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Who we are

Paul Donald, Founder and President

A veteran of the graphic design and magazine publishing industries, Paul served as Creative Director for Sunset magazine prior to founding Branch in 2005. Earlier in his career, working in New York and then San Francisco, he helped craft the look and feel for such magazines as Spy, Wired, The Industry Standard, and 7x7 San Francisco. He served as a staff designer for Alexander Isley Design; other clients included Chronicle Books and the Long Now Foundation, among others.

Despite his big-city experience, Paul is a Midwesterner at heart – he grew up in small-town Iowa, and his deep appreciation for nature is a result of the many summers he spent working in area cornfields.

Paul lives in San Francisco’s vibrant Mission District with his wife and young daughter.

Our advisors

Peter S. Crosby

Peter is a social entrepreneur in profit and nonprofit environments with 20 years’ international experience specializing in strategic planning, operations, media and internet technologies. As Founding Partner of AllTogetherNow Consulting, he advises clients such as the James Irvine Foundation, Glide Foundation, CompuMentor, Women’s Technology Cluster,,,,,, Interra Project and Anglican Malaria Project. In 2004, he also Chaired Social Enterprise Alliance’s 5th Gathering. More at

Michael Grossman

Michael is a communications consultant who has spent more than 15 years improving product performance for some of the most respected companies in America. His broadest experience is in magazine publishing, though his clients now include online publishers, retailers, non-profits, and more.

Among his dozens of past and current clients are AARP; Absolute Magazine; Garden Design; Harper’s Bazaar; Kiplinger’s; National Geographic;; O, The Oprah Magazine; ReadyMade; Real Simple; Saveur; Sports Illustrated; and Sunset Magazine.

Michael has also held staff positions including Editor-at-Large of Time Inc.; Partner and Creative Director of Meigher Communications; editorial Design Director of Entertainment Weekly; Art Director of the Magazine Development Group for Time Inc., and others.

Rod Harl

Rod brings 15 years’ business and startup expertise from a variety of experiences, ranging from engineering at a large pharmaceutical company to technology startups. Rod is founder and manager of Silver Beacon Partners, a private investment partnership formed to acquire a single middle-market company. Silver Beacon successfully completed the acquisition of Alene Candles in December 2008, where Rod is President and Manager.

Prior to co-founding SBP, Rod co-founded Brandwise, Inc., a pioneering provider of software to independent retail channels, leading the company’s operations and product management through its growth from 2 to more than 40 employees, including three M&A transactions. Rod has also completed numerous independent projects in a variety of industries and situations ranging from startups to $500MM manufacturers, including extended projects with private-equity giant TPG Capital (formerly Texas Pacific Group), and DEMDACO, a premier provider of home and gift products.

Rod holds Bachelor of Science degrees, Highest Honors, in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Masters of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.

Roberto Vecchiarello

Roberto brings more than 18 years of experience in marketing and general management at major national firms such as Wells Fargo and Charles Schwab. As part of a team that introduced and developed one of the earliest online-banking offerings, he has extensive internet channel and marketing experience along with a traditional marketing and business-development background.

Roberto has senior management experience on a variety of business expansion and new business development efforts including international market development, which included time living in Japan and visiting many parts of the globe.

Born and raised in the Northeast, Roberto is a dedicated follower of Boston sports even after 19 years in the San Francisco Bay Area. He earned his undergraduate degree in Communications from Boston University and an MBA from Golden Gate University.

Tracy Wheeler

Tracy is a marketing professional with more than 20 years’ experience. She has led account and creative teams for brands such as Polo/Ralph Lauren, Gap and Esprit and has expertise in brand management, creative direction, corporate communications and media relations. In addition, Tracy is an aspiring screenwriter whose screenplays have been short-listed for The Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting and The American Zoetrope Screenplay competition.

Tracy currently serves as President of the Board of Southern Exposure, a Bay Area contemporary arts organization. She enjoys creative problem solving and brainstorming, especially over a good meal.

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