2024 Founders Forum Pitch Competition

Event — December 15, 2023

2024 Founders Forum Pitch Competition

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Our Team

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Dr. J.D. LaRock

President & CEO, NFTE

J.D. LaRock is the president & CEO of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), a global nonprofit organization that provides high-quality entrepreneurship education to middle school, high school and young adult students from under-resourced communities.

Previously, J.D. was the president and CEO of the Commonwealth Corporation, Massachusetts’ state authority for workforce development, a member of Northeastern University’s senior leadership team and an education policymaker at the federal and state levels. Additionally, J.D. chaired Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s Commission on Digital Innovation and Lifelong Learning. 

His past positions include senior education advisor to the late U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy and education policy director for former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. Some of J.D.’s biggest accomplishments throughout his career include working with Senator Kennedy to lead the 2008 reauthorization of the federal Higher Education Act and the 2007 passage of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, as well as helping Governor Patrick author Massachusetts’ application to President Obama’s “Race to the Top” competition, which secured $250 million for the commonwealth.

A scholar of education policy, higher education and the future of work, J.D. has authored, edited, and contributed to several books, including Special Education for a New Century (Harvard Education Press, 2005), Education at a Glance (OECD, 2012) and Robot Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence (MIT Press, 2017). J.D. is a newly appointed member of the Commonwealth Education Commission of the States (ECS) delegation, a member of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, Chair of the Board of Trustees at North Shore Community College and a faculty member in Northeastern University’s Doctor of Law and Policy program. He earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees at Harvard and his law degree from Georgetown.

Jennifer Fay

Chief of Staff

Jennie Fay comes to NFTE with over a decade of experience in all levels of leadership and management. Prior to joining NFTE, Jennie ran her own consulting firm, using her understanding of management and leadership to help organizations build and retain a better workforce. Jennie has also helped build a civic engagement start-up, and worked for the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service at Georgetown University. Jennie also served as Special Assistant to the President and Director of White House Personnel during the Obama Administration, focusing on improving personnel policies and providing leadership training for hundreds of political appointees and interns. She’s also worked in state government in the Massachusetts State Senate and started her career on Capitol Hill working for the late Senator Ted Kennedy. Jennie holds a Master’s in Public Administration from The George Washington University focusing on both education policy and organizational operations and a Bachelor’s of Arts in Political Science from the University of Arizona. She’s obsessed with organization, reads way too much about management and operations and loves spending time with her family. She lives in Virginia with her husband and two children.

Jane Walsh

Executive Vice President, Chief Advancement Officer

Jane is an accomplished fundraiser with extensive experience leading during times of rapid growth, change management, and transformation. Under Advancement, she oversees fundraising, events and volunteerism. Her proven track record demonstrates success in setting and achieving ambitious, high impact goals. Jane has worked at NFTE for nearly 20 years focused on strengthening, growing, and diversifying the fundraising program to bring about greater sustainability. She brings a deep commitment to and passion for mission-driven initiatives and partnerships that align corporate, foundation and individual philanthropy with a shared vision for strategic impact.

Jeannine Schloss

Chief Growth Officer

Chief Growth Officer

An experienced K-12 educator and former school administrator, Jeannine joined NFTE as a program manager in 2015. She has substantially expanded NFTE’s reach throughout the southeast region, built a high-performing regional team, and taken on a senior leadership role guiding regional operations across the country.

Mary Radford, CPA, MBA

Chief Financial Officer

A seasoned finance executive with more than 25 years experience overall, Mary has devoted the latter part of her career to service in the nonprofit sector, providing guidance to organizations dedicated to supporting underserved communities. Mary came to NFTE from Planned Parenthood, where she oversaw the merger of five regional affiliates and led the streamlining of finance, information technology, and operational functions. Mary earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Public Accountancy at Pace University, graduating with high honors.

Jason Delgatto

Vice President, Curriculum and Research

Since joining NFTE in 2009 as a Program Manager in the Chicago office, Jason has played an integral role in the evolution of NFTE’s next generation instructional resources, from authoring the 12th edition of NFTE’s Owning Your Future textbook to the creation of NFTE’s Entrepreneurship and Small Business Pathway. Prior to his time at NFTE, his experience included working for divisions of Pearson and Kaplan Academic Tutoring as well as teaching in the Chicago Public Schools.

Denise L. Berkhalter, APR

National Director of Communications

A Mississippi native, Denise has nearly three decades of experience in mass communication fields, including as a longtime digital news editor, newspaper editor, reporter, freelance writer, graphic designer, and public relations professional. She has served as Director of Public Relations & Social Impact for YWCA Central Alabama, Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing for the Birmingham Association of REALTORS, Director of Public Relations for the Alabama Association of School Boards, Coordinator of Marketing and Communications for Tuskegee University, and Assistant Managing Editor-News for the Montgomery Advertiser. She has been a member of COSBAC, PRSA, NSPRA, NABJ, and the Alabama Association of Black Journalists. She formerly served as a member of the SAYNO and Montgomery Area Food Bank boards of directors and was national president of the Council of School Board Association Communicators. Denise graduated summa cum laude from Troy University Montgomery (master’s in management) and Jackson State University (bachelor’s in mass communication, public relations emphasis).

Board

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James Walsh

Vice President (Asset & Wealth Management Division, Real Estate Investing Team)

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Preet Sabharwal

Managing Partner, SAB Capital

Christiaan van Driel

Client Solutions Specialist, UBS Family Office Solutions

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VP, Investment Research and Knowledge Management, Capital Group

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Founder & CEO, The GATO Marketplace

Latinbusinesstoday.com
Steve Mariotti

Founder, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship

Get Started

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