Elevate Inclusion Summit 2018 Speakers


Nitin rai (host)

Founder & Managing Director, Elevate Capital

Nitin Rai is the Founder and Managing Director of Elevate Capital, a venture fund that includes the Elevate Inclusive Fund, a seed stage fund that invests in diverse and underserved entrepreneurs in the Pacific Northwest. Nearly 60% of Elevate investments are in women-led companies and 40% in African American and LatinX founder/CEO-led startups. Since 2016, Elevate Capital has invested in more than $5 million in 24 startups. These companies have raised follow-on funding of more than $80 million, with a market cap of $250 million and created 300 plus jobs. These companies also report 50% of their employees as diverse.  Elevate Capital has already had a strong exit, with one of its portfolio companies, Portland-based RFPIO.

Nitin also serves as the Chairman of the TiE Global of Board Trustees. In this role, Nitin leads the Board of Trustees mission to help its 60 plus global chapters ensure entrepreneurs become successful through global programs and initiatives. Nitin also serves as Chair of TiE Global Angels to help entrepreneurs across the globe get funding from TiE Charter Members.

Since 2007, Nitin has been an active angel investor, mentor and is a founding charter member and President of the Board of TiE Oregon. In this role, TiE Oregon has grown to a full-fledged angel investment group with a successful mentoring program. It has launched several education and accelerator programs including TYE and TIE XL.  TiE Oregon Angels has invested more than $12 million in 52 startups with six exits that returned over 3X in cash to the angels. TiE Oregon ranks in the top five chapters globally and routinely receives recognition for its angel investment, women, and youth programs. Nitin has invested in more than 50 startups, both personally and through his fund, since 2011.

Nitin is also a successful entrepreneur. He started his career in Silicon Valley an as engineer at two startups. In 1994, he founded First Insight Corporation, a highly successful Electronic medical records and practice management software company based in Hillsboro, Oregon and Pune India. First Insight is a leader in this space with its flagship product MaximEyes. 

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Kathryn Finney

Founder & Managing Director, digitalundivided

Kathryn Finney is the founder and Managing Director of digitalundivided (DID). Founded in 2013, DID is a social enterprise that takes an innovative, transformative approach to economic empowerment by encouraging Black and Latina women to own their economic security through entrepreneurship. DID accomplishes this goal by boldly empowering Black and Latina women to think BIG through the BIG Innovation Center, a 4,000 square foot space located in downtown Atlanta and the BIG Incubator program for high growth companies led by Black and Latina women. DID has impacted over 2000 people and helped companies raise over $25 Million in investment. She is a former General Partner in the Harriet Fund, the first fund focused on Black and Latinx women founders.

An Echoing Green Global Fellow and Eisenhower Fellow, Kathryn started DID after selling her company. As a White House Champion of Change and member of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE), her pioneering research, “#ProjectDiane”, drew widespread buzz for disrupting the dialogue around women and tech entrepreneurship. 

The findings from #ProjectDiane put a unique spotlight on the problem of inclusion in the innovation space, leading DID to develop a “first of its kind” solution. DID’s BIG Innovation Center and its resident BIG Accelerator is the only space and program dedicated to the growth of high-growth tech businesses founded by Black and Latina women. 

Kathryn has received numerous honors and awards including an Honorary Doctorate from Mount Holyoke College, Grace Hopper ABIE award, “10 Women to Watch” (Entrepreneur and Marie Claire Magazine), Ebony Power 100, Black Enterprise “40 under 40” list, Spelman College’s “Game Changers Academy.” Kathryn was honored by the Borough of Manhattan with the “Kathryn Finney Appreciation Day”.

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Loretta Smith

Multnomah County Commissioner, District 2

Loretta Smith brings more than two decades of experience in the federal government to her commissioner’s job, applying that knowledge to increasing federal resources for Multnomah County. After graduating from Oregon State University(link is external) in 1987 with a communications degree, Loretta began working as a staff member for then-U.S. Rep. Ron Wyden. Loretta continued to work for now-Sen. Wyden(link is external) as his Multnomah County field representative until her election to the county Board of Commissioners in 2010.

During her term on the county Board of Commissioners, Loretta has put her passion for helping young women and men into practice by leading the SummerWorks program and organizing an anti-bullying summit(link is external) at Grant High School. Similarly for senior citizens, Loretta has spotlighted the need to fight elder abuse and neglect.

And she has worked to support local business by championing a microlending programto help local small businesses, hosting a White House roundtable for young entrepreneurs and co-sponsoring an ordinance establishing a Business Advisory Council to the Board of Commissioners

In addition to serving on the county Board of Commissioners, Loretta also is Chair of Metro’s Policy Advisory Committee(link is external) for 2013.

Loretta’s commitment to community involvement long predates her elected position. Loretta has served as treasurer of the Oregon Assembly for Black Affairs(link is external), tutored students at Self Enhancement Inc(link is external)., served on the PTA, and worked with the Community Builders program for urban young men. Loretta has also been active in helping the Oregon Food Bank(link is external)Head Start (link is external)and the Boys & Girls Club(link is external).

Loretta and her son Jordan, who currently attends the University of Washington, live in Northeast Portland.


Suzanne Bonamici

U.S. Representative, Oregon’s 1st District

Since 2012, Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici has represented the First Congressional District of Oregon, which includes Washington, Yamhill, Clatsop, and Columbia counties and part of Multnomah County.

Strengthening public education is one of Suzanne's top priorities and one of the reasons she got involved in public service. Suzanne spent hundreds of hours volunteering in public schools before serving in the Oregon State Legislature, where she passed legislation to reduce duplicative testing. In Congress, she is the Vice Ranking Member and a leader of the Committee on Education and the Workforce. Suzanne is dedicated to setting national policies that give students and educators support and opportunities they need to lead them to success in school and in life. She played a lead role in the passage of the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which replaces No Child Left Behind, reduces testing, puts more focus on well-rounded education, and gives more decision-making back to states and local districts.

Suzanne worked her way through college in Eugene, first at Lane Community College and then at the University of Oregon, where she earned her bachelor's degree and law degree. She is focused on making college more affordable and closing the skills gap so students enter the workforce with in-demand skills. Suzanne is the founder and co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional STEAM Caucus, which aims to encourage innovation and creative thinking by integrating arts and design with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math education.


Paula Hayes

CEO, Hue Noir

Paula Hayes is the chief executive officer of Hue Noir. Hue Noir is on a mission to change the face of beauty by putting multicultural women at the center of the modern beauty movement. Blending COLOR + SCIENCE + TECHNOLOGY, the company develops innovative, everyday makeup solutions ideal for customers with nuanced skin tones ranging from fair to deep.

Multicultural women have long been challenged to find high-caliber cosmetics in shades that work with their skin tones while providing long-lasting benefits like oil absorption, moisturization and extended wear. Hue Noir set out to give women more choices and better options for achieving their desired look, developing formulas designed specifically for the varied and unique complexions among women of color. The company’s True Hues Flawless Finish Foundation, for instance, is available in 25 true-to-skin-color shades. All of Hue Noir ‘s products are formulated to emphasize a woman’s natural beauty while nourishing and protecting her skin.


Stephen Marsh

Founder and Chairman, Smarsh

Stephen Marsh is the founder and chairman of the hosted email archiving and compliance provider Smarsh, Inc. He is also the founder of Archivist Capital. Stephen founded Smarsh in 2001, and has led the company through nearly 20 years of sustained, aggressive and profitable growth. Under Stephen’s leadership, Smarsh combined with Actiance in 2018, and the combined company is the financial services industry’s premier electronic communications archiving provider, helping enterprises around the world meet their recordkeeping, supervision and e-discovery obligations.

Stephen was the recipient of the 2018 Technology Association of Oregon’s Sam Blackman Award, honoring the state of Oregon’s top technology executive. He was also named the 2014 FTF News Fintech Person of the Year. Stephen is actively involved in the Oregon technology community, mentoring founders at more than a dozen fast-growing companies. Prior to founding Smarsh, Stephen led product management and development efforts at CCBN, now a division of Thomson Financial. He also spent time in key roles at both Fidelity Investments and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter.



CEO, The Wild

Gabe Paez works at the intersection of engineering, design, and business. He is the founder and CEO of The Wild, a collaboration platform for designers to create and share immersive experiences. The Wild enables design teams to experience their work together from anywhere, in real-time, on any virtual or augmented reality device. Gabe has over a decade of experience leading experiential product teams, and has designed immersive software products for a diverse roster of Fortune 100 companies including Google, Samsung, Nike, AT&T, and Verizon.

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Manager of Entrepreneurship & Community Development, Prosper Portland

Tory Campbell is the Manager of the Entrepreneurship and Community Development teams at the Prosper Portland in Portland, Oregon. From tech startups to neighborhood retail, small businesses are vital to the city’s economy. He collaborates with his team of eleven staff to develop and implement strategies towards achieving both growth and equitable economic outcomes for small businesses. He is also the founder of the Mercatus Collective, an online platform elevating and connecting entrepreneurs of color in the city of Portland.



Partner, Voyager Capital

Diane serves as a Partner with Voyager Capital and focuses on software and digital media investments in the Pacific Northwest, particularly Oregon. With more than 30 years of technology company experience in leading marketing, strategy and business development, Diane works with startups in the enterprise software, Internet/mobile/social, and security software industries throughout the West Coast.

Diane was previously Senior  Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for Sanctum, a  VC-backed startup providing Web application security software (acquired  by Watchfire) and Vice President of Worldwide Marketing for the database  company Informix Software (acquired by IBM), both based in Silicon  Valley. Prior to her move to Silicon Valley, Diane was Vice President of  Marketing for Tektronix (acquired by Danaher) in their Video and  Networking Division and a marketing executive with Sequent Computer  (acquired by IBM), both based in Oregon. She previously spent 16 years  in sales and marketing roles at Digital Equipment Corporation in the US,  Europe and Asia Pacific. 

Diane is on the boards of Act-On  Software, Stackery, TiE Oregon, University of Oregon Seed Fund Advisory  Board, the Oregon State University Advantage Accelerator, and Providence  Child Center.  She is also a board observer of Chirpify, Lytics,  SheerID, and Vidder, and  She graduated with a Bachelor's degree from  Vanderbilt University in Biomedical Engineering, and received an  Executive MBA from Insead in Fountainebleau, France. Diane lives in  Portland, Oregon. 

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Nita Shah

Executive Director, MESO

Nita Shah is the executive director of Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon (MESO). MESO was formed as a grassroots initiative in 2005 under the umbrella of The Black United Fund of Oregon to assist small businesses that were experiencing challenges in the wake of gentrification, new development, and increased rents in North/Northeast Portland.

The success of the pilot and continued support from funders encouraged MESO to form its own non-profit in 2008. Since then, MESO has become a premier comprehensive small business service provider in Oregon and SW Washington, offering innovative lending and savings programs, technical assistance, business education and planning, and marketing and accounting support to the underserved communities across nine urban and rural counties.

MESO is a designated SBA microlender, an IDA fiduciary, a USDA RMAP (Rural Micro-entrepreneur Assistance Program) lender, and a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). MESO fills a much-needed niche, working with small businesses through every stage – from asset building and credit preparedness to first loans and business launches to dozens of business expansions every year.


Julie Harrelson

Founder, Cascade Angels

Julie Harrelson, is an entrepreneur and investor in Oregon’s startup community. She has held multiple executive roles in design, technology, and venture funding and co-founded Cascade Angels Fund in Bend in 2013. Cascade Angels Fund has invested over $3 million in 20 companies that employ over 200 people generating over $44 million in revenue in the region. 

Harrelson is invited to speak at industry conferences including the international Angel Capital Association Summit. Every month she emcees a popular Pubtalk sponsored by EDCO and attended by 200-300 entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders. Bend's 2017 Woman of the Year and a 2014 Portland Business Journal Woman of Influence Award winner, her board service includes the Oregon State University Advantage Accelerator, the Economic Development of Central Oregon (EDCO) board, the Board of Advisory Directors of the Central & Eastern Oregon Region of U.S. Bank and the honorary council of the Center for Women’s Leadership at Portland State University.

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Priya Saiprasad 

Principal, M12 (fka Microsoft Ventures)

Priya Saiprasad is a principal at M12 (fka Microsoft Ventures) and is based in the San Francisco. She is focused on enterprise investments across Series A and B stage companies. Priya has worked with entrepreneurs both as an investor and an acquirer. Previously, she was a Deal Lead on Square's Corporate Development team, where she led several transformational acquisitions in the mobile payments, SMB SaaS and AI & machine learning spaces. Prior to that, Priya was an investor at Saints Capital focusing on direct secondary investments in enterprise SaaS and marketplace startups. She started her career as an Investment Banking Analyst for UBS as part of their Leveraged Finance and Restructuring group. Priya holds a B.S. in Business Administration and graduated with highest honors from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.

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Jesse Draper

Founder, Halogen Ventures

 Jesse Draper is the founder of Halogen Ventures. She is listed by Marie Claire as one of the “50 Most Connected Women in America,” and as a fourth-generation venture capitalist Jess  has proven to be an unstoppable force in business and entertainment. As the founder of Halogen Ventures, she has invested in various female-founded consumer technology startups including theSkimm, Carbon 38 and Sugarfina, to name a few. The company closed its first fund at $10.4 million in December 2017.

Previously a Nickelodeon star, Jesse has used her comedic talent to bring an approachable feel to the technology world. In 2008, she created and hosted the Emmy nominated television series, “The Valley Girl Show,” in which she produced and distributed over 300 interviews with some of the greatest minds in business, entertainment and technology including; Ted Turner, Mark  Cuban, Sheryl Sandberg, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Jessica Alba, MC Hammer and Eric Schmidt. In association with the show, Jesse founded a women in business organization, which holds exclusive quarterly events across the country for networking and support of women in business.

 This year, Jesse is taking on a new adventure by teaming up with “The Bachelor” star Ben Higgins to explore entrepreneurship and investing in their new iHeart Radio podcast “Lady Bosses (and Ben).” The podcast explores everything you want to know in business from how to start your company to how to negotiate your salary. Each week, Jesse and Ben sit down with a different CEO, entrepreneur, or business mogul and learn how they achieved their goals, what challenges they face building a company, and the tips they can share with the next generation of business leaders. With Jesse’s background in entertainment and her knowledge in venture capital and technology, she brings a unique spin to entertainment meets entrepreneurship. The podcast debuted September 3, 2018 and releases new episodes every Monday.

Jesse has also been a contributor to Marie Claire, Mashable, Forbes, and is a regular investor and tech personality on shows including TLC’s “Girl Starter,” “The Katie Couric Show,” Fox’s “Good Day LA,” CNBC’s “Who Wants to Be the Next Millionaire Inventor?” and Freeform’s “Startup U.” She also stars in the Sony Entertainment Television (SET) show “Meet the Drapers,” alongside her dad and grandfather.


Robin Jones

Chief Operating Officer, Public Market
Venture Partner, Elevate Capital

Robin Jones is the chief operating officer of Public Market and a venture partner at Elevate Capital. She is a high-tech and software leader who served as vice president for strategic growth at Socrata in Seattle. Prior to this role, Robin built and led the technology and development sector at Esri in Redlands, California. At Esri, Robin grew a product line from $0 to $2.9 million in revenue in less than three years. Rosin also served as chief operating officer at Geoloqi in Portland, Oregon prior to the company being acquired by Esri.

Robin has extensive experience in telecom, mobile, and wireless semiconductor industries. She also served as a regional manager of Beaverton-based Avnera’s audio segment, an $8 million business unit at Avnera. Prior to this role, Robin led west coast venture investments for Motorola Ventures  with early to mid-stage equity investments in the $1 millionn to $5million range.

Robin holds an M.B.A from the Haas School of Business from UC Berkley and a Bachelor of Science degree in biological sciences from Stanford University. She also serves on the board of directors for TiE Oregon.

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Melissa Freeman

Director of Strategic Projects, Oregon Community Foundation

Melissa Freeman is the director of strategic projects for the Oregon Community Foundation (OCF). She is responsible for managing a portfolio of activities for the Board of Directors, including a statewide children's dental health initiative and an initiative to increase jobs and improve Oregon's economy. Prior to joining OCF, she served as the director of communications for Oregon Health & Science University’s division of Health Promotion and Sports Medicine. She also served as director of communications for OHSU’s Center for Health Promotion Research.

Melissa holds a Masters in Public Health and Sports Promotion from Portland State University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Science and Business from the University of Oregon.


Sharon Richardson Howell

SVP of Strategy, Partnerships and Affiliations, PeaceHealth.

Sharon Richardson Howell is a proven, tireless leader and storyteller with more than 20 years in a multi-industry career, that includes deep ties to mobile, hospitality, academia, and healthcare. She is currently SVP of Strategy, Partnerships and Affiliations at PeaceHealth. Her experience has spanned six countries and four continents. 

Sharon holds a doctorate in Business Strategy, Faculty of Management, from the Sir John Cass School of Business in London, England; an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley; and a Summa Cum Laude BSc from the University of Southern California (USC).

Prior to her time at PeaceHealth, Sharon R. Howell most recently served at the disruptive healthcare start-up, ZoomCare, in Portland, OR, as General Manager of Growth. Her healthcare roles include leading the Commercial Products division at payor Regence BCBS, and linking the power of data to healthcare as the Owner of Consumer Data Strategy, reporting directly to Cambia’s Chief Data Officer.

Sharon’s technology career has included leading Insights for quietly brilliant HTC corporation, groundbreaking academic work in the gaming and interactive entertainment industry, and the pioneer launch of mobile web.

Sharon serves her community and northwest entrepreneurship in a number of important ways. She is a highly active investor and tireless mentor in her role as coFounder and Managing Partner of Huntington Hill Ventures since 2006; as Charter Member and Board Member of TiE Oregon, which includes supporting such vital community events as MentorConnect; as the founder of the WonderWoman Convention; and as a Limited Partner at Elevate Capital. Sharon has also served on a number of other community and non-profit boards, including Willamette Valley Cancer, the Alliance of Oregon, Lake Oswego Swim Club, Portland After School Tennis and Education, and Kids on the Block.

Most importantly, Sharon invests time in supporting her spirit, and that is directly fed by her wildly creative husband, Dave Howell, Founder of Avatron and jazz musician extraordinaire; her Pinot grapes from Huntington Hill Vineyard that find their way each year to some of the finest winemakers in Oregon; her comedic musings on paper and on stage; and her two children in their many pursuits —as competitive athletes, musicians, explorers and citizens of the globe


Kate Delhagen

Strategic Advisor, Growth-Oriented Board Director
Founding Partner at Oregon Sports Angels

Kate Delhagen is a proven senior leader, board director, entrepreneur, and angel investor with deep digital and commercial experience in a variety of consumer goods and service sectors. In 2017, she created a new investor network, Oregon Sports Angels, which focuses on early stage sports product and tech companies and teams.

Prior to launching OSA, she concluded a 12-year run at Nike, where she created and led Nike’s Global Digital Wholesale Business Strategy & Operations. She also held a variety of senior and general management roles at Nike, and at prior companies including lucy activewear, Forrester Research, Starwave, and Rodale Press.

Kate’s a sought-after consultant and a nationally recognized leader in the field of digital / retail, a former shop.org board member, and a former member of the NRF Digital Council. She’s currently a Built Oregon board member, an active alumni volunteer for Princeton University, a board member for two outdoor brands, and a passionate advisor to several Oregon-based startups.


anyeley hallova

Partner, project^

Anyeley Hallova is a partner at project^. As a development professional with more than 14 years of experience from mixed-use sustainable developments to city master plans, Anyeley’s passion is creating unique developments that reflect the flavor of the local culture, respect the natural environment, and build community.

Her core focus within the company is shepherding projects through entitlements and construction with a specialization in student housing, market-rate housing, residences, and public-private projects. Anyeley takes initiative pursuing complex challenges. Her strong technical and creative background enable her to successfully lead and participate in multi-disciplinary teams with diverse stakeholders.

Before joining project^, Anyeley served as a development manager for Gerding Edlen Development in Portland, where she worked on student housing, civic projects, and public-private partnerships and as an associate urban designer at the leading design firm EDAW, now AECOM, specializing in downtown master plans in the Caribbean, transit-oriented mixed-use developments, and greenway plans.

Her civic work includes a governor appointment to Oregon’s Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) and a mayoral appointment to Portland’s Adjustment Committee, Community Involvement Committee for the Portland Plan, and Policy Expert Group for Residential Development and Compatibility for the Comp Plan. She has served on the board of 1000 Friends of Oregon, Portland Housing Center, The SOUL District and is an expert on ULI Advisory Services Panels. She is also a published researcher and writer on cultural landscapes and public consensus.

She holds a Master of Landscape Architecture degree from Harvard University, a Master in City Planning degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Bachelor of Environmental Systems Technology degree from Cornell University.

Anita Kissee

Public Relations Manager, St. Luke’s Health System
Former KATU-TV Reporter

Anita Kissee is the Treasure Valley public relations manager for St. Luke’s Health System. Formerly a reporter for KATU-TV, Anita is an experienced television journalist and storyteller based for many years in Portland, Oregon where she covered city government and urban life issues for KATU.

During her long and successful career in television journalism, Anita worked in various roles as a reporter, news anchor, and news producer at several stations including KATU, KFSN in Fresno, California; KTVB in Boise, Idaho; KDCI and KNSD in San Diego, California; and CSPAN in Washington, D.C.

Anita holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and mass communications from Point Loma Nazarene University.While on sabbatical in 2009, she obtained a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism that specialized in national and international politics.

Kari Naone

Executive Director, TiE Oregon

Kari Naone is the executive director for TiE Oregon. As a non-profit and marketing professional, Kari specializes in event management, production, marketing and fundraising. She has successfully developed, promoted, managed, fundraised for, and executed hundreds of celebrations, corporate, and educational programs/workshops and promotions. Over the last 10 years, Kari has had the opportunity to work for several successful non-profit organizations and has a strong understanding of how a highly valuable non-profit should function. 

Her natural ability to prioritize, organize and eye for detail, allow her to produce smooth running and successful events and programs seamlessly. She currently works as the Executive Director of TiE Oregon, a non-profit, global community welcoming, mentoring and funding entrepreneurs from all over the world. Since 2011, TiE Oregon has invested several million in Oregon companies and continues to be a premier funding source for dozens of Oregon startups each year

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Shelmina Babai Abji

Global Empowerment Speaker

Shelmina Babai Abji is a global empowerment speaker, a former vice president at IBM, an investor in early stage technology companies, a distinguished alumna, and an advisor to C-suite executives. She serves on boards of United Nations Girl Up, Young Women Empowered and TiE-Seattle.

Shelmina rose up to be one of the highest ranking woman of color at IBM and has the opportunity to lead many different businesses: hardware, software and services during complex transition times. She led startup businesses as well as mature businesses with revenue in excess of $1 billion dollars annually.  She had the privilege of hiring more than 1,000 people during her career and promoted/guided the careers of many. She has a proven a track record of consistently delivering on all of her key performance indicators while living a balanced life as a single mother of two children. 

As a passionate supporter of empowering women and diversity, she has participated in various events to promote diversity in STEM including meetings at our nation’s capital and at the White House. She truly believes that based on her life story, if she can achieve success, so can anyone else. She is currently focused on accelerating the success of girls and women by sharing her insights.

Shelmina currently serves on an advisory board to United Nations Foundation Girl Up initiative which engages girls to stand up for girls globally, empowering each other and changing our world. She also serves on the board of Young Women Empowered which is a nonprofit organization focused on empowering young women from diverse backgrounds to step up as leaders in their schools, communities, and the world through intergenerational mentorships and creative programs that equip young women with the confidence, resiliency, and leadership skills needed to succeed.

Shelmina also serves on the board of TiE-Seattle where she leads women’s entrepreneurship.  TiE is the world’s largest nonprofit that fosters entrepreneurship globally. TiE believes in the power of ideas to change the face of entrepreneurship and growing business through five pillars: mentoring, networking, education, incubation and funding.

Shelmina grew up in a very modest family in Tanzania, and left home at 15 years old to pursue higher education. She was the first person in her family to obtain a college degree. Shelmina earned her Bachelor of Science in Computer Science at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse where she was honored as a distinguished alumna and her Bachelor of Sciencein Mathematics,from Wadia college in Pune, India.As part of IBM’s top talent, she has received extensive leadership training at IBM, Harvard University and UCLA.

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carol dahl

Executive Director, The Lemelson Foundation

Dr. Carol Dahl is the executive director of The Lemelson Foundation. With a background in discovery sciences, innovation programs, and global health and development, Dr. Dahl leads the Foundation’s work to use the power of invention to improve lives. The Foundation inspires and enables the next generation of inventors and invention-based enterprises to promote economic growth in the US, and help solve social and economic problems for the poorest populations in developing countries.

Prior to joining the foundation in July 2011, Dahl worked for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in various roles, including founding director of the Global Health Discovery Program and as director of staff for the overall Global Health Program. During her tenure at the Gates Foundation, Dahl built the platform discovery innovation programs Grand Challenges in Global Health and Grand Challenges Explorations.

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caroline cummings

Executive Director & Venture Catalyst, Oregon RAIN

Caroline Cummings is the executive director and venture catalyst of Oregon RAIN. She is an entrepreneur who loves helping other entrepreneurs launch and grow their companies. She has been the CEO and Co-Founder of two tech startups. She’s helped raise close to $1M in angel funding and $1M in funding for various economic development and non-profit organizations. She’s also closed several six-figure deals for various companies. As RAIN’s new Venture Catalyst she will utilize her years of experiencing both failures and successes to help other entrepreneurs launch and grow their own companies in the most sustainable way.

Cummings brings over 20 years of management experiences to the table. Before becoming an entrepreneur she lead technology and communication projects at Bristol-Myers Squibb, lead fundraising campaigns for various non-profits, launched and/or helped grow several entrepreneurial development initiatives through her consulting partnership with the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce and the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network – including Smart-ups PubTalks, the Willamette Angel Conference, the Southern Willamette Angel Network, and the Southern Oregon Angel Investor Conference. She most recently served on the executive team at Palo Alto Software for nearly 3.5 years as their VP of Business Development.

Cummings also serves as the Venture Associate for the Willamette Angels, including their annual Willamette Angel Conference LLC and their newly formed W2 Fund.

Cummings’ biggest passion (other than entrepreneurship) is mentoring. She has been mentoring “at-risk” youth through various non-profit programs since 1993. She’s also served as a volunteer for Mercy Corps – where they flew her to Cairo, Egypt during social unrest to deliver workshops and mentoring to entrepreneurs and angel investors from the region.

Cummings is a graduate of Drexel University in Philadelphia and holds a B.S. in Corporate Communications with a minor in Public Relations. She also obtained a certificate in Sustainable Change Management from the University of Oregon. She’s additionally been the recipient of Eugene’s “20 Under 40 Award” (2008).

Caroline’s investments include: LevrumAgility RoboticsHemex Health & Diatomix. She also serves on the Advisory Board for Heritage Laboratories.

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paige hendrix buckner

Program Director, Founder Gym

Paige Hendrix Buckner is the program director for Founder Gym. Founder Gym is an online training center for underrepresented founders who want to build successful tech startups. Incorporating best practices from entrepreneurship, education, and sports psychology, Founder Gym offers an innovative approach to develop the world's next great entrepreneurs.

Throughout her career, Paige has operated at the intersection of education, entrepreneurship, and social justice. She is a well-respected leader in the Portland startup scene and has helped cultivate their ecosystem, including co-founding the Xxcelerate Fund for women entrepreneurs.

Paige is also an educator and entrepreneur. After graduating from the University of Missouri – Columbia, she moved to Las Vegas to become a fourth grade teacher as a Teach For America Corps Member. When not teaching, she was co-directing the state chapter of the Not For Sale Campaign. She moved to Portland in 2011 and spent her first year selling computers at the Apple Store and helping families get access to health coverage for their children with the Urban League of Portland. In 2012, she started her job as a policy advisor at Multnomah County. After attending a Startup Weekend, she was inspired to cofound her first company and pursue a seat in the Startup PDX Challenge. In 2015, Paige started her second company, ClientJoy, a marketplace that makes it easy for businesses to give great local gifts.

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CEO, Minnow

Steven Sperry is a technology entrepreneur. His first startup, an enterprise software company, went public in 1999 and was valued at over $2 billion. He also founded the Consortium for Service Innovation, an industry standards-setting body. Most recently he served as Entrepreneur-in-Residence for a startup accelerator. He is currently CEO of Minnow, an IoT foodtech startup that he co-founded in 2017.


Sabrina Parsons

Chief Executive Officer, Palo Alto Software

Sabrina has served as CEO of Palo Alto Software since 2007. She and her husband, Noah, founded a UK software distribution company in 2001 that was acquired by Palo Alto Software in 2002. Sabrina is a successful Internet expert, having served as Director of Online Marketing at Commtouch, Senior Producer at Epinions, and founder of her own Web consulting company, Lighting Out.

She is a staunch supporter of entrepreneurs, and supports entrepreneurial organizations. She is President of the Princeton Entrepreneurs Network. Sabrina has also chaired and sponsored both the Princeton Business Plan Competition and the Willamette Angel Conference in Eugene, Oregon for several years. She additionally gets invited regularly to participate as a judge for other business plan competitions across the U.S., as well as to speak on business planning, leadership, and women in technology.

Sabrina believes in community involvement and is helping and volunteering in different organizations in Eugene, OR to help further economic development and public education in the community. She sits on the Board of Directors for the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, on the Board of Directors for Whole Earth Nature School, and has been nominated by the School Board to join the budget committee for the 4J School District (since January 2012). She is also the technology adviser for the Fox Hollow Charlemagne Elementary School Parent-Teacher Association.

Sabrina blogs at MommyCEO.org  and Forbes Women, where she writes about running a business while balancing her business life with her husband and three young sons. When Sabrina is not at work she can be found chasing her kids all over Oregon: biking, hiking, swimming, skiing, and anything outdoors that uses up a lot of little boys' energy.

She is a graduate of Princeton University.


Anarghya Vardhana

Partner, Maveron

Anarghya Vardhana is a partner at Maveron She was named a 2017 “30 under 30” in venture capital by Forbes. Yes, she published a math theorum at the age of 17. But the achievements Anarghya is most proud of are her relationships and community in and out of work, her solid connection to her Indian roots, and her ability to straddle multiple cultures well.

Anarghya joined Maveron in 2015 after working for several startups in product management and operations roles. She focuses her energies on opportunities in frontier tech, where cutting-edge technologies intersect with existing mass consumer experiences.

Anarghya is passionate about diversity in tech and considers it a lifelong mission to get more women involved in technology, and to increase diversity in both thought and practice in the field. In her spare time, Anarghya trains for marathons and performs as an Indian classical dancer.


Ganesh Shankar

Co-Founder & CEO, RFPIO

Ganesh Shankar is co-founder and CEO of RFPIO. A highly experienced product manager, Ganesh has successfully led product development and software implementations for Fortune 500 enterprises as a product manager. It was then, surrounded by an outdated approach to responding to RFP responses, that he pursued his dream to create proposal management software that would make a positive impact on the industry.

Ganesh describes RFPIO as, "a product built for RFP responders, by RFP responders. Every feature and function in our application was developed with thoughtfulness—we made sure the benefits would truly support responders experiencing the same inefficiencies we knew ourselves."


Allie Magyar

CEO, Hubb

Allie Magyar is a skilled entrepreneur and technology maven with more than 15 years of experience driving successful technology enabled service companies. She founded Hubb to build a technology solution that directly addressed the needs of meeting planners as they manage the overload of information for their event content. As CEO of Hubb, she is responsible for directing the company’s strategic direction with an emphasis on key partnerships, integrations, and growth. Allie is also passionate about driving positive corporate culture and her companies have won several regional awards such as “Healthiest Workplace” and “Most Philanthropic”. Allie combines her real-world experience in marketing, sales, partner relationship building, and show production with a strong vision for the technology-enabled future of event management. She is an experienced speaker who has presented at conferences including CEMA Summit, Event Tech Live and ACT-W Portland. Allie is CMP certified, a member of Vistage and a two-time Inc. 5000 award winner. She was a member of the 2017 Portland Business Journal’s 40 Under 40, named a 2017 Top Woman Entrepreneur by Smart Meetings Magazine and was a 2018 EY Pacific NW Entrepreneur of the Year finalist.


ana chaud

CEO, Garden Bar

Ana Chaud is the chief executive officer of Garden Bar. Founded in 2014 in Portland, Oregon, Garden Bar has become quickly known as the must ultimate destination for fresh, healthy, delicious salads. The company’s mission —and inspiration: give the underrated salad the love and respect it deserves. No limp iceberg lettuce. No sad tomatoes. No store-bought dressing. Only bountiful bowls of raw leafy greens tossed with locally sourced vegetables and fruits, fresh meats and cheeses, exceptional toppings and an array of housemade dressings. Garden Bar also serves  other delectables and local beverages, too.


Sayer Jones

Director of Mission Related Investments, Meyer Memorial Trust

Sayer Jones is the Director of Mission Related Investments at the Meyer Memorial Trust in Portland Oregon, his night job is recording YouTube videos with his 8 year old son. In both endeavors Mr. Jones leverages his background, humor and big picture thinking to showcase his passion for family, Oregon and doing right by the community.

In his role as Director of Finance he oversees the daily functions of the finance and accounting department and is tasked with budgets audits and so forth.  In his role as the Director of Mission Related Investing, he spends his time on surfacing, reviewing and eventually investing in opportunities that add to the Trusts mission to build a flourishing and equitable Oregon.  Examples are investments in the Portland seed fund, Ecotrust Forests, Women’s Venture Fund and the Oregon Angel fund along with assisting in the Program Related Investment portfolio (low interest loans to not for profits in Oregon) for the past seven years.

Prior to joining the Trust, Sayer worked as a CPA at Moss Adams LLP doing taxes and consulting services for a wide variety of clients, but mostly focused on the Not for Profit sector.