Office Hours

Office Hours at The Garage

Office Hours are a great way for Northwestern students to learn more about The Garage or get help with an entrepreneurial venture – or both!

A range of members of our community, including Entrepreneurs in Residence, staff, students, alumni and vetted professional service providers, are available to provide guidance on a wide array of topics. 

Read on to determine which expert is the best fit for you at this juncture. Due to the high demand for Office Hours, please note that these meetings may not be used for class interviews. 

First time booking Office Hours? Meet with a current student first.


Rachel Cantor, SoC ’20

Rachel is studying Communications, Entrepreneurship and Integrated Marketing Communications. She’s passionate about female entrepreneurship and digital media. She is the Vice President of Programming at Form & Function Marketing, Northwestern’s premier student-run marketing agency.

Sam Kim, Weinberg ’20

Ever since Sam started an apparel company in the 7th grade, he’s leveraged the skills he’s taught himself and has gone on to create businesses designed to solve every day problems. While studying Physics and Mathematics, he’s founded three startups that have incubated at The Garage.

Chris Rochester, Kellogg ’20

Chris is a second year MBA student at the Kellogg School of Management. He is a Resident at The Garage working on Ribbon, a platform that helps managers show to their appreciation to their teams by providing curated recognition recommendations that are specifically tailored to each employee. 

Matt Zients, SESP ’20

Matt is passionate about civic engagement, volunteering, and social justice. He is a studying Social Policy, Design, and Playwriting. Over 5 years ago, Matt founded Connect & Care, a nonprofit tech startup that aims to connect young people to impactful organizations around the world.

You’ve met with a current student and want feedback on an idea. Your next step should be to chat with a recent alum.


Don Meier, Kellogg ’19
Startup & Innovation Scout

Don is an Industry 4.o startup and innovation scout at Deloitte. He has experience founding a startup, LineShift, and working in the high-technology space. He earned his BS in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech and MBA from the Kellogg School of Management.

Sarah Ahmad, McCormick ’18
Co-founder of Mistro

Sarah is the co-founder and CEO of Mistro. During her time at Northwestern, she co-founded HotPlate, a food app to help diners find the best dishes at local restaurants. She holds a B.S. in Integrated Engineering Studies and a double major in Economics.

Lucas Philips, SESP ’19
Chief Growth Officer of BrewBike

Lucas is the founder of BrewBike.  He participated in the Wildfire Pre-Accelerator, won second place at VentureCat 2018, and retained Residency at The Garage for 15 quarters. In his current role, he finds and implements solutions that will enable the business to scale quickly and efficiently.

Drake Weissman, Weinberg ’20
Founder of eo

Drake has a passion for using technology and business to produce a positive social impact in communities. He is the founder of eo, a student-run, student-centered hybrid bikeshare system that focuses on maximizing bike ridership. Drake majored in Economics and minored in Entrepreneurship.

Meet with staff or EIRs if you’re a Resident or a Tinkerer who has already met with an alum OR current student.


Melissa Kaufman
Executive Director of The Garage

Melissa is a former Googler, startup veteran, and entrepreneur with a decade of experience at consumer technology companies in Silicon Valley. Currently, she is a committee member of ChicagoNEXT (the mayor’s technology council), a member of P33 (the Chicago Technology Initiative), and a venture partner at Chicago Ventures. She was named to Chicago Inno’s 50 on Fire in 2017 and Crain’s Tech 50 in 2018. Melissa received her BA in computer science from Dartmouth College.

Hayes Ferguson
Associate Director of The Garage

A founding member of the management team at, Hayes has served in leadership and advisory roles at multiple digital companies. Earlier in her career, she taught journalism at Medill after several years as a magazine writer and foreign correspondent. Hayes has a BA from Vanderbilt University and did graduate work as a Rotary Scholar at the University of Perugia in Italy and as a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

Paul Burton
Entrepreneur in Residence

Paul started his career as an investment banking associate at Salomon Brothers in NYC in 1998 after serving as a U.S. Regular Army Commissioned Officer and finishing a JD MBA at the University of Illinois. Paul worked in corporate finance until moving back to the Chicago area in 2006. He served as CEO and Director for ResQ Pharma, Inc. Currently, he serves as CEO of Akan Biosciences, a firm seeking FDA approval for an allogenic stem cell product to treat osteoarthritis.

Tom Hayden
Entrepreneur in Residence

Tom was an engineer on the fraud team at Facebook and built out the data infrastructure at GrubHub. Tom holds a BA in Telecommunications, Information Studies and Media from Michigan State University, and a Master of Science in Information, Incentive Centered Design from the University of Michigan. He was also a Northwestern graduate student in theoretical computer science.

Lilia Kogan
Entrepreneur in Residence

Lilia is a member of Hyde Park Angels, the most active angel group in the Midwest. Prior to shifting professional focus to angel investing and start-up mentoring, Lilia had a career spanning healthcare, consumer and technology industries. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics and MMSS (applied math) from Northwestern and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management.

Andrew Parkinson
Entrepreneur in Residence

Andrew and his brother Thomas founded online grocer Peapod as the world’s first dedicated e-commerce company, took the company public in 1997, and sold it to Royal Ahold in 2001. Andrew and Thomas recently founded Sifter SP, LLC, a company focused on food as medicine. Prior to Peapod, Andrew spent 8 years in marketing at P&G and Kraft Foods.

Thomas Parkinson
Entrepreneur in Residence

Thomas co-founded Peadpod with his brother, Andrew. As CTO and Head of Product, he was responsible for their web and mobile product development, IT, supply chain and transportation systems, and R&D. Thomas holds a Masters in Industrial Design from Pratt and a BA from Wesleyan University in Connecticut. He is currently working on his fifth startup, Sifter, LLC, with Andrew.

Mike Saunders
Entrepreneur in Residence

Mike founded in 1997 and grew it to over 300 college markets before merging with GrubHub in 2011. At GrubHub, he oversaw a national expansion to 900+ cities and the merger of Seamless, a NYC based competitor. Michael was the EIR at GrubHub through Oct 2015. Michael earned his BA in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1998.

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