Race, Social Justice and Culture

Meet with Entrepreneurs-in-Residence

Want to speak to an experienced entrepreneur, investor, or corporate executive about how to get your business idea off the ground? Email stacey.sikes[at]hofstra.edu in advance to make an appointment or just stop by the ideaHUb (246 Axinn Library).

Kevin Hesselbirg

Kevin Hesselbirg

After more than 25 years leading growth oriented companies in a senior executive capacity, Kevin Hesselbirg currently serves as board member and advisor to multiple private entities ranging from start-ups to firms with more than $100M in annual revenues. Kevin, a three-time Chief Executive Officer (CEO), was first named CEO of OpenLink Financial after previously serving as OpenLink’s Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operations Officer. OpenLink Financial is a leading global software developer of financial and energy, trading and risk management solutions with more than $300M in revenue, 1200 employees, and offices in 9 countries. Thereafter, he became CEO of Primatics Financial, a leading SaaS provider of finance and risk solutions for the banking sector. Kevin was more recently the CEO of The Gemini Companies, a leading fund administrator serving more than 600 mutual, private, and hedge funds. As CEO, he led multiple transactions with various private equity firms eclipsing more than $2B in capital activity. Kevin began his career with the Private Owned and Emerging business group at Ernst & Young. Hesselbirg received a B.S. from Fordham University.

Chris Lopinto

Chris Lopinto

Chris Lopinto is a serial entrepreneur, mentor and angel investor. Since founding ExpertFlyer in 2004, he has been a pioneer in providing airline data transparency to consumers. Prior to ExpertFlyer, Chris founded, built, and then sold an IT consulting company in Long Island New York. Prior, he served as the Director of IT at ProductivityNet, a network management software startup. Chris is a co-founder of Started on LI, a Long Island based entrepreneur mentorship group, and has mentored various Startup Weekend events. He is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Aaron Foss

Aaron Foss

Aaron Foss is an accomplished serial entrepreneur with 5 companies under his belt. In 2011, he was a part of Techstars (NYC) with SideTour, a marketplace for unique experiences, which was acquired by Groupon in 2013. His current startup, Nomorobo, has stopped over 1 billion unwanted and illegal robocalls from reaching consumers since launching in 2013. Nomorobo was chosen as the winner of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Robocall Challenge and named “Best New Product” by CableLabs. Aaron has been featured in the New York Times, Wired, CNN, CNBC, and Fox News. He lives in Port Jefferson, NY.

Peter Kestenbaum

Peter Kestenbaum

Since exiting the workforce in 2006, Peter has worked with dozens of startups in the New York area, held similar Entrepreneur-in-Residence positions or adjunct roles at several universities including Montclair, Rutgers, and NJIT. He is Managing Partner of 1099Partners, a firm that consists of ex-senior executives that service the emerging market space. He currently advises, coaches or is an investor in eight local firms. Kestenbaum was an early employee (1983-1998) of Sun Microsystems and over 15 years held a variety of positions culminating as Field Marketing Director for North America. His Silicon Valley pedigree includes working directly for or with people such as Eric Schmidt (currently Chairman at Google) and Scott McNealy, founder of Sun Microsystems. During the “.COM” era he served as the Chief Marketing Officer for Agency.COM in New York as it transitioned from a startup and early silicon alley pioneer through its IPO. He also has held an advisor role to senior staff at IBM.

Nicola Hawkinson

Nicola Hawkinson

Nicola Hawkinson is the founder of SpineSearch, a nationwide recruitment and continuing educational company. Nicola received her Bachelor's of Science in Nursing from the University of Delaware, Master's Degree (Nurse Practitioner Program) from New York University and Doctorate of Nursing Practice at Case Western Reserve University. Her career in nursing has spanned from the operating room, neurosurgical oncology, to orthopedic spine. Simultaneously, Nicola remains an adjunct clinical professor at NYU's College of Nursing. Nicola has presented and published extensively in the field of Spine, first as a clinician, and now she continues to utilize this academic platform to speak and write extensively regarding recruitment, retention, and staffing needs in pain management, spine, orthopedic, neurosurgical practices, ambulatory surgery centers and a variety of other companies that service the spine market.

Barbara Roberts

Barbara Roberts

Barbara B. Roberts is Entrepreneur in Residence at both Columbia Business School and Hofstra University. She is also former NY Chair of Tiger 21 and a speaker and writer about all stages of entrepreneurship, family businesses and the economic progress of women. An economist by training, previously Ms. Roberts held senior positions on Wall Street and was the first woman to serve on Dean Witter’s board of directors. Ms. Roberts also served as president and CEO at the stock photography company, FPG International, now part of Getty Images and at the museum audio tour company, Acoustiguide. Ms. Roberts has served as chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Small Business and Agricultural Advisory Committee and as a member of the Suffolk County NY Planning Commission. As Entrepreneur in Residence she has helped to launch hundreds of start ups, is an active angel investor and serves on the boards of several private companies. Ms. Roberts is the author of three whitepapers about entrepreneurs: Life after an Exit, The Owner’s Journey and Women’s Entrepreneurial Journeys. She is certified as a master coach by the Hudson Institute of Santa Barbara and trained in facilitation and mediation. Ms. Roberts has an Economics and Philosophy degree from Goucher College.

James Droskoski

James Droskoski

James is an experienced enterprise SaaS entrepreneur and sales executive with a history of bringing innovative technologies and services to market.  He has been involved with software start-ups for over 15 years.  Most recently, James was responsible for helping build and execute the sales and customer acquisition strategy at WorkMarket.  While there for 5+ years, he established sales best practices and procured some of the company’s largest and most notable customer accounts.  Earlier in his career, James was one of the early team members of AGENCY.COM in the late 90s which became one of the largest interactive marketing agencies in the world, went public and was then acquired by Omnicom.  James has had a consistent track record of sales leadership and product development while developing and positioning disruptive, high value technology solutions for customers.