Taylor Epstein - Director of Design Strategy
taylorE@upstartlab.org - 650.264.7323
As UpStart’s Director of Design Strategy, Taylor supports UpStart hubs in creating and implementing programs that serve the needs of local Jewish innovators. Taylor also oversees the design and implementation of our Bay Area programs and manages UpStart’s Silicon Valley office. Prior to joining the team, Taylor developed and implemented dynamic Youth Development programs at both Jewish Family and Children’s Services and the Osher Marin Jewish Community Center. As a Shofar Fellow and participant in the Community Leadership Program with the Shalom Hartman Institute, Taylor gained expertise in designing educational experiences that engage and positively impact the Jewish community.
Taylor received her Master’s in Learning Sciences from Northwestern University, where she studied how to create optimal learning environments with the consideration of three key areas: cognition, socio-cultural context, and design. For her master’s thesis, Taylor designed a professional development curriculum for informal educators, incorporating video into training practices in an effort to increase an educator’s self-efficacy when working with students.
When not at work, Taylor is probably watching a Giant’s game, at the theater, or enjoying dinner with friends.
Linda Gerard - Chief Program and Innovation Officer
Linda has a passion for working with individuals and organizations to re-imagine a better future. Linda has worked in key strategy, marketing, and innovation roles with leading business and social purpose organizations throughout her career (including Monitor Company, The Learning Company, and Stanford Center for Social Innovation).
Most recently, she led brand, program, and innovation efforts for Net Impact, a nonprofit that inspires a new generation of leaders to use the power of business to improve the world. For the past 5 years, Linda has also served as a strategist and coach with Upstart, facilitating key initiatives to engage young adults, Jewish Day School educators and more. As Chief Program and Innovation Officer at UpStart, Linda is honored to be able partner with extraordinary social entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs to redesign the experience and expression of Jewish life.
Linda has served in leadership roles for numerous nonprofit boards, including the Stanford Alumni Consulting Team, Remember Us, Brandeis Hillel Day School, and the SF Jewish Community Federation Innovation Fund and Executive Grant Making Committee. Linda holds a B.A. in Electrical Engineering from Brown University and an M.B.A. from Stanford University.
Samantha Goldman - Bay Area Program Manager
SamanthaG@upstartlab.org - 650.264.7323
At heart, Samantha is an organizer, facilitator, and coach who has a passion for Jewish life and a love of supporting others in achieving their vision for change. She has worked in a variety of communities; She was a fellow with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee in the Republic of Georgia, managing job training programs and helping young people in developing community service projects. She also facilitated Jewish learning opportunities at 92nd Street Y and, at Repair the World, co-designed a month-long experiential Jewish learning program preparing young professionals to be community organizers for service.
Samantha worked on President Barack Obama’s campaigns in 2008 as a field organizer in Virginia and in 2012 as the first ever State Training Director for New Hampshire. During that time, she developed and facilitated train-the-trainer programs for more than 1200 campaign staffers, fellows, and volunteers.
Most recently, Samantha worked at a boutique organizational development consulting firm and entrepreneurial nonprofit organizations. She developed innovative curriculum focused on leadership development, strategy, and culture and led organizational design, marketing, and community engagement efforts.
Samantha earned her Bachelors degree from Tufts University in International Relations, Middle Eastern Studies, and Conflict Resolution. She received her Masters degree in Organizational Change Management from The New School in New York.
As a recent Oakland transplant from NYC, Samantha can often be found hiking in the redwoods with her fiance or cooking her latest discoveries from the farmer’s market.
Aaron Katler - CEO
aaronK@upstartlab.org - 415.536.5918 x4
Aaron Katler is a seasoned executive with a passion for Jewish entrepreneurship, and a long track record at both start-up and established Jewish organizations.
Over the last three years, Aaron served as Director of Special Projects and a Senior Philanthropic Advisor at the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Sonoma and Marin Counties. Aaron’s focus at the Federation was on developing and implementing innovative strategies to engage veteran and emerging philanthropists. He designed and lead a successful growth plan for a $500M Donor Advised Fund in partnership with professional and volunteer teams.
As Chief Field Officer at BBYO, Aaron developed aggressive strategies for rapid growth in participation and impact. As a result, he created a robust and sustainable network of 80 staff, 400+ chapters, and 800+ volunteers, and increased participation by over 10% during his tenure.
In 1995, Aaron founded Endangered Spirit, a successful Jewish eco-tourism business that led environmental education trips throughout the United States, Central and South America. He looks forward to sharing the knowledge and expertise he gained from this experience with UpStart’s Accelerator organizations.
During his time at BBYO, Aaron was selected to participate in BBYO’s Professional Development Institute, a Jim Joseph Foundation initiative. As a participant, Aaron received his MBA from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business and a Certificate in Informal Jewish Education from Hebrew College in Boston.
Joyful Jewish expression is an integral part of Aaron’s family life in Berkeley, where his wife Deb is also a Jewish communal professional and their children, Shoshana and Noah both attend Jewish Day School in the East Bay.
Jaime Rapaport Barry - Director of Marketing and Communications
jaimeB@upstartlab.org - 415.536.5918 x2
Jaime served on the team that tripled the size of the Progressive Jewish Alliance (now “Bend the Arc”), transforming it from a small, local non-profit to a robust, California-wide organization. She launched and implemented key programs, including NewGround: A Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change, a nationally renowned fellowship program launched by the Los Angeles Mayor and featured on American Public Media. Jaime spearheaded several national initiatives, including coalitions, program expansions, and exploration of a future merger.
For the last three years, Jaime served as a Communications Specialist for SEIU-UHW, a union representing nearly 100,000 healthcare workers in California. Jaime spearheaded all communications on an initiative to recruit 30,000 new union members – a part of a historic industry partnership to transform California’s healthcare system. Jaime also led several projects aimed at increasing SEIU-UHW’s political influence.
In 2012, Jaime earned her Masters degree in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where she focused on negotiation and mediation, traditional and digital communications, and strategic management. She also received her mediation certification at Mediation Works, Inc.
A native New Yorker, Jaime came to California to pursue her Bachelors degree and fell in love with California’s people, natural beauty, and spirit of innovation. During her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband (Tim) and daughter (Dahlia), sharing her love for Mediterranean cooking, and practicing yoga.
Lisa Solomon Mann - Chicago Director
lisaS@upstartlab.org - 312.957.5566
Lisa brings a unique blend of intra- and entrepreneurial experience to UpStart Chicago.
Lisa co-founded and opened Corner Playroom, Chicago’s first drop-in toddler and preschool-aged play center. The entrepreneur in her kicked in when, as the mother of a young child, she saw a need for a safe, contained activity center for parents and their young children. She built the center from the ground up, and brings that experience to UpStarters who are launching their own organizations.
Prior to her entrepreneurial endeavors, Lisa spearheaded new initiatives at both Morgan Stanley and Chase Investment Bank. At Morgan Stanley’s New York office, she served on the team that launched the company’s first international fixed-income investment strategy group, providing guidance to pioneer investors placing their money overseas. At Chase Investment Bank in London, she helped launch an equity-index linked options group, subsequently serving as its primary marketer. After returning to the U.S., Lisa switched gears to focus on her passion for helping others. While working towards a Masters in Clinical Psychology Lisa worked as a substitute teacher in the Psychiatric Unit at Lurie Children’s Hospital and as a therapist at a Childhood Trauma Treatment Program. Lisa brings both her entrepreneurial experience and her psychology background to her coaching sessions, where she is able to both reflect on and support UpStarters’ growth.
Lisa is passionate about Jewish continuity. After moving to Chicago, Lisa became enmeshed in the local Jewish Community, volunteering in multiple capacities with the Jewish Children’s Bureau, the JUF Young Leadership division, and JUF Dialogues in Jewish Life program. Her three children attended Jewish Camp and have all visited Israel.
When not working, Lisa enjoys spending time with her children, cycling, hiking, boogie boarding, travelling to the mountains and the sea, going to live music shows and promoting young musicians.
Carrie Sullivan - Office Administrator
carrieS@upstartlab.org - 415.536.5918 x 1
Carrie is the Office Administrator at UpStart, responsible for all things “officey”. Carrie joined UpStart in December 2013, and is very happy to be part of the team. Previously, she worked for the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation for 17 years, first in the Israel & Overseas department, and most recently in the Endowment department.
Carrie attended the University of Minnesota. Now in the Bay Area, she loves being with her dog, taking dance classes and reading books by southern authors.
Daniel Winokur - Director of Philanthropic Partnerships
danielW@upstartlab.org - 415.536.5918 x3
Daniel Winokur is a passionate fundraiser for social and environmental causes. Committed to building strong nonprofits, Daniel seeks to create the robust financial, administrative, and evaluation systems that are fundamental to sustainability, resilience, and growth in the nonprofit sector.
Most recently, Daniel served as Director of Development and Communications at Brighter Beginnings, a social services agency based in Oakland. There, he generated over $900k annually, by creating all new grant, donor, and event programs. Daniel also managed corporate finance, successfully acquiring $1.5M in new growth financing.
Previously, Daniel worked as a for-profit sustainability consultant for GreenOrder, Plantronics, eBay, New Resource Bank, and as a sustainability manager for Red Bull North America. Similar to nonprofit fundraising, Daniel was responsible for pitching social and environmental strategies, then managing implementation and reporting results. These efforts generated financial, social, and environmental returns.
Daniel received his BA from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, and his MBA from Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco, CA. A Berkeley native who currently lives in Albany, CA with his wife and daughter, Daniel is an avid kite surfer and rock climber, and an “enthusiastic” chef.
Lisette Zaid - Chicago Program Manager
lisetteZ@upstartlab.org - 312.957.5566
Lisette is the Chicago Program Manager for Upstart. She is part of the dynamic team planning and implementing the Chicago Accelerator and growing UpStart Chicago. Lisette is a certified Lean Startup/Business Model Canvas Facilitator through the International Business Innovation Association. Using Design Thinking strategies and lean-start up methodologies, Lisette's coaching and workshop facilitation emphasizes value proposition and business model design.
Lisette joined UpStart after her time as Director of the Lewis Summer Intern Program at the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago/Jewish United Fund where she oversaw the curriculum, implementation, sourcing, evaluations and overall development of the program. Lisette also served as the Development Manager at Jewish United Fund, assisting with the marketing and fundraising of The Hillels of Illinois and Campus Affairs & Student Engagement department. Her portfolio includes: videography/photography, event management, project management, website content development, donor relations and leadership building, fundraising, script writing, and presentation design.
Lisette has a Masters of Arts in Jewish Professional Studies from Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership. She attained a B.A. in History and a Minor in Environmental Science from Loyola University Chicago where she proudly served as her Hillel’s Secretary, Vice President and President during her time as a student. She has been a Jewish professional since graduating in 2007.
Jeanine develops mission driven leaders who are passionate about making an impact. She coaches, consults, and speaks on collaborative leadership, empowering her clients to ignite their impact, align their teams and thrive.
Jeanine leverages research-based practices and insights from emotional intelligence, neuroscience and positive psychology. In addition to teaching Negotiation and Collaboration at Stanford Law School for the last 8 years, Jeanine provides training and coaching to corporations and non-profits including the World Bank, Lean Startup Productions, Cisco, Motorola, Axialent, Safari Books Online, Upstart Bay Area, Third Sector Capital Partners, Encore.org, Clean Tech Open, and FSG.
After receiving her J.D. from Stanford Law School, Jeanine spent over a decade negotiating and leading teams to close thousands of complex commercial transactions for start-ups to Fortune 100 companies – ending her legal practice at Motorola Mobility, then a Google Company. Since practicing law Jeanine has completed multiple coaching and facilitation certifications, including a six-month training in facilitation and relational practices at the Integral Center in Boulder, Colorado.
As an UpStart Associate, Lindsay brings over a decade of experience serving as a senior strategist to leaders in private industry, government, and the social sector. Lindsay works with clients to help them understand the landscape in which they operate, clarify the impact they wish to have in the world, design effective and sustainable business models, and develop organizational capabilities that better prepare them for the future. She adores creating inclusive processes that engage a broad range of stakeholders, supporting more successful strategies. Lindsay has also worked as a senior project manager at the Monitor Institute, as an associate with strategy firms in London and New York City, and has consulted to a range of national and international nonprofits and foundations. Her academic background as a social scientist focused on program planning, design and impact assessment methods for governments and nonprofits. Lindsay holds a Masters in Public Administration from the London School of Economics and a Bachelors of Arts from Smith College.
Ela Ben-Ur is passionate about the capacity of human-centered design thinking to empower individuals and organizations to shape themselves, as well as their offerings, communities, and world. She consults, coaches and teaches in design research, strategy, and innovation through her independent business, i2i Experience. Prior to launching her own practice, Ela worked at IDEOâ€” an award-winning global design firm – for over 13 years. As a project leader and then Content Guide, Ela led and coached teams through front-end user research, opportunity synthesis, strategy, concept development, and prototyping. Her work spanned products, services, and merchandising across diverse industries, in developed and developing markets, with for-profit and non-profit organizations. Ela holds BS and MS in mechanical engineering from MIT, where she specialized in design and developed a force-feedback laparoscopy simulator for the Massachusetts General Hospital. Ms. Ben-Ur loves her daughters Maia and Daliea, her husband Arrin, being outside (running/hiking/biking/kayaking/skiing), traveling the world, making things, and taking pictures of all the above. And she fiddles (for real).
Maya is a founding member of UpStart’s team. She draws on her expertise in Adaptive Leadership, Design Thinking, Foresight methodologies, Jewish text study, improv tools, and story-telling to create unique environments where participants are willing to take risks, and experiment with new ways of thinking and behaving.
In her work at UpStart, Maya helped design and run the incubator program in its early years, and helped launch UpStart’s consulting practice, bringing tools from the innovation sector to established nonprofits. She has worked with numerous JCCs, Federations, foundations, and synagogues, and also designed and was the lead facilitator for the Day School Collaboration Network, bringing innovation and creativity to schools in the NY area.
Maya is on faculty of Georgetown University’s Institute for Transformational Leadership, and the Wexner Foundation. She publishes widely, online and in print, on the topic of innovation and change, and also blogs about the joys and challenges of motherhood for Kveller.com. Maya has lived and worked in Israel, Belarus, China, and Germany. She is a graduate of Columbia College and Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, and a 2012 recipient of the Covenant Foundation’s Pomegranate Prize. After a over decade in Silicon Valley, Maya, her husband, and their four children have recently relocated to the Big Apple.
Suzanne Feinspan is an independent consultant specializing in training, facilitation, organizational development and coaching. She brings over 15 years of experience in the nonprofit social change sector to her consulting practice supporting individuals and organizations in doing their most effective work. Suzanne is an expert in the field of Jewish service learning and has developed, evaluated, and revised multiple service learning and social justice curricula and programs for a variety of organizations, including AVODAH, Repair the World and the Jewish Initiative for Animals.
During her eight years at AVODAH, she served within all levels and functions of the organization, including program, development, HR, finance, board development and strategy, also serving as the Acting Executive Director for 8 months during the organization's recent executive transition. Suzanne drove the organization's most recent strategic planning process which resulted in the design and launch of the organization's first new program in its 16 year history, as well as a revised approach to its work with its alumni network. Suzanne was selected for the inaugural cohort of the Schusterman Fellowship, a prestigious fellowship focused on strengthening the leadership skills of high-potential leaders in the Jewish community. As part of the Fellowship, she recently completed a graduate certificate in facilitation through Georgetown University. She also holds a Masters in Jewish Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Hannah Gay is a coach and advisor in the social impact space and the Founder of malinaSI Social Impact Design, which maximizes social impact in mission-driven organizations through the lenses of impact metrics and business design.
From her time as a teacher to various roles and oversight within the education and social entrepreneurship sectors, Hannah has always been motivated by the opportunities present in improving societal and economic development outcomes – particularly the opportunity to ensure that the very limited resources of nonprofits and social enterprises most effectively address their end beneficiaries’ needs. In addition to running malinaSI, she is also an advisor and coach to social impact focused startups and organizations at large.
Hannah holds degrees from Wesleyan University and the Kellogg School of Management and currently resides in Chicago. She is proud to have been a Teach For America corps member on the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico and a teacher in the inspirational founding years of STRIVE Prep in Denver. A nature girl at heart from the woods of rural Maine, she can generally be found outside as much as possible, whether biking between meetings, avoiding mosquitos at cookouts, skiing, or participating in conference calls under the sun (or, on occasion, both at once from the side of a trail!).
Sari is an innovation strategist and connection maker who takes delight in helping teams frame their challenges, understand their users and figure out what to do next. She started her career in marketing at Kraft Foods, where she focused on front-end innovation. In 1999, she launched Wishful Thinking, a consultancy which helps clients create new products, services and experiences for their customers. In addition to her consulting practice, Sari is an Adjunct Professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology where she teaches Design Thinking. She is also a coach for Design for America at Northwestern University.
With degrees in Art History (MA/NYU), Business (MBA/Columbia University), and Design Methods (MA/Institute of Design at IIT), she integrates themes and approaches from many fields in her teaching and consulting practice.
Sari grew up in Peoria, Illinois, but has always been a city girl at heart. She spent over a decade in Manhattan and currently lives in downtown Chicago (after a “brief” 20 year interlude in suburban Chicago).
Ben Grossman-Kahn is fascinated by the pedagogy of design and creativity and how to scale a culture of innovation, creativity and empowerment across organizations. In addition to his Upstart work, Ben is the Program Manager for the Nordstrom People Lab and a former innovation coach with the Nordstrom Innovation Coach and Stanford d.School. Ben’s background in education includes stints teaching Pre-K and 5th Grade, running summer camps, and leading the Innovation and Education programs at the Childrens Creativity Museum in SF.
His past projects have included building design/innovation cultures and teams in K-12 schools, non-profits and corporate organizations.
Proud alum of Pomona college, Stanford Graduate school of Education, and Stanford d.School.
Marty Linsky is Co-Founder of Cambridge Leadership Associates, an international leadership development practice and the home of Adaptive Leadership, and has taught at Harvard’s Kennedy School for over 25 years. He served as Chief Secretary and Counselor to Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld; Assistant Director, Harvard’s Institute of Politics; Executive Editor, The Advocates, PBS; Editorial Writer and Reporter, The Boston Globe; Editor, The Real Paper; Assistant Minority Leader, Massachusetts House of Representatives; and Massachusetts Assistant Attorney General. Marty has published widely, in print and online. He has authored or co-authored 10 books including, with Ron Heifetz, the best-selling Leadership on the Line (Harvard Business Press 2002) and, with Heifetz and Alexander Grashow, The Practice of Adaptive Leadership (Harvard Business Press 2009). A graduate of Williams College and Harvard Law School, Marty lives in New York City with his wife Lynn Staley. He has three children, works out every day (9 marathons, but no more!), enjoys Mexican food and collects baseball cards.
Barbara has over 25 years experience as principal of her own management consulting practice. As a business strategy consultant, coach, and facilitator, Barbara’s expertise includes strategy development and execution, business planning and implementation, new ventures and affiliations, and organizational assessment and redesign. She is committed to helping clients develop tailored solutions to achieve business success. Barbara’s clients are nonprofit and for profit organizations that include startups, healthcare organizations, and media.
Barbara holds a B.A. and an MPH, with a concentration in management and planning, from UC Berkeley. She serves on the Board of the Northern California Association of Strategic Planning (ASP) and Chair of the San Francisco ASP venue for sustainable business practices, the Board of Huckleberry Youth Programs, and the Advisory Board of Facing History and Ourselves. Barbara enjoys tending to her vegetable gardens, keeps fit with hiking, cycling, tennis, and skiing, and treasures her time with husband Jim, her twin sons Danny and Alex, and beloved dog Toby (not to be confused with UpStart’s founder).
Susan Rothstein serves as a coach has 30 years of experience in management of entrepreneurial nonprofits. She has focused on those that are undergoing major transitions or are in the start-up phase, and has held staff, consultant, and Interim Executive Director positions.
Susan specializes in change management and has a strong track record of positioning an organization for growth and/or successfully navigating key transitions. She has led strategic planning processes to develop a shared vision and operational plan and is a skilled facilitator of Board and staff retreats. She has served on several nonprofit boards, including Children Now, the Stonestown YMCA, and The Three Guineas Fund (a grant-making foundation), and is currently a founding Board member of The Children’s Partnerships.
Rob brings his expertise in organizational change, innovation, and consulting processes to the Jewish community as Director, since 2001, of the Experiment in Congregational Education (ECE) at HUC-JIR. He also serves at HUC-JIR as Project Manager of the Jim Joseph Foundation Education Initiative. A former management consultant and partner of Hewitt Associates (now AonHewitt), Rob charts strategy and devises processes for ECE’s work facilitating transformational change in congregations across North America, helping them to fundamentally redesign Jewish education from the ground up. At Hewitt, he helped Fortune 500 companies catalyze change to become great places to work. In his independent consulting and coaching practice Rob coaches rabbis and senior leaders and is a sought after facilitator for strategic visioning and change processes with congregations, boards, and Jewish organizations. Clients have included the Rabbinic Vision Initiative, the Reform Pension Board, the Union for Reform Judaism and many others. Rob has taught graduate level courses at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, its School of Education and Social Policy, and at HUC-JIR. He earned his PhD in Organization Behavior at The Kellogg School. Rob lives in Evanston, IL with his wife, Joy Wasserman; they have two grown sons. In his time off he builds furniture, bakes bread, plays guitar and banjo, and visits national parks.