Invest Southwest Board of Directors



Prior to joining the founding team at AZ-VC, Benjamin Brockwell contracted for several firms in the private equity and venture capital industry. On the corporate side, he played a critical role as an Accelerator Team Associate for Bayer Pharmaceuticals to build out an investment program that merged technology and consumer health verticals. He has extensive sales, finance, and entrepreneurial experience.

Benjamin currently serves on the board for two AZ-VC portfolio companies, Uplinq and Right-Hand Cybersecurity. He is a Partner with SVP Arizona and serves as a mentor chair for Venture Madness. In 2021, he was appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives to serve on the Arizona Senate Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Study Committee.

He received his MBA from Arizona State University W.P. Carey School of Business, where he was awarded the Forward Focus full-tuition scholarship. During this period, he served as the President of the MBA Association and was also elected as the Global President of the Graduate Business Forum (GBF) to represent the top 70 business schools in the world.

While obtaining his B.S. in Economics at the University of Arizona, he founded and operated a tech-enabled resale business that he exited.

Benjamin’s early career progression afforded him the opportunity to work across the country, spanning from New York to Honolulu. During his free time, you can find him at the lake with his wife and co-captain, along with their two daughters and beloved fur-baby, Poi.


Board Member

Tom Fulcher, President and founder of The Idea Gardener LLC has over 30 years of management experience with start-ups, small businesses and Fortune 500 companies. Tom served as the EIR for the Chandler Innovations Incubator and ACA programs and teaches the Pitch Power series. He is an angel investor, leads business seminars and workshops and is active in many roles within the angel community in Arizona. He serves as Mentor Chair and a selection panelist for Venture Madness and the Arizona Innovation Challenge and as both a panelist, and mentor Arizona Commerce Authority and its Venture Ready program. Tom has been involved in various roles with AAIC, Invest Southwest, and Venture Madness for over a decade. His business development and strategy consulting organization has a successful track record of helping entrepreneurs in the business development areas of business planning, modeling, branding, marketing strategy and preparation for capital formation. He is also a Certified Global Business Professional and a Certified Small Business Counselor. He holds a BS in Management from Arizona State University and an MBA from The University of Denver.


Board Member

Louise Hardman leads ASU InvestU, a RealmSpark initiative that connects entrepreneurs and investors across Arizona State University’s global ecosystem. She has previous small business and startup experience and is passionate about supporting early-stage technology development and commercialization.

Prior to joining ASU Enterprise Partners, Louise led strategic marketing and business development and supported early-stage fundraising at EnPower, a Lithium-ion battery startup. During her tenure, EnPower won Venture Madness (2019), the Arizona Innovation Challenge (2020) and was named the Most Innovative Startup Company in Arizona (2021). In her early career, she was a mechanical engineer at Radius Engineering, an AS9100D-certified aerospace supplier, where she focused on new technology development and managed public and private sector projects.

Louise received an MBA from Arizona State University in 2020, where she led the Strategic Marketing Association and was selected by her peers as “Most Impactful Student” for the Class of 2020. She holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, Cum Laude, from the University of Utah.



Karen Katzorke, Executive Director, Invest Southwest

Karen Katzorke has served as Executive Director of the Invest Southwest since the spring of 2011. Prior to serving as Executive Director, she worked for the ASU Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development for more than six years as Program Specialist and was responsible for the planning and execution of programs and events. Ms. Katzorke previously worked as Program Manager of Entrepreneurial Services at the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, where she coordinated entrepreneurial programs and provided organization and promotion for the Arizona Venture Capital Conference. She is experienced with early to mid-stage life science and technology entrepreneurs, assisting companies with access to capital and other expansion and growth needs. Ms. Katzorke has more than 10 years of economic development experience, which includes the Greater Phoenix Chamber and the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.



Kristell Millan

Kristell is a Partner at State48 Ventures, based in Arizona. Her responsibilities include sourcing and screening early-stage venture deals, conducting due diligence, and prospective investment evaluation. Prior to State48, Kristell served as Managing Director of InvestU, a 50+ member angel investing network affiliated with Arizona State University. She previously worked at J.P. Morgan Private Bank in NYC. Kristell also has prior experience working with founders at a micro-finance firm in Mexico City and a social entrepreneurship think tank in Singapore. Kristell is also involved in education and entrepreneurial philanthropic efforts and serves on the ASU Hispanic Business Alumni Board.

Kristell earned undergraduate honors degrees in Finance and Global Politics from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University before earning her Master’s in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. However, she is a proud Sun Devil first and foremost.


Board Member

Mark has pursued a path supporting entrepreneurship as a way to lift others out of poverty while celebrating innovation and creating sustainable economies. Mark has worked with startups across four continents and consulted for Fortune 100 companies like Pfizer, Nike, and EMC.

After graduating from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business with an MBA in 2017, Mark joined a private equity firm and moved to Arizona to lead one of their portfolio companies.

Before joining the Journey team, Mark worked at the Arizona Commerce Authority where he supported entrepreneurs and startups across the state by leading programs like the Arizona Innovation Challenge and the Venture Ready Accelerator.



Hamid Shojaee

Hamid Shojaee is a local veteran entrepreneur and investor. He is the founder of Axosoft, a software development tools company, and Pure Chat, a live chat software company. Both companies were acquired in 2020, at which time Hamid shifted his focus more towards his passion for startups and investing.

As an investor, Hamid has been involved with numerous Arizona tech startups, including being an angel seed investor to companies like CampusLogic, Prenda and Equipifi to name a few. He is also a board member of the StartupAZ Foundation and Venture Madness.


Board Member

Chardon is an Arizona native and an attorney in Osborn Maledon’s corporate group. As an attorney, Chardon is a vital resource to emerging, growth, and established companies in connection with their operating in the ordinary course, obtaining financing, or positioning themselves for eventual mergers and acquisitions. Prior to joining Osborn Maledon, Chardon was an associate at the international law firm Mayer Brown in their Corporate & Securities practice and was a member of their Fund Formation & Investment Management and Mergers & Acquisitions groups. Chardon graduated with honors from the University of Michigan Law School, and prior to that, graduated from the University of Arizona.



Diana Vowels - Galvanize - Invest Southwest BOD, 2021 VMC Chair

Diana Vowels is a community builder with a passion for driving the tech ecosystem forward in Phoenix.

She is a board member of Venture Madness and the co-founder of Pet Ortho Braces, an innovator in the pet rehabilitation market.  She previously served as CEO of StartupAZ.



Sandra Watson

Sandra Watson is an economic development professional with over 30years of leadership experience in business attraction and expansion, innovation, entrepreneurship, economic policy and workforce development. She and her teams have worked with more than 1,177 companies that have committed to creating more than 267,000 quality jobs and investing more than $113 billion in capital in the state. Currently, Ms. Watson is the President & CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA), a public-private partnership that leads statewide economic development. The unique structure of the ACA brings together leaders from private industry, academia and all three branches of state government. She also oversees the Workforce Arizona Council and Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity, a data-driven team focused on economic and labor market analysis. Ms. Watson is a member of the U.S. Investment Advisory Council, advising the U.S. Secretary of Commerce on policies to attract foreign direct investment. She is also a founding member and the Chair of the State Economic Development Executives Network Board of Directors, a founding partner on the Institute for Automated Mobility Board of Directors and serves on the boards of the National State Science and Technology Institute and the Make-A-Wish Arizona Foundation.

Interested in joining the Invest Southwest Board of Directors?