The members of our Advisory Council represent hundreds of years of combined experience in a wide variety of businesses. We rely on them heavily for counsel, inspiration and wisdom. We are grateful for the time and devotion they offer to the Baker Institute and to the University community in general.
Carol is a trustee of the Dexter F. and Dorothy H. Baker Foundation, daughter of Dexter Baker, the visionary behind the Baker Institute, and an independent brand strategist. She works with consumer products and non-profits to align their vision to a brand platform and communication strategy. As a Baker Foundation trustee, her focus area has been on entrepreneurship and arts organizations; finding alliances with non-profits that support individuals in bringing their creativity forward. Carol became actively involved with the Baker Institute during its first year of existence, helping to take the many existing programs, new ideas and initiatives and synthesize them into a brand strategy that had internal and external resonance. Carol loves to see ideas come to form.
A consummate entrepreneur, as Principal and Chief Brand Officer for the brand UglyDoll, Alita spearheaded sales for UGLYDOLL® and created a powerful consumer brand that has skyrocketed to a worldwide evergreen property and is soon to be an animated feature film. Alita's energy is boundless as she has officiated over one hundred trade show booths worldwide, including Toy Fairs, International Licensing Fairs, Gift Shows, Comic Conventions, and College & Museum Shows. She organized exhibitions with Benetton in Hong Kong, the Louvre in Paris, and has launched international co-branded programs with some of the most famous character brands and celebrities on the planet. Alita has appeared on NBC's TODAY numerous times and has graced the cover of the LEHIGH Alumni Magazine. She was awarded the Wonder Woman of Toys, Licensing and Entertainment in 2013 and was the 2015 recipient of the President Farrington Award for her outstanding commitment to entrepreneurship at Lehigh. Alita is a hockey mom with two sons playing at Lehigh, Stephen ('17) and Alec ('19). Alita is a native of PA and earned a B.S. in Business and Economics (Accounting) from Lehigh. Hard to imagine Alita began her career as a CPA and auditor with the former Arthur Andersen! In 2014, Alita formed her own branding and licensing company, Alita's Brand Bar, to create new brands and generate creative revenue streams for existing brands. Alita will serve as the lead facilitator for LehighSiliconValley2018.
Ben founded Soccer Without Borders while earning a Masters degree in Global Educational Leadership from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA in 2006. An undergraduate of Lehigh as well, Ben has also worked as a consultant for leading sports based youth-development organizations in the US, Europe, Zambia and South Africa, including Team-Up For Youth, Women Win, and Beyond Sport Inc. Soccer Without Borders runs community-led, year-round youth development programs in under-served areas in the USA and abroad. We provide programming to socially, politically, and economically marginalized youth who are systematically excluded from sports-based and extracurricular activities. Soccer provides these youth with an avenue for positive engagement, a platform for personal growth, and a toolkit for a brighter future.
Michael Levin (Lehigh BSME '87), is the Co-Founder and CEO of Vericred, an innovative company simplifying the exchange of health insurance and employee benefit data between carriers and technology companies. Based in New York City, venture capital backed Vericred boasts a startup culture with 40 diverse employees, tackling incredibly complex data problems. The company has cultivated several accolades, including being named a Top Innovator on the Global InsurTech 100 list, consecutively in 2018 and 2019. Mike identified the problem that Vericred was founded to solve while he served as Chief Operating Officer for Affiliates Risk Management Services (ARMS), an insurance, risk.management and e-learning services provider for healthcare professionals. Prior to ARMS, Mike disrupted the color printer supply business with the first company he founded, Media Sciences. Media Sciences created a new market category and contributed many firsts to the printer supply market including the first free color printer program. After a decade of growing the company to a peak NASDAQ market cap of $80 million the company was split in two and sold to Xerox and Katun, a private equity owned printer and copier parts and supply business. Eager to foster entrepreneurial pursuits at Lehigh, in 2008 Mike endowed the Michael W. Levin '87 Advanced Technology Award which provides grants to undergraduate engineering students for the development of their entrepreneurial projects. Mike continues to be active in the Lehigh community including guest lecturing. Mike resides in Saddle River, New Jersey with his wife Nancy. They have four sons, one of whom is Lehigh IBE 2020.
Brent D. Rosenthal is the Founder of Mountain Hawk Capital Partners, LLC, an investment fund focused on small and micro-cap equities in the technology media telecom (TMT) and food industries. Mr. Rosenthal also serves as chairman of the board of directors of Comscore and RiceBran Technologies. Previously, Mr. Rosenthal was a partner in affiliates of W.R. Huff Asset Management, where he worked from 2002 through 2016. Mr. Rosenthal played a key role in the firm's TMT and food investment activities. Mr. Rosenthal also served on the board of directors of Rentrak from 2008 through 2016, including as non-executive chairman of the board from 2011 through 2016. From 2006 through 2012, he served as an adviser to and observer of the board of directors of Virgin Media and as a consultant to the company, providing turnaround and crisis-management services, as well as operational and financial analysis and recommendations. From 2007 through 2010, he served as an adviser to the executive management of Time Warner Cable. In 2016, Mr. Rosenthal was named a Multichannel News “Money All-Star, a top 10 media executive in private equity, investment banking and advisory. In 2009, he was included in Multichannel News' annual "40 Under 40" list for influencing the future of cable and telecommunications. Earlier in his career, Mr. Rosenthal was director of mergers and acquisitions for RSL Communications Ltd. and served emerging media companies for Deloitte & Touche LLP. Mr. Rosenthal is an inactive Certified Public Accountant. Mr. Rosenthal earned his B.S. from Lehigh University and MBA from the S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University.
Princess Scott is a 2021 graduate of Lehigh University's Civil Engineering program. In 2022, Princess completed her M. Eng. in Technical Entrepreneurship degree while serving as the Baker Institute's R.I.S.E. (Rightful Inclusive Student Entrepreneurship) associate. In that role, Princess lead primary research and qualitative data collection with the goal of understanding the why and the how behind the explicit, implicit, and systemic barriers that students must navigate on their path to entrepreneurial thinking and doing. Princess' work will inform Baker Institute program design around equity moving forward. Princess is also a 2021LehighSiliconValley alumni,
Deborah Zajac (Emeritus)
Deborah Zajac is Venture Partner, Touchdown Ventures, investing in startups across stage and sector on behalf of corporations, having previously served as Senior Director at GE Ventures. She also serves as Executive-In-Residence at Columbia University's Tech Ventures, advising on spinout startups from research, continuing her work from GE’s labs. Deborah has advised, scaled, turned around and partnered with businesses for nearly 20 years in more than 25 countries in technology, healthcare, energy, aerospace, industrials and consumer solutions while at Touchdown Ventures, GE Ventures, GE, SaaS start-up Celarix.com and Andersen [Consulting]. Deborah advises startups through programs like Techstars and Blackstone Launchpad. Deborah earned her MBA in Finance and Entrepreneurship from NYU Stern following her BS and BA from Lehigh University, where she also served for two terms as Trustee.
Scott A. Belair (Emeritus)
Since 1989, Scott A. Belair has been a Principal at The ZAC Group, performing corporate financial advisory services. Mr. Belair served as President of Balfour Maclaine Corporation, a commodities trading company. He was a Principal at Morgan Stanley and Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the international offices and subsidiaries at Goldman Sachs. He served as Managing Director of Drexel Burnham Lambert Incorporated. Mr. Belair co-founded Urban Outfitters Inc., a public retailer and wholesaler operating under the brand names Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, and Free People in 1970 and has been a director since its incorporation in 1994. He has been an active member of the Lehigh Entrepreneurs Network since it was organized in 2005 and is a member of Dean Brown's Advisory Council.
Bill Kirsch (Emeritus)
Mr. Kirsch is the Co-Founder/Managing Director of Costella Kirsch. Costella Kirsch is a high-profile Silicon Valley structured debt firm having provided $300MM to more than 200 emerging technology companies. Previously, Bill Kirsch managed the western region for the financing arm of telecom equipment provider, Rolm Corporation, where he was top volume producer. He also worked in the lease underwriting division of GATX Capital Corp, where he negotiated large, tax-oriented equipment financings. Bill demonstrated his community spirit by spearheading efforts to create pedestrian/bicycle access in West Menlo Park. He was also instrumental in transforming the central business district into a local retail corridor. Active in youth sports during his children's primary and middle school years as both coach and coordinator, Bill served as Co-President of the Menlo Atherton High School Foundation. He is a regular in the on-the-road cycling circuit and swims for a local masters team. Bill graduated (with honors) from Lehigh University with a B.S. in Business & Economics and earned his M.B.A. from UCLA's Anderson School.
Geoff Schneider (Emeritus)
Geoff Schneider founded Connecticut-based Cava Capital, an early stage venture capital firm that invests in young companies that leverage information technology to benefit businesses and consumers. Geoff has more than 20 years of operational and leadership experience with consumer marketing and media firms that leverage the Internet to grow and succeed. He played a key role in building more than 20 venture-funded startups into viable high-growth enterprises and has been instrumental in helping raise capital to fuel New York's tech explosion. He maintains direct relationships with numerous investment banks, hedge funds, venture capital, and private equity firms and has developed a unique network of capital markets experts and business advisors. Owing to Geoff's efforts, LehighSiliconValley2013 offered a new dimension in entrepreneurship learning for this year that we call the "New York Experience." Geoff received a B.S. in Business & Economics from Lehigh University and an M.B.A. from George Washington University.