Colleen Birdnow Brown
Currently serving as Chair of the Board
Colleen Brown is the former CEO of Seattle, WA based Fisher Communications, Inc (FSCI). Fisher was a multimedia and technology company with operations throughout the western United States. She has been recognized by National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) as Director of the Year for the Pacific Northwest. In addition, she was selected by the NACD as a Top 100 Corporate Director for the United States. In 2020, she was identified as “Most Influential Director” by Women’s Inc Magazine. She is also an NACD Leadership Fellow and holds a Cyber Oversight Certificate.
Her background in finance and technology, as well as her experience as a CEO and a board leader is valuable to Spark Networks.
Joseph E. Whitters
Vice Chair of the Board
Joseph is currently a partner at Frazier Healthcare Partners, a private equity firm, which he joined in 2005. Mr. Whitters represents Frazier on the boards of Orthotic Holdings, Inc, and Parata Systems. Furthermore, Joseph is a member of the Board of Directors of Accuray Incorporated and Cutera, Inc. He has previously served on the board of directors of other publicly traded public companies, including PRGX Global, Inc., InfuSystem Holdings, Inc., Analogic Corporation, Air Methods Corporation, Mentor Corp, and Omnicell, Inc. Joseph was a member of the Audit Committee of all of these respective organizations and in many cases, he chaired the Audit Committee. He also served on the board at various privately held companies, including Rural/Metro Corp., Northfield Medical and Revionics LLC. Mr. Whitters held various finance positions of increasing responsibility at First Health Group Corporation (“FHCC”), a public managed care organization where he served as Chief Financial Officer for many years. Prior to FHCC, Joseph held various financial positions with United Healthcare and Overland Express. He is a certified public accountant (inactive) and began his career in public accounting with Peat Marwick. Joseph holds a B.A. in Accounting from Luther College. He has been selected as a nominee to our Board of Directors because he has experience in accounting, finance, risk management, governance, plus has public company operating experience as a CFO, together with experience as a chair and member of numerous audit committees of public and private companies.
Interim Chief Executive Officer
Chelsea is Executive-in-Residence for BounceX since March 2020. Prior to that Ms Grayson was Chief Executive Officer of True Religion between November 2018 until June 2019, and Chief Executive Officer of American Apparel from September 2016 until April 2017 where she held several senior management positions since 2014. Ms Grayson currently serves at the Board of Vireo Health where she chairs the Nominating & Corporate Governance Committee, and of Rex Mundi. Prior to that Ms. Grayson was a member of the board of several leading B2C companies. Chelsea received a J.D. from Loyola Law School and a BA from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Director of the Board
Brad founded Quartz Strategic LLC where he also serves as Chief Executive Officer in November 2019. Prior to that he has served as the President of PEAK6 Investments, L.P. since 2011. Brad focused on business strategy, business operations, and people development across PEAK6 and its operating companies. From 2009 until 2011, Mr. Goldberg was the CEO of PEAK6 Online, where he led a portfolio of early stage financial technology businesses, including OptionsHouse, which was subsequently sold to General Atlantic and then to E*TRADE. Prior to PEAK6, Brad served in multiple leadership positions at Microsoft across the Online, Enterprise, and Developer businesses. Brad was the General Manager for the Search Business Unit, where he was accountable for global product management, marketing, and revenue for Bing. Brad graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Amherst College and completed post graduate work in Japan, at the Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies. Brad earned an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he was awarded second year honors.
Director of the Board
Ulrike Handel, PhD is an accomplished CEO with more than 25 years of experience in the media and digital industry.
Dr. Handel serves as a member of the Executive Board of Axel Springer SE and currently heads its News Media Europe & Marketing Media division. Prior to that, she was the Chief Executive Officer of Dentsu International (Germany and DACH); before that, Dr. Handel served as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of ad pepper media International N.V
Dr. Handel has received several awards for her work - including the “Helga-Stödter-Award für Mixed Leadership” in 2019, the Emotion Award "Women in Leadership" and "Ad Age: Women to Watch Europe " in 2018. In 2015, she received the "Manager of the Year” Award from the female leadership organization “Generation CEO”. She is a member of transatlantic organization Atlantik Brücke, Hamburg Chamber of Commerce (Member of the Innovation Committee), European Center for Digital Competitiveness (at ESCP Berlin), Club of European Female Entrepreneurs, 2hearts community (supporting great talents with immigration background in Europe's tech industry), Leaders for Climate Action and Generation CEO (Exclusive Club for female CEOs and Supervisory Board Members).
Dr. Handel studied media management and economics in Hanover and Madison, Wisconsin. In addition, she holds a PhD in media studies from the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Director of the Board
Bangaly is currently the Head of Platform Growth at Popshop Live, a live streaming mobile marketplace that combines commerce, entertainment, and social, which he joined in June 2020. Popshop is reimagining ecommerce as a people-centric, engaging experience for both sellers and buyers across the US. From January 2020 to March 2021, Bangaly was an Executive in Residence at Reforge, the leading career development company for tech professionals. Bangaly served as VP of Product Management at Instacart, a grocery delivery marketplace startup with a valuation of over $39B, from November 2018 to November 2019. At Instacart, Mr. Kaba led the Growth and Consumer organizations that built the core functionality for user onboarding, shopping, and product discovery. From February 2014 to November 2018, he worked at Facebook Inc. where his last role was the Head of Growth at Instagram. Bangaly joined Instagram when it had 450M monthly users and helped it to grow to over 1B monthly users in just 2.5 years, making Instagram one of the world’s fastest growing apps. Bangaly’s career prior to Facebook spanned multiple industries, including working in education as a Dean of a boarding school in Switzerland, working in finance as an Asset Manager at Lehman Brothers and Barclays Capital, and founding an e-commerce startup. Bangaly holds a BA in History and Spanish from Washington University in St. Louis and an MBA in Entrepreneurship and Finance from the University of Southern California. Bangaly has been selected as a nominee to our Board of Directors because he has specific knowledge and experience in consumer technology, building mobile digital products, and accelerating growth through social media.
Director of the Board
Michael McConnell currently serves as a private investor and brings to the Board more than three decades of experience in financing, investing, strategy, and corporate governance. He has served as a board member of various publicly traded and privately held entities both in the United States and internationally. Mr. McConnell has previously served as Interim Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Spark Networks SE. Mr. McConnell also serves on the board of privately held Jacob Stern & Sons, Inc., an importer, exporter, processor and distributor of specialty agricultural products, since July 2019.
Mr. McConnell is a member of the City of La Canada Finance and Investment Advisory committee and he received a B.A. in Economics from Harvard University and an M.B.A from the Darden School (Shermet Scholar) of the University of Virginia.