Board Members of VMS or RI

The board members are well known entrepreneurs and business owners throughout the state of Rhode Island and bring years of experience.


The VMS of RI Board

Paul Olean is the founder and executive director of VMS of RI.

Paul Olean - Executive director

Paul has more than 35 years of experience in marketing, sales, and general management, in both domestic and international markets, for multinational and start-up companies.  Paul started his career in Sales and Marketing at Bose Corporation where he held a number of positions to include Director of North American Sales, Co-Director of Corporate Communications and European General Manager.  He has held positions in startup and venture backed companies where he orchestrated global rapid growth marketing strategies for both long term and acquisition goals. He was a Founder and Chairman of the Board for Balefire Labs Inc., an Edtech startup. He has worked as an adjunct professor at the Harvard University Extension School, where he taught marketing in the ALM Masters in Management program. He serves as a volunteer Mentor with the MIT Venture Mentoring Service.  A graduate of the University of Rhode Island, Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a Master's degree in Public Administration. 


Michael Katz, PH.D

Michael Katz is the Associate Vice President for Intellectual Property Management and Economic Development at the University of Rhode Island (URI).  He also serves as the Executive Director of the University of Rhode Island Research Foundation, a separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that manages the University’s intellectual property rights, supports industry/University research collaborations and hosts Rhode Island’s Manufacturers Extension Partnership, Polaris MEP.   In these capacities, he is focused on translating University discoveries into beneficial products and services, and on fostering knowledge exchange between the University’s research community and industry.

Prior to coming to the University of Rhode Island, Dr. Katz served as Executive Director of the offices at the University of California, Berkeley that were responsible for licensing intellectual property rights and contracting for research collaborations with industry partners. He was the founding Director of the Office of Industry Partnerships at Virginia Commonwealth University and an Assistant Director for technology licensing at Columbia University’s technology licensing office, Science and Technology Ventures.

Michael was a Senior Research Scientist with the Pharmaceutical Division of Bayer, where he led the biology team that discovered the anti-cancer drug, Sorafenib.  He has a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of California at Los Angeles and was a Howard Hughes post-doctoral fellow at Yale University, where he conducted research on the regulation of cellular immune responses.


Daniel Horne, PH.D.

Dan Horne (Ph.D., University of Michigan) is an expert on how consumers make payment choices, an area he has studied since 1992.  Horne is Professor of Marketing at the Providence College School of Business, where he is the Associate Dean for Curriculum and Faculty Development. He is the team lead on new academic ventures for the business school.  

In 1992, Horne began a series of large-scale research projects investigating the consumer purchase and usage of gift certificates and cards as well as the role these products play as rewards, incentives, and promotions. He has completed major studies on consumer payments in the US, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, India and Australia.  His extensive writing appears in top academic and practitioner journals. He is also Associate Editor of both the Journal of Consumer Affairs and the Journal of Consumer Marketing.

For more than twenty years, Horne has worked as a researcher, analyst and advisor on consumer payments for retailers, financial services companies and suppliers in North America, Europe and Australasia. He provides expert commentary on retailer performance to the financial markets, and to the print and electronic media.  He has served as an advisor to governmental authorities in the US and Canada. He is a member of the Board of Directors of The Corporate Marketplace and the Co-Founder and Non-Executive Director of the London-based FinTech association EPA.


Elena Gaudette

Elena Gaudette has over 15 years of experience in various technical and leadership roles in Research and Development for the US Navy. Gaudette’s professional experience includes leadership in the development and execution of cutting-edge research and technology product development, program management, strategic R&D investment planning focused on technology commercialization, and operations management. In recent years, Gaudette’s passion for entrepreneurship drove her to get involved in helping a number of successful domestic and international start-ups achieve their growth goals. Gaudette is currently a volunteer Director for the nonprofit organization – Venture Mentoring Service of Rhode Island.  She holds a BS degree in Electrical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, an MS degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Rhode Island, and an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management.  Gaudette is trained in Lean and Six-Sigma, is an alumna of Mu II Class of 2016 of the Leadership Rhode Island program and lives in Portsmouth, RI.