Speed Mentoring: Nov 2, 2016

San Francisco, CA


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Speed Mentoring

Attendees: If you are interested in participating in Speed Mentoring, please register your interest here if you have not already. You will be contacted via email to let you know if we were able to confirm a spot for you. If you have any questions contact [email protected]

Hugely popular at past Lean Startup Conferences, our Speed Mentoring (previously called Office Hours) gives you a chance to talk one-on-one with speakers and mentors. We bring in dozens of experts so you can get targeted advice on everything from analytics and user research to corporate innovation and social-sector funding.  Shortly before the conference, we’ll send you an email with info about signing up for these sessions.

Each conversation will be 20 minutes long, and we will match you with a mentor based on topics you need advice on.

Speed mentoring is for those who want informed feedback on business ideas and startup challenges. Our mentors have super-useful expertise in a range of topics. 


Here’s what attendees said about these sessions at previous Lean Startup Conferences:

“The willingness of people to talk to me who have been thinking deeply about these ideas was amazing. Getting their time was invaluable.”

“The format overcame the problem of approaching smart strangers and made it easier to connect.”

“One of the mentor conversations I had was so valuable, it alone was worth the price of admission to the whole conference.”

Meet the Mentors

Johnna Herrmann
Strategic Consultant, Humana |

Johnna Herrmann is a Strategic Consultant for Consumer Experience at Humana. She’s been with Humana’s FastStart lab since its inception, where she uses design thinking, lean startup, and agile methodologies to deliver quality, consumer-centered products and experiences. Before joining Humana, she served customers and employees in the fast-paced world of big-box retail management.

Kevin Schwake
Consumer Experience Strategic Consultant, Humana | @kevindoescx

Kevin Schwake is a Strategic Consultant for Consumer Experience at Humana, where he is at the forefront of brining customer-centricity to a Fortune 100 company. He is a founder of Humana’s FastStart Lab, an incubator that harnesses design thinking, lean startup, agile and lean six sigma in order to dramatically accelerate the speed and quality of product and experience development. The Fast Start Lab was awarded a 2016 Innovation Award by the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA).

Prior to joining Humana, Kevin was the Global Digital Experience Program Manager at the world’s largest bank.

Terhi Ignatius
Co-Founder / Design Director, 60NRTH |

Terhi has consulted on visual strategy and design thinking challenges for global brands including LinkedIn, RocketSpace, and Fluid. Her consulting practice combines information design and multi-dimensional creative experiences with service design, design thinking, visual storytelling, design direction, complete visual systems, and the productization of concepts. Terhi was born and raised in Finland, where she gained an appreciation for minimalism and functional design.

Zach Larson
Managing Director, Pivotal | @zachlarson

Zach has been involved in the Bay Area tech scene since ’99. He did his first programming in Logo and shipped his first product using Hypercard. Zach has been a UX designer, a software developer, a sysadmin, and an entrepreneur. Zach has built and sold companies. He’s been working in an XP fashion since ~2006. Zach likes building teams that build great things. Zach is currently leading the Palo Alto Pivotal Labs office.

Ruy Cervantes
Innovation Consultant, Cisco | @ruycer

Ruy Cervantes is an innovation researcher, builder of innovation ecosystems. He has extensive experience in building innovation and startup communities. For his Ph.D. research, he conducted a study on how the Mexican startup community created a culture of innovation in a country with little precedent for it. He developed and implemented policies for the State Government of Jalisco, Mexico, to strengthen its innovation ecosystem. He currently works for Cisco designing and building internal innovation programs, and external co-innovation processes. He is an active member of the Mexican innovation and startup community. Talk to him about innovation communities.

Sugath Warnakulasuriya
Managing Director/Partner, Thalamus Labs/Liguori Innovation | @sugathw

Sugath Warnakulasuriya is Managing Director of Thalamus Labs, focused on helping innovative enterprises accelerate growth through latest innovation and digital business-building techniques. He brings 30 years experience in technology/market driven innovation with Fortune 500s and startups. He is a Partner at Liguori Innovation and was co-founder/CEO of 10EQS on-demand crowd-sourced consulting firm. Previously, he was at McKinsey & Company and was co-founder/CTO of eLink Commerce B2B commodity logistics platform. He is a startup advisor/investor in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, with Sand Hill/Pasadena Angels and AmplifyLA Accelerator. He has a PhD in EE and an MS/BS in CS from USC.

Jason Fraser
Principal Product Manager, Pivotal Labs | @jfraser

Jason co-founded the Innovation and Transformation Practice at Pivotal Labs, establishing the core values and practices and setting the strategic vision for these practices. He’s currently a Principal Product Manager at Pivotal labs, working with clients to identify high-value products, validate product ideas, and break through barriers to innovation.

Before joining Pivotal, Jason co-founded the first Lean User Experience company, and worked with pioneers in the Lean Startup movement to help companies shift Lean Startup from theory into practice. Jason has advised countless entrepreneurs and delivered workshops and talks to organizations and universities around the world.

Michele Perras
Head of Strategy and Market Development, Labs, Pivotal | micheleperras

Michele Perras is an entrepreneur, consultant and advisor. She’s passionate about building and accelerating businesses. As Head of Strategy and Market Development at Pivotal Labs, Michele leads new strategies and partnerships for growth and innovation. She coaches and advises on Lean Startup, product and business development, working with startups, the Fortune 50 and Silicon Valley accelerators including Alchemist and 500 Startups.

Michele has spoken about innovation, technology and foresight at SXSW, Mobile World Congress, ATech and has taught at Duke, UCLA and OCAD University. She is a member of Pivotal’s Diversity and Inclusion council, and her work is supported by almost 20 years experience in design, product and strategy. She lives in San Francisco.

Theron McCollough
Partner, Acceleprise | @theron

I live at the intersection of marketing, branding, business development and sales. I have worked with some of the world’s best tech brands & employees for over a decade.

James Birchler
Principal, jamesbirchler.com | @jamesbirchler

Product development leader, advisor, and coach. I build culture to support engagement and learning. I base my practice in mindfulness and I focus on strong communication skills. I helped build the first Lean Startup with Eric Ries and the team at IMVU.

Tom Nguyen
Principal, Product Management, Adobe | @tomng

Tom manages new creative product development at Adobe. He co-founded Adobe Spark, a new family of storytelling tools used by millions worldwide, and launched Adobe’s first mobile app named by Apple as one of the Best Apps of the Year, pioneering lean startup methodologies at Adobe.

Tom is a two-time speaker at the Lean Startup Conference, taught design thinking at Reuters, serves on the board of Inforum at the Commonwealth Club, and was selected as an Emmy Award finalist. He holds Computer Science, Masters of Education, and MBA degrees from Stanford University.

Rebecca Woodcock
EIR, Digital Health Track, 500 Startups | @rebeccawoodcock

Rebecca is an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) at 500 Startups, where she manages the San Francisco accelerator’s digital health track. Previously she founded CakeHealth.com (acquired), to help individuals track and manage their healthcare expenses, and was a TechCrunch DISRUPT finalist. She is recognized as one of 70 Digital Leaders by the United Nations, and has also been an advisor to the White House health data standards movement for patient access. If you can’t find her, try looking in Baja California Sur.

John Bradberry
Founding Partner, ReadyFounder Labs | @johnbradberry

Background in psychology. 25 years of experience improving performance of global companies, startups, and all in-between. I help leaders/teams get smarter, more focused, more honest. Focused on (1) founder readiness and fit, (2) investor-founder alignment, (3) founder transitions, and (4) corporate entrepreneurial talent. Co-developer of Entrepreneur Core Characteristics Profile (ECCP).

Michael Hagler
Partner, Clevertech | @clevertech

Michael Hagler is an entrepreneur, angel investor and one of the two managing partners at Clevertech. Based in New York City, Michael partners with serial entrepreneurs, sophisticated investors, founding teams and C-level executives to help create new businesses and product innovation. As an investor, operator and founder, Michael has worked in the SaaS, logistics, agency, pharmaceutical, FinTech and market-economy industries, and past projects have been featured on TechCrunch, by Apple, in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, FastCompany, Inc5000 and on Bloomberg TV. Michael currently serves as a board member, advisor or active angel investor to a number of funded startups and growth businesses in London, New York City, Florida, Israel, Dubai and San Francisco.

Ritika Puri
Co-Founder, Storyhackers | @ritika_puri

Ritika Puri started Storyhackers with $0 of investment, and she has grown the company to a team of 23 and hundreds of customers. She specializes in helping people turn abstract ideas into processes, framework, and tangible products. In past lives, Ritika was a martial arts instructor and web developer who taught herself how to program between the ages of 9-14. She holds a B.A. in Literature from Claremont McKenna College and M.A. in Demographic and Social Analysis from U.C. Irvine. She’s wanted to be a writer since she was 11 years old.

Oseas Ramirez Assad
Senior Manager, Business Development and Innovation Enablement, Cisco Systems | @oseasra

Oseas is a serial entrepreneur and intrapreneur. He has a diverse background spanning technology, humanities, business and entrepreneurship. He has worked as a CIO, CTO, a licensed family counselor, public speaker on topics of human development and technology. As an entrepreneur, he founded one of Mexico’s leading elearning providers (we-know.net), a solar energy company, and a digital marketing agency (wawa.mx). He currently mentors startups CxOs.

In the corporate side, he was responsible for the development of Cisco’s top 2% talent, led a Lean Startup based internal innovation initiative and is now responsible for overseeing the creation and supervising the execution of the co-innovation process for Cisco’s Innovation Centers.

Vincent Thamm
Innovation Manager, Transavia Airlines | @Vincent_Thamm

Intrapreneur with a focus on improving the organization by working on change, innovation (Lean Startup, Agile), continuous improvement (Lean) and culture. Lean Startup mentor. Co-founder of the Lean Startup Leadership Platform Netherlands

Eleanor Bell
Director, Strategy Planning and Management, formerly Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation | @belleo99

Eleanor plays at the intersection of strategy and culture, creating intentional system change that recognizes and adapts to existing organizational culture for lasting results. She has over 20 years’ experience successfully leading change in organizations. She is an expert in strategy, human systems, culture change, Lean transformation, and analytics. She has worked at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Group Health Cooperative, and Cornell University and is now exploring her next chapter. She holds a PhD in Sociology and MA in Demography, both from University of California, Berkeley, and an AB in Sociology from Bryn Mawr College.

David Bland
Founder & CEO, Precoil | @davidjbland

David is the Founder / CEO of Precoil, an innovation consulting agency in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is an early adopter of Lean Startup, Design Thinking and Agile. He advises Fortune 500 companies and Silicon Valley startups through the shift from can you build it, to should you build it.

Prior to Precoil, David was a Principal at both Neo and BigVisible, where he pioneered Lean Startup services and innovation consulting.

Before his transition into consulting, David spent most of his career at early stage startups in the Washington DC Metro Area.

Maxine Friedman
SVP, Partnerships, Bionic |

Maxine Friedman has 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur and executive in strategy, marketing and BD roles at agency, start-up and Fortune 500 companies. She is currently SVP, Partnerships at Bionic where she leads the company’s strategic client partnerships driving growth at Fortune 100 companies. Prior to Bionic, Maxine was VP of BD for Contently, a TechStars start-up, where she led strategic partnerships with media companies, agencies and large brands. Previously, as VP of Partnerships at SEM/Social platform company Clickable Maxine was responsible for the start-up’s technical, channel, and strategic partnerships, including Clickable’s white label partnership with American Express. She is also the co-founder of Verve Collective, an executive parents’ organization, and Lead21, an organization focused on the intersection of politics and technology. Maxine holds a B.S. in Journalism from California State Polytechnic University and an MBA from both Columbia University and London Business School.

Pam Krengel
Innovation Champion, Moves The Needle | @pkrengel

A successfully bootstrapped entrepreneur for 17 years, helped several Fortune 500 companies like Anheuser-Busch Companies, LLC, Kraft Foods, PepsiCo take action in specific markets and increase customer experiences to create a more passionate customer base.

Lean Practitioner, Mentor, and Coach on lean methodologies and principles working with Startups and Enterprise organizations as a catalyst helping them make significant progress.

It begins with educating and coaching the why, and how of Lean Innovation. Connecting, listening and asking the right questions. Building rapport and trust. Evaluating and providing what’s needed to guide them so they can achieve more than they thought possible.

Jeremiah Gardner
, Author of The Lean Brand | @JeremiahGardner

Jeremiah Gardner helps organizations create value. He is the author of the bestselling book, The Lean Brand and Principal at Moves The Needle where he empowers companies like GE, Sprint, eBay, Intuit, and Cisco practice Lean Innovation. He has been featured in several media outlets including Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, Lifehacker, and The Guardian. Jeremiah reads a lot of Mark Twain, is an avid Lakers fan, and a self-professed amateur home chef. Jeremiah tweets @JeremiahGardner and blogs athttp://jeremiahgardner.com.

Lindsey Gray
Senior Director, NYU Entrepreneurial Institute | @nyuentrepreneur

Lindsey Gray is the Senior Director of the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute, where she advises startups and develops and manages entrepreneurship programs to educate, accelerate, connect, and fund entrepreneurs across NYU. Lindsey is also a member of the Teaching Team for the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program.

Prior to joining NYU, Lindsey worked for Innosight, an innovation firm founded by Clayton Christensen where she worked with Fortune 100 companies to help them identify strategic growth opportunities and build and invest in new businesses.

Lindsey received an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA from Connecticut College.

Blair Beverly
, Google | @BlairBeverly

Blair builds data products and web applications to help Google AdSense sales and marketing teams drive growth.

He advises individuals and teams both in and outside of Google on how to construct MVPs to test fundamental assumptions before investing big in an idea. Blair spoke about his experience leading his organization to adopt Lean Startup methods at the 2014 Lean Startup Conference.

A researcher at heart, Blair studied and researched organizational behavior while earning a master’s degree from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. He also has a B.S. from Stanford University, where he studied and researched behavioral ecology.

Peter Szanto
Founder, SpringTab | @szantopeter

Peter Szanto is a USC Trojan and the founder of SpringTab.com and Szanto.co. He helps companies like Mazda, L’Oreal and MasterCard in digital business development to grow their revenue. Peter gave a TEDxYouth Talk – a life long bucket list dream. He was recognized as a 30 under the age of 30 by Forbes Magazine Hungarian edition, nominated to entrepreneurs’ Role Model Award 2015. Currently he is working using smart productivity hacks to personalize the Internet.

Gretchen DeKnikker
COO, SaaStr | @gretchende

Gretchen DeKnikker has been launching and growing enterprise SaaS startups and platforms since way back in the last century. She is currently the COO of SaaStr. She previously cofounded SocialPandas, launched LivePerson’s (LPSN) Apps Marketplace platform and was an early employee at Genius.com and EchoSign (acquired by Adobe). Gretchen loves bacon, bourbon, hip hop and all things tech. She holds an MBA from UC Berkeley.

Ben Tinker
Visioneer, OGSystems | @common_clarity

Ben is a visual consultant specializing in guiding leaders and groups through visual-based processes. He is a student of Lean Startup principles and Design Thinking methods, and applies his learnings to his work as a consultant, facilitator, and project manager.

Ed Ceballos
CEO & Co-Founder, Hivelab.co | @EdCeballos

+20 years experience in helping Corporate & Startups design and execute best business acceleration strategies and build successful organizations. Have lived and / or worked in 12 countries.

Co-founder of StartupCisco, an initiative aimed at accelerating the speed of innovation at Cisco.

Co-founder of Hivelab.co, a global community and incubator built around service thinking and entrepreneurship. Our acceleration methodology is being used by companies like Cisco as a way to foster and develop service innovations in a relevant, lean and Agile manner

Megan Neese
Senior Manager, Future Lab, Renault Nissan | @Meg_Neese

Megan Neese is a senior manager in Future Lab at Nissan Motor Ltd., a cross-functional team tasked with uncovering new business opportunities for the future of automotive. Prior to this she filled similar roles at BMW Group DesignworksUSA and Samsung Design America. She holds a bachelor’s in industrial design and a master’s in product development from Carnegie Mellon University.

Hung Pham
Founder, Culture Summit | @CultureSummitSF

Hung is the founder and producer of Culture Summit, a conference that helps companies be successful by building culture from the bottom up. Prior to Culture Summit, Hung was a program manager at Cisco and a workshop leader for Lean Startup Machine where he taught hundreds of entrepreneurs how to validate their ideas using the Lean Startup methodology.

Brant Cooper
CEO, Moves the Needle | @brantcooper

Brant Cooper is the NYT Bestselling Author of books like The Lean Entrepreneur, The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development, and The Lean Brand. He’s helped startups go from idea to IPO, acquisition, rapid growth, and has first-hand experience with crushing failure. Today, his main focus is on bringing an entrepreneurial spirit to the enterprise with Moves the Needle.

Tanya Koshy
Product Manager, Facebook |

Tanya has significant experience applying her entrepreneurial spirit within large companies. She’s currently a product manager at Facebook. She was previously a PM for Google Express, Head of Growth for Google Helpouts, and PM for Groupon’s merchant team.

In all roles, she’s focused on using Lean Startup principles, user research, and data analysis to drive growth.

She has an MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, with concentrations in Marketing and Management and Organizations. She also graduated from Stanford University, majoring in American Studies and minoring in Computer Science.

Frank Mendoza
Founder & Chief Catalyst, Catalytics, LLC | @ServicesMentor

Frank Mendoza is founder & Chief Catalyst at Catalytics, LLC. For more than 15 years, Frank has leveraged his passion for change and improvement to drive results for large multi-national Fortune 500 companies as well as Pre-Series A startups. He is passionate about the Lean Startup movement and is a proud alum of Ash Maurya’s Lean Academy BOOTSTART program.

Frank lives and plays in Austin, TX and welcomes the opportunity to help all businesses (large and small) reach their full potential.

Lou Moore
VP Software, Jawbone | @lourmoore

Lou Moore is Chief Technology Officer at Code for America. Prior to CfA, Lou was VP of Software at Jawbone where he led software development from applications to infrastructure. He and his team were focused on delivering products that helped people to live happier, healthier, and longer. He got his start building high-performance technical teams and effective consumer products at scale while serving as Director of Product Engineering at social networking destination hi5. The process of fast-paced experimentation that fueled hi5’s growth early in Lou’s career developed into a passion for lean product development techniques that he has continued to apply and evolve ever since. Lou hails from Wisconsin originally and holds a degree in Computer Engineering from Northwestern University.

Ariana Friedlander
Founder, Rosabella Consulting, LLC | @arianaf

Ariana Friedlander, MPA is a community organizer, a social entrepreneur and the Founder of Rosabella Consulting, LLC. She specializes in designing co-creational processes with leaders doing business as UNusual. Her unique coaching and facilitation style creates conditions for collaborative conversations by modeling shared leadership. Ariana’s first book, “A Misfit Entrepreneur’s Guide to Building a Business Your Way” will be released this fall. She is an Enhanced Skills Conversational Intelligence Coach, has her Master’s in Organizational Leadership from the University of Delaware and her BA from Hampshire College. Ariana lives in Fort Collins, CO with her husband and daughter.

Nick Noreña
Innovation Coach, TriKro LLC | @njnorena

Nick Noreña is a lean entrepreneur and coach with experience building a venture-backed company, driving and executing customer driven product development, and coaching groups of individuals to create real value as teams. He has worked on projects ranging from ecosystem development where he trained startup mentors and accelerator managers, to coaching product teams to experiment faster and build validated businesses.

Courtney Hemphill
Partner, Carbon Five | @chemphill

Courtney Hemphill is a Partner at Carbon Five, an strategic digital product development firm known for its work with early stage and growth companies such as Echosign, Square, Thumbtack, Groupon, Altschool, StitchFix, and many others. She has done full stack development for over 10 years for both startup and enterprise companies. Today she works with teams at Carbon Five to do more by building less.

She has presented or mentored at various conferences in the US and abroad; most recently at SXSW V2V, O’Reilly Fluent, GOTO Berlin and QCon NYC. She enjoys running coding workshops, has been a part of the Women Who Code and Railsbridge organizations for decades, and is constantly finding random corners of the world to climb rocks.

Tristan Kromer
Founder & President, TriKro LLC | @TriKro

Tristan Kromer works with innovation teams and leaders to create amazing products and build startup ecosystems. He has worked with companies from early stage startups with zero revenue to enterprise companies with >$1B USD revenue. (Swisscom, Pitney Bowes, Fujitsu, LinkedIn)

Tristan has worked with over 15 technology accelerator programs and ecosystem programs such as Innovation Norway, Vinnova (Sweden), Enterprise Ireland, NEST’up (Belgium), StartSmart (Estonia) and the Innovation Partnership Program (Vietnam-Finland) With his remaining hours, Tristan volunteers his time with Lean Startup Circle and blogs at GrasshopperHerder.com.

Cindy Alvarez
Director of UX, Microsoft | @cindyalvarez

Cindy Alvarez runs the research team for Yammer (a Microsoft company), and is the author of Lean Customer Development. Previously she held UX leadership positions in a variety of startups; now she helps Microsoft teams practice Lean/experimental/customer development.