board experience includes Liberty Mutual Insurance, Patterson Companies (NASDAQ: PDCO) and First Midwest Bancorp (NASDAQ: FMBI). She previously served as a director of (NASDAQ: HMSY) and Oxford Health.  She serves on the MATTER board of directors and on the 1871 Advisory Board.  She was formerly the inaugural executive director of the Polsky Center.
Focus: Family Enterprise, Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition, Small Business Operations and Permanent Equity / Long Term Ownership

Jamie Shah, MBA ’13, is the former chief operating officer of The Spice House. Prior to The Spice House, Jamie spent eight years at her family’s business, Chem-Impex, running operations, customer service, and quality. She was also previously the lead associate at Hyde Park Angels and Hyde Park Venture Partners, and was selected as a Kauffman Fellows Finalist. She started her career at Goldman Sachs as an investment banker in the consumer retail group, and then was a financial analyst for Google Maps. Jamie earned a dual degree (BBA and BS) from The University of Wisconsin – Madison in finance, investments, and banking and Spanish literature and language, and an MBA from Chicago Booth.

Program involvement: New Venture Challenge, Social New Venture Challenge, College New Venture Challenge, and student lunch and learns

Mark Tebbe is the founder of several startups, including two NASDAQ-listed companies: Lante and Answers Corp. In addition to serving as an EIR at the Polsky Center and an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship, he is an operating executive at Lake Capital and involved in the Chicago entrepreneurial and tech ecosystem.
Program involvement: New Venture Challenge, College New Venture Challenge, Global New Venture Challenge and Alumni New Venture Challenge

Mike Froy, JD ’83 has spent his career helping grow and protect businesses around the world.   Mike is an angel investor and advisor to start-ups.

Mike serves as the Global Chair of the 3,000+ lawyer Corporate practice at Dentons, the world’s largest law firm with over 200 offices in over 80 countries.  Previously Mike served on Dentons’ US and Asia Pacific Region boards, as the chair of Dentons’ US Corporate practice, co-chair of Dentons’ Capital Market practice and Co-head of Dentons’ Chicago office.  An active director and governance expert, Mike has served on and advised both business and not for profit board of directors and currently serves on the boards of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the United States China Heartland Association, Junior Achievement of Chicago and the Lymphoma Research Foundation.

Advising entrepreneurs, start-ups and investors, as well as Fortune 500 companies and major financial institutions in the full range of their business needs, Mike brings a wealth of experience across industries to help individuals and businesses meet their strategic objectives.  Mike has helped clients create billions of dollars in value and effectively manage legal and business risks.  Mike is a solution provider and coach; he helps businesses see around corners and navigate challenging situations.

In addition to representing start-ups, Mike’s legal practice focuses on domestic and cross-border mergers and acquisitions, complex commercial transactions, securities offerings, and corporate governance.  Working with businesses in over 50 countries, coupled with his knowledge and sensitivity to business, cultural and legal differences around the world, Mike has a differentiated ability to achieve results in cross-border and multi-jurisdictional projects.

Mike has a JD from the University of Chicago and an AB from the University of Michigan.

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