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Life Entrepreneures

About the Authors

Christopher GergenChristopher Gergen is a founding partner of New Mountain Ventures, an entrepreneurial leadership development company, and co-author of Life Entrepreneurs: Ordinary People Creating Extraordinary Lives (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2008). Additionally, Christopher is a visiting lecturer and Director of the Entrepreneurial Leadership Initiative at Duke University within the Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy's Hart Leadership Program.

Christopher is the co-founder and chairman of SMARTHINKING, the leading online tutoring provider in the United States—serving over 200,000 students from more than 1,000 universities, colleges, and high schools. Other entrepreneurial ventures include starting a coffeehouse/bar dedicated to promoting the arts and music in Santiago, Chile and helping to launch the "Entrepreneur Corps"—a national service initiative sponsored by AmeriCorps*VISTA that placed 400 full-time business volunteers for a year of service in over 90 non-profit organizations across the country. Previously, Christopher started LEAD!, a non-profit leadership, entrepreneurship, and service program for Gonzaga College high school students in Washington, D.C. and is a founding board member of the E.L. Haynes Public Charter School also in D.C.

Further professional experience includes serving as Vice President of New Market Development for K12 Inc. and Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Business Development and Strategy for New American Schools. Christopher received a Bachelor of Arts with honors from Duke University, a Master's Degree in Public Policy from the George Washington University, and his M.B.A. from Georgetown University. He lives with his wife and two children in Washington, D.C.

When he's not at work, Christopher can be found competing in triathlons and playing Ultimate Frisbee with a team in D.C., traveling the world (including past adventures creating literacy programs in South Africa, teaching on a sheep-farm in New Zealand, and hitching a ride on a Chilean naval vessel), oil painting, and hiking through Rock Creek Park with his family including Mango the Big Dog.

Gregg VanourekGregg Vanourek is a Founding Partner of New Mountain Ventures, an entrepreneurial leadership development company serving clients nationwide, and is co-author of Life Entrepreneurs: Ordinary People Creating Extraordinary Lives (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2008). Previously, Gregg founded and ran Vanourek Consulting Solutions.

Prior to that, Vanourek served as a founding executive team member and Senior Vice President of School Development for K12 Inc. (NYSE: LRN), a national online education company (and market leader), where he helped launch the company during its start-up and led the team that started and managed eight statewide virtual schools with more than 100 employees. Before that, he served as Vice President for Programs at the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, a national education foundation, where he also helped to launch a scholarship program for underserved youth. Previously, Gregg was a Research Fellow at the Hudson Institute, a leading national think tank, where he worked on education reform issues and community-based solutions to pressing social problems.

Gregg has co-authored a book on charter schools (Charter Schools in Action: Renewing Public Education, published by Princeton University Press), several national research reports and book chapters, and dozens of articles for leading newspapers across the country. Gregg holds an M.B.A. from the Yale School of Management, an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a B.A. from Claremont McKenna College (where he graduated magna cum laude). He serves on the Board of the Vail Leadership Institute. Gregg lives with his wife and daughter in Colorado.

When he's not at work, Gregg can be found playing the guitar in jam sessions with his wife and friends, playing soccer, enjoying the wonders of Colorado, writing a book with his father, visiting his wife's family on a century-old family farm in Sweden, and re-learning life's lessons from his daughter.