Masterclasses in Innovation Leadership and Entrepreneurship


Northeastern’s Masterclasses in Innovation, Leadership, and Entrepreneurship are engaging educational modules designed to provide expertise and perspectives from members of our community. Open to all, these sessions explore topics ranging from the benefits of self-compassion and finding resilience during trying times, to pitching investment ideas in the venture capital space and managing side hustles. Participants will learn something new; gain deeper understanding of relevant subjects; and uncover opportunities to apply this knowledge in their personal and professional lives.


Girl Decoded: Humanizing Technology Before it Dehumanizes Us

Originally aired: June 18, 2020

SpeakersRana el Kaliouby, PhD, co-founder and CEO of MIT spinout Affectiva, author of Girl DecodedCarla Brodley, Dean of Northeastern’s Khoury College of Computer Sciences

Why listen: Acquire the ability to understand and confront cultural norms, find your voice, and connect with others who are helping to build a strong ecosystem for female founders and funders in tech.

What you’ll learn: This Masterclass unveils the trials and opportunities of being a rarity in your field, and how to combat the lack of empathy in the virtual world. It also explores the latest technology in emotional artificial intelligence software, which is being used to understand nuanced human feelings and complex cognitive states. We also discuss how these findings are being applied across industries like automotive, mental health, and media analytics amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This program is followed by a Q&A that provides resources to help maintain meaningful connections while working, learning, and socializing online.

To view the recording of this session, click here.

For reading: Rana’s Book, Girl Decoded

“Written with kindness, vulnerability and grace, Girl Decoded reveals the tour de force that is Rana el Kaliouby. Her must-read memoir spurs technologists to follow their conscience and emboldens women all over the globe to fight for their dreams.”

—Dr. Kate Darling, Research Specialist at MIT

Inside the Minds of Venture Capitalists

Originally aired: June 17, 2020

SpeakersHelene Servillon, AMD’12, partner at JourneyOne VenturesSergio Marrero, E’07, managing partner at Rebel One Ventures; Eliana Berger, DMSB ‘22, co-founder of WISE, director and co-founder of Envision, and venture partner at Contrary Capital

Why listen: Budding entrepreneurs or aspiring financiers can acquire effective tips on applying for venture capital jobs, or standing out when pitching their investment ideas.

What you’ll learn: With a special focus on the unexpected climate created by the COVID-19 pandemic, this discussion dissects how to get into venture capital and land a job in the field; what goes into investing in new deals; and the various movements taking place to increase diversity at the investor and founder levels.

To view the recording of this session, click here

For readingContrary Spotlight: Eliana Berger; She’s Helping Women and Minorities Get Their Business Off the Ground

“Success is about honing skills in three key mindsets: Be curious, be visionary, and be aware of your biases.”

—Helene Servillon, AMD’12, Partner at JourneyOne Ventures

Fintech and the COVID-19 Crisis: Global Trends and Predictions

Originally aired: June 10, 2020

SpeakersSusanne Hannestad, DMSB’92, founder and CEO of Fintech MundiSarah Biller, co-founder of FinTech SandboxMark Bernfeld, Northeastern’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business Finance professor; Julia McCarthy, DMSB ‘20, founder of Disrupt, Northeastern’s student-led fintech club

Why listen: Dive deeper into the expansive, ever-growing world of fintech and hear which areas are booming in the current economic climate.

What you’ll learn: This Masterclass discusses what the fintech industry will look like after the COVID-19 crisis ends, including the economic climate and its implication on global fintech. It includes a U.S. perspective on new opportunities that have become evident in light of the stay-at-home order, and how fintech can make our world more resilient by leveraging the existing economic power that resides in diversity, inclusion, and social responsibility. This educational conversation is followed by an interactive Q&A.

To view the recording of this session, click here.

For reading: Opportunity in Adversity: FinTech & the COVID-19 Crisis

“Mobile money is the means to serve the underbanked in rural areas.” 

—Susanne Hannestad, DMSB’92, Founder and CEO of Fintech Mundi

Healthcare Funding During the COVID Crisis: Trends and Predictions

Originally aired: June 3, 2020

SpeakersNancy Brown, DMSB’86, general partner at Oak FT/HCAnn Corcoran, BHS’86, principal at AMC Healthcare SolutionsCarmen Sceppa, MD, PhD, Dean of Northeastern’s Bouvé College of Health Sciences

Why listen: Get the current picture of how healthcare investing has been reshaped by the COVID-19 pandemic.

What you’ll learn: In this program, we provide an insider perspective on the transformative effect the COVID-19 crisis has had on healthcare delivery models, the resulting healthcare market trends, and where to invest following the paradigm shift caused by the pandemic. This eye-opening program includes a Q&A session that focuses on how healthcare investing is being seen through a new lens because of COVID-19.

To view the recording of this session, click here

For readingEight Traits Every Startup Leader Needs

For recap: Healthcare Funding During the COVID Crisis: Trends & Predictions

‘We invest in solving undeniable problems in healthcare.”

—Nancy Brown, DMSB’86, General Partner at Oak FT/HC

Entrepreneurial Resilience: How Community Builds Lifelong Success for Women

Originally aired: May 27, 2020

SpeakersHelen Russell, DMSB’88, co-founder and CEO of Equator CoffeeAnna Rychlik, DMSB/AMD’22, co-director of WISE; and Hannah Chaouli, DMSB/AMD’22, co-director of WISE

Why listen: Learn how to use networking and community building to help spur your entrepreneurship and innovation.

What you’ll learn: This conversation highlights the importance of building networks, fostering bonds within the community, and investing in new friendships—and how these elements comprise the foundation for Equator Coffee and countless university programs. Using the student-founded Women’s Interdisciplinary Society of Entrepreneurship (WISE) as an example, we discuss how its members foster a unique Northeastern community of lifelong, supportive friends who build confidence and emotional maturity, while redefining the next generation of resilient female founders.

To view the recording of this session, click here.

For recapThe Power of Community with Helen Russell & WISE

For watchingChain of Well Being; Finca Sophia

“We believe in the power of human connection and kindness through the portal of coffee.”

—Equator Coffee Tagline 

Demystifying Your Capital Raise

Originally aired: May 20, 2020

SpeakersMarjorie Radlo-Zandi, DMSB’83, principal at JazzasKatie Mulligan, DMSB ’18, senior associate at Pillar VC; and Emily Green, board member of All RaiseBetsy Ludwig, Northeastern’s executive director of Women’s Entrepreneurship

Why listen: Get tips on raising capital, and making the most of your business and investments during trying times.

What you’ll learn: In this presentation, you will hear perspectives and predictions from leaders in the VC and angel industries about inclusion and equity in access to capital. The program contains expert investing advice, and tips and tricks for preparing a pitch—especially during unprecedented and challenging economic times.

To view the recording of this session, click here

For reading: Five Things I Need to See Before Making an Angel InvestmentFive Things We Need to do to Close the VC Gender Gap

“Trust is the backbone of any relationship, both on an intellectual and emotional level. Make sure that at the end of any conversation everyone feels positive.”

—Marjorie Radlo-Zandi, DMSB’83, Principal at Jazzas

The Side Hustle: How to Think About it, How to Execute it, and How to Pivot in a Crisis

Originally aired: May 13, 2020

SpeakersSophie Gechijian, SSH’16, founder of f(x) foods, fixed income data solutions associate at Fidelity InvestmentsKim Eddleston, Northeastern’s Schulze Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Why listen: Get information about the ins and outs of side hustles, reframing business challenges, and design thinking.

What you’ll learn: In this discussion, we provide resources and strategies for women thinking about launching or reimagining a business during challenging times. And we break down how experts use resilience, creativity, and perseverance to tackle their entrepreneurial endeavors.

To view the recording of this session, click here

For reading: Sidepreneurship: The Booming Trend for Women; Corporate America or Entrepreneurship? You Can Do Both

“Research repeatedly shows that women have a lower tolerance for risk than men, and when deciding to become entrepreneurs, are strongly motivated by autonomy and flexibility. Sidepreneurship allows women to test the waters, and see if they like the business before taking the plunge and going full time.”

—Kim Eddleston, Schulze Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Maternal Optimism: Navigating Motherhood in Corporate and Entrepreneurial Careers 

Originally aired: April 23, 2020

SpeakersDr. Jamie Ladge, Northeastern Patrick F. and Helen C. Walsh Professor of Management and Organizational Development, co-author of Maternal OptimismBetsy Ludwig, Northeastern’s executive director of Women’s Entrepreneurship

Why listen: Get tips to navigate growing careers while growing families.

What you’ll learn: In this discussion, we address the impact of living with extreme uncertainty and managing never-before-seen societal pressures in innovative ways. We dive into the intersection of work and family, career equality, gender and diversity issues, and other common experiences and feelings that allow women to persevere through high-pressure situations. The goal is to celebrate women’s unique paths through work and motherhood.

To view the recording of this session, click here

For reading: Jamie’s book: Maternal Optimism

For listeningThe Upside of Working Motherhood

“Maternal Optimism is for everyone who cares about creating a nourishing context for raising the next generation by empowering mothers to lead the lives they want.”

—Stewart D Friedman, Professor and Founding Director of the Wharton Leadership Program and Wharton’s Work/Life Integration Project at the University of Pennsylvania

Self-Compassion as a Strategy for Resilience in Leadership 

Originally aired: April 15, 2020

SpeakerTracy Fink, DMSB’90, founder of The Tortoise Institute

Why listen: Hear about best practices that allow people to emerge stronger on the other side of crises.

What you’ll learn: Through stories, research, and interactive activities, you will learn methods to be kind, curious, and less judgmental while navigating setbacks like those brought on by the COVID-19 crisis. Instead of criticizing yourself for inadequacies or shortcomings, hear why self-compassion—being kind to yourself—is crucial in being a successful leader and coming out on top when confronted with challenges.

To view the recording of this session, click here.

“Do my best, let go of the rest.”

—Tracy Fink, DMSB’90, Founder of The Tortoise Institute

Revisiting Strategy During Uncertain Times: Applying Design Thinking to De-Risk Innovation

Originally aired: May 6, 2020

Speaker: Allexe Law, SSH’88, Founder of ArtScience Group

Why listen: Obtain a thorough understanding of how to use design thinking in the formulation and execution of strategy within your organization.

What you’ll learn: In this program, we share ways to use design thinking as a powerful tool for reshaping strategies, uncovering solutions, and reframing challenges in our businesses, countries, and lives. Acquire expert advice on how organizations can gain a higher-level perspective to navigate through challenges, and identify novel opportunities that create value for their constituents by understanding the customer journey and placing customer needs first.

Please contact us if you’d like to learn more about the items discussed during this closed session.

“Setting aside time to think strategically is a start, but great ideas take time to germinate.”

—Allexe Law, SSH’88, Founder of ArtScience Group



Betsy Ludwig
Executive Director of Women’s Entrepreneurship