Executive Profiles

Executive Profiles

Ed Valdez, CEO
Ed is our CEO and is really connected to the start-up world. He serves on the Board of Advisors for SXSW Interactive, SXSWedu plus several MobileTech, EdTech (no relation) and SaaS startups. Ed is an active member of the Central Texas Angel’s Network, the most active angel’s network in America. He has more than 20 years of experience in high tech executive experience in product development, marketing, sales and operations from companies that have ranged in size from the Fortune 500 to new ventures. Highlights have included: Chief Innovation Officer for Momentus Software (acquired by Softvision); VP of Solutions Marketing for SUN (acquired by Oracle); President of Parrot, a French innovator of drones and smartphone accessories (IPO) plus the Global Marketing Director at Motorola for the introduction of the first generation of the RAZR platform.  Ed holds a BSEE from MIT and an MBA from The University of Texas, Austin.  He has co-authored Samsung 3.0: Talent, Technology and Timing (translated in Mandarin and Thai) and often speaks at conferences and tradeshows throughout the world.

Dean Harris, CMO

Dean is a third generation Marketer. After an MBA at Columbia Business School he helped sell detergent and disposable diapers on Madison Avenue. Because the world needed another ad agency he and his soon-to-be-wife (36 years and counting) started Etkin & Harris Advertising in Manhattan and did some pretty respectable work for Coke, J&J, Citi, Sotheby’s and M&M Mars. In the late 1990s Dean became Head of Marketing/CMO for a bunch of tech- centric brands. Three of the companies he started with when they were small went public (HotJobs, Vonage and Kayak) and two were acquired (BlueCava and Forensiq). Along the way he won the BrandWeek Marketer of the Year and an EFFIE Award for advertising effectiveness.   Dean has given speeches at The Sloan School. at MIT, Columbia Business School, the Kellogg School at Northwestern, Cannes Lions, American Marketing Association, Harvard Business Club of New York, Frost & Sullivan, AdWeek,  IAB Agency Summit, etc. Dean and his wife live in an artists’ community in Connecticut, a short train ride from the vibrant insanity they call New York City. Dean’s not a joiner, but is a proud member of the Internet Oldtimers Foundation.

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Edie Okamoto, CSO

Edie has decades of experience in advertising, media and market research. She has helped launch products and companies into 30 countries in more than 22 verticals including: software, hardware, computer chips, travel, packaged goods, media as well as distribution and logistics. She has worked with major global brands such as: Microsoft, DRI, BMC Software, Sun Microsystems, M&T, IDG, Ziff, ABC-Disney, ATT, HP, GTE, Essilor, Cartier, Alcatel, Macy’s, Hitachi, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Volkswagen and Porsche. Edie is fluent in English and German. She’s pretty good at French and Spanish too. Edie has spent her career successfully connecting companies and people plus building high performance teams.

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