Joanna Rees

Founder & Managing Partner, Soda Rock Partners

Joanna Rees is a senior advisor, investor and board member of several companies and non-profit organizations. Joanna currently serves on the corporate board of FICO (NYSE: FICO), Leapfrog Enterprises (NYSE: Leap), Mursion and Hickies Inc. Joanna is also a Senior Partner of the B Team ( Most recently, Joanna led the formation and capital raise for Endeavor Catalyst, an impact investment fund supporting high-impact entrepreneurs in emerging markets. Joanna was a candidate for Mayor of San Francisco in November 2011.

Joanna was the founder of VSP Capital, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm focused on early-stage companies combining technical innovation with market development. Joanna has served on the board of more than 25 venture-backed companies across a broad range of industries including Danger Inc (Acquired Nasdaq: MSFT), Sabrix (Acquired NYSE: TWX), Quinstreet (IPO Nasdaq: QNST), Stonyfield Farms (Acquired Groupe Danone), Account Now (Private), Mirra (Acquired NYSE: STX), Posit Science (Private), Post Communications (Acquired Nasdaq: NCNT). She also served on the Board of the National Venture Capital Association (“NVCA), the Coppola Companies (Francis Ford Coppola), and as Chairman of the USA for Madrid-based FON, the world’s largest WiFi community. Joanna was the co-creator of the Build Brand Value CEO forum which she ran from 1997 to 2003 as part of VSP Capital.

Joanna has significant experience in finance and investment banking including positions at BA Securities and a boutique merchant bank, Vrolyk & Co. She worked in private placements and mergers & acquisitions focused on retail, restaurant and branded consumer companies. Joanna also brings deep expertise in marketing and strategy, and has held several senior marketing management positions with Groupe Danone, a $20+ billion global consumer products firm, with her last position as head of New Product Development. Joanna began her career at DMB&B, working with clients such as General Foods, RJR Nabisco, Brown Forman, Digital Equipment Corp, and Texaco.

The World Economic Forum selected Joanna as a Year 2000 Global Leader for Tomorrow (GLT). The Aspen Institute selected Joanna for its 2002 Class of Henry Crown Fellows. The National Association of Women Business Owners named her “The 2000 Entrepreneur of the Year Rising Star”.

Joanna is active in the non-profit community. She serves on the board of New Schools Venture Fund, the Global Board of Endeavor, and the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (“NFTE”).

Joanna is a seminar moderator for the Aspen Institute for the Healthcare Innovators Fellowship, the Henry Crown Fellowship, the Pahara Education Fellows and the Aspen Seminar. She is also a Senior Mentor for the Henry Crown Fellowship.

She earned her MBA from Columbia University (beta gamma sigma) and a BS from Duke University where she was a member of the gymnastics team.

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