Anvisha Pai SB '14

Co-Founder

  • Slab Inc.
Co-Chair, Social Media

Team :

Other Affiliations :

Why did you decide to volunteer with the MITCNC?

This is my first year volunteering with MITCNC. I got involved with alumni volunteering when I helped plan my class’ Pi Reunion. I was looking for more ways to engage with alums, especially outside of my class year, when I connected with Shuja, the current president. There were many aspects of MITCNC that seemed exciting but the thing that sold me was the leadership team. I’m amazed by the creativity and thoughtfulness of the group, and am really excited to get to know them all better.

Tell us a bit about your role with the MITCNC. What are your responsibilities in this position?

As Social Media co-chair, I’m responsible for managing all our outreach channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Slack etc) and brainstorming new ways to engage members using social media.

What exciting things can we expect to see from your area of focus in the coming months? (e.g., social events, speakers, etc.)

Expect to see more posts about upcoming events and post-event photos on our Twitter and more engagement in our Facebook and Slack groups!

Describe one of your most memorable MIT moments.

At MIT, I volunteered with the South Asian Association of Students. Every year we’d put on a big Culture Show (CShow) in Kresge. The crazy planning, last minute practices and chaos, all with my closest friends – made that time really memorable.

Douglas Spreng SB '65

Co-ChairDirector

Team :

Other Affiliations : MBA - Harvard

Why did you decide to volunteer with the MITCNC?

Help deal with climate change by educating and engaging our alumni regarding replacement of fossil fuels in energy production and transportation and increasing understanding of the perils of climate change. MIT is a global leader in this area; I wanted MITCNC to be a Bay Area leader in the same regard.

Tell us a bit about your role with the MITCNC. What are your responsibilities in this position?

I have been leading this track for the past nine years, averaging seven events per year with an audience of around 1,000 per year. As the overall leader, I consider myself the executive producer of the track and encourage our volunteers to take leading roles such as series planners, event managers and moderators.

What exciting things can we expect to see from your area of focus in the coming months? (e.g., social events, speakers, etc.)

On January 29, we’ll host an event at PARC in Palo Alto, featuring Aurora co-founders Chris Urmson and Sterling Anderson (MIT alum), discussing the autonomous vehicle industry and how a startup thrives in such a market. On February 28, we will honor Dan Shugar, a serial entrepreneur in clean energy at Silicon Valley Bank in Santa Clara.

Describe one of your most memorable MIT moments.

Being one of three Class Speakers at my 50th Reunion and telling the story of how I developed a second career by leading the E&E track at MITCNC, along with many other energy-related activities with MIT.

Mark Cramer SB '90

Applied AI Product Management

  • Xerox
Co-Chair Startup Track, Director of VMS

Team :

Other Affiliations : MBA Harvard

Why did you decide to volunteer with the MITCNC?

I’ve been loosely volunteering with the MITCNC for over a decade, but I significantly ramped up my participation after the first AI Conference. While I was attracted by the subject matter, I realized that there were many opportunities to get involved with the obviously vibrant MIT community in the Bay Area. I think that ‘big’ event really triggered my desire to commit more of my time to the club.

Tell us a bit about your role with the MITCNC. What are your responsibilities in this position?

For the past couple years I have dedicated a lot of my time to the HBS Startup Partners program, founded and run by Phil Rettger (MIT c/o 80). As such, when Rolf Brauchler (MIT c/o 69), who founded VMS and has done an amazing job running it, decided to retire, I was asked to fill the position. I’m looking forward to continuing his tradition of working with world-class entrepreneurs and mentors while we collectively look to evolve and progress the model.

What exciting things can we expect to see from your area of focus in the coming months? (e.g., social events, speakers, etc.)

Starting last week my primary focus is on VMS and filling Rolf’s big shoes. We’ve already had a great strategy session to discuss ideas for moving forward and, not surprisingly, the dedicated folks who’ve been working with VMS for years had lots of exciting ideas. The core mission – helping entrepreneurs – will remain the same, but we’ll be running some experiments to widen the footprint and enhance engagement. Stay tuned!

Describe one of your most memorable MIT moments.

Of course I recall parties and fraternity shenanigans, but how many people would say that they remember a final exam? (OK, MIT, perhaps a lot.) I took Artificial Intelligence with Prof. Winston (his text is on my shelf right now) the Spring of my sophomore year. The exam was in Walker Memorial, it was hot and it was the last day of finals. I cannot remember how many hours the exams were back then, but they were long. That being said, after about an hour most everyone had finished and left. What I think they didn’t realize, however, was that every question was a trick, and you had to analyze each to find the trick. Once identified, the answers became relatively obvious, but without it you’d go down the wrong path. So I used the full amount of allotted time. For the last couple hours, assuredly to the dismay of the TA who no doubt wanted to leave for the summer, I was the only other person in the gym. I’m not sure what came over me, but I was determined to identify the trick in every problem. I must have done OK, because I got an A. Apologies for my humble brag, but I was proud of that one.

Alexis Zhu SB '08

Head of Partnerships

  • Scratch
Co-Chair

Team :

Why did you decide to volunteer with the MITCNC?

The MITCNC comprises of such talented, intelligent, and entrepreneurial people. Learning and interacting with members of the MITCNC remind me how lucky I am to be an alumna and to live in the innovation capital of the world.

Tell us a bit about your role with the MITCNC. What are your responsibilities in this position?

Adding value to the MITCNC membership, through partnerships with Bay Area companies and firms.

What exciting things can we expect to see from your area of focus in the coming months? (e.g., social events, speakers, etc.)

Get your company’s products exposed to MITCNC’s 15,000 members through our newsletter! Send us a quick note at partnerships@mitcnc.org.

Describe one of your most memorable MIT moments.

Being on RingComm and unveiling our final brass rat design.

Jameel Khalfan SB '06

Business Development

  • Pocket Gems
Director

Team :

Business Development Leader with experience in technology, entertainment, and gaming. Early Stage Angel Investor. Cryptocurrency Enthusiast

Why did you decide to volunteer with the MITCNC?

The MIT community in the Bay Area is very large and I wanted to help alums with similar interests to connect with each other. I have greatly benefited from the MIT network throughout my career and I want to make sure that others in the area have the same opportunity.

Tell us a bit about your role with the MITCNC. What are your responsibilities in this position?

I am a Board Director of the club and am also leading the SF Seed Investor Group. As a board member, I help with strategy and direction of the club. As a volunteer, I help organize events, with the first one coming up soon!

What exciting things can we expect to see from your area of focus in the coming months? (e.g., social events, speakers, etc.)

Our first event will feature a couple speakers and provide an opportunity for investors in San Francisco to meet each other and hopefully collaborate on investments. In the future we hope to partner with other tracks at the club to connect investors to startups looking for funding.

Describe one of your most memorable MIT moments.

Hiding from Campus Police during an Orange Tour.

John Whaley SM '99, MEng '99

Founder & CEO 

  • Unify ID
Co-Chair

Team :

Other Affiliations : PhD - Stanford

Why did you decide to volunteer with the MITCNC?

I’ve been attending events for the last few years and have got a lot out of it, both personally and professionally. I saw an opportunity to help to better leverage data and technology to better connect members with each other and with activities and opportunities that are most relevant to them. Here in Northern California we have the largest MIT community outside of Cambridge, and we have a huge potential to have a big impact.

Tell us a bit about your role with the MITCNC. What are your responsibilities in this position?

We want to use data and technology to increase the strength of our tribe and our community. We work behind the scenes on programs, events, and communications to make them more valuable and relevant to Northern California alumni.

What exciting things can we expect to see from your area of focus in the coming months? (e.g., social events, speakers, etc.)

Improvements on our online presence (website, email correspondence, social networks), improved payment/checkout process, more streamlined event handling and followup, and better targeting of relevant opportunities to our members.

Describe one of your most memorable MIT moments.

Going back to MIT 7 years after graduation and interviewing for a faculty position with some of the Professors who taught my intro classes (6.001, 6.002, 6.004). During one interview, one Professor took a dusty binder off the shelf and looked up my grade in his class.

Arun Saigal SB '13

Founder & CEO 

  • Thunkable
Co-Chair

Team :

Other Affiliations : MEng '13

Wondering what the Affinity Circles track does? We’re responsible for events that bring together alumni around a common theme – profession, graduating class, life stage, etc. Our inaugural event – a happy hour for ’96-’06 grads – was a huge success, and there’s plenty more to come! One idea with a ton of enthusiasm is an event series for MIT singles, which we’re calling TIMber. If you’re an MIT alum who’s single and interested in these events…

Why did you decide to volunteer with the MITCNC?

MIT and the people affiliated with it have played an incredible role in shaping my life. I discovered my passions and built the foundation for my company (Thunkable) at MIT. I met my cofounder at MIT, and many of my investors came from MIT connections. Even the symphony I now conduct (the San Francisco Civic Symphony) was introduced to me through MIT friends. Given all of this, I felt that volunteering for the MITCNC, especially around affinity circles, would be one of the best ways to encourage more MIT connections to be formed and be a way to give back to a community that has given me so much.

Tell us a bit about your role with the MITCNC. What are your responsibilities in this position?

With affinity circles, our goal is to put on focused, repeated events around specific professional or life pursuits. We want MIT alums in the SF Bay Area to build connections with other alums who share common interests and traits. Along with my co-lead Karen, our responsibility is to make these events happen and see what works for local MIT alums and the club.

What exciting things can we expect to see from your area of focus in the coming months? (e.g., social events, speakers, etc.)

We have events in the work for groups of graduating years, (the first one we did a couple of weeks ago was a ’96 – ’06 grad year happy hour). We’re also working on a few professional series – for PMs, Eng Managers, founders, and lawyers – for both networking and mentoring. Get in touch to learn more! affinitycircles@mitcnc.org

Describe one of your most memorable MIT moments.

Through the MIT Ohms, the a cappella group I started at MIT, I sang the National anthem at a Boston Celtics vs Cleveland Cavaliers game in 2013.

Vivek Mohta SB '99

Managing Director

  • Manifold
Co-Chair

Team :

Other Affiliations : MS, PhD - Harvard

Why did you decide to volunteer with the MITCNC?

I am committed to strengthening the MIT community since it’s been such valuable part of my life. Many of my close friends are MIT alums. I also co-founded a company, Manifold.ai, with MIT alums which now includes 10 team members and advisors who are MIT alums. Over the past 2 years, I have been increasingly involved in the Tech Track working closely with Shuja to put on the club’s annual MIT AI conference and the monthly event series.

Tell us a bit about your role with the MITCNC. What are your responsibilities in this position?

As Co-Chairs of the Tech Track, we are responsible for defining the next year’s activities and bringing together the volunteers, sponsors, venues, and attendees that make the magic happen.

What exciting things can we expect to see from your area of focus in the coming months? (e.g., social events, speakers, etc.)

We will continue the monthly event series of more intimate events around focused topics. This year, we plan to highlight more technology creators, in addition to executives, entrepreneurs, and investors as in the past. We also plan to redesign the annual conference format to drive more meaningful connections within the community, in lieu of the traditional broadcast format.

Describe one of your most memorable MIT moments.

A memorable MIT moment that happened several times over — from day one to senior year — was walking into the first day of class and realizing that the author of the standard textbook for the subject was also the professor for the class.

Karen Robinson SB '03 '04, MEng '03

Managing Partner

  • Tangible Product Strategy
Co-Chair

Team :

Other Affiliations : MBA Harvard

Karen is team leader with experience in new product development and in launching commercial hardware products. Her work centers around the theme that the user experience comes first and techy aspects of the product should be so well-integrated into the product that they disappear.

Karen has been Product Manager for handheld controllers for Google Daydream, led a stealth hardware program in Google ATAP, and worked with Ivan Poupyrev to run Product and Operations on Project Jacquard and Project Soli, technology development for new input technologies. The collaboration Karen set up between Google and Levi’s under Project Jacquard resulted in the “Levi’s Commuter x Jacquard by Google” jacket currently for sale at select Levi’s stores.

In her career before working with Google Karen has done corporate strategy work around advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), commonly seen as precursor technology to self-driving cars. She has worked in technical development of touchscreens (industrial substrate glass at Corning; thin-film deposition systems at Advanced Energy), robotic systems (Bluefin Robotics) and backup power supplies (APC).

Karen’s technical areas of expertise are batteries (lead-acid and lithium-ion) and power systems. She holds degrees in mathematics and EECS from MIT and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Why did you decide to volunteer with the MITCNC?

I’ve enjoyed MIT alum events everywhere I’ve lived since graduating – from opportunities to see great technical work, share nerdy interests, or relax into healthy personal balance. This year I want to give back to our community, working with the MITCNC on keeping the MIT community strong and well-connected in the SF bay area.

Tell us a bit about your role with the MITCNC. What are your responsibilities in this position?

Affinity circles – focused, repeated events around specific professional or life pursuits, to build on the successes of the club’s technical talks and social events. Working with my co-lead Arun, our responsibility is to make them happen and see what works for local MIT alums and the club.

What exciting things can we expect to see from your area of focus in the coming months? (e.g., social events, speakers, etc.)

We have events in the work for groups of graduating years, starting with an ’06 – ’96 grad year happy hour. We’re also working on a few professional series – for PMs, Eng Managers, founders, and lawyers – for both networking and mentoring. Get in touch to learn more! affinitycircles@mitcnc.org

Describe one of your most memorable MIT moments.

It’s gotta be watching the 4th of July fireworks from the wide-open Charles River – with half a dozen people on a sofa we’d mounted on foam pontoons for floatation, and with paddles to help us navigate around party boats. Couchamaran, sofa of the seas.

Phatty Arbuckle SM '15

VP of Product & Operations

  • Foxtrot Systems
Co-Chair

Team : ,

Want to meet other MIT alum in the area? Phatty is your gal! As co-chair for the Social Track, Phatty will be on the hunt for fun activities that fit everyone’s tastes. From happy hours and wine tours to maker festivals and tarantula walks, read on to see what else Phatty has in store for MITCNC.

Why did you decide to volunteer with the MITCNC?

Wow! So many reasons! How could I not? I helped with Spotlight a few years back and loved it! So many fantastic people with abundant energy and MIT spirit. This year I’ve really been looking for volunteer opportunities to both challenge myself and enable others. I was thrilled when Shuja approached me to see if I was interested.

Tell us a bit about your role with the MITCNC. What are your responsibilities in this position?

Great question! I was initially approached to take on the newly created Delta V co-leadership which basically means I’d have the opportunity to work with all the teams to help them accomplish their goals. I hope I’ll get to see what everyone is working on, work closely with a lot of different people, and take on various types of tasks/challenges. In addition to Delta V, there was an open spot on the Social Track, so I jumped on that opportunity as well. Needless to say, I’m excited to plan engaging, diverse, cultural and fun events for the club to spur even more connections & community interaction.

What exciting things can we expect to see from your area of focus in the coming months? (e.g., social events, speakers, etc.)

I’m sincerely enthusiastic about the events we’re going to plan this year! I was handed a phenomenal list of ideas from a previous leader to include auto shows, wine tours, Cirque du Soleil, Space Center tours, musicals, pro-sport games, dinners, happy hours & mixers to name a few. Our break out session at the annual meeting added even more great ideas like opera, symphony, maker festivals, cooking clubs, tarantula walks, and the list goes on & on. I’ll get to throw a little of my own flavor of events on top! We’re going to be busy appreciating the culture and events the Bay Area has to offer with the great camaraderie of our MIT community.

Describe one of your most memorable MIT moments.

Well…there’s the filming of me dancing Gangnam Style down the hallway for a class video during IAP, but its humor doesn’t compare to the uplifting inspiration of Graduation! A culmination of all those awe inspiring, intense, scrupulous moments. Luckily, it was a beautiful sunny day to parade into Killian Court. But more than the sunshine, I could feel the heart-warming & exciting energy of all my classmates surrounding me. I couldn’t contain my inner joy as I listened to Megan Smith profess her learnings & acumen as the CTO of the USA. As a female Software Engineer with a newly minted SM in Engineering & Management, it’s hard to find something more inspirational than the words of wisdom from a woman leading our country’s technological endeavors!

Hesham Younis SM '97, PhD '02

President

  • Health Outcomes
Co-Chair

Team :

Other Affiliations : BS - American University Cairo

Why did you decide to volunteer with the MITCNC?

I believe in the mission of the club. I think it is important for MIT alums to feel a sense of community, and I felt that I can really play a bigger role in bringing together our 13,000 alums in the Bay area. I was also very attracted to the fact that we give back to MIT and help under-resourced students from any background attend MIT – everyone should have the same chance to have the amazing MIT experience that I did, not matter their background!

Tell us a bit about your role with the MITCNC. What are your responsibilities in this position?

I am responsible for setting the agenda and events for the club’s track in healthcare and life sciences. I am also responsible for recruiting volunteers to make it happen! The more people we have driving towards the common goal of educating our alums on the latest trends in healthcare and life sciences, the more successful the track will be.

What exciting things can we expect to see from your area of focus in the coming months? (e.g., social events, speakers, etc.)

I am very excited about how digital is entering healthcare, in a massive way. More and more chronic disease areas are using digital interventions to manage conditions such as diabetes, heart failure, asthma, behavioral health, and others. Even primary care is going digital. Start-ups, enterprises, providers, insurers, and big pharma are all realizing this and have some skin in the game. AI plays a big role in these treatments, but it is not the only factor. How do we set up a digital health program, and how do we drive (and more importantly) maintain patient engagement are going to be common themes for this next year.

Describe one of your most memorable MIT moments.

I distinctly recall running the Harvard bridge – Longfellow bridge loop – in full, with Prof. Ain Sonin, who was head of the mechanical engineering department at that time (may he rest in peace). He caught me in the changing room getting ready to hit the weights and asked me if I wanted to go for a run with him. I, of course, said yes because I was too ashamed to admit that I was a lousy runner (!)… Well, I actually completed it- that one and only time, without even stopping once! A huge moment of pride for me, but I was honestly struggling to keep up with him – and he was at least 30 years older than me!

Ernest Aguayo SB '97

Co-Chair

Team :

Other Affiliations : MEd - Harvard

Why did you decide to volunteer with the MITCNC?

I wanted to give back to the organization behind so many events I have enjoyed over the past 20 years. I love meeting fellow alums, and I especially want to help create more opportunities for Bay Area families to discover and learn about science and engineering together.

Tell us a bit about your role with the MITCNC. What are your responsibilities in this position?

Our team will be figuring out how to tap into the curious mindset and technical experiences unique to the Bay Area to plan and execute events that get kids and their parents really excited about STEAM-related discovery.

What exciting things can we expect to see from your area of focus in the coming months? (e.g., social events, speakers, etc.)

At our core as MIT alums, we are all geeks. On top of that, we geeky alums in the area are living in one of the most innovative hotbeds of technology and engineering in the world. What better place to engage families with events that re-kindle grown-ups’ love of STEAM that also inspire the next generation of creative problem solvers, getting them excited about pursuing and excelling at the high-tech careers of the future.

Describe one of your most memorable MIT moments.

One of my favorite memories was the Course 16 end-of-year tradition of sophomores traveling to a small airfield outside of Boston to go up in planes and helicopters operated by their professors. I will never forget the Zero-G parabolas, induced stalls, and other stomach-churning stunts we got to experience, giving (very!) real-life context to the equations we learned in the classroom.

Zeenat Patrawala SM '10

Partner Development

  • Google Brain
  • zPredicta - Advisor
Co-Chair

Team :

Other Affiliations : BS - Cornell, MBA - Melbourne, MS - Harvard

Why did you decide to volunteer with the MITCNC?

MITCNC has been a big part of my life here in San Francisco. The network and people have been incredible throughout my own job search when I first arrived in 2011, and I have continued to participate as both a volunteer and attendee of many of the great programs.

Tell us a bit about your role with the MITCNC. What are your responsibilities in this position?

Organizing exciting programs for MIT alumni in life science/healthcare space including tours/speaker series/etc

What exciting things can we expect to see from your area of focus in the coming months? (e.g., social events, speakers, etc.)

Speakers pushing the paradigm in healthcare through massive re-haul of existing business practices. (Using technology/AI/DeepLearning/Machine Learning etc)

Describe one of your most memorable MIT moments.

Moderating the AI Panel at the 2018 MIT AI conference! Shuja [current MITCNC President] was a big influence in getting me onstage.

Clinton Blackburn SB '09

Software Engineer

  • Stripe
Co-Chair

Team :

In his role with MITCNC, Clinton works hard to ensure that our membership offerings meet the needs of our diverse member community. This includes analyzing data to determine the right mix of event locations, dates, and event types. He’s committed to bringing events to all corners of Northern California, so keep an eye out for upcoming events near you!

Why did you decide to volunteer with the MITCNC?

I’ve volunteered continuously since my senior year at MIT. Volunteering with MITCNC just felt natural.

Tell us a bit about your role with the MITCNC. What are your responsibilities in this position?

My focus is on better understanding how we can meet our members’ needs to ensure they are getting the most from their membership and our community as a whole.

What exciting things can we expect to see from your area of focus in the coming months? (e.g., social events, speakers, etc.)

Behind the scenes we are analyzing data to help other volunteers understand when, where, and what type of activities to organize. For example, we are organizing events to welcome new alums to the area and coordinating these events at multiple locations in the Bay Area, especially those where we have a higher concentration of alumni. On the other hand, we are also making sure that we properly spread out events to ensure we engage with those in less-concentrated areas. As an Oakland resident, I can confirm I’m not a fan of 45-minute drives to South Bay!

Describe one of your most memorable MIT moments.

Ironically, one my favorite experiences as an MIT student happened thousands of miles away. I visited Ghana with D-Lab in 2009. We visited a university and spent time in villages getting to know folks and better understand their needs. We also did technical demonstrations of devices the people could use to aid with farming, household lighting, and education. This was the first time I recognized that engineering is a superpower that I can use to drastically improve people’s lives. This experience gave me a new outlook on things, and truly changed my life for the better. D-Lab is at the top of my giving list every year because of it!

Shalini Agarwal SB '01, MEng '02

EIR

  • Google
Co-Chair

Team :

Other Affiliations : MBA - Harvard

Why did you decide to volunteer with the MITCNC?

MIT has always had a special place in my heart, and has been a great source of inspiration and community. Every time I meet a fellow MIT alum (old friend or new), or hear about interesting things happening at MIT or with MIT alumni, I’m inspired. I’ve always wanted to give back and get more involved but never knew how. Volunteering with MITCNC is the perfect blend of building and fostering the MIT community, and getting to hang out with fellow MIT alumni.

Tell us a bit about your role with the MITCNC. What are your responsibilities in this position?

As the Tech Track Co-Chair I’m officially responsible for organizing events around interesting tech topics and interesting trends (can AI solve everything? maybe, but prob not..), as well as the annual conference (for which we have some fresh ideas!). Unofficially, I really want to build connections between alums in the bay area (and maybe with MIT researchers/professors) around common tech interests. Let me know if you have any ideas you’d like to see become a reality!

What exciting things can we expect to see from your area of focus in the coming months? (e.g., social events, speakers, etc.)

We are working on organizing events with an intriguing question/perspective on a relevant tech topic, events that will encourage participants to think differently and engage. It would also be great to get more folks to talk about emerging research that could have large impact in the tech world over the next several years. We are still looking for volunteers to help!

Describe one of your most memorable MIT moments.

Spending the month of IAP working on a robot to collect ping pong balls for 6.270, Autonomous Robot Design Competition – countless hours, sleepless nights, enforcing a >=1 shower a day rule for my teammates, and frustrating but fun work. Only to make a fatal mistake of not putting our robot over the starting light on the day of the competition and watching it sit there for a painful 60 seconds not doing anything. Disappointing, of course, yet I still look upon it fondly 🙂

Barry Newman

Catapult Advsiors

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