Leaders, entrepreneurs, creators, innovators and artists from all over the globe join Boston Speaks Up to share their stories of inspiration. Recommend a guest: firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more and sign up for the newsletter: www.valuecreationlabs.co.
099: Kristen Craft of Fidelity for Startups
Guest Kristen Craft is the new Vice President & Business Partner Manager at Fidelity for Startups, one of the largest brokerage firms in the United States, headquartered here in Boston. She’s a major catalyst supporting Fidelity in its efforts to help fill the startup banking void in Boston.
Craft is working closely with the team at Shoobx, a Cambridge-based fintech Fidelity acquired in January 2023. Shoobx helps companies with equity and board management, storing and sharing important business information, and bringing together startup leaders, lawyers, and investors in a single collaborative hub.
Similar to her previous roles, Craft’s role at Fidelity entails her helping startups navigate the financial moments that matter most: fundraising, cap table management, access to investors; alongside all of the other financial expertise and services that Fidelity has long been known for.
Craft is a proven entrepreneur with more than 15 years of experience in enterprise software and digital marketing. With a passion for entrepreneurship, she’s become well known around the Boston startup community for her passionate support of founders and VCs.
In her role evangelizing the Boston-area startup community, Craft also recently supported the production of a 2024 AI report from Value Creation Labs – Boston Startups Put AI and Data to Work in Vertical Industries and Enterprises.
Craft is also a previous guest of Boston Speaks Up, and folks can learn more about her previous career journey in the episode from 2022. Her past experience includes leadership roles at Animalz, Tettra, Ovia Health Wistia, and Transparent Language, as well as launching her own start-up, Brown Box Storage.
In her return to the Boston Speaks Up show, she is eager to share best practices on go-to-market strategy, fundraising, and other vital aspects of the startup journey. Drawing from her decades of experience as a startup operator and angel investor, she's gathered a great deal of wisdom and is enthusiastic about making the startup journey smoother for others.
098: Barbara Fortier of Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts
Barbara Fortier is the CEO of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts (GSEMA) where she has over 25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. Before assuming this role, she served as Chief Operations Officer at GSEMA for an impressive 17 years.
Fortier's influence extends beyond her impressive tenure at GSEMA. She is a specialist in volunteer management, fundraising, and female empowerment, making her a sought-after expert in her field. As the CEO of the largest girl-serving organization in Massachusetts and the 10th largest Girl Scout council in the nation, Fortier's mission is to create girls of courage, confidence, and character who contribute positively to the world.
Her impact isn't limited to her professional role; it resonates within the Greater Boston community. Fortier is deeply passionate about spreading leadership opportunities to women of all ages and backgrounds. Her commitment to female empowerment shines through every facet of her career and personal life.
Fortier recently penned an op-ed in the Boston Business Journal about how Girl Scouts addresses the youth mental health crisis. We explore this topic and much more in this latest ‘Boston Speaks Up’ episode.
097: Alice Pomponio of American Cancer Society’s BrightEdge
Guest Alice Pomponio is the Managing Director at BrightEdge, the venture capital and impact investment arm of the American Cancer Society, where her work is making waves in the fight against cancer. With a passion for economic and health equity, she has built a strong track record of bringing groundbreaking ideas to life, developing cutting-edge technologies, shaping markets, and creating value within these ecosystems.
Pomponio's journey through the biopharma industry has tracked alongside many of the industry’s defining moments, earning her the playful title of the ‘Forrest Gump’ of biotech. Through the many ups and downs of the economic cycle, Pomponio has persevered as many professionals would, but for her this is much more than a career path. For Pomponio, this mission is deeply personal. Having lost her mother to cancer and witnessed her family's 14 battles against seven different types of cancer, she is committed to the fight against this deadly disease, all while making health equity a central focus of her work.
In her current role as Managing Director at BrightEdge, Pomponio spearheads efforts to fuel the fight against cancer through impact venture capital and patient-centric innovation. BrightEdge was founded by the American Cancer Society in 2019, and is a beacon of hope for the fight against cancer. Pomponio's work at BrightEdge is a testament to the idea that philanthropy can ‘supercharge’ donations. By investing in healthcare startups that blend financial growth with cancer-fighting innovations, Pomponio and her team ensure that every dollar donated has the potential to multiply through the investment process. This not only accelerates the development of life-saving technologies but also supports startups that might otherwise struggle to secure seed funding.
On top of her work at BrightEdge, Pomponio is also Vice President of Innovation and Impact Investing at the American Cancer Society, and also serves as faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, further contributing to the advancement of healthcare and innovation. Pomponio's commitment to her mission is further exemplified by her roles as Board Observer at healthcare-focused companies such as Naveris and Vincere Health.
It was an honor to sit down with Pomponio and discuss her inspiring journey and groundbreaking work at BrightEdge, and most importantly, her unwavering dedication to the fight against cancer and health equity.
096: Senofer Mendoza of Mendoza Ventures
Senofer Mendoza is the Founder and General Partner at Mendoza Ventures, a woman-owned and the first Latinx-founded VC fund on the east coast. In the ever-evolving landscape of venture capital, Mendoza stands as an innovation economy trailblazer and an advocate for diversity and inclusion.
Mendoza has a creative background having previously worked as an interior designer for Parker Torres Design. During her stint at the design house, Mendoza was able to work on some exciting projects, most notable would be her design work for Boston’s beloved Fairmont Copley Plaza. Although Mendoza took pride in her creative abilities, she quickly realized to reach her full potential she needed to take fuel from her passion of bringing equity to women in VC and underrepresented founders around the world.
Through Mendoza Ventures, she and her team focus on investments in fintech, AI, and cybersecurity, with diversity playing an important role in their investment decisions – about 90% of their portfolio consists of startups led by immigrants, people of color, and women. Since its founding seven years ago, Mendoza Ventures has raised two funds and had two successful exits. Bank of America Corp. is an anchor investor for the new $100 million fund managed by Mendoza Ventures, announced in January 2023.
Mendoza's outstanding contributions have been alluring attention from the Boston community, and beyond. In 2022, Axios Magazine recognized her as one of the five most influential people in Boston. Shortly after, the LA Times honored her firm as a DEI visionary as one of California’s most prominent game-changers and thought leaders in the business world today. Currently, she sits on the NACIE, the National Advisory Committee for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Mendoza's remarkable journey, from an advocate for diversity to the founder of the groundbreaking Mendoza Ventures, exemplifies her unwavering commitment to driving positive change in the VC landscape. As an influential figure and pioneer, she continues to pave the way for underrepresented voices in entrepreneurship.
We were fortunate to sit down with Senofer at Startup Boston Week to discuss her career journey and her vision for a more equitable future for the startup community.
095: Stanley Rameau of Renavest
Stanley Rameau is the Founder and CEO of Renavest, a financial education community for investors and individuals to connect, share and build wealth. He is poised to make an even greater impact with the imminent release of the Renavest app on both the App Store and Google Play Store this fall (Join the waitlist).
When Rameau isn’t guiding individuals from all walks of life along their journey to wealth building, he can be found building and growing his Boston-based fashion brand, Paul Rameau.
Rameau's journey is defined by a mosaic of diverse work experiences that have molded him into the inspiring figure he is today. His early career involved roles in design and marketing within the fashion industry, where he fine-tuned his creative talents. Later, he ventured into entrepreneurship, growing multiple successful startups. Rameau's career path showcases his versatility and a relentless drive to make a meaningful impact.
In 2019, Rameau launched Paul Rameau in honor of his father’s passing to myeloma. The fashion brand is making waves in the Greater Boston Area, as covered in this article from The Boston Globe. Rameau's unique creativity is deeply rooted in his commitment to unlocking his own untapped potential, a commitment that reverberates throughout his remarkable career. His wellspring of creativity flows from a profound commitment to unlocking his untapped potential. In all his endeavors, he strives to encourage others to embrace risks and embark on their personal journey of doing the same.
We were grateful to sit down with Rameau at Startup Boston Week to discuss his passion to help individuals take calculated risks and transform their lives.
094: Gabriela Serret-Campos of Chronosphere
Guest Gabriela Serret-Campos is the Global Head of People Strategy and Talent at Chronosphere, a cloud company that raised $200 million on a $1+ billion valuation in 2021. She is a seasoned professional with a rich background in shaping organizational strategies and fostering talent to drive success.
As the modern workplace changes, Serret-Campos is an expert navigator of the evolving shifts and new challenges in recruiting and culture building. She possesses invaluable insights into how venture-backed companies can quickly scale a team with an emphasis on employee retention.
Prior to Chronosphere, Serret-Campos served as the SVP of People Operations at Drizly, where she played a pivotal role leading up to the company’s acquisition by Uber for $1.1 billion in 2021. Adjacent to her roles, she founded Lead by Design, an advisory consultancy specializing in leadership development, strategic planning, and DEI initiatives. Serret-Campos is a founding member of the POPS Advisory Board, championing a people-first approach and promoting the idea that employees deserve care and investment. She’s also a member of the Underscore VC Core Community.
Her earlier experience included running boutique leadership development firm Intelligent.ly, which was focused on partnering with hyper growth tech companies to help them align their people to purpose to drive productivity. She did similar work at Infusionsoft and EDMC-OHE, highlighting her consistent dedication to fostering leadership development. She designed innovative programs and initiatives that helped emerging leaders thrive and succeed.
We were honored to sit down with Serret-Campos at Startup Boston Week to discuss all of her experiences and how they have shaped her ability to navigate the future of work.
Well worth the listen... EVERY TIME!
I’ve been listening to this podcast since episode 1 and felt compelled to share my thoughts. Zach and the BSU team clearly put a great deal of time and thought into this show and it shows. I can’t believe this content is free!
Favorite Podcast Yet
Listening to Zach interview guests makes me feel more connected to Boston! Specifically, his podcast with his brother, Kiel helps make the pandemic that we are all going through feel a little less isolating.
Zach has a knack for going deep into the stories of his guests - whether it be a VC, entrepreneur, or business executive.
The beat part of Boston Speaks Up is that it not only covers the local Boston business scene but also brings insights to anyone looking to learn from experienced experts in business.