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Farley Welcomes New Advisory Board Members

Ibraheem Alinur, Mark Desky, Mary Lou Song, and Neal Sales-Griffin join the Farley advisory board as the center continues to expand entrepreneurial education at Northwestern

With eighteen members, the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation’s advisory board aims to strengthen internal and external relationships, enrich the current curriculum, and seek new areas of growth for the center. Adding to the center’s already robust advisory board, Farley welcomes new members Ibraheem Alinur, Mark Desky, Mary Lou Song, and Neal Sales-Griffin. These four offer valuable expertise and experience in the technology and entrepreneurship landscape, startup marketing, student mentoring, as well as extensive networks and unique outlooks on entrepreneurship. 

“The fresh perspectives each of them brings will be enormously valuable as we work to secure Farley’s position as the preeminent center for entrepreneurship and innovation,” said Hayes Ferguson, Farley director and clinical associate professor. “Among other things, this will include increasing efforts to make entrepreneurship education easily accessible to all Northwestern students; introducing new courses; establishing a presence on Northwestern’s San Francisco campus; and much more.”

Ibraheem Alinur (McC ’20), is the CEO and co-founder of City Health Tech, an early-stage company that was promoting diligent handwashing before the pandemic and then, as COVID-19 deepened, ramped up its marketing efforts to support Chicago-area schools and businesses. He also is a project consultant for the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association. A first-generation Carribean-American and college student from a low-income background, Alinur brings his perspective not only as a recent graduate, but as an advocate for making entrepreneurship accessible to all Northwestern students. He has a minor in entrepreneurship from the Farley Center, and is also the recipient of the Farley Family scholarship and Gates scholarship. 

Mark Desky (Medill ’88, MS Medill ’90) is an adviser for Ignite Journeys, which helps to cultivate leaders, promote inclusion, and elevate purpose. He is a longtime mentor at The Garage and served at the marketing helm of Groupon during its early success. Desky has led marketing at a range of other startups, including Tempus, a tech startup that helps physicians make data-driven decisions. He spends much of his time mentoring, advising, and volunteering, and aims to help cultivate leaders, promote inclusion, and elevate purpose through those activities.

Mary Lou Song (Medill ’91) is a former member of Northwestern's Board of Trustees and returns to the Farley advisory board after having served from 2016 to 2018. Song was a founding employee and senior productmanager of eBay, director of community development for the social networking company Friendster, and founder of several media companies focused on blogging, aggregated news, and video products. She is an adjunct lecturer at the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, was inducted into the Medill Hall of Achievement in 2019, and co-teaches Farley's NUvention Web + Media. She brings her experience in community and product strategy, in the classroom, as well as her ongoing involvement in Silicon Valley startups, to the board.

Neal Sales-Griffin (SESP ‘09) is the managing director of Techstars Chicago, a worldwide network for entrepreneurs, and a venturepartner at MATH Venture Partners. In 2011, he co-founded the first beginner-focused, in-person coding bootcamp. A board member for various organizations including the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Sales-Griffin is a faculty coach at the University of Chicago School of Business and an adjunct lecturer at Farley.

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