Carol Dahl, Executive Director

Dr. Carol Dahl is the Executive Director of The Lemelson Foundation. With a background in discovery sciences, innovation programs, and global health and development, Dr. Dahl leads the Foundation’s work to use the power of invention to improve lives. The Foundation inspires and enables the next generation of inventors and invention-based enterprises to promote economic growth in the US, and help solve social and economic problems for the poorest populations in developing countries.

Prior to joining the foundation in July 2011, Dahl worked for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in various roles, including founding Director of the Global Health Discovery Program and as Director of Staff for the overall Global Health Program. During her tenure at the Gates Foundation, Dahl built the platform discovery innovation programs Grand Challenges in Global Health and Grand Challenges Explorations. Read More

Tracee Betancourt, Finance and Grants Accountant

Tracee Betancourt is the Foundation's Finance and Grants Accountant, supporting its grants management and accounting functions. She ensures proper reporting, compliance, quality control and data management across both the finance and grants departments, and works to join financial information between systems in support of financial planning and overall financial accountability.

Prior to joining the Foundation in February 2017, Tracee worked as the Financial Controller for the Riverside Community Health Foundation in California for over 11 years. She was responsible for all accounting information, investments, human resources and grant reporting. Tracee attended Riverside Community College and currently attends Grand Canyon University studying to obtain an B.A. in Accounting.


Rachel Jagoda Brunette, Program Officer

Rachel Jagoda Brunette manages the Foundation’s work in our home state of Oregon. She strives to enhance the local ecosystem that inspires Oregonians to invent, supports invention education, and nurtures young inventors in taking their idea to impact through new businesses.

Prior to joining the Foundation in 2014, Rachel worked on science, technology, and education policy in the government and nonprofit sectors. As professional staff with the US House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology, she handled oversight of federal STEM programs at the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Department of Homeland Security, and other agencies. She also helped advocate for investments in education, sustainability, and basic research while working at the American Society for Engineering Education. After relocating to Oregon in 2008, Rachel worked for local elected officials on issues related to STEM education, technology industry development, and economic competitiveness.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Georgetown University and a master’s degree in political management from The George Washington University.

Jennifer Burran, Grants, Contracts and IT Manager

Jennifer Burran joined the Foundation in June 2009 as Grants Manager, overseeing the flow of grants and program-related investments (PRIs) through their life cycles. This includes managing legal compliance, processing grants and PRIs, and ensuring adherence to agreements, as well as creating and constantly improving the systems that make this management possible. Jennifer’s efforts help ensure that all of our investments in grantees are made in an efficient and effective way.

Previously, Jennifer held grants management roles at The Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, and The Gill Foundation. She began her career in marketing where she wrote website content, marketing collateral materials, and direct mail campaigns for Fortune 500 companies, start-up high tech companies and non-profit organizations. Jennifer currently serves on the Advisory Council for TechSoup Global’s NGOsource, which helps U.S. grantmakers streamline their international giving. From 2007-2011, she served on the Grants Manager’s Network Board of Directors.

Jennifer earned a B.A. from Indiana University with a double major in communications and marketing.

Cindy Cooper, Program Officer

Cindy Cooper is a Program Officer at The Lemelson Foundation who supports U.S. and developing country higher education institutions that promote invention and invention-based enterprises that improve lives. She has a strong interest in building and growing ecosystems that help young impact-driven entrepreneurs move their inventive ideas out of the lab and into the market.

Cindy is an expert in social entrepreneurship education and incubation. Previously, she co-founded and served as the Director of Portland State University’s Impact Entrepreneurs Program and led PSU’s successful bid for recognition as an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus. She developed PSU’s Social Innovation Incubator, which successfully incubated enterprises committed to solving environmental and social problems. She also oversaw the creation of and instruction for the Business of Social Innovation Certificate, the nation’s first online academic and professional certificate in social innovation and entrepreneurship.

Cindy holds a Global M.B.A. with distinction from Thunderbird School of Global Management, and earned a B.A. summa cum laude in both Psychology and Spanish from Claremont McKenna College in California.

David Coronado, Program Officer

David Coronado joined The Lemelson Foundation as a Program Officer in 2015, and works to support student growth by promoting equal access to invention education, STEM coursework, and out-of-school learning in K-12 schools. David is passionate about breaking the cycle of poverty that prevents many young people from succeeding, and providing alternative pathways that involve inspiration, education and graduation.

Before joining The Lemelson Foundation, David spent over a decade as executive director of the Oregon MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement) program at Portland State University – a Lemelson Foundation grantee. He managed all aspects of Oregon MESA’s work to help students from underserved communities gain access to STEM and invention education. Nationally, he served as the President of the MESA USA organization and brought invention education as an approach that has now been integrated across the MESA program nationally. In addition, David served as an academic coordinator at Harvey Mudd College Math and Science Center and as President of the Oregon College Access Network.

David holds a B.A. from Occidental College.

Maggie Flanagan, Program Officer

Maggie Flanagan is a Program Officer who leads the Foundation’s Developing Country Entrepreneurship Initiative. She is an experienced entrepreneur and adviser to startups focused on supporting market-based solutions to environmental and social problems.

Maggie previously served as a Vice President for Business Development in the Kenya office of Village Industrial Power, a social enterprise startup dedicated to providing clean and cost-effective energy sources for farmers in developing countries. Maggie previously served as Director of Entrepreneur Programs at Rocky Mountain Innosphere in Fort Collins, Colorado, where she provided assistance to emerging companies and managed external partnerships with universities, government offices and corporations. 

Maggie began her career as a Peace Corps volunteer, working as a Community Health and Development Volunteer in Madagascar. She received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a major in Journalism and Mass Communications and a minor in Political Science, and an MBA in Global and Sustainable Enterprise from Colorado State University. 


Pam Kahl, Communications Officer

Pam Kahl is an accomplished strategic communication professional who began her career with more than 14 years at WE, formerly known as Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, where she served as senior vice president and helped oversee agency marketing, business development, and the Microsoft Global Account planning team.

Ms. Kahl later led her own strategic communications consultancy, Verbal800 Communications, for nearly a decade, and then served as the vice president for development and communications at Grounds for Health, a nonprofit that addresses health care disparities for women in Africa and Latin America.

She holds a bachelor of arts in English from the University of California, Berkeley, as well as a master’s degree in digital media communications from the University of Washington. Ms. Kahl also earned a certificate in international development management and policy from the University of Washington Evans School of Public Affairs.

Rob Schneider, Senior Director of Strategy

Rob Schneider is the Foundation’s Senior Director of Strategy. He has deep experience in developing countries, having spent the past decade at the US Agency for International Development creating public-private partnerships between USAID, Fortune 50 corporations, and philanthropic foundations. Most recently, Rob led USAID’s impact investing and entrepreneurship initiatives as the Division Chief for Global Partnerships within USAID’s Global Development Lab, where he created and managed the Partnering to Accelerate Entrepreneurship (PACE) initiative to support local entrepreneurs around the world.

Rob has broad government experience, starting at USAID as a Presidential Management Fellow in 2005, and working with both the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and at the Economic Development Administration, where he focused on US urban development issues. He also has significant private sector experience through his work in the manufacturing and telecommunications sectors.

Rob has an MBA and Masters of Urban Planning from the University of Michigan, and a B. S. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Illinois. 

Jea Seconi, Senior Program Assistant

Jea Seconi provides the full range of support functions for the Foundation’s team including project management, administrative duties, scheduling and logistics, and event planning. She ensures that everything we do is done well, on time, and smoothly.

Jea moved to Portland and joined the Foundation in the summer of 2007. Previously, she worked as the Admissions and Development Coordinator and Director of Alumni Relations for the Rapid City Catholic Schools System in South Dakota. In that capacity, she served as activities organizer for incoming and potential students, their families, and alumni, and well as administrator of donor relations efforts.

Jea earned a B.B.A. with a double major in Finance and Business Administration from Houston Baptist University in Texas.

Philip Varnum, Chief Financial & Administrative Officer

Philip Varnum serves as Chief Financial and Administrative Officer, responsible for the Foundation’s finances, investments, IT infrastructure, and administration. He is responsible for overseeing the Foundation’s program-related investment portfolio which includes both loans and equity investments. He also serves as the staff liaison between the Foundation and its investment consultants. This includes performance reporting and the divest/invest process.

Prior to joining The Lemelson Foundation in 2007, Philip was with Portland State University Foundation for nearly ten years where he was responsible for accounting, investment, human resources, real estate and entrepreneurial functions. Philip earned an MBA degree from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.