Dennis Barsema is an entrepreneur, social entrepreneur, and instructor at Northern Illinois University, College of Business. He was previously the CEO of Blue Lane Networks (acquired by VMWare), CEO and Chairman of Onetta, Inc. (acquired by Bookham Technologies), and was the president and CEO of Redback Networks, where he led the company through rapid growth and one of the most successful IPOs in Wall Street history.
Dennis has more than thirty years of executive experience in telecommunications, software, and optical networking. Prior to joining Redback in 1997, he held senior executive positions at Centigram Corporation (acquired by ADC), Softswitch (acquired by Lotus Development Corporation), Primary Access (acquired by 3Com), and Paradyne Corporation (acquired by Zhone).
Dennis serves, or has served, on the board of directors of numerous venture capital funded companies, including Redback Networks, Blue Lane Technologies, Onetta, Azanda, Telenisus, Tahoe Networks, Stoke, Community Collaboration, and Restaurant.com. He also serves as a Managing Member of Impact Engine, a Social Business Accelerator located in Chicago.
Dennis also serves as the current Chairman of the Northern Illinois University Foundation. He also serves, or has served, as a director on numerous non-profit boards including Oportunidad Microfinanzas of Mexico, Se Mas (a microfinance institution) of Mexico, NEST (St. Louis), Collaboration Group, and Carpenters Place of Rockford, Illinois. He is also an advisor to the non-profit micro-finance organization, Opportunity International in Oak Brook, Illinois, Panzanzee, and the School of Business at Northern Illinois University, and is a past advisor to the School of Business at Santa Clara University in San Jose, California.
Dennis earned a Bachelors of Science in Business Management from Northern Illinois University. He is married, has three sons, and resides in Barrington Hills, IL.
“Cary Chessick is a successful serial entrepreneur. He has been a driving force in multiple companies and behind multiple social movements. Through his leadership as CEO, Restaurant.com earned acknowledgement by the Chicago Tribune of being one of the top 100 places to work in Chicago and Wired ranked it among the top 10 companies you want to work for outside of Silicon Valley. His new venture plans to bring this culture to other companies via a scientifically supported curriculum. With his proven track record as an entrepreneur and a leader, I am glad to be a part of Positivity.” -