Co-Founder and Chairman
Mike is an entrepreneur, mentor, and investor with more than 20 years of experience commercializing catalyst and materials technology.
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Our board is made up of volunteers passionate about fostering a sustainable and robust innovation economy in Pasadena and greater Southern California. We have a diverse board of local business leaders, and together we represent the technology, science, design, entrepreneurship, capital, and education sectors—dedicated to providing leadership and resources to an engaged and growing community.
Mike is an entrepreneur, mentor, and investor with more than 20 years of experience commercializing catalyst and materials technology.
Dr. Michael A. Giardello (Mike) is an energetic and passionate entrepreneur, mentor, and investor with more than 20 years of experience in developing and commercializing technology. After completing a post-doctoral fellowship with Professor Grubbs at Caltech, Mike was an early employee or consultant at several start-ups before co-founding Materia in 1998. He served as President, CEO & CTO from February 1999 to November 2015 and then transitioned to a role as Senior Advisor.
In 2016, he became a founding Partner at Mount Wilson Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm focused on the physical and data sciences and serves as an advisor or Board member of several companies. Mike is a Co-Founder and current Chairman of Innovate Pasadena and served as Vice Chairman of the City of Pasadena’s Economic Development Task Force.
Beth is an entrepreneur and expert in design and development, digital product strategy, and branding, with nearly 20 years in the tech industry.
Beth has been developing software and using digital design tools since childhood. She made that passion into a career, spending over 20 years designing and developing for the web. Prior to co-founding Enbroaden, a digital product agency, Beth gained significant experience and knowledge working at McKinsey & Company. In addition to co-founding Enbroaden with Alan Baker, the pair also co-founded digital publishing startup Netminds.
In addition to serving as the President of Innovate Pasadena, she is an advisor to Silicon Valley connectivity provider Join, has served two terms on the Board of Directors for the South Lake Business Association, and received recognition by the California 41st Assembly District as a 2016 Woman of Distinction Nominee.
The former Special Assistant to the President at ArtCenter College of Design, Mark is a writer, design educator and international design advocate.
Mark is a writer, design educator and international design advocate. He is the former President of the World Design Organization, where he led the creation of the World Design Impact Prize. He served as the Dean of Undergraduate Education and Special Assistant to the President at ArtCenter College of Design, where he co-founded the Create Change Design Forums in China and received the “1,000 Talents Award” from the Chinese government. He was also the Provost at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Mark is a founding board member and co-chair of Development for Innovate Pasadena. He has published widely on design education, innovation and creativity, as well as Shakespeare and literary history in a former life. He holds a PhD. in Literature and Critical Theory from the University of California, San Diego.
Isaac is a serial entrepreneur with three successful exits in SaaS, data, and digital marketplaces in the tech sector.
Isaac Garcia was a founding partner at Upgradebase, where he oversaw all business development and sales for the company. Isaac served as a Director of North America Enterprise Sales for CNET Channel. He was responsible for the acquisition, sales and management of global partnerships with Microsoft, Google, eBay, Yahoo and Best Buy. Isaac led and managed CNET’s global partnership with Microsoft to launch the Windows Marketplace campaign in 14 countries. He received a BA in English from Ambassador University and a Masters degree in English Literature from the University of Northern Colorado.
With a background in corporate communications, media and community relations, Jered heads up marketing and communications at ArtCenter College of Design.
With a background in corporate communications, media and community relations, Jered Gold heads up marketing and communications at ArtCenter College of Design, a global leader in art and design education.
Jered Gold is Vice President of Marketing and Communications at ArtCenter College of Design, a global leader in art and design education. In his current role, he seeks to create greater awareness of the College, its mission, students, faculty and alumni among key influencers by developing meaningful stories, sharing compelling images, amplifying the brand and creating significant touch points that resonate far beyond the College. Specifically, he oversees media and public relations, digital content, creative and editorial services, campus communications and special events.
Additionally, he serves as a member of the president's executive cabinet, addressing a number of strategic and operational issues on a weekly basis. Prior to ArtCenter, he worked in corporate communications at Universal Studios and, before that, in contestant relations for King World Studios. Jered majored in Hospitality Management with a minor in Business Administration and Marketing at San Jose State University, and early in his career held a number of management and community outreach positions in the hospitality industry.
Salvatrice is the executive director of PCC’s economic and workforce development efforts and drives the college’s strategy to supply a trained, flexible workforce that serves the region’s labor market needs.
Salvatrice Cummo was recently appointed as the executive director of PCC’s economic and workforce development efforts. Her responsibilities include driving the college’s strategy to supply a trained, flexible workforce that serves the region’s labor market needs. Salvatrice previously served as director of PCC’s Small Business Development Center, which operates in partnership with the Small Business Administration to assist small business owners with low-cost training and no-cost one-on-one advising from experienced entrepreneurs and industry experts. Prior to her work at PCC, Salvatrice was the director of business development for the Montebello Chamber of Commerce. Her industry experience includes work with Macy’s and her family-owned businesses. She has a master’s degree in entrepreneurship and innovation from the USC Marshall School of Business and a bachelor’s degree from Cal Poly Pomona. Salvatrice is currently serving as a Co-Chair of IP’s PR & Marketing Committee.
Alex brings experience in sales, marketing, and law into his role as Vice President of Business Development for Idealab.
Alex Maleki brings experience in sales, marketing, and law into his role as Vice President of Business Development for Idealab. Prior to joining in 2008, Alex wore a variety of hats for two venture-backed startups focused on enterprise software and services (Net Effect, Mobile Automation), both of which were acquired. He holds a BA from UCSB, a JD from Southwestern University, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Xosphere, Oewaves, Innovate Pasadena and STEAM:CODERS.
As a veteran of the Southern California tech scene with roots in several Idealab startups, Rob is passionate about helping people and organizations achieve their goals.
Rob McClinton is the founder and CEO of Designing Nation Holdings, a hosting and online marketing company focused on small and local businesses. He is a veteran of the Southern California tech scene with roots in several Idealab startups including GoTo.com and X1 Technologies.
Rob's career started with developing and leading sales organizations before moving into executive management and then management coaching. He's passionate about helping people and organizations achieve their goals. To that end, Rob has taught management development workshops and provides leadership mentoring through his consulting practice, Artistic Leader. Rob is the Executive Director of the Idealab Alumni Association, an organization dedicated to developing the network of professionals who have worked at Idealab over the years. Rob studied economics at Loyola University Chicago.
In her role as Director of Outreach and Lecturer in the Department of Computing and Mathematical Sciences at Caltech, Claire aims to connect students and faculty to industry, with an emphasis on the local tech community.
Claire Ralph is the Director of Outreach and a Lecturer in the Department of Computing and Mathematical Sciences at Caltech. She directs the Caltech CMS Partners Program, which aims to connect students and faculty to industry, with an emphasis on the local tech community. In her role as a lecturer she developed and taught a new course targeted at junior and senior undergraduates majoring in computer science. Prior to coming to Caltech, she was the Director and Founder of Code for Princeton, a nonprofit focused on promoting open public data and closing the gap between the public and private sectors' effective use of technology. Additionally she has spent time at the Computer Science Research Institute at Sandia National Labs as a Graduate Research Fellow, was awarded a Computational Sciences Graduate Fellowship from the Department of Energy, received degrees in Pure Mathematics and Chemistry from the University of New Mexico, and a MS in Theoretical Chemistry from Cornell University.
Steve Reich is a veteran entrepreneur and Angel investor and has been with several startups from launch to IPO. He is also an active member of the Pasadena Angels.
Mr. Steve Reich serves as Chief Partnership Officer at Malauzai Software, Inc. Prior to this, he served as Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Leisure Link Inc., since October 2006. Prior to this, he served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Digital Insight. Prior to this, he also served as the Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Treasury Services Corporation. He serves as Member at Pasadena Angels. He was a Director of VantageILM, Inc. He holds an MBA in Business from Claremont Graduate University in 1984. He also holds Bachelor of Science in Finance from Arizona State University in 1982.
As a member of the Executive Committee, Bob contributes his expertise in strategy development, M&A, joint ventures, and joint development agreements to the board.
Bob Malchione is Principal at Flintridge Strategy LLC, a consulting practice serving medium and small technology and industrial companies.
Malchione was Senior Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Technology for Avery Dennison (Pasadena, California) for eleven years. His responsibilities included leading corporate and business unit strategic planning processes, assessing new growth opportunities, launching new businesses, evaluating mergers and acquisitions, and managing the overall corporate technology portfolio. Avery grew from $3.9B to $6.7B during this period.
Malchione was a partner for ten years at the Boston Consulting Group (Chicago, Illinois) where he worked on a wide range of strategic and operational issues. He published four Perspectives and articles on post-merger integration and performance measurement systems. At BCG, he was Worldwide Post-Merger Integration Topic Area leader and chaired the Central North American Manager Development Committee and partner election process.
Malchione began his career as a Manufacturing Engineer at Texas Instruments (Dallas, Texas) for two years between college and business school. Malchione graduated from Lehigh University with a BS in Mechanical Engineering summa cum laude. He also earned an MBA from Harvard Business School. In addition to serving on Innovate Pasadena’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee, Malchione served nine years on the Board of Directors at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy including two years as Chairman.
David is founding partner of a law firm that serves venture-backed startup companies and leading research universities including Caltech, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Stanford, and UCLA.
David is a founding partner of KPPB LLP. KPPB is a boutique intellectual property law firm that specializes in developing and enforcing IP portfolios on behalf of venture backed startup companies and leading research universities including Caltech, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Stanford, and UCLA. David’s practice primarily involves advising a clientele of high technology companies on a range of patent, copyright, trademark, and Internet related issues. David also has extensive experience in guiding KPPB's clients through diligence processes associated with fundraising, acquisition and successful IPO. Among David’s current “portfolio” of clients are companies in the portfolios of Andreessen Horowitz, Atomic Ventures, Battery Ventures, Benchmark Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, the Facebook Fund, Google Ventures, Greycroft Ventures, Intel Capital, IQT, Oak Investment Partners, O’Reilly Alpha Tech Ventures, Qualcomm Ventures, Rincon Ventures, Sequoia Capital, and Silicon Valley Bank. David holds degrees in Computer Engineering and Law from The University of Melbourne and is admitted to practice in California, New York, and before the USPTO. David is also a frequent guest lecturer at Caltech and UCLA on topics relevant to branding and patent strategies for startup companies.
Gene has been in the technology and internet space for over 20 years, and also serves as a mentor for Mucker Labs and an advisor for 6 mobile startups.
Gene Chuang is a technologist who has been in the Southern California Internet space for 20 years. He is currently SVP of Technology for BeachBody, and has held tech executive roles at Yahoo, AT&T Interactive/YellowPages.com, Oversee, Synctree and Chegg. Gene is also a mentor for Mucker Labs, advisor for 6 mobile startups, and Public Safety Commission for City of San Marino. Gene lives in San Marino with his wife Jacki a physician at Kaiser Baldwin Park and 3 kids.
As an expert in novel stem cell and stem cell-derived product development with expertise in SBIR grant processes for start-ups, Marie helps bridge the medicine and technology communities.
Marie Csete is an independent biomedicine and biotechnology consultant, with particular expertise in regenerative medicine. She is past CSO of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (the state stem cell agency), and held an endowed professorship at Emory University in Atlanta, and past CEO/CSO of Huntington Medical Research Institutes in Pasadena CA. She is also Professor of Anesthesiology at USC, and Visiting Associate (faculty) at California Institute of Technology in Medical Engineering. Dr. Csete received her MD from Columbia University, after an AB in music at Princeton, and a PhD in biology from Caltech. She is widely published in clinical transplantation and critical care, systems medicine, and stem cell biology, and has extensive consulting experience with early stage companies developing novel drug, bioelectronic, and cell-based therapies, and serves on the Science Advisory Board of several companies in the regenerative medicine space, and non-profit organizations.
Raymond Ealy has over 25 years of management experience, and is the founder of STEAM:Coders, a nonprofit organization that teaches underrepresented and underserved students the fundamentals of STEAM.
Raymond Ealy has over 25 years of management experience in the nonprofit, financial services and retail sectors with Bank of America, Countrywide Financial Services, Security Pacific Bank, and Wells Fargo Bank. Currently he serves on the following Boards: Innovate Pasadena, La Salle High School Board of Regents and LA’s BEST Advisory Board. Previous board affiliations include the Pasadena Community Foundation and the Gamma Zeta Boule Foundation. Raymond resides in Altadena, CA.
As Caltech’s Chief Innovation and Corporate Partnerships Officer, Fred commercializes inventions made at Caltech and JPL/NASA through the creation of new startup ventures and partnerships with established companies.
Fred Farina is Caltech’s Chief Innovation and Corporate Partnerships Officer. His responsibilities include commercializing inventions made at Caltech and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL/NASA) through the creation of new startup ventures and partnerships with established companies. His office is responsible for evaluating inventions, supervising patent prosecution and portfolio management, negotiating licensing deals with industry, assisting Caltech/JPL entrepreneurs with the creation of new startup companies and establishing research collaborations with industry.
Prior to joining the office, Frederic worked as a research engineer in the GPS field at JPL and the University of Miami. He subsequently joined a law firm where he prosecuted patent applications on various technologies before the U.S. and European patent offices. Fred holds a "Diplôme d'Ingénieur" in Electrical Engineering from the Institut National des Sciences Appliquees, Lyon, France, and is a graduate of Caltech from which he received a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering in 1992. He is a registered patent agent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Aaron is an investor, entrepreneur and engineer who has spent over 20 years building successful energy technology companies. He has also organized the Tech Leaders Forum since 2014.
Aaron Fyke has dedicated his career to the success of rapid-growing technology companies. As an investor, entrepreneur and engineer, Aaron has spent over twenty years building successful energy technology companies. As co-founder of six companies, Aaron’s experience has made him an industry recognized expert and speaker at a number of conference and media events (Google Solve for X, MIT Tech Review, AlwaysOn Going Green and others).
He is currently Managing Director at Thin Line Capital providing investment and advisory services to funds such as Rusheen Capital, Climate Impact Capital, and other family offices, bringing investment capital to bear on some of the world’s toughest problems in energy, water and food sustainability.
Aaron is an adjunct lecturer on entrepreneurship at USC and has been a consultant and keynote speaker to utilities (e.g., TransAlta), corporations (e.g., Google), and a number of conference and media events (MIT Tech Review, AlwaysOn Going Green and others).
Aaron earned his MBA and MSME as an LGO fellow at MIT, and his BEng in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Victoria, graduating at the top of his class. He is a Professional Engineer both in California and British Columbia.
In her role as Special Projects Manager for the City of Pasadena, Michelle has championed various initiatives and programming to connect people and resources within the innovation ecosystem
Michelle Garrett is a Special Projects Manager for the City of Pasadena. Michelle has managed a variety of projects on behalf of the city including a recent marketing effort for business and talent attraction. Other notable projects include management of the Tournament of Roses Parade and Amgen Tour of California, marketing of the city’s on-location filming program, and the One Arroyo effort to bring new investment for improvements in the Arroyo Seco. Michelle was instrumental in guiding Innovate Pasadena’s launch and championed various initiatives and programming to connect people and resources within the innovation ecosystem. Michelle studied Politics at Princeton University and earned her MPA with distinction from CSUN. She is a member of the Leadership Pasadena Alumni Network and resides in Altadena.
Jeff has experience across business development, sales, marketing and go-to-market strategies, with extensive expertise in Fintech and Enterprise SaaS.
Jeff is responsible for business development at Upstart, leading efforts in new products and partnerships. Jeff joined Upstart after spending 6 years at Google. He launched and built the Google Apps for Education business, growing market share from zero to almost 70% in its first four years. Jeff spearheaded marketing efforts for Google Apps in Global 2000 accounts and led sales, business development, and go-to-market strategy for the launch of Chrome devices in the education and enterprise sectors. He spent several years in direct sales at IBM, always exceeding quota, and was a founding engineer and lead UI developer at SSB Technologies. Jeff holds a BS in Computer Systems Engineering from Stanford University.
Gladys is an entrepreneur and founder of multiple tech companies, holding numerous patents in the mobile technology space.
Gladys Kong, CEO of UberMedia, is an expert in mobile technology and data solutions. Since joining UberMedia in 2012 as CTO, Gladys has been responsible for assembling a best-in-class data science team and pivoting UberMedia from a social media app developer to a leading mobile advertising technology company.
Gladys is an entrepreneur and founder of multiple tech companies, holding numerous patents in the mobile technology space. In 2016 and 2015, Gladys was named one of Business Insider’s “30 Most Powerful Women in Mobile Advertising.” In 2016, Mobile Marketer named her one of the 25 “Mobile Women to Watch”.
Her leadership has directly contributed to UberMedia being ranked #16 in The Wall Street Journal’s Top 50 Start-ups, listed as one of Fast Company’s “50 Most Innovative Companies”, one of the OnMedia Top 100 Private Companies, and one of the “Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America” by Entrepreneur Magazine.
Gladys holds a B.S. degree in Engineering and Applied Science from California Institute of Technology and an M.S degree in Computer Science from UCLA.
Lawren is the Director of Public Relations at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, a nonprofit focused on advancing opportunity and prosperity for all.
Lawren Markle is the Director of Public Relations at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC), a nonprofit focused on advancing opportunity and prosperity for all, and he also supports World Trade Center LA in that role. Lawren leads issues management, content development and media relations, and helps reporters develop stories about LAEDC’s economic research and the dramatic transformations underway in our economy. He often highlights the role of innovation in our region as an economic driver. Prior to joining LAEDC in 2013, Lawren served as Director of Media Relations at Caltech, where he helped media cover the successful landing of Mars Curiosity Rover and many scientific breakthroughs. Prior to that, Lawren worked at PR Agency Tech Image for many years, where he designed and implemented media relations strategies for dozens of high-tech companies. Lawren received his degree in Economics and International Relations at University of Wisconsin-Madison and has lived in and around Pasadena for over 20 years. He is married with two boys, coaches soccer, served as Vice President on the board of Arroyos and Foothills Conservancy, and is an advocate for sustainability.
Jim is an e-commerce veteran and CEO of Goldstar, and is also actively involved in supporting the entertainment and entrepreneurial communities through a variety of volunteer efforts.
Jim McCarthy is the co-founder and CEO of Goldstar, a company that sells millions of tickets to millions of people on behalf of more than 5,000 venues and producers each year.
An e-commerce veteran, Jim has spent his entire career in high-growth businesses and likes to share his knowledge and insight with others. He’s the editor and main contributor to SellingOut.com, a website for live entertainment and arts marketers. He’s the curator and co-founder of TEDxBroadway, the sold-out annual event dedicated to the question: “What’s the Best Broadway Can Be?” He’s spoken at conferences all over the world, including TED, SXSW, INTIX and more. His articles have been in Forbes, Fast Company and Business Insider.
Jim studied English at Harvard University and received an MBA at UCLA Anderson School of Management. He’s the organizer of the Pasadena Entrepreneurs’ Mastermind Meetup. Jim is also a very active member on the Board of Directors for Union Station Homeless Services and the Pasadena Playhouse. Jim recently earned his black belt in Northern Eagle Claw Kung Fu.
As a member of the Development Committee, Brad has expertise in start ups, venture financing, and M&A. He brings his industry knowledge of technology, law and finance to the Innovate Pasadena board.
Brad Schwartz is the Founder and Managing Partner of Strategic Law Partners, LLP. He has extensive experience in corporate and securities law matters, mergers and acquisitions, and venture capital and other financing transactions having closed several hundred financing and acquisitions over his career ranging from a few million to a few billion in deal size. Brad formed Strategic Law Partners over 20 years ago with the purpose of providing the highest quality corporate legal services to emerging growth and mid-market companies at reasonable rates and has been an active participant and leader in the Los Angeles technology and emerging growth community in Los Angeles for over 20 years.
Brad has represented a wide variety of companies from early stage and venture backed companies (such as Green Dot, Riot Games, Rubicon and ReachLocal), to incubators, investors and private equity firms (such as Idealab, The Chernin Group, Carrick Capital, Aurora Capital, Endeavor Capital and Rustic Canyon/Fontis Partners) to large public and private companies (such as Warner Bros., Fox, IAC/InterActiveCorp and Ticketmaster) and has had clients financed or bought by leading venture or private equity firms including Sequoia, Kleiner Perkins, Benchmark, Bessemer, Battery Ventures, Foundry, Andreessen Horowitz, Greycroft, UpFront Ventures, Clearstone, Evercore and T.H. Lee. He has written and/or given presentations on topics such as venture capital financing, fiduciary duties to debt holders, merger transactions and stock options and other compensation plans and is currently teaching a class on start-ups and venture capital at USC Gould School of Law.
John is a longtime member of the Pasadena Angels and an owner of PrideStaff, a recruiting agency for professional talent in the Pasadena area.
John Sweet is a longtime member of the Pasadena Angels and an owner of PrideStaff, a recruiting agency for professional talent in the Pasadena area. In addition, he serves as the Regional Commissioner for the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) in Pasadena. Previously, he was a licensing manager at the University of Southern California (USC), where he also earned his Master’s in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance. At UCS, over the course of 13 years, he helped launch 21 high-tech companies that generated over $50M in financing, hundreds of jobs, and earned over $10M in direct licensing income for the university. As an entrepreneur, adviser, and community leader with a 24-year record of success in business development, technology innovation, IP licensing and management leadership, he enjoys connecting entrepreneurs to the capital and expertise they need to turn great ideas into great companies. John earned his undergraduate degree in Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley.
As the founder of a recruiting company for high-growth startups, Daniel is focused on driving Innovate Pasadena's role in the go-to hub where Pasadena talent can connect with Pasadena opportunities.
Daniel Tudo is a people person. Engineers to Fashionistas. Entrepreneurs to Accountants. Brain Scientists to Celebrities. He has a keen understanding of both the client’s needs and the candidate’s requirements, and strives to accommodate both. Relentlessly plugged in, Daniel doesn’t stop until he makes the connections work and gets the job done.
Before StartupTAP, Daniel worked under the direction of Todd Gitlin, Founder of Safire Partners. There, Daniel learned the art of search, the value of relationships and that the details matter. He approaches every client’s business as if it was his own and tackles projects with a tenacious ferocity. Work with him and you’ll most likely receive 2:00 A.M. emails solving your latest recruiting conundrums; when (or if) he actually sleeps, no one knows for sure. When he’s not working, Daniel can be found spending time with his family… but who are we kidding? … He’s probably emailing you right now.
Chris is an entrepreneur, executive, consultant, investor, and educator who also currently serves as the chairman of the Pasadena Angels.
Chris Wadden is President of Veraison LLC which provides strategic and operating advice to small and medium sized companies along with assistance with debt, equity, and non-bank financing. He also owns and operates several consumer brands in the food, beverage, and health and beauty categories.
He is the chairman of the Pasadena Angels that invests and mentors early stage companies. He also is a board member and treasurer of LAVA.
Chris is an adjunct professor at local universities He specializes in teaching courses in Marketing, Change Management, Business Planning, Entrepreneurship and Finance. He has also been a keynote speaker and panelist at conferences that focus on doing business in China and entrepreneurship. Mr. Wadden has earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering, Culinary Arts degree, and an MBA in finance. Chris holds a professional engineer license from the State of Texas and has been the recipient of numerous corporate, academic, and industry awards.
Petra is the co-founder and partner at Interactivism, the co-founder of NELAUX Meetup, and an ArtCenter alum.
Petra Wennberg Cesario is the co-founder and partner at Interactivism, a digital product design studio located in Pasadena focusing on a user-centered design approach. She is an early internet pioneer with extensive experience designing effective brands and digital products for both Startups and Fortune 500 companies. Interactivism clients include companies such as Dollar Shave Club, Cali Group, LegalZoom, Carnegie Observatories, NASA/JPL and Cisco. Born in Sweden, she studied communication design at Art Center College of Design (Europe) in Switzerland, then completing her BFA in Graphic Design at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Petra is also the co-founder of NELAUX, a thriving meetup for UX designers and engineers in the northeast Los Angeles area.
Aaron is an advisor, mentor, and Founding Director of StartUp Grind Pasadena. Leveraging his digital media background, Aaron is the creator and producer of "Innovate Pasadena Presents" television show.
Aaron B. Wheeler, a strategic entrepreneur, consultant and connector is the Chief Executive Strategist at W. Strategic Business Development and Investment, the Founding Director of StartUp Grind of Greater Pasadena, founding co-owner of Legion M Entertainment and Board Member at Innovate Pasadena focusing on the development of entrepreneurial endeavors, professional growth, education, and job creation.
Aaron as over 20 years of experience in strategic marketing, community and business development encompassing social media, media, and entertainment. Aaron has expanded his professional portfolio into fintech investments, private equity real estate investment, Blockchain & Digital Currency.
In public service, Aaron currently serves as an Advisory Board member on the Business & Entrepreneur (BE) Academy and the Arts, Entertainment, & Media (AEM) Academy for the Pasadena Unified School District. He has also served as a city commissioner for the City of Pasadena, as well, has sat on several Executive Boards of private entities. Aaron has the honor in continuing to serve the community and assist in championing freedom of speech and expression by heading community development and media training for Pasadena Media.
His personal life consists of being married to his lovely wife Sonceria, a father of six, grandfather, a minister, and a martial artist for over 20 years.
Tom Buel has more than 25 years of professional experience in management, marketing and development, including seven years at Pasadena-based catalyst and advanced materials company, Materia. A longtime volunteer with IP, in his role as Director of Operations, Buel will be responsible for daily operational needs, implementation of organizational policies and practices, event production, and providing support to the Board of Directors.
Holly Hight has 14 years nonprofit experience. She is skilled at planning events, working with volunteers, creating systems for organizations to thrive and engaging in donor-motivated fundraising. She currently serves as Innovate Pasadena's Event & Development Coordinator.
Ka-Yun believes in diverse collaborations lead to strong community growth. Her experiences include storytelling through social media, creating visual graphics, and establishing relationships for cross-promotions. She is currently Marketing Coordinator for Innovate Pasadena.