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Rebecca Lovell. (Center for American Entrepreneurship photo)

Seattle-based startup advocate Rebecca Lovell was named chair of the board at the Center for American Entrepreneurship, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that advocates for public policies that are friendly to new businesses.

Last November, Lovell became a director of Create33, a ‘founder center’ created by Madrona Venture Group in Seattle. Prior to joining Create33, Lovell spent nearly five years working on economic development initiatives at the City of Seattle and has mentored startups through Techstars for many years. She was also previously GeekWire’s chief business officer.

“This is an exciting and critical time for entrepreneurship in this country; for us to lead the way to a future of innovation and shared prosperity, CAE’s rigorous research demonstrates it is incumbent on us to leverage every asset we have, including the incredible and diverse talent that has thus far been under-represented in startups,” Lovell said in a statement.

Troy Cichos. (Madrona photo)

— Madrona Venture Group promoted Troy Cichos to be its first COO. His wide-ranging role will oversee the legal, HR, IR, and tax operations for the firm and for Madrona’s venture funds. Cichos has worked with Madrona for 20 years and helped to start the Madrona Venture Labs and Create33 initiatives in recent years.

“Troy brings a unique mix of subject-matter expertise, operational excellence, great people skills, and a love for Madrona and all our constituents,” managing director Tim Porter said in a statement. “Troy always brings his A game and is a constant positive presence in the office and with all the important partners we work with to help our companies and support the Seattle ecosystem.”

Madrona, which now manages $1.6 billion, also announced several other staffing changes:

  • Hope Cochran is the firm’s first female managing director. Read more about Cochran’s appointment in this GeekWire story.
  • Jennifer Chambers, who has been with Madrona since 1997, was promoted to administrative partner.
  • Venture partner Ted Kummert has expanded his role to be chief product officer in residence, helping companies deal with business and engineering challenges.
Aria Haghighi. (Amperity photo)

— Amperity appointed fake-news-fighter Aria Haghighi as head of data science. Haghighi recently led a team at Facebook that used machine learning and natural language processing to combat misinformation.

Before Facebook, Haghighi served as CTO and chief architect at Seattle’s Pioneer Square Labs. He’s also held roles at Apple, Microsoft and Google, and was an entrepreneur-in-residence at the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence.

“As an advisor to Amperity for the past three years, it’s been exciting to watch the platform develop and deliver amazing value to such household brands as GAP, Nordstrom, TGI Fridays, Alaska Airlines, Lucky, Wynn, and many more,” Haghighi said in a statement. “I’m excited by the opportunity to join this amazing team and help Amperity leverage machine learning and AI to help marketers take on any customer data problem.”

Haghighi joins after a series of interesting recent hires by Amperity, including former NFL tight end Cooper Helfet and Microsoft veteran Chris Jones.

Leila Kirske. (98point6 photo)

Leila Kirske has signed on as CFO of telemedicine service 98point6, where she’ll oversee a healthy bank account: The Seattle-based startup raised $50 million last year, bringing its total funding to $86.3 million in a little over three years. 98point6 delivers primary care consultation, diagnosis and treatment to patients through a mobile app and website.

Kirske knows the role well. Most recently, she was CFO at marketing measurement provider Tune. She also led finance teams at Simply Measured, Dell EMC, Varolii, MedData and Bsquare.

“98point6 is transforming primary care, and I’m excited to be part of such a dynamic and fast-growth company,” Kirske said in a statement. “98point6’s leadership team has put the company at the forefront of solving the primary care crisis, and I look forward to working beside them to achieve even greater results.”

Frank Holland. (Apttus photo)

Apttus tapped longtime Microsoft executive Frank Holland as CEO. Holland most recently led Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM and ERP products and headed global ad sales prior to that.

San Mateo, Calif.-based Apttus sells a middle office platform called Omni, which is used to manage revenue and customer relationships. Private equity firm Thoma Bravo acquired Apttus last fall for an undisclosed amount.

“Apttus’ offerings are indispensable in helping enterprise businesses maximize revenue and manage key commercial relationships. Our customers are the most forward-thinking and successful organizations in the world. Together, we will continue building the industry’s best, most sophisticated solution to optimize commercial operations,” Holland said in a statement.

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