Meet Your Elite Team of Trainers

The Breakthrough Accelerator trainers are an elite team of successful entrepreneurs, mentors and consultants. Their expertise covers all areas of business including finance, marketing, company culture, impact strategy, values alignment, and operations. 

All BA trainers are graduates of leadership academies and are held to the high standards of excellence. They are a rock star team of mentors who stand for what is possible in business.

The Breakthrough Accelerator trainers undergo a thorough screening and training process to deliver the highest quality program. Our mentors are focused on creating an engaging and actionable experience for all businesses who participate in the accelerator.

To be the best, you must learn from the best. These are your trainers.

Candace Sjogren


As the cofounder of Boston Breakthrough Academy and Managing Partner at CXO Solutions, Candace has served as Chief Strategy Officer at PlanetTogether, a leader in supply chain planning, scheduling, optimization and analytics, Dealstruck, an online lending platform that provides loans and lines of credit to small business borrowers, LoanHero, an online marketplace lender for consumer loans at the merchant point of sale, and The Health Addiction, a cutting-edge addiction recovery clinic utilizing NAD to reduce cravings for drugs and alcohol. Prior to CXO, Candace was the founder and CEO of two fin-tech companies: Bad Girl Ventures and SoMoLend, where she raised several million dollars in venture funding. 

Candace co-authored the legislation that became the JOBS Act in 2012, then chaired the Crowdfund Intermediary Regulatory Advocates, the industry advocacy group for platforms and broker dealers affected by the JOBS Act. Candace continues to serve as an investor and General Counsel for Women Investing in Women, a global NGO focused on increasing access to capital for female entrepreneurs.

Hillary Strasner

Training Coordinator + Advisor

As an entrepreneur, Hillary took a start up company from humble beginnings and built it into a multi million dollar success. In 2016, she fulfilled the dream of most entrepreneurs, by selling it. Having achieved one of her biggest dreams, it gave Hillary the opportunity to develop a new direction for herself professionally. Hillary is now a business coach specializing in working with woman entrepreneurs and executives to create extraordinary results in their career, as well as at home, through sharing her experiences, gifts and tools.
“Your success is my business!”



Allison Chaney


Allison Chaney is one of the most experienced Digital Marketers in the industry, with over 20 years of digital marketing experience. Allison has worked with B2B and B2C companies of all sizes including Cisco, NASA, Porsche, FTD, US Army, US Air Force, Dominos Pizza, Mane ‘n Tail, UPS, Fresh Express, Timbertech, and Synchrony Financial (formerly GE Capital). She successfully founded and sold a digital marketing agency and is certified in a variety of Digital Marketing topics including SEO and Social Media. Allison is passionate about helping businesses and individuals turn their digital marketing into money by getting better results faster.

Genevieve Smith


Genevieve works with mission-driven organizations, impact evaluators, and private capital to build and strengthen data ecosystems for sustainable and demonstrable social impact that is community-centric.

“Are we doing the right things well?”

Evan Hackel


Evan Hackel is a dynamic, innovative, thoughtful and inspiring leader with 30 years of experience in franchising, distributed networks and cooperatives. He has a successful history of: (i) turning around a $700 million distressed franchise system into a $2.0 billion revenue business in four years, (ii) reviving and re-energizing a $3.5 billion revenue franchisor and (iii) founding three franchise systems. Evan is an experienced corporate board member and currently, a consultant to some of the largest franchise systems in North America.

Peter Kirby


Peter Kirby’s passion is to build great corporate cultures full of humility, hard work, responsible cash management, and – of course – laughter. Peter loves to cook and practice yoga.

Julianne Zimmerman


For over 25 years, Julianne Zimmerman has focused on putting technology and capital to work for the greater good.  In her current role as Managing Director with Reinventure Capital, she invests in companies led and controlled by BIPOC and/or womxn founders. Previously as Co-Founder of a seed-stage investment firm, Julianne invested in startups in energy, water, food, and health. As a co-founder, external consultant, VP of Communications, VP of Business Development, and VP of Engineering, Julianne has built departments, managed alpha projects, guided branding and identity efforts, and led a wide variety of initiatives from blank page to successful, in many cases award-winning, completion. Along the way she and her co-conspirators have catalyzed industry shifts, changed conversations, won awards, and set new standards for performance.

Julianne earned two undergraduate degrees from MIT in Humanities/Literature and Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering, an MS in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland, and an executive certificate in Sustainability Management from the Presidio Graduate School; she previously served as a certified EMT in Maryland and Massachusetts. She was twice a finalist in the NASA astronaut selection process. A frequent keynote, reviewer and judge for innovation and entrepreneurship programs in the US and abroad, she also speaks and writes widely on systemic social, racial, and gender inequity in those spheres. Julianne currently serves on the MIT Venture Mentoring Service and as Mentor-in-Residence with WPI, among others. She is a Founding Principal of Great Dome Associates and teaches Innovative Social Enterprises at Tufts University. She is a 2020 Conscious Company / Kate Spade World Changing Woman.

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