Sapphire Founding Team
Media-tech entrepreneurs and dedicated young adults.
KAREN EDWARDS, CEO
Karen is a lifelong student of media and democracy. She brings leadership from over 10 media and technology companies. Karen was a co-founder, CMO and board director of Common Sense Media, a non-profit now serving over 65 million people and 105,000 schools. At Yahoo, she was the 17th employee and head of marketing worldwide for 6 years. After starting her career in journalism, she was an executive at 20th Century Fox and Apple’s advertising agency. Today, she serves on the boards of KQED and the Institute for the Future. She has an MBA from Harvard and BA in Communications from Stanford.
RAJ NARAYAN, CHief Technology
Raj has the rare combination of technical expertise, leadership skills effective with a range of teammates, and a deep empathy for end users. Raj co-founded Mode (formerly Glam Media) where he was VP Engineering for 9 years, managing a team of over 100 engineers. Mode launched with 100,000 content pieces curated by 10,000 influencers, becoming a ComScore Top 10 Media Property for 10 years. He began his entrepreneurial career while in college as an early employee of NetObjets. Raj has worked with Vic for over 15 years, together they created five content technology patents sold to Adobe. His specialties include Architecture, Agile Methodologies and Test-Driven Development. Raj has a BS in Computer Science from Georgia Tech.
VIC ZAUD, Founding creative & Product
Vic applies prowess for design simplicity in media technologies, UI optimization, and consumer products. He has founded several companies besides his own multi-million dollar design firm, Zaudhaus: one went public, another was sold to IBM, and others continue to thrive. He was a co-founder of Juice Beauty which was sold to Gwyneth Paltrow's company, and a founding member of Republic of Tea where his original design remains in stores today. Vic began his design career at age 15 when Steve Jobs hired him at Apple, where he worked for 4 years before earning his BA in Graphics from the Art Center College of Design.
MONiKA Bele, TEchnical Program Manager
Monika works as a program manager helping structure and organize the engineering teams working to develop the Sapphire technology platform. Monika was most recently a program manager at Bonzai as well as Mode Media. Monika was also a Senior Software Engineer at Cybage Software. We love Monika's ability to translate the goals of the product and the know-how of engineering to lead the technical teams through the tasks necessary to build the overall platform.
DAN HALABE, Prototype development and engineering
Dan is a consultant for, adviser to, and investor in technology and media start-ups. Formerly a partner at Accenture, Dan led several of the firm’s pioneering engagements with communications, media and entertainment industries. He earned a BS and MS in Computer Science from Northwestern University.
SHEENA YANG, Design
Sheena lives to understand a brand and its products’ unique values, then help create authentic and memorable experiences around those values in both print and digital. She believes that a path to creating timeless design is to first recognize people’s inherent needs and connect with them. Driven by courage, passion, and play, her work instills purpose and personality into a design that is curious, sensible and pleasant. Sheena is working to create the user-experience and visual design for the Sapphire Mobile App and services.
CATHERINE TEITELBAUM, TRUST AND COMMUNITY
Catherine, drives our insight on teens and tech, among other things. She is a globally-recognized pioneer and expert in online safety, trustworthy community and social digital products. From the start of her career as a teacher, Catherine has worked toward her belief in the value of digital technologies to provide students with open access to people and ideas. For more than 10 years, Catherine held senior positions within Yahoo, leading the Yahooligans and Yahoo! Education products. Catherine was a co-founder of the Yahoo Employee foundation. Catherine was the Chief Trust & Safety Officer at ASKFm, leading the safety turnaround of the popular Q&A teen app. She has also served as the Vice-Chair of the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) and provided testimony before the Congressional Child Online Protection Act Commission. Catherine has a BA in Rhetoric & English from UC Davis.
Lovester Law, Business Development
Lovester has led business development strategies across the travel, entertainment and financial service industries. He is now very excited to use this experience to help drive alliances that support Sapphire's mission. Lovester is a Vice President at Wells Fargo Bank, where he leads a major brand engagement program. Previously, Lovester served on the founding business development leadership team for SFX Entertainment, now Live Nation. Lovester is a member of the Family and Patient Advisory Council for heart transplants at Stanford Health Care. He received his BA and MPA degrees from the University of Dayton.
Beth Rudolph Snyder, EDUCATION OUTREACH and Evangelism
Beth has worked in education at almost every level: From Strategic Planning and teaching science and math, to Social Emotional Learning and Conflict Resolution. As a teacher and a parent, she has learned that young people are our best teachers. She looks forward to learning from young adults about how we move forward in our divided country. By listening to students and teachers everywhere, Beth will help Sapphire learn what matters to them. She studied Biology at UCSB and Broadcast Journalism at Stanford.
CYNTHIA ZAPATA, Intern, The CAliFORNIA Central ValleY
Cynthia is a true leader who through optimism, dedication, and hard work, leads the way for her classmates and colleagues. She is a senior at UC Merced, pursuing a BS in Business Management & Economics with a minor in Community Engaged Research. As a freshman, she helped establish the Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity onto the UC Merced campus. She has been an active member since and currently serves as Public Relations Manager. Cynthia deeply cares about her local community and is always eager to make a positive change. This is reflected through her leadership in marketing and financial consulting to help keep local businesses afloat.
Anya Joseph, Intern, Midwest
Anya has a passion for learning and helping young people become more educated on relevant issues. She is a rising sophomore at Northwestern University, pursuing a BA in Learning Sciences from the School of Education. She hopes to eventually become a teacher, as well as help shape the overall education system. She has worked with numerous education focused organizations such as The Akanksha Foundation and Reading Partners. Anya hopes to continue her involvement in the education field and her community.
Inyoung Choi, Intern, SF Bay area
Inyoung is a sophomore at Stanford University interested in journalism, online media, strategic media partnerships and integrated marketing communications. She is the news director at KZSU 90.1 where you can tune into her weekly news show. She has experience writing for The Stanford Alumni Magazine and managing social media content for the The Stanford Daily. Academically, she is interested in the ethics of information technology, online misinformation/ trust, media policy/culture for youth, freedom of speech and diversity representation in media. She loves engaging in conversations that draw individuals from different spheres – she desires to learn about both academia and industry, the humanities and sciences, and urban and rural communities.
Sarah Halabe, Intern, North EAST
Sarah is a sophomore at Wellesley College, majoring in English, and an avid reader of the news. She has a deep appreciation for free speech and the ability to see an issue from diverse perspectives. Previously, Sarah has worked for organizations such as the San Francisco Public Defender's Office, and Mission Hill- a tutoring and mentoring program serving students in Boston's low-income neighborhoods.
SAPPHIRE ADVISORS, A-Z
We are truly grateful for the passionate support of our advisors. These multi-talented individuals echo our belief that this is a space requiring innovation. Their countless hours and expertise is critical to our success. Thank you!
Jim Anderson, founder, Legacy Ventures- Grace Antonick, teen novelist - Lorene Arey, Clara Fund - John Buoymaster, Chairman, Hall Capital -John Clippinger, MIT Media Lab, ID3 - Kevin Edwards, Co-founder, Connected Social Media - Nolan Matcovich, college freshman, KV Rao, Founder/former CEO of Zuora, and Aviso- Michael Spector, CEO, Vista Venture Partners, Lawrence Wilkinson, Chairman, Common Sense Media