Livermore-based nonprofit organization i-GATE Innovation Hub has welcomed a new executive director, one who has played a hand in unifying and defining the life sciences and tech community of the Tri-Valley.
i-GATE Innovation Hub, whose mission is to promote entrepreneurship and economic development, announced the onboarding of Yolanda Fintschenko in a recent press release. Fintschenko, a prominent figure in Tri-Valley tech, began her position on Oct. 1.
Her primary roles as executive director include pursuing startup campaigns and directing Daybreak Labs, i-GATE's research facility for science and deep tech located in Livermore.
"I understand how important it is to have a diversity of opportunities locally in the Tri-Valley," Fintschenko said in the press release. "I can't wait to work with the i-GATE board, partners, business leaders and startup community to increase economic and professional opportunities in the Tri-Valley by helping science-based startups begin and succeed here."
The position became available after the organization's previous director, Brandon Cardwell, accepted the role of innovation and economic development director for the city of Livermore. Members of the board then selected Fintschenko to fill the position.
"My belief in the mission of i-GATE, which has been dedicated to building a thriving startup community in the Tri-Valley since 2010, persuaded me to accept the position," Fintschenko said.
"Creating not only the opportunity for professional development locally, but also the awareness that there is a strong professional life sciences community in the East Bay, has been important to me and to the members of the group," Fintschenko added.
In the near future, i-GATE's goal is to create a self-sustaining organization that helps science-based startups succeed in the Tri-Valley, Fintschenko told the Weekly.
Fintschenko originally moved to Livermore in 1998 to assume a postdoctoral position at Sandia National Laboratories. According to the public statement released from i-GATE, it was there at Sandia where Fintschenko started to grow her professional record, holding various scientific and marketing jobs in the field of "lab-on-a-chip technology and scientific equipment."
Fintschenko also helped with the founding of several Livermore marketing and tech-start up companies, including Fixate IO and FounderTraction -- each being marketing agencies in the field of life sciences and technology.
In 2014 she began to work with East Bay Bio Network, a group focused on supporting professionals in life sciences careers and helping them develop their specialties. Coordinating with other organizations, the group presented such events as the Tri-Valley Life Sciences Summit in the years 2018, 2019 and 2022.
"EBBN's purpose is to help those who live and work in the East Bay in the life sciences develop their careers through networking opportunities," Fintschenko said. "We started co-hosting events with i-GATE focused on Tri-Valley startups and founders."
"Yolanda's experience as a founder and supporting entrepreneurs makes her uniquely qualified to lead i-GATE Innovation Hub," Stephanie Beasly, i-GATE Innovation Hub Board Chair, said in the press release. "I'm excited to have her join the organization as we galvanize new resources and programs through Startup Tri-Valley and Daybreak Labs."