Co-Founder & Managing Partner
K. Shelly Porges is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of The Billion Dollar Fund for Women and Beyond the Billion. She is also a Board Member of the Financial Alliance for Women and on the Advisory Board for Cornerstone Capital, Mindshift Capital, Different Funds and Global Invest Her. Ms. Porges also served as President of the North American Jury for Cartier Women’s Initiative for over a decade and as the former Senior Advisor, Global Entrepreneurship Program (GEP) at the U.S. State Department, a program she expanded to almost 150 countries, under Secretary Hillary Clinton. Before joining the State Department, she had a distinguished career in the private sector, including both corporate and entrepreneurial ventures. She served as executive head of marketing for American Express Canada and as chief marketing officer for Bank of America during a historic turn-around. Ms. Porges co-founded six ventures including Porges/Hudson Marketing; Scudder Weisel Capital LLC, a joint venture between Thomas Weisel Partners and Zurich Scudder Investments; and Global Payments Experts LLC, a payments industry advisory firm. Ms. Porges holds both a BS with Honors and MPS degree from Cornell University.
Co-Founder & Managing Partner
Sarah Chen is Co-Founder of Beyond The Billion (The Billion Dollar Fund for Women), a global consortium of over 100 venture funds and limited partner investors that are actively deploying beyond $1 billion towards women-founded companies. To date, the consortium boasts 8 female-founded unicorns. Previously, she was on the pioneer team of a corporate venture capital unit within $13Bn publicly traded Asian conglomerate, investing in later-stage biotechnology companies.
Determined to see more women at the helm, she sits on multiple boards, including 131 & Counting, a bipartisan effort to fete the unprecedented number of women serving in the House and Senate, encouraging more women to run for office in the US; and Lean In Malaysia, which she co-founded, a platform accelerating women into leadership in Muslim- majority Malaysia. Named Forbes Under 30 VC and Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, Chen is a recognized speaker, commentator and advisor on venture capital, innovation and women, having been featured on Forbes, Fortune, Bloomberg, Der Spiegel and at the United Nations, and is a celebrated host on the show and podcast #BillionDollarMoves. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Laws, LL.B (Hons.) from King’s College London.
Canadian Co-Lead (Cycle Capital)
Andrée-Lise is the founder and Managing Partner of Cycle Capital. She boasts more than 25 years of experience in venture capital, management and engineering. She has set up Cycle Capital, an impact investor and the Canada’s largest cleantech private investment platform. Today, Cycle Capital manages four funds in North America and one in China and has almost half a billion under management. In addition to serving on portfolio companies’ boards of directors, she is the Founder and Chairperson of the Ecofuel Accelerator and the Co-Founder of the Ecofuel Fund. She is a member of the Board of Directors and Investment Committee of Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC). She also sits on the Board of the Société Québécoise des infrastructures (SQI) and the Institut de Cardiologie de Montréal. She is also a member of the Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s New Energy Pioneers’ Selection Committee and a member of the Cleantech Group’s North-American Advisory Committee. She co-founded Écotech Québec, Québec’s cleantech cluster and SWITCH, the Alliance for a green economy.
Named an Officer of the Ordre National du Québec, she has been honoured with many distinctions including awards from the Association of Quebec Women in Finance and the Ordre des Ingénieurs du Québec. She was also recognized as one of Canada’s Clean16, named one of the Top 20 cleantech investors by CleanTechnica and amongst the most influential women in sustainable development and in the cleantech industry by Corporate Knight. She has a Master’s degree in Science from the Université de Montréal and a Bachelor’s degree in Geological Engineering from Université Laval. She also studied atmospheric physics at the Université du Québec à Montréal.
Canadian Co-Lead (Loyal VC)
Kamal Hassan is a founding partner of Loyal VC, a fund that addresses bias in VC through eliminating pitching. Loyal's Startup Index Fund has invested in >120 companies in >30 countries globally since 2018. Of those, over 30%, both by number of companies and by dollars have a woman CEO. Loyal is also proud that a similar percentage of their capital has been sourced from women LPs. Loyal starts with small initial cheques, providing non-wealthy entrepreneurs with more equal opportunity, then mentors and diligences each company for months before leading or sharing in seed and A-rounds. Prior to Loyal, Kamal had a 20-year career as an entrepreneur/CEO, did angel investing for 15 years, and designed and ran programs for Founder Institute, the world's largest pre-seed accelerator. He has personally advised and mentored almost 500 entrepreneurs. Kamal has also worked as a consultant for Bain & Co, and as an engineer. He has an MBA from INSEAD and did his undergrad in Engineering Physics at Queen's. He speaks six languages, to varying degrees, and has traveled to over 100 countries.
Christopher Aw is an advisor at Beyond The Billion as well as Investment Director at Alpha Square Group Family Office. Additionally, he invests in early-stage technology companies that are revolutionizing traditional industries. He also continues to consult for nations, venture capital firms, and conglomerates in multiple areas of technology and investments. He served in the United States Air Force in technology and intelligence fields both operationally and in research and development. He has also worked at a US government think tank and has subsequently founded his own companies in cyber security, technology, consulting, and distribution.
Chris volunteers with programs that support female entrepreneurs such as the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards, Creating Responsible Innovative Business (CRIB), and Women In Tech (WIT). He has a particular interest in companies in renewable energy, water, waste management, food, and health.
Chris’ education includes a BA in Business (Information Systems) from the University of Washington, an MS in Information Systems from Bowie State University, an MBA from the University of Maryland, and an Asset Management program at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton Business School.
Canadian Co-Lead (Cycle Capital)
Catherine is Vice-President, Sustainable Development, Investor Relations and Public Affairs at Cycle Capital Management and Ecofuel. She handles public and government relations, she’s in charge of Cycle Capital’s impact investment practice and is a mentor for the Ecofuel Accelerator. Catherine is also Vice-president of Écotech Québec, Quebec cleantech cluster, sits on the Board of SWITCH Alliance, Clean Resource Innovation Network (CRIN) and is a member of the CVCA’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee (Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association).
Catherine is the coordinator of the “Bioenergy” working group for the Québec Green Economy Plan and was part of the consultation comittee for the Principle for Responsible Investment – Quebec Chapter. Previously, she worked in a municipal political cabinet. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Université du Québec à Montréal and a Master’s degree in Public Communication from Université Laval, for which she also completed an exchange at École supérieure de journalisme de Lille in France.
Jonathan Hera has nearly 10 years’ impact investment experience – domestically and within lower and middle income countries – having worked with and for government agencies, multilateral organizations, large financial institutions, venture capital and private equity funds, angel groups, enabling intermediaries (accelerators/incubators), collective impact platforms, and universities. He has led the development of investor relations, impact reporting and investor reporting at Sarona Asset Management; investor relations, due diligence and portfolio construction and management at the Royal Bank of Canada and the Youth Social Innovation Capital Fund; and most recently the investment strategy, due diligence, portfolio management and funder relationships at Grand Challenges Canada. It is here where Jonathan co-led the development of the organization’s gender strategy and its implementation throughout its investment process and entrepreneur supports. He lives in the west end of Toronto with his partner and two young daughters, who helped inspire his approach to impact investing – and Marigold itself. For more on Jonathan’s ‘why’, please see How to invest with a Gender Lens where he shares pieces of his personal journey.
Daniel Lane serves as the Technical Director for Beyond The Billion, helping to drive the technical strategy for the organization. Daniel has over 10 years of experience as an Information Technology consultant working in the Government sector for various clients across the Intelligence Community, Department of Defense, and Department of Justice. He has served in a multitude of capacities across the IT spectrum and is currently a program manager and scrum master for Koniag Government Services, where he leads a geographically distributed IT team in agile software development. Daniel is an active member of the Air National Guard. He is the Commander of the 146th Weather Flight and has over 16 years of military experience as a Staff Weather Officer. Throughout his military career he has gained valuable leadership experience in the tactical, operational, and strategic levels and has exhibited this knowledge in his civilian career. In addition, he has learned the importance of resiliency and adaptability and these have been a driving factor in his success. Daniel earned a Bachelors in Management Information Systems from Slippery Rock University and currently lives with his family in Northern Virginia. Daniel has a passion for people and excels at mentoring, team building, facilitating, and developing lasting relationships.
Turkey Lead (Arya Women Investment Platform)
Ahu Serter is a serial entrepreneur and investor. She is also President of Fark Holding, a 50-year-old family-enterprise specializing in automotive and white-goods sectors, and founder of Arya Women Investment Platform and Fark Labs, a global innovation hub, built to design a better version of the future by transforming legacy businesses. Empowered by her multi-potentiality, as the second generation business leader, she cultivated a dual transformation approach by encouraging new business lines, incentivizing intrapreneurship, and founding a corporate venture capital arm, F+ Ventures. This quickly paved the way for the company to nurture spin-offs, new ventures and strategic partnerships. Guided by her vision, Fark Holding was named one of the 20 most innovative companies in Turkey by Forbes. Ahu is one of Turkey's 50 most powerful women according to Fortune and the recipient of the Enterprising Women Award in the $100 million+ category in the US..
Turkey Lead (Arya Women Investment Platform)
Arzu Tekir is a business strategist specializing in urban tech and the immersive tech industry as Founder & CEO of Urbanite Venture. She helps angel investors, VCs, entrepreneurs, technology companies define market opportunities, develop marketing and communication strategies, market development, and start-up fundraising. She is the business and strategy partner of VRAcademi.
Arzu is a published author and a social entrepreneur. Arzu’s articles were published in Forbes and other magazines. She has been featured in various media outlets including, The Guardian, National Geographic Energy Challenge Blog, Jazeera Magazine, Bloomberg HT TV, and NTV-MSNBC. Her most significant work is Your Time Is Now: Lessons Learned to Transform Career, which Elma Publishing House published in April 2021 after completing the manuscript in August 2020. Arzu founded Career Transformation Academy to help professionals and entrepreneurs transform their careers, move on with confidence, and grow their businesses. As a social entrepreneur, she aims to raise funding to support MSc and Ph.D. students studying STEM subjects in her home country, Turkey. She has produced and hosted Out of the Box Talks, weekly live shows, since November 2020.
She serves as the Corporate Communications Director at Arya Women Investment Platform, Advisory Board Member at Farklabs Innovation Center, and a Board Member Social Impact Movement, NGO located in Miami, FL.
Janine Marderian Nichols
Janine Marderian Nichols is an Associate who supports Beyond the Billion’s work to mobilize investment in female founders and increase opportunity and access throughout the venture ecosystem. Currently based in Indonesia, Janine leverages her background in management consulting as an Adviser to She Said She Said, a podcast conversation that highlights the diversity of women’s experiences and celebrates the unique ways they lead, inspire, and have a positive impact on the world. She also serves as a member of the Ideas Council for the American Enterprise Institute’s Initiative on Faith & Public Life.
Previously, she led a variety of projects for the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Defense as a Senior Consultant with Deloitte’s Government & Public Services strategy consulting team. Before joining Deloitte, she worked in business development at Wiley Rein LLP where she collaborated with the firm’s partners to acquire and retain Fortune 500 clients in cybersecurity, technology, telecommunications, and intellectual property. Janine also has experience in outreach, cross-sector partnership building, digital communications, and policy education from her time as the External Affairs Manager at the American Enterprise Institute.
Janine recently completed an MBA from Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business and holds a BA in Philosophy from Biola University where she was a member of the Torrey Honors Institute and served as president of the student government association.
Tiffany Rae Atkinson is a recent graduate of Howard University, where she obtained a bachelor of science in economics and a bachelor of science in political science. Originally from Jamaica, Queens by way of Jamaica, West Indies, she currently is the founder of Womxnhood, a financial wellness company.
During her time at Howard University, she had the pleasure of becoming a Forbes Under 30 scholar as well as the Director of Special Projects for the Howard University Student Association. She also served as a Senator for the College of Arts and Sciences and was the Elections Committee Chair. Her passion for working with women came from her time working at Girls Inc. Washington DC, where she revamped the digital presence as well as curated events for the STEM & Leadership Academy, Project BOLD, and Operation SMART. Tiffany Rae also worked with the Fortune Leadership Group to plan programming with partners such as The Obama White House while serving as a mentor in their high school mentoring program.
Currently, she is launching her second company, Rooted, a self-care subscription box. She has recently joined the Beyond the Billion team, where she will be working on diversifying community partnerships as well as spearheading an HBCU venture initiative.
Fellow- Media & Communications
Amber(Huaan) Liao is a Global Business major at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. She grew up in Xi’an, China, moved to Rhode Island as a 13-year-old and now speaks Mandarin, English and Spanish fluently. She is passionate about Chinese domestic politics, US-China relations, and particularly how political risks affect investment decisions across borders.Having witnessed wide gender gaps in a developing region, gender equality is an issue personally dear to her. She is therefore particularly interested in projects that unleash the potential for women entrepreneurs. She has worked at the China Center at Brookings Institution with a focus on China-ASEAN relations and seeks to explore opportunities related to international finance and development.
Kate Gilles is a current second year student in the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. Kate is heavily involved with entrepreneurship in her coursework and beyond. She is a member of Georgetown Ventures, a club focused on consulting startups run by other students. Within her division of this organization, Kate has worked with several idea-stage startups, helping with customer discovery and creating a minimum viable product. Outside of Georgetown Ventures, she and several of her friends developed an environmentally-focused startup. Kate and the other co-founders went on to pitch it in the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Challenge last spring. She also serves as a TA for Entrepreneurship and the Common Good, a class focused on giving students a glimpse of entrepreneurship through various guest speakers and in-class exercises. In addition to her interest in entrepreneurship, Kate has always been concerned with female representation in the business world. In her time in school, she has noticed underrepresentation of women in business. Kate hopes to change this in the future and empower women. In her free time, Kate enjoys spending time with friends, reading books, and exploring Washington DC.
Julie Guan is a junior in Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, studying finance and operations and information management with a minor in computer science. Growing up in California, Julie was always inspired by the Silicon Valley and startup culture. Additionally, a woman in business herself, she is passionate about leveling the playing field for entrepreneurial women of all backgrounds and experiences. Since joining Beyond the Billion her sophomore year of college, Julie has enjoyed strengthening Beyond the Billion’s partnerships and building a stronger ecosystem for women in venture. Julie is extremely grateful to be working with Beyond the Billion in decreasing the gender investment gap and is excited to contribute more to this mission.
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