About

Rhia Ventures

Rhia Ventures’ mission is to create a vibrant US market for sexual, reproductive, and maternal health that produces equitable outcomes for all. 

This multi-billion dollar market has tremendous potential for public health impact, but it has been built on flawed systems that perpetuate unjust outcomes for women of color, low-income women, and others directly affected by systemic inequities. Our work is to transform this market. 

We know that transformation happens when partners with long experience in reproductive health and justice come together with market-facing actors to create deep, meaningful impact. By connecting activists, public health professionals, scientists, entrepreneurs, corporates, and investors, together we will build a more just marketplace.

Rhia is enabling this change through four complementary efforts:

We make direct investments in early- and growth-stage companies that are driving innovation, access, and equity in reproductive and maternal health, through our wholly owned venture fund, RH Capital Corporation.

We provide technical assistance and shared resources to these companies and others so that they can strengthen their work in health equity and spur change across the venture ecosystem.

We work through our Corporate Engagement and Blossom programs to change social norms, practices, and people that influence this market.

We produce a systems-change assessment of the market, identifying the key leverage points for addressing systemic racism and other inequities to inform Rhia’s programs and share with grant-makers, investors, and policy-makers seeking to “make this market work for justice,” to paraphrase Darren Walker of the Ford Foundation.

Our Vision for Success

Alongside our partners, our efforts will:

  • Catalyze investment in innovation that improves equity, access, and outcomes in reproductive and maternal health care
  • Transform systems in the reproductive and maternal health market, to redress systemic inequity and contributes to improving reproductive and maternal health outcomes for women of color, low-income women, and others directly affected by systemic inequities

 

 

  • Amplify the perspectives and work of stakeholders of color
  • Strengthen social norms, to support high-quality maternal and reproductive health care for all women and birthing people in the US
Our

Priorities

Our 501c3 and Fund focus on 3 complementary areas of work:
  • Direct investment in early and growth-stage companies
  • Market analysis, and support to our portfolio companies 
  • Field-building and corporate engagements
These pillars of our work across the c3 and the Fund enable us to:
  • Encourage investment in the areas of the market that need it most
  • Fund public goods and services that grow the market in equitable, profitable, and sustainable ways
  • Engage and illuminate stakeholders of color
  • Strengthen social norms to support quality maternal and reproductive health coverage and treatment of women in US workplaces

Our Team

It takes vision, persistence, and courage partnered with skill, experience, and advocacy to do this work. Thankfully, we know some people who fit the job description. Get to know our team below.

Erika Seth Davies
CEO

CEO

Erika is a seasoned leader with more than 20 years of experience in development and fundraising, program design, collaboration and partnership management, and racial equity advocacy.  She is the Founder of The Racial Equity Asset Lab (The REAL), a venture that centers racial equity in impact investing and works to shift capital to address the persistent racial wealth gap. She previously served as Vice President of External Affairs at ABFE (Association of Black Foundation Executives) where she designed the SMART Investing Initiative, a field-wide effort to encourage foundations to incorporate a racial equity lens in endowment management practices through increased access for racially diverse- and women-owned investment management firms.  

Erika is a Social Entrepreneur in Residence with Common Future and a former Fellow, Equitable Access to Capital Markets in the Fair Finance portfolio of the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University. She was a member of the inaugural class of the ABFE Connecting Leaders Fellowship program, a recipient of the NYU Wagner School of Public Service IGNITE Fellowship for Women of Color in the Social Sector, and a member of the class of 2017 for Executive Leadership Institute of CFLeads. 

Erika most recently was the Associate Director of Philanthropy at McDonogh School and previously served as the Chief of Staff of the Baltimore Community Foundation. She enjoys volunteering and serves as a member of the boards of Impact Hub Baltimore, Baltimore Algebra Project, and the Baltimore Children and Youth Fund. Her most significant role is that of mother to Ethan and Evelyn.

Shelley Alpern
Director of Shareholder Advocacy

Director of Shareholder Advocacy

Shelley brings over two decades’ experience leading and participating in shareholder advocacy campaigns on a wide range of environmental and social issues, which resulted in numerous negotiated agreements to advance more progressive corporate policies and practices. Prior to Rhia Ventures, she worked for the leading sustainability firms Clean Yield Asset Management, Trillium Asset Management, and Ceres, a sustainability nonprofit. Her work in advancing LGBT rights was recognized by several organizations including Fortune and The Advocate, and she received the SRI Service Award in 2005 for “outstanding contributions to the socially responsible investment community.” She was also the recipient of the first-ever Rachel Carson Award from the Silent Spring Institute, which researches environmental links to breast cancer. Shelley has always been amazed at the positive influence that actively engaged shareholders can have on companies. She holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas.

Jill Parker
Director of Development and Engagement

Director of Development and Engagement

Jill brings many years of experience in the world of reproductive health. She spent the last four years at Planned Parenthood Mar Monte as Director of Institutional and Corporate Strategy, building relationships and securing institutional financial support. She has done extensive fundraising for other nonprofit boards and organizations, including serving as co-chair of NARAL Pro-Choice America’s Peninsula Luncheon. In addition to fundraising, she has focused her professional and volunteer time on strategic planning and project management. Jill has an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a BA from Yale in East Asian Studies.

Victoria Griffin
Communications Manager

Communications Manager

Victoria is the Communications Manager helping to shape our story and the Executive Producer of Blossom, our new podcast series focused on empowering all women, especially Black, Indigenous, Women of Color to advocate for their healthcare, their way. She grew up in Europe as a child, traveling to several countries throughout the years. Her passion for women’s health and empowerment stems from her experiences abroad. She started her career in the media and entertainment space, crafting stories and managing productions through multiple networks including ABC Television Network but moved into the health and wellness space after seeing how affected women were in the entertainment industry. Her work there led her to a non-profit public relations organization called Women Who Create. She managed the mentorship program, serving a community that quickly grew from 30 to over 400 members in her time as the Program Manager. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Integrated Marketing Communications and a Master’s degree from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications from Syracuse University.

Abbie Strabala
Finance & Operations Manager

Operations Manager

Abbie is the Finance & Operations Manager who drives our engine. She focuses on building sustainable systems that allow our team to push forward. She has 4 years of non-profit experience in various roles from development to finance and operations. Prior to Rhia Ventures, Abbie worked for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, a nonprofit that advances civil and human rights for the LGBTQ+ community. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Business from San Francisco State University.

Sarah Gibbons
Development Associate

Development Associate

Sarah supports Rhia Venture’s sustainable growth. She has a diverse background in nonprofit management, healthcare, and entrepreneurship. Prior to joining Rhia, Sarah served as a Practice Coordinator for UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. She has also interned for federal and state legislatures and worked as Membership Coordinator for Doyenne, a nonprofit supporting women entrepreneurs in Madison, Wisconsin. Sarah holds a Bachelor’s degree in Community and Nonprofit Leadership with a minor in Global Health from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Fund Team

RH Capital Funds

RH Capital is an impact venture capital fund investing in women’s reproductive and maternal health innovations that promise to significantly improve access, quality, choice, and affordability of care for all women in the US.

Elizabeth Bailey
Managing Director

Managing Director

Elizabeth Bailey has over 15 years of experience in venture capital and supporting early-stage technology companies. She was a Partner at one of the first impact investment funds (Commons Capital LP), where she managed healthcare and education portfolios, which included: Claros Diagnostics (acquired by OPKO), CodeRyte (acquired by 3M), Combinent Biomedical Systems, HistoRx (acquired by Genoptix), Medical Metrx Solutions (acquired by AIG), TelaDoc Medical Services (IPO: TDOC), Valeo Medical, and Apex Learning (acquired by Education Growth Partners). Most recently, Elizabeth served as the Founding Director of the Consortium for Affordable Medical Technologies (CAMTech) at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she built a global program to accelerate medtech innovation and catalyze new health startups. Throughout her career, Elizabeth has been a passionate advocate of the power of business – from startups to multinationals – to drive social change. Elizabeth earned a Master in Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a BA from Brown University.

Stasia Obremskey
Managing Director

Managing Director

Before joining, Stasia served in 2018 as the first Fellow of the Tara Health Foundation. She has more than twenty-five years of experience providing financial and strategic planning consulting to organizations in the U.S. and Asia. She has joined management teams as the interim Chief Financial Officer on a short term and extended-term basis to provide finance, accounting, and strategic planning expertise to startups, fast-growing companies, and non-profit organizations. Current and past clients include 18Birdies, Posit Science, Circlepoint, West Shore Technologies and We Care Solar. She has lived for over 8 years in Bangkok, Thailand, and Hong Kong, China. She began her consulting career as a management consultant with Bain & Company. Previously, she worked in investment banking for Morgan Stanley & Co. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in finance from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from the Harvard Graduate School of Business. In addition to her consulting work, she has extensive experience as a member of several nonprofit boards where she has held a number of leadership positions.

Makda Kassahun
Venture Fellow

Venture Fellow

Makda has over five years of combined experience in venture capital/angel investing, startup incubation, portfolio management, private equity, and healthcare/IT management consulting. She is passionate about facilitating innovation through entrepreneurship and impact investing. She most recently was a Venture Fellow at Score 3 Angels Network where she performed pitch screenings and due diligence for up-and-coming startups with founders from underrepresented groups (including women-led companies). She was also an IT Privacy Consultant at DRT Strategies where she managed privacy compliance for the FDA’s IT systems and electronic collections. Prior to this, she was a portfolio analyst at Square 1 Bank where she conducted accounting and loan compliance for venture capital-backed biomedical/pharmaceutical companies. She also advised over 15 startups at Iceaddis, Ethiopia’s first business incubator. Makda completed her Master of Public Health from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. She also holds a graduate certificate in Corporate Finance from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Sandie Eltringham
Technical Advisor

Technical Advisor

Board

Ruth Shaber, M.D.
Board Chair

Board Chair

Ruth Shaber M.D. is the founder and president of the Tara Health Foundation, which promotes health, well-being, and opportunity for women and girls through innovative evidence-informed programs. She is also the co-founder and board chair of Rhia Ventures, a group of foundations and investors that collaborate to bring new types of capital and enterprise to the field of reproductive health in the United States. Ruth had a robust career as an Obstetrician and Gynecologist at Kaiser Permanente from 1990- 2012. In addition to her clinical responsibilities, she held many leadership positions including Director of Women’s Health, founder of the Women’s Health Research Institute, and the Medical Director at the Kaiser Permanente Care Management Institute. In addition to Tara Health Foundation and Rhia Ventures, Ruth serves on the board of directors for the Women of the World Endowment, Toniic, and MobileODT.

Janet Yearwood, CFA, MBA
Board Member

Board Member

Janet Yearwood is an asset management and financial services professional. Her most recent role was as a full-time consultant to the Office of the CEO of New York Life Investment Management. Prior to that, she was the interim chief of staff to the CEO of MacKay Shields. Her past experience includes five years as a client portfolio manager at J.P. Morgan Asset Management in U.S. Equities. Before joining JPMAM, she was interim Associate Vice Chancellor at NYU Shanghai. Ms. Yearwood spent two years at Pzena Investment Management as a director of client service and seven years prior to that as an equity analyst and sector portfolio manager at TIAA-CREF. She began her career at Salomon Brothers in municipal finance and spent five years at Merrill Lynch in the fixed income securities department.

Janet holds a B.A. in literature from Harvard College and an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business. She is a CFA charter holder.

Lori Castillo Martinez
Board Member

Board Member

Lori Castillo Martinez is Vice President of Global Employee Relations and Equality at Salesforce where she has focuses on performance and employee relations management across the globe, as well as driving equality initiatives at the company. Her role was uniquely designed as a way to accelerate and integrate people and equality initiatives at Salesforce.

Previously, Lori spent nearly a decade at a Fortune 5 healthcare company where she created the first enterprise-wide strategy, processes, and systems for key legal, ethics, and regulatory risk areas. Before that, she spent 11 years at an industry-leading semiconductor company working in HR and compliance. Throughout her career, she has made a tangible difference in practice and culture in both the life sciences and tech sectors.

Prashant Yadav, MBA, Ph.D.
Board Member

Board Member

Prashant Yadav is a globally recognized scholar in the area of healthcare operations and supply chains. He is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development, Affiliate Professor of Technology and Operations Management at INSEAD, and Lecturer at Harvard Medical School. He is the author of over 50 peer-reviewed scientific publications and his work has also been featured in prominent print and broadcast media. In addition to his roles in academia and think tank, Prashant serves on the boards of social enterprises and nonprofits working on healthcare supply chains. His previous roles have included: Strategy-Leader Supply Chain at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Vice-President for Healthcare Research at William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan; and Professor of Supply Chain Management at the MIT-Zaragoza International Logistics Program. Prashant is a Chemical Engineer and obtained his Ph.D. in Management Science & Operations Research.