Melissa Kaufman is an internationally recognized entrepreneurship expert, award-winning author, and former executive director of The Garage at Northwestern University. She is passionate about inspiring the next generation of leaders through education and community.
Bio and Background
Melissa Kaufman is an internationally recognized entrepreneurship expert, award-winning author, and has mentored thousands of students and entrepreneurs. She is passionate about inspiring the next generation of leaders through education and community.
Melissa was formerly the founding executive director of The Garage at Northwestern. The Garage is a pioneer in student entrepreneurship education and is an award-winning, internationally recognized entrepreneurship program. Through a hands-on, experiential learning environment, The Garage aims to empower students with the skills and entrepreneurial mindset they need to succeed in any industry. The Garage's thought leadership has been featured in publications like The New York Times, Entrepreneur, Fortune, and TechCrunch and has been studied and emulated by other universities around the world. Under Melissa's leadership, The Garage incubated over 1000 student-founded startups that have raised over half a billion dollars.
Melissa is also a former Googler, startup veteran, and entrepreneur with a decade of experience at consumer technology companies in Silicon Valley. She is the author of the award-winning book Founded: The No B.S. Guide for Student Entrepreneurs. Founded was awarded the 2022 Best Indy Book Award in Entrepreneurship and the 2022 Axiom Business Book Award Silver Medal for Entrepreneurship and Small Business. Founded is used as a textbook in the classroom at independent schools, colleges, and universities nationwide. Melissa received her B.A. in computer science from Dartmouth College and is an alumnae of Lakeside School in Seattle, WA.
Melissa currently teaches 'Entrepreneurship and Business Fundamentals', a project-based curriculum she created for high school juniors and seniors, based on her book, Founded, at Seabury Hall, an independent private school in Maui, Hawaii. She has also designed original high school entrepreneurship curriculum for North Shore Country Day School and Harvard-Westlake School, independent private schools in Winnetka, Il and Los Angeles, CA respectively. Melissa enjoys teaching through experiential learning and believes that entrepreneurship is one pathway of many to helping students discover their professional purpose.