Women-focused business accelerator Stella Labs has hired two new employees, Shan Cureton (left) and Christine Lustig (right), and promoted Raven O’Neal (center) to executive director.

Women-focused business accelerator Stella Labs has hired two new employees and promoted Raven O’Neal to executive director. The expanded team will support the organization’s effort to increase the number of successful female-led, funded startups.

A part of the Stella Labs team since 2012, O’Neal previously served as the organization’s marketing director and helped to establish its Launch and Scale programs and annual Women’s Venture Summit.

“I’m passionate about giving women the opportunity to design their own lives,” says O’Neal. “…especially today, at a time when women are realizing they are not each other’s competition and that they should lift each other up. Everyone within the Stella Labs organization, including our alumnae, believe this and fight for this.”

In her nearly eight years with Stella Labs, O’Neal has helped 400 San Diego County women launch or grow a business.

“Raven is a compassionate leader, skilled marketer and connecter who will continue to advance our mission of helping local entrepreneurs gain access to mentoring and funding,” says Dr. Silvia Mah, Stella Labs founder.

New to the team are Shan Cureton and Christine Lustig.

In her new role, Cureton will manage operations and oversee the success of the organization’s signature 12-week Launch and Scale programs. She has valuable business development experience as the CEO of transportation company, Kiddie Commute, where she’s grown $350,000 in revenue and provided 15,000 rides to kids in the greater San Diego area. She’s also worked as an adjunct professor at Southwestern College and as a teaching assistant at her alma mater, San Diego State University.

Lustig will plan and execute Women’s Venture Summit, Stella Labs’ premiere annual conference that attracts more than 350 female founders and investors to San Diego each September. With 15 years of consulting, hospitality, marketing and event experience, Lustig has produced high-quality events for non-profits and corporations. Most notably, she managed local Switchfoot BRO-AM events, including coordinating more than 200 volunteers for a 17,000-person beachfront charity day. Lustig is a graduate of the University of California, San Diego.

“Cureton and Lustig are dynamic, diverse and performance-driven professionals who will have a massive impact on the women business owners we serve,” says Mah. “In addition to being skilled in their respective fields, they’ve been in business for themselves, thus they have the empathy and know-how to serve our community.”

Rounding out the Stella Labs team are Dr. Silvia Mah and April Enriquez. Mah will continue to bring strategic guidance as an active member of the board. Enriquez will continue to discuss gender parity and earn media coverage for San Diego- and Orange County-based startups in her role as director of PR.

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