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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Manager of Finance and Funder Engagement
As Manager of Finance and Funder Engagement, Michelle provides key support to the organization’s day-to-day functions as they relate to Human Resources, Governance and Finance including budgeting, contract management and grant reporting. Michelle’s experience includes over eight years within the non-profit environment in such industries as private equity and public broadcasting. Prior to joining SFMade, Michelle acted as the Financial Services Group Manager and then subsequently, the Business Systems Analyst at the public broadcasting station, KQED. In this role, Michelle acted as the financial liaison between her clients which included the Accounting, Membership, Development and Corporate support divisions. She was tasked with maintaining and establishing internal controls; acting as subject matter expert for workflow rules related to financial business practices and provided management with analytics pertaining to forecasting, cash flow and budgeting. Michelle volunteers at Martin’s Achievement Place, a Sacramento based non-profit agency that provides youth that have been impacted by abuse and trauma, with the tools and assistance necessary to deal with the realities of every day life.
Michelle holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Pepperdine University and is currently working toward her C.P.A licensure from Haas.
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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 and Inside Manufacturing—a youth internship program and school based program. 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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Abbie Wertheim serves as a Project Manager at SFMade where she is coordinating national efforts to support manufacturing with the Urban Manufacturing Alliance, working on SFMade’s new industrial real estate initiative as well as supporting other policy initiatives.
Abbie has wide range of experience in real estate economics, public policy and urban planning. For five years, she worked at Seifel Consulting Inc., a San Francisco-based real estate economics consulting firm where she managed complex urban land use revitalization projects, such as the Hunters Point Shipyard redevelopment plan. She has experience assessing project feasibility for mixed-use projects, advising on public-private partnerships and developing economic development strategies including working on the San Francisco Economic Strategy. Recently, she served as Director of Programs for a growing international organization.
Abbie holds a BBA in International Finance from Texas A&M University and was a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs in San Francisco.
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Community Engagement Coordinator
Brittany engages the SFMade community by supporting the organization’s online presence, welcoming new members, and providing operational support. Prior to her role as Community Engagement Coordinator with SFMade, Brittany worked with the Women’s Initiative for Self Employment supporting economic development opportunities for low-income women. This work included managing the organization’s online presence, developing marketing outreach, and driving a website redevelopment project in conjunction with the Taproot Foundation. Previously she worked with various non-profits focusing on initiatives around global health, sustainable and local food education, and social justice based art education.
Brittany holds a BA in Design | Media Arts from the University of California Los Angeles and Masters in Art Education from New York University.
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Places to Make Program Consultant
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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Workforce and Hiring Intern
Katy works with Manufacturing Workforce and Hiring Manager Claire Michaels in managing SFMade’s Hiring Made Better and Inside Manufacturing programs. She is dedicated to helping strengthen existing relationships between SFMade and local manufacturing businesses, as well as working to engage more of San Francisco’s youth in the local manufacturing sector.
Having worked on political campaigns at the state and local levels, Katy has a variety of experience in project management and community engagement. Most recently she worked as the Volunteer Coordinator on a California State Senate campaign where she organized, recruited, and managed an internship program that gave over 100 local high school students an opportunity to experience politics and government outside of the classroom. Currently an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley, Katy is pursuing a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies focusing on Global Urbanization and City and Regional Planning.
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