Election Results 2020: What could go wrong, and how do we know if it did?

Election Results 2020: What could go wrong, and how do we know if it did?

Save the Date!

Wednesday, October 13th, 2020 @ 5:30pm PST (1.5 hours)

Registration details coming soon..


An election like no other: social media, “fake news,” Russian meddling, cyber hacking, defunding the Post Office, unprecedented vote by mail, outdated election equipment, a global pandemic, growing civil unrest and a divided country with 50 unique sets of election law.

Will technology solve the challenges this election faces, or will it exacerbate the risk and uncertainty? On October 13th, tune in to hear from Thomas Hicks, US Elections Assistance Commissioner, Lori Contorer, election security expert and founder of leading election innovation company Everyone Counts, and a social media expert as they share their insights, analysis and what to look for when polls open and the results begin to come in…



Lori Contorer is an accomplished global technology company founder, CEO, board Chair, and nonprofit leader; and a finance, digital transformation and leadership expert. As founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Everyone Counts, Inc. for more than a decade, Lori Steele Contorer pioneered the use of modern technology in government and private elections globally, bringing state of the art security and accessibility to voting for states in the US, countries around the globe and private organizations including the Oscars and the Emmys. Her visionary leadership in business, innovation and elections has been recognized with myriad awards, including Fortune Magazine’s Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs.

CEO of Thriving Blue Dot, Lori inspires and helps drive effective organizational growth and industry transformation through board leadership and governance, consultancy and public speaking.

A cancer survivor and enthusiastic outdoor adventurer, Lori is a certified sailboat pilot and former heli-skier who recently completed the Tour de Mont Blanc, a three-country, 170 km mountain hike including 30 km of ascent. An Ohio native and long-time San Diegan, she travels internationally frequently, but treasures every moment at home in La Jolla cooking with her husband, laughing with family and friends, singing, and thinking hard about the best ways to help solve some of the enormous challenges facing humanity today.


Visit Our Website to stay updated on future programs.


We look forward to connecting with you,

The Chapter Executive Committee & Advisory Board
MIT Enterprise Forum-San Diego Chapter

The Future of Rapid Disinfection, Pandemic & Beyond


The Future of Rapid Disinfection, Pandemic & Beyond

Wednesday, September 30th, 2020 @ 5:30pm PST (1.5 hours)



The majority of the discussion about “a new normal” from the pandemic has been dominated by the race for a vaccine and the availability of cost-effective, high volume, rapid testing.  A less discussed dimension is the development of novel technologies for disinfection, both of static object and surface cleansing, but also about commercial air purification applications.

Join the MIT Enterprise Forum of San Diego as we host an exciting virtual discussion on September 30th with RESONŌ’s founder and CEO, Hao Hu, and COO, Kaha Aznaurashvili. RESONŌ is a start-up tackling this challenge working at the convergence of virology and physics.

In initial studies, RESONŌ’s foundational technology has been shown superior to ultra-violet light purification methods and others presently used and can be applied not only to the COVID-19 and future pandemic challenges, but seasonal viruses as well.

Topics certain to be discussed:

  • How the technology uniquely attacks and neutralizes viral pathogens
  • How broad are the company’s Intellectual Property claims and its IP protection strategy
  • Regulatory approvals necessary and challenges encountered
  • Various product strategies evaluated and the ultimate business model chosen

And, if we are fortunate, RESONŌ may share some of its latest experimental data (for those who are into that) that help bolster their claim to deliver the most effective, safest, and fastest methods to disinfect air and surfaces.

The MIT Enterprise Forum of San Diego is excited to host this timely, powerful, and intriguing discussion.  Please join us on September 30th at 5:30pm PST. Meeting info provided upon registration.



Hao Hu, Founder and CEO of RESONŌ

Hao Hu is the founder and CEO of RESONŌ with 15+ years of experience in technology development and operations. Previously, he was the Head of Operations at Jersey Microwave SATCOM, consultant with Boston Consulting Group and engineer at the Boeing Company. He has lead team across multiple disciplines including product development, manufacturing/ops and business development. As a member of the executive team at Jersey Microwave, Hao helped the company achieve market leading position in satellite communication market and led the company through a period of sustained high growth.

Hao holds a BS in Material Science and a ME in Supply Chain Management from MIT.


Kaha Aznaurashvili, COO of RESONŌ

Kaha is the co-founder and COO of RESONŌ. He brings to the team 10+ years of experience in starting, scaling up and expanding technology businesses in both B2B and B2C segment. He is currently focused on developing a scalable solution that meets customer needs utilizing RESONŌ’s patent pending technology.

Kaha’s previous roles include principle at The Boston Consulting Group, and a co-founder of two successfully exited companies (in supply-chain services and e-commerce fields). Most recently, Kaha worked on the expansion of Bolt OU, a European ride-haling and food-delivery company. Kaha holds BA in business administration and MBA from Kellogg School of Management.



Ben Anger, Partner at Knobbe Martens

Chapter Executive Committee, MIT Enterprise Forum San Diego

Ben Anger is a partner at the law firm Knobbe Martens where he has been practicing intellectual property law since joining the firm in 2009. His law practice focuses primarily on IP litigation, including patent disputes involving medical device technologies, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology. Ben has been named a “San Diego Rising Star” by Super Lawyers and has been named to San Diego Business Journal’s “Best of the Bar” list.

In 2019, Ben joined the Chapter Executive Committee for the MIT Enterprise Forum San Diego. He earned his law degree from the College of William and Mary and his undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Utah.  Ben and his wife Denise live in the San Diego neighborhood of Rancho Bernardo with their four children. *They are hopeful that RESONŌ’s technology can help get their kids back to school very soon.



Visit Our Website to stay updated on future programs.

We look forward to connecting with you,

The Chapter Executive Committee & Advisory Board
MIT Enterprise Forum-San Diego Chapter



Virtual Happy Hour!

Robot arm holding wine glass


Wednesday, September 9th, 2020 @ 5:30pm PST (1 hour)

Join us for a virtual happy hour to meet the Chapter Executive Committee, hear about our exciting Fall program lineup, and review the new format for delivering this timely and relevant content. Unfortunately, the drinks are virtual as well, at least for now.

Registration is complimentary. Be sure to complete this registration form to receive meeting details along with a surprise from The French Gourmet. You won’t want to miss it!

We look forward to connecting with you,

The Chapter Executive Committee & Advisory Board
MIT Enterprise Forum-San Diego Chapter

General Atomics and the Path to Fusion Energy

fusion energy burst

General Atomics and the Path to Fusion Energy 


  1. Powers the sun and other stars in our Universe
  2. Clean, safe source of carbon-free electricity
  3. Hydrogen fuel is cheap, renewable, and abundant
  4. Attracting billions of investment dollars
  5. At a critical juncture in the U.S.

On Wednesday, February 19, we are honored to get firsthand understanding of the past, present, and future of fusion energy from San Diego’s 60-year old celebrity in the field – General Atomics (GA).

GA’s Director of Business Development Zabrina Johal will discuss the rich history of nuclear energy and GA’s role in developing the most prolific nuclear fission reactor program in the world. She will also talk about GA’s six decades of research in fusion energy. We will learn how GA is supporting the drive toward practical fusion-powered electricity by providing the “heart” of the ground-breaking ITER experiment and operating the largest magnetic fusion research facility in the U.S. – right here in San Diego.

This is a unique opportunity to talk with Ms. Johal. Please join us!

Wednesday, February 19
5:30pm – 8:30pm
@Knobbe Martens
12790 El Camino Real, San Diego, CA 92130



5:30: Registration, Networking, food and drinks
6:30: Program
7:30: Audience Q & A
8:00: Program Concludes, Networking, Coffee & Dessert until 8:30


Zabrina Johal photoZabrina Johal
Director of Business Development, General Atomics

Zabrina Johal has nearly two decades of experience in nuclear energy management, development, and communications. She began her career as a Nuclear Engineering Officer in the U.S. Navy, where she led female integration activities on the USS Paul Hamilton and served as the Tomahawk Strike Warfare officer in Operation Enduring Freedom. She also served aboard the USS Carl Vinson during Operation Iraqi Freedom and managed safe operations of the nuclear reactor core and associated systems. She is a certified nuclear engineer by the Naval Reactors division of the Department of the Navy and Department of Energy.

After leaving the Navy, Ms. Johal joined General Atomics in San Diego, where she has been for the past 13 years and is currently Director of Business Development for the Energy Group. Ms. Johal is responsible for overseeing efforts in business planning, capture, and proposal development, as well as marketing, strategic communications, and media outreach.

Ms. Johal is a recognized expert in business models and financial analysis for commercialization of high-technology solutions, and she is regularly called upon to provide high-level presentations to internal stakeholders and external customers. She holds Master’s degrees in Business Administration and Commercial Real Estate from the University of San Diego, a Master’s in Engineering Management from Old Dominion University, and a B.S. in Biology and Chemistry from Santa Clara University.

Innovations in Impact Investing + The New Normal

Innovations in Impact Investing + The New Normal 

Save the Date!

Wednesday, November 18th, 2020 @ 5:30pm PST (1.5 hours)

Registration details coming soon..


Can you really align your values to your personal or business financial goals and will you have to sacrifice performance to do so? Where do you even begin with accessing such solutions? And, how are you able to measure the true impact?

On November 18th 2020, we are distilling down the notion of impact investing and discussing traditional and non-traditional ways of deploying capital to make the biggest impact at both a global and local community level.

Hear from San Diego innovators, David Lynn, CEO & Co-Founder of Mission Driven Finance, and Christian Braemer, CEO & Founder of Benefunder, who are filling the know-how gaps to serve individuals and businesses to achieve their financial goals while making positive impacts in the community and world around us.

Additionally, Merrill Managing Director and Associate Market Manager, DeAnne Steele, CFA®, CAIA, will breakdown the history and future of impact investing; address performance myths and realities, and highlight available investment solutions.

Other Topics to be Discussed:

  • Performance misconceptions vs. realities
  • This is not a trend, it’s the way of doing business now
  • United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)
  • You do not need to be an accredited investor to make a positive impact through investments

Impact Themes that May Surface:

Climate change, Clean water and sanitation, Clean energy, Homelessness, Health & Wellbeing, Childhood Education, Gender Equality, Sustainable Business Practices, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Working Conditions

And, We’ll Discuss Different Avenues to Invest:

  • Private vs. Public
  • Equity + Debt vs. Alternative Asset Classes (uncorrelated)
  • Global vs. Local
  • New Channels for Funding – Philanthropic Dollars



Kaitlyn WilczinskiKaitlyn M. Wilczynski, CIMA®, CPFA, First Vice President, Wealth Management Advisor and Senior Portfolio Advisor; Secretary, MIT Enterprise Forum San Diego

Kaitlyn joined Merrill in 2008, spending six years within Merrill Private Wealth Management Group and later joining Merrill Lynch Wealth Management to form Bradshaw, Wilczynski & Associates.

She enjoys working with successful women and their families to organize their financial lives and find ways to invest in a meaningful and impactful way while helping them achieve specific financial goals.

She earned the Certified Investment Management Analyst® (CIMA®) and the Certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor (CPFA) designations, holds the CA Life, Accident & Health license, as well as, the Series 7 & 66 FINRA registrations. She earned a B.S. in Business Administration degree from Bryant University with a focus in Financial Services and a minor in Communications.

Kaitlyn is President of the Merrill Women’s Exchange – San Diego chapter, Secretary of the MIT Enterprise Forum San Diego chapter, active member of the National Association for Women Business Owners (NAWBO) San Diego and member of Merrill’s Military Support & Assistance Group (MSAG) San Diego chapter. In her spare time, she enjoys trying new restaurants, wine and craft beer, Pilates, skiing, traveling and all things San Diego has to offer. Originally from Boston, MA, she and her husband Matt now call La Jolla, CA home.


Christian BraemerChristian Braemer, CEO, Benefunder

Christian is the CEO and founder of Benefunder, a platform that connects philanthropists with leading researchers and entrepreneurs across life sciences, tech, environment, education sectors to help bring new innovations to market. Benefunder has over 700 leading researchers under contract and profiled on the platform which it integrates with major wealth management platforms and family office networks to provide a solution for rising client demand for impact.

Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Christian began his career as a financial advisor with Morgan Stanley and later, Merrill Lynch. In 2006, he founded Joe Media, the first national free WiFi network which was later acquired by a leading digital out of home media company.

Throughout his career, he has always volunteered with various non-profits in both a board and executive capacity. Christian currently serves as an entrepreneur in residence with CONNECT and is a past speaker at TEDMED and MIT Enterprise Forum.

Christian completed military service as sergeant/section commander in the 1st light infantry division in the royal Danish army, where he was also elected vice national spokesman for enlisted personnel. He has a degree in international business from Copenhagen Business School.

David LynnDavid Lynn, CEO, Mission Driven Finance

David Lynn has been working in the financial and philanthropic sectors for over 20 years. He found a way to blend those two worlds in 2016 as the founding CEO of Mission Driven Finance, a private impact investment firm dedicated to building a financial system that ensures good businesses have access to sufficient, affordable capital. Mission Driven Finance manages multiple private funds that provide inclusive commercial financing to small businesses, social enterprises, and nonprofits, all with the goal to close capital gaps that close opportunity gaps.

Prior to focusing on impact investing, David specialized in private investment management,
including reporting and risk management. Most recently, David has been the Investment
Manager for the Price Group, a family office and charitable foundation environment, including
directly running an actively managed equity derivatives portfolio and serving as a director with
the Price Philanthropies Foundation.

With a long dedication to community involvement, David has served in a board leadership capacity for a variety of nonprofit and philanthropic initiatives, including San Diego Grantmakers, San Diego Impact Investors Network, Education Synergy Alliance, Mission Edge San Diego, San Diego Social Venture Partners, and San Diego Humane Society.

David is a San Diego native with a BS in Mathematics from Whitman College. When not working or volunteering, he’s likely to be found adventuring in the mountains with the dogs or other crazy people.

DeAnne SteeleDeAnne Steele CFA®, CAIA, Managing Director and Associate Market Manager, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc.

DeAnne Steele CFA®, CAIA is Managing Director and Associate Market Manager at Merrill. She brings years of wealth management and leadership experience to her role with expertise in the many strategies and services within our firm to help drive impact for our advisors, clients and community. She welcomes any opportunity to share her experience and knowledge and is a frequent speaker on topics such as the global economy, financial markets, ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance), Women and Wealth and Diversity and Inclusion and enjoys mentoring those building their careers in our company.

Prior to joining the firm, DeAnne co-managed a mutual fund in addition to serving in various leadership and investment positions. She has written, co-authored and contributed to articles for various publications and has appeared on Reuters and Bloomberg Television.

DeAnne earned her MBA in Finance from UCLA Anderson School and a BA in English and Political Science from UCLA. She has received the Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®) and Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst designations and is a member of the CFA Institute.

As first-generation college-graduate in her family, DeAnne believes in giving back to the community and is active in many community organizations, including serving on the board of directors of the San Diego Center for Children.


Visit Our Website to stay updated on future programs.


We look forward to connecting with you,

The Chapter Executive Committee & Advisory Board
MIT Enterprise Forum-San Diego Chapter