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Staff Meeting

Meet The Team

Elena Cahill, Esq.

Vice President of Innovation, Strategy and Advancement for the University of Bridgeport (UB)

Professor Elena Cahill came to the UB as an adjunct in 2005 while a Partner in the commercial sector of the Law Firm Tyler, Cooper and Alcorn, LLP, she then became a full-time professor at the UB teaching both business law and entrepreneurship to undergraduate as well as graduate students. She moved to the Director of the School of Business at UB in 2018. Professor Cahill founded the Student Entrepreneurship Center (SEC) at UB which guides students from ideation through commercialization and has created the Bridgeport Accelerator for local businesses. She had been the Director of the Angel Investor Forum, a Connecticut-based angel investing group prior and she created two additional businesses herself, exiting ones to a NYC-based private equity group and the other to her employees before joining the University full time. Elena has authored two books, The Business of Energy and Power Economics.

Sherri Dente, Esq.

Director of the Bauer Innovation Center and the Director of the Technology Transfer Office at the University of Bridgeport (UB)

In her role, Dente manages the Bauer Innovation Center which houses the Student Entrepreneur Center, the Student Entrepreneur Club, the Technology Transfer Office, and the Bridgeport Accelerator Program. Dente received her JD with a concentration in Intellectual Property from Quinnipiac University School of Law and a BS in Industrial and Management Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). She is a patent attorney with over 15 years of experience at Wiggin & Dana LLP, General Electric, and RPI.

Our Mentors

Dr. Gad Selig

Accelerator Mentor

Dr. Gad Selig is a highly accomplished technology leader and academic professional, with over 25+ years in technology leadership roles with major firms including AT&T, CBS, and Verizon, and 17+ years in academia where he served as Dean of Industry Outreach at the University of Bridgeport (UB). Dr. Selig also founded a consulting firm, GPS Group LLC, that provides technology and education services to small, medium and Fortune 500 firms. Dr. Selig is an Adjunct Professor of Management at the University of Bridgeport and Fairfield University. He is a certified mentor at SCORE. Dr. Selig is the author of six well-known books in the areas of technology strategy and management, as a result he is a highly sought-after speaker at both industrial and academic conferences. Dr. Selig sat on multiple corporate boards and helped advance their mission by overseeing their technology strategy, management, education and related innovative solutions.

Judy Saffan, Esq.

Accelerator Mentor

Judy Saffan, Esq. worked as an attorney with a focus on state and local taxation and federal corporate taxation. Attorney Saffan received a Doctor of Law degree from Tulane University Law School and a Masters of Laws, LLM in Taxation from New York University School of Law. She received a 40-hour Mediation Certification from Quinnipiac University School of Law.

Dorian Yanez, MBA

Accelerator Mentor

Dorian Yanez, MBA, helps business owners monetize the digital space through powerful and easy-to-implement digital marketing strategies. Ms. Yanez is the recipient of the Best of the Internet’s prestigious Webby Awards, holds an MBA in Marketing, and is an active marketing mentor with Startup Weekend. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Bridgeport. She describes herself as a focused growth marketer reaching prospective customers & engaging existing customers with multi-channel marketing strategies. She is passionate and open to the fact that landscape is an ever-changing, growing space full of opportunities.

Barbara Distasio

Accelerator Mentor

Barbara Distasio is a senior innovation and business development executive with 20+ years of experience in a variety of industries. Innovation leader, strategic visionary, with excellent problem solving and implementation skills, proven successful team leader, and strong facilitator across organizations - especially at the "C" level - relying on solid communication and presentation experience to get consensus and results. A quick study with an affinity for complex issues, change, and innovation in dynamic work environments. She can initiate and oversee innovative brainstorming, idea prioritization, and management on a large scale, can provide creative problem-solving workshops, advise and direct ideators in the development of compelling new product and business concepts, act as a knowledge broker to ensure that the most innovative concepts and practices are shared and adopted by independent operating groups.

Joseph Ziskin, MBA

Accelerator Mentor

Joseph Ziskin, MBA is a senior strategy & business development executive helping organizations create, restructure, and grow businesses by taking advantage of new business models and markets. Joe was a Vice President at IBM for over 10 years driving strategy and business development. As a strategy consultant he has worked with dozens of companies to develop and execute plans for growth and innovation. Since IBM, Joe has worked as Chief Strategist and Chief Revenue Officer for a cybersecurity start up and as Chief Operating Officer for a private equity portfolio company. He is a member of IBM’s Industry Academy and was a board member of the TM Forum. He has been a frequent speaker at conferences including GMIC SV, 3GSM/MWC, TM Forum, ITU Telecom, NAB, and IBM Conferences.


Ellie Tandler

Accelerator Mentor

Ellie Tandler is the former CEO of Affinimark Technologies, Inc., a company developing a unique, patented diagnostic test strip, which provides on-the-spot, immediate results upon suspicion of a cerebral spinal fluid leak for patients. Prior to Affinimark, she was the CEO and a founder of NovaTract Surgical, Inc. a venture-backed start-up company founded to develop new, innovative laparoscopic medical devices for surgeons to take minimally invasive surgery to the next level of ease and simplicity. Ms. Tandler is a business executive with proven ability to conceive, develop, lead, problem solve and execute in the healthcare space. She has a track record of motivating and developing high-performing teams. Prior to her executive startup experience, Ms. Tandler was a venture capital investor in New York City investing in early-stage health and life science companies, focused on investments in the healthcare services, information technology, and medical device sectors. Ms. Tandler is a former member of the Advisory Committee for the Connecticut Bioscience Innovation Fund and former member of the Board of Directors for BioCT. She has served as a judge and mentor in various capacities for the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale University and member of the Grant Advisory Committee for the Donaghue Foundation.

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