Mentors & Judges

Perfect match on experience, perfect match on personality, so encouraging, smart, and knowledgeable! I couldn’t have imagined such a great mentor.”

Jennifer Blain Christen, Arizona State University

Volunteers are a cornerstone of Equalize Startups!

This program is successful due to the efforts of our mentors and judges.

Mentors, judges, and Equalizers have found the networking and relationship aspects of the program to be invaluable. It is about more than the competition itself, and we are proud to report that many of the volunteer judges and mentors have found the experience so rewarding that they return each year.

Our Mentors

The Role of the Mentor

Mentors are experienced leaders or investors in startup companies in the discipline area of the Equalizer (e.g., medical technologies, therapeutics, physical science technologies, digital tools).

Equalizers are matched with a field-specific mentor to meet with for six months and dig into the business idea. Mentorship activities include:

  • Helping Equalizers understand a business and business model
  • Providing advice on setting up a pitch deck
  • Offering pitching advice
  • Providing networking connections
  • Aiding the Equalizer in identifying barriers to success
  • Empowering the Equalizer and enhancing her confidence

Time Commitment

Mentors meet with their Equalizer for at least one hour per month January through June of the program year, and possibly more often closer to the pitch competition.

There are two 45-minute sessions with fellow mentors to exchange information on best practices and ask for connections from the Equalize Startups network that may be of use to mentees.

I had a wonderful, supportive, and knowledgeable mentor who provided me with great feedback and support. I think just having a 3rd party sounding board for things was really great and useful!

Rachel Tinius

Western Kentucky University
man and woman at table talking

Current and Past Mentors

Carey-Ann Burnham
Pattern Bioscience
Carol Curtis
Cadenza Bio
Christine Rohan
Vasowatch
David Caouette
Pfizer
Diane Bouis
MedTech Innovator
Elaine Hamm
Ascend BioVentures
Erika Tyburski
Sanguina
Erum Khan
Messaginglab
Gianina Varea
Portal Innovations
Heather Walsh
Astellas
Helen McBride
Bold Capital
Jay Lichter
Avalon Ventures
Jay Parrish
ARCH Venture Partners
Julie Cherrington
Biotechnology Executive
Karen Mullis
Washington University in St. Louis
Kate Wolin
Experienced Entrepreneur
Kathryn Zavala
MedTech Innovator
Liz Peek
Washington University in St. Louis
Manny Stockman
Osage University Partners
Mary Jo Gorman
Healthtech Executive
Nader Sadrzadeh
DeepSight Technology
Natalie Jing Ma
Deep Origin
Neena Kadaba
AppleTree Partners
Priya Balachandran
Atzeyo Biosensors
Robert Ethier
Impact Science Ventures
Sara Risch
Rev1 Ventures
Sasa Mutic
Varian Medical Systems
Scott Nuzum
Innovyz
Shelley Force Aldred
Rondo Therapeutics
Victoria Gonzalez
Experienced Entrepreneur
Wayne Embree
Rev1 Ventures
Xuemei Cai
Pfizer/Tufts
PJ Anand
Alcyone Therapeutics
Chris Brook
AstraZeneca
Julie Cherrington
Biotechnology Executive
Leslie Cousens
AstraZeneca
Carol Curtis
Cadenza Bio
Wayne Embree
Rev1 Ventures
Victoria Gonzalez
Experienced Entrepreneur
Deepak Gopalakrishna
Oxford VR
Mary Jo Gorman
Healthtech Executive
Anil Goyal
IMMvention Therapeutix
Elaine Hamm
Ascend BioVentures
Nancy Hong
RiverVest
Neena Kadaba
AppleTree Partners
Myla Lai-Goldman
Hatteras Venture Partners
Jay Lichter
Avalon Ventures
Elise Miller Hoffman
Cultivation Capital
Juan Carlos Mobarec
AstraZeneca
Sasa Mutic
Varian Medical Systems
Jay Parrish
Arch Venture Partners
Nader Sadrzadeh
DeepSight Technology
Martha Schlicher
Startup Executive
Manny Stockman
Osage University Partners
Evaline Tsai
Gigascale Capital
Heather Walsh
Astellas
Shuntai Wang
AstraZeneca
Kathryn Zavala
MedTech Innovator
Rana Al Hallaq
Pfizer
David Caouette
Pfizer
Julie Cherrington
Biotechnology Executive
Bob Dempsey
AsclepiX Therapeutics, Inc.
Wayne Embree
Rev1 Ventures
Sean Evans
Johnson & Johnson
Robyn Goforth
VIC Technology Venture Development
Anil Goyal
IMMvention Therapeutix
Elaine Hamm
Ascend BioVentures
Nancy Hong
RiverVest
Jay Lichter
Avalon Ventures
Dominic McDonald
AstraZeneca
Jay Parrish
Arch Venture Partners
Bill Perry
Deep Blue Medical Advances
Natalie Tigue
AstraZeneca
Heather Walsh
mHub
Lena Wu
Life Science Executive and Strategic Advisor
     

Tara Butler
Ascension Ventures

Wayne Embree
Rev1 Ventures

Anil Goyal
IMMvention Therapeutix

Elise Miller Hoffman
Cultivation Capital

Tim Hopper
Tyromotion

Bill Perry
Medical Device Entrepreneur

Julie Cherrington
Life Science Executive

Karen Hong
Novo Ventures

Nancy Hong
RiverVest Venture Partners

Jay Lichter
Avalon Ventures

Jay Parrish
Arch Ventures

Nancy Pryer
Ambagon Therapeutics

Julie Cherrington
Arch Oncology

Jay Cui
AbbVie Ventures

Robyn Goforth
VIC Technology Venture Development

Nancy Hong
RiverVest Venture Partners

Jay Lichter
Avalon Ventures

Jay Parrish
Vir Biotechnology, Inc.

Tara Butler
Ascension Ventures

Wayne Embree
Rev1 Ventures

Elise Miller Hoffman
Cultivation Capital

Laura McCoolidge
Sofia Fund

Shobha Parthasarathi
Xontogeny

Heather Walsh
Baxter

Our Judges

Our judges are industry experts who review pitches and ideas from the cohorts each year during the virtual pitch competition. Judges evaluate presentations in the category most appropriate for their area of expertise.

The time commitment for judges includes:

  • One-hour Zoom call to introduce all judges and learn about the event
  • Email correspondence and reminders from staff leading up to the event
  • Final afternoon-long event

Equalize is one of the best programs to showcase entrepreneurs that I’ve experienced, with quality programs across a number of academic institutions and well-prepared pitch presentations. The Equalize mission that focuses solely on lifting up women entrepreneurs is the icing on the cake!

Chris Garabedian

Equalize Startups judge, Xontogeny

Current and Past Judges

Mitzi Krockover
Golden Seeds/SSB Solutions
Melissa Fensterstock
Material Impact
Narmeen Azad
Altopax
Jay Lichter
Avalon Ventures
Steve McPhilliamy
Nemera
Nhi Le
Alpha Intelligence Capital
Anne DeGheest
Health Tech Capital
Annette Bak
AstraZeneca
Karen Spilizewski
RiverVest
Galen Hatfield Hamdi Cavusoglu
Merck Digital Services
Dana Watt
Breakout Ventures
Camella Wilson
North Pond Ventures
Brittany de Kouchkovsky
Orange Grove Bio
Gladys Nunez
Amgen Ventures
Chris Garabedian
Xontogeny
Tari Suprapto
Novo Nordisk
Lauren Mifflin
82VS / Alloy Therapeutics Venture Studio
Andrew Foxley
Astra Zeneca
Karen Spilizewski
RiverVest
Tiffany Le
NEA
Ruben Flores
General Inception
Guy Friedman
SteadyMD
Hamdi Cavusoglu
Merck Digital Services
David Dorsey
11.2 Capital
Akin Kazakci
Caltech
Jessica Freyer
Rhapsody Ventures
     

Jeff Hersh
Chief Medical Officer, GE Healthcare

Mitzi Krockover
Principal, Golden Seeds

Gladys Nunez
Director, Amgen Ventures

Christine Brennan
Partner, MRL Ventures Fund
Merck

Chris Garabedian
CEO, Xontogeny

Meghana Rao
Senior Manager of New Venture Transactions, Johnson & Johnson

 

 

Chris Boerner
Executive VP and Chief Commercialization Officer, Bristol-Myers Squibb

Chris Garabedian
CEO, Xontogeny

Jeff Hersh
CMO, GE Healthcare

Gladys Nunez
Director, Amgen Ventures

Mitzi Krockover
Partner, SSB Solutions

Meghana Rao
Senior Manager of New Venture Transactions, J&J

 

 

Keith Chun
New Venture Transactions, Johnson & Johnson

Chris Garabedian
CEO, Xontogeny

Jeff Hersh
Chief Medical Officer, GE Healthcare

Elizabeth Iorns
CEO, Science Exchange

Mitzi Krockover
Principal & Senior Consultant, SSB Solutions
Golden Seeds

Sharon Semones
Advisor, Eli Lilly & Company