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Board Members

James Birge

Dr. James F. “Jaimie” Birge is the current and 12th President of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. President Birge has worked in higher education for more than 30 years, serving as the Interim President of Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia…
…and President at Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire. Dr. Birge holds a Ph.D. in leadership studies from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., an M.Ed. in guidance and counseling from Plymouth State University in New Hampshire, and a B.S. in elementary education from Westfield State University in Massachusetts.

James Birge

Dr. James F. “Jaimie” Birge is the current and 12th President of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. President Birge has worked in higher education for more than 30 years, serving as the Interim President of Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia…
…and President at Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire. Dr. Birge holds a Ph.D. in leadership studies from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., an M.Ed. in guidance and counseling from Plymouth State University in New Hampshire, and a B.S. in elementary education from Westfield State University in Massachusetts.

Julia Bowen

Julia Bowen is a certified professional coach and consultant to non-profit and education leaders.  With a background in both business strategy consulting at The Monitor Group and teaching at Mount Greylock Regional School, Julia was the founding Executive Director of Berkshire Arts & Technology Charter Public School (BART) in Adams, Massachusetts, where she led the growth of the nationally-recognized middle and high school that serves 360 students from 15 different communities. Ms. Bowen has served on a number of local and statewide boards, supporting k-12 education broadly and charter schools specifically. In addition to serving on Lever’s board, she currently serves as a Trustee for Berkshire Community College and an advisory council member for Mount Greylock Regional School.

Cairn Cross

Cairn Cross is a co-founder of FreshTracks Capital and serves as a Managing Director of the Fund.  Cairn presently serves on the boards of FreshTracks portfolio companies Vermont Teddy Bear, NativeEnergy, Faraday, and Mamava and is an observer to the SunCommon and Caledonia Spirits boards.  Cairn is a lecturer at the UVM Grossman School of Business where he teaches Financing Sustainable Innovation for the Sustainable Innovation MBA program. Cairn is also an advisor to the board of Colchester, Vermont based C2 an IT services and management company. Cairn is also the Instructor for the Vermont SBA Emerging Leaders program.

Cairn Cross

Cairn Cross is a co-founder of FreshTracks Capital and serves as a Managing Director of the Fund.  Cairn presently serves on the boards of FreshTracks portfolio companies Vermont Teddy Bear, NativeEnergy, Faraday, and Mamava and is an observer to the SunCommon and Caledonia Spirits boards.  Cairn is a lecturer at the UVM Grossman School of Business where he teaches Financing Sustainable Innovation for the Sustainable Innovation MBA program. Cairn is also an advisor to the board of Colchester, Vermont based C2 an IT services and management company. Cairn is also the Instructor for the Vermont SBA Emerging Leaders program.

Don Dubendorf – Chair of the Lever Board

Donald R. Dubendorf is an attorney in private practice in Williamstown, Massachusetts since 1978. His practice concentrates in corporate, business and land use law throughout Western Massachusetts and beyond.

He works with a wide range of businesses, financial and cultural institutions, developers and entrepreneurs providing creative problems solving and innovative solutions and applying the law in pursuit of the best of client outcomes.

Jim Mahon

Jim Mahon teaches courses on political economy, comparative politics, U.S.- Latin America foreign relations, and Latin American politics. He has authored various articles on political economy, comparative social inquiry, and U.S. foreign policy as well as Mobile Capital and Latin American Development. His current research examines fiscal politics and the reform of the state in Latin America.

Jim Mahon

Jim Mahon teaches courses on political economy, comparative politics, U.S.- Latin America foreign relations, and Latin American politics. He has authored various articles on political economy, comparative social inquiry, and U.S. foreign policy as well as Mobile Capital and Latin American Development. His current research examines fiscal politics and the reform of the state in Latin America.

Rick Morgenthal

Richard Morgenthal founded Morgenthal Frederics Opticians in 1986. With degrees in both optics and fine arts, Rick saw potential for a creative, more whimsical way to enjoy the eyewear buying experience. Morgenthal Frederics eyewear has been an incredible success appearing in numerous fashion publications and attracting a premium clientele. In 2006, Rick sold Morgenthal Frederics to the private enterprise group Credit Suisse. Since then, Morgenthal Frederics has expanded to Beverly Hills, Chicago, Aspen and Palm Beach. Rick and his wife Leslie have lived in Pownal since 2006. Both are artists. Rick paints at his studio in the Beaver Mill in Clarksburg.

Will Schmidt

Will has 27 years of private equity and venture capital experience. He joined Advent in Boston in 1988 and two years later moved to the firm’s London office at the inception of Advent’s Global Private Equity buyout program (the current fund has committed capital of €8.5 billion). His investment background is in the technology and telecom sectors. Will has been a member of Advent’s senior management team and several investment advisory committees since the late 1990’s. He graduated from Williams College with a BA in Economics and received an MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School.

Will Schmidt

Will has 27 years of private equity and venture capital experience. He joined Advent in Boston in 1988 and two years later moved to the firm’s London office at the inception of Advent’s Global Private Equity buyout program (the current fund has committed capital of €8.5 billion). His investment background is in the technology and telecom sectors. Will has been a member of Advent’s senior management team and several investment advisory committees since the late 1990’s. He graduated from Williams College with a BA in Economics and received an MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School.

Jeffrey Thomas – Lever Co-Founder

Jeffrey D. Thomas is Lever’s founder and Executive Director. A self-described scientist-by-training and entrepreneur-by-accident, Jeffrey was among the founding scientists at Millennium Pharmaceuticals and was the founding CSO of Genstruct (now Selventa). He also led the genomics and bioinformatics program at Pfizer where he oversaw a large internal R&D group as well as numerous strategic partnerships with biotech firms. Since 2003, Jeffrey has consulted in biotechnology, specializing in the translation of academic genomic research. He founded Entrepreneurs@Williams in 2011, an initiative that includes courses, internship opportunities, and a business plan competition. He received his B.A. from Wabash College and his Ph.D. and M.D. from Indiana University. He lives in Williamstown.

Laurie Thomsen

Laurie Thomsen serves as the director of Travelers Companies, Inc. and MFS Mutual Funds. Her career includes working with for-profit and non-profit entrepreneurs. Laurie began her twenty-year career in venture capital at Harbourvest Partners in Boston, where she was a General Partner.

She recently worked as an Executive Partner at New Profit, Inc. and was a co-founding General Partner of Prism Venture Partners, a venture capital firm. Laurie serves on the boards of Williams College, KickStart International and UAspire and the Visiting Committee of the Williams College Museum of Art. She has also served many years on the board of Horizons for Homeless Children and has also served as an Overseer at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Laurie is a graduate of Williams College and lives in Williamstown.

Laurie Thomsen

Laurie Thomsen serves as the director of Travelers Companies, Inc. and MFS Mutual Funds. Her career includes working with for-profit and non-profit entrepreneurs. Laurie began her twenty-year career in venture capital at Harbourvest Partners in Boston, where she was a General Partner.

She recently worked as an Executive Partner at New Profit, Inc. and was a co-founding General Partner of Prism Venture Partners, a venture capital firm. Laurie serves on the boards of Williams College, KickStart International and UAspire and the Visiting Committee of the Williams College Museum of Art. She has also served many years on the board of Horizons for Homeless Children and has also served as an Overseer at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Laurie is a graduate of Williams College and lives in Williamstown.

Jack Wadsworth – Lever Co-Founder

Jack Wadsworth is currently an Advisory Director at Morgan Stanley. Wadsworth began his career at First Boston, an investment bank. He rose through the ranks, and by 1978, was the Executive Vice President, a member of the Board of Directors, and Co-head of First Boston’s investment banking group. Soon after, he joined Morgan Stanley as the first partner to join the firm from a competitor. During the 1980s, Wadsworth started Morgan Stanley’s technology investment banking practice and venture capital business, leading on the IPO for Apple Computer. He also developed the firm’s private equity business. In 1986, Wadsworth was asked to activate Morgan Stanley’s seat on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and build Morgan Stanley’s business in Japan. During his five years in Tokyo, he grew the firm in Japan from nothing to over 500 people while maintaining profits. In 1991, Wadsworth moved to Hong Kong as Chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia, and proceeded to expand Morgan Stanley’s business across the region. When he retired in 2001, the firm had over 2000 people, 11 offices, joint ventures in China and India and over a billion dollars in revenue in Asia. Wadsworth has since developed an active venture capital business, Ceyuan Ventures, making early stage technology investments in China and the US. He is currently Honorary Chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia and sits on numerous boards. Wadsworth is a graduate of Williams College and the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

 

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