Meet the Team

Eric Ries


Eric is the creator of the Lean Startup methodology, practiced by individuals and companies around the world. He is the author of New York Times bestseller The Lean Startup, The Startup Way, and The Leaders Guide (funded by one of the top Kickstarter book campaigns of all time). He has founded a number of startups, including LTSE, where he is currently Executive Chair and Chairman of the Board, and IMVU, where he served as CTO. He has also advised on business and product strategy for startups, venture capital firms, and large companies across many industries.

Hisham Ibrahim


Hisham was born in Cairo and spent his formative years there and in Kuwait before coming to the United States for college. After earning a BS in Engineering and an MS in Computer Science from the University of California San Diego, he went on to work at Oracle, Paypal, and later Intuit. He has consulted with the City of San Jose on the issue of homelessness; Roche; Ericssson; The International Monetary Fund; the Department of Health and Human Services, and Tetrapak.

Marissa Hohman

Senior Associate

Marissa began her entrepreneurial journey as an undergraduate at the University of Delaware, where she participated in the university’s Venture-On program, designing MVPs for multiple entrepreneurial projects. She went on to work with accelerator programs in Southeast Asia, ultimately founding her own fashion firm. Marissa’s work includes assessment for innovation strategy, training internal coaches and building complete organizational frameworks. She focuses on getting valuable customer feedback by engaging in real-time. A natural coach, she especially loves working with early-stage product teams on how to more effectively solve their business problem and build products that customers love. At Lean Startup Co. she has worked with global companies including Zebra Technologies; French telecom giant Orange; Sage; Turner Sports; and British Telecom. 

Marissa holds a BS from the University of Delaware in Entrepreneurship and Technologies Innovation.

Ben Hafele

Managing Director

Ben is the Managing Director of Lean Startup Co. His focus is on bringing the latest Lean Startup practices to organizations looking for a sustainable way to manage the pressure to grow. His relationships with both current customers and prospects are based on high energy, humor, and impactful interaction that ensures leaders and teams achieve the change they want. Prior to joining Lean Startup Co., Ben built the lean innovation program at Caterpillar. He has worked with over 400 startup, innovation, and product development teams spanning five continents. Ben holds a BS in Statistics and Mathematics from the University of Illinois and a Master’s degree in Economics from the London School of Economics.

Jonathan Bertfield

Senior Director

Jonathan has deep experience in building innovation systems within large corporations. He works with organizations that are well-established and looking to make the leap to an even more successful future. His philosophy is rooted in applying the basic principles of Lean Startup within each organization’s individual context and culture to achieve the best possible outcome. 

He has held roles at Pearson, where he helped build the company’s innovation practice, as well as Sesame Street, where he helped build the education business. He has advised companies including Nissan, MasterCard, CitiBank, Marriott, Microsoft, Cargill, Legal Zoom, Disney, Vanguard, and USAA. He has also worked with the US Dept of Defense, the US Department of Health & Human Services , the US Air Force and the UK Ministry of Defense.

Born in Manchester, England, Jonathan has lived around the globe including in Israel, San Francisco, and Brooklyn, New York. Currently living in Athens, Greece, he holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom.

Adam Berk


Adam has more than twenty years of experience with Lean Startup. He enjoys working with teams from the earliest days through customer discovery and on to building real world tests to challenge assumptions and bring clarity to the work to be done. 

Adam has also trained Lean Startup coaches and run workshops in corporate environments. He has served as a mentor in startup programs like Google’s AI for Social Good Accelerator, the World Food Programme Innovation Accelerator and He has also worked with Pearson, The Build Institute in Detroit, Bunker Labs, 150 Startups (Alberta), KauffmanLabs, TechPeaks, Bizdom, Numa Paris, StartupIstanbul, Startup Chile, TurkishWIN, FastForward Ramallah, AOL, ESPN, NewsCorp, AMEX, and several TechStars cohorts.

A current Michigan resident, Adam is the co-author of Startup Program Design: A Practical Guide for Creating Accelerators and Incubators at Any Organization. He holds a BA in Economics from Emory University.

Lori Watson


Texas-born and raised, Lori has spent her career creating efficient and effective business systems for real estate, construction, and professional services companies. She fills multiple roles at Lean Startup Co., including leading Operations, Human Resources, and Accounting. Her long track record of successfully evaluating organizational needs, reviewing options, and selecting the best services, all with an eye toward maximizing an organization’s resources, makes her a masterful problem solver in all of these areas. She is exacting in her ability to manage complex transactions, not least among them her love of helping the kids in the local FFA raise and show their livestock projects. 

Lori holds an associate degree in Accounting and Business Management.

Marilyn Gorman


Marilyn has worked with organizations around the world to build internal capabilities and systems for accelerating growth. A catalyst for change, she helps leaders and teams identify what’s blocking progress, then guides them through transformation designed to achieve results. Making the transition from thinking about probabilities to possibilities is always at the forefront of her work. At Lean Startup Co. she has advised leaders at Shell, within the UK and US Departments of Defense, IKEA, Parker Life, Tetrapak, Zappos, Vertex, and Waters Corporation.  

Marilyn’s past positions include Global Leader for Executive Development at GE, and Chief Learning Officer for the largest financial services organization in Australia. She holds an M.Ed from Sydney University, an MBA from Macquarie University, and a graduate diploma in Executive and Professional Coaching. A resident of upstate New York, Marilyn is a dual citizen of the US and Australia.