Leslie Mitts

Leslie E. Mitts

  • An anthropologist, business professor and venture capitalist
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• Dr. Leslie E. Mitts is an anthropologist, business professor and venture capitalist. In these roles, she combines practice with theory to teach and drive innovation for education ventures and established and emerging technology companies.

• Dr. Mitts spent over 15 years in a wide variety of leadership roles at the University of Pennsylvania where she built programs and developed collaborations across the campus. Under Dr. Mitts’ leadership and during her tenure, performance in all areas—student engagement and learning, stakeholder satisfaction and fundraising—increased.

• Most recently at Penn, Dr. Mitts served as a board member and CEO of the Education Design Studio, Inc. (EDSi), a University-affiliated Fund supported by private investors whose mission was to incubate and invest in education technology ventures as a way to accelerate global childhood and young adult education. Before assuming leadership of EDSi, Dr. Mitts led the largest experiential education program of Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs. In this role, she taught and mentored the most competitively-recruited Wharton MBA and undergraduate students. In her first position at Penn, Dr. Mitts served as Program Faculty for the Wharton Marketing Department in Israel and India, a role she recently reprised when she led a global technology team seeking to first expand into Asia and the Pacific Rim and then Latin America and finally, the Silicon Valley.

• Prior to her work at Penn, Dr. Mitts was the Founding Managing Director of Phoenician Ventures I, LP, a fund focused on early-stage new media, communications, and software and services markets. She is also a founder and Managing Director of the Trident Consulting Group, Inc., a strategy and new business development firm which collaborates with leaders and decision-makers in the information technology, healthcare, and education markets. She also remains a principal in Phoenician Ventures II., a growth equity impact fund investing in healthcare, education, and sustainability.

• Over the course of her thirty-year career, Dr. Mitts has held a number of significant corporate consulting, financial operations and strategy positions, including roles with both Bell Atlantic Corporation (Verizon Corporation), and Comcast Corporation. She continues to speak on technology, innovation, and new forms of collaboration across the globe from the Peking University Law School to the Aspen Institute.

• Dr. Mitts earned her BA in Political Science at Bryn Mawr College. She received her MBA from the Wharton School with a double concentration in Operations Research and Management, and her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania. Her dissertation research was based on several years of fieldwork in early-stage entrepreneurship, and explains the ways in which entrepreneurship is both a function and vehicle of social change.

• Dr. Mitts has worked in the U.S. in Philadelphia, NYC, and San Francisco, and is planning a move to Tel Aviv. She is married to Maurice Mitts, an attorney, and they have two grown children, Alexander and Tatiana.