YEI Mentor Program
The YEI Mentor Program supports innovation and entrepreneurial activity in the Yale community by matching student ventures, led by either graduates or undergraduates, with volunteer mentors who can share their proven experience and skills to help increase the probability of a startup's success.
Through hands-on mentoring, Student Ventures learn how to move ideas to the marketplace - how to hone their products or services, identify markets, build networks, and seek funding. Ventures in all stages of development are welcome to apply to participate in the program.
Relationships between mentors and potential entrepreneurs are established on the basis of each entrepreneur's needs and preferences, and the interests of the available mentors. Mentor services are offered without charge and entrepreneurs are assured impartial and unbiased advice by a code of ethics to which all mentors must adhere.
Mentors are selected for their expertise in business formation and operations and for their skills as advisors. They bring a wide range of experience as entrepreneurs, CEOs, and corporate directors.
W. Weston Bray III (‘74), Lead Venture Mentor
YEI's Lead Venture Mentor is Wes Bray '74. Wes began his career with Kraft General Foods and later joined Pepsico as Manager, New Products and New Packages in the International division, and was eventually promoted to Director of Marketing, overseeing both the global defense against the roll out of Diet Coke and the international launch of Slice.
In 1984 Wes joined Marketing Corporation of America (MCA) and four years later left MCA to co-found Market Growth Resources (MGR). During this time, he co-founded SmartDemo, a retail sampling company which was purchased by Time Warner. In 1995, MGR was sold to True North Communications.
In 2000, Wes co-founded Bray Hood Associates. Clients included Miller Brewing, Network Solutions, IBM, Sikorsky Aircraft, AOL, People’s Bank, Intelsat, Nextel and MCI, among others. He also co-founded a wireless marketing company called HipCricket in 2004, serving as President and COO. HipCricket went public in 2007 on the London Stock Exchange. Wes returned to retail and brand consulting with Wes Bray & Associates until being recruited to join Retail Optimization, Inc., initially as a consultant and then full time as COO, transitioning into CEO & President in 2009.
Wes holds a B.A. from Yale University and an M.B.A. from Harvard University. He is married with two children and lives in Essex, CT.
Mentor Corner Series
- Bailey, Murphy, & Scarano, LLC: Selecting Your Corporate Structure
- Dan Crosby: Joint Venture Basics
- Eli Luberoff: Working Hard
- Jessica Cole: Getting Involved in Entrepreneurship at Yale in Three Easy Steps
- Joe Lane: Find Your Market's White Space
- Stu Rohrer: Choosing a URL for Your Venture
- Susan Froshauer: Driving to Proof of Concept
- Todd Robbins: Entrepreneurial View of the US Equity Markets
- Victor Budnick: Mentorship and Entrepreneurs
- Wes Bray: Entrepreneurship Can Be a Sisyphean Task
- Wes Bray: Building Your Team
- Wes Bray: How to Market a New Venture