Meet our Members

The Alliance community is all about our amazing members. Alliance members lead companies in virtually every industry and market sector ranging from early-stage private companies to global public companies. And, to be expected, their personal backgrounds are as diverse and wide-ranging as their companies. We’ve never been able to figure out how to describe the Alliance to someone who hasn’t experienced it. Therefore, we invited a few of our members to describe their "Alliance Experience" using their own words.

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Doug Dooley, Venture Capitalist at Venrock
Company: Venrock
Member Since: 2013

Doug Dooley joined the Alliance as an experienced Silicon Valley executive for companies such as Cisco, Inktomi, Intel, Nortel, Juniper, NetScreen, Neoteris, and Ringcube/Citrix. In 2014, he transitioned to Venrock as a Venture Capitalist where he’s focused his expertise on infrastructure and security investments. “There is something to be said about the Alliance, and how it allows you to elevate yourself to see more broadly, beyond your own company,” Doug said. He comments that VCs have to practice using their executive muscle to think about businesses in a different way, with a broader perspective. His Alliance participation has been extremely helpful to him, where he’s experienced a willingness to share ideas, support one another, think long term, and maintain an entrepreneurial spirit of taking risks that are worth taking, which are all ingrained in Venrock’s culture of innovation.

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Craig Saxton, President & CEO of Specialty’s Cafe & Bakery
Company: Specialty's Cafe & Bakery
Member Since: 2011

Craig Saxton always walks away from Alliance meetings feeling they were completely worth his valuable time. He gains helpful insights to the issues he faces, and appreciates the different perspectives of other Alliance members, which often challenge his way of thinking. Craig is the President & CEO of Specialty's Cafe & Bakery, which hand-produces delicious products in each of its cafes every day. Specialty’s remains a family-run business, operating nearly 50 cafes in Northern and Southern California, Washington State and Illinois. Specialty’s was named to the Bay Area's list of the Fastest-Growing Private Companies for 2011 by the San Francisco Business Times and the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal.
 

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Doug Leeds, CEO of IAC Publishing
Company: IAC Publishing
Member Since: 2011

Doug Leeds joined the Alliance to find other perspectives that woud help him look outside of his own role. He describes two "Aha!" moments gained from the Alliance. Formerly the CEO of Ask.com, Doug is now the CEO of IAC Publishing, which brings together a collection of the web’s most trusted brands to create one of the largest digital publishers in the world, reaching more than 100 million US users a month.

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Craig Goehring, CEO of Brown and Caldwell
Company: Brown and Caldwell
Member Since: 2011

Craig Goehring describes his Alliance group meetings as informal, yet with a clear methodology that allows for the right amount of valuable background and exchange brought to the table. Craig is the CEO of Brown and Caldwell, the largest engineering consulting firm in the U.S. focused solely on the water and environmental sectors.

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Alyce Rados, President of Carpenter/Robbins Tenant Advisory Service

Having other Alliance executives to talk with and exchange ideas is a huge benefit for Alyce Rados. Alyce participates in multiple Alliance groups, one that joins Presidents and CEOs from a variety of industries, and another specifically for executives in service organizations. Alyce comments that there are times when executives feel the pressure to always have the right answer and know the right next move. But, through the Alliance, she’s able to work through and solve issues together with her Alliance peers. Alyce is the President of Carpenter/Robbins Tenant Advisory Service, which specializes in providing commercial real estate services to businesses and government clients throughout the United States. Their areas of emphasis include strategic planning and real estate consulting, transactional brokerage, build-to-suit development and Federal process management.

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Andrew Giacomini, Managing Partner of Hanson Bridgett

Andrew was looking for places outside of his company and industry where he could find great innovative ideas. As the busy Managing Partner of law firm, Hanson Bridgett, Andrew has absolutely no time to waste. The support he receives from his fellow Alliance group members is the glue that keeps him coming back year after year. Founded in 1958, Hanson Bridgett is a law firm with more than 150 attorneys in offices in San Francisco, Sacramento, the North Bay and the East Bay. In July, 2015, Hanson Bridgett was named one of the “50 Best Law Firms for Women” by Working Mother & Flex-Time Lawyers.

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Belinda Tsao-Nivaggioli, CEO of the Avicena Group
Company: The Avicena Group, Inc.
Member Since: 2007

Belinda Tsao-Nivaggioli, CEO of the Avicena Group, talks about her Alliance of Chief Executives experience. The Avicena Group is a leading developer of novel therapies for neurological and neuromuscular diseases, as well as certain dermaceutical and nutraceutical products. OTCBB: (AVGO)

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Cal Lai, Chairman & CEO of Ask.Vet
Company: Ask.Vet
Member Since: 2006

Cal Lai talks about his long-time involvement and experience with the Alliance of Chief Executives. Cal is the Chairman & CEO of Ask.Vet, which brings veterinary services and expertise to animal owners via mobile technology, mobile apps, mobile web, social media, and texting. Ask.Vet lows the barriers to accessing veterinarians and their expertise and makes it easy for animal owners to get the answers they need, anytime and anywhere.

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Barrett Cohn, Co-Founder & Managing Director of Scenic Advisement
Company: Scenic Advisement
Member Since: 2015

Alliance member, Barrett Cohn, comments that all entrepreneurs face the same issues of leadership and management, growth and success, family life and balance. Coming from a wide variety of industries, his Alliance group members have a lot to share as entrepreneurs, experience that is valuable to Barrett, and he appreciates their practical insights. Barrett is the Co-Founder & Managing Director of Scenic Advisement, a San Francisco-based financial services firm specializing in servicing the liquidity needs of high growth, late stage technology companies, their investors, and founders. With a focus on secondary market liquidity, Scenic Advisement’s buy-side clients include some of the largest pools of capital in the world.

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Peter Sortwell, Founder/CEO of Arborwell
Company: Arborwell
Member Since: 2007

Peter Sortwell says that it really doesn't matter what the business is - all CEOs face similar problems and issues, whether they be legal, employee, revenue, sales, or cost management. Having a resource like the Alliance of Chief Executives is helpful so that you can put your emotions and feelings on the table in front of other people who understand. Peter is the Founder/CEO of Arborwell, a customer driven, professional tree management company committed to providing arboricultural services that enhance the beauty, health, safety, and value of trees. The San Francisco Business Times named Peter Sortwell as one of the Bay Area's Most Admired CEOs in a Small Business in 2009.

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Mihir Shukla, CEO & Co-Founder of Automation Anywhere
Company: Automation Anywhere
Member Since: 2009

Mihir Shukla talks about how the Alliance of Chief Executives has helped him learn and grow as a first-time CEO. Mihir is the CEO & Co-Founder of Automation Anywhere, which delivers intelligent automation technology for business & IT processes of varying complexity.

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Paul Finkle, Executive Vice President of ABD SharedHR
Company: ABD SharedHR
Member Since: 2014

As the old adage goes, like so many things in life, you get out of it, what you put in. Paul gives a great analogy of his Alliance participation to exercise by saying that you never really have time to exercise, but if you don’t, you miss it. And, whatever time you put into it, is well worth it. He says that the Alliance is more than just a “business massage” that makes you feel good. It actually makes you think. Paul Finkle is the Executive Vice President of ABD SharedHR, which delivers Fortune 1000 technology and HR outsourcing services to small and mid-sized organizations using its web-based platform, as well as supporting employers with full HR consulting services.

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Marco Marini, CEO of ClickMail Marketing
Company: ClickMail Marketing, Inc.
Member Since: 2011

For Marco Marini, being in an Alliance group of smart CEOs, who have experienced some of the same challenges Marco has experienced, is worth its weight in gold. The feedback he receives while stepping out of his day-to-day to attend Alliance meetings is incredibly valuable to Marco. He describes the Alliance culture as truthful, open, unfiltered and candid. Marco is the Chief Executive Officer of ClickMail Marketing, which sells world-class enterprise ESPs and customizes them precisely to their customers’ businesses.

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Gary Gysin, President & CEO of Liquid Robotics
Company: Liquid Robotics, Inc.
Member Since: 2007

Gary Gysin says there's always a personal or business-related "nugget or two" from every Alliance meeting he attends. In addition to the strategic insights he gains, he appreciates the tight bond of friendship that's formed with his Alliance peers. He describes the Alliance culture as open and collaborative, surrounded by very smart people. Gary is the President & Chief Executive Officer of Liquid Robotics. Liquid Robotics instruments the ocean with fleets of networked, wave-powered ocean robots, solving critical problems for its defense, oil & gas, commercial, and science customers.

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Anne Bisagno, President of Xantrion
Company: Xantrion
Member Since: 2008

Anne Bisagno views the Alliance as her company's board of advisors. Given the stage of high growth and complexity that her company is in now, she relies on the support and input from her Alliance group to help her make informed and strategic decisions as she moves through new territory. Anne is the President of Xantrion, which specializes in personalizing I.T. for small and mid-size companies in the San Francisco Bay Area. Xantrion was named to the Bay Area's list of the Fastest-Growing Private Companies for 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 by the San Francisco Business Times and the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal.
 

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Mark Tacchi, President & CEO of Vendini
Company: Vendini, Inc.
Member Since: 2008

Mark Tacchi recommends that those interested in joining the Alliance should come with an open mind, their ego checked at the door, be willing to share ideas openly, and participate in a way that gives value back to the other members in the group. Mark joined the Alliance in 2008 and has seen more than 5x revenue growth over that time. Mark is the President & CEO of Vendini, which provides dependable and easy-to-use ticketing, marketing, and fundraising solutions to any-sized organization.

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