Silvia Mah


Silvia Mah is the director of the Center for Peace & Commerce at the University of San Diego, to focus on accelerating social innovation in the region.

Dr. Silvia Mah, PhD, MBA, is a leading advocate for diverse founders to obtain the resources and funding deserving of transformational change; especially around empowering women-owned & diverse businesses on a global level. Her mission is to promote, nurture, and invest in transformational startups that allow women & diverse founders to excel around the world.

 Through her work, Dr. Mah has identified challenges unique to female entrepreneurs and underserved founders.  To address these challenges, she has created a unique combination of supportive endeavors to build strong innovation ecosystems, from university programs to inclusive opportunities for women. Dr. Mah is the former President & COO of Connect w/ San Diego Venture Group and a founding partner of Ad Astra Ventures, a startup accelerator & venture fund that funds high growth female-led startups and accelerates their momentum. Dr. Mah also is the founder of Stella Labs, an accelerator program for women-owned businesses; founding member of Stella Angels, an angel investment group; Investment Committee member of Next Wave Impact, a social impact venture fund; and Advisory Board member of Hera Hub, a supportive women-focused international coworking community. Her portfolio of angel investments, totaling over 30, using a specific gender lens, includes: Antiva Biosciences, The Sash Bag, Aquacycl, Uqora, Vivid Genomics, Tag-it, Lab Fellows & Urban Translations. All have female founders or person of color on their leadership team.

 Dr. Mah’s mission is to create more examples of successful women entrepreneurs for future generations, and educate and develop new angel investors. Through financial investment, she believes women can be the catalyst to creating examples of successful women entrepreneurs for future generations.

 Dr. Mah’s own success includes producing a globally-recognized podcast, She Invests!, highlighting the investment journeys of female angel investors and venture capitalists; serving for 3 years as the Student Programs Diversity Director at the Office of Innovation and Commercialization’s The Basement, a technology accelerator for undergraduate startups at the University of San Diego. Dr. Mah has also had previous roles as a Commercialization Analyst at the von Liebig Center for Entrepreneurism and Technology Advancement – UC San Diego, Director of the Teams in Engineering Service program at the Jacobs School of Engineering, and an Instructor to over 200 students on social entrepreneurship, project management, and leadership.

 Dr. Mah holds a Ph.D. in Marine Molecular Biology from UC San Diego Scripps Institution of Oceanography, an M.B.A. from UC San Diego Rady School of Management, and a B.S. in Biology with Honors from Pepperdine University.

 When not working, Dr. Mah enjoys beach days & Disneyland with her husband and 3 children in San Diego. Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, Dr. Mah believes in integrating family and work to create a lifestyle that serves both with a strong cup of integrity.