Leadership and Faculty

Rhonda SHrader

Bay Area Node Executive Director, LAUNCH Faculty, National Faculty, Node Instructor, Berkeley Haas School of Business

Rhonda Shrader is the Executive Director of the Bay Area Node for NSF I-Corps as well as the Berkeley-Haas Entrepreneurship Program, where she teaches two popular lean startup courses, Lean Transfer and Startup Disco. As an entrepreneur, she was an early team member of MIT spinout Organogenesis, one of the first publicly traded regenerative medicine companies.  She has founded or was an early stage team member of startups in biotech, behavioral health, non-profit, retail and AI. She is an active advisor for NASA spinoff BrainAid as well as the Innovation Chair for Invisible International. She earned an undergraduate degree in neuropsychology and premedical studies from Harvard and an MBA from Berkeley-Haas.

Dave Weiner

Program Manager, Bay Area Node

Dave Weiner is the Program Manager for the Bay Area I-Corps Node.  Prior to joining UC Berkeley, he was an early hire at Springboard, a mentor-led online learning educational technology startup, and was the lead administrator for the Public School Choice program at the New York City Department of Education.

An academic at heart, Dave holds a BS in Sociology from the University of Colorado at Boulder, an MPP from Georgetown University, and was a PhD candidate in Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Rich Lyons, Principal Investigator

Chief Innovation and Entrepreneurship Officer, UC Berkeley

Rich Lyons was the Dean of the Haas School of Business, and is currently the Chief Innovation & Entrepreneurship Officer for UC Berkeley. Known for its strength in areas like technology, entrepreneurship, social impact and strategy, Berkeley-Haas more recently added focus on culture, e.g., on a set of institutional values that include confidence without attitude and question the status quo. Prior to joining the faculty at Berkeley in 1993, he was at Columbia Business School. He received his BS from Berkeley (finance) and his PhD from MIT (economics). His research and teaching are mostly in international finance, though his more recent work explores the links between leadership and innovation. In 1998 he received Berkeley’s highest teaching honor and in 2006-08 he took leave to serve as the Chief Learning Officer at Goldman Sachs.

S. Shankar Sastry, Principal Investigator

 UC Berkeley College of Engineering & Blum Center for Developing Economies

Shankar Sastry served as Dean of the College of Engineering at UC Berkeley and is currently Faculty Director at the Blum Center.  He received his B.Tech. from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, 1977, a M.S. in EECS, M.A. in Mathematics and Ph.D. in EECS from UC Berkeley, 1979, 1980, and 1981 respectively.  He was formerly the Director of CITRIS (Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society) and the Banatao Institute @ CITRIS Berkeley. He served as chair of the EECS department from January, 2001 through June 2004. In 2000, he served as Director of the Information Technology Office at DARPA. From 1996-1999, he was the Director of the Electronics Research Laboratory at Berkeley, an organized research unit on the Berkeley campus conducting research in computer sciences and all aspects of electrical engineering. He is the NEC Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences and holds faculty appointments in the Departments of Bioengineering, EECS and Mechanical Engineering. Prior to joining the EECS faculty in 1983 he was a professor at MIT.

Steve Blank

National Faculty Director, Berkeley-Haas School of Business

Steve Blank spent nearly 20 years involved in or co-founded eight Silicon Valley startups, ranging from semiconductors to video games, and personal computers to supercomputers. He teaches entrepreneurship at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, Columbia University and Stanford’s Graduate School of Engineering.  His book The Four Steps to the Epiphany launched the Customer Development and Lean Startup revolution.  He blogs at www.steveblank.com

T. Todd Morrill

Node Lead Instructor, National Faculty

T. Todd Morrill has been building and leading bioscience  companies since the first biotech boom in the early 1980s.  He has been employee number 500, number 10 and number 2 (several times) of venture-backed startups, as well as a founder of three companies.  He spent seven years in investment banking for pharma and biotech, and has worked at multinational pharma, diagnostics and tools companies.  His roles have included sales, product management, marketing, R&D, business development and CEO.   He has been an independent Board member of three biotech companies.

Todd  taught at the Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley from 2001 to 2009, where he received a Richard C. Holton Teaching Fellow award.  His courses included Entrepreneurship in Biotechnology; Mergers and Acquisitions; and Entrepreneurship.  He has taught in the Intel Program in China and Japan, the Malaysia/UCSF program, and in biotech programs in Estonia, Australia and Abu Dhabi.

Todd received an MBA from Berkeley-Haas and his BA in Biology, with Highest Honors, from Dartmouth College. He returned to teaching in 2013 because of his excitement with the NSF I-Corps program.

David Charron

National Faculty, Node Instructor

David Charron is a member of the professional faculty of UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. Mr. Charron has held several leadership positions at Haas, including Executive Director of the Berkeley Innovative Leadership Development Initiative (BILD) and Executive Director of the Haas School’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation program. At Haas, Mr. Charron teaches many MBA level courses including Business Model Innovation and Entrepreneurial Strategy, Entrepreneurship, Problem Finding Problem Solving, Case Studies in Entrepreneurship, Workshop for Startups and others. He is also active in executive education with the Venture Capital Executive Program, Bio-entrepreneurship and several innovation and leadership programs. Mr. Charron started UC Berkeley’s NSF I-Corps program as Faculty Lead and continues to teach scientists customer development skills through I-Corps.

Darren Cooke

Life Sciences Entrepreneurship Center Executive Director, LAUNCH Faculty, National Faculty, Node Instructor

Darren Cooke is the Executive Director of the Life Sciences Entrepreneurship Center, and adjunct faculty at the Berkeley Haas School of Business. 
Prior to leading Berkeley LSEC he chaired the Bio Track at Berkeley SkyDeck. Darren teaches entrepreneurship at Haas, and the I-Corps program for the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation. As an attorney, he led the IP legal team for the life science tools group of Bio-Rad Laboratories, and was a life sciences patent litigator at Covington & Burling. Before law school Darren was a mechanical engineer developing cochlear implants at UCSF.

Chris DeNoiA

National Faculty, Node Instructor

Chris is an entrepreneur with experience in business development, sales, and product management.  He recently Co-Founded JetBridge, an enterprise mobile education application, in an effort to add value to the Customer Relationships and Channel sections of the Business Model Canvas.  Prior to JetBridge, Chris led the business development and sales function at Amplify Health and Simplee as employee #3 and 4 respectively.  He previously served as VP Product Management at OptumHealth, a United Healthcare company, where he achieved the #1 market share for the Health Savings Account (HSA) product.  Chris received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Asian studies from Lehigh University.  He also received a Masters in Business Administration degree from Columbia Business School and a Masters in Business Administration degree from the London Business School

WhitneY Hischier

National Faculty, Node Instructor

Whitney is a lecturer at the Haas School of Business in experiential and consulting-based courses including Startup Lab, International Business Development, Consulting to Small Businesses and Startups, and Design Thinking. She also oversees a number of student independent study projects in the entrepreneurship space.  Prior to lecturing, Whitney served as Assistant Dean of Executive Education at UC Berkeley for nearly a decade. During her tenure, she grew program revenues 8x and used her background in management consulting at Deloitte and KPMG to help clients build programs that addressed specific business and individual performance gaps.

Whitney holds a BA in International Relations with a focus on Security and Arms Control from Stanford University and an MBA with a Certificate in Healthcare Management from the Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley. She lives in Berkeley, CA with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats and horse.

Kevin Rodondi

National Faculty, Node Instructor

Dr. Kevin Rodondi is an Associate Clinical Professor at the School of Pharmacy, and Associate Director of the Center for the Health Professions, at the University of California, San Francisco. In his current role he is focused on the development of innovative health care delivery models and patient facing technology in health care delivery.   Dr. Rodondi has over 20 years of experience in health care start-up companies providing services in the community based oncology market. This includes: Vice-President and General Manager of the Specialty Solutions Group at McKesson Specialty; Co-founder, President/COO of the National Oncology Alliance, providing GPO and clinical services to community oncologists; Vice-President of Corporate Operations OnCare, a physician practice management company; and Director of Pharmacy Programs Oncology Therapeutics Network, a specialty pharmaceutical distribution company. Dr. Rodondi received his Pharm.D. from the UCSF School of Pharmacy and completed one year residencies in both clinical practice and administration.

Patricia Rubio

National Faculty, Node Instructor

Patricia Rubio has worked in high-tech for more than 20 years. First, as a Traffic Manager at companies such as Hella & Flextronics doing international trade for more than 5 years. Then, driving business in Latin America for Intel as a Business Development Manager for more than 10 years, collaborating with ethnographers, hardware and software developers, multinational and manufacturing companies, retailers and Ministers of Education. Paty also started to drive demand generation for the brand as a Marketing Manager, creating and executing marketing strategies for the company worldwide.

After Intel, she was the Manager of Strategic Projects of the National Chamber of Electronic Infrastructure and Information Technologies (CANIETI), creating and implementing programs to drive technology adoption and increase productivity for small and medium businesses. She then founded her own company, becoming the CEO & Founder of Cognitsys, using AI to provide business intelligence and predictive analytics solutions on multiple industries such as retail, real estate and logistics. She has been a finalist and speaker at the Austin Tx TECHBA Bootcamp; she has served as a Mentor for Technovation Challenge and is currently a Mentor for the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship.

Patricia has a Bachelor’s degree in International Trade and a MBA in Marketing.


Node Instructor

Bill is an Advisor, Mentor, and Educator who works with entrepreneurs, their investors and companies from seed through growth stages.  His experience includes Founder and CEO of a strategy and operations consulting firm as well as Adjunct Professor for Business and Engineering subjects.  The common theme across his career is a passion for helping firms and individuals realize their full potential and success.

Over his 24 year career as Founder and CEO of The Results Group, Bill drove business model and performance improvements for over 50 client firms from startups through established industry leaders.  Bill and his clients particularly valued the breakthrough business results achieved together, such as: transforming from startup to acknowledged leader, building higher market share, creating more customer loyalty, freeing up cash from leaner and faster operations, and creating new revenue streams by delivering new products, services and business models to market.

Bill has recently taught courses in entrepreneurship, product design and business strategy at Santa Clara University, UC Berkeley and California College of the Arts.  Bill also accompanied a UC Berkeley robotics team as Industry Mentor for the NSF’s National I-Corps program.  Stimulated by the value of the lean launch process and I-Corps discipline, Bill became an Instructor for the SF Bay I-Corps Node.

Bill received his AB degree from Harvard, Ph. D. from the University of Michigan in Psychology, and MBA with Highest Distinction from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.