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How Private Company Investors Leverage Networks and Operating Talent to Drive Exponential Growth

  • 02/25/2021
  • 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
  • Virtual Zoom Gathering


Registration is closed


The Transitions Exchange invites you to join CFE for a joint event with the Illinois Venture Capital Association (IVCA): How Private Company Investors Leverage Networks and Operating Talent to Drive Exponential Growth.

A discussion featuring panelists with deep venture capital expertise:

·         Shari Young Lewis, Aon Investments
·         Karen Derr Gilbert, FTV Capital
·         Constance Freedman, Moderne Ventures

Moderated by Maura O’Hara, IVCA 

Topics will include:

·         How VCs access outside talent for Portfolio Companies
·         What skills/experience are most in demand for VCs
·         How to become part of the VC network
·         Differences between a corporate culture and a VC culture

Attendees will have the opportunity to submit questions and comments. Following the program, we will turn on cameras and microphones to network.

Program timeline:

3:30 - 4:30pm: Welcome and Discussion
4:30 - 5:00pm: Q&A


Karen Derr Gilbert manages business development, investor relations and marketing for FTV Capital. Karen and her team work closely with portfolio companies to help facilitate access to potential customers through FTV’s Global Partner Network. Karen has over 25 years of experience in the financial services industry. Prior to joining FTV Capital, Karen spent nearly a decade with Wells Fargo in a variety of marketing and product management positions. As head of the online financial services group marketing division, she helped Wells become the first bank to launch internet banking.

Prior to her work at Wells Fargo, Karen held several sales, trading and marketing roles at Merrill Lynch Capital Markets and Shearson Lehman Brothers in New York. Karen received a BA in Economics from the University of California – Los Angeles and an MBA from the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University.

Constance Freedman is the Founder and Managing Partner of Moderne Ventures and the Moderne Passport, an early-stage investment fund and industry immersion program which is focused on investing in technology companies in and around the multi-trillion-dollar industries of real estate, mortgage, finance, insurance and home services. Constance has invested in more than 70 companies and actively partners with 700+ industry executives and corporations to help build strategic value and scale. She is active on several company boards, past and present, including DocuSign [NASDAQ: DOCU], Updater [ASX:UPD], Homesnap, UrbanBound and TaskEasy and Equity Lifestyles [NYSE:ELS].

Prior to launching Moderne Ventures, Constance was the head of Strategic Investments at the National Association of Realtors where she launched and managed its venture fund, Second Century Ventures (SCV) in 2008, and founded its accelerator program, REach, in 2013. Prior to joining SCV, Constance was an investor with Cue Ball, an early and growth stage investment fund focused on the information services and consumer sectors. Constance began her career spending 7 years in an operating capacity at technology start-ups Molecular (backed by CMGI, acquired by Isobar) and Account4.com (acquired by Lawson). Constance was a practicing real estate agent for three years prior to starting her career in technology and investing. 

Constance earned a BS from Boston University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Maura O’Hara has been Executive Director at the Illinois Venture Capital Association (IVCA) since 2004.  IVCA advocates for Midwest investors of private dollars into private companies.   IVCA membership includes funds, family offices, and corporate investors that invest in early-stage companies and mature companies.

Immediately prior to joining the IVCA Maura had an eight-year career with Sears, Roebuck and Co holding positions in Corporate Strategy, Marketing and Customer Relationship Management.  When she left Sears in 2002, Maura was Vice President of Customer Strategies and Consumer Research. Prior to that Maura worked for boutiques investment banking Stevenson & Company and in manufacturing operations at Helene Curtis.

Maura serves on the Executive Board of 1871, was formerly on the Advisory Board of the Illinois Growth & Innovation Fund, a $750 million venture & private equity fund managed by the Illinois Treasurer, as well as the Advisory Board for MessageControl, an email security company. Maura has served as a judge for The Chicago Innovation Awards, and for mHUB’s Fourth Revolution Awards.

Maura is a member of The Chicago Network, The Private Equity Women Investor Network, The Economic Club of Chicago, the Commercial Club of Chicago, and Women in Venture Executives. Maura was named to Crain’s Chicago Business Tech 50 of 2018. Maura received a BA in Economics from the University of Illinois-Urbana and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

Shari Young Lewis is an Associate Partner, Private Equity at Aon Investments and is a member of the Investment Committee. She consults on the private equity programs for numerous discretionary and non-discretionary pension plans, endowments, and foundations clients. Shari currently serves on the advisory boards for ten managers.

Prior to joining Aon, Shari focused on growth stage venture capital investing at Chicago Venture Partners and Sterling Partners. Previously, Shari was an investment banking analyst for ThinkEquity Partners and First Annapolis Consulting and Capital (acquired by Accenture).

Shari holds a B.B.A. with distinction from Emory University Goizueta Business School and an M.B.A. in from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

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