Alumna Jean Kovacs will bring insights from her career as a Silicon Valley CEO and investor in young companies to the college’s graduation ceremony on August 28, 2019. More than 500 master’s degree candidates will be awarded graduate degrees in fields ranging from Analytics, Project Management, Digital Media and Global Studies and International Relations.
Kovacs, a 1983 alumna of Northeastern’s University College, the predecessor to the College of Professional Studies, is a technology business leader and early stage investor who has firsthand insight into the growth of the Silicon Valley economy. She was the chief executive officer and co-founder of Comergent Technologies, a company that was sold to a division of AT&T, and she co-founded Qualix Group, which went public in 1997. In addition, Kovacs was an early employee of two technology companies—Sun Microsystems and Frame Technology—which became publicly-traded companies in 1986 and 1992, respectively.
As a Northeastern student in the early 1980s, Kovacs faced many of the same challenges as students do today – pursuing higher education while working full-time or balancing family responsibilities or both. Kovacs described her challenges to Encore, the College of Professional Studies alumni magazine in 2007 noting, “What’s great about Northeastern is two things – first, it was flexible. So when I was on the road a lot, I could take Saturday classes. Second, I could tailor my learning to what I was doing at work. As I progressed in my career at Compugraphic, I tried to match the learning at Northeastern. My knowledge was so much more in-depth, and I could see the direct application to my work. Night-school learning is much deeper and more germane to what you’ll do in life.”
Kovacs is a partner at Hillsven Capital, a venture capital firm focusing on early stage ventures that provide software solutions to enterprises. She is on several company and nonprofit boards and, in addition to her position as CEO of Comergent, has served as an interim CEO for two companies. She is co-president of the Global Board of Harvard Business School Angels Alumni Association, an educational and networking forum for Harvard alumni and others who are interested in researching and investing in early stage companies as individual investors.
Kovacs has been named to the Silicon Valley Business Journal’s list of Most Influential Women in Business. In 2014, Kovacs was selected as one of a group of Harvard Business School alumni honored by the dean for making an impact through leadership roles. She also has been profiled by influential publications such as Fortune magazine, the Financial Times, Computerworld, Internet World, and InfoWorld.
Kovacs holds a Bachelor of Science degree in finance from Northeastern’s University College and a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.
The Northeastern University College of Professional Studies graduation is on August 28, 2019 at 10:30 am at Matthews Arena on the Northeastern University Boston campus.