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Board of Advisors

Board of Advisors members are the ambassadors of the elmspring vision, often representing influential thought leaders in media, investment, and entrepreneurship education or advocacy.  Participation on the Board of Advisors is by invitation only.

Bob Geras

Bob Geras

Bob Geras, President of LaSalle Investments, Incorporated, has been an active participant in the VC and Angel community in Chicago for over 45 years and is a Founding Director of the Illinois Venture Capital Association.

Termed “A Virtual Renaissance Man of Entrepreneurship” by the Chicago Sun-Times and featured in a July 2005 Cover Story in INC. Magazine on “Angels in America”. ​Bob was given the “Angel of the Year-2002” award by the Chicago Technology Association at their Annual City Lights ceremony in recognition of “Many years of exceptional service in fostering and encouraging Entrepreneurship in Chicago’s Technology Community.” In December 2004 the Illinois Venture Capital Association presented Bob “The Fellows Award” for “Extraordinary leadership in early stage venture funding in Illinois”. In 2006 he was inducted into the Illinois Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame.

Bob was co-founder of budget motel chain Sixpence Inns in 1970 which was acquired by Motel 6 in 1989. In 1990 he co-founded publicly traded Merge Healthcare. He is currently a director of and/or investor in Advanced Diamond Technologies (ThinDiamond.com), OrthoScan.com, Video Home Tours (VHT.com), and the Cole Taylor Bank.

 
Scott Brandwein

Scott Brandwein

Scott Brandwein is currently an Executive Vice President at CBRE, joining the firm following its merger with Insignia/ESG in July 2003. Since beginning his real estate career in 1979, he has been personally involved in more than 2,000 commercial real estate projects including office and industrial tenant representation, land sales and assemblage, disposition of surplus properties, and a variety of agency, leasing and sale assignments. He has participated in over 150 consulting engagements on behalf of occupiers of space, developers, lenders, property owners, municipalities and economic development groups and has been a member of project teams on a variety of development projects, including business parks and speculative office buildings, industrial and retail developments.

Current responsibilities include leadership roles for CBRE Private Equity & Life Sciences and Technology Practice Groups.

 
Emily Smith

Emily Smith

Emily currently serves as the Vice President of Bespoke Commercial Real Estate. Her focus is helping small to mid-sized privately held companies & nonprofits with their overall real estate strategy. Emily has advised her clients on a wide variety of office and industrial transactions including lease negotiations, site selection, and strategic planning achieving highly aggressive terms and great flexibility.

Emily also sits on the board for the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) Chicago Chapter where she will serve as Chapter President for the 2014-2015 year. She is incredibly passionate about nonprofit work and entrepreneur education. She has developed countless programs, initiatives, and raised significant dollars to help empower women owned businesses.

 
Dan Lyne

Dan Lyne

Dan Lyne is a Senior Vice President within the Global Technology & Media Practice at CBRE, Inc. For nearly a decade with Chicago’s business development arm, World Business Chicago (WBC), Dan led the targeting and management of corporate relocation and expansion projects for domestic and globally based technology firms. During his tenure, WBC was repeatedly been recognized and awarded as one of the top international organizations in its field.

Dan was also a co-founder on the team that launched “1871” – a 50,000 square foot co-working center for digital startups located in Chicago’s famed Merchandise Mart. Two years later, Dan helped guide the initial formation of MATTER, a 25,000 square foot co-working venture dedicated to entrepreneurs focused on healthcare innovation.

Dan was the founding Executive Director of ChicagoNEXT. Formed by WBC Chairman, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, ChicagoNEXT is chaired by J.B. Pritzker, Managing Partner of The Pritzker Group. ChicagoNEXT’s primary mission is to further Chicago’s commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship and to engage Chicago’s thriving technology industry. Dan remains an active member on the council.