Skip to main content

Search committee formed to find new executive director of The Garage

The individual chosen will succeed Founding Executive Director Melissa Kaufman
The Garage
The Garage is Northwestern’s startup hub for student entrepreneurs.

Northwestern University announced today, April 29, the formation of a search committee to identify the next executive director of The Garage, a startup hub for student entrepreneurs.

The individual chosen will succeed Founding Executive Director Melissa Kaufman, who will leave the University on May 15 after more than six years in the role. Associate Director Mike Raab will serve as interim director until a permanent executive director is appointed.

Provost Kathleen Hagerty will charge the search committee, which includes faculty, students, staff and alumni, to undertake the search to identify a slate of candidates. Associate Provost for Strategy and Policy Roma Khanna will serve as chair. The committee will engage an outside firm to support the search.

Committee members 

  • Christina Allen Nisell, MBA candidate, Kellogg School of Management, SESP ’17
  • Esther Barron, clinical professor of law and director of the Donald Pritzker Entrepreneurship Law Center
  • Hayes Ferguson, director of the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation and clinical associate professor, McCormick School of Engineering
  • Adala Makhulo, undergraduate student, Class of 2023, School of Communication
  • Michael Mazzeo, professor of strategy, Kellogg School of Management
  • Andrea Minogue, senior director of finance and administration, Innovation and New Ventures Office (INVO)
  • Haoqi Zhang,  associate professor of computer science and Segal Design Institute and director of the Design, Technology, and Research Program
  • Alicia Loffler (Ex-officio), associate provost for Innovation and New Ventures (INVO)

The committee will begin its work immediately and will engage the University community to obtain input on the desired attributes and experience of the executive director, understand the community’s needs and collect nominations of potential candidates for the role. Members of the University community are invited to share feedback, submit questions and recommend candidates by contacting the search committee at

The committee will be staffed by Office of the Provost Director of Academic Initiatives Brad Zakarin and INVO Executive Assistant Rochelle Jones.