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KUNAL MERCHANT

President and Co-Founder

Kunal Merchant brings diverse business, government, philanthropy, and social enterprise experience to Cal OZ. Kunal specializes in cross-sector collaborations, having advised over $8B in public-private partnerships nationwide. In addition to Cal OZ, Kunal is Managing Director of Lotus Advisory, a strategic consulting firm that advises a select portfolio of clients in sports, real estate, technology, and philanthropy. Kunal was previously an executive with the Sacramento Kings and Mayor’s Chief of Staff for the City of Sacramento, where his portfolio included the award-winning Golden 1 Center and initiatives to enhance opportunities in low-income communities. Kunal earned his B.A. and M.B.A. from Harvard University.

 
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DAVID SMITH

Co-Founder

Dave solves problems at the intersection of business, government, and community. As Founder and CEO of X Sector Labs, Dave’s clients include Points of Light, NationSwell, BeeMetal, Morgan Family Foundation, and California Forward on issues including economic development, corporate citizenship, and green manufacturing. Dave previously served as chief executive for the Presidio Institute, National Conference on Citizenship, and Mobilize.org. Dave serves on the National Governing Board of Common Cause, and advisory boards for The Global Immersion Project, Davenport Institute, and United Way of the Bay Area. He earned his B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley.

 
 
 
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JAMIE GARDNER

Regional Capacity Building

Jamie’s experience is rooted in bringing private- and public-sector leaders together to bridge today’s systemic societal divides. She turns ideas into action by fostering high performing leaders, aligning diverse stakeholders through expert facilitation, and advising organizations on how to innovate within and across sectors to solve complex problems. Jamie’s clients have included CA Mental Health Services Oversight & Accountability Commission, Salesforce, ServiceMaster, Cisco, Deloitte LLC, Target, State of Nebraska, Children’s Defense Fund, and Net Impact. Jamie was a coach and facilitator for the Presidio Institute’s Cross Sector Leadership Fellowship and she is a Board Member for FUSE Corps.  She earned her M.P.P. from Georgetown University, and B.A. from the University of Colorado at Boulder. 

 
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MONISHA MERCHANT

Public Policy

Monisha specializes in providing public policy, management, executive coaching, and financial analysis services to companies and nonprofits through her role as Co-Founder and Managing Director of Lotus Advisory. She brings over 15 years of experience in telecommunications, engineering, international development, and government. Monisha was previously Senior Advisor on Business and Economic Policy for U.S. Senator Michael Bennet; held technical and business roles at Level 3 Communications, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Lucent Technologies; and worked on global teams in Japan, Germany, China, Indonesia, Brazil, Ghana, and Nicaragua. Monisha earned her B.S. in Electrical Engineering from MIT and M.B.A. from Yale University.

 
 
 
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MARKEZE BRYANT

Senior Advisor

Markeze is an experienced investor focused on providing growth capital to mission-driven entrepreneurs. His experience extends across impact investing, private equity, private debt, and venture capital. Most recently, he served as Associate Director at Acumen America, an early stage impact portfolio where he led investments in several companies expanding access to health, education and financial services across underserved markets in the U.S. Markeze has deep board experience and has advised companies on strategy, talent, product, impact measurement, and capital raising. Markeze holds an MBA from The Wharton School and a B.A. from Morehouse College, where he received a merit-based scholarship. 

 
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CHLOE SMITH

Communications Lead

Chloé facilitates the development and implementation of communication strategies for CalOZ. Her passion for storytelling and relationship building is utilized through brand creation and social platforms with the objective of creating transparent and thoughtful connections to unify visionaries and activate change to positively impact the community.