DePaul University College of Business > About > Centers & Institutes > Center for Innovation > About > Advisory Board

Advisory Board

Ben Brenton, Ph.D.
Snap-on, Inc.


Bennett Brenton joined Snap-on Inc. as chief innovation officer and vice president of Innovation in February 2007. Snap-on is a leading global innovator, manufacturer and marketer of tools, diagnostics and equipment solutions for professional users. Brenton's role is to drive innovative products, solutions and processes that fundamentally change the markets Snap-on serves and to enhance customer perception of its brands. He has helped to create, support and institutionalize a culture at Snap-on that embraces creativity, risk, change and fearless innovation. In early 2009 he launched Innovation Works!, a physical center for innovation at Snap-on's office in Kenosha, Wis.

Prior to joining Snap-on, Brenton spent four years in marketing at PepsiCo, most recently as the director of innovation for the Frito-Lay Convenience Foods division. At PepsiCo he also led innovation as director of innovation for Tropicana and prior to that as director of innovation for Shelf Stable Beverages. Before joining PepsiCo, he was marketing Director of New Products at Kraft Foods. He spent over 14 years at Kraft Foods, starting as a Research Scientist in Biotechnology and working in various roles with increasing responsibility and scope across R&D and marketing. He has over 20 years of experience focused on new product development, marketing and innovation.

Brenton holds a bachelor's degree in biology and a master's degree in microbial genetics from the University of Nebraska, and a PhD in Food Science and Nutrition with an emphasis in Molecular Genetics from the University of Massachusetts. He is an active runner, cyclist and triathlete.​

Brian Chau
Wheels, Inc.


Brian Chau is the senior director of product innovation at Wheels, which is a $2.5 billion financial services and technology solutions provider for corporate vehicle fleets. Chau's primary role at Wheels, previous startups and public companies has been building innovation teams while building game-changing products.

Chau has spoken at industry conferences about deploying Lean Startup/Customer Development processes, Agile Software Development, User Experience/Interaction Design, and whatever it takes to build products that win. He has held advisory and leadership roles at an interactive design agency, startup ventures, behavioral targeting media networks, and consulting firms including EDS and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

He holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. ​

Rhon Daguro


Rhon Daguro is the founder and CEO of Nervana, a digital design and interactive technology startup. Prior to founding Nervana, he was part of one of the most successful startup exits in Silicon Valley by helping Securent from startup to a $100 million exit to Cisco Systems in under 11 months. He is a past winner of the Chicago Innovation Awards, featured Speaker at TEDx, serves on the Rasmussen College Technology Advisory Board, a member of the Kellogg Innovation Network and an active member of the startup community in Chicago.

Recently, Nervana Group was featured in Forbes and is up for another Chicago Innovation Award for a technology built for ​univniversities. ​

Brad Emanuel
ATI Capital, Inc.


Brad Emanuel joined the advisory board to the Center for Innovation in May of 2014. He was a student in the creativity and innovation in business course at the Kellstadt Graduate School of Business, and active participant in the center during and beyond his years in the MBA program.  This included serving as a judge of the annual DePaul Student Innovation Awards. Emanuel understands the need for constant innovation and creativity as a result of affecting change throughout his entrepreneurial endeavors.

He received his MBA with a concentration in real estate finance and investment from Kellstadt in 2010. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in international relations with an emphasis on international political economy and policy studies in 1999.

In his spare time, Emanuel enjoys playing golf, as well as following the Bears, Badgers and Dodgers. He is originally from Highland Park, Ill., and currently resides in Chicago. ​

Teri Hamann


Teri Hamann is a respected technology leader with a distinguished career of more than 20 years in the software industry. She has worked for various companies, including SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft and JD Edwards in roles including sales, presales, value engineering, strategy and operations. As global head of Go-To-Market and Growth Initiatives for SAP, Hamann is responsible for leading a global team focused on operationalizing and implementing the most strategic go-to-market priorities. These priorities include field integration of acquired assets (M&A), new product field launch, go-to-market planning and execution and board-identified strategic imperatives. Hamann has played a key role in defining a standard and repeatable end-to-end launch process, thus improving the overall field launch success of new products, acquisitions and strategic programs.

With a reputation for bringing a creative yet disciplined approach to business problems, Hamann has been instrumental in simplifying processes and engagements. Her utilization of Design Thinking and other innovative approaches to problem identification and resolution has resulted in a significant reduction in complexity and speed of problem resolution. Hamann has spent the majority of her career in customer facing roles working with organizations of all sizes and representing numerous industries. Her primary focus was to help customers realize their business aspirations and to help them leverage technology
and process improvement to achieve their goals. Hamann holds an MBA in management and a BS in business administration from DePaul University.

David Newman
Gould & Ratner, LLP


Leading Gould & Ratner's Intellectual Property Group, David Newman focuses his practice in the areas of patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. His experience includes intellectual property litigation, the preparation and prosecution of applications for obtaining patents and trademarks, as well as opinion work involving business methods, computers, consumer goods, electronics, mechanical devices, medical devices and telecommunications.

Newman has handled numerous litigations involving U.S. and foreign patents, unfair trade practices, copyrights, trade dress, trade secrets, trademarks, antitrust and breach of contract nationwide. He has represented clients in IP mediations and arbitration disputes under the American Arbitration Association's Commercial Arbitration Rules.

Newman​ is chair of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee of the IP Section of the ABA, as well as co-chair of the ABA Standard Essential Patent Arbitration Proposal (ASAP) Committee and a past member of the Licensing Executives Society International, Standard Licensing Agreements Committee. In addition, he has taught courses involving claim drafting for patent applications and is a periodic guest lecturer on intellectual property topics at the DePaul University Kellstadt Graduate School of Business.

Carol Oman
Consumer research scientist, ideation facilitator and author


Carol Oman is the Beacon for Ingenuity, with experience as a consumer research scientist, ideation facilitator and author. She worked at Kraft Foods in the Innovation Enablers Department, supporting innovation through fuzzy front-end research and cutting-edge consumer methodology development. Oman also was involved in project consultation, training, facilitation and online idea management. Her background includes sensory and consumer research in academia, manufacturing, marketing research, quality control and product development. Carol has a BS in Nutrition and an MS in Food Science from Cornell University. She is a member of the Advisory Board at DePaul University's Center for Innovation, and participates in the Chicagoland Innovation Consortium. Oman received an Innovation Advocacy Award in 2009 from the DePaul Center for Innovation. ​

Robert Perrelli
TCF Inventory Finance


Perrelli is a DePaul "Double Demon" who earned a bachelor's in finance and MBA in strategy, execution and valuation from DePaul's business college.

He has over nine years of strategic planning and performance measurement experience with companies that include the National Restaurant Association, Allstate Financial and currently with TCF Inventory Finance, a subsidiary of TCF Financial Corporation. His objective is to always translate strategy into actionable results. Robert's key responsibility at TCFIF is to take complex problem sets in any area of the organization and develop innovative solutions that move the company forward.

A DePaul experience and education has paid dividends in more ways than one. Perrelli met his wife at DePaul in 2005 while he was a teacher'​s assistant during her financial statements and analysis course. ​

Lisa Rodriguez
Weichert Workforce Mobility ​


​As Regional Vice President, Lisa Rodriguez oversees operational activities and spearheads strategic development within the Midwest United States. Her core responsibilities include engaging and developing staff to ensure Legendary Service experiences, serving as a trusted advisor to corporate clients and helping to identify new business and partnership opportunities. She works out of Weichert’s Center of Excellence in Chicago.

Rodriguez has over 20 years of experience in human resources and workforce mobility with special focus on global and domestic program management, talent development, client and vendor relations, business process improvement, stakeholder communications, performance tracking and change management.

Before joining Weichert, Rodriguez served as vice president of operations at Civis Analytics. Prior to that, she worked as senior director of operations at Aon, overseeing global talent deployment, and spent six years at Abbott Laboratories in a number of increasingly strategic HR leadership roles.

 holds an MBA from DePaul University. Complementing her professional experience, Rodriguez is a certified six sigma black belt. She also serves as a board member for the Chicago chapter of Girls On The Run and the DePaul University Center for Innovation.