By Press Release — June 28, 2018
Pasadena, Calif., June 28, 2018 — Innovate Pasadena, an organization committed to connecting and growing Pasadena’s thriving innovation communities, is pleased to announce its fifth anniversary this month — marking a major milestone in the grassroots effort to promote Pasadena’s position as a competitive tech and innovation cluster. What began in 2013 as a small nonprofit led by a handful of dedicated volunteers, is now a vibrant group of hundreds of businesses, startups and community leaders working to provide creative exchanges between local institutions, while also attracting more innovators and capital to the city.
Today, Innovate Pasadena boasts a diverse membership roster of entrepreneurs, engineers, venture capitalists, educators, designers, CEOs and actual rocket scientists — all with a shared goal to promote and engage in creative collaboration. Local programming has also expanded and thrived. Some of the earliest events produced—including Friday Morning Coffee Meetup, TechSparks pitch fests, and the Tech Leaders Forum—continue to operate, while the organization’s yearly signature event, Connect Week (a festival of organized talks, workshops, and social events produced by independent organizers and hosted in venues all across Pasadena), has grown from just 2,500 attendees in 2014 to over 23,000 in 2017.
In addition to growth in membership and programs over the past five years, Innovate Pasadena’s unique blend of volunteer and salaried staff has also expanded internally. Vice President Beth Kuchar (Partner, Enbroaden, Inc.) was recently named president, and two full-time employees were added to the team. On the staffing side, Holly Hight was hired as event and development coordinator, and Ka-Yun Lau was hired as marketing coordinator. They join operations director Tom Buel who has been in his position since March 2017. Joining Kuchar as part of the volunteer leadership are co-founder Mike Giardello, who formerly served as president for the past four years and now remains very involved as the organization’s chairman, and original board member Mark Breitenberg who steps into the vice president role.
“I’m very excited to take on this new role and even more excited for the future of Innovate Pasadena,” said Kuchar. “These past five years have been a time of growth, community involvement, innovation and success and I’m eager to continue to spread awareness, promote collaboration and celebrate the spirit of all things innovative within this amazing city!”
Kuchar continued, “We are also very excited to welcome the two new employees to our task force, Ms. Holly Hight and Ms. Ka-Yun Lau. Both will be instrumental in helping us continue to grow our organization and bring awareness to the innovation happening across all technology, science and design sectors in Pasadena.”
In honor of this five-year milestone, on Wednesday, June 27th, the organization hosted a celebratory tech and innovation mixer at CTRL Collective, one of Pasadena’s top coworking spaces. The event featured sustainably-sourced catering from Mary Lee Kitchen, local brews from Craftsman Brewing and guests enjoyed interactive, giant games provided by Joy Mode. Pasadena-based startup Alpha Token was also on-hand to create an on-site video with local entrepreneurs and business leaders discussing their stories of growth, learning and success. The organization is also pleased to enter this next phase with an all new Innovate Pasadena website, which launched earlier this week. The 2.0 Innovate Pasadena website has been redesigned with even more extensive resources for various innovators and organizations looking to connect with like-minded spirits.
For more information about Innovate Pasadena, please visit innovatepasadena.org or connect on Twitter at @InnovatPasadena, Instagram at @innovatepasadena, and Facebook at facebook.com/InnovatePasadena.
About Beth Kuchar, President: 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.
Beth currently serves as the President of Innovate Pasadena, and she is an advisor to Silicon Valley connectivity provider Join. She has also 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.
About Holly Hight, Event & Development Coordinator: Holly Hight has 14 years nonprofit experience. She has an extensive background in event planning, volunteer management, creating successful systems for nonprofit organizations and has a passion for encouraging and engaging donor-motivated fundraising.
About Ka-Yun Lau, Marketing Coordinator: Ka-Yun believes diverse collaborations lead to strong community growth. Her experiences include storytelling through social media, creating visual graphics, and establishing relationships for cross-promotions.
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ABOUT INNOVATE PASADENA
Innovate Pasadena is a community organization committed to advancing greater Pasadena as a center of technology and design innovation by promoting collaboration across business and education to attract companies, entrepreneurs, innovators and capital to the broader community. For more information, visit innovatepasadena.org.
Coast Public Relations for Innovate Pasadena