Board of Overseers
Chief Executive Officer
Diane Hessan is a successful entrepreneur, marketer and author. She is currently CEO of Startup Institute, which is dedicated to helping people transform their careers. Via SI’s programs, people gain the skills, mindset and networks to succeed in the exciting innovation economy. Since its inception only 2 years ago, nearly 1000 students have gone through Startup Institute programs, in Boston, New York, London, Chicago & Berlin, and they are working in hundreds of high-growth companies all over the world.
She is also Chairman of C Space, where she was CEO for 13 years. C Space (formerly Communispace) is a next-generation market research company, which builds online communities to help marketers generate consumer insights, with “a Blue Chip client list that would make a Madison Avenue giant jealous," according to Advertising Age. Diane led the company to 13 years of exponential growth, and it now has over 500 employees, and offices in over a dozen countries. The company was sold to Omnicom in 2011.
Diane has spent her career as a business executive, and as co-author of the book Customer-Centered Growth: Five Strategies for Building Competitive Advantage. The book, a Business Week best-seller, was published in 11 languages.
Diane has received many honors, including the Pinnacle Award from the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, the Most Admired CEO award and Boston Power 50 award from the Boston Business Journal, Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year (National Finalist), the Northstar Award from Springboard, the Great Boston Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur of the Year, and a range of Best Boss citations. In 2014, she was inducted into the Babson Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs and she received the Asper Award for Global Entrepreneurship from Brandeis.
Diane serves on the boards of Tufts University, Panera, CoachUp, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the Boston Philharmonic, and Horizons for Homeless Children, and is Special Advisor to Datapoint Capital, a leading early-stage venture firm. She received her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and her B.A. in Economics from Tufts University. She has 2 grown daughters, and is also founder of The Sound Bytes, an a cappella group that sings about business.