Meet the Team

B U E N A  reshapes company culture.
Learn more about our team, partners, and opportunities.

You’re in good company.


Stephanie “Be” Buelna
Investor, BUENA Founder
2x Founder

  • Named by Business Insider as the “Entrepretraveler”
  • Traveled to over 250 destinations
  • Worked with over 100 brands in tourism and lifstyle through her media companies Lead and TravelBreak
  • Served as an advisory board member in digital marketing for Visit California, the official board of tourism for the State of California
  • Holds a B.A. in Sociology & a Minor in Global Studies from UCLA and has ten years of marketing experience
  • First generation Mexican-American. Native Spanish speaker.
  • Terribly afraid of drowning

Steve Yu
Investor, Interim CFO
UCLA School of Law CFO

  • 2x Bruin graduate who works fervently to bridge the UCLA communities
  • Formerly President of the UCLA Alumni Westside
  • Currently oversees the $70 million budget and 200+ staff as the Assistant Dean of Operations for UCLA Law, a top 15 law school
  • Paid speaker and coach delivering workshops on public speaking and networking
  • Hands-on investor in BUENA advising and acting in matters of Finance and Operations
  • Gave a talk to a crowd of 100 with his fly down once

Richard Palaima
Senior Frontend Engineer

  • Over 15 years of experience as a front-end developer
  • Co-founder of ShopYourLikes at Connexity
  • Developed multiple projects at Connexity, including Hitwise (B2B Facing Merchant Platform)
  • Additional experience in WordPress development
  • Self proclaimed renaissance man. Scientist by education, programmer by trade, artist by nature.

Collin Kennedy
Backend Engineer

  • Developed an Android application at HHMI to analyze macromolecules and nanoparticles for his research’s biochemical purposes
  • Formerly engineering and research at Roche Molecular Systems, Howard Hughes Medical Center, and David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
  • B.S. Biochemistry from UCLA with extensive coursework in Computer Science
  • Spent a summer in Kansas to learn to be a farmer; baffled he never got a return offer

Phoenix Trejo
 Software Developer

  • Holds a B.S. from UCLA in Mathematics
  • Completed a certificate in System’s Analysis through UCLA Extension where he took courses covering Database Systems, Computer Networks, Machine Learning, Android Development, and Software Development Practices
  • Researched solar panels and wrote Python programs to model the effect atmospheric haze had on power output
  • Built 5 apps during his time at UCLA
  • Finally getting “good” at guitar…6 years in

Anmol Jain
Software Developer

  • Founded a startup, Closr, that was part of the StartupUCLA Summer Accelerator
  • Devised an indoor navigation algorithm for one of his startups
  • Former Software Developer for UCLA Radio
  • UCLA B.S. in Computational Mathematics
  • Studied abroad in Rome for a summer
  • Can’t drink coffee because it makes him sleepy

Sarah Lang
Marketing & Business Development Coordinator 

  • Spent nine months part-time while a Senior at UCLA before joining the team full-time.
  • Previous Social Media and Marketing Intern for Abbot Kinney “First Fridays”
  • UCLA B.A. in Sociology
  • Studied International Studies at Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris
  • Former VP of Marketing for Alpha Phi Sorority at UCLA
  • Avid Earth, Wind & Fire Enthusiast

Additional Angel Investors

Tracie Rotter
Partner at GV (Google Ventures)

  • Co-Founded Google Venture’s partnerships practice in 2013, and continues to manage and connect the largest companies in the world with GV’s portfolio
  • #IAmRemarkable Lead and Facilitator at Google. Leading a global initiative to empower women and underrepresented groups
  • Executive Board Member for the CHOC Glass Slipper Guild

Annie Bindler
Google Shopping

  • Global Product Lead at Google Shopping
  • Member of the Bindler Investment Group

Juney Ham
CEO @ Beacon

  • Global Product Lead at Google Shopping
  • Member of the Bindler Investment Group
  • Previously at Expedia, Hired, Airbnb, Pricegrabber, and Connexity
  • Co-founder & CEO at Beacon, a talent solution provider for the modern era
  • SVP of Envestnet, a leading provider of integrated portfolio, practice management, and reporting solutions to financial advisors and institutions

Adam Grenier
Product Growth Executive & Startup Advisor

  • Former Head of Growth Marketing and Innovation at Uber
  • Former Growth EIR @ First Round Capital
  • Growth and Marketing leader currently with Reforge as an EIR running career acceleration programs in Growth, Experimentation and Marketing, and advising startups
  • Served as the VP of Product and Marketing at Lambda School

Ishmael Samuel
CTO of Paragon

  • CTO of Paragon, Y-Combinator Alumni (W20)
  • Founder of Learn to Freelance, empowering one million freelancers, agencies, and founders to run successful businesses
  • Former CEO of CTRL LA, Los Angeles’ premiere software development & staffing agency

Chris Taylor
Partner @ Nomad Ventures

  • Founding partner at Nomad Ventures (Investments include: Cameo, Substack, Clubhouse, Ergatta, Intro, Offsyte, Encore, and Zoe Financial)
  • Early Uber and member of the UberEats founding team
  • Previously SVP of Global Operations at Bird, currently serving as an Advisor 

Rick Silvestrini
VP Marekting @ Reforge

  • Previously Global Marketing Monetization at YouTube
  • Previously CMO at Roblox
  • Portfolio companies include Hipcamp, Reforge, Verto Education, Swimply,

Robin Rothstein
Managing Director and Member of Golden Seeds

  • Member and Managing Director of Golden Seeds, a network of angel investors dedicated to investing in early stage companies that are founded or led by women
  • Global Business Executive and Advisor with more than 25 years of experience
  • Former partner & COO of Taconic Capital Advisors L.P., one of the top 50 U.S. hedge funds, with $10 Billion in Assets under Management
  • Previous CFO to former Chairman of the Export/Import bank
  • Certified Corporate Director
  • Self-taught expert at creating exquisite gift wrapped packages

Jeff Rothstein
Managing Director and Member of Golden Seeds

  • Active Angel and Early Stage Investor
  • Member of Golden Seeds, an angel group dedicated to investing in early stage companies that are primarily founded or led by women
  • Former Broadcast Video Editor
  • Founder of Spotlight Video Productions, providing videography, video editing, production crews, and servicing
  • Was once locked outside a college dorm in Fairbanks, Alaska with bare feet at 20 degrees below freezing

Evan Zimmerman
Founder of Drift Biotechnologies

  • Currently founder of Drift Biotechnologies, a startup making cloud microbial genomics software
  • Invests through Jovono, his personal venture capital firm
  • Law Degree from Berkeley with emphasis in Business & Technology Law
  • Co-founder of Mighty Mug

Amy Smith Montoya

  • Former VP of Finance and CFO that grew into role as President at Real Property Investment Services
  • Executive Director of the John Maxwell Team
  • Principal and Managing Partner at Bella Investment Group
  • Committee Chair for the National Apartment Association
  • Owner and investor in multiple businesses
  • Leadership consultant, team builder, and facilitator

Dimitri Mills
Operations Consultant

  • Focused on employee retention, benefits planning, and financial education
  • Extensive background in human resources, personnel management and operations
  • Passionate about recruiting exceptional talent with diverse backgrounds

Zalman Kravitz

  • Zalman holds an MBA and has over 15 years of experience in Social Impact and Nonprofit management
  • Lecturer, influencer, and thought leader on discourse about values, spirituality, and living well in a modern world
  • Producer of, a weekly online show that meets at the cross-section of innovation, entrepreneurship, and values
  • Zalman provides the BUENA office, allowing the team to keep costs lean