In this Page:
Dariush Zahedi // Founder and Director
Founder and DirectorDariush Zahedi is Director of the BIT-AMENA Center for Building Innovation Economies the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. Since 2001, he has taught a diverse array of courses for the Departments of Political Science, Political Economy, and Peace and Conflict Studies as well as the Boalt Hall School of Law at Berkeley. Zahedi has also taught for the College of Letters and Science’s Discovery Courses Program. Teaching in the program is by invitation only, with invitations issued solely to instructors whose teaching record is stellar. He has published three books on the political economy of the Middle East, and his articles have appeared in such publications as the New York Times, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Harvard Middle Eastern and Islamic Review, and Middle East Policy, among others. He is the co-editor of four book series for Palgrave Macmillan, including Institution Building in West Asia and North Africa, the Political Economy of Islam, Natural Resources Management in West Asia and North Africa, and Financial Institutions, Reforms, and Policies in West Asia and North Africa. His knowledge of the political economy and business milieu of the Middle East and North Africa, however, is not purely academic. He has worked for a Middle Eastern investment bank and Iran’s largest private mining corporation. In his capacity as an analyst for the investment bank, he traveled widely throughout the region, and became intimately familiar with various sectors of the region’s economies as well as impediments to inclusive growth and democratization. Zahedi has also worked as an academic in Turkey.
AMENA Center Staff
Kayvon Deldar, Program Manager
Program Manager, AMENA CenterKayvon Deldar is a recent graduate of the University of California-Berkeley, where he graduated with highest distinction (summa cum laude) at the age of 19 with a B.S. in Environmental Economics and Policy. Kayvon began his involvement with the AMENA Center at the beginning of 2013, becoming the Center’s first intern. Currently, he manages the AMENA Center intern team and oversees all of the Center’s initiatives. He is a Ruhr Fellow and has completed several internships in the areas of energy engineering, finance, and statistical analysis. He is the current head coach of the UC Berkeley Men’s Club Soccer Team, an entrepreneurship teacher at MEET (Middle Eastern Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow), and a chess instructor at the Berkeley Chess School. Kayvon is passionate about the subjects of renewable energy, entrepreneurship, investing, and law.
AMENA Center Faculty
Gregory La Blanc, Lecturer in Law, Economics and Business, UC-Berkeley
Gregory La Blanc
Lecturer in Law, Economics and Business, UC-BerkeleyChair of the Berkeley-Haas Professional Faculty and Lecturer at the Haas School, Berkeley Law School, and the Department of Economics at Berkeley. The recipient of numerous teaching awards, he teaches classes in executive leadership, innovation, finance, organizations, law, and big data. He is a graduate of the Wharton School, and has consulted in the areas of innovation, decision making, risk management, and strategy around the world and has taught in Europe, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. His research is in the development of human capital in emerging economies and industries.
Adam Sterling, Executive Director, Berkeley Center for Law, Business and the Economy
Executive Director, Berkeley Center for Law, Business and the EconomyExecutive director of the Berkeley Center for Law, Business and the Economy (BCLBE) at Berkeley Law. Previously he was a startup attorney at Gunderson Dettmer and the co-founder and director of the Sudan Divestment Task Force and Conflict Risk Network (CRN). Adam currently serves as a non-resident senior fellow for the Enough Project at the Center for America Progress Adam’s writings and work have appeared extensively in the press; including contributions to The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Christian Science Monitor, and National Public Radio. He has appeared on a number of broadcast news programs, including CNN’s Situation Room and CNBC’s Street Signs.
David Charron, Lecturer in Entrepreneurship, UC Berkeley
Lecturer in Entrepreneurship, UC BerkeleyMember of the professional faculty at UC Berkeley, entrepreneur and consultant. He teaches courses in innovation and entrepreneurship including Business Model Innovation and Entrepreneurial Strategy and the core Entrepreneurship class for MBAs, Product Market Fit in Health and Applied Open Innovation for undergraduate students, Venture Capital Investing for Executives, and NSF I-Corps / LLP programs for scientists and corporations. Mr. Charron has held leadership positions at Berkeley, run incubators, and worked in the field of technology commercialization and entrepreneurship for over 25 years at corporations such as Xerox PARC, academic institutions including MIT, Stanford, UC Berkeley and UCSF, and the national labs such as LBNL, LLNL and Sandia.
John Danner, Senior Fellow, Berkeley-Haas Entrepreneurship Program
Senior Fellow, Berkeley-Haas Entrepreneurship ProgramAn experienced management consultant and entrepreneur, John Danner has advised senior executives of multi-billion-dollar international enterprises on strategy, value management and business growth, as well as management teams of emerging ventures on competitive positioning, marketing and product strategy. His clients include leading companies in healthcare, energy, entertainment, food products, telecommunications and information and startups in energy management, e-commerce and supply chain integration. He has designed and successfully launched several new business initiatives for client organizations over the past twenty-five years. Mr. Danner is a senior moderator for The Aspen Institute, and conducts seminars on leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship around the world.
Naeem Zafar, Lecturer in Engineering and Entrepreneurship, UC Berkeley
Lecturer in Engineering and Entrepreneurship, UC BerkeleySerial entrepreneur, is a member of the faculty of the School of Engineering at the University of California Berkeley, Naeem teaches Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the MBA program. Naeem is the founder of Startup-Advisor.com and focuses on educating and advising entrepreneurs on all aspects of starting and running a company. Naeem’s entrepreneurial experience includes working directly with six startups, and he has extensive experience in mentoring and coaching founders and CEOs.
Peter Wilton, Senior Lecturer in Marketing, UC Berkeley
Senior Lecturer in Marketing, UC BerkeleyPhD., and at the Haas School of Business since 1992. Professor Wilton is a leading thinker, teacher, and advisor in the area of organizational innovation. Based out of Australia and the San Francisco area, Prof. Wilton has helped dozens of organizations around the world to set and execute on their “stretch goals,” achieving transformations previously thought impossible. His work ties together strategy, marketing, and organizational culture.
Sara Beckman, Faculty Fellow and Teaching Professor, UC Berkeley
Faculty Fellow and Teaching Professor, UC BerkeleySara is Earl F. Cheit Faculty Fellow at the Haas School of Business where she designs and delivers courses on design, innovation and product management and a Teaching Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department in the College of Engineering. Her 25 years of experience teaching design and innovation-related topics at the Haas School of Business culminated in creating a course, Problem Finding, Problem Solving, which is now offered to all business students at Haas. For the past two years, she has served as the Chief Learning Officer of the recently founded Jacobs Institute of Design Innovation within University of California, Berkeleyâ€™s College of Engineering. Sara directs the Product Management Program for the Berkeley’s Center for Executive Education, serving 350 product managers from around the world each year. Before joining Berkeley-Haas, Sara worked in the Operations Management Services group at Booz, Allen & Hamilton and ran the Change Management Team at Hewlett-Packard. Sara received her BS, MS and PhD degrees from Stanford University in Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management.
Elizabeth Kovats, Director, Berkeley Roundtable on Applied Innovation and Design, UC Berkeley
Director, Berkeley Roundtable on Applied Innovation and Design, UC BerkeleyElizabeth currently serves as Director of the Berkeley Roundtable on Applied Innovation and Design (BRAID). In this role she cultivates a learning community comprised of Silicon Valley executives and UC Berkeley faculty, teaching design-related workshops to a wide-range of industry partners. She has also served as a guest speaker at Stanford University’s d.school. Elizabeth’s particular focus is on adapting design principles for personal transformation, and the area of design and ethics. Previously, Elizabeth served as Associate Director of the International Business Development MBA course at Berkeley-Haas. She was responsible for significant expansion within the program, and also served as a faculty mentor to MBA teams working on high-technology consulting projects. Additionally, she co-led Seminar in Business courses to Turkey, Chile, Argentina and South Africa.
Mark Coopersmith, Fellow and Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship, UC Berkeley
Fellow and Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship, UC BerkeleyAn educator and entrepreneur, Mark has spent his career building high growth companies and helping shape the next generation of business leaders. At Haas Mark teaches the sought-after Workshop for Startups course from which a broad range of innovative new ventures are regularly launched. Mark also co-teaches the pioneering course “The Other ‘F’ Word” about how insights developed from failure can drive innovation, growth and long-term success. Mark is also an accomplished executive and an advisor to businesses ranging from VC-backed ventures through global corporations such as Intel and DirecTV. Previously Mark led the $350mm Global Technology Brands group at Newell Rubbermaid, founded and built a $150mm consumer products and online commerce division for Sony, and was founding CEO of online payments venture WebOrder. Mark has been quoted in the The Economist, the New York Times and USA Today, and has appeared in media including Fox News, CNN, The Huffington Post and NPR. Mark also mentors aspiring entrepreneurs and teams including those working at the UC Berkeley SkyDeck accelerator. Mark is an alumnus of UC Berkeley, where he earned his BA and MBA degrees.
Raymond Yun Zhao,Chief Representative and Recruiter for Greater China Region
An experienced business consultant and entrepreneur, Raymond Zhao has worked and lived in more than 6 countries across 3 continents in his 20 plus years of professional career.Mr. Zhao is a key regional leader and consultant in Strategic Marketing, Sales and Business Development for various industrial verticals including Clean Renewable Power, Advanced Energy Storage and Electric Transportation (HEV, PEV, and off-highway vehicles). Mr. Zhao has held executive positions such as Group Vice President and Executive General Manager for various large Chinese enterprises before he began his own practice. He has advised and consulted for private and public Chinese enterprises, as well as multinational conglometers like General Electric. His engagements crossed from technology adaptation to mergers and acquisitions (M&A).
Raymond Yun Zhao
Chief Representative and Recruiter for Greater China Region
An educator and entrepreneur, Mark has spent his career building high growth companies and helping shape the next generation of business leaders. At Haas Mark teaches the sought-after Workshop for Startups course from which a broad range of innovative new ventures are regularly launched. Mark also co-teaches the pioneering course “The Other ‘F’ Word” about how insights developed from failure can drive innovation, growth and long-term success. Mark is also an accomplished executive and an advisor to businesses ranging from VC-backed ventures through global corporations such as Intel and DirecTV. Previously Mark led the $350mm Global Technology Brands group at Newell Rubbermaid, founded and built a $150mm consumer products and online commerce division for Sony, and was founding CEO of online payments venture WebOrder. Mark has been quoted in the The Economist, the New York Times and USA Today, and has appeared in media including Fox News, CNN, The Huffington Post and NPR. Mark also mentors aspiring entrepreneurs and teams including those working at the UC Berkeley SkyDeck accelerator. Mark is an alumnus of UC Berkeley, where he earned his BA and MBA degrees.