Alliance Blog

The Alliance for SoCal Innovation Expands Board and Team to Address Growth and Achieve Balanced Representation

The Alliance for SoCal Innovation is excited to announce several changes and additions to its board of directors, advisory council, and staff in order to more effectively serve the dynamic ecosystem and stakeholder groups that we support. The slate of Directors was carefully selected by the Alliance’s nominating committee whose three-year goal is to achieve a Board that more effectively represents the more than 100 diverse stakeholders actively engaged in our mission to support the Southern California innovation ecosystem. Overall, the organization saw remarkable growth in 2021, including the launch of several new key programs and initiatives that directly address systemic gaps in connectivity between geographies and industries as well as access to investment capital.

Five new directors were added to the Board of Directors who represent key groups such as Media & Technology, Venture Capital, Healthcare, Cleantech/Mobility, and community groups that share our commitment to supporting the ecosystem:

  • Iván Markman, Chief Business Officer of Yahoo. Ivan previously served on the Alliance Advisory Council and Yahoo! is the named sponsor for the Alliance’s digital platform.
  • Renée LaBran, Board Director, including Idealab and B.Riley, independent investor
  • Julie Miller-Phipps, President, Kaiser Permanente Southern California and Hawaii Health Plan and Hospitals
  • John Rossant, Founder and CEO, CoMotion. John also sits on our Partner Leadership Council.
  • Ben Savage, Partner at Clocktower Ventures

Two new members were added to the Alliance Advisory Council which serves as a vital sounding board for the organization:

Finally, the Board announced that Richard Sudek will serve as Special Advisor to the Board of Directors. Dr. Sudek previously served on the Alliance’s Board while at UCI and has been an advocate of the Alliance and its mission since it was founded.  

The following individuals are returning to serve another term on our Board of Directors, which we divide into Community Leaders and Academic Research Institutions:

SoCal Community LeadersDerek Aberle, XCOM; Maria Anguiano, ASU; Todd Brinton, Edwards Lifesciences, Jody Foldesy, BCG (Vice Chair); Julie Hill, The Hill Company (Alliance Vice Chair); Drew Murphy, Edison International; Steve Poizner, Entrepreneur and Founder of the Alliance for Southern California Innovation; Emmanuel Roman, Pimco; Larry Sonsini, Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati; Marc Stern, The TCW Group, Inc.; Gene Sykes, Goldman Sachs (Alliance Chair); Jamie  Voris, Walt Disney Studios; Scott  Wolfe, Latham and Watkins; Michael Yanover, Creative Artists Agency. 

SoCal Academic Research InstitutionsErrol Arkilic, University of California, Irvine; Sherylle Englander, University of California, Santa Barbara; Fred Farina, California Institute of Technology; Amir Naiberg, University of California, Los Angeles; Rosibel Ochoa, University of California, Riverside; Ishwar Puri, University of Southern California; Paul Roben, University of California, San Diego (Alliance Vice Chair).

We thank these prominent leaders for their commitment to our mission to improve the conditions for SoCal’s bold innovators by fully capitalizing SoCal’s compelling diversity of talent, ideas and perspectives — and thus elevating our region as a global leader in innovation, technology & entrepreneurship. We are grateful to them for lending us their wisdom and insights so that we can together accelerate the success of the region.

The Alliance also implemented an important restructuring of the internal team to address the programming and strategy that have evolved over the past few years. Steve Gilison, who has served as Head of Programs and Operations since the organization’s inception in 2017, will now act as Chief Operating Officer – more accurately reflecting his focus on the platforms and people that support the super connector role of the organization. Eric Eide, who joined the Alliance team in 2019 as Director of Ecosystem Development, now will serve as Managing Director with a primary focus on addressing access to capital through his leadership of the VC Advisory Council and The SoCal Venture Pipeline program, both launched in 2021. The Alliance is also excited to welcome Gigi de Pourtales as our new Events and Marketing Manager to help lead the multitude of events and leadership workshops we host that have expanded in number and complexity over the last two years. This role will be especially important as we transition to more in-person programming in 2022 and beyond. 

Compared to 2021, our engagement activities increased 400% with 40 events delivering more than 80 hours of programming to more than 1,000 participants. We are grateful to our generous supporters that allowed us to increase our operating budget by almost 100% to $1.3mm while maintaining the successful programming already set in place! See our 2021 annual report for more details.