In an effort to bolster Harvard Innovation Lab's professional resources, Harvard Law School appointed four Experts-in-Residence for the 2012-2013 academic year to advise students on their projects and expand the partnership between the Law School and the I-Lab.
Michael B. Fertik '00, Neil W. Flanzraich ’65, Anthony Scaramucci, and John I. Williams—all graduates of the Law School—will serve as the EIRs this year. Williams served as the Law School's first I-Lab EIR last year, and will continue for a second term.
The EIRs will host office hours, workshops, and other events at the Law School in addition to assisting students on their innovative initiatives at the I-Lab.
“It’s actually a two-way street,” said Flanzraich, who serves as the executive chairman of both Kirax Corporation and ParinGenix, Inc., two biotech companies. “It’s invigorating. It’s stimulating to me. I want to go out and conquer the world again all over because I talk to people who are at the beginning of their journey and have that spirit. And it’s infectious.”
The EIR program invites social innovators, venture capitalists, and other experts to the I-Lab to mentor members of the Harvard community on professional development and business ideas.
Flanzraich said that in his first two days as an EIR, he talked to several members of the Harvard community about proposals on ideas ranging from food and beverages to technology. While he advised individuals on understanding markets and effectively featuring products, he also emphasized the importance of ethics in business.
“We should really do all we can to emphasize [that], especially with young people who are developing the importance of operating with integrity, of not cheating, of not violating the law,” Franzraich said. “Without that, everything fails—governments that are corrupt ultimately fail, countries, industries, companies, individuals—you cant build something solid and reliable on a corrupt basis. And it starts with students.”
The four EIRs bring unique and varied talents to the i-Lab. Fertik is the CEO and founder of Reputation.com and pioneers the field of online reputation management—the practice of helping businesses and individuals to control their online reputation and privacy.
He has been featured in BusinessWeek, USA Today, and other media outlets in discussion around topics such as Facebook’s privacy settings and what college students need to know about social networking.
Fertik founded his first Internet company as an undergraduate, an aspiration which is common among students getting their start at the I-Lab.
Scaramucci is the managing partner of SkyBridge and board member for The Lymphoma Foundation. He was called “Mitt [Romney]’s Man on Wallstreet” by The Daily Beast for the part he played in the campaign’s fundraising efforts.
Veteran EIR Williams is a partner at Bridgespan Group in Boston, a consulting firm that focuses on non-profit and other "mission-driven" organizations.
When Williams is not mentoring at the I-Lab or at Bridgespan, he sings and tours internationally with a men’s chorus called the Mastersingers and logs flight hours as a certified pilot.
“Their collective expertise and experience as entrepreneurs and innovators will give our students treasure troves of ideas and amazing encouragement and advice as they explore their own creative ideas,” Law School Dean Martha L. Minow said in a press release. “With their help, we will amplify the spirit of innovation and nurture amazing new ventures as our students work with these four terrific experts.”
—Staff writer Juliet R. Bailin can be reached at email@example.com.