The Team

The Team

Left to Right: Jay, Alison, Matthew, Gretchen

Jay Ward – Founder

After taking his girlfriend to more than 160 restaurants in the first two-and-a-half years of their relationship, Jay conceived of the idea for It is his second Internet initiative; in 2006 he co-founded, a locally focused online social and professional networking destination for African Americans. Jay is an experienced technology industry business development executive and attorney. He ran the Silicon Valley office of a TPG and Jerusalem Global Bank funded global early stage venture capital firm, and has worked for or advised Oracle, Twitter, Cisco, RingCentral, and numerous startup enterprises. Jay founded the Black Technology Attorneys Group on LinkedIn and co-founded the Internet Business Development Forum. He is a graduate of Williams College and Harvard Law School, where he was President of the school’s student government. He also has a certificate from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in Business Strategy and Organization. In his free time Jay likes to collect wine, sail, ski, golf, attend the theater, and dine out more than he should.

Alison Biggar – Writer

Alison is an editor and writer with more than 20 years experience in magazine and newspaper journalism, including seven years as editor of the San Francisco Chronicle Magazine, where she oversaw a team of designers, photographers and writers. Since 2009 she has been a freelance writer and editor for various websites, and now concentrates her energies on nonprofits, including the American Society on Aging and the Alzheimer’s Association. As an amateur chef who loves cooking for her family and friends, she may know her way around a coq au vin, but would often prefer to dine out. Alison is responsible for the voice of and thoroughly enjoys the required research.

Matthew Alan Kane – Developer

Matthew has been focused on creating satisfying user experiences since the dawn of the personal computer. He designed, programmed, composed music and created sound effects for the original graphic adventure games at the Lucasfilm Games Division (LucasArts), worked at Lawrence Berkeley Labs developing the front-end control software for the Superconducting Super Collider, and created speech recognition software to help kids learn to read while at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute. Restaurants run in his blood too, as while growing up in Tucson his father owned The Tack Room, a Mobil Travel Guide Five Star Award winning fine-dining establishment, and his sister now runs The Coronet, a brasserie which was recently selected as the #1 restaurant in Tucson by USA Today. In his very limited free time Matthew enjoys golf, barefoot hiking with his puppy, pétanque, and playing the piano.

Gretchen McDougall – Designer

Gretchen, after more than 30 years in advertising and design, (most recently as VP and Design Director of the Retail, Promotions, and Merchandising arm of Young & Rubicam SF) has experience in content creation, graphic design, production, and web design and development for both local and national clients. Now an independent professional, she divides her time between the non-profits dear to her heart and Silicon Valley start ups. Most Romantic Table resonates for her because her own memory of being proposed to is dominated, not by the essence of the moment, but by the very loud man at the next table.