Diane Hessan is a successful entrepreneur, marketer and author. She is currently the CEO of Salient Ventures, an investment and advisory company with a portfolio of angel investments focused on Boston technology companies. Prior to Salient, she was CEO of Startup Institute, which is dedicated to helping people transform their careers to succeed in the exciting innovation economy.
She is also the Founder and Chairman of C Space, 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 became the company’s first CEO 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. In 2014, she was inducted into the Babson Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs and she received the Asper Award for Global Entrepreneurship from Brandeis.
In addition to the Tufts Board, Diane also serves on the board of Panera, Mass Challenge, Eastern Bank, CoachUp, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. She 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). Diane is an avid Red Sox fan and is co-founder of The Sound Bytes, an a cappella group that sings about business. She was elected to the Tufts University Board of Trustees in November 2012.