Startup San Diego Announces New Executive Director – Press Release

SAN DIEGO — Aug 16, 2018 — Startup San Diego, is a nonprofit organization which fosters collaboration amongst entrepreneurs, mentors, and investors to accelerate and grow the greater San Diego startup community.  After 6 years of consistent growth. with the help of passionate volunteers, the organization is thrilled to announce it has hit an important milestone, hiring its first full-time Executive Director, Jarrod Russell.

Russell is a San Diego native with a background in community engagement, corporate culture, sustainability, government/media relations, and startup ecosystems. Jarrod has worked for and with various types of organizations—Fortune 500s, startups, nonprofits, NGOs, governments, and academia. Thanks to long stints living and working in Mexico and Brazil, Russell is proficient in both Spanish and Portuguese.

He is a two-time UCSD graduate with a master’s from the School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS), where he focused on corporate responsibility, environmental policy, and economic development. He also has a bachelor’s in international political science and a minor physics. Russell has held various past leadership positions. He was director of public affairs for a 100-employee San Diego startup. He was a board member of the Downtown San Diego Partnership and chaired the organization’s Tech-Startup Committee. He was an active member of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation. He is also a huge fan of Balboa Park, serving as a trustee at the San Diego Museum of Man since 2015 and recently joining the Balboa Park Online Collaborative.

Drawing on inspiration from Balboa Park’s origin story, Jarrod adopts a similar long-term perspective when looking at startups in San Diego. “Balboa Park started with a big idea. Then the community had the courage and tenacity to take the necessary steps–big and small–to make it a reality. Now we as San Diegans enjoy the benefits of their legacy. Founders of startups embark on a similar endeavor–a multi-year marathon coupled with countless sprints and uncertainties. If entrepreneurs are running hard to solve a big problem, we as a community have an opportunity to rally around them, to celebrate them, and to provide support and resources proportional to their integrity, merit, and gumption,” said Russell.

“Thanks to our amazing volunteers, Startup San Diego is becoming the go-to grassroots organization for entrepreneurs. San Diego Startup Week is our pinnacle moment and it would not be possible without our volunteers. We are now in a position to promote connectivity, awareness, and inclusivity within the startup community all year, supporting the individuals striving to make exponentially scalable ideas a reality. If you look at San Diego’s history, ideas born here over the last 100 years changed the world; it’s on this generation to make sure we continue to dream big and better the world for the next 100 years. It’s a shared effort. Startup San Diego’s volunteers, board members, and I are thrilled to be in service to our region’s entrepreneurs.”

Startup San Diego’s Board Chair, Neal Bloom, adds “Startup San Diego was born from a grassroots effort within the local startup community and having a leader from the same community is something we are really proud of. We are thrilled to have Russell leading the charge in bringing everyday resources to our entrepreneurs and every other individual and organization impassioned to build great San Diego companies.”

Six years ago, the first Startup Week burst on to the San Diego scene,  with hundreds of attendees and dozens of volunteers. The event has continued to expand, with the 2018 Startup Week growing to over 3000 attendees and hundreds of volunteers. The organization is already working on Startup Week 2019 with plans to beat expectations, quality, and attendance records set this year.

Additionally, Startup San Diego is focused on becoming more of a year-round resource for entrepreneurs. Expansion of its programming is a priority in order to support and celebrate our region’s startups, founders, and aspiring entrepreneurs. Hiring Jarrod is a big step towards meeting these goals and taking Startup San Diego to the next level, helping benefit every stage of the entrepreneurial journey.

The organization is actively recruiting volunteers for the event.  For more information go to

About Startup San Diego

Startup San Diego, a volunteer-based nonprofit, fosters a cohesive and collaborative community that helps grow the greater San Diego startup landscape. The organization helps businesses attract talent, access education/mentorship, garner brand awareness, and secure capital. Startup San Diego is a resource for local and inbound startups–throughout the country and in the Baja California region.  While the signature event, San Diego Startup Week, takes place each summer and attracts thousands of attendees, the organization is the go-to for everything startup year-round, with networking events taking place on the first Monday of every month and special mentoring nights happening every quarter.