Tech Moves

Tech Strikes: Qualtrics hires Microsoft vet; Amazon voice tech chief steps down; Future For Us founders begin new roles

From top left, clockwise: Sage Ke’alohilani Quiamno, Princess Imoukhuede, Lisa Nelson, Seujan Bertram and Jean-Baptiste Agnus.

— Future For Us co-founder and former CEO Sage Ke’alohilani Quiamno is now a diversity, equity and inclusion business partner for Amazon Prime Video and Studios.

“I was drawn to the role because I saw it as an opportunity to create structural change within a large tech organization,” Quiamno told GeekWire in an email.

Prior to co-founding Future For Us, Quiamno held marketing roles at Female Founders Alliance (now Graham & Walker) and Ladies Get Paid.

Launched in 2019, Future For Us was a platform and conference dedicated to advancing women of color at work. Despite landing several grants in the early days of the pandemic, Future For Us was not able to stabilize its business. After consulting with the advisory board, Quiamno decided to dissolve the company.

“As a first-time entrepreneur with no prior experience in forming a company, I found it difficult to structure a social impact startup and keep it sustainable,” Quiamno told GeekWire.

Aparna Rae (left) and Sage Ke’alohilani Quiamno launched Future for Us in January 2019 to support professional women of color. (Anthony Smith / Soul Breathing Photography)

She also cited the small percentage of venture capital that goes to startups led by women of color as a hurdle, even with financial support from the Future For Us community and high-profile advocates including tennis superstar Serena Williams.

Sage Ke’alohilani Quiamno.

Quiamno said she brings entrepreneurial learnings to her new role at Amazon including the importance of being flexible and adaptable; iterating to find a minimally viable product (MVP); and focusing on one core product to address a core issue.

Quiamno previously worked at Amazon as a PR coordinator when she first relocated to Seattle from her native Hawai’i in 2013. The move introduced her to the broader Seattle tech community as well. She observes a different DEI landscape than when she first entered the industry eight years ago.

“Today, diversity, equity, and inclusion [work] is highly invested in and now on the top of the list of priorities that leaders are being measured by,” said Quiamno. “They are being held accountable for creating a more equitable workplace environment for a growing diverse workforce.”

While Quiamno spent the past year and a half with her family in Hawai’i, she recently returned to Seattle to be in the proximity of the growing tech community, other entrepreneurs and her DEI mentors.

“Seattle is where I developed my career and it has been one of the most inspiring cities for growth and innovation both in leadership in diversity, equity, and inclusion and technology,” said Quiamno.

From left: Aparna Rae and Nicole DeKay. (Humanalysts Photo)

Future For Us co-founder Aparna Rae recently launched a new HR technology startup Humanalysts with former Boeing analyst Nicole DeKay, who serves as chief science officer.

Rae departed Future For Us in 2020, according to her LinkedIn bio, and is also the founder and principal of Moving Beyond, a DEI consultancy focused on the investment and financial services sector. DeKay is director of people science at Moving Beyond.

Rae and DeKay’s new venture moves beyond consulting. Humanalysts platform is being developed to replace traditional workplace assessments and data collection. The startup’s DEI survey solution is currently in beta.

— Amazon Vice President of Echo and Alexa Devices Miriam Daniel is stepping down, according to a report by Bloomberg. She joined Amazon in 2014 and was promoted to her most recent role in 2018.

Daniel was one of the executives that developed and debuted Amazon’s recent wave of new consumer devices. Prior to Amazon, Daniel spent 14 years at Intel, according to her LinkedIn bio. She is based in California.

— The University of Washington announced Washington University Associate Professor Princess Imoukhuede will join UW’s College of Engineering and School of Medicine as the new chair of the department of bioengineering. She will start Jan. 1.

Princess Imoukhuede. (UW Photo)

In addition to her current professorship, Imoukhuede is the director of diversity initiatives for Washington University’s school of engineering. She received her Ph.D. in bioengineering from Caltech. Her research has focused on the formation of blood vessels as well as obstetrical research.

DP Brightful. (Qualtrics Photo)

— Qualtrics announced Microsoft veteran DP Brightful as its new president of worldwide field operations. Brightful was most recently global chief revenue officer for Salesforce Health.

Based in the Washington D.C. area, Brightful spent more than 20 years at Microsoft, most recently as group vice president of sales. In his new role at Qualtrics he will lead its global sales organization.

Co-headquartered in Seattle and Provo, Utah, Qualtrics went public in January and acquired Seattle marketing startup Usermind in July.

Lisa Nelson. (Microsoft Photo)

— Former M12 Managing Director Lisa Nelson joined the board of Seattle Bank. She currently serves on the board of Astra Space and is a venture partner at Seattle-based Flying Fish Partners. (Editor’s note: GeekWire is a Seattle Bank client.)

— SoundCommerce VP of Product Diena Lee Mann was appointed to the board of Marin Software, a publicly traded marketing software company headquartered in San Francisco.

Mann joined Seattle-based retail data platform SoundCommerce in 2020 and previously was an executive at iLink Digital. She also currently serves on the board of the Seattle Symphony.

— Adaptive Biotechnologies named Kyle Piskel as its principal accounting officer. Piskel has worked for the publicly-traded Seattle biotech company since 2015 and is currently vice president of accounting.

Seujan Bertram. (NetBase Quid Photo)

— Former Tableau Director Seujan Bertram is now chief operating officer at consumer data platform NetBase Quid. She was most recently VP of global customer success at Infobip, following its acquisition of OpenMarket where she was VP of global operations and customer services.

Bertram spent more than five years at Tableau, most recently as director of worldwide customer programs and operations. Prior to joining Tableau, she was an engineering manager at Starbucks.

— Satellite venture BlackSky announced Amy Minnick as its chief commercial officer. She was most recently the chief business officer at Cape Analytics and previously a senior executive at global research firm IHS Markit.

With offices in Seattle and Herndon, Va., BlackSky recently went public via SPAC merger on the NYSE.

— Seattle-based Visus Therapeutics added David Guyer as chairman of the board and Ted Danse as head of business development.

The pharmaceutical company is developing an eye drop to correct vision loss and raised $56 million over two funding rounds this year.

Jean-Baptiste Agnus. (AGC Biologics Photo)

— AGC Biologics appointed Jean-Baptiste Agnus as chief business officer. Based in San Diego, Calif., Agnus was most recently VP and global head of sales and marketing at Ajinomoto Bio-Pharma Services.

AGC Biologics, formerly CMC Biologics prior to its acquisition by Japanese manufacturer AGC Asahi Glass, is based in Bothell, Wash. and part of a growing drug and vaccine manufacturing base in Washington state.

— Seattle-based video management platform CLIPr hired Durk Stelter as chief revenue officer. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Stelter was previously CRO at Linc Global and Pypestream.

— Redmond, Wash.-based Pactera EDGE hired Vasudevan Sundarababu as SVP and head of digital engineering. Pactera EDGE is an IT service provider that spun out from Pactera Technologies in 2020.

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