Brad Burke, Managing Director
Brad Burke is the Managing Director of the Rice Alliance and has led the Rice Alliance since 2001. During that time, Rice’s graduate entrepreneurship program has achieved the #3 ranking in the U.S. (having been previously unranked). The Rice Alliance’s Rice Business Plan Competition has become the world’s largest and richest student startup competition in the world. Previously, Brad founded and managed the Houston office of Viant Corporation, a premier internet consulting firm, that went public via IPO in 1999, before being acquired in 2002. Prior to Viant, Brad was a Principal with CSC Index, the former management consulting division of Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC). Before CSC, Brad held executive management positions with Exxon. He received his M.B.A. from Northwestern University's Kellogg Graduate School of Management as an Austin Scholar and his B.S. from Vanderbilt University.
Mary Lynn Fernau, Director of Communications
Mary Lynn Fernau is the Director of Communications for the Rice Alliance. Mary Lynn shares the entrepreneurial spirit fostered by the Rice Alliance, having launched a successful child safety product and served as a child safety advisor to cities of New York and Houston. Pror to joining the Rice Alliance, Mary Lynn led her own independent marketing and strategic planning consultancy with clients including Korn Ferry International, AIG, UT-Health Science Center at Houston and Texas Children’s Hospital. Fernau serves on the Chief Marketing Office Board for the American Marketing Association and Houston Image Coalition. She received her B.A. from the University of Nebrask-Lincoln and M.L.S. from Rice University.
Jessica Fleenor, Assistant Director for Programs
Jessica manages programs that support entrepreneurship education and startup acceleration, including OwlSpark, Rice University’s startup accelerator, and Southwest I-Corps, an NSF-funded grant program that enables academics explore the commercial viability of their research. She is also the co-founder of Startup Career Fair, and Medulla, a branding and design agency for startups, nonprofits and small businesses. With a background in nonprofit management and entrepreneurship, Jessica brings more than seven years of experience in communications, design and program management. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in Creative Advertising from Virginia Commonwealth University.