Diane Hessan is a successful entrepreneur, marketer and author. She is currently CEO of Salient Ventures, an investment and advisory company with a portfolio of angel investments focused on Boston technology companies. She is also engaged in an ongoing research project focused on understanding and tracking voters from the last Presidential Election. Her Op-Ed on these voters, published in the Boston Globe, has been lauded as having saved countless families from screaming and yelling at each other last Thanksgiving. Prior to Salient, she was CEO of Startup Institute, which is dedicated to helping people transform their careers to succeed in the exciting innovation economy.
She is also Chairman of C Space, where she was CEO for 13 years. C Space (formerly Communispace) is a next-generation market research company, which builds online communities to help marketers generate consumer insights, with “a Blue Chip client list that would make a Madison Avenue giant jealous," according to Advertising Age. Diane led the company to 13 years of exponential growth, and it now has over 500 employees, and offices in over a dozen countries. The company was sold to Omnicom in 2011.
Diane has spent her career as a business executive, and as co-author of the book Customer-Centered Growth: Five Strategies for Building Competitive Advantage. The book, a Business Week best-seller, was published in 11 languages.
Diane has received many honors, including the Pinnacle Award from the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, the Most Admired CEO award and Boston Power 50 award from the Boston Business Journal, Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year (National Finalist), the Northstar Award from Springboard, the Great Boston Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur of the Year, and a range of Best Boss citations. In 2014, she was inducted into the Babson Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs and she received the Asper Award for Global Entrepreneurship from Brandeis.
Diane serves on the boards of Tufts University, Mass Challenge, Panera, Eastern Bank, CoachUp, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and is Special Advisor to Datapoint Capital, a leading early-stage venture firm. She received her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and her B.A. in Economics from Tufts University. She has 2 grown daughters, and is also founder of The Sound Bytes, an a cappella group that sings about business.