Janet. L. Holmgren, Chair is a higher education consultant who retired most recently as Senior Vice President for a high tech, socially responsible, higher education start-up company in San Francisco, UniversityNow (UNOW). She held the position of President and Susan Mills Professor of Mills College (Oakland, CA) from 1991 to 2011. Prior to her appointment at Mills, she served as Vice Provost of Princeton University, and before that, as Senior Administrator and faculty member at the University of Maryland, College Park. Jan has been deeply involved in national and local leadership through her volunteer work with numerous educational and nonprofit organizations, including the International Museum of Women, the City of Oakland Education Cabinet, the Princeton University Board of Trustees, the Patten University Board of Trustees, the Urban School of San Francisco, the East Bay Community Foundation, and the Bay Area Biotech Council. She has served as chair of the Boards of the American Council on Education, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the National Council for Research on Women, and the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities. Jan loves travel when she can squeeze it in, and lives with her dogs, Holly and Harold in Oakland. Her daughter, Liz, and husband, John and their son, Henry, live in Oakland; daughter, Ellen and her fiance, Alejandro, live in San Francisco, so Jan gets a lot of family time.

Joe Preis, Treasurer, has 20 years of experience working in, founding and financing entrepreneurial ventures. In his current venture, Longitude Properties, Inc., Joe is redeveloping older, but well-located, Marin County houses that have financial, legal and physical challenges. Prior to that, Joe was a consultant to a real estate loan fund raising $20 million for private lending. He also served as the founding CFO of Waypoint Group, a now-public real estate investment company pioneering investments in the single-family home rental market where he guided the company’s finances from $1 million to $40 million of managed capital. Joe was an active member of Keiretsu Forum, the world’s largest angel investment network. He invested in or led due diligence teams analyzing investment opportunities young companies in the clean tech, Internet, real estate and consumer goods markets. Joe was also the CEO/owner of, an apartment-leasing company that Joe purchased, grew, transitioned to the Internet, sold to Realogy, Inc., and expanded throughout California. Joe was the original owner of the domain “” Move, Inc. now operates and, the online portal for the National Association of Realtors. Joe served as a real estate investment banker, raising over $250 million in equity and debt for California real estate developers. Joe Preis holds an MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, and a B.A. in Demography from Harvard College.

Ralph Guggenheim, Secretary, is an animation producer and media consultant. As a co-founder of Pixar, Ralph produced Toy Story, the first feature length computer animated film. Subsequently, he was an Executive Producer at Electronic Arts. In 2003 he formed Alligator Planet, an animation production company in San Francisco, where he has produced several animated features, animated episodes for TV and the web, and consulted to a number of traditional and new media companies. Ralph has served on numerous film festival juries, as well as the San Francisco Arts Commission and the board of the Contemporary Jewish Museum.


Mark Achler, Board Member, is the Managing Director of MATH Venture Partners, an early to mid-stage technology venture capital fund and an Adjunct Lecturer of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Kellogg. Mark was recently the Senior Vice President of new business, strategy and innovation at Redbox, where he managed the Company’s long-term planning and expansion into new business opportunities. Mark started his career by co-founding one of the first personal computer retail stores in the country and participated in the launch of the IBM PC. He then moved to Apple, where he was the worldwide introduction manager for the Apple //c.  Upon leaving Apple, Mark co-founded and served as chief executive officer of the Whitewater Group, a company that specialized in development tools and programming languages and shipped the second application for Windows 1.0. He co-founded the video game company, Kinesoft Development, where he served as president. After leaving Kinesoft, Mark served as a founding general partner in Kettle Partners, an early-stage venture capital fund. He also helped co-found Emmi Solutions, a provider of patient education, where he first served as president and later became chief executive officer. Mark is a frequent speaker, resource and ardent champion for the entrepreneurial community; where he is a mentor for TechStars and the Chicago High Tech Academy.  He thinks he has had a fun and eclectic career and his wife thinks he can’t hold a job – all a matter of perspective.  

Jordan Fishfeld, Board Member, is the Chief Executive Officer of, the Midwest’s premier real estate crowdfunding portal. Prior to founding PeerRealty, Jordan worked as a finance attorney for Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP. In this role, Jordan assisted on the documentation and completion of more than one billion dollars’ worth of syndicated loan transactions. Jordan received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Florida. Thereafter, he received his Masters of Business Administration and his Juris Doctor from the University of Miami, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude and was invited to the Order of the Coif. While in law school, Jordan was President of the Jewish Law Student Association. Jordan is currently an outgoing board member of the Jewish United Fund’s Young Lawyers section. In this role, he led the planning and implementation of the Mentorship program. He also serves on various committees within the Young Leadership Division.

Kate Forester, Board Memberis an expert in social sector start-ups. She currently serves as the Director of Finance and Company Operations at She has 20 years experience leading non-profit programs to promote volunteerism, alleviate poverty, and build community. Kate received an MBA from the Yale School of Management with a full-tuition scholarship. She build Repair the World’s Finance and Operations from launch to 36 employees in six cities by cultivating investors, building relationships with peers across the industry and partnering with colleagues. Kate presents at national conferences, including South by Southwest, the National Conference on Volunteering and Service, and Tribefest. In addition to UpStart Bay Area, she serves on the board of Challah for Hunger and is a mentor for PresenTense. She is currently leading business development to launch Homemade, a food sharing business started at a Google-backed incubator. Kate lives in Brooklyn with her partner Conrad and cat Hanzo.

Emeri S. Handler, Board Member, M.S., is Parent Education Manager for Challenge Success at Stanford University and a parent educator at JFCS/Parent’s Place. She has worked in mental health and developmental and clinical psychology for 25 years. Previously, Emeri worked at an alternative high school in San Mateo County as a therapist for adolescents and at the Anti-Defamation League in SF as Associate Director and as the Director for Education and A World of Difference. Passionate about community in general and the Jewish community in particular, Emeri has served on several boards and committees of the following non-profit organizations: Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School, the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center, JFCS/Parent’s Place, TheatreWorks, the Jewish Community Federation, and Moving Traditions. Emeri is a Wexner Heritage Program alum. She currently serves on the advisory boards for Challenge Success and OneTable. She lives in Palo Alto with her husband and three children.

Rabbi Patricia Karlin-Neumann, Board Member, has been the University Chaplain at Stanford University since 1996. She is the first University Chaplain from a tradition other than Christianity in Stanford’s history. In 2001, she was appointed Senior Associate Dean for Religious Life. She teaches and lectures widely on Jewish feminism, rabbinical ethics, the relationship between religion and education, and social justice. Rabbi Karlin-Neumann was ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1982. She has been a Hillel Director and Jewish Chaplain at UCLA and at the Claremont Colleges, a congregational rabbi in Alameda, California and a Regional Director for the Union for Reform Judaism, the congregational arm of the Reform Movement. At Stanford, she teaches courses including “Spirituality and Nonviolent Social Transformation” and “Rereading Judaism in Light of Feminism“. She is married to biologist George Karlin-Neumann and is the mother of two children.

Randi Shafton, Board Member, is the founder of Girl 360, an on-line publishing site for “tween” girls. Over the past 25 years, she has worked extensively for non-profits and foundations in marketing, strategic planning, grant review, advocacy, and development. She also has worked as a legislative aide in Washington D.C. and Sacramento in health care policy and education reform. Randi received a B.A. from UCLA and a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She lives in San Mateo, and when she isn’t playing soccer with her kids, Ellie, Zoey, and Jake, and husband Drew, she loves to run marathons, travel and read.

Shirley Solomon, Board Member, has been a long time volunteer in the Jewish Community.  At present, she serves on the Boards of two National Jewish Organizations and a number of boards and Committees locally. Shirley grew up in a small town in the Mississippi Delta with a rich family Jewish heritage and not too many opportunities for organized Jewish Education.  She has a B.A. from Smith College and a M.A. from New York University, married Allan from Boston, and raised four children in Louisville, Kentucky; where she was active in the Louisville JCC, Louisville Community Hebrew School and other Jewish Educational offerings. Shirley enjoys her four grown children, their spouses and eleven grandchildren and is proud of the fact that they participate in Jewish Life in four separate communities in the U.S.—Boca Raton, Chicago, Las Vegas and Los Altos.   She feels that having three grandchildren in Los Altos makes her a Bay Area Resident, once removed.

David Steirman, Immediate Past Chair, has served on the boards of many organizations in the Jewish community.  He is currently the Board President of the North Peninsula Jewish Campus in Foster City, California.  He serves as an officer of Moldaw Residences and the Jewish Senior Living Group and is a board member of the Jewish Federations of North America, the JCPA (the national public affairs arm of the organized Jewish community), and the Jewish Home & Senior Living Foundation.  He previously served as Board Chair/President of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma counties, the Jewish Education Service of North America (JESNA), the Jewish Community Relations Council and Jewish Learning Works.  David was born and raised in Chicago.  He graduated in 1976 from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and received his M.B.A. from the University of Chicago in 1979.  Professionally, he is President of Kestrel Investment Management Corporation.  David, his wife, Anne, and two children live in Hillsborough where David serves as Chair of the town’s Financial Advisory Committee.

Raymond Stern, Board Member, has worked for over 25 years as an operating executive, consultant and advisor to leading technology companies ranging from venture backed start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. He is a Co-Founder and Managing Director at Clearpath Partners where he works with CEOs on a 1:1 basis to help them be more effective leaders and to drive better outcomes for the teams and the companies they lead. Early in his career Raymond was a partner at The Boston Consulting Group where he was head of the High Technology and Media practice on the West Coast. Raymond was at Intuit for 8 years where he held a variety of senior executive positions including SVP, Strategy & Corporate Development and Chief Marketing Officer. Later in his career, Raymond was at Yahoo! where he was SVP, Global Partnerships & Business Development, and responsible for operations in Latin America and Canada and the small business division. Raymond has also been the CEO of a venture backed start up and has served on the board of numerous start ups which have had successful exits. He has served on the Board of the Bay Area Holocaust Oral History Project and the Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School.

Joel Yanowitz, Board Member, is a management consultant known for his ability to help organizations accelerate business results and develop increased organizational capability. His clients include global corporations, entrepreneurial startups and non-profits. As a Vice President of Arthur D. Little, a global management consulting and technology development company, he led the Organization Practice in North America and co-led the Strategy Practice. Prior to that he was the Managing Director of Innovation Associates, a management consulting firm that pioneered approaches to organizational change and learning whose work was documented in the best-selling business book The Fifth Discipline. In the social sector, he is a founding Board member of The Red Tomato, and is on the Board of the African Food and Peace Foundation.

If you’re interested in learning more about joining our Board, contact us.