J. David Nelson, Director

Dave enjoyed a 33-year intrapreneurial career at IBM, focusing on new products, new markets, and services. He was one of the first executives in what is now known as IBM Global Services, and he lived in Beijing, managing IBM’s largest business unit in China for three years from 1996 to 1998. In 1999, he retired to seek a second or “encore” career.

From 2001 until 2009, Dave was the COO of The National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), a nonprofit, international educational foundation that teaches entrepreneurship to young people from low-income communities whose purpose was to get these students engaged in learning and graduating from high school. For his work at NFTE, Dave was named a 2006 Purpose Prize Fellow, one of seventy Americans whose achievements as a social innovator in an “encore” career were recognized.

Dave serves on numerous boards and committees including VaporStream® (a software startup in Chicago), the Literacy Assistance Center in New York City, Future First in California, and the Children’s Learning Centers of Fairfield County and the World Affairs Forum, both in Stamford. Previously, he was chair of the AARP Foundation Board and a member of the board of AARP.

Dave earned his bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and an MBA in marketing from the Kellogg School of Management, which presented him an Alumni Service Award in 2008. He has lectured at graduate business schools such as Harvard, Kellogg, and Renmin (Beijing). He has attended advanced education programs conducted by The Brookings Institution, Harvard Business School, the Aspen Institute and the U.S. Army War College. He enjoys cooking, biking, travel and the music of the Baroque and Sinatra.

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