Leadership Team

The Randall Lewis Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is a product of collaboration between student entrepreneurs, college faculty, and administration. Students come from all 5Cs with varying majors and interests. These students are the driving force behind the center’s operations. The RLCIE leadership team works every day to foster entrepreneurship at the 5Cs.

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Darren Filson

Director

Darren Filson is the Director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Academic Director of the Silicon Valley Program, and the James G. Boswell Professor of Economics and George R. Roberts Fellow at Claremont McKenna College. Professor Filson received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Rochester in 1996, and he has taught at the Claremont Colleges since 1997. Most of his research and teaching focuses on the intersections of industrial organization, finance and strategy with an emphasis on industry evolution and innovation.

Ron LaPierre.
Ron LaPierre

Executive Director

Ron is an accomplished senior executive with 25 years of experience in operations, business development, sales and marketing in e-commerce, digital media, SaaS and entertainment industries. He began his career with the Walt Disney Studio’s Home Entertainment Division. In addition to several sales and marketing roles with the company, Ron acted as the GM to build, design and launch an ESPN-branded line of products. As the internet’s commercial opportunities accelerated, Ron transitioned to digital with senior business development roles at GoTo.com (Overture Services) and PriceGrabber.com. During this time, Ron established partnerships with Microsoft, IAC, Yahoo, AOL, Comcast and many others and played key roles leading to Yahoo’s acquisition of Overture and Experian’s purchase of PriceGrabber. Ron has held President, COO and CEO roles with PriceGrabber and IAC’s CityGrid Media. During his time as President at PriceGrabber, he managed a team of more than 200 employees with offices in the US and UK and the company hit its peak of $110 million revenue. At CityGrid, Ron’s team delivered more than $25 million profit after the company had experienced over a decade of losses. Ron co-founded one startup and invested in and/or advised other early-stage companies, including Milo.com . He also took an active leadership role with Milo to help quickly scale the business, and played a key role in negotiating the company’s sale to eBay. Ron has a BA from UCLA in Political Science and earned an MBA in Marketing from the Drucker School, Claremont Graduate University.

Headshot of Katherine Spada
Katherine Spada

Mentor Program Coordinator

Katherine Spada (CMC '08) works with RLCIE Fellows Candidates to identify career goals and issues on which they would like guidance, then pairs them with specifically-selected members of the Claremont Colleges alumni network for semester-long mentorship relationships. An award-winning writer and podcaster, she was one of the founding board members of the Claremont in Entertainment & Media (CEM) alumni networking organization. As a marketing and communications professional, her experience has been in the entertainment industry and non-profit sector, and her work has been featured in publications from The New York Times to Forbes and Billboard. She has guest lectured on digital marketing at UCLA and presented on best practices at industry conferences.

Simron Shroff.
Simrun Shroff

Montgomery Student Manager

Simrun is a senior at Claremont McKenna College, where she studies Economics and Data Science. In addition to the RLCIE, Simrun is a Handley Leadership Fellow at Kravis Leadership Institute. Her internship experiences include marketing analytics at Samba TV (an adtech company), product management at SprintRay (a healthtech startup), and product marketing at Microsoft (cloud marketing division). In her free time, she enjoys running, yoga, and crosswords.

Jocelyn Livier.
Jocelyn Livier

Montgomery Student Manager

Jocelyn Livier is a senior at CMC and a SoCal native. She is an International Relations major focusing on Natural Resource Management and Energy. At CMC, she has merged her passion for NRM and technology by researching nuclear and geothermal energy, small modular reactors, and other topics in climate tech. She recently finished a semester in the Silicon Valley Program where she interned at a 5c alumni start-up named Maza. She has primarily worked in Product Growth at Maza for over 2 years. Last year she worked at EY-Parthenon as a Summer Associate in the Software Strategy Group.

As a member of the RLCIE for the past four years and the new Montogmery Student Manager, she is excited to introduce new sectors to the curriculum such as green tech. Since then, she has competed twice in the March Capital VC pitch content; in 2022, her team placed first. Outside of campus, she enjoys hiking, kayaking, exploring local coffee shops, and walking her pug!

Cindy Zhang.
Cindy Zhang

Events Manager

Xinyue (Cindy) Zhang is a junior from Shenzhen, China, majoring in Economics with a Data Science Sequence. She is interested in exploring how innovation & entrepreneurship interact with education. Cindy’s passionate about product and strategy, especially for tech companies. Cindy participated in the first March Capital Venture Fellowship Program and gained experience in developing an investment thesis and pitch deck. She helped coordinate the Fellows Networking Series for 2022-2023 and joined the leadership team as the Associate Events Manager for 2023-2024. In addition to the RLCIE Fellowship Program, Cindy is involved with the International Connection as a Co-President & Mentor, Sparkathon as a Co-President, and TEDx Claremont McKenna College as a VP. Cindy enjoys spending her free time playing badminton, visiting museums, and cooking.

Nikki Tran.
Nikki Tran

UI/UX Manager

Nikki Tran is a junior at Claremont McKenna College studying Economics and Philosophy. Nikki’s entrepreneurial pursuits began in high school when she founded and ran her own cosmetics start-up. Currently, in addition to her involvement in RLCIE as a UI/UX Manager, Nikki is an Career Services Mentor at the Soll Center for Student Opportunity, a Financial Analyst for Claremont Women in Business, APIDA Student Programming Assistant for the Dean of Students Office, and Marketing Head for Asian Pacific American Student Association.

Kaie Lee-Guest.
Kaia Lee-Guest

Networking Representative

Kaia Lee-Guest is a sophomore at CMC dual majoring in Economics and Biophysics. In addition to RLCIE she is also a Team Lead at The Graphite Group and is a QCL mentor for various levels of Calculus. Kaia is interested in a variety of industries, ranging from life science to consulting. In the past, she has worked at both the lab and the business department of biotech companies focused on developing cancer treatments. Outside of school and extracurriculars, Kaia greatly enjoys reading, hiking, and exploring new coffee shops.

Chloe Ross.
Chloe Ross

Marketing Manager

Chloe is from Los Angeles, CA and a sophomore at Claremont McKenna College. She is majoring in economics and pursuing the data science sequence.

Outside of school, Chloe enjoys the beach and hanging out with friends

Haven Qin.
Haven Qin

Events Manager

Haven is a Junior at CMC dual majoring in Economics and Philosophy with a sequence in Financial Economics. On campus, he is involved in APAM as a Student Mentor, in Sagehen Capital Management as a Senior Analyst, and On The Loose as a trip leader. He is interested in a wide variety of industries ranging from entrepreneurship to consulting. These interests have grown after spending a summer working at Kearney, a management consulting firm, and Endeavor, which helps high-potential entrepreneurs in developing markets accelerate their growth and maximize their potential. In his free time, Haven loves spearfishing, hiking, going to the beach, and exploring the city with friends.