The CONNECT ALL initiative focuses on increasing diversity among entrepreneurs, executives, and boards of directors by working to bridge the gap between underrepresented groups and the innovation economy. We believe startups that begin with diversity at their core will grow to become companies with fundamentally different mindsets and corporate cultures.
To fulfill this mission, CONNECT ALL focuses on three main objectives: outreach and education to underrepresented groups, recruitment and engagement of diverse early-stage entrepreneurs, and delivering programming and mentoring to those startups as they grow.
The CONNECT ALL initiative encompasses a full suite of offerings targeted at every stage of the startup lifecycle across three key operating spheres: education and mentoring, access to assets that build companies, and showcasing and promotion.
Greater San Diego Business Association
Barbra Blake is currently the executive director at the Greater San Diego Business Association (GSDBA). She is largely responsible for the great success of both AIDS Walk and today’s San Diego LGBT Pride. Blake encountered the two groups in the late ‘80s: their early days when they were working to attract more volunteers and to make ends meet. Fresh out of UC San Diego with a degree in molecular biology, she became a devout volunteer in the community after being introduced by a friend to The LGBT Center and through it, to Pride and AIDS Walk. It didn’t take long for her to become the executive director of both organizations. She simultaneously ran the two nonprofits on nights and weekends while spending her days doing lab research at Pharmacia, a pharmaceutical and biotech research company.
University of San Diego
As the entrepreneurship manager for the School of Business, Regina Bernal leads and enhances major entrepreneurship opportunities at USD including the V2 Pitch Competition, the Legacy Entrepreneurship Conference and the year-long coaching and mentoring program for student entrepreneurs. Since she joined the School of Business in 2012, the V2 Pitch Competition has tripled in the number of entrants and audience participation. The total amount of funding available for student ventures has also risen from $15,000 to $100,000. Bernal worked on the development and implementation of the first bi-national track opening the V2 Pitch Competition to student entrepreneurs from both sides of the border, specifically the Cali-Baja Region. Her communication background allows her to enhance our cross-border relationships, especially with Mexican entrepreneurs and investors, but also in Central and South America.
A veteran among public relations executives, Charles Chamberlayne is creative problem solver and expert at developing communications and community engagement strategies for high-profile individuals, universities, businesses and government officials. For over 15 years, Charles has forged many invaluable relationships in political, social and business circles from Southern California to the Nation's Capital. His resume includes working as a spokesperson and communications strategist for Mayor Kevin Faulconer of San Diego, U.S. Senators John Cornyn (TX), Kit Bond (MO), Pete Domenici (NM), and former Speaker of the House, J. Dennis Hastert. Drawing from his professional experience, network and personal background, Charles has the unique ability to provide communications consultation to develop communications infrastructure, brand identity and messaging that attracts public support from both traditional and non-traditional audiences in political, business, religious and minority communities.
An experienced trial lawyer, Eric's practice focuses on Intellectual Property Litigation. His background includes litigating and trying all manner of patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret, licensing, and business dispute cases in federal and state courts throughout the country. Eric has tried nearly two dozen cases to jury verdict and his clients run the gamut from individual inventors and entrepreneurs to start-up ventures and Fortune 100 companies.
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