Cali Harris

Program Design & Leadership Development

Hi! I’m Cali. I'm founder of North Star Rising, a leadership development company.

I bring a coaching mindset and strategist’s vision to my work. I'm trained as a social scientist, experienced in startups and entrepreneurship, and have crafted a career that spans community development, program design, partnerships, and communications.

For nearly 8 years, I shaped partnerships and ecosystem development programs for Techstars. I've also designed programs for a top-ranking university, a global marke…

Cali Harris



  • North Star Rising

    North Star Rising


    Oct 2020 - Present

    North Star Rising is a values-based leadership development company that supports entrepreneurs and leaders to develop clarity and conviction in their leadership. I offer individual coaching, group coaching, facilitation, education, and program design.

    • I am an International Coaching Federation-certified coach, with a specialty in somatics and presence-based coaching for entrepreneurial leaders.
    • Facilitated 300+ CxOs and entrepreneurs in peer group experiences.
  • Saoradh Enterprise Partners

    Saoradh Enterprise Partners

    Principal of SEP Community, Coach-in-Residence

    Apr 2021 - Jun 2023

    Saoradh Enterprise Partners (SEP) is a cleantech venture capital and research firm based in Boulder, Colorado. SEP partners with innovators, entrepreneurs, and corporations to find solutions at the magical intersection of science (what’s possible), finance (what’s bankable), industry (what’s needed), and planet (what matters). Learn more at

    • Saoradh Enterprise Partners is a cleantech venture capital firm with an in-house research platform that brings a new approach to capturing valuable technologies and building companies.
    • I work with Saoradh as a coach-in-residence to its portfolio companies, as well as leadership & community development strategy for the firm.
  • Techstars


    Senior Director, Community/Ecosystem Development

    Jan 2020 - Nov 2020

    The worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed.

    • Skills: Ecosystem Management · Operations Management · Relationship Development · Leadership Development · Community Management
  • Techstars


    Director, Community/Ecosystem Development

    May 2018 - Dec 2019

    The worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed.

    • Techstars is the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed. More info:
    • In this role, I work alongside the leaders of emerging startup communities to help them grow and sustain vibrant startup economies. More here:
    • The Techstars Startup Ecosystem Development program is an eight-week to three-year program that leverages Techstars knowledge, experience and network to develop and scale a local startup community and support a self-sustaining coalition of founders, innovators, investors, government, and more who are passionate about their community.
    • Experience: Entrepreneurial ecosystem, startup community, networks, mentorship, community leader, storytelling
  • University of Colorado Boulder

    University of Colorado Boulder

    Managing Director, Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Design at Leeds School of Business

    Aug 2016 - Nov 2017

    As the flagship university of the state of Colorado, CU Boulder is a dynamic community of scholars and learners situated on one of the most spectacular college campuses in the country.

    • Responsible for program strategy & development of a new entrepreneurship & innovation initiative
    • Developed relationships with civic, business, education, and startup leaders in the Boulder and Denver Metro regions in order to support the initiative
    • Generated entrepreneurial mindset in students by mentoring undergrad & graduate student entrepreneurs (pitch coaching, fundraising strategy, finding mentors, effective networking, strategic partnerships)
    • Increased co-curricular activities & support for entrepreneurship & innovation activities, especially for MBA students
    • Served as ambassador for CU & Leeds brand by moderating panels, participating on panels, speaking at events, and hosting events for the public
    • Increased Leeds engagement with industry & startup community through running career treks, matching students to internships and career opportunities, and inviting industry experts & leaders to speak in classes and participate in campus events
    • Supported fundraising activities through relationship-building with prospective and current donors
    • Mobilized cross-campus innovation & entrepreneurship programs, including CU New Venture Challenge, Boulder Startup Week, Student Innovation Action Team
    • Laid off due to restructure in the Leeds School of Business.
    • Experience: strategy, program development, capacity building, mentoring, career coaching, innovation, entrepreneurship, tech startups, cross-sector collaboration, operations
  • Techstars


    Director, Partner Operations

    Jan 2013 - Aug 2016

    The worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed.

    • Techstars is the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed. More at:
    • As Director of Partner Operations, I built the strategic operations that supported Techstars' relationships with corporate partners:
    • Developed and managed $2M+ in strategic corporate accounts
    • Scaled partner operations from 7 to 25+ accelerator programs
    • Managed staff, trained colleagues, and worked cross-functionally across internal and external teams
    • High-touch partnership development and consulting approach
    • Designed programs to support corporate partners in building innovation into their own cultures
    • Developed internal and external articles and case studies to highlight partner success
    • Wrote playbooks to maintain high-quality operations
    • Created surveys and feedback mechanisms to measure success of partner operations
    • ---
    • As Director of Founder Resources, I worked closely with our corporate sponsors to connect the resources of corporations to early-stage startups.
    • As Account Manager, I grew and delivered on Techstars' regional and global corporate partnerships & sponsorships.
    • ---
    • Experience: strategic partnerships, business development, team management, tech startups, mentoring, account management, program development, operations
  • KULA Causes, Inc.

    KULA Causes, Inc.

    Director, Communications

    Jul 2011 - Oct 2012

    kula has revolutionized fundraising and cause marketing through its best in class fundraising platform and a shop, earn, and donate ecosystem. kula connects brands to schools, causes, and supporters and turns everyday spending into an easy way to earn and donate money and drive consumer engagement. For businesses who want to engage consumers, kula's cause marketing platform and Shop, Earn, Donate (SED) ecosystem leverages buyers’ values to drive new customer acquisition, spend, and loyalty. kula provides businesses’ cause marketing efforts with an easy, cost-effective, and profitable way to give back to the community, and fosters a sense of corporate social responsibility. Brands earn additional exposure with the potential to increase market share while creating a sense of doing-good within local communities. Businesses have multiple engagement options with kula, from becoming an online merchant to supporting in-store purchase earning to adding KULA as an option for point redemption in loyalty programs. As consumers become more socially conscious and increasingly want to do business with socially responsible companies, having a way for consumers to actively engage and donate through your company can become a competitive advantage. This type of cause marketing is more engaging and compelling for consumers than corporate event sponsorship or charitable donations. For schools and causes, kula takes the friction out of fundraising – no more selling wrapping paper and raffle tickets. Instead, supporters of schools and causes sign up with kula and earn money while they shop, book travel, buy or exchange gift cards, and earn points through loyalty programs. Fundraising management with kula is easy and entirely online. kula wants to make it easier than ever for fundraisers, supporters, and businesses to seamlessly work together to raise money for schools and causes.

    • As Communications Director, I was the KULA storyteller, griot, and conductor of internal and external communications.
    • KULA is an enabling technology company that drives meaningful brand loyalty through charitable giving.
    • From developing editorial style guides, to hiring a public relations firm, to building partnerships, to crafting the foundation for a communications plan, I wore many different hats and worked with a small, passionate, and driven team to start to build a vision from the ground up.
    • Experience: technology startup, social enterprise, cause marketing, B2B marketing, communications development
  • Leopard


    Program Manager

    Oct 2007 - Oct 2009

    • As a project manager, I worked with external clients and the internal creative team to develop B2B marketing collateral--routing projects from brainstorm to delivery. (With a little finesse along the way.)
    • I managed multiple projects at once, handled project statements of work and financial reports, and built meaningful relationships with clients.
    • Experience: project management, B2B marketing, project trafficking
  • Gordon Biersch

    Gordon Biersch

    Sales and Marketing Manager

    Jul 2005 - May 2007

    Chain hangout for house-brewed, German-style beer & a pub menu served in a casual setting.

    • Balancing the line between B2B sales and B2B marketing at this restaurant, I designed new sales programs and cultivated existing programs by developing relationships with local individuals and companies. I created both profitable and charitable relationships for the company.
    • Developed marketing plans for group sales; developed long-term relationships with local and national businesses.
    • Created and tracked sales invoices and profit records.
    • Won 1st place in 27-store, company-wide contest for best overall strategy and execution of a store marketing plan.
    • Experience: B2B and B2C marketing, marketing plan, sales

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