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James R. Swartz Entrepreneurial Leadership Series

The James R. Swartz Entrepreneurial Leadership Series provides a forum for the Carnegie Mellon University community and its entrepreneurial network partners in Pittsburgh to discuss issues central to entrepreneurial leadership. The series brings to campus entrepreneurial thought leaders from centers around the country to exchange views on leadership, entrepreneurship and innovation in today’s competitive, global economy. Speakers include successful entrepreneurs, investors and innovators who are focused on emerging and growing market sectors that are important for competitiveness in the global economy. All lectures are open to Carnegie Mellon faculty, students, staff and select guests.

2016-2017 Speakers

Deepak Ahuja

Deepak Ahuja

Chief Financial Officer, Retired
Tesla Motors

October 4, 2016
12:30 - 1:20pm 
Mellon Auditorium

Deepak Ahuja (MSIA ‘93) served as Chief Financial Officer of Tesla Motors from 2008 to 2015. One of Tesla’s longest-serving executives, Deepak played an important role in the company’s rise from startup to highly-valued electric car maker and was its first finance chief. 
Deepak holds an M.S.I.A. from Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business, an M.S. in materials engineering from Northwestern University and a Bachelor’s degree in ceramic engineering from Banaras Hindu University in India.


photo of Susan Gregg Koger

Susan Gregg Koger

Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer

September 22, 2016
12:30 - 1:30 p.m.
Posner Hall, Cooper Auditorium

ModCloth started as an outlet for Susan’s love of thrift shopping. Back in high school, she often found herself unable to pass up a great vintage find (no matter its size). In 2002, her then-boyfriend (and now husband), Eric, created a website to help her turn her thrifting hobby into a business. After graduating from Carnegie Mellon University in 2006, they made ModCloth their full-time careers.

ModCloth is a digital-first lifestyle brand committed to inspiring personal style and helping its community of customers feel like the best version of themselves. ModCloth offers distinctly feminine and vintage-inspired clothing in modern fabrications and silhouettes. The company designs and sells its own exclusive line of apparel in a full range of sizes, and carries a unique assortment of fashion and home decor from over a hundred independent designers.

Boris Sofman and Hanns Teppeiner, Co-Founders of Anki

Boris Sofman & Hanns Tappeiner


September 2, 2016
3:30 - 4:30 p.m.
Gates Hillman 6115

Find out more.

April 13, 2016

David Hersh (DC 1989, TPR 1993)
Peter Pezaris (S 1992)
Michael Gersh (TPR 1990)
Founders of, and Glip, Inc.

photo of David Hersh photo of Peter Pezaris photo of Michael Gersh

watch video | view photos

February 26, 2016

photo of Eric Vishria

Eric Vishria
General Partner

January 21, 2016

photo of Matthew Humphrey

Matthew Humphrey
Co-founder & CEO

view presentation deck

October 22, 2015

photo of Glen de Vries

Glen de Vries
Co-founder & President
Medidata Solutions

watch video

October 8, 2014

photo of Monte Zweben

Monte Zweben
Co-founder & CEO
Splice Machine

watch video

January 23, 2014

photo of Matt Rogers

Matt Rogers
Founder & VP of Engineering
Nest Labs

September 12, 2013

photo of Lila Ibrahim

Lila Ibrahim
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

watch video

March 21, 2013

photo of Bill Campbell

Bill Campbell
Chairman of the Board, Intuit
Board Member, Apple

February 26, 2016

photo of Bill Seibel

Bill Seibel
Founder & CEO

February 8, 2013

photo of Raj Kapoor

Raj Kapoor
Founder & Managing Partner,
Venture Partner, Mayfield Fund

October 4, 2012

photo of Brian Frezza

Brian Frezza
Co-founder & Co-CEO
Emerald Therapeutics