About Us

Our Leaders

Cognizant Accelerator is at the forefront of how Cognizant innovates, both for our clients and ourselves. Our team of leaders have diverse experiences across technology start-up and enterprise software leaders. Our mission: to find and fuel groundbreaking ideas that solve the challenges our clients — and we — will face.

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Sean Middleton

President, Cognizant Accelerator

Sean founded the Emerging Business Accelerator in 2012, renamed Cognizant Accelerator in November 2016. He’s helping Cognizant and its clients solve the innovator’s dilemma by finding great ideas and building ground-breaking offerings. He also runs Cognizant Ventures, the corporate venture capital group responsible for making strategic investments in external startups. BS Cornell University, MBA University of Pennsylvania – The Wharton School

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Todd Paoletti

General Manager, Cognizant Accelerator

Todd manages Cognizant Accelerator’s operations model, including LaunchPad and Studio. He spearheads our partnerships with Cognizant’s industry practices to find, develop and oversee the early phases and growth of their investments.  Todd joined Cognizant in 2015 having previously served as VP Global Operations and Product Marketing for Pivotal and VP of Products for the Emerging Technology division of Akamai. BS University of Utah

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Irene Sandler

Head of Marketing

Irene runs all aspects of marketing for the Cognizant Accelerator. She’s a veteran of both startups and large corporations, most recently coming from Cisco, where she ran product marketing for the Internet of Things portfolio. Irene has started or has been an early member of six startups, three of which exited successfully. BSFS Georgetown University, MBA Harvard

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Michael Cucchi

Head of Product Strategy

Michael has over 20 years of engineering, product management, and marketing experience in the high-tech industry. Prior to joining Cognizant, Michael was Sr. Director of Outbound Product for platform as a service innovator, Pivotal, where he ran their Data, Mobile, and IoT solutions.  He has also held various product and marketing leadership roles at a number of companies including Riverbed, Akamai, and Expand Networks. BA Skidmore College

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Subhas Hegde

Head of Studio/India

Subhas runs engineering and support functions for Studio India. He has over 20 years of experience around technology consulting and delivery. In his prior role as Head of Product Engineering Group, he worked on several Accelerator ventures in their incubation phase. He lives in Bangalore with his wife and daughter. BE from NITK

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Chris McAvoy

Head of Studio/North America

Chris McAvoy builds and runs great software engineering teams. Chris helps teams develop their product and translate business ideas into working software products. Chris has been CTO of several startups, built teams for large companies and trained teams in product management and agile / lean software development practices around the world. Chris lives in Boulder with his wife, son and two cats. BS Arizona State University

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Phuong Palmares

Head of Project Management and Delivery

Phuong runs project management and project delivery for the Cognizant Studio team. Phuong has more than 15 years of building and running project management for lean and agile software product teams. She was an early member of successful startups based in San Francisco and Portland. BA University of California – Irvine

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Ingrid Alongi

Head of Recruiting

Ingrid runs recruiting and coordinates mentors for the Accelerator. She also acts as hiring manager for the Studio North America team. Prior to Cognizant, Ingrid worked for and founded a variety of startups including Gnip (acquired by Twitter), Quick Left (acquired by Cognizant) and Sprintly. BA University of Colorado – Boulder, MA San Diego State University

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Rashli Liyackat Ali

Head of Operations

Rashli is the Head of Operations for Cognizant Accelerator, where he runs all aspects of operations. A serial intrapraneur, he has been in corporate technology for 16 years in multiple leadership roles.  He holds a BS from Carnegie Mellon University.

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Corinne Lewy

Head of Product Operations

Corinne manages the new product introduction process and execution. She brings vast experience in enterprise pricing and business operations for companies such as Pivotal, Oracle and Openwave systems. Prior to Cognizant, she ran the product operations team at Pivotal, where she designed and managed go-to-market operations and pricing for all products and services. BS University of Lausanne, MS University of Neuchâtel, MBA UC Berkeley, Haas.