JACOB SINGER, PhD
Jacob started Veteran Launch inspired in part by earlier work in veteran entrepreneurship by Alexsis de Raadt St James, a Bay Area philanthropist and venture capitalist. Jacob’s father, a merchant marine at the beginning of WW2, became a diesel engineer in the Navy and served in the South Pacific. He met Jacob’s mother at a USO event in San Diego, where he was ultimately discharged in 1946 and subsequently bought a home for his young family under the GI Bill, and where he started his first small business. His brother later served as an electrician in the Navy during the Vietnam war, and Jacob’s father in law, Jay Leopold, was an Army psychiatrist in Korea. Jacob is President & CEO of Main Street Launch (formerly OBDC Small Business Finance), a leading CDFI small business lender to veterans. His career spans key roles in real estate development, venture finance, small business, and economic development. Jacob holds a Ph.D. in Community Studies from Union Institute, an M.B.A. from Claremont Graduate School’s Drucker – Ito School of Management.
JIM H. KEFFER
Since his retirement, Major General Jim H. Keffer has started his own small business consultancy. He brings his tremendous leadership, small business experience and desire to help veterans to Veteran Launch. General Keffer retired in November 2015 as the Chief of Staff, U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) where he served as the command’s principal staff officer, assistant, and adviser to the Commander. As the Chief of Staff, he directed and coordinated the staff directorates, comprising over 900 personnel, with the mission of directing the operations and defense of specified DoD networks and, when directed, conducting full spectrum military cyberspace operations to ensure U.S./allied freedom of action in cyberspace while denying the same to our adversaries. General Keffer has served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Reconnaissance and Surveillance at Headquarters U.S. Air Force; Deputy Director for Intelligence, Multi-National Forces Iraq in Baghdad; Senior Military Assistant for the DoD Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence; and Air Attaché to Austria, Slovakia and Slovenia. His career spans widely across signals, imagery and human intelligence operations and analysis at the tactical, operational and strategic levels. He also served as the Commander, Air Force Intelligence Analysis Agency. General Keffer has commanded at the squadron, group, wing and agency levels with the largest unit being a 7000-person worldwide intelligence and cyberspace wing where he was recognized as an “Honorary Chief Master Sergeant.” He served as the Deputy Chief of the Central Security Service (aka the “military part” of the National Security Agency) overseeing 15,000 joint military members conducting global cryptologic and cyberspace operations and reporting directly to the Director of the National Security Agency.
Karen Drosky is VP of Human Resources at SoFi. She has 20 years of broad experience in human resources, including talent acquisition, organization development, business partnership and executive coaching. She joined SoFi in July 2015. Prior to joining SoFi, she held human resources management positions at Logitech, Yahoo, Intuit and the University of Minnesota. She also served in the United States Army as a Japanese linguist.
Karen has a B.A. in Japanese Language and Literature with an emphasis in Industry Relations from the University of Minnesota. She also studied at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey, California.
Jim Wong brings to Veteran Launch a combination of successful start-ups, large business leadership, and his own service as a Marine Corps officer. He has invested over 35 years in designing and leading transformational change in Global Industrial 500 companies, business startups, and the nonprofit sector.
Born in Guangzhou, China, Jim served as an enlisted U.S. Marine later becoming a presidentially decorated Marine officer. Educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Jim’s corporate experience includes GM’s Packard Electric Division and PepsiCo. Since 1988, Jim has worked in entrepreneurial ventures in management consulting and technology exploration and application. Jim and his wife Linda have also worked in collaboration with other partners to provide technology solutions to improve global and homeland security and to safeguard international trade.
In recent years, Jim has returned to his roots in training and organization development, co-founding AcumenHQ with Jim “Fitz” Fitzgerald to provide entrepreneurship education and mentoring to veterans and small business owners. Jim also serves as an Advisory Coach, working closely with Franchise BIZ Experts founder and fellow Marine Dick Humphrey to help veterans acquire franchise businesses. Jim has served as director on the board of two publicly traded companies and a number of private firms. Jim also served as the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Director, Veterans Business Outreach Center for Region IX (CA, AZ, NV, HI, and Guam). Jim currently serves as Chairman of the National Veterans Transition Services, Inc. (REBOOT), a nonprofit whose co-founders, retired Navy Rear Admiral Ronne Froman and Master Chief Petty Officer Maurice Wilson, have been recognized by the White House as Champions of Change.
Bob Leet is Vice Chair of Presidio Bank, located in San Francisco. Beginning at Wells Fargo Bank in 1964, his commercial banking career spans over 50 years. Bob has served in numerous domestic and international capacities in his banking career, including as CEO for two San Francisco-headquartered community banks. Before beginning his career in banking, Bob spent six years on active duty in the navy as a Naval Aviation Officer and resigned as Lieutenant Commander. He has served as a member of many boards of both banks and local nonprofit organizations.