Invest Southwest Board of Directors


2021 CHAIR

Diana Vowels - Galvanize - Invest Southwest BOD, 2021 VMC Chair

Diana Vowels has over 20 years experience as a business leader and entrepreneur in media, healthcare and technology, managing operations for Fortune 200 companies and startups. She serves as the VP/Community for Galvanize, a dynamic learning community for technology, bringing industry and education together in nine urban campuses across the US. 

She came to Arizona as a media executive at Republic Media, following a long career with Gannett where she was named Advertising Executive of the Year twice for the corporation. She went on to acquire and scale and ultimately sell a local healthcare company with her husband, David, before moving into technology, where she led the Arizona team at Groupon to launch a 150-person team. 

Diana was named as Top Tech Leader by the Phoenix Business Journal and one of the 20 People You Need to Know in Startups, Leader of the Year for SIM Arizona and led Galvanize to be named Impact Award Winner 2020 as Arizona Advocate by the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. She serves on the board of directors for Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley as well as Phoenix Community Alliance.



Sandra Watson

Sandra Watson brings more than 20 years of economic development leadership experience to Arizona. She and her teams have successfully attracted hundreds of companies to Arizona that have invested billions of dollars in capital and created more than 75,000 quality jobs. Ms. Watson worked tirelessly to implement the new vision for the ACA and its aggressive 5-year business plan promoting the state’s pro-business, competitive value proposition. She provided invaluable leadership during the organization’s transition from the Department of Commerce into one of the nation’s first state-based public-private partnerships focused on economic development. Under her direction, the ACA leads statewide efforts assisting companies to locate, expand and grow – bringing high-wage jobs and capital investment to Arizona. Ms. Watson holds an Honors Bachelor of Commerce degree, and completed the Global Leadership Certification program at the Thunderbird School of Management.

Karen Katzorke


Karen Katzorke, Executive Director, Invest Southwest

Karen Katzorke has served as Executive Director of the Invest Southwest since the spring of 2011. Prior to serving as Executive Director, she worked for the ASU Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development for more than six years as Program Specialist and was responsible for the planning and execution of programs and events. Ms. Katzorke previously worked as Program Manager of Entrepreneurial Services at the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, where she coordinated entrepreneurial programs and provided organization and promotion for the Arizona Venture Capital Conference. She is experienced with early to mid-stage life science and technology entrepreneurs, assisting companies with access to capital and other expansion and growth needs. Ms. Katzorke has more than 10 years of economic development experience, which includes the Greater Phoenix Chamber and the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.



Ryan Edwards - SVB

As Managing Director of Technology Banking, Ryan covers Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico, providing opportunities for technology companies to grow, raise capital, and elevate their business through the use of SVB’s network and decades of time in the industry.



Aaron Harmon, Osborn Maledon

As a partner at Osborn Maledon, Aaron serves as outside general counsel for start-up, growth-oriented and middle market companies, advising officers, directors, managers and key employees on fiduciary and corporate governance matters.  He also regularly represents clients in angel, VC and private equity financings and in M&A transactions.  In addition, he helps clients draft and negotiate various commercial contracts.

Prior to Osborn Maledon, Aaron was an associate attorney at Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP in Delaware where he counseled officers and directors of Delaware corporations on fiduciary and corporate governance matters.  Prior to his law career, Aaron was a senior accountant at Pinnacle West Capital Corporation, and an assurance associate with Deloitte.  Aaron received his B.S. in Accountancy from Arizona State University, his M.S. in Accountancy from Ohio State University, and his Juris Doctor from Duke University School of Law.



Sharon Hwang - Invest Southwest Board of Directors

Sharon is a Partner, Chief Operating Officer at MSP Sports Capital, where she oversees the firm’s operations as well as capital raising and investor relations functions.

Before joining MSP, Sharon was Chief Operating Officer at the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. Prior to GPEC, Sharon held various roles at Turner Impact Capital, Watershed Asset Management, ESL Investments/Sears Holdings, and Lehman Brothers.

Sharon received a BA from Yale University and attended the MBA/MA dual degree program with The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University. She serves on multiple nonprofit boards and is founding member of a regional community bank (in organization).



Sydnie is an associate at Kickstart Seed Fund. Her primary responsibilities include conducting due diligence, sourcing and screening deals, and managing Campus Founders Fund (Kickstart’s student-run VC fund). Prior to joining Kickstart, she worked as a business analyst at Cicero Group, a management consulting firm based in SLC. Originally from Eastern Pennsylvania, Sydnie began her career as a solo guitarist and vocalist while attending Pennsylvania State University. She transferred to Brigham Young University in 2014 where she graduated with a B.S. in Business Strategy and served as President of the Business Strategy program during her senior year.


2020 CHAIR


Tim Kelley has over 20 years of experience as an Entrepreneur in Construction, Education, Finance and Software in Mexico, South America, the US and Africa (Angola). He served as Founder, Chairman and CEO of KCA International Construction and Facilities Management for over 14 years and managed over $200 million dollars of projects in Mexico and over 2 million square feet of office, commercial and residential space throughout Latin America.

Tim was featured in Entrepreneur Magazine for innovative international entrepreneurship and currently serves as the COO of the Entrepreneur Opportunity Fund, owner and CFO with his wife of two education related companies with 45 + employees and several million in gross revenue, and is an Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship and Economics at Grand Canyon University and Chairman of the Canyon Angels.



Brian Lewis - Sun Mountain Capital

Brian Lewis is an Associate at Sun Mountain Capital, where he focuses on direct investments across a range of industries and stages with a focus on New Mexico. He has experience in evaluating investment opportunities, conducting due diligence on private deals as well as private funds, and raising private capital. Brian is currently a Board Member for the United Way of Santa Fe County where he serves as the Treasurer and Chairman of the Finance Committee.  He also serves on the Capital Improvements Advisory Committee for the City of Santa Fe. Brian joined Sun Mountain after graduating from Whitman College with a Bachelor of Arts in both Physics and Economics, and a minor in Mathematics.



Stephen Viramontes, Assure Vote

Stephen has more than ten years of executive leadership experience in tech startups, product development, government affairs and investment banking, and is currently Founder of Assure Vote. Assure Vote is a commercialized online, patented voter registration software designed to reach and engage voters online as well as facilitate ballot and ‘get out the vote’ initiatives. There he introduce the first voter data aggregation and appending system.

Prior to founding Assure Vote, Stephen was Director at The LIBRE Initiative, a social NGO startup dedicated to the empowerment, education and entrepreneurship of Hispanics in the U.S. Prior to that, Stephen was an Associate at the Royal Bank of Scotland Group where he focused on managing an SMB portfolio with a combined annual revenue of $750m. Stephen holds a B.I.S. in Business Communications from Arizona State University, and trained in Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Commercialization from M.I.T. Sloan School of Management, and Technology in Government from Harvard Kennedy School.

Interested in joining the Invest Southwest Board of Directors?