City Light Capital is excited to announce the creation of LEAD – our leadership advisory network for mission-based entrepreneurs. LEAD members will provide guidance, support and mentorship to both City Light portfolio company executives, City Spark executives, and other LEAD members. All of these people are building or potentially will build mission driven organizations tackling some of the toughest social and environmental challenges. Ongoing leadership development, the thoughtful exchange of best practices from multiple disciplines, and direct personal support and encouragement can help mission-based entrepreneurs make better decisions and address areas of inexperience or need. These are successful entrepreneurs who have decided to pursue and support opportunities with the potential for high social impact and high financial returns.
Initial LEAD members include:
If you are a Mission-based entrepreneur and would like to join LEAD, please send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Joe Abely has a unique blend of financial, operating, strategic and boardroom experience. He has spent a substantial portion of his career in the Boardroom as an officer (including Chairman & CEO) of a multi‐national public company; contributing member of both business and non‐profit boards; and as a Partner with Deloitte. He has a strong background in working with growing companies with an international presence. He is also an “Audit Committee Financial Expert”.
Joe is currently CEO of CaseSight, Inc., a venture‐ backed company which provides litigation consulting services. He was brought in during 2008 to turn the company around. He has restructured the management and sales organization as well as right‐sized the company to operate more in line with the current economic environment. In the face of a continuing deterioration of the market for the Company’s products, Joe was the catalyst for restructuring the company and finding a strategic acquiror. The sale of the company to the founder is expected to be completed in the second quarter, 2010.
Prior to joining CaseSight, Joe was Chairman and CEO of LoJack Corporation, the premier worldwide provider of wireless tracking and recovery systems for mobile assets and the leader in global stolen vehicle recovery with its proven solutions and direct integration with law enforcement. Joe began at LoJack as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, later became President and COO and during his tenure led growth of this undercapitalized technology start‐up company operating in just one state with only 30 employees and $1 million in revenues into a well capitalized, NASDAQ (NMS) growth company with 950 employees and $213 million in revenue and $26.5million in EBITDA that is dominant in its market position operating in 26 states in the US and in 28 countries around the world.
Joe was also a Partner at @ Deloitte Haskins & Sells (now Deloitte & Touche) where he was National Director of Cable Television and Broadcast Media Practice and was responsible for firm‐wide marketing plan for the media industry. He acted as advisory partner to many national clients, and provided other offices with industry related assistance. He served a broad range of clients of various sizes and industries where he provided audit, consulting, M&A, public and private financing, leveraged buy‐outs, spin‐offs and business planning services.
Joe is currently a director at Innov‐X Systems, a private equity‐backed global leader in rapid on‐site XRF measurements, where he is on the Audit and Compensation Committees. He is a Director, Treasurer, Chairman of Finance and Audit Committees for the Carroll Center for the Blind, which offers a full range of services for people who are blind or visually impaired. He is also a Director, Treasurer, Chairman of Finance Committee, and past Chairman of the Personnel Committee of Brae Burn Country Club.
Joe is a graduate from Boston College and also holds an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Joe and his wife reside in Wrentham.
Merrill Brown is the founder and principal of MMB Media LLC, which provides clients with management and strategy consulting, corporate, editorial and program development, business analysis and marketing services. Since the founding of MMB Media, clients have ranged from companies in the news, information and wireless businesses to a large foundation. Brown has recently served as Senior Strategist for Journalism Online, the startup online publishing subscription services company founded by Steven Brill and Gordon Crovitz.
Brown is also a partner in Propeller LLC, a New York consultancy, and served from 2005 through December 2007 as National Editorial Director of News for the 21st Century: Incubators of New Ideas (News 21), part of the Carnegie-Knight Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education.
Before establishing MMB Media, Brown served as Senior Vice President, RealNetworks’ RealOne Services from August 2002 through August 2003 and was responsible for all facets of the RealOne programming business including programming, subscription sales, marketing, advertising sales and technology. During his tenure, RealOne expanded subscription programming offerings in news, sports, entertainment and music and grew from 750,000 paid subscribers to over 1,000,000.
Brown became the first Editor in Chief of MSNBC.com in August 1996 after serving as acting managing editor for the July launch of the service. He became Senior Vice President in August 2000. During his tenure, the fledgling company grew to become one of the most visited news offerings on the Web, maintaining a position as the No. 1 online news provider since 1999
Prior to joining MSNBC in May 1996, Brown was a media and communications consultant whose work included strategic development work at Time Inc., NBC, U S West and a score of other media ventures (1995-96). While at Time, he served as consulting senior editor of Money magazine, developing online and Internet services for the publication. He also served as acting editor for Time Magazine Daily (the periodical’s daily online news operation) and as a consulting editor for Time magazine. During that time, Brown also served as a launch consultant for NBC Desktop Video, designing the network program plan and creating the network’s on-air look for NBC’s business news service delivered to personal computers.
Brown was one of the initial strategists responsible for creating the Courtroom Television etwork (Court TV). Brown worked on all facets of the network’s operation leading up to its July 1991 launch. As senior vice president, corporate & program development, he oversaw program planning, advertising, promotion, marketing, public relations and development of day-to-day management of the cable network (1990-1994).
From 1985 to 1990, Brown was editor in chief of Channels magazine, repositioning the bi-monthly as a highly successful television business monthly, tripling the amount of ad pages in three years. Channels was named a National Magazine Award finalist for general excellence during Brown’s tenure.
Brown was associated with the Washington Post from 1979 to 1985, serving as a financial reporter (1979-1982), New York financial correspondent (1982-1984) and director of business development, Washington Post Company (1984-1985). Prior to that, Brown was a financial reporter at the Washington Star (1978-1979), Washington correspondent for Media General Newspapers (1975-1978), a reporter at the Winston-Salem Sentinel (1974-1975) and reporter and freelance critic at the St. Louis Post Dispatch (1973-1974). Brown has also made numerous television appearances, including the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour (1980-1990), as a regular media analyst for CNBC and FNN (1988-1990) and on dozens of other major broadcast and cable news programs.
Brown also serves on the boards of Smashing Ideas, Inc., the Center for Citizen Media, New West Publishing, the International Women’s Media Foundation, iFocus, the Institute for the Connected Society, Project Agape, and the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. Brown is a member of the advisory boards of three advertising firms, Media 6 Degrees, Mixpo and TRA Global, where he recently became Advisory Board Chairman. Brown is also an advisor to Evri.com, a content discovery company funded by Vulcan Capital and has served as advisor and the Chairman of the Board of NowPublic, the leading citizen journalism company in the world. NowPublic was sold to Examiner.com last September.
Tommaso Trionfi is presently helping a number of companies in the US and Europe, serves as President of the U.S. Alumni Association for INSEAD and sits on its US Council, and is looking for the next big thing.
Trionfi was the Chief Executive Officer of Wimba from 2000 to 2009. He was a director of the company and reported to the Board of Directors.
He participated in growing the company from a Research Institute technology to the leader of Web based SaaS collaboration software for the education market based in New York City.
Trionfi has more than 22 years of management experience with early stage and larger global software and engineering companies. Since starting Wimba in 2000, Trionfi oversaw three successful acquisitions, including Horizon Live. He built a team of over 140 people spanning 3 countries, and organized marketing, sales, business development, product management and finance into a structured organization. Prior to Wimba, Trionfi led business development at Omniticket Network, where he established strategic alliances with companies such as News Corporation and Singapore Press Holdings. Trionfi was formerly Chief Operating Officer of Southern Europe for Colorlux, a global engineering company. Under his leadership, the region more than doubled sales to 60 million in three years. Before Colorlux, Trionfi was a managing founder at Delibes Consulting; and Chief Operating Officer of Fontenay Industries, where he led operations and key acquisitions to grow the company from $15 million to over $120 million. Previously, Trionfi served in corporate finance at IBJ International, an investment banking firm based in London.
Trionfi received his MBA from INSEAD, and master’s degree in Science and Technology with honors from the University of Grenoble.
Rusty Greiff most recently served as President of Ivy West, LLC, one of the country’s leading college prep and planning businesses for the last 20 years, while also serving as Sylvan Learning’s Vice President, Sylvan College Prep where he oversaw the Corporate and legislative strategy, communications, operations and management of Sylvan’s upper-level high school, online, digital college prep and readiness business in 1100 learning centers in North America and internationally. Mr. Greiff has worked for Educate, Inc. – Sylvan’s parent company and one of the largest supplemental education companies in the world – for over five years. Prior to joining Sylvan Learning, Mr. Greiff served as General Manager & Vice President of Programming and Media for Educate Products and Media – overseeing strategic direction, P&L responsibilities, production, licensing and launching new businesses for the new Reading Rainbow television franchise and other Educate online and interactive assets and businesses. Also at Educate, Mr. Greiff served as Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for Catapult Learning, Educate Inc.’s school-based services company, and oversaw the company’s national advocacy, grass-roots organizing and national expansion initiatives as well as Catapult’s New York supplemental education business for inner-city school districts.
Before joining Educate, Inc., Mr. Greiff founded and served as President of the eQ group, a digital and interactive consulting firm advising and growing online businesses for funded start-ups, and large-scale corporations including America Online and Discovery Communications.
Prior to launching eQ, Mr. Greiff served as Senior Vice President/General Manager at USA Interactive, now IAC, where he oversaw e-commerce and marketing strategy and operating businesses for USA E-commerce Solutions, as well as Ticketmaster and Home Shopping Network. Before joining USA Interactive, Mr. Greiff worked in private equity specializing in mid-market family entertainment and online businesses.
Prior to entering the business sector, Mr. Greiff served as an Advocacy Outreach Coordinator and then Chief of Staff for the U.S. Senate Steering and Coordination Committee for Minority Leader Tom Daschle where he lead national grass-roots issue and media campaigns on health care reform, campaign finance reform, education innovations, and technology. He has been an education issues and media advisor on five Senate and four Presidential campaigns, as well as numerous congressional and state races. Prior to joining the Senate staff, Mr. Greiff served as a Policy and Communications Associate in the Clinton Administration at the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). At CNCS, Rusty served on the original strategic team to launch the President’s AmeriCorps program and helped draft, oversee and implement the federal program regulations and served on the strategic communications, public affairs and grant funding teams responsible for promoting AmeriCorps nationally to enroll eligible students.
Mr. Greiff has served on national and international panels and symposiums on education, community service policy, social entrepreneurship, interactive and digital media issues, and he has advised and served on boards of national and international non-profits, private equity firms, investment and incubator funds, magazines, cable networks and start-up media companies including Current TV – a national user-generated cable network founded by former Vice President Al Gore.
Mr. Greiff graduated with Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude honors from Washington University, St. Louis and received an MBA at Harvard University. He has completed coursework at London School of Economics and is a recipient of the New York Coro Fellowship in Leadership.
Mr. Greiff lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife Elizabeth Shreve, who is founder and CEO of Shreve Williams Public Relations, and their three boys, Theo (6), Noah (5) and Isaak (2).
Derek Kaufman started his career in 1975 as a Manufacturing Process Engineer with the Chevrolet Division of General Motors.
In 1978, Derek joined Euclid Inc., a producer of mining and construction trucks in Cleveland, Ohio. Starting as a Sales Engineer, he moved through North American and International Sales and Marketing responsibilities as Manager and Director of Marketing and Sales Engineering. In 1983, he assumed responsibility for the worldwide parts and service organization of Euclid as Vice President of Product Support.
In 1984, Mr. Kaufman joined Freightliner Corporation in Portland, Oregon as Vice President of Marketing and Product Planning. During his time at Freightliner, the on-highway truck manufacturer moved from 10% to 18% market share of the North American Class 8 truck segment. Mr. Kaufman was also responsible for introducing Freightliner’s first medium duty product line.
In November 1988 Derek joined the Penske Corporation team as President of Diesel Technology Company, a producer of diesel engine fuel systems. Under Mr. Kaufman’s leadership, DTC formed a global partnership with Robert Bosch Corporation to sell fuel systems to the major European truck manufacturers. Derek also served on the Boards of KKK Turbocharger, Germany and VM Motori Engines, Italy representing the share ownership of Penske Transportation.
In April 1997 Derek completed his personal goal of forming his own company. As the Founder and President of C3 Network, Inc. Derek and his team work with Venture Capital groups to increase the top line sales of their portfolio companies, with start-up companies to launch new products and with established companies requiring turnaround of their sales and marketing programs.
An example of the turn around process is the Penske Corporation investment in Hino Trucks. From October 2003 to February 2006 Mr. Kaufman worked as Senior Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Customer Support for Hino Trucks, a Toyota Group company and Penske Corporation investment, based in Detroit, Michigan. Derek built a new sales, marketing and customer support team to launch an all-new line of Hino Class 4-7 Medium Duty trucks.
Today, Mr. Kaufman is supporting the launch of the smart fortwo automobile by smart USA, also a subsidiary of Penske Automotive Group. His key role is in heading up the launch of the smart fortwo lithium-ion battery electric drive vehicle in the United States.
Mr. Kaufman is currently on the boards of Reid Tool Supply, an industrial supply company in Muskegon, Michigan, Vermeer Manufacturing, a producer of industrial and agricultural equipment in Pella, Iowa, and Cascade Engineering, a Grand Rapids, MI based leader in alternative power generation. Mr. Kaufman speaks nationally on technical innovation. As his latest project, he has authored the Telematics Primer, an introduction to automotive telematics written for the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association. Derek is speaking at national conferences on the topic.
A native of Weatherly, Pennsylvania, Derek resides in Ada, Michigan with his wife Mary Beth. They have five children, all of whom are gainfully employed thank goodness.