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Board of Directors

Jim Sharpe

Chief Executive Officer, Aventri

Jim Sharpe joined Aventri as CEO in January 2020 and is focused on leading the global Aventri team as it executes on its vision to help the world Connect Better. Throughout his career, Jim has led high-performing teams in private equity-backed tech-enabled businesses, investing in talent, service and product resulting in significant revenue growth.

Prior to Aventri, Jim was Managing Director and GM of Gerson Lehrman Group’s (GLG) largest and most profitable business unit, Financial Services. In this capacity he led several hundred professionals and achieved significant expansion of the userbase while growing revenues to over $200 million. His recent experience at GLG was his second six-year stint at the company, following a first term which saw him co-found and lead the firm’s Energy and Industrials practice. His combined tenure at GLG saw company revenues grow 100x.

In between his turns at GLG, Jim engaged in an entrepreneurial venture, partnering with a New York private equity firm to acquire, rebuild, and operate a manufacturing company in the water filtration space. Over a four-year period, Jim developed strategic manufacturing and distribution relationships throughout the industry, won significant market share through data-driven analysis of its market, and ultimately sold the business to a European chemical company.

Jim graduated from the University of Virginia with degrees in Commerce and East Asian languages. He resides in Westchester County, New York with his wife, son and Brittany Spaniel.

Chris Heim

Executive Director, HGGC

Chris has more than 20 years of experience as a technology industry executive. Prior to HGGC, Chris was Chief Executive Officer of HelpSystems, which was acquired by HGGC in 2018, and transitioned to Executive Chairman in 2019. HelpSystems more than doubled in size under Heim’s tenure as CEO. Before joining HelpSystems, Chris served as a long-time HelpSystems board member.

Chris has a strong track record of success as CEO of companies including Axium Software, Amcom Software (now Spok), and HighJump Software, respectively.

Under Heim’s leadership, HighJump Software grew from $8 million in sales in 1997 to a run rate of $80 million in sales in 2006 and became the fastest growing company in their market space. In 2002, HighJump received the Tekne Award from the Minnesota High Technology Association as the Top Emerging Software Company. In 2003, Heim was selected as an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

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John Block

Partner, HGGC

John is a partner at HGGC, a leading private equity firm. He’s active in the firm’s Fund III investment in Mi9 and HelpSystems, the Fund II investments in Aventri, Davies Group, Integrity, FPX and Pearl, as well as the Fund I investment in Innovative and MyWebGrocer. He previously was involved with the firm’s exited investments in Citadel, Hollander and hybris.  Prior to his current role at the firm, John was an associate at HGGC. Previously, he was a senior associate consultant for Bain & Company, where he served private equity clients on due diligence projects and general practice clients spanning multiple industries on growth-oriented strategies. John is a graduate of the Booth School of Business at The University of Chicago.

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Steve Young

President & Co-Founder, HGGC

Steve serves as Chairman of the Board of five HGGC portfolio companies: IDERA, Integrity, DealerFX, AutoAlert and Innovative.  Prior to sale, he also served as a member of the Board of Directors for the firm’s Fund II investment in Serena Software (acquired by Micro Focus International plc) and the Fund I exited investments in hybris Software (acquired by SAP SE) and Sunquest Information Systems (acquired by Roper Technologies).

Prior to the inception of HGGC, Steve's professional football career spanned more than fifteen years in the NFL, primarily with the San Francisco 49ers, where he received numerous accolades, including Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XXIX, Sports Illustrated and Sporting News' Player of the Year from 1992 - 1994 and the NFL's Most Valuable Player for 1992 and 1994. In 2005, Steve was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the first left-handed quarterback to be so honored. When he retired, Steve was the highest-rated quarterback in NFL history and has the distinction of being the only signal caller in league annals to win four consecutive NFL passing titles.

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Richard F. Lawson

Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder, HGGC

As its chief executive officer and co-founder, Richard has directed leading private equity firm HGGC’s governance, investment strategy and investor relations since its inception. Over its history, HGGC has completed platform investments, add-on acquisitions, recapitalizations and liquidity events with an aggregate transaction value of $15 billion. Prior to leading HGGC, Richard established predecessor private equity funds Huntsman Gay Capital Partners in 2007, as well as Sorenson Capital in 2002. Richard also worked at Morgan Stanley in its mergers and acquisitions department and served as President and Chief Executive Officer of enterprise software company Found, Inc. He also serves on the board on several philanthropic and cultural institutions including the Capital Impact Foundation, San Francisco Zoo, Wasatch Adaptive Sports and the Forever Young Foundation.

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Benjamin Levin

Founder and Partner, Level Equity

Benjamin Levin is a partner and founder at Level Equity. He has been an investor in growing media, software and services companies since 1997. Prior to founding Level Equity he was a Managing Director at Insight Venture Partners; previous professional experience includes Mentmore Holdings and Salomon Brothers, and he is a graduate of Harvard College.

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Lisa Choi Owens

CRO & Head of Partnerships, TED 

Lisa Choi Owens is the Chief Revenue Officer and Head of Partnerships at TED. TED is a non-profit committed to engaging with the world’s most inspired thinkers to share ideas worth spreading. Lisa is responsible for assuring that TED continues to grow its reach and impact as a global media platform through strategic partnerships with mission-aligned organizations around the world.

Prior to TED, Lisa served on the senior leadership team for the Scripps Networks as the co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Ulive, an internally funded start-up inside of Scripps Networks Interactive. Before founding Ulive, Lisa was the General Manager of Digital Media for Scripps which included oversight of category-leading websites FoodNetwork.com, HGTV.com, and TravelChannel.com.

Ms. Owens is dedicated to advancing the media industry by supporting diversity, inclusion, and innovation. To further these goals, she serves on the Diversity Council at TED, as an Executive Member of She Runs It, an organization committed to encouraging and promoting women in the marketing and media fields, and she was also a board member with the National Association of Multi-Ethnicity in Communications. Additionally, as a member of the Board of Directors for Digital Content Next, Ms. Owens utilized her extensive professional experience to move the digital media industry forward by strengthening relationships between media brands, consumers, and marketers.

Owens holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley.

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