Entrepreneurial Coaches

Elaine Chen

Cummings Family Professor of the Practice of Entrepreneurship; Director, Tufts Entrepreneurship Center (TEC)

Elaine is the Cummings Professor of the Practice of Entrepreneurship and the Director of the Tufts Entrepreneurship Center. She is also the Founder and Managing Director of ConceptSpring, a corporate innovation and entrepreneurship consulting company.

Elaine has served at the VP level at six companies, including Rethink Robotics, Zeo, Zeemote and SensAble Technologies. She has brought numerous hardware and software products to market and holds 22 patents.  Elaine has been teaching startup and corporate entrepreneurship in higher education since 2011 at MIT and Tufts University. At ConceptSpring, Elaine leverages her rich entrepreneurial experience to help clients make their organizations more entrepreneurial via innovation consulting services and custom training programs.

Elaine holds a BS and an MS in mechanical engineering from MIT.


Entrepreneurship, Corporate Innovation, Consumer Electronics, Consumer Health and Wellness, Healthcare, Robotics, Industrial Automation

Noah Elion

Founder, Chums

Chums is a Y-Combinator backed community to see what your friends buy. Chums has 25,000 monthly active users and is growing profitably month over month.


Entrepreneurship, Financial Services, Retail, Direct-to-Consumer ventures, Pitching, Fundraising, Storytelling

Phillip Ellison

Manhattan Borough Advocate, Office of the New York City Public Advocate

Phillip currently works in executive city government as the Manhattan Borough Advocate at the Office of the NYC Public Advocate and sits as a bridge member to the Technology, Data, & Development team. He holds experiences across campaigns, education, nonprofits, government and politics, entrepreneurship, and venture philanthropy.

As a Tisch Scholar and nontraditional student at Tufts, he launched Ulink, an enterprise software start-up in higher education to promote student engagement and close advising gaps in community colleges. They built and tested prototypes of a mobile app, built an SMS text platform, and ran pilots. In the end, learning from mistakes and obstacles, this stretch goal provided him with a strong foundation in the principles of the innovation life-cycle, enterprise software business, tech for good, team management, social entrepreneurship, and emerging technology trends. Phillip is an alumnus of the Smarter in the City Accelerator in Boston, the 4.0 Schools Fellowships, Millennial Trains Project- City Year & ComcastNBC Fellow, and 1st place winner of the Social Impact Track at the 2016 Tufts 100k New Venture Competition. He is a proud Jumbo and here to help!

advocacy, landscape mapping, relationship building and building partnerships, design thinking with marginalized communities, pitching and storytelling, navigating government regulatory environment and politics, education tech, social entrepreneurship, tech-enabled nonprofits ventures, and testing/pilot development

Melissa Pickering

Director, LEGO Education Product Experience

Melissa leads a product innovation team at LEGO Education to drive new business growth for the LEGO Group in the K12 education sector. 

Melissa is a change agent in the field of kids’ products with experience ranging from innovating theme parks as a Disney rollercoaster engineer to founding & selling her own startup in education technology.  She’s a Tufts alum (BSME ’05) and stayed connected to her alma matter, ultimately founding her startup in 2010 with IP licensed from the Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO).

In her tenure at LEGO, she has led the launch of several franchises that use technology to re-engage kids in physical play.  Her guiding star in leading change through product innovation is to stay grounded in the physical world, even with the increasing reliance on digital.  In 2019 she took that message to the TED stage with her talk, ‘How Tech should be Designed for Kids.’  She’s looking forward to working with other entrepreneurs challenging the intersection of technology, learning, and play.

Edtech, Entrepreneurship, Toy Industry, IP Licensing, Channel Partnership and Distribution, Product Management