Managing Director - CJM Ventures, LLC / OPTO Holdings, L.P.
McGowan’s private equity career began 25 years ago with AEA Investors in New York City, after earning an undergraduate degree in theoretical mathematics from Columbia University’s College of Arts and Sciences, and following two years of mergers and acquisitions training at Morgan Stanley.
In 2011, with the help of MDP leadership and mentors, McGowan formed CJMV, a private equity firm focused on buyouts and growth equity investments in companies located near Chicago and London. CJMV’s current portfolio includes OPTO International, an Illinois-based manufacturer of retail shelving and display systems; Cedar Capital, a Chicago-based asset management firm; and Ingenica Solutions, a UK-based health care information technology company. CJMV’s former portfolio companies include Autism Home Support Services (“AHSS”), the largest provider in Illinois of home-based therapy for children on the autism spectrum. He is also a board member of 8th Light, BigStep Cloud, Campus Cubed, CompanyFirst, Innovare, Just Hot Tubs, Kinzie Capital, Leadership Lyceum, and is a Board observer for Kenna Security, Psycle and SonarMed. He was formerly a Board member of Rise Interactive, Simple Mills (observer), and Spikeball.
Since Spring 2012, McGowan has taught at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business (“Booth”), and currently serves there as an Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship, and as an Investor in Residence and Faculty Advisor to Booth’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. In the Fall of 2019, he began his ninth year teaching Booth’s Sterling Partners Investment Thesis Challenge (“SPITC”) and his seventh year co-teaching Booth’s Private Equity and Venture Capital Lab. He also has conducted the Booth Private Equity Case Challenge (f.k.a. Oxford-Chicago Global Private Equity Challenge) for the last five years.
McGowan is an active angel investor and currently serves as Chairman of the Limited Partner Advisory Committee for Hyde Park Venture Partners Fund I (and a member of Fund II’s Board), on the Board of Directors and Portfolio Advisory Board of Hyde Park Angels, and as Chairman of the Advisory Board for Valley Growth Ventures.
McGowan married his high school sweetheart, Sandy, and they have three children: one recent graduate of Walter Payton College Prep, and two attending the University of Chicago’s Laboratory Schools (“Lab”). At Lab, McGowan served for nine years on its Board of Directors including four years leading Lab’s Development Committee (two as Chair, two as Co-Chair), including oversight for Lab+, the School’s $80 million capital campaign. McGowan is the former President of Friends of Walter Payton College Prep (and former Chair, Annual Fund), and serves on the Board of Trustees for the Court Theatre at the University of Chicago, as well as the SHSAA Board of Trustees for Stuyvesant High School, where he attended with Sandy in New York City.
PRINCIPAL - LASALLE II MAGNET SCHOOL
Lauren Albani is the current principal at LaSalle II Magnet School. The mission at LaSalle II is to not only provide the highest quality of programs across the core subject areas, but to also educate students about other cultures and to teach them to communicate in critical languages spoken around the world. As part of the daily curriculum, students participate in world language instruction in Arabic, French, Chinese, or Spanish. Under her leadership, LaSalle II has experienced significant academic success and developed into a vibrant school community for students and their families.
Lauren began her career teaching on the west side of Chicago and then in Gary, Indiana. Inspired by her time in the classroom, she became an administrator in order to more broadly impact educational change. Later, she was accepted into the UIC Urban Education Leadership Program, and recently successfully completed her doctorate degree.
Lauren believes that all students deserve a high-quality education and is committed to making that a reality for students in Chicago Public Schools.
FOUNDER & PRESIDENT – SURGE INSTITUTE
Carmita’s career started in corporate America; however corporate could not contain her desire to lead high-‐impact initiatives that benefit urban youth and transform urban communities -‐ so she blazed a trail within the non‐profit sector. Carmita’s commitment to empowering our country’s most under-‐served young people by providing them with pathways to excellence through education and holistic supports led her to a decade of executive service, driving results for visionary leaders including Alma Powell, Gen. Colin Powell and Arne Duncan, the former US Secretary of Education.
Carmita holds an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, and a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Academy for Urban School Leadership, Marwen, and America’s Promise Alliance. She has received numerous awards and recognition for her thought-‐leadership and professional service, including the Chicago Business Journal’s 2016 Woman of Influence award.
FOUNDER – EDUCATION PIONEERS
An educator, attorney, and social entrepreneur with a strong background in creating quality educational opportunities for students, Scott began his career teaching social studies and leadership at St. Jude High School in Montgomery, Alabama, through the University of Notre Dame’s ACE Program. Scott later served as the legal counsel for Aspire Public Schools, where he worked with the management team and school leaders to build a network of high-performing public charter schools throughout California. At Education Pioneers, Scott feels incredibly fortunate to collaborate with exceptional individuals and high-performing organizations that share his deep commitment to developing diverse, talented leaders to transform urban education.
Scott graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in government from the University of Notre Dame, received his Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Portland, and earned his law degree from Stanford Law School. Scott is a Draper Richards Kaplan Entrepreneur, a board member of Beyond 12, Inc., and a Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow, Class of 2010. An avid San Francisco Giants fan, Scott lives in Alameda, CA, with his wife and two daughters. Follow Scott on Twitter at @scottmorgan1.
FOUNDER & CEO – LATINOS FOR EDUCATION
Amanda was a Director at The Bridgespan Group where she served as an organizational consultant to youth and education clients in support of their strategic planning efforts. In this capacity, she also developed HR tools that have been widely utilized by nonprofit organizations nationally. She spent seven years at Deloitte, an international professional services firm, where she focused on human capital consulting projects primarily in merger and acquisition environments and diversity programs for Deloitte staff nationally.
Over the course of her professional career, Amanda has been a frequent speaker at conferences and events. She is a blogger on Huffington Post LatinoVoices and has been featured in Poder Magazine’s list of movers and shakers. She is the recipient of the Ricardo Salinas Scholarship. She currently serves on the KIPP Massachusetts, Achieve Mission, Roxbury Community College boards and the RISE Colorado advisory board. El Planeta named her one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in Massachusetts. Amanda holds an M.S. from Fordham University and lives in the Boston area with her spouse and two children.
DIRECTOR, EQUITY IN THE CENTER
Kay is the Executive Director of Equity in the Center, which seeks to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase equity in the social sector.
As a former independent consultant, Kerrien facilitates leadership teams in bold decision making to solve strategic and operational challenges. She has expertise in leading senior executives and managers through strategic planning, business case analysis, and change management initiatives. Kerrien also supports chief executives and senior leadership teams, through thought partnership and management coaching, in building organizational capacity to achieve measurable outcomes.
Kerrien has worked extensively in education and has experience taking innovative program models, in both the charter and public school context, to scale regionally and nationally. She supported the implementation of a $15M national charter management pilot for EdisonLearning and helped to secure national accreditation while taking the Communities In Schools drop-out prevention model to scale in DC. In addition to the United Nations and World Bank, she has consulted at The Advisory Board, Bain & Company and AT Kearney, Twentieth Century Fox and Viacom. She is a graduate of Harvard College and London School of Economics.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, EARLY COLLEGE - CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Rita Raichoudhuri is the former principal of Wells Community Academy High School and current Executive Director of Early College in Chicago Public Schools. As an educational leader, she strives to provide students with a well-rounded education with attention to rigorous academics, social-emotional learning and robust opportunities for post-secondary success. She effectively engages all stakeholders in accomplishing this task. During her tenure as principal, Wells HS saw tremendous growth in all fronts. Now, Rita serves students at the district level.
Rita began her career in education as a classroom teacher in a high needs neighborhood middle school in Northern California. Her hands-on approach to pedagogy and high expectations of her students led them to achieve some of the highest gains in the district, garnering her several awards and recognition. During her years as a teacher, she was also actively engaged in various leadership opportunities within her school. She subsequently moved to the district office to lead special initiatives around building the leadership capacity of teachers. She moved to Chicago to join the newly formed Office of Performance. Her primary role was to help principals systematically build the capacity of their teacher leaders in order to improve student outcomes. Rita also led several key district initiatives around adult learning during her time in the Office of Professional Learning.
Rita believes that education is the primary equalizer of various social justice issues that our communities face today. She is passionate about providing our next generation with quality education and life options so that they may break the cycle of poverty for their families and communities while learning to be contributing members of society. Although not a Chicago native, she has fallen in love with this city and considers it her home. She wants to see all the students of Chicago Public Schools be successful.