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Mentorship Council

Anne Gherini is Sierra Ventures' Chief Marketing Officer. She leads platform and founder resources for the firm and sits on the investment team. Before her career in venture capital, Gherini led marketing, go-to-market and partnerships for several high-growth startups for over a decade. She started her career in the entertainment world at both Paramount Pictures and Sony Interactive Entertainment. Gherini has regularly contributed to Inc. Magazine and, over the years, has given keynote presentations at conferences in over 20 US states and in Hong Kong, Australia, South Korea, and France. She graduated from the University of California, San Diego.

Kirti Gupta serves as vice president and chief economist at Qualcomm Inc., providing economic analysis and thought leadership on global technology, intellectual property (IP), and antitrust economic policy issues in collaboration with business stakeholders and a global network of experts, economists, lawyers and policymakers. Previously, she spent over a decade as a wireless engineering and R&D expert with experience in various standards bodies focused on the 3G and 4G technologies and is a co‐inventor of over 40 patents in the field of wireless communications and has published in various policy, law and economics journals. Gupta is a co-founder and executive director of the IPLeadershIP platform, which convenes timely dialogues on IP and antitrust policy issues on a regular basis. Gupta holds an M.S. in electrical engineering from Purdue University and a Ph.D. in economics from the UC San Diego.

James Lambright is a professor of practice at UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy. Prior to joining, he served as senior vice president of Sempra Energy, overseeing M&A and corporate strategy. He also served as chief operating officer, chief financial officer and board member of a San Diego-based venture-backed renewable energy company. Lambright’s earlier leadership roles include serving as the presidentially-nominated and Senate-confirmed chairman and CEO of the U.S. Export-Import Bank. During his tenure, he managed a $60 billion credit portfolio with exposure to more than 150 countries and transformed the Ex-Im Bank into a self-financing institution, ending reliance on the annual federal budgeting process. During the financial crisis of 2008-09, Lambright served as chief investment officer of the U.S. Treasury Department's $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) at the request of Treasury Secretaries Henry Paulson and Timothy Geithner. In this position, he chaired the TARP Investment Committee and built the team, policies, and programs to execute more than 600 investments in financial and automotive companies, including AIG, Citigroup, and GM.

David Mallery was the co-founder and CEO of Paradigm Diagnostics and Viomics, now part of Exact Sciences. He was also the co-founder and president of the Molecular Profiling Institute, now part of Caris Life Sciences. Mallery also helped co-found and serves as president of the International Genomics Consortium (IGC) that incubates innovative biotech companies and helped lead efforts to land and expand IGC’s role as the founding Biospecimen Core Resource and Tissue Source Site network for the National Cancer Institute’s flagship project – The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). He was formerly the principal venture analyst for the Calvert Group’s venture and equity fund investments and has been an investment advisor on numerous biotech investments through exit. Mallery earned a BA in Human Biology and Studio Art from Stanford University, is a member of the Colorado Bar Association, is an active member of YPO, and is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Paul Niehaus is an economist and entrepreneur working to accelerate the end of extreme poverty. He is Chancellor's Associates Endowed Chair in Economics at UC San Diego and an affiliate of BREAD, CEGA, J-PAL, and the NBER. His research examines the design, implementation, and impact of anti-poverty programs at large scales. He is also co-founder of a series of companies working to amplify capital flows to emerging markets. He is co-founder, former president, and current director at GiveDirectly, the leading international NGO specialized in digital cash transfers and consistently rated one of the most impactful ways to give. He subsequently co-founded and served as a director of the enterprise payments company Segovia and the digital remittance company Taptap Send. Niehaus is a recipient of a Sloan Fellowship and has been named a “Top 100 Global Thinker” by Foreign Policy magazine. He holds a PhD in economics from Harvard University.

Don Rosenberg recently retired as executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary of Qualcomm Inc. where he was responsible for overseeing Qualcomm's worldwide legal matters, its Global Government Affairs organization and the Corporate Compliance function. During his 14 year tenure at Qualcomm, Rosenberg played a key role in shaping and executing the company’s strategic direction and policy initiatives regularly engaging with governments throughout the world, including U.S., China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, the EU and its Member States. Before joining Qualcomm, Rosenberg served as senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary of Apple Inc. Prior to that, he was senior vice president and general counsel of IBM Corporation. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; the National Committee on US/China Relations; the International Advisory Board at UC San Diego's School of Global Policy and Strategy and the China Leadership Board for it's 21st Century China Center. In 2019, Rosenberg served as a commissioner on the Reagan Institute’s Task Force on 21st Century National Security Technology and Workforce. In 2020 he supported the 21st Century China Center’s working group on science and technology in U.S.-China Relations. He is currently a member of the Working Group on Semiconductors and the Security of the United States and Taiwan, a joint effort of the Asia Society and the Hoover Institution.

Andrew ("Drew") Senyei, M.D., is a physician, venture capitalist, and inventor with more than 30 years of experience in the building of emerging technology and healthcare companies. Dr. Senyei served as Managing Director of Enterprise Partners Venture Capital for more than 25 years with $1.1B under management. He was the founding investor of multiple healthcare technology companies including Nuvasive (NASDAQ: NUVA), one of the largest minimally non-invasive orthopedic companies in the U.S. Dr. Senyei has served on the boards of more than 30 private and public companies. He remains actively involved with early stage angel investing in a variety of high-tech industries. He is a senior advisor to Healthpoint Capital, the leading private equity firm in musculoskeltal healthcare. He currently serves on The Board of Trustees at Northwestern University where he is the past chair of the Medicine Committee. Dr. Senyei is also a member of UC San Diego Foundation board and a founding member of the UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy's 21st Century China Center leadership advisory board. He is co-chair of the advisory board of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) and is a former Chair of the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering Advisory Council. Dr. Senyei was named one of the Top 100 Venture Capitalists in the U.S. on Forbes magazine's Midas Touch List and was also the recipient of the Ernst & Young San Diego Master Entrepreneur Award. He is credited with 30 patents and more than 45 publications in peer-reviewed journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine and Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. Early in his career he was the inventor of the first FDA-approved test to predict and help manage pre-term birth, which has been used by more than 8 million women worldwide. Dr. Senyei received his M.D. from Northwestern University and completed his residency training at the University of California, Irvine, where he served on the faculty prior to becoming active full-time with venture capital funding of early stage technology companies.

Technical Advisors

Tai-Ming ChungProfessor; Director, UC Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation

Josh Graff Zivin, Professor; Pacific Economic Cooperation Chair in International Economic Relations; Director, Peter F. Cowhey Center on Global Transformation

Uma Karmarkar, Professor and joint appointment with the Rady School of Management

Al Pisano, Dean, UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering

Kate Ricke, Professor and joint appointment with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography