Leadership

The XXcelerate Fund is made up of a dedicated leadership team with deep experience, and a passionate board of founding entrepreneurs.

Amy Jermain

Executive Director

Amy comes to Xxcelerate inspired by a diverse and creative professional background that has weaved in and out of the intersections of food, culture and socio-economic structures. She will tell you she has a southern heart (she hails from Atlanta, GA) but that heart lives and thrives in the Pacific Northwest. She holds a Masters degree in International Development Economics from the University of Kent at Brussels – a platform for her work at various international organizations and NGOs. Her experience has taken her all over the world to explore micro-enterprise within informal and emerging economies with vulnerable populations. Her commitment to improving the resiliency and self-sufficiency of underserved groups is reflected in her work at the United Nations World Food Programme, the International Finance Corporation, International Planned Parenthood Federation and Friends International. Most recently,  she was living in Cambodia, where she was managing vocational training programs for marginalized youth throughout SE Asia.  Amy is the Principal of her own consulting collaborative, Plumbline CoLAB, where she works with nonprofits, social enterprises, and public entities in creating pragmatic solutions for sustainable and impactful operations and programming. She is also the founder/brewer of Bside Booch, Portland’s own craft nano-brewed kombucha. As an avid traveler, glutton and adventure seeker, you may find Amy racing motorcycles at the local race track, thumbing through the travel section at Powell’s, kayaking the Columbia or browsing a local farmers market…...and tacos - it really is all about the tacos.

Virginia Lemos

Programs Manager

Virginia is a grounded social scientist and researcher with a passion for helping emerging entrepreneurs find their purpose, flow, and grow through inclusive and sustainable business practices. As a first generation immigrant raised by a single mother, her life was shaped by a number of bold, resilient LatinX women. Initially, their influence manifested in her professional journey as a psychologist in pursuit of understanding the root of resilience in light of extreme adversity and practitioner in the treatment of complex trauma in womxn’s health. As she pivoted away from clinical practice to social impact entrepreneurship, their influence joined her identity as a BIPOC female founder and fueled a deep-rooted passion and pursuit of gender equality in entrepreneurship.

Virginia has a Master’s degree and is a PsyD candidate in clinical psychology specializing in population health and the delivery of collaborative services in interdisciplinary settings. Her professional philosophy is grounded in a dynamic vision of psychology and sociocultural systems committed to social justice and underscored by a deep appreciation for evidence-based practices and the intersectional nature of human experiences. She draws from relational and systems theories to foster meaningful engagement while providing holistic, collaborative, and person-centered support services.



Board of Directors

The XXcelerate Fund was created in response to the lived experience and actual needs of four women-entrepreneurs. Our board of founders and business leaders bring relevant experience in entrepreneurship, fundraising, and governance.

Maryam Behrouzi

Board Member
Founder, Spela Cosmetics

Born in Iran and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Maryam fell in love with cosmetics at a young age, but has always been conscious about the products she put on her body. As a long time vegetarian and animal rights activist, she learnt of how extensive the use of animal products were in products you would never expect them in, and to the extent of animal testing in industries where it isn't necessary. 

After following a more traditional career path, Maryam left a career as an attorney to pursue her passion.  While working as an attorney in Los Angeles, she found that it was difficult to find a product that gave her the impact she wanted in the courtroom that would stay put while being animal-friendly, and free of harsh chemicals and allergens.  From this, Spela was born to create a line of lipsticks in ultra wearable colors, that are clean, but still lasted all day.  They are continuing to grow slowly and conscientiously so that they always stay true to our core values. 

Maryam relocated just before the launch, and Spela is now based in Portland, Oregon where she  lives with her husband and her precious little French Bulldog Leon. She loves to spend many of her days in the kitchen cooking, at farmer's markets, or gardening. She is proudly a graduate of the first XXcelerator cohort.


Kate Gaertner

Board Member
Founder & CEO, TripleWin Advisory

Kate is the Founder and CEO of TripleWin Advisory. She brings 20 years of corporate and entrepreneurial experience to bear on her passion for and focus on corporate sustainability. She understands that the business toolkit, technological innovation and corporate leadership have reached a threshold where business integration of circular production measures is a viable, profitable, critically-important, brand enhancing, and competitively advantageous pursuit that supports business longevity. Kate specializes in developing strategic and financial sustainable business cases, partnership identification, and new technology assessment. Kate has held digital marketing management positions at XM Satellite Radio, Ziff Davis Media, and Time Inc., worked as a strategic consultant to Fortune 500 companies developing go-to-market business cases, and founded a sustainable women’s activewear manufacturer and retailer, OMALA. Kate is a leading expert and consultant in corporate sustainability. She holds a Masters of Science in Sustainable Management from the University of Wisconsin, an M.B.A. from the Wharton School, and an A.B. from Dartmouth College in Government and Economics. She is a certified climate leader of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project and holds a certificate from M.I.T.’s Presencing Institute on systems thinking and future visioning for organizations. She is also the author of a book on climate change and sustainability and a business mentor to womxn-founded, growth-oriented businesses.

Nasya Kamrat

Board Member
CEO and Founder, FACULTY

Nasya Kamrat is the co-founder of Faculty, a women-owned spatial storytelling agency that merges strategy, story, technology, and media to create bespoke human-centric experiences. In addition, she recently launched Komuna, a co-op agency model that offers seasoned c-suite leadership and access to a cross-disciplinary network of women, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ independent agencies from around the world. Nasya volunteers as a mentor for PDX Women in Tech and PIE Incubator Experiment and supports multiple startups and established brands as an innovation advisor.

Jinky Panganiban

Angel Investor & Founding Member
Oregon Sports Angels

Jinky is an Angel Investor and a founding member at the Oregon Sports Angels that focuses on sports product, innovation and technology start-ups and provides support through funding, advisory and mentorship to founders.

She also owns a consulting company, 1969Blue, which helps diverse leaders in both start-ups and corporate find success through personal leadership, inclusive teams and business strategies while leveraging the power of diversity and culture in a global marketplace. Prior to this, Jinky has had a successful career as a global executive at Nike with over 20 years of experience in general management, merchandising, brand, sales and strategy in the sports and lifestyle industry. 

She has worked with diverse teams across cultures having led businesses in Asia Pacific, US, Latin America and Europe. Her last role was as the VP/GM for the Women’s business managing a portfolio of over $1.2B. As an Asian female navigating the business world, she has found herself many times as the “only” in meeting rooms, always needing to break societal and cultural norms even before her voice is heard. This fuels her passion to create space, support and uplift other culturally diverse women in their journey to unleash their full potential.


Lori Spencer

Board Member
Accomplished Consumer Products Leader

Lori Spencer has more than 20 years of proven success in the consumer products industry – mostly in food and beverage. Her well rounded expertise in marketing, sales, operations and overall business management have enabled her to lead teams focused on start-up, scale, and growth enterprises in retail, wholesale, direct and manufacturing. She is currently the new President of Mama Lil's Peppers.


As one of the founders of Oregon Chai, Lori was a principal catalyst in the brand’s growth, from its inception in 1994 through its $75M acquisition in 2004. Having led the charge in establishing the “Chai” beverage category in the US market. Lori has been a consultant, advisor and mentor to many emerging consumer product companies and has held leadership roles with Portland based companies ZoomCare+, New Seasons Market, Tillamook Creamery, Salt & Straw, Sunshine Dairy Foods, and Nuflours out of Seattle, WA.


In addition to her passion for business, Lori holds a strong commitment to arts, education, entrepreneurship and community. Currently, she sits on the Board of Directors for XXcelerate and has also served on the Board of Directors for Built Oregon, Girls Inc, Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA), Young Audiences of Oregon & SW Washington and Fruit & Flower Childcare Center.


Lori has a BFA in Art and minor in Graphic Design from Dominican University in San Rafael, CA. When she’s not busy building and scaling brands, Lori enjoys time with her three kids and chocolate lab (Harlie) hiking, biking, traveling, volunteering and trying out new restaurants and food carts.

Sherri Wolson

Board Member
Attorney & Impact Investor

Sherri Wolson is an attorney, impact investor and nonprofit board leader.  She seeks to connect women to economic and political power.

Sherri has chaired the boards of Child Care Resources and PEPS and has served on the boards of Social Venture Partners Seattle and the ACLU of Washington.  She has led board Fund Development, Governance and Executive Search committees, and participated in a number of strategic planning processes.  She currently serves on the board of the Children’s Alliance.

Sherri has degrees from Stanford University and Stanford Law School.  She lives in Seattle with her husband, daughter and pandemic puppy.  In her free time, Sherri enjoys trying new recipes, playing tennis and listening to economics podcasts.


People

Collaborators

The XXcelerate Fund was created in response to the lived experience and actual needs of four women-entrepreneurs. Our board of founders and business leaders bring relevant experience in entrepreneurship, fundraising, and governance.

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