We're thrilled to announce 3 promotions, 4 new hires, and a new member of the ICA Board leadership.
On the Move
Caron Gugssa-Howard brings over 15 years of strategy and entrepreneurial experience to her new role as ICA’s Director of Programs. Caron has worked with ICA since 2017, notably growing innovative equity-driven programming in her tenure, including launching The Lab at ICA in 2021. In her new role, Caron will build programs and work closely with growth-oriented companies in support of ICA's mission to accelerate great businesses to close the gender and racial wealth gaps.
Willis Wilson has been promoted to ICA’s new Director of Investment & Portfolio Management. After serving as a volunteer strategic advisor, Willis joined the ICA team in 2020 and has led numerous investment initiatives including driving the $1.5 million Rapid Response Liquidity Fund to deploy emergency loans to businesses impacted by COVID-19. In his new role, Willis will manage the Seed Capital Fund and support the expansion of ICA’s investment work to make bold bets on underestimated entrepreneurs in the Bay Area.
Paula Ochiel is a data and impact enthusiast passionate about the power of impact investing and economic empowerment to address today's inequities. We’re thrilled to announce her promotion to Impact Manager. Since 2020, Paula has worked with ICA to streamline data collection, centralization, and reporting systems. In her new role, Paula will lead efforts to expand ICA’s capacity to track and analyze company data to improve programming and demonstrate impact.
Welcome to ICA
We’re thrilled to add 4 new manager-level hires. Welcome to the team, Angelica Lozada, Erica Dixon, J Aguilar, and Viola Mai. From improving operations to engaging advisors and lifting up founders’ stories, these new hires will help ICA take our work to the next level.
Angelica Lozada (she/her) is passionate about building relationships and finding new ways to best support underserved communities and entrepreneurs. As ICA’s new Network Resource Manager, her goal is keeping our advisor and alumni communities connected and resourced. Before ICA, Angelica was an account manager in the e-commerce space.
J Aguilar (they/she) has extensive experience in a variety of operations roles for Bay Area nonprofits. As our new Office Manager, J helps the organization deliver on our mission by ensuring ICA’s operations, culture, HR, and facilities run smoothly. Before ICA, J coordinated operations and HR at CEGA, a hub for research on global development at UC Berkeley.
Erica Dixon (she/her) is a communications and engagement strategist dedicated to social change through community investment and empowerment. As our new Marketing and Communications Manager, she works to inform and grow ICA’s network of entrepreneurs, advocates, investors, and supporters. Before ICA, Erica led communications, strategy, and engagement initiatives across the community development ecosystem, including in the arts, as well as local business and food system work.
Viola Mai (she/her) is deeply rooted in social justice advocacy and dedicated to democratizing financial systems. In her new role as ICA’s Development Manager, Viola will focus on deepening ICA’s relationships with our donors and creating opportunities to expand our community of supporters. Before ICA, Viola managed investor relations at Self-Help Federal Credit Union. Her career has also encompassed roles in financial education, insurance underwriting, and financial services compliance.
New Member of the ICA Board Leadership
Nicole Auyang, SVP at City National Bank, has joined the ICA Board. Bringing over 20+ years of banking experience, primarily in Business Banking in the San Francisco Bay Area, Nicole’s expertise is a big win for ICA. She brings deep experience in structuring complex commercial credits, business development, and relationship management. Nicole is especially passionate about helping small businesses become bankable. She is a member of the Board’s Development Committee. Beyond her role as a Board Member at ICA, Nicole stays active in her community as an advocate for the underserved, children, youth and senior care services.
Meeting the Moment
ICA’s work has become more relevant than ever before and our organization is working to meet the moment by expanding programming and increasing investment. 2021 was a big year for ICA—by the end of last year we’d grown our balance sheet to over $16M, tripling our total assets since 2017. And that’s not all: in 2021 the ICA Growth Fund reached over $10M in capital, ready for investment in women founders and entrepreneurs of color.
These hires and promotions build ICA’s capacity to provide integrated capital, coaching, and connections to help small businesses grow.