Catalyst Welcomes New Staff and Board Members

We are pleased to share several exciting organizational updates at Catalyst of San Diego & Imperial Counties. 

Vilavanh Sanginthirath has joined the organization as director of marketing and communications, where she will lead implementation of Catalyst’s strategies to engage and connect with Catalyst members and partners across San Diego and Imperial Counties. 

Vilavanh is tech founder and CEO of Innovations City, a peer-to-peer virtual platform helping entrepreneurs build, pitch, and connect with investors, and executive producer at Innovations City Media, an affordable media studio where diverse brands and innovators can create their own content and magic. Her lived experience as a first-generation immigrant and single parent fuel her passion to drive economic empowerment and social justice to underserved communities, like where she grew up. 

When asked what she is looking forward to in joining Catalyst, her answer was simple… “It’s all in the name: ‘Catalyst’! In my culture and family, the name we stand by and are a part of means everything. When you are a catalyst, you are an agent that provokes or speeds significant change or action. I’ve been building Innovations City as a solo founder, and when given the opportunity to be part of a collective group with a complementary mission whose outcomes directly affect people in my community…I was ALL IN!” Vilavanh exclaimed. 

Vilavanh has a proven track record for identifying creative and innovative solutions to complex problems and communicating them effectively. Among her list of achievements include being a Finalist for San Diego’s Woman of the Year, receiving the Women Rise award, and helping women and minority entrepreneurs secure over $10 million in funding and generate more than $20 million in economic activity. 

“The challenges that our society is up against today are dependent upon bold and transformative leaders,” Vilavanh shared. “I’m looking forward to bringing my voice, my diverse and unique perspective, and my influence to add to the incredible leadership of the Catalyst staff, board, and members,” she said. 

Catalyst is also thrilled to announce the appointment of Laura Galinson, investor and philanthropist, and Shaina Gross, vice president of client services at the San Diego Workforce Partnership, to its board of directors. 

Shaina Gross has spent her career designing programs, developing partnerships, and creating policy to address the social determinants of health, including education, income, and opportunity. She currently provides strategic vision and implementation for a portfolio of over $30 million in workforce funding, helping youth and adults with education attainment, skill development, and job placement at the San Diego Workforce Partnership. 

“Catalyst is a thought-provoking convener and conversation leader for philanthropy,” Shaina said. “I’m excited to join the board of directors and the organization’s commitment to continuously challenging and shaping improvements for our field and its impact on the communities we serve,” she added.

Laura Galinson is the founder and president of the Galinson Family Foundation, the Price-Galinson Collaborative Fund, the Alternative Families Fund, as well as the Laura Jo Galinson Advised Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego. Laura focuses her charitable work on her passions for education, youth, mental health, the arts, Africa, Israel, and San Diego. 

“I am very excited to promote impact investing and the building of community through philanthropies,” Laura shared. “San Diego and Catalyst pave the path for the education and learning that improve our diverse community,“ she shared.

“Vilavanh, Shaina, and Laura bring unique strengths and lived experiences to our Catalyst mission,” Megan Thomas, president and CEO of Catalyst said. “We are looking forward to seeing the ways their skill sets will complement our existing talent and shape our work moving forward,” she said.

Please join us in congratulating Vilavanh and welcoming Shaina and Laura to our board of directors!