What leadership qualities have you come to admire and why?
Leonard Kully, of San Francisco, notes, “I graduated Boalt Hall School of Law in June 1958 and practiced law full time until December 31, 2007, and part time until December 20, 2018, when I became inactive. My wife and I took an amazing vacation in 1996 when we moved to a small town outside of Lucca, in Tuscany, Italy, for one year. It was the experience of our lifetime.”
Allan Hitchcock, of San Francisco, has retired from Wells Fargo Bank after 46 years in the banking industry, earning the coveted Loyalty & Performance Award in 2019. Hitchcock and his brother Larry were the third generation of their family to attend Cal, following in the footsteps of their father and grandfather. His daughter, Elizabeth, attended Cal as a Piedmont High School student in the undergraduate early-admission program.
While at Cal, Hitchcock was a member of Sigma Chi and the Circle C Society and represented the school in volleyball and basketball. He earned an MBA from the University of Michigan in 1960 and started his banking career at United California Bank as a stock analyst in the trust department. The following six decades were spent working in a roughly four-block area of Montgomery Street in various capacities, even running a branch bank for Ross Perot. Wells Fargo is planning a retirement event for him when it is safe to gather in person again.
Tom Jones, of Dana Point, Calif., describes his work as follows: “Market health insurance, with an emphasis on senior/Medicare clients, as well as life, disability, and long-term care plans. I also consult with small businesses about their insurance needs. I have added Prudential and John Hancock to my life insurance portfolio. While at Cal, I served as senior class president.”
October 1–3, 2021
Tod Kong See MBA 1981.
Tim Tran won a 2020 Best Indie Book Award for his memoir American Dreamer—How I Escaped Communist Vietnam and Built a Successful Life in America. The international literary honor recognizes independent authors worldwide.
He notes, “I felt a tremendous sadness learning of the passing of my favorite professor, Professor Emeritus George Strauss. My memoir describes my last visit with him in June 1974. I told him I would be returning to South Vietnam and thanked him for everything he taught me and asked him to sign his book for me. He inscribed: Mr. Tran, it was my pleasure to have you as my student. Stay safe and good luck! That book has become one of my most treasured possessions.’”
After five decades and founding or acquiring four successful companies in the health and pension benefits industry, David Walker, of Belvedere, Calif., has retired. Having sold his last company, he is now using his Haas education and years of experience serving on nonprofit and municipal boards and finance committees—and hiking with his family.
George Elias See MBA 1984.
Kent Halkett, of Brentwood, Tenn., published his account of “a BigLaw partner’s journey through clinical depression,” in the ABA Journal on April 23, 2021, and two other 2021 articles on mental health in the legal profession, spotlighting a taboo topic in the law. Judging by the overwhelming number of positive responses to his articles by law students, law professors, attorneys, judges, and non-attorneys, Kent’s personal mental health journey and story hit a raw nerve. Kent speaks to attorneys, law firms, and bar association groups on mental health challenges in the profession.
Cynthia (Richardson) Smizer, of San Francisco, announces, “I retired after a 30-year career as a business litigation lawyer. I am married to Chris Smizer, also Cal Class of 1980 (mechanical engineering), and do fee-free financial planning.”
Mitchell Rosenberg, of Thousand Oaks, Calif., forwards the following: Serving individuals, families, and business in Southern California for over 30 years, Mitchell D. Rosenberg, CLU®, ChFC®, CFP®, CPA (inactive), MSFS, AEP® from the San Fernando Valley General Office of New York Life, has received the Agent of the Year Award for 2020. He was recognized for achieving the top production among all agents at the company’s San Fernando Valley General Office, spanning from the San Fernando Valley to Santa Maria.
“Leaders with high emotional intelligence who get to know what each of their team members needs and tailor their approach and support to each individual.”
—Stacy Sutton, BS 88
CMO, Rule 1 Ventures
Mike Johnson, of Pleasant Hill, Calif., retired in May as a senior audit partner in the consumer industry of Deloitte after 36 years in the San Francisco office. Mike will be serving on the board of the Monument Crisis Center, teaching accounting part-time, and hopes to work in hospitality for a winery. Shown: Mike and Celeste Johnson.
Stacy Sutton, of Atlanta, announces, “I’m chief marketing officer of Rule 1 Ventures, an Atlanta-based venture studio that launches B2B technology startups. I’ve also just been appointed board chair for Aurora Day Camp, a nonprofit full-summer day camp for children with cancer and their siblings. I’m a proud mom of my daughters, who are both in graduate school (while working). They plan careers in the health care/psychology space.”
Marci (Bratman) Zaroff, of New York, writes, “My newest venture (ecofashioncorp.com) has launched two new sustainable/organic lifestyle brands on QVC—Farm to Home and Seed to Style! Also, bought a home in Bucks County, Pa.!”
Timothy Yee, of Alameda, Calif., shares that he was interviewed as an ESG 401k expert for the Activate Your Money and Impact Investing books Both books are primers on how the average consumer can influence the outside world by investment choices.
The Business of Pride
Kinman Tong, BS 03, a longstanding member of the Haas Alumni Council, was named one of San Francisco Business Times’ OUTstanding Voices for 2021, celebrating LGBTQ+ leaders making a difference in business. Tong, a partner at Moss Adams LLP, is a member of his firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Board and is the company’s executive partner sponsor for the Pride, Asian, and Latinx business resource groups.
Mister Emael (Ernesto Arellano), of Valencia, Spain, writes, “My contract was just renewed for one more year as a cultural ambassador in Spain. Looking to spend the summer writing about my time at Cal. I just had a video call with Lambda in Valencia about volunteering this summer. They invited me to design a creative project that would engage the community. I want to use the skills I obtained in San Francisco while producing a public access show to see if we can produce a short film.”
“Consistency. Being able to stick to your core values and drive your mission forward day in and day out, without wavering or distraction, is challenging in this fast-changing world.”
—Richard Zen, BS 09
Director, FIT Investment Corp.
October 1–3, 2021
Lucky Sandhu writes, “I’m humbled and honored to have accepted a position on the reunion committee for my Berkeley Haas Class of 1996! As a Double Bear of our undergraduate and Executive MBA programs, I see Haas as my extended family, and this year it’s more important than ever to connect with your family. To my fellow classmates, I hope you will join us to rekindle some amazing memories, celebrate each other, and renew our relationships. More to come from me on this subject, so stay tuned! Until next time, visit reunions.berkeley.edu to learn more.”
Devin Tau, of Portland, Ore., notes, “Just following up on the update a year or two ago: My feature documentary Who’s on Top? narrated by George Takei had its worldwide release in May 2021 after screening at six film festivals around the world. The film is available for streaming (iTunes/AppleTV+, Google Play/YouTube Premium) and DVD/Blu-ray (Amazon and other sites). Go Bears!” Shown: Devin Tau and friends on Devil’s Kitchen Headwall, Mt. Hood, Oregon.
Will Edmonson, of West Hollywood, Calif., writes, “I continue to practice law, primarily handling litigation matters for individuals and small and mid-sized businesses. I offer big law firm experience and talent at affordable rates. Please feel free to contact me at 424-248-9581 or [email protected] if I can help you with anything.”
Wendy Nguyen, of San Francisco, updates, “After [the March 2021 mass shootings in] Atlanta, “I and a group of Asian-American business leaders published an open letter in the Wall Street Journal pledging to help end the violence against our community and work toward equitable workplaces for all. That act of activism (which I learned at Cal) has spawned a coalition of over 8,000 business leaders across all industries. We recently launched the Catalyst Fund for Justice, the grant-making arm of Stand with Asian Americans, to make investments in nonprofits and projects that will ignite the movement. I’m humbled by the response and excited to return to my Cal roots!”
Steven Chu, of Brooklyn, N.Y., has found his “career passion” in user experience (UX) and digital product design. Steven recently coded a custom automation tool for UNIQLO USA’s email team, reducing internal work-time by 87%, and designed the free content experience for Marie Forleo, an Oprah- and Richard Branson-recognized business coach. “I’d love to connect with any fellow alums who are working on a purpose- driven project!
“It’s been a mission to align my professional and personal life. What fuels me outside of design—camping, adventure, community, filmmaking, and teaching aquatic sports—drives just as much of why I design experiences: to fuel a curiosity for life and connection. I recently drove 1,900 miles over 10 days, sleeping in our rental camper van, on a bucket-list trip to Utah’s five national parks. I’d love to share my experiences and tips.” Photo by Dustin Tyler Moore.
Monica Chang, of Los Angeles, started an architecture practice called Antonym, “a collaborative architecture studio driven by the belief that creative friction sparks transformative design. I am fortunate to have studied at Haas and the College of Environmental Design as an undergraduate, and it has always been a dream to merge both fields into a career.” Check out some of her energetic, light-filled projects at antonym.us.
Andrea Lo, of San Francisco, leads strategy and investments at Stellar Development Foundation, a $1B+ fund focused on investing in fintech and blockchain companies globally. Stellar is an open-source payment network built on the blockchain with a focus on emerging markets.
Yaniv Newman, of San Diego, shares that law firm Sullivan Hill Rez & Engel has named him a shareholder of the firm. He is a member of the firm’s construction, insurance coverage, and commercial and business litigation practice groups. Joining Sullivan Hill as an associate in 2017, Newman advises and represents clients on issues arising during construction from contract negotiation to project completion. He also represents builders and developers in securing policy benefits when insurers dispute coverage and as independent counsel in cases involving sensitive third-party claims that sometimes impact the availability of insurance.
Fast Company recently honored Back to the Roots, founded by Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez, for its 100% USA Seeds. The magazine dubbed the seeds one of 2021’s World-Changing Ideas in two categories: general excellence and corporate social responsibility. Back to the Roots was also recognized by Walmart as a Project Gigaton “GigaGuru,” the retailer’s highest sustainability honor for suppliers. Walmart’s initiative aims to avoid one gigaton of greenhouse gases from the global value chain by 2030. Through upcycling waste, optimizing packaging, and choosing more sustainable materials in manufacturing, Back to the Roots was able to avoid nearly 1,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions last year—the equivalent of nearly 2.5 million miles of automobile driving or a thousand acres of forest preserved.
Richard Zen, of Hong Kong, reports, “In what was a difficult decision, I left Phoenix Property Investors, a private equity real estate fund manager, after working there for more than seven years. Took a little time off and then have since joined my family business.”
Sophie (Grace) Chang decided to start a fashion business. “Interested in connecting with others with experience in that industry. Moved back to the Bay Area and will begin traveling more often,” she updates.
October 1–3, 2021
Aron Schindler, of Bangkok, Thailand, announces, “I’ve recently taken up the position of country managing director at Poladrone Solutions. We aim to bring precision agriculture and industrial automation using drones to Southeast Asia. With offices in Malaysia and Thailand, we are quickly expanding our footprint and client base. If you are working with drones or ag/tech, please feel free to reach out!” Shown: Aron Schindler in the field with his operations staff.
Shazia Virji, of San Mateo, Calif., writes, “I was recently promoted to the executive team at Credit Sesame as the general manager of credit services. It has been exciting to contribute to the incredible growth trajectory we’re on as a company, and I’m looking forward to unlocking more financial wellness opportunities for our customers.
“Over the past two years, I’ve served as co-chair of the Berkeley Haas Alumni Council. We’re creating opportunities for GOLD alumni (graduates of the last decade) to stay engaged and active with the school and each other. I also completed my first year in the EWMBA program in May. It’s been great to stay connected with Haas in more ways than one. I’m looking forward to being back on campus in the fall!”
“Empathy and openness. You never know what someone is going through, so it’s important to be open to seeing other perspectives.”
—Sophie (Grace) Change, BS 10
Talia Caldwell writes, “I am excited to announce that I’ve been admitted to USC’s School of Cinematic Arts’ top-ranked Peter Stark Producing Program for my MFA. Some of you may know that I took an interest in writing in 2017 after an injury. Well, it has culminated to this next chapter of my life as I pursue a career as a screenwriter. This opportunity to attend USC is a step in the right direction.”
Shuo Chen, of Palo Alto, Calif., is a general partner at IOVC (formerly Agile VC) and on the faculty at UC Berkeley and Singularity University. She is also the CEO of Shinect, a Silicon Valley-based nonprofit community of 5,000+ engineers who are passionate about entrepreneurship, and an Advisory Board member of Yale School of Medicine’s Center for Digital Health & Innovation. In April Shuo was appointed by California Governor Gavin Newsom to serve as one of 16 voting members on the statewide Mental Health Commission, which advises the governor and legislature on mental health policy, overseeing $2.6 billion annually.
Clement Kao, of San Francisco, announces, “I recently released the audiobook version of my book Breaking Into Product Management. I’m actively working on converting my other two product management books, Excellent Execution as a Product Manager and Refining Your Product Skills, into audiobooks too!” Shown, from left: Cliff Kao (brother), Jessica Kao (mother), Panpan Xu (significant other), and Clement Kao.
Brian Ratajczak, who recently completed his first year at Harvard Business School, reports, “For my MBA internship this summer, I wanted to push myself to try something new. I found myself drawn to effecting change at the city level and, through talking to many people and organizations, I was compelled by all the programs in Tulsa, Okla. I decided to join Tulsa Innovation Labs, a team funded by the George Kaiser Family Foundation and focused on spurring economic development in the area. As someone who has only lived in liberal coastal cities, I’m excited to be in an entirely new place and get more exposure to the civic sphere this summer!”
Adam Forest, of Berkeley, Calif., updates, “Since graduating, I have started a company called Launchparty, with my amazing co-founder Jay Greenblatt, BS 21 (data science). Launchparty is an equity crowdfunding platform where early-stage startups from college campuses raise funding from their personal and university network and engage with the campus community through discussion and feedback channels. Our mission is to level the playing field for pre-seed startup funding, emphasizing college startups. Alumni and students will be able to invest as little as $50 in startups of their choosing from their own university, starting with Cal! Recently, we were admitted into SkyDeck’s HotDesk program! Follow us on insta @Launchpartyvc or sign up for our newsletter on Launchpartyvc.com.
Shown: Adam Forest (right) and Jay Greenblatt, upon getting into Skydeck.
Ziyuan Ying, of Cupertino, Calif., announces, “I resigned from Amazon after one year of remote working as a vendor program manager in the Amazon Fresh team and decided to focus on my ed/tech startup. In 2019, I co-founded Excel Orange EdTech Group, official partner of 15+ world-class universities, institutions, think tanks, and NGOs, with expertise in international executive education and academic exchange programs. Welcome to any partnership discussion!
“During COVID, I took a 45-day road trip alone via Route 66 from California all the way to Chicago and back. It was a rewarding and memorable experience.”
John Rosicky, of San Diego, reports, “Retired now and enjoying it very much. Lucille, my wife of 58 years, and I volunteer at the local hospice and were recently recognized as Volunteers of the Year. We travel a lot to visit family and see the world.”
Pete Michael, of Adamstown, Maryland, writes, “I am celebrating the 50th year since earning my Haas MBA and 40th since chairing the Haas Alumni Network. That year, the HAN board grew the number of chapters from two to 36 and the Network as we know it today was born. I am retired from Michael Strategic Analysis, which I still own, and over the past 15 years I have had five books published. My wife, Vicki, and I enjoy the quiet life at our Cooling Springs Farm as the seventh generation of the family there.”
Lodovico Gandini, of Milano, Italy, retired from finance and started an agricultural endeavor in Sardinia: “I planted 1,300 olive trees to produce extra-quality olive oil near the sea.”
April 29–May 1, 2022
Joseph Carlson, of Monument, Colo., sent this missive from Dhermi, Albania, “the Albanian Riviera,” in mid-May: “As I look out from the King Hotel terrace overlooking the beach and enjoy breakfast on a cool, sunny morning, I carefully ponder the leadership qualities I’ve come to admire, and why I selected Albania for a modest holiday. The answer is very simple: I came to Albania to enjoy a freedom-loving country with people who have decided to place their bets with capitalism—where adults, either individually or collectively, make the decisions—and forgo a socialist system, where some nameless bureaucrat/government-paid lackey decides what is best for you. Remember, people will judge you by your actions, not your intentions. You may have a heart of gold, but so does a hard-boiled egg! Anyway, here I am enjoying a no-mask, capitalism-focused society that has decided to go with the concept of ‘the [reward of] deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended.’ A sign on the ticket booth to Butrint National Park sums it up: ‘69 Rules of Success. 1. Serve the visitor wholeheartedly. 2. The other 68 don’t matter.’”
Tod Kong, of Hopland, Calif., informs, “Founded Alden & Kong, CPAs, in 1986, with my business partner, Scott Alden. Still going strong. Life is good in Hopland and Marina Bay, as my wife, Marie, and I are enjoying the magic of grandparenting. We have a granddaughter, Quinny, and a grandson, Charlie. Cousins born seven weeks apart at the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020. Thank you to our wonderful children, Andy and Gabriela, and their fantastic spouses, Brett and Emily.”
April 29–May 1, 2022
Ronald Bohn, of Elk Grove, Calif., updates, “On special assignment with the State of California as a COVID-19 case investigator/contact tracer since July 2020. Work remotely on Salesforce platform integrated with Amazon Web Services softphone. Will likely return to regular role as health and human services analyst during the second half of 2021.
“We adopted an adult German shepherd from a shelter in January.”
Malcolm (Davenport) Plant, of Berkeley, Calif., announces, “After more than 30 years of selling custom automation, manufacturing test equipment, and custom-designed mechanical and electromechanical components, I’ve hung up my spurs and sold the business, Avocet Sales & Marketing, to my son
and a partner. Retirement is much busier than I anticipated.
“Spent 10 days in April bicycling the length of Baja California. Went trout fishing in Alaska in June. One child got married last year. The second getting married this year. My golf game is improving in fits and starts and, darn, I started a new business that’s having problems.”
MaryJo Radosevich writes, “Just returned from a two-week trip to Iceland! An amazing country of raw scenic beauty and friendly people. I took a five-hour round trip climbing and hiking excursion that was steep and treacherous to see the volcano firsthand. Mother Nature put on an amazing fireworks show! This was my second international trip during the COVID pandemic. I went to Dublin for two weeks in February. More travel to come!”
Michael Cooke, of Midlothian, Va., reports, “2021 marks the start of my second decade of living in Southeast Asia. I’ve witnessed firsthand the remarkable resilience and resourcefulness of people in Thailand and Cambodia, in the catastrophic flooding of Bangkok in 2011 and recently during the pandemic. Thailand is home to 1.3 million small and medium enterprises, in a total population of 70 million. When need for face masks exploded, thousands of SMEs swung into action to produce simple masks, which soon became available to everyone in Thailand. Many local business owners intuitively know our Haas defining principles, as they question the status quo, study alternatives, and then act with little capital to spare. In this environment I’ve been happy to offer insights into how to manage business resources. The Cal MBA adds value, especially while the third wave of COVID-19 seems like a tsunami hitting small businesses everywhere.”
George Elias, of San Rafael, Calif., writes, “I work as a financial advisor in Marin County, and several hours daily in the very early morning I trade index futures for my own account on the Chicago Board of Trade. In addition, I’ve completed a novel, Leaving Earth: A Guide for Off-Earth Emigrants, and I am actively looking for a literary agent. Any help is welcome! Just before COVID hit, I spent 12 days in Paris (December 2019). Wonderful trip.”
“No organization works if everyone isn’t motivated, financially or otherwise, to go in the same direction. Everything works if they are.”
—Malcolm Plant, MBA 82
Retired Owner/President, Avocet Sales & Marketing
Roger Austin writes, “We are retired and living on a micro-ranch in Northern California. Two goats at the moment. Loree recently had major surgery on her leg, so
we are in for a spate of recuperation.”
April 29–May 1, 2022
John Boesel, of San Anselmo, Calif., notes that after 20 years as CEO of CALSTART, a national clean transportation industry consortium, “it feels like a new job. Takeoff finally starting to happen. We have launched an investor council, launched a global program for zero-emission commercial vehicles, and are working closely with the Biden administration at the federal level.”
Jim Daly, of Stamford, Conn., founded Janus Coaching (janus-coaching.com) to partner with executives to navigate career inflection points so they can shape their next move successfully. He adds, “I love the work of helping people rediscover who they are now and where they want to be. Remarried a few years ago and have a blended family with six children between ages 19 and 30!”
Manoj Goel, of Saratoga, Calif., notes, “Joined IIT Startups, a nonprofit venture accelerator, as a board member and president. Recently spoke on a panel on India@75 years (since independence), along with chancellor of UCSD, co-founders of Infosys and HCL, and Indian consul general in SF.”
Erin (Fray) Reid, of Seattle, wears many hats, from management consulting to property renovation.
“Inclusivity. Prof. Jenny Chatman taught us that diverse teams are more challenging but make better decisions. Leaders who create teams with diverse backgrounds and viewpoints will thrill customers, employees, and shareholders.”
—Ben Wilson, MBA/MPH 96
Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Together Senior Health
April 29–May 1, 2022
Scott Bechtler-Levin, of Encinitas, Calif., updates, “After 4.5 energizing years with BCG Digital Venture, including the past 2.5 years leading the rapidly growing health care practice in Europe, Fiona and I are back near San Diego, and in June I joined Evidation Health as SVP, Health Program Business. I’m excited to start a new business focused on giving patients the information they need based on real-world evidence to activate changes in their care.”
Tim Leach, of Healdsburg, Calif., writes, “Five years ago, I retired from my full-time career position as chief investment officer for US Bank. I reached out through my network and the launch timing of a new investment company by Goldman Sachs aligned with my retirement. So here I am on the board of the publicly listed Goldman Sachs BDC (GSBD) and chair of the latest new investment company affiliated with Goldman called Goldman Sachs Middle Market Lending II, a private company.
“Two years ago, my wife and I had no grandkids, and two of our three children lived outside of California. Now, all three families live in the East Bay: Berkeley, Lafayette, and Walnut Creek—and we have three grandbabies! Life has become very rich all at once!”
Amy Bayersdorfer, of Menlo Park, Calif., reports, “I’ve started a new role as COO at the nonprofit VC Include (VCI). It’s our mission to create and deliver best-in-class training and educational programs for emerging women, BIPOC asset managers, and asset owners. We’re driving increased investor returns and positive social impact.
“We launched VCI’s inaugural fellowship program this spring with incredible first-time fund managers representing 15 new funds. This program is designed to build them into institutional-grade firms, provide access to investors, and offer business resources and professional development. Together, these funds’ target assets under management exceed $500 million. We have bold plans to increase the number of Black- and Brown- and women-led asset management firms running funds that are inclusive and holistically integrated with environmental social governance and sustainability planning.”
Melissa Kelley, of Santa Rosa, Calif., executive director of the Sonoma County Parks Foundation for a decade now, writes, “This spring we received a $500,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente for climate-adaptive fire recovery at a park that burned extensively in the 2019 Kincade Fire. Sonoma County Parks is becoming a leader in building park infrastructure designed to withstand repeated wildfires and even support firefighting efforts.”
Virtual Reunions Done Right
Kudos to the FTMBA Class of 2001, who went beyond themselves to organize additional virtual activities in conjunction with their 20th reunion. Events included discussions on cryptocurrency for fun and profit and on the future of business and climate and happy hours in both U.S. and European time zones (shown above). They also attracted a large group for the Haashosted mixology demonstration followed by team trivia.
Ashu Goel, of Saratoga, Calif., announces, “I’m excited to share that Sverica Capital Management, a leadin growth-oriented private-equity firm, has invested in my organization, WinWire. This funding supports our growth strategy and our mission to help clients gain competitive advantage through innovative software solutions.”
Tracie Reynolds, of Davis, Calif., reports, “I’ve been working for the City of Davis for about five years. I handle all of its real estate needs, and I also manage the city’s open-space program, which means I try to buy conservation easements to protect surrounding farmland from development. It is a fast-paced, varied job I enjoy, and it really makes me feel a part of a community, also allowing me to pursue my professional interests and be a mom at the same time.
“My daughter, Dina (12), loves Harry Potter, reading, swimming, drama, playing with her friends, and boba tea. We have been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter twice! Middle school next year will be a big change for both of us. After a year of lockdown, we are looking forward to vacations this summer in Colorado and Southern California.” Shown: Tracie Reynolds and daughter, Dina.
Ben Wilson, of Port Townsend, Wash., and Cynthia Benjamin, MBA 97, co-founded Together Senior Health, a digital therapeutic for people with Alzheimer’s or dementia. “We have raised $3M through SBIR grants from the NIH,” he updates, and “should close on venture funding by the time this is published. The product was the result of research conducted by Dr. Deborah Barnes, a professor at UCSF and UC Berkeley School of Public Health.
“After 20 years in Menlo Park, Calif., we moved to Port Townsend, Wash., a Victorian port city two hours northwest of Seattle. Our daughter lives in Seattle, and our son is going to college here in Washington state. We may be empty nesters again. I am still playing music and writing songs. I also serve on a couple of nonprofit boards.”
April 29–May 1, 2022
Adam Leader, of Greenwich, Conn., started a new job in January as first product manager at fintech Rho Business Banking in NYC. “We’re a commercial banking startup for other startups and growth companies. Energized to finally work at a startup after being 100% big tech since Haas. Would be great to catch up if you visit NYC!”
Marc Stern, of Oakland, Calif., writes, “Past the five years’ point working in product management at Cerus Corp in nearby Concord. The company is focused on the safety of the blood supply, providing technology that inactivates viruses and bacteria in donated blood. “My oldest son was accepted at Cal and will attend in the fall. Yay!”
Pascal Hoffmann, of Oakland, Calif., writes, “Greg Patterson and I have completed the soon-to-be-world-famous ‘bear head’ bike ride itinerary around the north bay, including the crossing of three bridges and wonderful local sightseeing.” Shown: Greg Patterson and Pascal Hoffmann.
Diane (Bisgeier) Tate, of San Francisco, updates, “My journey doing innovation and internal communications work at Mozilla recently broadened to cover our employer branding too. As the world and the workplace evolve post-COVID, both functions are becoming increasingly critical to employers and employees; I highly recommend checking out Microsoft’s latest Work Trends Index. Like everyone, we’re moving, but we remain committed to the Bay Area. Wish us luck!” Shown: Diane Tate speaking at Tech Stars in Taipei, December 2019.
Dancing in the End Zone
Brandon Doll, MBA 14, the senior vice president of strategy and business development for the Las Vegas Raiders, was named to Sports Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 list, an accolade honoring entrepreneurial zeal, innovation, and leadership. Doll’s most recent success is the opening of the Wynn Field Club, a nightclub for ticket holders spanning the length of the north end zone in the new Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
“Authenticity, which is the sincerest way of showing commitment to people and practices.”
—RENU MOTWANI, MBA 09
HEAD OF PRODUCT MANAGEMENT/AIOPS & OBSERVABILITY PRODUCT LINE, BROADCOM INC.
Joe Moss, of Danville, Calif., notes, “A little over two years ago I co-founded Extend, a startup aiming to modernize extended warranties and product protection plans with an API-first solution and customer-centric philosophy. Happy to say that we’ve just raised a $260 million Series C (led by SoftBank) at a $1.6B valuation! We’re hiring, too—check out extend.com/careers.”
April 29–May 1, 2022
Daniel Malandrin writes, “I am happy to share that I got married on April 25 to Grazielle Grandi. She is an amazing person, sharing the same values and an incredible mindset to solve problems and find equilibrium in life. We are living in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and looking forward to visiting Berkeley Haas soon.”
April 29–May 1, 2022
Nate Bucholz announces, “The Bucholz family has returned to its Oregon roots, and we are now living in Lake Oswego, Ore. We’ll miss the Bay Area, but we are excited to be close to family, friends, and forests.”
Charlene Chen, of London, U.K., reports, “At the end of 2019, I stopped working full time for the pan-African fintech company I co-founded. In March 2020, just a few days before London’s first lockdown, I became COO of a health-tech startup called Lantum, which provides software that enables primary and secondary care organizations across the United Kingdom to mobilize and manage health care workers. It’s been very challenging leading a large team remotely, but very rewarding to work for a health-tech company in the midst of a global pandemic.
“My husband, Sean Peters, and I got married at our local town hall in August 2020. Although disappointed that our families could not attend, we were grateful to celebrate with a few friends (including Lauren Stark, MBA 10) at a garden reception after the civil ceremony.”
Jason McClelland, of San Jose, Calif., announces, “I started a new job as CMO of Algolia to help the company scale the team and uplevel the brand in anticipation for an upcoming IPO. Algolia was founded in France—I’m really looking forward to working out of the Paris office once things start opening up, especially after a year of working from my kitchen table in quarantine!”
Seung-Ho Ahn wrote in to celebrate Thiago Ojea, of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, head of Latin America materials research with Goldman Sachs. Ojea joined a Brazilian hedge fund as an equity portfolio manager, as reported by Bloomberg news. “Big congrats, Thiago!”
April 29–May 1, 2022
Aashi Vel, of Renton, Wash., writes, “Steph Lawrence and I co-founded Traveling Spoon, a food and travel company, upon graduating. When travel came to a complete halt last spring, we pivoted to offering private online cooking classes to keep our host community engaged. It has since become a lifeline for the business. We now offer corporate online classes as team-building events and also ship ingredient boxes for some of our classes, including for a delicious French Molten Chocolate Cake! These online classes enable you to travel from your kitchen. I’m delighted to witness how they continue to allow meaningful cultural connections for
“Josh Wilcox and I had our second baby, Vidaan, a sweet and calm little guy who makes every day feel truly special. We moved to the Seattle area recently to be closer to family.” Shown from left: Aashi Vel, Vidaan Wilcox, Aavia Wilcox, and Josh Wilcox.
Driving Software Innovation
Shri Iyer, MBA 15, was recognized as one of the top 25 software product executives of 2021 by The Software Report. Iyer is the VP of product and design at SimpleLegal, a platform for streamlining in-house legal operations. He was noted for building and scaling the entire product function, for quintupling the product team in under a year, and for launching a state-of-the-art legal document management system.
Cal Blake, of Portland, Ore., reports, “In early 2020, Lach Litwer (shown) and I started Columbia Gorge Capital, a real estate investment firm. Our mission is developing and owning environmentally sustainable workforce housing in the Pacific Northwest. We syndicated four properties in 2020 on the Oregon Coast and Hood River. Architecturally, our current projects include cottage communities, multifamily apartments, and townhomes, all of which are considered part of the ‘missing middle’ of today’s housing market. We’re actively pursuing new deals in both of our current markets and exploring other communities.”
Jack Song, of San Francisco, is now the vice president of Gravitate, a tech marketing and communications firm specializing in transforming high-growth tech brands into category leaders. Jack has been a longtime brand and communications strategist. He started his career in the entertainment industry and then the political sector. Since graduation, Jack has taken several major startups to market as the head of marketing communications, including Lime, another Haas alum-founded company.
Dorothy Yang, of Redwood City, Calif., updates, “I closed out four years at Kaiser Permanente, where I built an entire product portfolio from scratch for the Medicare Line of Business. It was a wild ride but such a rewarding one to know that we were creating innovative benefits to address social factors for seniors. I also was proud to have worked alongside a group of like-minded colleagues to advocate for enhanced policies supporting working parents and caregivers at all levels of the
“I recently started a new job at Facebook in a product partnerships role on the Faith Partnerships team. Excited to build impactful products that drive thriving faith and
April 29–May 1, 2022
Brandon White, of Houston, announces, “I started a new job as the Texas State Network director at Unite Us, a technology company that connects service providers across the continuum of care. We’re addressing every determinant of health by building coordinated care networks that span clinical, behavioral, and social services to improve community health outcomes across the country (UniteUs.com).
“My wife and I also jumped into entrepreneurship in 2020 by opening an event venue called BienVenue Events. BienVenue is an 1,800-square-foot modern, industrial venue that can host any event our clients dream up. Our open concept and blank canvas allow our clients to truly transform our space into the perfect place for their event. We’re known for our vendor pop-up shops, birthday parties, and micro-weddings! In the near future, we hope to host more concerts, comedy shows, and open-mic nights. By the end of 2021, we’ll be opening our second location near downtown Houston. Visit us at bienvenuehouston.com.” Shown: Brandon White and family (Mychal, Jayden, Nicole, and Myles) outside BienVenue Events.
Kendrick Vaughn, MBA 16, won the 2021 Phyllis Scott Buford Young Visionary Award from the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management. The award recognizes Consortium alumni creatively driving diversity and inclusion in their professional lives. Vaughn, a director at BreakLine Education, helps people of color pivot into the tech industry. A veteran, he previously led West Point’s matriculation of three of the four most diverse classes in the Academy’s history. He also volunteers for Haas, mentoring veteran students and applicants.
“Humility. I very much respect leaders who are willing to publicly admit that they don’t know all the answers, that they’ve made a mistake, and that they aren’t the smartest person in the room.”
—DOROTHY YANG, MBA 16
PRODUCT PARTNERSHIPS MANAGER, FAITH PARTNERSHIPS, FACEBOOK
Jaime Raul Zepeda, of Castro Valley, Calif., is taking the next step in his pursuit of public service: running for State Senate for the 10th District in California. Jaime is running to give all Californians a path to prosperity and to bring his immigrant story to Sacramento. He looks forward to getting support from his fellow Haasies! Visit zepedaforsenate.com.
Cody Cusic recently moved from Sunnyvale to Los Gatos.
Chinmay Gaikwad, of New York, started a job as a technical evangelist at a Series A startup and moved to New York for the new job! Shown: Chinmay in Vietnam.
Vladimir Rodeski, of Union City, Calif., describes how he and classmate Bryce Gilleland each took Kurt Beyer’s entrepreneurship class (separately) and were introduced by friends in common who said, “You two should meet up; you’re both into crypto and have exciting stories.” Now, after pursuing a shared interest in digital currencies separately, they’re launching a fund together: Asha Capital Partners. “We’re excited to launch a fund of funds,” Rodeski reports, “that can help others diversify their portfolios and more safely invest in the digital currency sector. This can include venture capital, directional, and market neutral strategies, such as arbitrage and market making. I am excited to help others gain broad exposure to a cryptocurrency market with top funds and potential, but who don’t have enough expertise, time, or capital to create a diversified crypto portfolio.”
“During my EWMBA program, I took several Master of Financial Engineering program classes, where I learned about professional risk management techniques employed by hedge funds. I’m very grateful to have been surrounded with students and professors openly sharing their thoughts on crypto space. This year, I will transition from my full-time engineering job to professional hedge fund manager. My experience—and, most importantly, the people—at Haas made this transition possible.”
April 29–May 1, 2022
Classmates Hannah Greenberg and Alex Lopez launched an industry-based search fund, Ven Capital Partners, to acquire a small/middle-market company in the U.S. to operate. The search fund model, also known as entrepreneurship through acquisition, is designed to provide young talented professionals an opportunity to be the CEO of a company at an early stage of their careers.
“Hannah and I are committed to challenging the status quo,” says Alex. “The current number of minority professionals in search funds is overwhelmingly underrepresented. Women and Latinx entrepreneurs are slowly getting more opportunities in the space, but Hannah and I would love to pave the way for many more talented professionals.”
The pair have raised an undisclosed amount from investors, the largest of which is Pacific Lake Partners, a highly experienced and prestigious search fund investor based in Boston and San Francisco. When they find a company to acquire, their investor group will have the first right of refusal. Hannah and Alex encourage any business owners to reach out if they are thinking of the next step in their careers. Hannah notes, “We have an incredible group of investors, and we aim to continue the business legacy by protecting its company and employees.”
“Resilience. It is key to moving past failure and striving for success, especially in the face of adversity.”
—PASCAL HOFFMANN, MBA 00
DIGITAL BANKING STRATEGY, ACCENTURE
Yoav Gilat, the Founder and CEO at Share a Splash Wine Company, was featured in Authority Magazine, discussing how to successfully ride the emotional highs and lows of being an entrepreneur. Read the article at haas.org/yoav-gilat.
April 29–May 1, 2022
Joshua Posamentier, of Piedmont, Calif., notes, “After co-founding Congruent Ventures in 2017 to invest across the climate tech landscape with an early-stage focus, we closed a new $175M fund earlier this year, bringing our total AUM to over $300M. Our wide-ranging portfolio of 36 companies, most of which we led or seeded, has the potential to avoid or eliminate gigatons of greenhouse gas and provide ever more tools to fight climate change.”
Scott Cole, of Union City, Calif., co-founded 150left.com—an urgent initiative to stop the extinction of the monarch butterfly. “Too many nonprofits have attempted to do the same,” Cole writes. “However, we are not a nonprofit. We believe innovation and a commercial approach to producing the food that the monarch needs to complete its life cycle is the only way we can stop the extinction.” Cole writes that a December 2020 monarch population count estimated only 150,000 left; a more recent count suggested the total could be as low as 30,000—a shocking loss compared with the millions fluttering through California only a few years ago. “Saving the monarch butterfly—in a way that’s productive, sustainable, and controlled—is all I have been focused on,” he explains. “We now have a habitat network plan, a crowdfunding campaign, and are beginning to garner support both locally and nationally. We still have a long way to go, and it will be hard work once we hit our first funding milestone ($800k), but we are excited to make this difference and benefit current and future generations.”
Deepak Deolalikar, of Milpitas, Calif., joined Brightedge, an inbound marketing automation SAAS. Deepak is a VP/GM for Special Projects and will be responsible for building and launching new marketing automation products targeted at SMB and corporate segments.
April 29–May 1, 2022
Lucky Sandhu See BS 1996.
Min Xiao, of Boulder, Colo., updates, “I left my corporate job in March to work full time as the chief operating officer of Air99 LLC (airgami.life), an N95 respirator startup my husband, Richard Gordon, founded several years ago. The need for a better respirator arose when living in China between 2011 and 2014 at the height of air pollution there. Upon returning to the States, Richard began designing a respirator. I was attending Haas amd led the team through the divergence-convergence exercise that I learned from Sara Beckman in Applied Innovation, and we landed on the Airgami design. In October 2019, Air99 was awarded the Reimagining Respiratory Protection QuickFire Challenge, sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Innovation–JLABS and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). When the pandemic hit, we took the leap to productize Airgami. As we gather more lab and field data, it becomes clear that it is a highly differentiated product: N95-grade that blocks COVID, wildfire smoke, and pollen, best-in-class breathability, self-conforming fit, feather-light, no nose wire, no exhale valves, won’t fog glasses, won’t muffle voices, heat-
“Is it crazy to leave a secure job with good benefits in the middle of the pandemic? Is it crazy for a husband and wife with a young kid to both jump into the same startup? Well, Haas sowed the seeds and prepared me. Please support me on this major career change.” Shown: Min Xiao, her son, and husband, Richard Gordon, wearing Airgami.
April 29–May 1, 2022
Meili Hau, of San Diego, reports, “In partnership with Scripps Health and PATH, on April 26 I completed a 14-week innovation project sponsored by the Arlene and Michael Rosen Foundation, the Safe Haven Clinic Institute, and Homebase under the direction of UC Berkeley faculty David Charron and Rachel Dzombak to create a collaborative street medicine program serving unsheltered persons in San Diego County. I program manage the county’s only street medicine program, using design thinking and systems thinking approaches to expand our current street medicine efforts and address the needs of chronically homeless individuals with high utilization of emergency medical services.” Shown: Jennifer Wilkens and Meili Hau.
Tucker Hirsch, of Reston, Va., started working as a sustainability consultant for a boutique consulting firm helping commercial real estate and other alternative investment assets implement ESG practices.
April 29–May 1, 2022
Richard Hill, of Pittsburg, Calif., notes, “Cal BS/MBA in 1968/69 served me in high-tech finance for 20 years until I returned to school and earned three more degrees for a career switch by way of a PhD and license in psychology. My private practice in clinical psychology is all telehealth out of Contra Costa County, maybe indefinitely?
“Fortunately, our grandchildren all live within 16 miles from our home: There is always ice cream in the fridge.”
Connson Locke, of London, U.K., writes, “I know 2020 was a difficult year for many, but two positives came out of it for me: I was promoted to professor, and I wrote my first book, Making Your Voice Heard. I am doing lots of book talks online. I don’t have the enjoyment of signing physical books, but I can reach a much larger and more international audience! See my website (connsonlocke.com) for more details.”