Meet the team that’s moving mindsets.

Guided by a proven philosophy that inclusivity is an essential element of innovation, Astia has been bringing forward the power of women on entrepreneurial teams and using it as an advantage in identifying, allying, and investing in select companies.

Learn more about the committed team innovating new ground for high-growth ventures.

Catherine (Cate Muther), Founder

Catherine Muther built a business career in the internet infrastructure industry as senior marketing officer at Bridge Communications, 3Com and Cisco Systems, Inc. In 2015, she was recognized in Forbes Magazine’s, Philanthropy: Women Changing the World.Ms Muther is a social enterprise field builder as founder, funder, board member, impact investor, and professor. She was a Founding Partner and Chair of the Board of Acumen. She is the founder of Astia, a business accelerator with global reach for women technology entrepreneurs; and Springboard Enterprises, a resource hub for women entrepreneurs seeking early stage capital. Ms Muther is a Director of BRAC USA, PolicyLink, and the Magnum Foundation. She was on the inaugural Advisory Boards of Duke University Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE), Global Philanthropy Forum, and the Stanford Social Innovation Review. She has received numerous awards for business and philanthropic leadership.

You can read more about her work on the website of her foundation, The Three Guineas Fund.

Sharon Vosmek, CEO

Sharon Vosmek has transformed Astia during her tenure as CEO since 2007, having previously served as COO from 2004. Under Ms. Vosmek’s leadership, Astia is now the pre-eminent organization working to ensure the success of high-growth startups founded and led by women. Ms. Vosmek has led Astia’s growth from 20 individuals in Silicon Valley to the global community of more than 5,000 investors, entrepreneurs, family offices, industry leaders and individuals that it is today. Ms Vosmek was one of the founding managers and members of Astia Angels, the global investment group launched in 2013 to invest directly into women-led high-growth companies. Ms. Vosmek is well-regarded around the globe for her opinions, research and commentary on the importance of women leaders as integral to innovation and high-performing entrepreneurial companies.

A highly sought-after speaker, Ms. Vosmek has most recently spoken at the United Nations, the Milken Institute CA Summit, given lectures at numerous Universities most notably on the topic of building inclusive ecosystems at Stanford and MIT, was invited to participate in The White House Women’s Entrepreneurship Conference; the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship led by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; and in 2011 she as a US Delegate to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Women and the Economy Summit. She is also a member of Astia Angels; on the Advisory Boards of two venture capital firms, StarVest Partners and Illuminate Ventures; the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst Experts Advisor Group; the AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassadors Advisory Committee; and on the “Making Value for America” expert advisory committee for the National Academy of Engineering.

Victoria Pettibone, Managing Director

Victoria is Managing Director of Astia, based out of New York City. Victoria is an active investor and advisor in the innovation economy. She manages the global Astia Angels investor network, curates deal flow, executes investments and manages the portfolio. She orchestrates Astia’s global expert sift screening process to ensure continuous best-in-class deal flow for Astia.

Victoria brings an entrepreneurial background to her work at Astia, as the former founder of a social enterprise in the media space. Her work with women and girls’ empowerment in the field of entertainment led to her receiving The Avon Hello Tomorrow Fund Award and The Harlequin More Than Words Award. She was featured in Women’s Health Magazine as an “Action Figure,” and one of “25 Visionaries Changing the World” in UTNE Reader magazine.

Victoria holds a Masters in Public Administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. She is an avid skier and scuba diver, a not-so-current pilot, and mother of two.

Yuka Nagashima, President

Originally from Japan, Yuka Nagashima joins Astia’s executive team after an illustrious career including serving as co-founder of two tech start-ups: LavaNet, one of Hawaii’s first Internet Service Providers and TikiTechnologies, which developed spam filtering services. From 2006 to 2013, Yuka directed the State of Hawaii government’s innovation policies as the executive director and CEO of the High Technology Development Corporation, where she implemented innovation initiatives, drafted legislation to enrich Hawaii’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, led incubation centers and mentoring programs, and advised executive teams of both startups and established companies globally. Yuka has represented the tech and entrepreneurial communities and interests at State Science and Technology Institute Conferences, National Academy of Sciences, Nanotechnology Regional Leadership Summit at the White House, the National Governor’s Association, and more. Recognized as a leader on diversity and inclusion in technology and entrepreneurship, Yuka actively engages the community on this important topic. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Physics from Reed College and currently resides in Silicon Valley.

Anna C. Sheen, Program Director

Anna Sheen is the Executive Director of Consortium for Operational Excellence in Retailing (COER), an academic research center focused on advancing retail operations from a combined academic and business perspective. Her background in balancing “art” and “science” includes working as a financial analyst for Lehman Brothers and Alex. Brown & Sons and then merchandising for Gap and J. Crew with store level management for Canterbury of New Zealand. Anna graduated with a double major in Economic and Psychology from Columbia College/University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Brian Evje, Executive Consultant

Brian Evje served as Astia’s Vice President in Europe and now consults to Astia and the portfolio companies on issues of leadership and organization development. He helps people and organizations lead change and growth, with an emphasis on aligning leadership, strategy, and culture. This work involves a process approach to leadership (coaching and development), change (organization and culture), and organizational health (strategy, design, and effectiveness.) He has worked with and for high-growth start-ups, public corporations, and the public benefit sector. Brian is a graduate of Santa Clara University, and the Master’s program Consulting and Coaching for Change at HEC School of Management, Paris/Saїd Business School, University of Oxford. For, he writes the column Leadership Balanced.

Cari Jaquet, Executive in Residence

Astia’s mission resonates with Cari as she thinks about the world her 14-year old daughter will inherit. Cari Jaquet is a full-stack marketer with a passion for creating pipeline, delivering customer success and building great teams. She has held leadership roles at startups like Paxata and Sensage, as well as global companies, including McAfee, Hyperion and SAP. Most recently, she ran marketing communications and the global demand center for Zscaler, the first cloud security company. Cari’s methodology for developing integrated programs to gain marketshare, disrupt competitors or claim a new market, has produced positive results for over 15 years. Her strength in analytics gives her a unique approach to segmentation, category development and content strategies. Cari studied psychology and criminal justice in Texas at Sam Houston State University.

Karen Kovaleski, Executive in Residence

Karen is an executive with extensive experience in start-up, growth stage and turn around environments. She provides leadership and vision across all disciplines to drive profitable transformation, product development and market growth with a strong emphasis on business operations, business development and customer success. Karen was a founding executive of Localeze, and held executive leadership roles for companies such as Revolution Health, Citysearch, and TMP Worldwide as they moved through stages to successful exits. Most recently, she was CEO of Geary LSF a digital advertising firm. Karen graduated with a double major in Economics and Communications from University of California, Santa Barabara.

Mary McDougall, Executive in Residence

Mary McDougall is a corporate innovator and technical business leader who has had four successful exits and participated in ten acquisitions. She was most recently CEO of Survox, a phone survey automation platform, sold to Enghouse (TSX: ENGH). Before Survox, Mary led change and growth initiatives in both public companies and early stage ventures, each focused on applying software technology to business process improvement. A long-time advisor, Mary is now part of the Astia Expert Sift process and stays engaged with technology by advising local start-ups through HBS Start-up Partners. Mary was one of the first women to earn an Engineering degree from Dartmouth College before getting her MBA from Harvard Business School.

Teresa Nelson, PhD, Sr. Research & Policy Director

Teresa Nelson, Ph.D. is a founder and Principal at The Impact Seat, a knowledge and practice platform for inclusive innovation. She received her Ph.D. in strategic management from the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) and is recognized internationally as a diversity and inclusion scholar with work appearing in the top academic journals of her field. Nelson also serves as the Senior Research and Policy Director for Astia and as a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee for Women Equity Growth, a Paris-based project of investment house, Bryan-Garnier. She was a member of the National Women’s Business Council representing Astia from 2014-2017, advising the White House, Congress and the Small Business Administration on issues of policy related to women and business, particularly in her specialty areas of capital access and science based technology venturing. Nelson holds an appointment on the faculty of the business school at Simmons College in Boston.

Monique Parnell, Special Event Consultant

Monique is a driven professional with more than two decades of project management, executive and operational support, and finance experience. A natural connector, she contributes to our success by providing thoughtful introductions between entrepreneurs, investors, and executives. Monique has been a member of two startups, Plastic Jungle and Lithium Studios, where she did what was needed to get stuff done.

Sophia Haggar Planchard, Program Assistant

.Sophia Haggar Planchard is an intern based out of New York. She is a Junior at NYU Stern studying Marketing and
Management, with a focus in entrepreneurship. Her extensive experience in the performing
arts serves as a basis for an interest in idea generation and creative solutions to complex issues.
Sophia assists with the Astia Expert Sift operations, from facilitating advisor–entrepreneur relations to aggregating company evaluations from the community.

Kim Weiss, Executive in Residence

Kim Weiss currently leads Strategic Growth Initiatives at Health Evolution, a company whose mission is to engage and inform the foremost leaders across all US healthcare industries to shape positive change. She is a proven leader and entrepreneur with a track record of building teams and improving organizational performance across multiple companies. Kim was the CEO of an Astia company which exited successfully in 2015. She has an MBA from Kellogg Graduate School of Business and a BA from UC Berkeley.

“We started Astia to address the issue of women’s access to capital, specifically venture capital, by women entrepreneurs building technology companies.

– Cate Muther, Founder, Astia