Our Coaches

Work one-on-one with experienced entrepreneurs and changemakers who are recruited for and trained in spike coaching.

Experienced Entrepreneurs

We believe you can’t teach innovation and entrepreneurship without living and breathing it yourself.

Deep Personal Networks

Coaches aren’t only teachers but also teammates who will roll up their sleeves to help students make the connections they need to change the world.

Dedicated Educators

Our coaches care deeply about every student. Their work is their calling: to inspire and transform kids to reach their full potential.

Graduates of top US Universities

Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Michigan, Princeton and more

Experienced Coaches

All our coaches have 2 or more years experience doing Spike coaching with us – most have more than 4!

Exhaustively Recruited

Our coaches are vetted through a 5-round interview process that is two times more selective than Harvard’s admissions process.

Lloyd Nimetz

Stanford MBA ’08 + Williams BA ’01

Lloyd is the founder of Spike Lab. He is a serial entrepreneur who has been a founder of six for-profits and nonprofits in the US, Taiwan, Argentina and India. Previously he directed 4.0 Schools’ education startup accelerator and before that was the co-founder of Dev Bootcamp NYC (parent company was acquired by Kaplan Inc in 2014). Lloyd went to Stanford University for his MBA, majored in Economics during his undergraduate studies at Williams College and was a Fulbright Scholar.

He has lived all over the world and currently resides in his native New York City with his wife, three young children and dog. He speaks English and Spanish fluently. On the side, Lloyd co-manages a fund called Maple Glen Investments, runs an open data initiative called Snowday and is president of a nonprofit called HelpArgentina.

Theo Wolf

Cornell BA ’13 | College Admissions Specialist

Theo is a writer and educator with a passion for creative innovation. Theo was the first hire at Spike Lab, and for more than six years he has helped it grow from 3 to its current size. In that time he has worked with more students than any other coach. He has led teacher trainings and workshops at a variety of schools, and is a mentor for Harvard’s Lemann Program on Creativity and Entrepreneurship.

Prior to Spike Lab, he worked for another education consulting company and at Cornell University. He is also a writer, with plays and screenplays produced in NYC, London, and LA. Theo is a frequent theater goer (has seen 250+ plays since college) and an ice cream enthusiast.

Ayna Agarwal

Harvard MBA ‘20 + Stanford BS ‘14

Ayna is a seasoned start-up operator and social entrepreneur with 10+ years of leadership across the private, public, and social sectors. She has worked in over 10+ countries, including building policy for India’s Central Government, supporting humanitarian efforts in Syria, and building healthcare innovations in Kenya. Most recently she was a Product Leader at Brightline Health, a kids and family mental health company, and began her career at Palantir Technologies, building software for the US government. During her time at Stanford, she co-founded a non-profit called she++, to help encourage more women to pursue industries that they might otherwise have been afraid of.

Ayna is passionate about design and creativity, Indian classical dance, and shelter animals (her high school Spike was around global animal welfare!).

Nathaniel Toppelberg

Yale BA ’15 + Wright Institute PsyD ’28 (anticipated)

Nathaniel is an experienced entrepreneur and coach who focuses on helping students make the most of their education. He’s launched 3 companies in the education space, one of which raised five million in investment capital from Benesse. Nathaniel is passionate about helping students become more productive and creative.

He’s also a yoga and meditation instructor, and brings a holistic wellness view to his work supporting students. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in clinical psychology at The Wright Institute in Berkeley, California.

Spencer Whale

Cornell BA ’14  + Columbia University MFA ’24 (anticipated)

Spencer is a theatre director, writer, and educator. He has 5 years of experience in classrooms and as a private tutor. Spencer is also a former child inventor, having patented and licensed a toy for hospitalized children.

He was a Directing Fellow at Manhattan Theatre Club and the inaugural Directing and Producing Fellow at City Theatre in Pittsburgh. Spencer originally wanted to be an architect in high school and enjoys a good board game with friends.

Sara Toulson

Williams BA ’08 + BU MBA ’19

Sara has mentored high school students for 10+ years. An idealist at heart, she has spent her career committed to schools and nonprofits that go beyond the status quo and offer a truly different way to learn. From an all-girls boarding school in the US to a co-ed secondary school in rural Tanzania, to a sports-based, youth development nonprofit, Sara’s expertise lies in scaling operations and building curriculums to support students. Sara was the first employee hired by two EdTech companies, one with $1 million investor backing and one bootstrapped through a startup accelerator program. Her first company, Ellie Glad, launched while she was volunteering in Tanzania, sold consumer goods with a 1-1 model.

Currently, Sara runs The Mindful Applicant, a program for students that teaches wellness and social-emotional skills. Born and raised in a small town in Maryland, Sara now lives in Boston with her husband.

Anna Neverova

Bard BA ’07 + Stanford MS ’18

Anna Neverova is the Founder and CEO of Phi Networks, a platform that supports founding teams and fast-growing startups by sourcing talent and capital. She is an experienced investor with a background in private credit and structured finance, including over 12 years in finance positions at MIO Partners, UBS Investment Bank, and Amur Capital Management. Anna focuses on private markets and principal investing opportunities that leverage big data and technology to create value, scale businesses and build new categories.

Anna earned a Masters from Stanford Graduate School of Business. There she was selected Class President and focused her studies on Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital. Anna received her Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Bard College, where she received a full scholarship as a Levy Economics Scholar. She currently serves on the Bard Alumni Board of Governors and on the iMentor Young Executive Board. Raised in Moscow, Tokyo, and New York, Anna now lives in New York City.

Alex Owens

Boston University BA ’07

Alex is a dedicated educator with over 10 years of classroom experience. Throughout this time, Alex has stewarded creative schools and learning environments (i.e. a makerspace, construction sites and a radio station) that encourage hands on learning, student autonomy, and collaborative problem solving. In New Orleans, he led the Innovation program at Bricolage Academy, providing the space, tools, and resources for elementary students to design and make the projects of their dreams.

Alex loves to make, create and produce things. He lives in New Orleans with his family, where he enjoys renovating his home, mixing music, and spending time with his adventurous kiddo.

Daniel Chiu

Stanford BS ’14 + Stanford MS ’15

Daniel is a software entrepreneur and startup/ technology consultant. Formerly a tech lead at Palantir, Daniel spent six years in technology and innovation in Silicon Valley before launching his own ventures. As a consultant, Daniel’s clients trust him to bring a rare blend of product management, technology leadership, and swift execution.

Daniel graduated early from Stanford with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Computer Science, with concentrations in AI, Computer Security and Computer Systems. He has been selected to be a Fellow in prestigious entrepreneurial programs such as Lightspeed Venture Partners’ Summer Fellowship and Harvard Medical School’s InciteHealth Fellowship. He also served as Lead Engineer for Stanford’s StartX. In the last three years, Daniel has lived in eight countries, and studied Spanish, French, and Chinese. He now lives and works in Taipei

Julia Gooding

Colgate BA ’08 + Harvard EdM ’12

Julia has worked in education, admissions and college counseling for over a decade. A graduate of Harvard Graduate School of Education, Julia has guided hundreds of students in the US and around the world in applying to top colleges and universities. Julia stays abreast of the ever-changing admissions landscape through regular college visits, networking with admissions officers, and active participation and leadership in professional associations; she is currently the Chair of the Global Committee of the most reputable professional association for educational consultants, the IECA.

Julia used to run an education NGO, developed a United Nations internship program, led cross-cultural experiential education programs for high school and college students and worked in early-stage startups. Julia has lived and traveled throughout the world and speaks Mandarin Chinese. She now lives in her home state of Maine.

Brandon Huang

Cornell BA ’14 + Wharton MBA ’24 (Anticipated)

Brandon is an entrepreneur and mentor with a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell and pursuing his MBA at UPenn: Wharton. He has worked as a strategy consultant at Deloitte Consulting and held a VP position at a health insurance tech startup. He founded a community of entrepreneurs and ran four small businesses before college graduation.

Brandon has 14 years of experience in mentorship roles and founded GoodRun, a platform for finding pickup basketball games and private court rentals in Taipei and New York City. In addition to GoodRun, Brandon is a product manager at CoverWallet. His hobbies include salsa dancing, cooking, biking, video games, and jiu-jitsu.

Sonia Garcia

Rice BSc ’14 + Stanford MSc ’18

Sonia is an entrepreneur, designer, engineer and natural educator who holds a BS in Biomedical engineering from Rice University and a M.Sc. in Engineering Design Impact from Stanford University, where she was one of only 50 people worldwide selected as a prestigious Knight-Hennessy Scholar. Sonia began her career as a strategy consultant in Accenture’s healthcare practice. During this time, she also founded a non-profit supporting young professionals with mental health disorders. She now works in San Francisco as the Director of Member Experience at Brightline, a digitally-enabled pediatric behavioral health startup.

Sonia’s driving passion is the application of human-centered design (HCD) and technology to improve people’s quality of life. During college, she founded Rice University’s Design for America studio, a student organization focused on creating local impact using HCD. She also designed and engineered personalized prosthetics in partnership with Hanger Prosthetics, as well as medical devices for pediatric patients with manual dexterity issues in collaboration with Shriners Hospital. Sonia is a native Texan and speaks fluent Spanish. In her free time, she enjoys challenging herself physically (ask her about running the Chicago marathon, learning to snowboard or scuba diving in Belize) and creatively through art and dance.

Jen Morrow Eident

Stanford MBA ’10 + Hamilton BA ’05 | Marketing Advisor

Jen is the marketing advisor for both the internal TSL team and for our students. She is an industry-leading marketing expert and serial entrepreneur. She is the CEO and cofounder of Morrow Lane, a full service, results-driven marketing company focused on high-growth startups. Previously she held multiple executive marketing roles and worked at TPG Growth, Cambridge Associates and the High-Tech Investment Division of the Abu Dhabi government. She was also the CEO and cofounder of Vixely, a leading iPad publication in women’s health. Jen received her MBA from Stanford University, where she helped launch a startup incubator between the d.school (design school) and MBA program. She received her BA from Hamilton College.

Jen advises and serves on the board of several start-ups, accelerators, nonprofits and universities, including Barnard’s Athena Center For Leadership and Stanford University. She is also the co-founder of Morrow Sloan, a jewelry and lifestyle brand that donates a portion of proceeds to helping female entrepreneurs. Jen lives in Princeton, NJ with her husband, two young daughters and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Cody Kitchen

Princeton BA ’15

Cody is an educator, designer, and craftsperson. He has worked continuously in the college planning industry since 2015, cultivating expansive experience in the field—from bridging the gap between Chinese public school students and U.S. liberal arts colleges, to coaching New York private school students toward their standardized testing goals. This breadth of experience helps Cody meet any student’s challenges and nurture their unique characteristics, successfully shepherding them into their best-fit colleges in an always evolving admissions process.

While an undergraduate at Princeton, Cody coordinated the largest outdoor freshman orientation program in the country and trained other student leaders to pilot incoming freshmen on weeklong backpacking trips. He became fluent in the fears and anxieties freshmen face during this transition, and this intimate knowledge helps him prepare his application students for mental and emotional success when they arrive at the college of their choice.

He spends his time in Brooklyn and Maine, where he uses traditional woodworking techniques to craft home objects that are functional, sustainable, and support the daily rituals of a healthy, mindful lifestyle.

Steven Eno

Johns Hopkins BS ’06

Steven has been teaching and coaching high school students in STEM and innovation for 10+ years. Having worked for NASA JPL, Northrop Grumman, and Saba Software, Steven is passionate about all things aerospace, computer science, and engineering. Steven founded and directed the SEED (Social Entrepreneurship, Engineering, and Design) program at The McDonogh School as well as a K-12 engineering program at his alma mater where he also coached teams of students to reach international engineering competitions.

He is an avid podcast consumer and biohacker. Steven is the founder of Impact Connections, a startup improving the experience for students, parents, and teachers in a rapidly changing education landscape. He lives in Maryland, where he homeschools his sons.

Ines Gramenga

LSE ’11 + Stanford MBA/MA ’17

Ines is a passionate entrepreneur in the field of wellbeing tech and HR tech. She is currently launching a company called Skylyte whose mission is to reduce burnout in the workplace. She has five years experience in adult education and business coaching, as well as deep business experience; she has been a management consultant at McKinsey and has serial entrepreneurship experience, including in college and high school.

Ines has lived in 4 different continents, and is led by an unquenchable thirst for discovery – both internal and external. Her hobbies include dancing, music, cooking and beauty. Ines studied Economics and Politics at London School of Economics and obtained her dual degree (MBA/MA in Education) from Stanford. Ines is originally European, but now resides in New York City.

Justin Gupta

Georgetown BS ‘09

Justin is a management consultant and educator with deep experience in social entrepreneurship. He has advised or grown social enterprises in such sectors as financial inclusion, health care, affordable housing, and more.

He has also served as a mentor and coach to a diverse set of aspiring entrepreneurs, including students at the high school and college levels. Justin is passionate about language and culture; he has lived, worked, or studied in 5 countries and is fluent in Spanish. He is originally from Massachusetts and now resides in Brooklyn, NY.

Jane Marie Chen

Harvard MPA ‘08 + Stanford MBA ‘08 + Pomona BA ’03

Jane Marie Chen is the co-founder and CEO of Embrace, a social enterprise startup that aims to help the 15 million premature and low birth-weight babies born every year, through a low-cost infant warmer. The Embrace infant warmer costs about 1% of a traditional incubator and is estimated to have helped over 300,000 babies to date. Prior to Embrace, Chen worked with nonprofit organizations on healthcare issues in developing countries.

She spent several years as the Program Director of a startup HIV/AIDS nonprofit in China (Chi Heng Foundation) and worked for the Clinton Foundation’s HIV/AIDS Initiative in Tanzania.

Uchechi Kalu

Princeton BA ’14

Uchechi is an entrepreneur, educator, and artist. She started her career in Beijing where she worked in international education and business for 4 years. She currently runs a consultancy for low-income students in the South applying to college and graduate school and wrote and published a college admissions guide book. Uchechi went to Princeton for her BA, and majored in Near Eastern Studies and Arabic. She’s also a singer, writer, and actress, and speaks multiple languages, including, Mandarin.

Uchechi is originally from South Carolina, and after many years living around the world, she recently returned to her home state to live.

Larry Liu

Michigan MA ’08 + BS ’07

Larry is an educator and co-founder of The Spike Lab. He was a high school teacher for six years, during which he taught AP Psychology, AP English, IB Physics, Robotics, Game Design, and Special Ed English. He has designed and run student leadership programs in the US, China, Mexico, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. Larry is an expert on growth mindset and founded an education consulting company that coaches school leaders throughout the US.

Before The Spike Lab, Larry became an experienced entrepreneurship coach, mentoring the founders of early stage startups through recognized startup accelerator programs like 4.0 Schools, the CUNY Student Accelerator, and The New School’s New Challenge. Larry speaks English and Mandarin fluently and currently lives in Taipei.

Grace Chiang

Stanford MBA + MA ’19 + Yale BA ’15

Grace is an entrepreneur and educator with deep expertise in adolescent development and business. She has been working with adolescents for over a decade, and is currently working on a start up to support parents of teenagers. Prior to her current start up, Grace started her career at McKinsey before working in venture capital, impact investing, and a number of start ups.

She loves discussing topics related to mental wellbeing, productivity, and diversity & inclusion. She studied history and economics at Yale, and received her MA in Education and MBA from Stanford. Grace is originally from Taiwan and currently resides in California with her puppy, Bailey.

Our coaching is inspired by the following thinking

In addition to high scores and high grades, you need even more at top schools to set you apart.

Michele Hernandez

from her book: A is for Admissions

It is worth it to become the kind of kid who organizes something in high school. Who builds projects that might not work and does them without the normal club or sports organization helping you become a cog in the system.

Seth Godin

from his Akimbo podcast episode, “How to get into a famous college”

Developing a sense of purpose is one of the most important and overlooked aspects of adolescent development.

William Damon

from a Wall Street Journal Article on his Stanford University Research.

Forget well-rounded. What you need to do is develop a huge spike.

Alan Cheng

Experiences, rather than short-term memorization, develop the skills and motivation that transform lives.

Tony Wagner

The Law of Focus. Master one serious interest. Don’t waste your time with unrelated activities.

Cal Newport

Innovation is a bottoms-up, decentralized, and unpredictable thing, but that doesn’t mean it cannot be managed.

Eric Ries

from his book: The Lean Startup

We like to think of our champions and idols as superheroes who were born different from us. We don’t like to think of them as relatively ordinary people who made themselves extraordinary.

Carol Dweck