Kate Sofis’ experience integrates a rich background in entrepreneurship and innovation, manufacturing, and urban economic development. As Chief Executive Officer of SFMade, Kate leads an organization founded in 2010 that is already viewed as a new national model for creating a more equitable and diverse local economy by growing local manufacturing. SFMade’s innovative programs – which help manufacturers to access expertise, capital, and real estate and help lower-income residents and youth find full-time employment and paid internships -currently support more than 500 San Francisco-based manufacturers, employing more than 4000 people. Prior to SFMade, Kate held senior positions at Pacific Community Ventures, ICF Consulting, and in Ernst and Young’s West Coast manufacturing practice. She has also held operating roles at manufacturers, spanning computer and medical devices, ceramic tile, furniture, and green building product manufacturing.
Kate is also co-founder of the Urban Manufacturing Alliance, a national initiative which currently engages more than 50 other major US cities, all working on developing their own local manufacturing economies. The Urban Manufacturing Alliance works to connect major urban centers to each other and promotes the replication of successful urban manufacturing models across cities as diverse as New York, Chicago, Detroit, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Portland, and Los Angeles.
Kate currently serves as a Mayoral Appointee to the Eastern Neighborhoods Citizens Advisory Committee in San Francisco, has participated as an invited member of the Clinton Global Initiative on the US Economy since its inception in 2011, and is an appointee to the Special Commission on Manufacturing at the Miller Center in Washington D.C. Kate speaks widely on the topic of manufacturing, urban economic development, and the intersection of cities, jobs, and the maker movement. Most recently, she has been a featured speaker at SxSW, CityLab/Aspen Institute, the Initiative for Inner City Competitiveness, Techonomy, and the US Conference of Mayors. Kate has been published in Forbes, the Atlantic, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Monocle Magazine as well as numerous local publications.
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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Chief Program Officer
Janet Lees is SFMade’s Co-Founder and Chief Program Officer. She oversees all of SFMade’s programs and services, as well as managing key strategic partnerships. Janet spearheaded the innovative programming and brand platform that are now widely recognized as models for other urban centers around the country, and the world.
Janet also oversees program expansion and delivery into new geographies, including the Manufacture San Jose initiative.
Janet has over 25 years experience working at the intersection of entrepreneurship, economic development and manufacturing. Prior to SFMade, she served as Program Director at the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center for over 12 years, leading the organization to numerous national awards for innovation and program excellence.
Janet is a regular speaker on urban economic development and manufacturing including engagements for Monocle Magazine, MakerCon, the Creative Economy Summit and the Urban Manufacturing Alliance. She has been featured in numerous publications including Dwell Magazine, Apparel News, The San Francisco Business Times and the San Francisco Chronicle.
Janet is a native of the United Kingdom and studied English, History and Politics at the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England.
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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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Director of Advising and Education
As Advising and Education Director, Pierre provides specialized and tailored technical assistance to our growing manufacturing companies. He oversees our comprehensive and evolving suite of industry-specific advising and educational offerings, providing SFMade member companies with support to help them scale profitably, and sustain and create new jobs for diverse local residents.
Prior to SFMade, Pierre co-founded Petit Pot, a dessert manufacturer based in South San Francisco. In addition to making delicious pots de crème, he lead business development, operations and marketing. This entrepreneurial experience gave him a practical understanding of key manufacturing practices, and complements his background in project management.
Pierre is a native of France where he studied food production and industrial performance management. He holds an engineering degree in Agronomy and Food Industry.
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Linda Becker is the Development Director for SFMade. Linda works to secure and grow SFMade’s funding base, enabling it to sustain and enhance its mission. She is overseeing the establishment of an annual giving campaign, as well as refining the organization’s infrastructure for fundraising and donor cultivation.
Prior to joining SFMade, Linda worked as the Program Manager for Sherwood Institute, a non-profit focused on advancing resilient energy, water and ecological infrastructure. Concurrently, she also worked as a Project Accountant for Sherwood Design Engineers, the Institute’s for-profit sister organization. Before joining the nonprofit world, Linda had a successful career as a project manager in the information technology industry, where she was responsible for running complex internal and client-facing development projects.
Linda holds a BA in Urban Environmental Studies from San Francisco State University.
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Director – Manufacturing Operations
Martine Neider is the Director of Manufacturing Operations at SFMade. She provides targeted advising on operations, efficiency, supply chain management, and modernization to manufacturers throughout the Bay Area.
Martine came to SFMade from Advanced Prototype Engineering where she designed and installed manufacturing facilities. Prior to building machine shops, Martine worked in fabrication and business development at several Bay Area hardware start-ups and manufacturers including Other Machine Co., Otherlab and Makani Power.
Martine holds a BA in Art History from Williams College.
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Senior Analyst & Database Specialist
May Behrens is the Senior Analyst and Database Specialist at SFMade. May is responsible for Salesforce administration and back end operations that enables SFMade’s programs and events to run smoothly and efficiently, while also empowering staff to accomplish data-driven tasks.
Previously, May held various digital marketing, analytical, and operational positions at San Francisco-based start-ups. She had also served as a volunteer CRM administrator for Women’s Global Leadership Initiative: Bay Area based non-profit focusing on socio-economic empowerment & leadership development.
May holds a BA in Economics from California State University, East Bay.
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Medo Nasry is the Controller for SFMade. He has more than 10 years of nonprofit accounting experience and is a federal and California state-certified tax preparer. In addition to having a bachelor’s degree in accounting, he is CIW and ICDL certified.
Prior to joining SFMade, Medo worked as the Controller for The Center for Investigative Reporting.
Medo is a native of Egypt.
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Workforce & Youth Program Manager
George spent 17 years working in Tech at various start-ups. Starting as a Customer Service Rep., he craved more experience and responsibility. He quickly rose through the ranks, becoming a lead, then a supervisor, performing quality assurance, writing phone/email scripts and training manuals, then eventually performing hiring & training duties, account managing, and business advising. Two and a half years ago, after much disenchantment with start-ups, George found his passion working for an Oakland non-profit, assisting the Reentry population in connecting with meaningful employment opportunities. George’s position at SFMade continues his trajectory, in both experience and passion. George has also run a successful side business for 20+ years, selling collectibles of every sort online.
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Workforce & Youth Program Coodinator
Prior to SFMade, she spent the first part of her career in bioscience research and startups. Recently she has worked for education advocacy at City College of San Francisco, and managed social media & marketing a CCSF board of trustees campaign in 2020. She was born and raised in San Jose, but after living in San Francisco for over 10 years, she now considers SF her bonus hometown. Jess has studied metal art, jewelry making, woodworking, cabinetry, floristry, and lost wax casting at City College of San Francisco. As a proud graduate of the Next Generation Manufacturing Program, Jess is excited to contribute to the future of manufacturing in the Bay Area.
Jess holds a BS in Biology from UC San Diego.