Mack Institute Welcomes New Associate Directors

At the Mack Institute, our mission is to connect scholars, industry leaders, and students in the study of innovation management and its application, both on campus and beyond. We’re thrilled to introduce the two newest team members helping us achieve that goal. Joe Nebistinsky and Samantha Ortiz will both cultivate programs and initiatives to engage all members of our research network. Learn more about them and their roles below.

Joe Nebistinsky, Associate Director for Industry Engagement

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Tell us about your background. What led you to Wharton?

I’m coming to Wharton from the world of non-profit arts and education administration. Most recently, I joined senior leadership at Settlement Music School in advancing the mission of the nation’s largest community school for the arts for nearly six years. During my time there, I led an Innovation Team responsible for developing new earned and contributed revenue streams, maximizing community engagement and asset mapping efforts, and launching catalytic programming recognized by the Pew Charitable Trusts, The William Penn Foundation, and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.

I’ve worked in marketing, corporate and foundation relations, community development, and non-profit finance, where I’ve seen firsthand how focused and strategic innovation from senior leadership can truly impact growth initiatives. The most exciting thing about being part of the Mack Institute is that I have the opportunity to help organizations bring similar thinking to scale with some of Wharton’s most prestigious faculty members.

What is your role with the Mack Institute?

My role with the Mack Institute is threefold—I will work with our Corporate Partners to develop programs that facilitate learning, help address partner needs, and offer cross-industry networking opportunities. This includes hosting conferences and workshops, providing speaking opportunities, and facilitating Mack Talks to disseminate knowledge and best practices throughout partner organizations. In many of these activities, I will be joined by our other new Associate Director, Samantha Ortiz.

What excites you about working in an academic setting?

I’ve always loved working with learning institutions because education fosters opportunity, not only for students, but for everyone involved. By participating in a learning environment, you also can find what you are passionate about. I’ve found that personally, I’m passionate about process-oriented critical thinking—developing creative solutions to complex problems.

What do you like about working with corporate partners?

I’m most interested in seeing research and best practices in action. It’s exciting that the Mack Institute can facilitate the engagement of cross-industry partners with multi-disciplinary faculty members and I’m very much looking forward to building out those channels.

Tell us something surprising about yourself.

As a child, I had a special affinity for Benjamin Franklin and his writings. I found him a fascinating inventor, statesman, and thinker. It’s thrilling to now have the opportunity to walk past his statue outside Steinberg-Dietrich Hall every day here on campus.

Samantha Ortiz, Associate Director for Scholar and Student Engagement


Tell us about your background. What led you to Wharton?

I first began my career in Human Resources in New York City. After some time, I came back to my home base in Philadelphia where I began my career in higher education at Drexel University. I first began working with faculty at the Business School and later moved on to working with graduate students and specializing in online programming. Most recently, I served as the Assistant Director of Online MBA Programs at the Drexel University’s, LeBow College of Business. After many years of developing online programming and new student support services, I wanted to pursue a new venture with a prominent business school. I knew that my next step was with an elite business institution such as Wharton!

What is your role with the Mack Institute?

My role as Associate Director will entail supporting the Mack Institute’s leadership efforts to improve the innovation effectiveness of the Wharton School and the broader university. I will be responsible for managing initiatives with scholars and students of all levels across the School as well as the university. I look forward to implementing new programs for undergraduate, MBA and PhD students within the School.

What excites you about working in an academic setting?

I love the constant learning and stimulation that takes place within the higher education setting. Working with faculty, students, scholars as well as corporations allows for synergy unlike any other organization. The most gratifying moment is contributing to student achievement and knowing that as an administrator you assisted a student/s in their academic and professional journey to ultimate success!

What interests you about working with students/researchers?

In my experience, students and researchers bring a level of energy, passion, and eagerness to learn that is unparalleled. My true passion lies with having the opportunity to influence a student’s academic/professional path as well as being a part of an innovative contribution or new technology.

Tell us something surprising about yourself.

I performed in professional theatre throughout my high school years and starred in a commercial after completing my undergraduate degree.