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May 9 @ 8:00 am 5:00 pm

Andy Wilson
Executive Director
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Andy Wilson
Executive Director

Andy is a leader in the Southern Californian innovation ecosystem and has started, led or invested in more than two dozen tech start-ups. In addition to leading the Alliance as Executive Director, he serves on the City Council for the City of Pasadena and he is a founder of Innovate Pasadena (www.innovatepasadena.org), which is dedicated to advancing the Eastside of Los Angeles as a vibrant innovation center for deep tech.

Previously, as founder of Momentum Ventures, an early stage tech accelerator and venture fund, he personally led more than a half dozen SoCal tech start-ups and invested in almost a dozen others. He previously held senior executive roles (President, SVP Product, CIO, COO) at Overture Services/Yahoo!, RiverOne, Bowne & Co and RR Donnelley & Sons. He has extensive board experience in not-for-profit and community organizations such as Pacific Oaks College, Pasadena Heritage and STEAMCODERS. He is a regular speaker at entrepreneurs’ events and business schools and was named one of the 50 Most Innovative Men in the San Gabriel Valley. Andy holds an engineering degree with honors from Dartmouth College and received his MBA with a concentration in operations and technology management from Harvard Business School.

Donald Grant Headshot
Donald Grant
Special Advisor, Diversity and Equity
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Donald Grant Headshot
Donald Grant
Special Advisor, Diversity and Equity

Dr. Donald E. Grant Jr is an equity, diversity, inclusion and impact practitioner and Executive Director of Mindful Training Solutions. Dr Grant has a long history of direct mental health service delivery and administrative oversight for foster care systems, child welfare programs, education systems and homeless mental wellness services. He is an international speaker and workshop facilitator, film and TV consultant and published author.

Eric Eide
Managing Director
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Eric Eide
Managing Director

Eric is a seasoned economic development professional with experience spanning the private sector, federal and municipal government, and academia. Before joining the Alliance, Eric grew the Government Relations team at Bird Rides and expanded electric scooter rental operations domestically and internationally. Previously, Eric served as Director of International Trade for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. In this role, Eric worked to increase international business activity, facilitate the import and export of goods, and attract investment to Los Angeles. Eric also served in the U.S. federal government as an Advisor for Strategic Partnerships at the U.S. Department of State, where he collaborated with U.S.-based entrepreneurs, firms, and universities with interests in South and Central Asia. In a prior role, Eric represented the U.S. Small Business Administration with the startup community and improved the overall performance of a $2.6 billion federal program that funds early stage technology companies.

Eric holds a B.A. in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Michigan, where his research focused on innovation ecosystems, industrial policy, and globalization.

Gandalf
Chief Inspiration Officer
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Gandalf
Chief Inspiration Officer

Since being rescued by the Wilson family many moons ago, Gandalf has been dedicated to marking his territory in the SoCal innovation ecosystem. His first assignment as the Manager of Food Inspection at Rexter earned him an immediate promotion to Director of Food Consumption. Just a few years later, he pursued a career in politics as a volunteer canvasser, and once successfully winning the contentious campaign, was asked to serve as the Head of Security for Pasadena’s renowned councilman for District 7.

Currently, Gandalf is the Chief Inspiration Officer for the Alliance for SoCal Innovation where he devotes his time to keeping the Executive Director healthy with daily walks. But his most fetching contribution to the Alliance team was the obedience seminar he held only once. The entire staff has been fully trained to provide snacks before entering the office.

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Gene Sykes
Chair
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Gene Sykes Headshot
Gene Sykes
Chair

Gene is co-chairman of Global Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) and co-chairman of the Global Technology, Media and Telecom Group at Goldman Sachs. He joined the M&A department in New York in 1984 and moved back to Los Angeles in 1987. He became a partner in 1992.

Gene is chair for the Alliance for Southern California Innovation. He serves on the boards of the Pacific Council on International Policy, the Los Angeles 2028 Organizing Committee and Common Sense Media. Between 2015 and 2018, Gene served as the CEO of Los Angeles 2024 and then Los Angeles 2028, the organization responsible for bidding for and organizing the Los Angeles Olympic and Paralympic Games. Gene is a member of the Stanford University Board of Trustees and a member of the Advisory Council of the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Gene earned an MBA from Stanford University in 1984 and an AB from Harvard University in 1980.