Press Release: Startup San Diego Announces Incoming Executive Committee Tapping Leaders from Industry, Non-profit & Education

Posted: February 10, 2023

By Ella Napata

Startup San Diego Announces Incoming Executive Committee

Startup San Diego Responsible for annual flagship “San Diego Startup Week” the Largest Gathering of Founders & Funders in the Region

Startup San Diego, a 501(c)(3) committed to cultivating entrepreneurship by connecting, educating, and inspiring founders has announced its Executive Committee. The committee represents a diverse set of proven innovators and business-makers from industry, education, and the non-profit sector.

Board Chair, Cathy Pucher, Executive Director of Zahn Innovation Platform (ZIP) Launchpad

The newly appointed Chair is Cathy Pucher, she is the Executive Director of the Zahn Innovation Platform (ZIP) Launchpad at San Diego State University. She has a long history of cultivating innovation ecosystems.

Pucher, formally with Texas Instruments for nearly two decades, led the sales strategy for mobile for the North America market. In her past, she led a worldwide sales team for the first company to put video on a smartphone, served in leadership roles at two startups, served as the founding Executive Director for EvoNexus and now she’s in the business of helping faculty and students realize their entrepreneurial dreams via the ZIP Launchpad, a position she’s held for 11 years. Pucher recently announced a TechStars accelerator on the SDSU campus in collaboration with immediate Past Chair Ryan Kuder, the Managing Director of TechStars Anywhere.

Cathy Pucher“I can’t thank Ryan Kuder enough for his leadership as outgoing Chair of Startup San Diego, his dedication to the innovation ecosystem in San Diego is palpable, I look forward to building on the great foundation he and past Vice Chair, Caitlin Wege, of MooDoos Investments, have paved.”— Cathy Pucher, Chair of StartUp San Diego

Looking back at the success metrics of our flagship San Diego Startup Week event last October, the team increased attendance by 56% serving thousands of entrepreneurs with compelling programming in four communities over the course of four days.

Vice Chair, Cheryl Goodman – Forbes Contributing author, former Sony, Qualcomm Exec

Cheryl K. Goodman steps in as Vice Chair. Goodman served 10 years at Qualcomm in Qualcomm Labs & Qualcomm MEMS Technologies. More recently, she led globally as head of Corporate Communications / Corporate Social Responsibility for Sony Group overseeing flagship products including aibo® the robotics platform and autonomous driving platforms, and serving as the UN liaison for sustainable goal #5 Gender equality. She currently runs a consultancy and is a contributing writer to Forbes on Technology communications, accessibility, and CSR. Goodman was nominated Woman of the Year 2021 by the San Diego Business Journal for her efforts in Communications & CSR during the Covid-19 pandemic. Additionally, she was nominated Consumer Electronics “Most Influential” by Dealerscope Magazine in 2021. Goodman’s career started out in broadcast journalism, and she built digital newsrooms at both the CBS and ABC affiliates in San Diego.

Secretary (2nd Term) Lauree Sahba, COO at San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation

Lauree Sahba is critical to the mission of San Diego Regional EDC, with the support of 170 companies, agencies, and nonprofits, she and her team help maximize economic prosperity through an inclusive growth agenda while raising the region’s global profile. Prior she served as the Executive Director at the Otay Mesa Chamber of Commerce. Sahba is a board member for Voices for Children, Cleantech San Diego, and California Stewardship Network in addition to her service at Startup San Diego.

Treasurer (2nd Term) Javier Islas, Chief Financial Officer at Accessity, CPA

Javier Islas is responsible for all finance and accounting functions of the organization and joined ACCESSITY in January 2010. He has over 35 years of experience in accounting, finance, and auditing. His audit background specifically includes federal financial management having participated in the audits of the federal departments of labor & energy as well as Federal Chartered organizations such as the Legal Services Corporation. His accounting background includes experience in for-profit Commercial Real Estate Property Management & Development, Defense, and non-profit government contract organizations. He is a Chartered Global Management Accountant and holds a Bachelor’s Degree from San Diego State University, a Hawaii CPA license, and is bilingual in English and Spanish. He was the San Diego Business Journal 2014, 2017 & 2023 CFO of the Year Finalist. He was a founding member & Treasurer of the Olympic Training Center steering committee in Chula Vista.