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Luncheon with Nicholas Shurgot ’95

The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship welcomes Nicholas Shurgot ‘95, CEO of Saddle Peak ...

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The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is a product of collaboration between student entrepreneurs, college faculty and administration. Students come from a variety of grades, majors and interests. These students are the driving force behind the center’s operations. The CIE leadership team works everyday to foster entrepreneurship at the 5C’s. Below are bios covering the background and interests of the CIE leadership team.

Janet Kiholm Smith

Director of the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Janet Kiholm Smith is the Von Tobel Professor of Economics at Claremont McKenna College and Director of the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship. She received a Ph.D. in economics from UCLA, and has been on the faculties of Arizona State University, University of Southern California, and Oberlin College. At CMC, she has served as Chair of the Department of Economics, Director of the Financial Economics Institute, and the founding Dean of the Robert Day School. She is coauthor of Entrepreneurial Finance: Strategy, Valuation and Deal Structure (Stanford U Press), with translations into Japanese and Chinese. She is the author of numerous journal articles on topics ranging from IPO pricing to corporate philanthropy, including publications The Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial & Quantitative Analysis, Journal of Corporate Finance, Journal of Legal Studies, Journal of Law, Economics & Organization, Journal of Industrial Economics, Journal of Banking and Finance. Current research interests are in the areas of new venture finance, investment behavior of not-for-profit institutions, and behavioral aspects of risk-taking. She teaches courses on entrepreneurial finance, strategy, and a practicum on new venture development.

Emily Gran - '16

Student Manager

Emily grew up in Palo Alto, CA where her passion for entrepreneurship all started. She is a junior at CMC majoring in Economics and enjoys tutoring students in math at a local elementary school. On the entrepreneurial front, Emily has worked for various tech startups and hopes to start her own company one day. Emily is an avid CrunchBase user and is particularly interested in early stage startups. One of her favorite startups is Slack!

Office Hours: TBD

Thomas Hague - '16

Student Manager

Thomas is majoring in Economics with a minor in Computer Science (CMC ’16). He has been a part of the CIE since its founding, and believes that the CIE exemplifies the idea of ‘liberal arts in action.’ He thinks that entrepreneurship is largely about fusing seemingly unrelated ideas to create a unique product or solution. However, fusing ideas is not enough – an entrepreneur has the audacity to commit and execute on an idea in the face of charlatans and naysayers. Thomas respects this audacity, and hopes the old saying ‘Fortune favors the bold’ is actually true. He believes the CIE can help students rethink their assumptions about life after college, and serve as a hub of entrepreneurial knowledge and resources for the Claremont Colleges. During his time at CMC, he has interned at a solar energy startup in the Philippines, a hedge fund in Irvine, CA, and a venture capital/accelerator firm in San Francisco, CA.

Office Hours: TBD

Scott Sonneborn - ’17

Head of Special Initiatives

Scott was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, and is currently a sophomore at Claremont McKenna College majoring in Economics. Scott founded Student Education Technologies, an organization that teaches elementary school students in Pomona Unified School District how to code using SCRATCH. He is also currently the President of Moneythink, a financial literacy organization that teaches basic finance to high school students, and the CTO of the Student Investment Fund. Scott has always been interested in entrepreneurship, and specifically how companies can utilize technology to change the world around us.

Office Hours: TBD

Manav Kohli - '16

Head of Venture Development

Manav Kohli is a senior at CMC from Portland, OR dual majoring in Economics and Computer Science. He is an avid traveler, and has spent time over the last three summers in four separate continents. He has pursued research in different capacities since the eighth grade, and throughout his undergraduate career he has pursued political research and is the Student Manager at the Rose Institute of State and Local Government. Besides research and schoolwork, Manav recently joined the CIE team, and is looking forwards to helping launch student ventures across the 5C’s.

Office Hours: TBD

Leili Azarbarzin - '17

Head of Marketing and Community Engagement

Leili is a sophomore at CMC majoring in Government and Philosophy with a sequence in Leadership Studies. Originally from Connecticut, Leili is unlikely to ever be in her home state for too long. A woman with a passion for travel and learning about new cultures, Leili is often found in Western Europe or anywhere tropical. Leili works at the Admission Office at CMC and is involved with the Claremont Republicans Club as well as the Claremont Equestrian Team. As a member of impACT, Leili is very passionate about social entrepreneurship and using innovation to solve the problems that our world faces.

Office Hours: TBD

Asher Weiss - '18

Head of Marketing and Community Engagement

Asher Weiss is a rising freshman at CMC and is an international student from Toronto, Canada. He has always been an entrepreneur and has started three different businesses in the past nine years. Asher is a passionate and driven person and he loves coming up with business ideas, being his own boss, and creating new experiences. Entrepreneurship allows him to satisfy all these interests. In addition to managing his three businesses, in high school he served on the executive leadership of the business team. He also spent last summer in Boston working at a technology startup and will work as a social media and marketing assistant at a marketing and branding agency in Toronto this summer. His other interests include: tennis, acting, squash, singing, baking, and travelling. During a busy and exciting time for the CIE, he is excited to jump right in and make an impact on the organization’s success.


Office Hours:  TBD

Brian Delaney - '16

Vanguard Editor

Brian Delaney is a junior at Claremont McKenna College pursuing a 4-year BA/MA Program through the Robert Day School of Economics and Finance.  Originally from Connecticut, he developed his enthusiasm for journalism during his high school years spent in Boston.  When he is not found pouring over the newspaper, Brian can be found researching at the Financial Economics Institute or tutoring Economics and Math.  In his free time, Brian enjoys New York sports, boxing, and traveling.

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