The XXcelerate Fund was created in response to the actual needs of women-entrepreneurs. Our founding entrepreneurs make up our dedicated board, with relevant experience in entrepreneurship, and diverse expertise. 

Paige Hendrix Buckner

Founder & CEO, ClientJoy

Paige Hendrix Buckner is the Founder and CEO of ClientJoy, a service that makes it easy for businesses and organizations to give gifts featuring products made by local artisans. She launched ClientJoy because she loves connecting clients with opportunities to give gifts that support the growth of a strong local economy.

Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Paige worked for Teach For America as an elementary school teacher and served as an Operations Manager and a Corps Member Adviser at the Teach For America Institute. It as during this time that discovered her passion for education. While teaching school, she co-founded the Nevada chapter of the Not For Sale Campaign, an organization dedicated to raising awareness about human trafficking.

Paige worked for the Urban League of Portland as a Healthy Kids Outreach Coordinator, helping families enroll their children in Medicaid. She served as a Policy Director to a Multnomah County Commissioner where she assisted constituents and focused on health, human services, land-use and youth employment.

She still pursues her passion for education as an instructor for the TiE Oregon Young Entrepreneurs Program, teaching the skills and mindsets of entrepreneurs to high school students. Paige serves as an advisory member on the board of the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network.

Paige has a bachelor's degree from the University Missouri - Columbia and a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Nevada - Las Vegas.

She is a 2006 Fellow in the United Negro College Fund's Institute for International Policy.


Genevieve LeMarchal, MBA

start-up mentor, advisor

venture partner, founders pad

Genevieve is a Venture Partner at Founders Pad, a serial entrepreneur and a mentor and advisor to start-ups and founders across the country. She also teaches the sales and revenue generation modules for the XXCelerator cohorts.

Genevieve grew up in Camas, Washington and attended Washington State University where she studied at the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication. She had a slew of jobs and careers including coffee barista, renting cars, working in banking during the market collapse of 2008, and writing children's books. She's had roles and projects in industries including solar energy, lifestyle and outdoor apparel, creative agencies, eCommerce, mobile SaaS technology and private aviation. 

After getting an MBA from University of Washington's Foster School of Business, she launched a socially-responsible, fair trade, accessories line that empowered women artisans in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest. While learning about the challenges of taking a new brand to market her next start-up, Sadie was born and began to serving apparel and accessories brands across the nation. Today Genevieve is an active Venture Capitalist focusing on the critical and difficult early stage start-up segment. Founders Pad is a women-led venture capital fund with a diverse portfolio. 

Genevieve serves on the board of directors for Girl Scouts, and recently traveled to Senegal, West Africa as a representative to several projects and organizations including many focused on entrepreneurship and education for women and girls. She writes, and speaks with work syndicated by organizations such as The Unreasonable Group and the Founder Institute. She coaches and advises start-ups on building scaleable and repeatable sales and marketing strategies for growth.


Astrid Scholz, PhD

Founder & CEO, Sphaera

Astrid Scholz is the CEO (“Chief Everything Officer”) of Sphaera, a social enterprise dedicated to accelerating the pace of change. 

Sphaera brings the peer economy to the social change industry—the compact of philanthropy, civil society organizations and social entrepreneurs that step in, and step up, everywhere markets and governments are failing to provide people and places with the goods and services they need to thrive. By making it easy and rewarding to share, discover, adapt, innovate, aggregate and finance solutions Sphaera harnesses the competitive advantage of collaboration.

She is the immediate past President of Ecotrust, a bioregional organization based in Portland, Oregon committed to creating well-being for people and place, where Sphaera was incubated in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation, Mercy Corps, Oxfam, the Island Institute and a number of other likeminded organizations. Astrid has also served on a number of scientific advisory bodies charged implementing public-private partnerships for conservation outcomes, including the State of California’s Marine Life Protection Act Initiative.

Astrid led the development of an award winning tools for integrating social, economic, cultural and environmental information, and is the co-editor of a book on integrated geographic information systems, Place Matters. She serves on the boards of directors of Habitat Media, Comunidad Y Biodiversidad (Mexico), and the Living Oceans Society (Canada). She was a Portland Business Journal "Woman of Influence" in 2014.

She holds an M.A. in Economics and Philosophy from the University of St. Andrews, an M.Sc. in Economics from the University of Bristol, and a Ph.D. in Energy and Resources from the University of California, Berkeley.


Mara Zepeda

co-founder & CEO, switchboard

Mara Zepeda is the CEO and co-founder of Switchboard, a technology-enabled platform that helps educational communities empower students and alumni and increase loyalty and giving.  

Switchboard's customers include leading institutions such as MIT, Williams College, Oberlin College, the College of William and Mary, as well as independent schools like the American School of London. In 2016, Switchboard was recognized with the top honor it its field: a gold Circle of Excellence award for student and alumni engagement by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Higher Education. 

Switchboard was born from Mara's background working in higher education administration, at places like Harvard University and University of Pennsylvania, as well as her experience in alumni leadership as a member of the alumni board at her alma mater, Reed College. Her background as an economic reporter for National Public Radio, where she reported on the impact of student debt on the nation's economy, also informed the need for the solution. She was lucky enough to meet her co-founder Sean, also a Reed alumnus, on Twitter

Mara graduated with honors from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism where she focused on digital media, business, and network theory. 

She speaks frequently about empowering communities by building sustainable, generous and cooperative networks, and the promise and potential of women-led companies and inclusive financing models.