Vanessa Z. Chan

Professor of Practice, Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Materials Science and Engineering (MSE)


Honors and Awards:  Rad Award finalist for Product of the Year - 2016, Today Show Finalist for the Next Big Thing - 2016, Marvin Bower Award awarded by McKinsey in Recognition of Exemplary Firm Values -2016, Joel Portnoy Award awarded by McKinsey & Company for leadership - 2010, Alexander von Humboldt Post-Doctoral Fellow - 2000-2001, National Science Foundation International Research Opportunity Fellow - 1999-2000, IBM Co-operative Research Fellowship - 1997-1999, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship - 1994-1997

Research Expertise: Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Market-led Innovation

Vanessa's focus is at the interface of innovation, technology and business where she is adept at translating technology/product assets to meet unmet needs. She is a part of Penn's Engineering Entrepreneurship faculty and leads Senior Design for the Materials Science department. Vanessa is an entrepreneur (the inventor of loopit, tangle-free headphones that are currently sold on QVC) and an angel investor with Robin Hood Ventures. Prior to Penn she was a partner at McKinsey & Company where she co-led their innovation practice, helping Fortune 100 companies with deep R&D portfolios commercialize their technologies. She continues to be a writer & speaker on 1) the journey from corporate executive to entrepreneur and 2) work-life integration. Vanessa is the co--President of the Philadelphia Chapter of Ellevate Network, the chair of the BRIC (Business Resource Innovation Center) for the Free Library of Philadelphia and a member of the Innovation Business Development Advisory Council for United Technology Corporation (a $55B industrial conglomerate) and the Advisory Board for Charge-it-Spot. Vanessa is also passionate about K-12 education and is an active Trustee for Springside Chestnut Hill (SCH) Academy and a founding member of SCH's Venture Incubator Advisory Board, where she has helped K-12 students bring their ideas to life.

Member of:

Ph.D. - Materials Science & Engineering (2000) - Massacheusetts Institute of Technology
BSE - Materials Science & Engineering (1994) - University of Pennsylvania

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