Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, Sacramento Kings
Past: Chief of Staff to Mayor Kevin Johnson (Sacramento, CA); Executive Director, Think BIG Sacramento; Management Consultant, Katzenbach Partners (New York, NY)
Kunal Merchant is the Vice President of Strategic Initiatives for the Sacramento Kings of the National Basketball Association. In this capacity, Kunal oversees a portfolio of top strategic, political and community initiatives for the Kings, with a special focus on advancing progress on the new downtown entertainment and sports center scheduled to open in the fall of 2016.
In his previous role as Executive Director of Think BIG Sacramento, Kunal served as Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson’s chief advisor in efforts to develop a $447M public-private finance plan for a new downtown arena, win NBA approval to keep the Kings in Sacramento, and facilitate sale of the franchise to the new ownership group led by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Vivek Ranadivé.
From 2008 to 2012, Kunal served as Chief of Staff to Mayor Johnson, where he oversaw the full range of the mayor’s strategic, management, operational, media and external relations activities.
During this time, Kunal played a central role in mobilizing political, corporate and community support for the Kings and new arena. Merchant also served as the mayor’s primary liaison on all economic development, fiscal, governance, and policy initiatives.
Prior to his time in Sacramento, Kunal worked in management consulting (at Katzenbach Partners in New York, NY), education (The New Teacher Project also in New York, NY), health care (Project Heath in Washington, D.C.) and economic development.
Kunal graduated Magna cum Laude from Harvard University with a BA in Economics, and earned his MBA from Harvard Business School.
Senior Product Manager, Quickbooks Online, Intuit, Inc.
Past: Vice President, Klip; Head of Partnerships & Platform Product Marketing, Google (YouTube); Senior Account Executive, Ogilvy & Mather; Management Consultant, Deloitte
Christopher Hamilton is a product management executive in the San Francisco Bay Area. Chris has extensive experience building and bringing to market award-winning product experiences across both web and mobile. He is currently at Intuit leading the effort to introduce new core capabilities within QuickBooks’ SaaS offering, which is the fastest growing business at the company.
Chris oversees product development teams that range from creating a new, universal search capability to empowering ecommerce and other product-based companies to fully run their business on QuickBooks.
Previously, Chris was Vice President and a founding team member at Klip, a top mobile video app on iOS and Android. Chris drove product development, growth strategy and analytics for Klip, which was awarded “App of the week” by Apple and one of the “Best Android Apps of 2012” by Google.
From 2007 to 2011, Chris led the platform product marketing team at YouTube (Google). His work there included building and launching YouTube’s first ever live streaming platform, which immediately achieved over 100M minutes of live content consumed in the first month.
Chris also launched YouTube’s mobile offerings and helped ramp up the collective mobile properties to over 200M views per day in 2011, a 300% increase from the year prior. Before joining YouTube, Chris worked in finance, consulting and public relations.
Chris graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a BBA in Finance & Business Economics and earned his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Global Policy Manager, eBay
Past: Manager, Seller Transformation, eBay; Business Development Manager, Manulife Financial, Business Development Associate, Standard Life
Katrina Ong is an e-commerce leader and rising star at eBay with over 10 years of experience providing operational business management focusing on customer relationship management, client acquisitions, and strategic business consultancy to multi-national technology-driven organizations.
As the Global Policy Manager at eBay, based in the San Francisco Bay Area, she currently leads the coordinated work effort of multiple cross functional teams located around the world that includes eBay’s Global Anti-Counterfeit Operations, Brand Relations, Product Management, Legal, and Global Customer Services teams. Her efforts are crucial to reducing counterfeits and protecting intellectual property rights for the company’s partners large and small.
In a prior role at eBay and during her tenure in the European headquarters in London, Katrina provided strategic leadership and direction to eBay’s Seller Transformation team and was a key leading member of eBay’s operations abroad. She oversaw eBay’s critical partnerships with numerous European Third Party Software Providers that support eBay’s European Enterprise and extensive B2C Merchant Seller network, which comprises of thousands of businesses and multi-national retailers.
Prior to joining e-commerce, Katrina was a Business Development Manager for Manulife Financial and Standard Life in Vancouver, Canada. She specialized in new client origination, relationship development, and strategy execution.
Katrina received her MBA and BA in Applied Sciences (with Honors) from Simon Fraser University.
Business Development Executive, Alameda (CA) Health System
Past: Management Consultant, McKinsey & Company; MBA Summer Associate, Merrill Lynch; Professional Track & Field Athlete, 2004 U.S. Olympian
Brenda Taylor is a business development executive with Alameda Health System, a major public health care provider that provides high-quality, comprehensive treatment to the East Bay Area through an integrated network of hospitals and specialty clinics. Brenda is integral to the growth, expansion, and improvement of the organization.
Prior to joining Alameda Health, Brenda served as a Management Consultant for McKinsey & Company based in New York, NY for four years. There, she specialized in advising high-profile clients in the healthcare industry on Reform Strategy and Delivery System Innovation.
Brenda earned an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and spent her summer internship as an Investment Banking Associate with Merrill Lynch’s healthcare industry coverage group in New York, NY.
Before embarking on her corporate career, Brenda ran professionally for Nike as a Track & Field athlete, specializing the 400M hurdles. In 2004, Brenda qualified for and represented the U.S.A. in the Olympic Games in Athens, where she was a finalist in the 400M hurdles.
In college, Brenda was one of Harvard University’s (and the Ivy League’s) most accomplished and decorated athletes of all time. After her record-breaking senior year, where Brenda was an All-American NCAA champion in her event, she was named the recipient of the Honda Sports Award, an honor bestowed on the country’s top female athlete in Track & Field.
Brenda holds a BA in Psychology and Biology from Harvard and is originally from Boone, NC.