The Team

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Jessica Norwood

is founder of the Runway Project. She is also the executive director of the Emerging ChangeMakers Network, an organization dedicated to working with inspiring leaders and innovative ideas that end economic inequality. As a leading social entrepreneur in her region, she supports strengthening social enterprise and social investing as a way to build community resiliency. Jessica previously spent years in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere, as a political fundraiser and consultant, raising millions of dollars for various campaigns. Jessica is a past member of the board of directors for the Highlander Research and Education Center, a former Emerging Leaders Fellow at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, and the Political Power Fellow with the Hip Hop Archive at the Du Bois Institute at Harvard University.

 
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Konda Mason

is a social entrepreneur, earth and social justice activist and spiritual teacher. She is the Co-Founder and founding CEO of Impact Hub Oakland, a beautiful inspiring co-working space that supports and connects socially engaged change makers and social entrepreneurs.  She is the Project Director of the Runway Project Oakland, a micro-lending fund for African American entrepreneurs intended to close the “Friends & Family” gap funding that is often unavailable to them. Additionally, Konda is the co-founder of the annual COCAP (Community Capital) conference in Oakland, with a focus on “Building the We Economy”.

Working alongside Michelle Long, she is one of the co-founders and co-facilitator of The Well-Being In Business Lab - Oakland, a cross-sector initiative guiding prominent business owners, non-profit leaders and government officials to a deeper level of intention within themselves and their businesses.

Ms. Mason, along with her partners actor Woody Harrelson and Laura Louie, owned the first home delivery service of organic food in the Los Angeles area and were the first to negotiate an organic food section in a major grocery store in 1997. Along with other “firsts”, Konda, working with a small cadre of activists, managed to stop a coal-fired power plant from being built in Borneo, Malaysia in the world’s precious Coral Triangle. Additionally, Konda leads annual eco-tourism trips to the Amazon rainforest of Ecuador in order to wake people up to become active stewards of this vital earth ecosystem that is being threatened by the extractive oil industry.

Konda is an accomplished filmmaker and artists manager and the recipient of an Academy Award nomination and a Grammy Award winner.  Konda holds a Permaculture Design Certificate, is a certified yoga teacher and a meditation teacher. She sits on the Board of Directors of The Good Work Institute,  Krista Tippett’s On Being, United Roots/Youth Impact Hub, and Spirit Rock Meditation Center where she is in a four-year Dharma Teacher Training with Jack Kornfield as her personal mentor.

Konda is also a co-founder of Jubilee, a new business of wisdom keepers and wealth holders, focused on joyfully preparing the next generation of investors to meet this moment and align their capital with their deepest values.

Konda’s work is fueled by a passion to witness in her lifetime a world that is environmentally regenerative, spiritually fulfilling, socially just and economically equitable.

 
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Rani Langer-Croager 

founded Uptima Business Bootcamp to address the challenges of traditional entrepreneurship programs and business accelerators in providing accessible education and mentorship to a diverse group of entrepreneurs. Rani has drawn on more than 15 years of experience advising organizations on strategic and financial planning, capital raising and mergers and acquisitions to develop the model for Uptima. Prior to co-founding Uptima, Rani was a member of the founding team and vice president at Altius Education where she raised over $30 million of capital to fund development of the company’s educational ecosystem.

Rani began her career as a successful investment banker and has led and participated in over 30 financing, merger, acquisition and joint venture transactions, representing over $15 billion in value, for leading technology companies. She has extensive experience supporting very early stage entrepreneurs as an organizer, coach and judge for numerous hackathons and startup challenges.

Rani also co-hosts Envision Radio Show on Voice America Internet Talk Radio, where she features guests who are accelerating the shift towards building an inclusive, just future. She serves as a Board member of the California Association for Microenterprise Opportunity (CAMEO) and on the advisory boards of the Alliance for Community Development’s Bay Area Entrepreneurship Alliance, Oakland Grown, and Project Equity. Rani received her Bachelor’s degree with a double major in Mathematics and Economics from Duke University, was a recipient of the university’s prestigious William J. Griffith university service award and was selected as a semifinalist for Young Trustee on the university’s Board of Trustees.

 
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Nish Evans

leads product development, market research and partnership initiatives for the Runway Project.

Nish brings over ten years of financial services experience to The Runway Project, including roles in venture banking, community banking and insurance. At Square 1 Bank, a leading provider of commercial services and products to entrepreneurs and their investors, Nish performed due diligence, underwriting and financial modeling/forecasting for early, expansion and later-stage technology and life sciences companies.

Prior to Square 1, Nish was a financial planner, supporting statewide initiatives to promote financial education and wealth building resources for state and local government employees throughout North Carolina.  

Nish is passionate about bringing attention to startup ecosystems outside the Bay Area. She serves as Program Manager and Co-Disruptor with Black Wall Street, a Durham-based nonprofit focused on providing minority entrepreneurs building scalable businesses with access to capital networks. She is also treasurer and board member of Urban Ministries of Durham, where she co-leads social entrepreneurship and workforce initiatives to foster employment opportunities for permanent housing.

Nish is an avid wellness junkie, and outside of all things startup related, enjoys spending time with her husband and two sons.

 

 
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Nina Robinson

is the Oakland Project Director. Nina is an impact capital convener with over 10 years of experience working with mission-driven entrepreneurs and innovative investment models including The Runway Project Oakland, Buen Vivir Fund, Homestake Ventures, and as a RSF Integrated Capital Fellow in 2017-2018. 

Nina has advised numerous small businesses on strategic growth, capital raising, impact and organizational development which has resulted in creation of 400+ local good jobs, and the facilitation of over $10M in capital investments. At ICA Fund Good Jobs, Nina managed a $2.2M investment portfolio and provided consulting, capital raising support, and board participation to portfolio companies. Nina is experienced with raising Integrated Capital stacks including philanthropic, and non-extractive equity investment, via private placement, crowdfunding and Title III crowd-investing platforms.

Nina received her MBA from the Lorry I. Lokey School of Business at Mills College, and holds a Bachelors degree in High Technology

Management from California State University. Nina holds a Certificate for Board Directorship from the Anderson Graduate School of Business at UCLA. Nina sits on Credit Committee of The Runway Project, and Advisory Board for JustBe a Black women entrepreneur collective. When she isn't working towards economic justice, you can find her DJing around the globe as Nina Sol.