Raffi Minasian / Chairman of the Board
Raffi is a designer, educator, innovation specialist, and start-up mentor. At age eight, Raffi took up the violin, and by age seventeen had recorded with several bands and orchestras including the bluegrass group, Hayfever.He holds degrees in Product Development and Transportation Design. His impressive twenty-five year career includes projects with Boeing aircraft, Mattel toys, car designs for Toyota, Subaru, Moal Coachbuilders and award winning scale model cars. A pioneer professor in the California College of the Arts DMBA program Raffi teaches industrial design and innovation and is a noted speaker at museums and corporate events on the subject of futurism, new ventures, and creative process. Raffi devotes much of his professional energy to educational programs for young people interested in design professions, including his Board of Directors position with the Collectors Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving youth in the automotive community through scholarships, grants, and museum support.
Asher is a founder at venture-backed Silicon Valley companies including Redback Networks, Tollbridge Technologies, and Peakstream, where he has held key positions in engineering, marketing, technology, and general management. He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in philosophy from MIT. He serves on SFMOMA’s Architecture and Design accessions committee and the Palo Alto Utilities Advisory Commission. He and his wife collect American ceramics and furniture.
Marina is a futurist and social scientist who serves as executive director to the Institute for the Future (IFTF). Marina’s current research focuses on how social production is changing the face of major industries. She has blogged and written for BoingBoing.net, FastCompany, Harvard Business Review, and major media outlets. Marina has also keynoted such international events as the World Economic Forum, The Next Web Conference, NEXT Berlin, the World Business Forum, the National Association of Broadcasters annual convention, and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges annual conference. She holds a BA in psychology and a master’s of public policy from UC Berkeley.
On top of being critical to the strategic development of Zoo Labs, Brandt is also an accomplished guitarist and avid mandolin player. His deep love of American roots music and jump blues motivates organic, reactive and uplifting solutions that artists connect with. Brandt is also an amateur grilling champion, with a small but growing following around his homegrown cuisine.
Suzanne Walsh is a Deputy Director on the Postsecondary Success Team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where she leads the Foundation’s institutional transformation strategy. Before joining Gates, Suzanne worked at two other foundations: Lumina Foundation in Indianapolis where she managed the Making Opportunity Affordable initiative, which was aimed at increasing college productivity by bringing about fundamental change in the way higher education does business; and, The Heinz Endowments in Pittsburgh where her diverse portfolio included community colleges, universities, workforce development, tech commercialization and transfer, city/county consolidation, immigration and regional economic development. She got her start in community college work as the Coordinator of Special Projects at Cuyahoga Community College. And she began her professional career as an attorney at Oklahoma Indian Legal Services. Suzanne has her juris doctorate and masters in social work from Case Western Reserve University, a bachelor’s of science from Cornell University, and an associate’s degree in applied science from Hudson Valley Community College. She is a member of a number of international, national and local organizations: the World Economic Forum’s Future of the University group, Carnegie Mellon University’s Global Learning Council, Seattle CityClub board and the advisory boards for Roadtrip Nation, as well as education start-up Uncollege. She is also a proud judge for Dance Your PhD.