Rochester-based business consultant and former Xerox executive Katherine O’Brien has been hired as the newest coach at Rochester Institute of Technology’s Venture Creations technology business incubator. O’Brien joins a team of three Venture Coaches, along with Interim Director Peter Parts, Interim Associate Director Roy Pierce, and support staff.
O’Brien is the owner of ROC City Consultants since 2016. Prior to that, she worked for Xerox as director of Sales Operations, director of Business Development and Strategy, and general manager of Xerox’s Color Wide Format Business, among other roles. Her expertise is in strategic and tactical planning, product design and commercialization, process improvement, business development, research and development, sales and marketing and project and program management.
O’Brien earned a Ph.D. and master’s degree in inorganic chemistry from University of Rochester and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Williams College. She also has training in Lean Six Sigma, is a mentor for the University of Rochester Simon Vision Program, and is past president of the Western New York Product Development and Management Association.
“We are thrilled to announce the addition of Katherine O’Brien to our Venture Creations team,” said Parts. “Our client companies will find great value in Katherine’s breadth and depth of experience in many facets of industry from finding and implementing solutions to difficult business problems, to maximizing productivity, to anticipating market needs and product development. Katherine is also very people-focused and we are fortunate to have her on board.”
Venture coaches provide one-on-one consulting to early- and mid-seed stage start-up companies to help evaluate business opportunities, develop business plans, prepare grant applications and guide in the development of the business. Coaches also provide connections to RIT resources including RIT faculty, service providers, technical and executive talent, investors, interns and facilities.
“I am excited to join RIT as a coach in the Venture Creation Incubator,” said O’Brien. “As a consultant over the past four years, I have had the opportunity to help small businesses in New York grow. I am looking forward to being part of a great team and helping many more start-up companies be successful.”
Venture Creations was created in 2003 to provide services to incubating companies, facilitating the development and operation of these companies for the purpose of advancing the educational and research missions of RIT through the enhancement of faculty, student and staff involvement in high technology. It promotes economic development and competitiveness in Monroe County and New York state by encouraging and facilitating the transfer of technology resources to the marketplace. The total number of launched companies now stands at 42, with 559 jobs having been created.