Meet the Team
We’re revolutionizing higher education
Chief Executive Officer
“Top Hat is one of those rare companies that has revolutionized a traditional industry to provide better value and experiences for our customers. I’m excited to be a part of the Top Hat team to improve the quality and accessibility of the higher ed learning experience.”
As Top Hat’s CEO, Joe Rohrlich is leading the company through its next phase of global growth. He is passionate about the outsized results great teams can achieve when relentlessly focused on customer outcomes.
Prior to joining Top Hat, Rohrlich led a range of customer and go-to-market teams during his 11-year tenure at Bazaarvoice, the market leader in SaaS user-generated content solutions for eCommerce. Under his leadership as Chief Revenue Officer, he drove accelerated international growth of the Sales, Marketing, and Client Success teams across a range of industries and regions. He also served as General Manager of Bazaarvoice EMEA & APAC. Before that, Rohrlich led account management at a Procter & Gamble-owned marketing consultancy, where he developed strategy for iconic brands ranging from Pampers to Iams Eukanuba.
Rohrlich holds a BA from the University of Michigan.LinkedIn
Chief Financial Officer
“I’ve worked at other startups. Top Hat is something different—from the market, leadership and team, the potential is even greater.”
Ralf Riekers is the CFO at Top Hat and has been with the company since 2013. He oversees finance and operations.
Before joining Top Hat, Riekers held VP level positions in finance, operations and client services during his 13 year tenure at Eloqua until its acquisition by Oracle for $950M, six months after its IPO on the NASDAQ.
Riekers is a SaaS industry veteran, and an expert in building and scaling fast-growing SaaS companies. He is also actively engaged in mentoring startups in the Toronto area.
He holds an MEng from the University of British Columbia and graduated from Queen’s University with a BSc in Engineering Physics.LinkedIn
Chief Technology Officer
“Top Hat is on an amazing journey to transform the higher education experience for students and professors alike. The company’s proven track record of customer satisfaction is a testament to the strong foundation the product and engineering teams have already built.”
Bhavin Shah is Top Hat’s CTO, joining the team in 2019 to help drive product innovation for professors, students and Top Hat employees. Shah leads Top Hat’s engineering team, responsible for the company’s technology stack, software development, security and application performance.
Prior to joining Top Hat, Shah served as CTO at artificial intelligence and machine learning software solutions company Globalive Technology, where he drew on over 15 years of senior engineering and development leadership experience. Before that, he spent five years as the first CTO at TouchBistro.
Born in India and raised in Toronto, Shah holds a BASc in Computer Engineering from the University of Toronto.LinkedIn
Chief Revenue Officer
“As a first-generation college student who experienced firsthand the life-changing impact of higher education, I’m thrilled to be a part of the Top Hat team and help make every classroom a place of connection, engagement, and success.”
As Top Hat’s Chief Revenue Officer, Matt Schurk leads all revenue-generating functions, including sales and customer support. Schurk is a seasoned SaaS go-to-market leader with a proven track record of building high-performing and mission-driven teams.
Schurk joined Top Hat from Bazaarvoice, where he served in a series of progressively senior roles, most recently as the senior leader responsible for driving 400% revenue growth.
Schurk holds a BA from Marquette University and an MBA from Seattle University.LinkedIn
Chief Legal Officer
“I am inspired by Top Hat’s purpose to make education more accessible and innovative to meet the real-world needs of students and professors. To work for a high-growth company that lives and breathes that mission is very exciting.”
As Top Hat’s CLO, Jessica Hately oversees mergers and acquisitions, investments, and strategic transactions to drive aggressive growth and support business performance.
Prior to joining Top Hat, Hately served as VP of Legal Affairs at GoDaddy. In that role, she helped guide the company’s growth strategy, led worldwide mergers and acquisitions, oversaw corporate compliance, and helped expand the legal team internationally and into new lines of business. Before that, she was Senior Corporate Counsel at LifeLock, where she worked on corporate governance, securities, and mergers and acquisitions.
Hately holds a BA in Art History and English from Williams College and a JD from the University of California, Los Angeles.LinkedIn
Chief People Officer
“My goal is for our employees to wake up 20 years from now and reflect on the fact that Top Hat was the most memorable and impactful part of their careers.”
As Top Hat’s CPO, Larry Indovina is responsible for the design, development and execution of the company’s strategic human resources initiatives, with a keen focus on growth and expansion.
Indovina has more than 20 years of experience pioneering people strategies at high-growth companies, leading global teams and supporting mergers and acquisitions—all while maintaining a relentless focus on world-class employee experiences and workplace culture. Indovina joins Top Hat from Fleet Complete, a Toronto-based tech company that rapidly scaled during his tenure from 80 employees in Canada to 800+ across 16 countries.
Indovina has a master’s degree in HR from York University.LinkedIn
Chief Marketing Officer
“From small moments of learning to major discoveries, I truly believe education positively changes the trajectory of people’s lives.”
As CMO, Maggie Leen is responsible for driving the company’s overall marketing strategy, including brand management, demand generation, product marketing, planning and execution.
Leen is an accomplished sales and marketing leader with a proven pedigree of winning the hearts and minds of customers. Prior to joining Top Hat, Leen served as Vice President, Marketing and Communications at Adtalem (a $1.2B revenue organization) where she led a high-performing team of 80+ marketing, business development, sales, operations, communications and creative professionals. Before that, Leen served in a variety of progressively senior Sales and Marketing roles at Pearson, most recently as their SVP Product Marketing, Global Higher Education.
Leen holds a BA in Science and Psychology from Marquette University in Wisconsin.LinkedIn
Vice President Product
“I’m humbled to be working with such talented and motivated individuals who have rallied behind enriching the academic experience for students and professors alike.”
Amanda Pardy is Top Hat’s VP of Product, responsible for leading the product management team and driving Top Hat’s product strategy. She guides the product management team with the goal of delivering best-in-class customer experiences.
Prior to joining Top Hat in 2019, Pardy was the VP of Product at Sensibill. Before that, she led product and product teams at start-ups and large scale B2B and B2C companies including Achievers, Intuit and AdParlor.
Pardy holds a BSc in Applied Mathematics from Memorial University of Newfoundland.LinkedIn
General Manager of Content
“I work with some of the smartest people in technology and education, and it’s exciting to be part of Top Hat’s phenomenal growth.”
Mumin Al-Shawaf is the General Manager of Content and has been with the company since 2013.
Prior to his current role at Top Hat, Al-Shawaf served in finance, operations and sales roles at the company. Before joining Top Hat, he was director of product support at Eloqua.
Top Hat is Al-Shawaf’s third startup, having joined Eloqua and Netsuite in their growth stages. He helped build the customer support departments at both companies, which played an important function during both IPOs. Both companies were acquired by Oracle.
Al-Shawaf holds a Kellogg-Schulich Executive MBA from the Schulich School of Business and a BA in Computer Science from Ryerson University.LinkedIn
SVP, Strategic Accounts
“Top Hat is a rare and amazing place where our team is galvanized to improve the value of the educational experience. I love working with such amazing people every day on this important opportunity.”
Adam Fremes is the SVP of Strategic Accounts and has been with the company since 2012. He is responsible for the revenue, strategy and success of Top Hat’s largest customers.
Previously at Top Hat, Fremes was the General Manager of Top Hat Pro and the Vice President of Revenue. He also held several different management and individual contributor positions.
Prior to Top Hat, Fremes worked in the tech sector in Toronto in a variety of marketing and sales roles.
Fremes holds a BA from McGill University.LinkedIn
“Top Hat is an amazing place filled with smart people driven by the clear mission to improve education.”
Mike Silagadze is the co-founder of Top Hat. Under Silagadze’s leadership and vision, Top Hat has become the market leader in student engagement software, and is used by millions of students at three-quarters of the top 1,000 colleges and universities in North America.
Silagadze is an active speaker in the higher education, technology and startup communities, having lectured at the Rotman Commerce Entrepreneurship Organization, the ASU GSV Summit, MaRS, Tech Fest Toronto, SAAS North and TEDxLaurierUniversity, among many others.
Silagadze holds a BSc in Electrical Engineering from the University of Waterloo.LinkedIn