UberMENTOR: Meet with Chicago’s Best and Brightest

January 20, 2016 / Chicago

Entrepreneurs, young professionals, and aspiring executives — your opportunity to learn from Chicago’s best and brightest is just a tap away.

On January 21st, request UberMENTOR for a chance to ride with one of Chicago’s top leaders from 1871, Techweek, ContextMedia, Leo Burnett, Future Founders and more — brought to you by the Startup Institute. Find out how to request and learn more about each of the mentors below.

On-Demand Mentors
Thursday, January 21



  • On Thursday (1/21), enter promo code MENTORCHI to unlock the special MENTOR option
  • Between 11am – 3pm, set your pickup location in this coverage zone and request the MENTOR option on the bottom slider in your app
  • If available, you’ll be randomly matched with a mentor and picked up curbside for a FREE 15-minute mentorship
  • At the end of the trip, you’ll be dropped off at your pickup location







ProTip: Get the most out of your session by being prepared for your trip. Have your resume available or a clear list of goals you’d like to discuss during your ride.


Katy Lynch | Techweek

Katy Lynch
Katy Lynch is the CEO of Techweek, the nation’s largest traveling technology festival that celebrates entrepreneurship, technology, innovation, and ideas. Prior to Techweek, Katy was the President and Founder of SocialKaty, Inc, Chicago’s largest social media marketing agency.

Troy Henikoff | Techstars | MATH Venture Partners

Troy Henikoff Troy Henikoff is a Managing Director of MATH Venture Partners. Additionally, Troy is the Managing Director of Techstars in Chicago. Troy was a Co-founder of Excelerate Labs, which became Techstars Chicago in 2013. He also helps manage the FireStarter Fund, teaches Entrepreneurship at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business, is on the board of the Chicago-land Entrepreneurial Center. Prior to Techstars Chicago, Troy was the CEO of, President of Amacai, and co-founder and CEO of Troy built the technology for Jellyvision (creators of “You Don’t Know Jack!”), was the President of Systemetrics, and his first company was Specialized Systems and Software. Troy has an undergraduate degree in Engineering from Brown University and a Masters Degree in Project Management from Northwestern.

Terry Howerton | TechNexus

Terry Howerton Terry Howerton started his first company in high school, and has spent every day of the next 25 years launching and leading ventures, mentoring other entrepreneurs and growing organizations. He’s CEO of TechNexus, the enterprise startup incubator that’s helped launch more than 300 companies, and built a collaborative venture development model that aligns and invests alongside leading corporations across the global entrepreneurial ecosystem. Howerton founded the Illinois Tech Association, helping to define what has grown into a Chicago’s robust tech community. He helped create a public high school teaching tech, is a frequent speaker on innovation, and sits among top tech industry CEOs as a strong voice in Washington DC.

George Vukotich | 1871

George Vukotich George Vukotich, Ph.D. is the Senior Vice-President of Programming at 1871. In that role he is responsible for designing, developing, and executing the overall operations of all education and mentoring that takes place at 1871. In addition to his experience at 1871 he has also been a college professor and dean of a college of business. He has worked in sales and human resources roles at firms that include, IBM, Accenture, and BP. He is a veteran with over 27 years of service with the USAF. He is currently working on his fourth book, Mentoring in a Startup Environment.


Craig Wortmann | University of Chicago | Booth School of Business

Craig Wortmann
Craig Wortmann is a three-time CEO, Clinical Professor and author.

As Founder and CEO of Sales Engine, Craig and his team help firms build and tune their sales engine. Craig’s firm works with teams all over the world to develop their knowledge, skill and discipline and to translate those key assets into higher performance.

As a Clinical Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, Craig designed, developed and teaches the award-winning course called Entrepreneurial Selling, recently recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the “Top Ten” courses in the country. Craig is also the author of “What’s Your Story?”, a book that looks at how leaders and sales professionals use stories to overcome the three most common performance challenges – leadership, strategic selling and motivation.

Mark Renshaw | Leo Burnett

Mark Renshaw Mark has been mixing marketing and technology together in new ways for over 25 years. From starting and growing companies, working internationally for over twenty years, connecting new technology and partners to brands, winning new business, starting and growing teams and capabilities, speaking at industry events, and most recently developing new practical approaches to big brands marketing challenges. Mark has lead Global Brands as Business, Strategic and Innovation Leader. He has worked across Asia, North America and globally.



Shradha Agarwal | ContextMedia

Shradha Agarwal Shradha Agarwal is President & Co-founder of ContextMedia, which is the largest digital healthcare media company in the country, impacting 20M patients monthly. In 2011, Shradha co-founded Jumpstart Ventures to fund other passionate entrepreneurs, and has since made investments in 50+ startups with ambitious solutions to urgent problems. She actively supports education, women leadership, and civic engagement. Shradha was recognized as a Champion of Change by the White House and named the Prominent Woman in Tech by the Illinois Technology Association. She is the recent recipient of the first-ever 1871 Chicagoness Award for her deep commitment to Chicago’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Julius Givens | The Explorer Program

Julius Givens

Julius Givens is the Founder & CEO of The Explorer Program, which offers an innovative solution to ensure that every child in Chicago succeeds. The Explorer Program uses art to capture the student’s attention and enables them to change their lives, their communities, and the world to bring a New Frontier to the city.

Prior to founding The Explorer Program, Givens helped launch the Gastroenterology team at ContextMedia, which is the largest digital healthcare media company in the country. In 2015 Givens was recognized as one of ContextMedia’s Top 10 Healthcare Sales Executives. Givens also serves on the GradCouncil of OneGoal.

Scott Issen | Future Founders

Scott Issen Scott Issen is President & CEO of Future Founders, a Chicagoland non-profit that believes every youth can become an entrepreneur and has served over 30,000 youth to date. Prior to Future Founders, Scott was Managing Director at the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center, which now runs 1871, and provided strategic guidance to high-growth entrepreneurs. Scott has over 14 years of experience in entrepreneurship, management, leadership and fundraising. Scott graduated magna cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and was named to the Crain’s “40 Under 40″ list.

Fred Hoch | Illinois Technology Association

Fred Hoch Ever wonder about disruption in the technology industry and how a company can grow by taking advantage of it? For 18 years, Fred has worked with hundreds of companies to strategically address the ongoing transformation and challenges of the technology industry. Fred Hoch is currently the CEO of the Illinois Technology Association – a business services organization with over 500 member companies with a focus on scaling great tech companies. Fred is also the co-founder of Chicago’s TechNexus Venture Collaborative, , a venture development firm building a new, collaborative model for leading corporations to engage and extract value from the global entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Fabian Elliott | Black Tech Mecca

Fabian Elliott Fabian Elliott is a ‘Hybrid Entrepreneur’ as Founder & CEO of Black Tech Mecca Inc. and an Advertising Technology Consultant at Google. In his consulting technical capacity, he has worked with top tier clients like Target, Ford, Kimberly Clark, and others to develop and execute strategies for their most sophisticated online campaigns. After completing his term as inaugural Global Co-Chair the Black Googler Network, he transferred what he was able to create within a company to the city he has come to love, by leading the charge to transform Chicago into the ‘Global Black Tech Mecca’.

John Roa | ÄKTA

John Roa John Roa is a serial entrepreneur and the award-winning CEO / Founder of ÄKTA, a design-led digital experience and transformation consultancy based in Chicago. In 2014 and 2015 ÄKTA was recognized as one of the Inc. 500’s Fastest Growing Companies in America. In September of 2015, ÄKTA was acquired by Salesforce and John now leads the Salesforce Digital Transformation Practice. He is also an active angel investor in early stage technology and hospitality companies.

John is an avid and adventurous world-traveller. After travelling to Iceland a few years ago, he came back and cofounded Digital Hope, a nonprofit that harnesses the power of crowd funding to channel resources into micro, underfunded non-governmental organizations in developing countries.

Ryan Kubacki | Holden International

Ryan KubackiRyan is a recognized authority in making B2B selling a competitive advantage. He co-authored The New Power Base Selling: Lessons from 28,000 Sellers and 50,000 Deals. In his career, Ryan has been CEO of Holden International, a sales performance consulting and training firm that has helped over 1,000,000 sellers in 65 countries since its founding in 1979, and before that held sales leadership roles at Microsoft, including directing sales operations and field marketing for an 18-state region with a $1.4 billion quota.

Ryan received an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School and an undergraduate degree in Government from Harvard College.


Bobby Stephens | Bucketfeet

Bobby StephensBobby Stephens has spent his career in retail and fashion, specifically focusing on the ever-growing intersection between digital and in-person.

Starting as an angel investor / advisor, Bobby then joined BucketFeet as its’ first employee in 2012. Bobby oversees critical functions including: US Sales (, 3 retail locations and B2B), Product, Supply Chain and Technology. During his tenure, the company has experienced explosive growth each year.

Bobby is thrilled to work with dreamers and artists to “Connect People Through Art”. Before BucketFeet, he was a strategy consultant for such brands as TOMS, Nordstrom, Adobe, Target and Victoria’s Secret.