Diane Hessan is a successful entrepreneur, marketer and author. She is currently the CEO of Startup Institute, which is dedicated to helping people transform their careers. Via SI’s programs, people gain the skills, mindset and networks to succeed in the exciting startup world. Since its inception 2 years ago, over 800 students have gone through Startup Institute program in Boston, New York, London, Chicago and Berlin.
She is also the Founder and Chairman of Communispace, a leading next-generation market research company “with a Blue Chip client list that would make a Madison Avenue giant jealous,” according to Advertising Age. A pioneer in creating online communities to help nearly 300 global corporations generate consumer insights, Diane helped found Communispace in 1999 – when no one knew what social media was — and hasn’t looked back.
Diane is also co-author of the book Customer-Centered Growth: Five Strategies for Building Competitive Advantage. The book was a Business Week best-seller and was published in 11 languages. She has received many honors for her leadership, including The Pinnacle Award from the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Most Admired CEO Award and Boston Power 50 from the Boston Business Journal, Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur of the Year, and a range of Best Boss citations. The Boston Globe listed her as #3 on its Top Women in Technology List, and Communispace was listed as one of 25 Top Places to Work in Boston.
In addition to the Tufts Board, Diane also serves on the board of Panera, the Advertising Research Foundation, and Horizons for Homeless Children.
Diane has a B.A. from Tufts and an M.B.A from Harvard. She lives in Boston and is the mother of two grown daughters, Lindsay & Amanda Garces (A11). She is an avid Red Sox fan and is co-founder of The Sound Bytes, an a cappella group that sings about business. Diane was elected to the Tufts University Board of Trustees in November 2012.