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Team / Leadership

Meet Our Team

Strategy Board Members

Raj Melville Board Member

Raj Melville

Raj Melville drives the Foundation’s strategy and efforts to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation. He launched the Dunin Deshpande Queens Innovation Center at Queens University, Canada; the Gopalakrishnan Deshpande Center at IIT Madras; the Pond Deshpande Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of New Brunswick, Canada; and, as the former Board Chair, helped direct the strategic direction of Entrepreneurship for All Center (EforAll) in Lowell that has launched over 400 startups in the past five years. He launched and co-chairs the Deshpande Symposium, an international conference of over 100 universities and colleges sharing best practices in innovation and entrepreneurship. He has spoken at, organized and moderated numerous panels on social entrepreneurship; and mentored several startups. His previous experience includes over 30 years of product management, marketing and consulting experience at several startups and at Microsoft, Digital Equipment and Booz Allen & Hamilton. He has a Doctorate and a Master’s degree from MIT, a Master’s from MIT’s Sloan School of Management and a Bachelor of Technology from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.

Steve Irish Board Member Photo

Steve Irish

Steve Irish is the Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer of Enterprise Bank and Managing Director of Enterprise Wealth Management. Steve joined Enterprise in 1988 as one of the Bank’s first employees. Following military service with the U.S. Navy, Steve worked for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency-U.S. Treasury as a national bank examiner, followed by positions in consulting and information services at Arthur Andersen & Co., Briercroft Savings Association, BKW Systems, Inc. and First Bank. Steve previously was a member of the adjunct faculty of the Operations and Information Systems Management Department of the Manning School of Business at UMASS-Lowell. He received his B.S. in Accounting from the University of Southern Maine, his M.S. in Management Information from the University of Arizona, and was a fall 2010 participant in Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program. Steve also serves on the boards of the Merrimack Reperatory Theatre, The Lowell Humane Society.

Chesley Chen Board

Chesley M. Chen

Chesley M. Chen, is an entrepreneur, Chief Executive Officer, and Board Member. He is currently launching two digital health start-ups as CEO of g.Root Biomedical and as Strategic Advisor of MindMics. Prior to that, he was CEO of Safety Partners. Chesley has over 30 years experience in launching, scaling, and reinventing businesses in life sciences, high tech, and financial services with firms that include Health Dialog, Good Measures, VWR, Goldman Sachs, and Hughes Aircraft Company. He also dedicates his time to coaching CEO’s and Executives on strategy and leadership. Chesley serves on the Strategic Advisory Board of the U Mass Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the Tufts Launchpad Accelerator Evaluation Committee, and as Co-Chair of WEST (Women in the Enterprise of Science and Technology). Chesley holds a BS in Civil Engineering from Tufts University, an SM in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT, and an MBA from the Harvard Business School. He is a devoted family man, rock climber, and black belt in Shotokan karate.

Board William Yelle

Bill Yelle

Bill Yelle has over 30 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, ranging from large pharma to early stage, venture-backed companies. He currently serves as an Entrepreneur in Residence at Partners Innovation Fund (PIF) as well as an Adjunct Faculty Member at The Manning School of Business at UMass Lowell. Before joining PIF, Bill was Executive Chairman of Envisia Therapeutics, as well as an advisor to several entrepreneurial startups. Prior to Envisia, Bill served as CEO of Aldea Pharmaceuticals, where he successfully completed a Series B raise and brought two programs into the clinic. Prior to Aldea, he was Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and Licensing for Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (formerly Sepracor Inc.), where he was responsible for the consummation of over 30 material transactions, the most notable being the company’s sale to Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma for $2.6 billion in 2009. Bill was also instrumental in Sepracor’s transition from an early stage clinical organization into a fully integrated pharmaceutical company. Prior to joining Sepracor in 1995, Bill held various positions of increasing responsibility in Pfizer’s U.S. Pharmaceuticals Group. In addition to serving on the board of the Jack M. Wilson Center for Entrepreneurship, prior board assignments include Envisia Therapeutics, LQ3 Pharma and Aldea Pharmaceuticals. Bill has an M.B.A. in Management/Marketing from Columbia University, an M.S. in Organic Chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley and a B.S. Cum Laude from the University of Massachusetts Lowell.