Social Venture Partners isn’t your typical venture fund. It’s a nonprofit, community-focused group that acts as an important hub for social innovation and investment in the Seattle area, and it’s welcoming a new CEO: longtime community leader Solynn McCurdy.
McCurdy is a born and raised Washingtonian, and he has devoted his career to working on issues that impact the communities he loves, including youth development and public education, economic prosperity and social equity.
He joins Social Venture Partners from Premera Blue Cross, where he spent the past two years developing the company’s corporate giving program to improve health equity in Alaska and Washington.
McCurdy told GeekWire in an email that joining SVP made sense because the organization’s values are so in line with his own.
“I’m local and have lived experiences as a young person similar to those that SVP wants to serve. I need to do my part to create a more vibrant community, particularly for our most vulnerable youth and families. Joining the team at SVP gives me the opportunity to bring my authentic self and passions to my career,” he said.
Before joining Premera, McCurdy held several community relations positions including the director of external affairs for Seattle University, the community engagement director for education nonprofit Washington STEM and the community engagement manager for the nonprofit Alliance for Education.
He says all that work has been driven by his desire to eliminate issues of inequity that are pervasive in the United States.
“Social issues such as racial equity and economic disparity are pervasive challenges that philanthropy can and should address,” McCurdy said. “Where you live, and the ethnicity that you represent are proxies for opportunity. Far too many people in low income communities and people of color are marginalized.
“I believe we have a responsibility to ensure that our ongoing efforts, investments and programs at SVP benefit the communities that need it the most. In Seattle, we’re fortunate to have people with the vision, the resources and the commitment to make a difference. I’m just as fortunate to join SVP at one of the epicenters of change,” he said.
McCurdy also said he’s excited to join SVP at a time when the Seattle region is experiencing so much change, which brings new challenges and opportunities.
“The demographics of the Greater Seattle area are changing, which could impact our network of partners in new and exciting ways. I think we’re at a special moment in time where we can inspire and shape an upcoming generation of philanthropists,” he said.
— The City of Seattle is taking a big step into the realm of digital privacy with the addition of a new Chief Privacy Officer. Ginger Armbruster will fill the role — and she has roots in the tech community and previously worked at the city to develop its privacy program.
Armbruster spent the past two years at Microsoft working as the senior privacy manager for Office Marketing. In that role, she developed and ran the division’s privacy program, ensuring that customer data handling met corporate and legal standards.
Armbruster has previously worked in sales and marketing at companies including IBM, Hewlett-Packard and FileNET. Her career changed directions when she earned her masters in infrastructure planning and management in 2013, and she went on to develop and launch the City of Seattle’s privacy program, which protects individuals’ private data, two years later
“The privacy program we launched in 2015 with input from privacy thought leaders from across the country, our community, industry and City departments is important for our community,” Armbruster said in a press release. “I’m excited to get back to building this ground-breaking program.”
“I want to ensure the program is robust and mature enough to manage the data collected by the technologies we are currently using to meet the needs of the public we service. Looking long term, I hope to establish a world-class privacy program for the City of Seattle and set an example for others to follow,” she said.
Fleckenstein joins the company after spending eighteen months as the CMO of AI-driven marketing platform Amplero. He previously spent two years on the executive board of cloud computing company Salesforce, most recently serving as the company’s VP of product for its IoT Cloud division.
He also spent seven years climbing the leadership ladder at Microsoft, finally serving as the principal group manager for product intelligence, where he was in charge of leveraging Office 365 customer data.
Fleckenstein will now lead Nintex’s marketing efforts, working to bring more customers to its cloud-based workflow productivity applications.
“I firmly believe that Nintex is a premier innovator in the industry,” Fleckenstein said in a press release. “My objective is to leverage the tremendous progress to date and prominently establish Nintex Workflow Cloud as the next industry standard for workflow and content automation.”
— Tideworks Technology, the Seattle-based maker of shipping terminal operating systems, announced that industry vet Thomas Rucker will take over as president of the company effective Sept. 1. He succeeds Tideworks’ longtime president Michael Schwank, who is retiring.
Rucker has spent half of his career at Tideworks, most recently serving as the company’s VP of products and professional services. In 2012, he left the company to work at Manzanillo International Terminal, an important shipping hub that services the Panama Canal area. He most recently served as the terminal’s VP of operations.
“It is a privilege to have the opportunity to lead our innovative company with such a vast network of talented personnel,” Rucker said in a press release. “I am grateful to Michael, who over the years has led the team to establish and solidify Tideworks’ reputation as a trusted technology partner in the terminal operations industry.”