Guided by a proven philosophy that inclusivity is an essential element of innovation, Astia has been bringing the power of women on entrepreneurial teams forward and using it as an advantage in identifying and allying with investable companies.
Learn more about the committed team innovating new ground for high-growth ventures.
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.
Margaret Mackenzie, CFO & Managing Director
Margaret is a seasoned entrepreneur and financial services professional and has been a member of the Astia community since 2008. In addition to her role in Astia, Margaret advises several early-stage companies focused on digital transactions, identity and artificial intelligence. Margaret has co-founded and served as a C-level executive in two fintech companies – Paymo (now Boku) where she was COO and CFO, and JustInvesting where she was a CFO and EVP of International Business. Margaret has been the chief executive officer in three other venture-backed, financial market companies: Plastic Jungle, 4charity (where she was named one of the vSpring top 100 Venture Entrepreneurs), and Resonex Capital Corporation. As an entrepreneurial leader, Margaret has managed rapid growth teams from inception through steady revenue growth in the US, Europe and Asia, working with both enterprise and consumer customers. She has a particular interest in the future of digital and mobile transactions, global commerce and identity, and the impact of technology on global financial inclusion.
Margaret’s experience in financial services includes work with corporate finance advisory and private placements of debt, equity, and other highly structured transactions for clients of both Bank of America and Silicon Valley Bank, where she was a founding principal and Managing Director of SVB Securities. She has an MBA in Finance from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, and a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations from the University of California at Davis.
Yuka Nagashima, President
Originally from Japan, Yuka co-founded 2 tech start-ups in Hawaii: LavaNet, one of Hawaii’s first Internet Service Providers and TikiTechnologies, which offered spam filtering services. She was then asked to direct 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 their 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. Now residing in Silicon Valley, she fills in as interim CEO or COO for startups and advises companies trying to establish their business in the US through her consulting firm, Paideia Enterprises. A long time Astia supporter, Yuka serves as an Astia C-Suite advisor. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Physics from Reed College.
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 Inc.com, he writes the column Leadership Balanced.
Teresa Nelson, PhD, Astia Academic in Residence, 2015;
Member, National Women’s Business Council Professor and Director of the Entrepreneurship Program
Dr. Teresa Nelson holds the Elizabeth J. McCandless Professor of Entrepreneurship Chair at the Simmons School of Management. She is also the Director of the School of Management’s Entrepreneurship Program. Her teaching, research, and consulting focus on issues of entrepreneurship and global business, most particularly around start-up and growth company governance and top management team dynamics. She has been engaged for more than a decade with global business issues, especially in China and the European Union.
In the classroom, Dr. Nelson engages executive and graduate students in rigorous conceptual and experiential learning, believing that adults will benefit from educational encounters that move them out into the world of practice taking into account their talents, goals and the emerging business world of today. Nelson has taught on five continents and travels extensively. She has led travel courses for executives and students to many parts of the world, including China, where she has experienced first-hand the emergence of the market economy over the last dozen years. At Simmons she teaches entrepreneurship and strategic management in the MBA program.
Nelson’s primary research is related to the implications and outcomes of firms transitioning through growth stages up to and through initial public equity offering. She has studied product, process and performance changes as well as the implications of firm growth patterns on women as entrepreneurs of new ventures and within the corporation. Her experience in global business has translated into research on the markets of China and the strategic implications of the organization of global stock exchanges. As an affiliate of the Center for Gender in Organizations, Nelson is now engaged in multiple research projects to build knowledge around women and entrepreneurship, particularly high growth entrepreneurship.
Dr. Nelson had more than 10 years of experience in business consulting, government, and politics before returning to school for her MBA and Ph.D. She has founded two businesses and works as an affiliate consultant with two others. She is a frequent and noted speaker on issues such as “The Art of the Pitch”, “China Today” and “Entrepreneurship and Women”.