We’re a team of market and brand experts with investor discipline

Allison Light

Managing Director

Arthur Gallanter

Head Of Talent

Brandon Hightower

Strategist

Carlton Evans

Director of Production

Delfina Sitar

Strategist

Eva Pullano

Communications Director

Felicia Reyes

Creative Director

Jeremy Lind

Managing Director

Jess Wen

Design Strategy Director

Joanna Rees

Managing Partner

Matt Hirst

General Partner

Allison Light

Managing Director

You can’t connect the dots going forward.

Allison believes that work is the greatest source of personal identity and dignity and that entrepreneurs are heroes because they drive job creation and contribute to an antifragile economic system. As a Managing Director at West, she gets to support entrepreneurs in this endeavor every day. 

Allison brings 15 years of experience working on globally distributed teams, having lived herself in the U.S., Europe, and Southeast Asia. Prior to West, she spent several years as a fellow of the Malaysia Blue Ocean Strategy Institute, working closely with the Malaysian government on initiatives to stoke entrepreneurship in the country, and leading a team responsible for the productization of Blue Ocean Strategy. She began her career as an analyst at Goldman Sachs and Co. in New York, prior to the financial crisis in both Asset Backed Security and Hedge Fund & Private Equity industry groups. Having transitioned to creative services, she has expertise in interactive production, pedagogical design, project management, business model design, and strategy. 

Allison loves podcasts and audio fiction, and serves as the head of finance for Mermaid Palace, an art collective. In her spare time, she’s a serious home cook, does decent botanical illustration, speaks Italian moderately well, plays the cello poorly, and is the worst roller skater in San Francisco, where she lives.  

Allison graduated magna cum laude from Columbia University with a B.A. in cultural anthropology and earned an M.B.A. from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. 

While she admits her career has sometimes felt like a meandering path, West is uniquely a place where all her experiences come together and believes in the adage that “you can’t connect the dots going forward”.

Arthur Gallanter

Head Of Talent

Managing compassionately is not just a better way to build a team, it’s a better way to build a company.

- Jeff Weiner

Arthur likes to self describe himself as a “conversationalist” because he believes so much can be achieved through conversation. It is the common trait across his prior experiences as an entrepreneur, sales executive, recruiter, customer success rep, operator, and investor. As a Principal and Head of Talent, Arthur leads West’s recruiting services for client & portfolio companies and helps manage West’s investment activities. 

Prior to coming to West, Arthur was with LinkedIn during its hypergrowth and eventual acquisition by Microsoft. During his time there, Arthur advised company executives who used LinkedIn for hiring and their overall talent acquisition strategy. His experience advising many different startups gave him a front row seat to the challenges and importance of hiring the right talent. This experience furthered his perspective on how essential it is for a company to be aligned around its core – the process of defining vision, mission, strategy and objectives. 

Arthur joined LinkedIn from QuinStreet where he was responsible for driving growth across clients in the education space. Before QuinStreet, he worked at a Madrid based startup and managed all English language customer support. While attending Santa Clara University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Management, Arthur founded Bronco Student Services providing food delivery, laundry, and storage to services for students. The company is still in operation today. 

Arthur will jump at any invitation to go skiing. Just say ‘powder’ and he is on his way. He fulfills his creative interests making furniture and learning new hands-on skills. He and his wife Elizabeth are proud parents of their labrador Ellie, who is unofficially on the team at West!

Brandon Hightower

Strategist

This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.

- Alan Watts

Brandon has a passion for understanding people, analyzing systems, and creating beautiful experiences to shift culture. As a Strategist at West, Brandon combines this passion with his enthusiasm for fresh ideas to help our studio clients and portfolio companies propel great products and build real-world impact. 

Born and raised in Orlando, Florida, Brandon came to California, drawn by the lure of palm trees and autonomous robots, to study at Stanford University, graduating with a B.S. in Product Design. After graduation, he worked as a UX Designer and Design Researcher for SAP Silicon Valley. During his time at SAP, Brandon worked on a number of projects introducing AI into legacy workplace technology. As a designer, Brandon sought to always advocate for the user and make experiences a little more delightful, constantly challenging what was expected of design in a large B2B organization. He has independently consulted for a number of young companies in user research, product definition, and design strategy, within varied industries from streetwear to consumer electronics. 

In his spare time, Brandon likes to be seen in cool outfits and get lost on the internet. An average weekend consists of watching hours of Richard Feynman and James Baldwin lectures, crying while watching fashion shows online, and shopping for vintage clothes. 

Brandon believes his life’s mission is using technology to enhance our essential humanity and make the world more beautiful, more intelligent, and more just.

Carlton Evans

Director of Production

Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there.

- Miles Davis

Carlton is a veteran producer and former academic with a passion for tackling the complexities required to translate a vision, feeling, and message into a meaningful experience for audiences. As Director of Production, he brings those long-standing interests to West where he leads multifaceted creative projects in the studio.

A visionary film festival founder, curator, and entrepreneur, Carlton brings nearly two decades of creative production experience for a range of clients including Cisco, Facebook, Oakland Museum of California, and Mountain Hardwear to West. Carlton has had extensive experience leading diverse teams, producing television and film for over 15 years, with premieres at such prestigious festivals as Sundance, Tribeca, and SXSW. Carlton’s eye for innovative expressions led him to found the Disposable Film Festival in 2007, which celebrates innovation in new media filmmaking internationally. He also co-founded PROJECTOR, which brings companies, causes and directors together to create films inspired by revolutionary ideas. Carlton’s work at West brings his engagement with film and documentary full circle, helping new companies translate their stories and giving them life through multimedia.

Motivated by a thirst for knowledge and endless desire for new experiences, Carlton moved from his hometown of Montréal to the Bay Area where he received his PhD in Film Theory from Stanford University. Since moving to Berkeley in 2014, he’s fully embraced the warmer climate and East Bay lifestyle, spending most of his time outdoors hiking or in the family garden with his wife and daughter.

Delfina Sitar

Strategist

There are no shortcuts to anyplace worth going.

- Beverly Sills

As a Strategist at West, Delfina is living her passion for bringing good ideas to life. This passion has driven her to study, refine and employ a diverse skill set that contributes to her Swiss army knife approach to venture and brand. From defining foundational brand pillars to envisioning their real world applications and the go-to-market strategies needed to achieve consequential growth, Delfina seamlessly blends right and left brain thinking.  

Before West Delfina worked as a UX designer at SAP and SuccessFactors. She was also an Entrepreneur in Residence at SAP.iO where she led the build of Pendula, a tool for enterprise that reduces voluntary attrition by targeting the most pertinent variable in employee experience – managers. With a background in experience design and a curiosity for the impact of unconscious bias in the workplace, Delfina was able to attract attention from potential investors and customers and the tool is now incorporated into the broader SAP suite. The first-hand learnings of being on the other side of investing have molded Delfina’s approach to working with West portfolio companies with empathy. 

Originally from the Midwest, Delfina now resides in the Bay Area. She holds a BSE in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan and an MS in Engineering, Design, and Innovation from Northwestern University.

Having trained as a ballerina for almost 20 years, Delfina spends her free time appreciating the fine arts and seeking out ways to incorporate movement into her personal expression. She is also an avid watercolor painter. When not in the arts studio or solving for business challenges, you can most likely find her outside in the water surfing or exploring her industrial mission neighborhood for new cuisine and experiences.

Eva Pullano

Communications Director

If you know what you are doing, you can do what you want.

- Moshe Feldenkrais

Eva is a seasoned communications lead who is fascinated by the evolution of story and the magic of aligning the right audience with the right narrative. She lights up when helping entrepreneurs discover their own voices and perspectives, and when building the content and communications programs needed to support impactful brands. As the Communications Director at West, she has the opportunity to not only shape how West’s story is told in the wild, but also support our entrepreneurs in their efforts to build impactful brands that change how we experience our world. 

Prior to West, Eva managed communications for the investment platform, CircleUp, and served as a resource to portfolio companies on their PR and communication efforts. Eva cut her teeth at LaunchSquad, leading PR initiatives for early-stage startups across industries including fintech, blockchain, adtech, and cybersecurity. Growing up in New York, her interest in the world of finance started at an early age when she used to visit the floor of the NYSE with her father who worked in equity trading. She got the venture capital and startup bug when she made the conscious decision to head to San Francisco and immerse herself in the tech industry––witnessing firsthand how swiftly ideas could transform into businesses and businesses into cultural shifts. 

While she has ping-ponged between San Francisco and New York, Eva now feels at home in Northern California––splitting her time equally between REI and Sports Basement. A former competitive figure skater, she’s traded in her ice skates for hiking boots and skis. 

Eva originally hails from New York and holds dual-degrees in International Studies and French Language & Literature from the University of Michigan. A lifelong mover, she is a company member of the Isadora Duncan International Institute, a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization committed to the enhancement of education through movement and the arts, drawing from the ideals and principles of Isadora Duncan, and has performed nationally and abroad.

Felicia Reyes

Creative Director

It don't take a whole day to recognize sunshine.

- Common

Felicia is a Creative Director with a passion for design and creating visual stories that bring brands to life. She expands on that passion at West where she focuses on the intersection between design + strategy for our studio and portfolio companies. She specializes in creating design systems that communicate, support and align with business needs and meet high caliber design aesthetics. She believes in the value of design as a communication tool to help founders share their unique vision with the world.    

Felicia has over 15 years of experience across industries both in-house and agency side. Her career began in her hometown of New York City working with a range of clients like L’oreal, Dove, Rolex and Product (Red). In 2015, she moved to the Bay Area where she focused on branding and advertising. Prior to West, Felicia was Associate Creative Director at John McNeil Studio (JMS) in Berkeley where she led a team of designers, photographers, programmers, UX designers, animators, writers and makers to build brands. A creative leader in developing global branding systems, digital experiences and advertising campaigns, Felicia has led campaigns from concept to execution for technology companies such as Cisco, Google Pixel, and Nest. She is a designer at heart with a strong knowledge of how design meets product, marketing and company strategy. 

Felicia’s endless curiosity of the ever evolving business landscape plus her love for strategy and design thinking led her to pursue an MBA in Design Strategy at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Originally from The Bronx, New York Felicia went to Purchase College where she majored in Media, Society and the Arts with a special interest in installation art. 

Felicia now lives in Oakland California and in her free time she enjoys screenprinting, designing apparel and accessories that have helped raise money for her ancestors homeland of Puerto Rico. She frequently daydreams of being on the island.

Jeremy Lind

Managing Director

What would we think if the telephone was invented after email?

As an Experience Director, Jeremy designs and implements product and creative communication efforts, and powerful customer experiences that create value for users, businesses and brands. Always focused on the end-to-end experience, his work concentrates on continuously improving multiple interaction streams across elements of a product journey from awareness to engagement to advocacy.

At West, Jeremy has partnered with teams across the portfolio including Twitter, Square, Prelude, GoFundMe, Impossible Foods, and Chegg. He is a creative hybrid and his breadth of work includes advertising campaigns, product transformations, acquisition marketing, creative activations, experiential spaces, partnerships, retail, identity expressions and brand development.

Before joining West, Jeremy worked at The Martin Agency as a Creative Director working on Wal-Mart, Comcast, American Cancer Society, Microsoft and Pizza Hut. While at Martin, he also served as the adjunct professor for the Creative Technology track at VCU Brandcenter. Over 40+ students graduated from his classes and are now engaged in diverse fields and have become founders, technologists and creative team leaders.

Jeremy previously worked at Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Oregon as a Creative Producer where his client work included Nike, Target, Starbucks, Honda and Old Spice. At W+K, he worked with and led small non-traditional teams to produce some of the agency’s premier work. Jeremy has been recognized with several awards including One Club’s Best of the Digital Decade, a Cannes Grand Prix and the ANDY Innovation Award.

He has a degree in Political Science from Point Loma Nazarene University and also attended The Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University. 

If he’s not at his desk, Jeremy is wandering the streams, forests, volcanos, deserts and coffee shrines around Portland Oregon with family, friends and creatures.

Jess Wen

Design Strategy Director

Good design is like clear thinking made visual.

- Edward Tufte

Jess is a hybrid strategist and designer who is motivated by building and delivering positive social impact. She honors her creative craftsmanship, cultural sensitivity, and strategic research skills by collaborating with multidisciplinary teams to deliver meaningful results.  

At West, Jess has partnered with well over two dozen companies from seed to growth stage to help steer and heighten the brand possibilities. From foundational strategy to creative activations — she believes the power of listening and co-creation. 

Prior to joining West, Jess was the 5th hire at doc.ai, a digital health company designed for a new generation of medical research. As the lead strategist and designer, Jess helped grow the 5X and close two successful rounds of funding. Jess’s portfolio covers local and international clientele including UNICEF, FWD.us, National Wildlife Federation, Ashoka, Aecom, Tegna, and Adobe. 

In her free time, Jess organizes community events such as TEDxSanFrancisco and Social Capital Market (SOCAP), and teaches at design-orientated universities to share her belief that “designers have so much more to offer beyond the pixels”.

Currently based in San Francisco, she has lived in New York, Baltimore, Erlangen (Germany), Beijing (China), and her hometown Taipei (Taiwan). Jess holds a BFA in graphic design from Maryland Institute College of Art, and an MBA with a focus on design strategy and human centered design from California College of the Arts.

Joanna Rees

Managing Partner

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.

- Margaret Mead

Joanna Rees is the Managing Partner at West where she has the privilege to support entrepreneurial leaders across client engagements and West investment portfolio. Joanna leads the firm’s strategy and development at the intersection of brand creation, company scaling and investment. She believes diversity creates unexpected insight and measurable impact. She is committed to changing what historically has been deemed possible in the world of startups and venture capital. She embraces the idea that “the best way to change the future is to create it”.

In addition to her work at West, Joanna currently serves on the board of FICO (NYSE: FICO), Tentrr, Prelude Fertility, Boon Supply, and Mursion. Joanna served on the board of Care.com (NYSE: CARE), Leapfrog (NYSE: LEAP), Quinstreet (Nasdaq: QNST), Sabrix, Danger, Posit Science, Account Now, Post, The Coppola Company, National Venture Capital Association, NFTE, Endeavor, New Schools Venture Fund and as a Senior Partner of the B Team. 

Prior to West, Joanna led the formation and capital raise for Endeavor Catalyst.  Joanna was also a candidate for Mayor of San Francisco in 2011––a first hand exercise in building a personal brand. She has significant experience in venture capital, finance and investment banking as the Founder of VSP Capital, along with roles at BA Securities and Vrolyk & Co. Joanna’s roots are in marketing and branding having held several senior marketing leadership roles at Danone and with DMB&B.

Joanna was named a Global Leader for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum and a Henry Crown Fellow by the Aspen Institute, where she is a seminar moderator. 

In addition to her work at West, Joanna works to create opportunities for women as the Board Chair of  The Representation Project and at Him For Her. 

Joanna isn’t afraid to turn things upside down having been a gymnast at Duke University where she earned a BS in Psychology. She received her MBA in Finance at Columbia University. She loves to cook especially when she can use the ingredients from her vegetable garden. She and her husband, John Hamm, talk leadership, play golf and bike ride, having (hopefully) successfully raised their four children.

Matt Hirst

General Partner

Matt is strategist, researcher, writer and marketer who has spent his career at the intersection of business and culture. As a Managing Partner at West, Matt sits across the firm’s studio engagements and portfolio companies, ensuring that the full breadth of his own and the team’s experience is deployed to create the maximum value and impact. 

Matt started his career at The Futures Co. (WPP) as a research and analyst, both in London and New York where he worked on innovation and consumer research projects for Diageo, P&G, Unilever Coca Cola. 

He then moved to Red Bull where he spent nearly a decade, first in London, then Los Angeles, working alongside athletes and cultural innovators to conceive, roll out and scale audacious, disruptive experiential and media projects. In the UK he was responsible for the brand’s work with athletes and sponsorships in music, action sports and motor sports. In the US, as National Director of Culture he built their music program from the ground up, including (at its height) programming over 500 live shows a year, running a month long festival in New York and Los Angeles, creating and producing documentary and scripted content and working with cultural icons like Coachella, SXSW, Lollapalooza, Outkast, Smashing Pumpkins, Eminem and many others to create unique, highly innovative event and media properties. 

From there he moved to Google as their Global Head of Brand Experience, where he experienced first hand the opportunity (and often disconnect) between technology, brand and marketing. At Google, he was responsible for marketing programs for search and maps (including the Google Doodle) and the Google Lunar X Prize, an amateur space race which he memorialized in a documentary, produced with JJ Abrams and Bad Robot. 

Matt advises a number of companies in the culture and tech space and sits on the board of Switcher Studio, a West portfolio company. He is the co-founder of AGEIST, a media and research consultancy dedicated to reinventing life after 50. His writing and research has been published in The Economist, Financial times, The Guardian amongst others, and he spoke at Tedx in New York in 2019.  

He has an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a masters in Media and Cultural theory, and is passionate about long distance running, mountains, music, cooking and being a father of two.

Being Here

People. It’s how we make impact.

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