Dr. Silvia Mah Announces Departure from Connect

Dec 20, 2019

In April of this year, Connect announced Dr. Silvia Mah would join the organization as president and COO, following the departure of long-time CEO Greg McKee. Shortly thereafter, Connect announced it would merge with San Diego Venture Group (SDVG) with Mike Krenn becoming CEO of the combined organization.

Today, Dr. Silvia Mah announces that after eight months of helping Connect w/ SDVG work to merge organizations, staff, and further its mission of elevating entrepreneurs, she will be accepting a new position with the new year.

“Silvia is an amazing champion of entrepreneurs in San Diego and we are grateful for the time and talent she brought to Connect this year,” said Tim Scott, chair of Connect’s board of directors. “She provided great leadership for our team during the merger and has been a major part of the successes we’ve had since then. Silvia will continue to make a great impact on the San Diego innovation ecosystem and we look forward to future collaborations with her.”

Dr. Mah’s official statement:

“As it is my calling to be a servant leader, I am excited to share with you that in January 2020, I will start a new job that will further my opportunity to be an abundance-oriented leader for diverse startups in San Diego and beyond. Also in 2020, I will begin to contribute content to Forbes as a new member of the Forbes Business Council.

We all have a role to play in helping the San Diego startup ecosystem reach its full potential, and for me, it’s to promote diversity and inclusion among startups, and to help all founders weave social impact into their businesses, in a mindful and empathetic manner.

I have had the opportunity to impact our startup ecosystem over the past eight months as the president and COO of Connect w/ SDVG, an organization that helps entrepreneurs, spurs innovation and improves the economy.

In my role, I’ve helped Connect w/ SDVG generate $81,500 of non-dilutive funding from the state of California for nine startups selling into the military (GO-Biz CASCADE iHub technology grants); increase the support of minority and female founders by strengthening partnerships and executing workshops; provide leadership support to the first cohorts of Connect All at the Jacobs Center; improve international relations through mentorship and scale events with startups and economic development leaders from over 25 countries, including Japan, Netherlands, Great Britain, Korea and more; lead a Demo Day at Bio Japan for technology startups in Yokohama, Japan; launch the first Connect w/ SDVG mentor lounge at San Diego Startup Week, resulting in 180 startups being mentored in five days; and more.

I am proud of all that I accomplished at Connect w/ SDVG in partnership with an outstanding team and am grateful to have had a post there. Although I’ve decided to move on, I look forward to seeing what lies ahead for the organization.

As a Latina immigrant from Venezuela, and a scientist-turned-academic-turned entrepreneur and investor, I never could have imagined 20 years ago how my career would take shape. Today, I am more grateful than ever to all who’ve supported and worked with me and to all who continue to advocate for me. I am grateful to continue supporting women founders through my leadership roles at Ad Astra Ventures, Stella Labs and Next Wave Impact, and am especially thankful for my new job that’ll be announced soon.

As I look toward the future, I am excited to combine my experience in academia, social impact investing and serving diverse founders. I am excited to continue connecting people and investing in innovation. And I am excited to watch our ecosystem thrive.

— Silvia Mah