Kate Sofis’ experience integrates a rich background in entrepreneurship, business management, operations and supply chain strategy, and urban economic development with a specialty in artisan/craft manufacturing industries. Throughout her career, she has worked with companies who design, manufacture, and distribute products in a wide range of industries, including ceramics, tile and stone, cement, wood and metal furniture, fabric and sewn products, and glass products. Kate has worked in numerous capacities across the manufacturing sector. She was COO of VIDA, a local artisan manufacturer of wood-based commercial casegoods, and is the founder of CRAFTMAKE, a small supply chain management company for ceramic tile manufacturers. Kate began her manufacturing career in computer manufacturing, as a production manager at Teradyne, and later playing a lead role in Ernst and Young’s West Coast supply chain practice. Kate’s background in economic development includes serving as Statewide Director of Business Advising at San Francisco-based Pacific Community Ventures. Internationally, Kate created a small business development strategy for the industrial East End of London, UK, and led a World Bank-funded project to create Algeria’s first high technology business park and small business incubator. Kate volunteers as Project Director for the establishment of the San Francisco “Production, Artisanal, and Creative Enterprises” Community Benefit District (PACE-SF), a business improvement district centered in the light industrial/mixed-use neighborhoods of the City. She also serves on the Board of Directors of City Carshare and as a member of the Eastern Neighborhoods Citizens Advisory Committee. Kate holds an M.S. in City Design and Social Policy from the London School of Economics, and an A.B. in Economics from Harvard University.
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Janet Lees played a lead role in launching SFMade and has been with the organization since its inception. As SFMade’s Senior Director, Janet oversees SFMade’s educational programming, the Local Retail/Brand platform, workforce programs, and the organization’s marketing communications strategy. Janet also oversees the City of San Francisco’s Fashion SF initiative. Janet has over 20 years of experience in small business, workforce, and economic development. Prior to SFMade, Janet served as Program Director at Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, a position she held for over 10 years. Under Janet’s leadership the Renaissance Center became the first and only organization in the Bay Area to provide industry specific support to apparel entrepreneurs, expanded its footprint to operate in three Bay Area locations, and received numerous national awards for program innovation and excellence. Throughout her career, Janet has demonstrated a particular interest in supporting artisanal manufacturing and crafts people. She has worked with hundreds of small manufacturing businesses, including her husband’s modern furniture company, Jason Lees Design. Janet was nominated in 2009 for the Small Business Administration’s Women’s Business Advocate of the Year Award, currently serves as a mayoral appointee to the Workforce Investment San Francisco Board, and is Co-Chair of the City of San Francisco’s FashionSF Initiative. Janet is a regular speaker at local, national and international conferences and symposiums on urban manufacturing and economic development. A native of the UK, Janet studied English Literature, History and Politics at the University of Newcastle- Upon-Tyne, UK.
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Ferron oversees manufacturer engagement in SFMade’s Certified Local Manufacturer Program, including overseeing SFMade’s social media and marketing outreach, and specifically manages the Food and Beverage cluster of SFMade members. Prior to working at SFMade, Ferron served as Program and Development Coordinator at AnewAmerica Community Corporation in Berkeley, where she directly advised immigrant food and beverage entrepreneurs in Berkeley, Oakland, and San Jose. At AnewAmerica she also managed several technical service programs for over 200 entrepreneurs, including AnewAmerica’s first e-commerce training program. Ferron holds a BA in Journalism and Spanish from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Ferron also freelances as a journalist and blogger, reporting on local food producers and culture.
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Manufacturing Workforce and Hiring Manager
Claire manages SFMade’s Hiring Made Better Programs, including YouthMade, an exciting new partnership with Juma Ventures that will place youth interns in SFMade businesses for summer internships. She develops tools and education for hiring, surveys SFMade members about their workforce needs, partners with local workforce agencies, and provides assistance with workforce tax and training incentives. Claire has over five years of experience with managing effective, high performing programs and is passionate about the potential to make great connections between San Francisco manufacturers and San Francisco job seekers.
Prior to working at SFMade, Claire served as the Director of Workforce Services at Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation (SBIDC) in Brooklyn, NY. She managed a team that placed about 100 local residents with local industrial and manufacturing businesses in Brooklyn each year. She also led a coalition of business intermediaries that received a planning grant to explore the expansion of workforce screening and matching services through business services organizations in Brooklyn. Previously, she managed a savings and workforce program for the City of New York’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s Section 8 Program.
Claire holds a BA in Urban Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and a Masters in Public Policy from UC Berkeley.
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Places to Make Program Manager
Noah Snyder manages SFMade’s Places to Make industrial real estate program, helping established and new local manufacturers find and lease industrial space in San Francisco. A licensed real estate agent (LIC #0189776) Noah is a 4th generation member of an industrial property management, leasing, and development family with deep roots and experience in real estate management in the Bay Area. Noah lives and works in San Francisco and understands both the challenges and exciting opportunities that are faced by manufacturers in the City. Noah’s intimate knowledge of zoning, the building and permitting process, and lease negotiation helps SFMade companies make the most of one of their most valuable assets, their space. Noah enjoys surfing, golfing, and working with creative minded people. Noah holds a bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies from San Diego State University.
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