Managing Partners

Julie Castro Abrams

Founding Partner

Julie Castro Abrams is an expert in board governance and recruitment of diverse candidates. She is a Co-Founder of BoardLeaders.com where she actively places leaders on corporate boards and supports them to build inclusive and high performance boards. She is Chair  and CEO of How Women Lead, a network of over 10,000 women dedicated to promoting diverse women’s voices and propelling women’s leadership forward. Julie is the Managing Partner for the 2020 Women on Boards Bay Area effort, helping to spearhead the national effort to increase the percentage of women on U.S. company boards. Through her consulting practice, Julie creates high performance boards, high impact brands, and high production, multicultural teams.  

An experienced CEO, she is now a trusted advisor to dozens of executives across a multitude of sectors, partnering with and launching them towards greater impact. An active investor and advisor to start ups, Julie also sits on the advisory boards of the fin-tech start-up LENDonate, The New Search Collaborative and is the Governance Chair for the Women’s Funding Network, a network of women’s foundations across the globe. She has previously led the board of multiple nonprofit organizations located throughout the country,including Board Director for the National Council of La Raza, Governance Chair for the Association for Enterprise Opportunity and Board Chair of Cypress String Quartet. 


The recipient of many accolades, Julie has won the More Jobs Genius Award, the Morgan Stanley Innovation Award, Cisco’s Innovation in Technology Award, the League of Women Voters’ Women Who Could Be President Award, the Stevie Award for Best Non-Profit Executive, and the Commission on the Status of Women’s Human Rights Award, and is a member of the Women of Color Action Network, Leadership California, and the Marin Women's Hall of Fame. She has also been featured in four books, including “Scrappy Women in Business,” “Women of Courage,” and “The Missing Mentor,” and Fast Company’s video series “30 Second MBA.”

Christina Bui

Strategic Advisor

Christina Bui has over 15 years’ experience in executive consulting services and placement. Currently, she serves as Chief Revenue Officer and Senior Vice President of Business Development at Kranz & Associates. For 25 years, Kranz provides the outsourced finance accounting team, finance consulting, and CFO advisory to venture and private equity-backed companies and venture funds.  Christina currently serves as the Board Chair at Siembra, an education technology start-up. She also serves on the Board of Asian Pacific Fund, University of San Francisco Center for Asia Pacific Studies, How Women Lead, and Association for Corporate Growth. She is also Co-Founder and Strategic Advisor at BoardLeaders.

 

Prior to joining Kranz, Christina was Vice President of Client Solutions for Robert Half, leading the partnership between the professional staffing divisions of Robert Half and the consulting organization of Protiviti, to support companies on financial projects as well as transactions such as IPOs, mergers, and acquisitions. Before joining Robert Half, Christina was an Associate Managing Partner at Tatum, a national interim CFO firm. Prior to joining Tatum, Christina was responsible for market development as Vice President for the Northwest region of Parsons Corporation, one of the largest engineering and construction firms. Christina has also worked with venture capital company Encore Capital Management where she performed financial analyses on investment opportunities for publicly traded companies. Within Encore Capital Management, she was involved with and helped launch a fund with one of the firm’s venture capital projects in Vietnam. Prior to Encore, Christina was part of the Corporate Government Affairs team of Johnson & Johnson and represented the healthcare company on Capitol Hill pertaining to corporate and health care issues.

Christina holds a bachelor’s degree in Foreign Affairs and French from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in corporate finance from Johns Hopkins University. She was awarded “Most Influential Women in Business” in 2016 and 2017 in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Business Times. Christina has Co-Chaired the Association for Corporate Growth’s M&A West Coast Conference seven years in a row from 2012-2019 and Co-Chaired Women On Boards 2020 Conference in San Francisco in 2017-2018.

Advisors

Lisa Suennen

Advisor

With more than 30 years’ experience as an entrepreneur, operating executive, venture capitalist, board member and strategic advisor, Lisa has focused broadly on new technologies and how they are transforming businesses. She spent much of her career helping companies adopt and leverage digital technologies, develop strategies for growth through innovation and investment, and build strong collaborations between established players and entrepreneurs. 


Today Lisa leads Manatt Phelps & Phillips digital and technology businesses and she also leads the firm’s venture capital fund. Her role spans technology across all sectors, although she also works closely with Manatt Health, engaging with payers, health systems and companies to provide strategic advice on innovation, digital strategy and growth.


Lisa was previously Senior Managing Director at GE Ventures leading the firm’s healthcare venture fund as it invested in early-to-growth stage healthcare investments across the entire healthcare landscape. GE Ventures is considered one of the world’s top 20 best performing corporate venture funds. From 2014-2016 she led Venture Valkyrie, LLC, an advisory firm she founded, after spending 15 years as a partner at Psilos Group, a healthcare venture fund.She also is co-founder of CSweetener, a not-for-profit company focused on matching women in and nearing the healthcare C-Suite with mentors who have been there and wish to give back. For the last 11 years Lisa has been on faculty at the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business where I teach the annual course on healthcare venture capital.


In 2018 Lisa was named Top Digital Health Evangelist by Goldman Sachs, Rock Health, Fenwick and West & Square 1 Bank, and the fund she leads for GE Ventures was named the most prolific corporate venture fund. In the same year, she was also named #2 in the Global Corporate Venturing list of 100 Rising Stars, and also named one of the Top Female Health IT Leaders to Know by Becker’s Healthcare. 

 

Lisa is currently a Board Member of Health Reveal and the Dignity Health Foundation.  She is also on the Advisory Boards of the California Health Care Foundation Innovation Fund, and global digital health organization HealthXL and the International Digital Health Advisory Board of the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (an affiliate of the Royal Murdoch Children’s Hospital) and a health technology advisor to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital she is the Chairperson of the Advisory Board of NASA’s Translational Research Institute, which is focused on innovative approaches to reduce risks to humans on long-duration exploration missions, including NASA’s Journey to Mars. Lisa has served on numerous other for-profit and not-for-profit boards throughout the years and have Chaired several of them.

 

James F. "Jim" Reilly

Advisor

Jim has been an investment banker since 1983.  He is the Founder and Managing Partner of Stonepine Advisors, LLC, and his industry expertise covers the spectrum of technology companies with a particular focus on software and services companies and semiconductor and related companies. Until June 2010 he was a Senior Advisor to Needham & Company, LLC, a nationally recognized investment banking and asset management firm focused primarily on serving emerging growth industries and their investors.  He had been associated with Needham & Company, LLC, since January 2004 serving in various capacities including Head of West Coast Investment Banking and Head of the Software Investment Banking Group.

 

Previously he was a Managing Director at J.P. Morgan Securities, Inc., an investment banking firm, where he led the Systems and Semiconductor practice, and a Managing Director in the Technology Group of Warburg Dillon Read, the global investment banking division of UBS AG.   From 1983 to 1999, Mr. Reilly was associated with Warburg Dillon Read or one of its predecessor companies and specialized in corporate finance advisory work for a broad range of technology companies.   During his career, Mr. Reilly has executed a wide variety of transactions including equity IPOs and follow-on offerings, private placements, convertible and non-convertible debt and M&A transactions for a broad spectrum of companies in the technology, healthcare, and financial services industries.

 

Mr. Reilly earned a BA in Economics and Computer Science at Columbia University and is Chairman of the Board of Directors of PFSWeb, Inc., a $275mm revenue, publicly traded e-commerce services provider based in Allen, TX.

Kyung H. Yoon

Advisor

Kyung H. Yoon is CEO and Founder of Talent Age Associates based in Silicon Valley, providing creative talent strategies for Fortune 500, multinational corporations, and mid-cap/venture backed companies in the technology, fashion, consumer, lifestyle and financial industries. Kyung is regularly engaged as a corporate director, advisor, executive search and organizational consultant, bringing creativity, global vision and innovative, value-added solutions to her clients around the world who are facing disruptions from technology innovations and globalization. She is a multi-cultural and multi-lingual leader who combines a unique blend of business, artistic and cultural expertise, spanning the Americas, Europe and Asia. Kyung has developed relationships with the most creative and innovative players in Silicon Valley and with influential business, artistic and cultural leaders from a wide range of communities around the world. Before starting Talent Age Associates, Kyung spent 14 years with the global executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles. Rising to become vice chairman, she led Heidrick & Struggles’ expansion in Asia, and managed the Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Taipei, Shanghai, and Seoul offices. 

Prior to Heidrick & Struggles, Kyung was president of Benten Investments, Inc., president of Pacific Union Asset Management, and vice president of Dillingham Development Co. She earned a B.A. in economics and French from Goucher College in Baltimore, and an M.B.A. in finance and marketing from the University of Chicago. She is actively committed to the creative arts, as a practicing artist and dancer, engaged with the performing and fine arts communities around the world.

Kyung is also co-founder and partner of Executive Board Exchange (EBX), the premier community for corporate director and board engagement. Kyung has unparalleled access to top-level executives and corporate directors due to her extensive board experience.

Lisa Coca

Advisor

Lisa is a Managing Director of Investing, based in Menlo Park, CA. She joined the business in 2012. 

Lisa invests in enterprise software start-ups that drive corporate productivity and operational efficiency. She was also the architect of GE Ventures' EDGE program which leverages the global scale, expertise and resources of GE to provide start-up partners with programs and tools to help them grow and scale their enterprise. 
 

Prior to joining GE Ventures, her professional career spanned a number of other disciplines including finance, sales & marketing, strategy, and business development at major financial institutions such as GE Capital, Bankers Trust, and Deutsche Bank. 

Lisa currently serves as a member of the board of directors for Zinc and BizWorld.  She also holds board observer positions for Ascendify, Octiv, Tamr and NYSHEX. She is a member of the Executive Committee for Bay Area Women's Philanthropy and is a member of the NVCA Corporate Venture Advisory Board. 
 

Lisa graduated with honors from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and received an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.  She lives in Los Altos with her husband and three children. 

Trina Van Pelt

Advisor

Trina Van Pelt is Vice President of Intel Capital and Group Managing Director of the Data Center & Cloud, Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Driving Groups at Intel Corporation. She directs the team of equity investment, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), and strategic business development professionals who identify, evaluate, lead, and negotiate strategic transactions in businesses focused on these market segments. She is responsible for fostering strategic thinking and growth initiatives that link Intel’s business strategy with strategic transactions. 

Van Pelt also leads the Intel Capital Diversity Initiative, which invests in businesses founded and/or managed by women, under-represented minorities, U.S. military veterans, the physically disabled, and the LGBTQ community.
 

Van Pelt has more than 20 years of experience in technology M&A, investments, strategic planning and business development. She has led more than 70 technology acquisitions and investments worth >$50B over the course of her career, spanning the computing, communications, software, IoT and mobile industry segments.
 

Before joining Intel in 2004, Van Pelt was a director of corporate development at CNET Networks and an investment associate at TA Associates. She began her career in investment banking at Lehman Brothers and Ernst & Young’s financial advisory services group.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Michigan and earned a master’s degree in management from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University

Evelyn S. Dilsaver

Advisor

Evelyn S. Dilsaver has served as a member of Tempur Sealy International’s Board of Directors since December 2009. Ms. Dilsaver was President and Chief Executive Officer of Charles Schwab Investment Management from July 2004 until September 2007. Prior to that, Ms. Dilsaver held various senior management positions with The Charles Schwab Corporation since December 1991, including Executive Vice President and Senior Vice President, Asset Management Products and Services, of Charles Schwab Investment Management and Chief Financial Officer for U.S. Trust Company.

 

Ms. Dilsaver is also a member of the board of directors of Aeropostale, Inc., a clothing retailer, HealthEquity, Inc., a non-bank health savings trustee, Bailard Private Real Estate Fund, as well as Blue Shield of California and other non-profit boards. She also serves as a member of the advisory board of Protiviti, a global consulting company. In the past five years, Ms. Dilsaver has also served as a director of HighMark Funds, an asset management firm, Longs Drugs, a retail pharmacy chain, and Tamalpais Bancorp. Ms.

 

Dilsaver is a certified public accountant and holds a B.S. degree in accounting from California State University-Hayward. Ms. Dilsaver brings a long professional career in finance, accounting and general management and considerable experience with consumer-oriented businesses to the Board as a senior executive of a large investment management firm and her many years of serving as a director of companies in a variety of businesses.

Caroline Donahue

Advisor

Caroline Donahue is a board member, trustee, and volunteer for organizations that educate and empower people and businesses, and help them thrive. She retired in 2016 after over 30 years in high tech with companies such as Apple Inc., NeXT Computer, and finally 21 years at Intuit. Her final role at Intuit was Chief Marketing and Sales officer, where she ran a large global organization focused on powering prosperity throughout the world with Intuit products and services.

She serves on several boards, including Experian PLC, a Global data and information services company based in London; Go Daddy, an online company powering small businesses; Emerge America, a political non-profit that recruits and trains women to run for office; and the Computer History Museum, the premier institution focused on the past and present of the high tech industry. In addition, she is on the Executive Committee of Northwestern C100, a women’s professional networking and mentoring group, and is a mentor for She-Can, a non profit which helps women from Rwanda and Cambodia succeed in US colleges and beyond.

Caroline has a B.A. in English from Northwestern University and resides in the Bay Area and New York City.

Linda Abraham
Advisor

Linda Abraham is an entrepreneur who co-founded two technology companies, Paragren Technologies (currently owned by Oracle), and  comScore, which is a global leader in digital measurement and analytics (NASDAQ:SCOR.) Linda’s operational leadership roles span a range of commercial, product management and marketing efforts; while at comScore, she also spearheaded several strategic acquisitions and led global development and business development efforts. Her early career included tenure at Procter and Gamble in Cincinnati, OH, and Information Resources, in Chicago, IL.
 

Currently, Linda is an early stage investor/advisor/board member to a number of private companies, spanning investing, data/analytics, machine learning, cybersecurity, enterprise AR/VR, educational technology, retail and transportation.  She is currently Vice Chair of Upskill, an enterprise software company for augmented reality/smart glasses for industrial companies to increase worker productivity and first time quality, and she also serves as a Director to Site Centers (NYSE:SITC), a publicly traded real estate investment trust company that invests in shopping centers throughout the US. In this role, she serves on both the Audit Committee and the Nominating/Governance Committee. 
 

Linda serves on boards for both the Data Science Institute as well as the Center for Business Analytics at the University of Virginia, and is an active member of the World Economic Forum (WEF), including being a member of the Selection Committee for the WEF Technology Pioneer program. She was named a ‘Great Mind’ by the Advertising Research Foundation, and is a frequent industry speaker. Linda holds a degree in Quantitative Business Analysis from Penn State University. 

Ron Storn
Advisor

Ron is the first Chief People Officer at Zume Inc, a growth startup disrupting the food delivery, automation, and logistics space. 

 

Most recently, Ron lead human resources and recruiting at Lyft, empowering company leaders and team members to achieve Lyft’s mission to improve people’s lives with the world’s best transportation. Joining Lyft in 2013, Ron grew the company from 80 to over 2,000+ team members, from one centralized office to three corporate offices and over 25 hubs nationwide, from operating a cumulative 1 million rides to 1 million rides per day, and from a GMV revenue run rate of $100M to $5.1B. Ron lead the design and implementation of Lyft’s HR infrastructure, including innovative approaches to data-driven engagement and inclusion programming, performance assessment, and continuous feedback. As a culture leader, Ron ensured that Lyft’s founder-lead culture continued to keep pace with the company’s growth by championing the formation of company core values to help foster a differentiated and inspiring work environment. Ron has over 20 years of experience leading recruiting and human resources teams, including stints at Facebook and Google. 

 

At Facebook, Ron managed Product Engineering and Leadership Recruiting, and while at Google, Ron focused on Business Operations recruiting. Previously, Ron founded Targus Human Capital Partners, a boutique executive search firm specializing in Executive placements for emerging and mid-market companies. Before starting his own shop, Ron managed Western Region experienced recruiting for PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP and spent a significant period as a recruiting manager for an international executive search firm.  Finally, in what feels like another life, Ron began his career as a CPA with KPMG.

Alison Richards
Advisor

Alison Richards is the Sr. Director of Strategic Communications for Intel’s Internet of Things Group.  Alison has a strong background in strategy, marketing, alliances and business development. Over her tenure at Intel, she has held a number of roles: IOT Marketing, Mobile Go-to-Market; Intel Education; Director of the Cisco Alliance; Intel Capital Director of Worldwide Portfolio Relations; Content Group; Advertising and Partner Marketing.  Alison has held board observer positions for Intel at StarMedia Networks and MaMaMedia; and currently sits on the Executive Board of the Silicon Valley Chapter for How Women Lead.    

 

Alison was previously at The Santa Cruz Operations (SCO) as International Sales and Marketing Manager for Pacific, Asia and Latin America.  She holds a M.B.A. in International Management and a BA in Language Studies, with a minor in History.  Alison speaks Spanish, French, Portuguese and beginning Chinese and Japanese.   

Petra Chequer
Advisor

Petra Chequer is an empowering strategist, innovative thinker and global connector. She is a German native, but has lived and worked in the United Kingdom, Italy, France and Australia before moving to the United States. Throughout her career Petra’s primary interests have been business development, strategic alliances and cross-cultural communication. She was fortunate to apply her passion to the tourism, finance, telecommunications and the software industry working with clients such as Latitudes France, Deutsche Bank, Siemens and Digital Equipment. She was also instrumental in helping the Aluminum Company of America expand their Automotive Division throughout Europe by working closely with the executive teams at Audi, Renault, Mercedes and Ferrari. Currently Petra is focusing on growing the unique and diverse Alliance community of executives and creating local and global connections to empower its members.
 

Previously, Petra was President of Chequer Consulting assisting companies and their leaders in developing growth strategies and penetrating national and international markets. The company provided its clients with a deep understanding of the respective local markets and business practices as well as establishing valuable strategic alliances.

Petra attended the University of Passau (Germany) and the University of East Anglia (UK) where she majored in French and English Literature and Linguistics. She subsequently graduated from the Language Academy of the City of Munich in French Economics. She also holds diplomas from the University of Cambridge, Le Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de Paris and L’Universite  di Perugia per Stranieri. She is an avid learner and is always looking for opportunities to expand her knowledge in business strategy, leadership development, global communication and innovation.

Petra is a travel fanatic and outdoor sports enthusiast and has recently discovered her passion for the game of golf.