The Leadership Team

Conference Leadership Team (Contact Information)

Danny McBee, Co-President (
Christine Kang, Co-President (
Ilia Gogichiashvili, Marketing (
Andrea McGuirt, Sponsorships (
Jessie Cai, CFO (
Austin Davis, Operations (
Dicle Agdas, Operations (
Kristina Hristova, Cross Border Panel Captain (
Monte Desai, Impact Panel Captain (
James Luo, Technology Panel Captain (
Phil Comerford, Healthcare Panel Captain (
Michelle Lee, Industrials Panel Captain (
Matt Sussman, Consumer Panel Captain (
Farha Faisal, Diversity in PE Panel Captain (
Tessa Vacher-Desvernais, State of VC Panel Captain (
Ibukun Otegbeye, Growth Equity Panel Captain (
Johann Friese, Operational Value Creation Panel Captain (
Julia Fifer, Fundraising / LP Panel Captain (
Catherine Xu, State of PE Panel Captain (
Brock Wilson, Turnaround / Distressed Panel Captain (
Majken Runquist, Fund Innovation Panel Captain (
Alice Chung, Family Office Panel Captain (



Leadership Team Bios

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Danny McBee is the co-President of the VCPE Conference, and a second-year MBA student at HBS. Prior to HBS, Danny worked in middle market private equity at Charlesbank Capital Partners, and in strategy consulting at The Boston Consulting Group. Danny graduated with honors from Vassar College, with a BA in Economics.

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Jessie Cai is a first year student at HBS.  Prior to attending HBS, Jessie was an associate at Summit Partners, a growth equity firm based in Boston.  She previously worked for Citigroup’s investment banking division in New York.  She holds a B.A. in mathematics and economics from Northwestern University and a certificate in financial economics from Kellogg School of Management.

Austin Davis is a first-year student at HBS.  Prior to HBS, Austin worked primarily in strategy consulting at Booz & Company (n.k.a. Strategy&), primarily for Industrial, Consumer Durable, and Professional Services clients.  He also worked with a middle market private equity firm (Razorhorse Capital) focused exclusively on North America enterprise software.  Austin received a B.S.E. in Industrial and Operations Engineering from the University of Michigan.

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Farha Faisal is a first-year MBA student at HBS. Prior to HBS, she worked at Blackstone, where she served on an investment team that evaluated non-control private equity investments in global alternative asset managers. She graduated with high honors from Harvard College.


Tessa Vacher-Desvernais is a first-year MBA student. Before joining HBS, she worked in venture capital at AngelsCube in London. Prior to that she worked in B2C and retail for five years at Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Cartier and L'Oreal in Europe and North America. She initially graduated from ESSEC Business School in France


Before HBS, Monte Desai was at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a new federal agency founded in response to the financial crisis. There, he served as Product Manager, using technology to transform the way government works. For his work, he was named one of the top 30 leaders in government by NextGen and won the Bright Ideas Award from the Harvard Kennedy School. Prior to CFPB, Monte led the turnaround of a family real estate firm in the southeast.


James Luo is a first year student at HBS. Immediately before HBS, James worked for two years at Advent International on the TMT private equity team. Before Advent, James was a consultant at McKinsey. He graduated summa cum laude from Princeton with a degree in Economics and certificates in Computer Science and Finance.

Johann Friese is a first year student at HBS. Prior to HBS, Johann worked as an Investment Associate in the Frankfurt, Germany office of Advent International. At Advent, Johann focused on evaluating investments in the industrial and consumer & retail sectors. He previously worked for J.P. Morgan’s investment banking division in the U.S. and Europe. Johann holds a degree in business administration from the University of Mannheim in Germany. 

Matt Sussman is a first year student at HBS. Prior to attending HBS, Matt was the Director of Commercial Strategy and Development for John Hardy, a luxury jewelry brand. Matt began his career as an analyst in Citigroup’s investment banking division in New York and then went to work as an associate at L Catterton, a consumer focused private equity firm. Matt graduated from Cornell University’s College of Arts and Sciences where he pursued an Independent Major focused on the analysis of the decision-making process. 

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Julia Fifer is a first year student at HBS. Prior to HBS, Julia worked at the Harvard Management Company as an associate on the Absolute Return and Public Markets teams, where she invested in long-only and hedge funds. Previously, she worked at State Street Global Markets, where she completed a rotational analyst program and focused on quantitative research. Julia graduated with honors from Harvard College with a B.A. in Economics.