The Nervana braintrust is comprised of technologists, musicians, and professionals with a deep background in the hospitality industry. They bring their love of design, and a burning desire to put killer technology into the world’s hands, to customers’ lobbies, dining rooms, and campuses. We’re technologists, artists, and people who love what they do.
Rhon Daguro, CEO
Rhon is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Nervana. His career has been focused on helping visionaries launch new companies and products, and re-imagine new innovations for every day challenges.
He has worked with a range of companies including Hard Rock Hotel — the world’s most popular hotel brand, Cisco Systems — makers of the largest digital nervous system in the world, Razorfish — top ranked digital experience consultants in the world, Oracle — number one maker of business software in the world, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Hilton, Hyatt, Ford, General Electric and WebMD, among others.
Prior to founding Nervana, he was recognized by the Chicago Innovation Awards for the creation of TouchLife. He also was a major contributor to one of the most successful startup exits in Silicon Valley by helping Securent from startup to $100MM exit to Cisco Systems.
Rhon has been recognized by dozens of industry and business publications and awards. He is an active speaker and panelist on the issues of innovation and startup strategy. He was recently recognized in Chicago’s first hard-back book on innovation called “Innovating Chicago Style” as a featured case study selected among the top 100 best companies in Chicago. He also was a featured speaker at TEDx Naperville talking about Emotional Design: Re-Hacking the CEO as the Chief Emotional Officer.
He graduated from Northern Illinois’s Computer Science Program, is member of TEDx Midwest Conference, TEDx Naperville Conference, a Northwestern Kellogg School of Business Innovation Participant, a winner of the Chicago Innovation Awards, a member of the Illinois Technology Association, and serves on the Rasmussen Advisory Board.
Ryan Weaver, Chief Strategy Officer
Ryan is Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Nervana Group. He is an expert at identifying customer opportunities, key philosophies, and defining market needs and wants for the digital generation. His proficiency in emotional intelligence and social psychology makes him a true strategist in the creation and implementation of interactive technologies. These solutions act as a catalyst in delivering the best user experience to the customer’s end consumer. Wearing many hats, he works closely with the design, development, and delivery teams to ensure the successful implementation of a solution throughout its entire cycle.
A degree in Computer Information Systems and Information Process Management from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business has allowed Ryan to gain expertise in Business Application Development, Technology Infrastructure, Information Systems Security, Ethical Hacking, Strategic Budgeting, Operational Efficiency, Project Management, and most importantly Emerging User Experience Technologies. With over 12 years of experience, his work includes consulting for a variety of large corporations and well known brands such as Oracle, Crowe Horwath, Oxford Capital, Hard Rock Hotel, Harrods of London, and Indiana University.
Prior to Nervana, his passion and talent for connecting people through experience has been fueled by a broad success in lifestyle and event consulting in both the entertainment and charity industry. He is essentially the subject matter expert in bridging the technology gap between modern day consumers and modern day businesses. Ryan is a super connector often found creating business development opportunities for those in his network simply because he loves helping others. Be it technical or social, he is a true network engineer.
Aron Pajda, VP of Operations
Aron is the Vice-President of Operations for Nervana. His extensive background in technology, design and engineering is a key factor in uniting Nervana’s high-end tech with clients’ emotional and user interface expectations. Along with his expertise, he strongly contributes to the motivation and morale of the project at hand. Aron is a problem solver both internally and externally. He literally brings ideas to life and is known as the “MacGyver” of the team. As a perfectionist, he prides himself on the execution of every product, and collaborates with customers to design and constantly update the digital environments for our touchscreens for maximum visibility and impact.
In addition to his degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago, in Information Decision Science and Economics, Aron is schooled in a variety of vertical industries, which enhances his ability to implement unique solutions to challenging installation requirements. Along with his numerous hobbies, he participated in multiple engineering clubs within the university.
Nicolette Pajda, VP of Strategy and Business Development, Bonfire Services
Nicolette helped co-found Nervana centered around the Bonfire Events Technology. In addition to evangelizing our core product technologies and business development with key clients, she is responsible for providing the essential features and problems that need to be solved in the services industry. As an active Event Planner for Connect.Inspire.Grow, her consistent activities and need to execute often and flawlessly resulted in her co-creating the Bonfire technologies for Nervana. Her attention to process flows and social elements within the event space allow the core features of Bonfire to universally satisfy all key requirements. She is also responsible for speaking about Nervana technologies at schools and public events.
A graduate from DePaul University Master’s Program with focuses on New Media and Emerging Technologies, her experience has allowed Nervana to stay true to the Generation D philosophy as well as evoking emotion into our products. In addition to building Nervana, she is also a very active philanthropist leading initiatives with Bright Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness, Kids Fight Cancer, Imerman Angels, A Safe Haven Foundation Homeless Shelter, and Charity4Life.
Cheryl Williams, Chief Consultant
Cheryl Williams is an avid Venture Capitalist with over twenty years of experience investing in commercial real estate, financial services and technology driven companies. Cheryl is the chief consultant to the CEO. In this role, Cheryl develops business strategies while expanding new markets and recruiting potential investors. She currently owns and is the CEO of Gem Gal Investments, LLC. One of her greatest accomplishments was the development of an $8M residential community with her business partners in California.
Prior to joining Nervana, Cheryl has invested in several commercial real estate ventures, financial companies and continues to invest in the stock market. She held her real estate license in the state of California, investing in, selling and renting various properties. She previously owned C & M Gems, a diamond brokerage company.
In addition to investing, Cheryl is an experienced gemologist and jeweler. She earned her degree as a Graduate Jeweler Gemologist, with Wax and Design from The Gemological Institute of America in Southern California. She also holds a degree from Parkland College in Psychology and Sociology.