Four Bay Area residents are among 11 Americans being honored by the White House today as Immigrant Innovator “Champions of Change,” described as “the best and brightest from around the world who are helping create American jobs, grow our economy, and make our nation more competitive.”
“Immigrants have long made America more prosperous and innovative, and the Champions we are celebrating today represent the very best in leadership, entrepreneurship, and public service,” U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park said in a news release. “We are proud to recognize these leaders who work every day to grow our economy, advance science and technology, and support their home communities.”
The Champions of Change program is the White House’s effort to feature groups of Americans – individuals, businesses and organizations – who are doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities.
Here are the four Bay Area honorees, as described in the White House’s news releases today:
Victoria Ransom, Menlo Park
Victoria Ransom has been an entrepreneur since her early twenties and has developed three companies, the most recent of which, Wildfire, was acquired by Google in 2012. As founder and CEO of Wildfire, Victoria led the company to profitability in just one year and built the company to tens of thousands of customers, over 400 employees, and eight offices worldwide. Victoria is #19 on Fortune Magazine’s 40 under 40 list and she was named one of Fortune Magazine’s Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs in 2012. She has been featured in several publications including The New York Times’ Corner Office, Bloomberg TV, Entrepreneur Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal. In her spare time she is an avid snowboarder and surfer and a passionate adventure traveler who once spent six weeks living with a remote Amazonian tribe and five months living in a favela in Brazil.
Anna Mongayt, Palo Alto
Anna Mongayt is a Co-Founder at Upstart — a crowdfunding platform that lets people raise money in exchange for a portion of their future income. Upstart is enabling young people to alleviate financial burdens such as student loans or living expenses by monetizing their future potential. It helps recent graduates pursue their dreams—to start a business, learn to code, or begin a career in a field they’re passionate about—by matching them with backers who believe in their aspirations. Investors can opt-in to become mentors and earn a return based on a regression model that predicts an individual’s income over ten years.
Jonas Korlach, Newark
Jonas Korlach is Chief Scientific Officer at Pacific Biosciences. He co-invented the company’s SMRT technology with Stephen Turner, Ph.D., Pacific Biosciences Founder and Chief Technology Officer, when the two were graduate students at Cornell University. SMRT technology dramatically improves the accuracy and speed of DNA sequencing. Dr. Korlach joined Pacific Biosciences as the company’s eighth employee in 2004. Dr. Korlach is the recipient of multiple grants, an inventor on 33 issued U.S. patents, and an author of numerous scientific studies on the principles and applications of SMRT technology, including publications in Nature, Science, and PNAS. He received both his Ph.D. and his M.S. degrees in Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology from Cornell, and received M.S. and B.A. degrees in Biological Sciences from Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany.
Zack Rinat, Redwood Shores
Zack Rinat is Model N’s Founder and has served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors and as Chief Executive Officer since its inception in December 1999. Previously, Mr. Rinat co-founded and ultimately served as President and Chief Executive Officer of NetDynamics, Inc., an application server software company, before its acquisition by Sun Microsystems in 1998, where he served as the Vice President and General Manager of the NetDynamics business unit. From 1998 to 1999, Mr. Rinat served as a founding member of the Board of Directors of TradingDynamics, and from 2005 to 2012 he served on the Board of Directors of Conduit Ltd., serving as Chairman of the Board of Directors from 2005 to 2011. Previously, Mr. Rinat held senior management positions in operations, marketing, and engineering at Silicon Graphics, Inc., and at Advanced Technology Israel. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA in computer science from the Technion (Israel Institute of Technology).