Marta Gazzera Ferro is the President of Starfish Impact, Inc., a philanthropic consulting company founded in 2005. Starfish Impact makes a difference in the greater community by providing philanthropic advisory services to families and grantmaking private and corporate foundations, strategic planning and business consulting services to tax exempt organizations, and corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategic planning and consulting services to corporations who strive to achieve a stronger double or triple bottom line vision.
Marta’s consulting team has deep and broad skill-sets, relationships, and experiences in both the nonprofit and for-profit business arenas as well as in marketing, PR, strategy, fundraising operations, technology, finance and investment due diligence, and brings a “make a difference” passion to all of its tax exempt, corporate and individual/family clients.
Her background includes launching several companies as a founder and key executive including: Pink51, an Internet company and shopping portal with the double social mission of supporting women owned and led businesses and charities that focus on women’s and girl’s economic development; GOLS Soccer, Inc., focused on teaching the love of the game to players of all ages; Skin Haven, Inc., a well known spa in Los Angeles; and Market China, Inc., a marketing company working with Fortune 500 global brands in the People’s Republic of China.
Before Market China, Marta joined Univessence Digital Studios as the Vice President of Strategy and a member of the management team. Her role entailed leading both software licensing deals for the company’s distribution arm in Greater China as well as sourcing and closing M&A deals for the Univessence Network. Other achievements include researching and writing a business plan and white paper on the Interactive Entertainment Industry resulting in further fundraising, developing and managing a sales agent team resulting in interactive marketing and licensing deals with major movie studios and brand companies, and creating and implementing the company’s marketing strategy across all business verticals and including public relations, market research, branding, marketing collateral and business development partnerships.
Prior to Univessence, Marta worked for Goldman, Sachs & Co. in both New York City and Los Angeles in the Investment Management Division. She was a member of the Firm’s Diversity Committee and the Western Region recruiting team for MBA programs. Marta advised founders and executives of private and public companies on their pre and post liquidity event personal investment strategies as well as provided resources to help her private company clients’ with their private equity and initial public offering fundraising strategies. She acted as a conduit to Goldman and external institutional resources including research, private equity funds, investment bankers, attorneys, tax and accounting experts, and angel, venture capital and institutional investors. Marta has passed the Series 7, Series 3, Series 63 and Series 65 exams.
Marta earned her MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management in 1999. She was awarded a Dean’s Fellowship Scholarship as well as a Kauffman Fellowship for Entrepreneurial Leadership. While at the Anderson School, Marta was the Finance Director of the Women’s Business Connection (WBC) and the Co-Director of Finance for Challenge For Charity (C4C), the largest corporate donor to Special Olympics in the State of California. She also worked as a Teaching Associate for the Management Development for Child Care Providers, a Harold Price Center for Entrepreneurial Studies program led by Dr. Alfred E. Osborne. In this capacity, she worked with ten nonprofit childcare agencies in Los Angeles County. Marta was also an Admissions interviewer and was a member of the Anderson Ambassadors Program. During her summer internship, Marta raised private equity for Galaxy Theatres. She also co-authored the following Case Study with David Lewin, Neil Jacoby Professor of Management, Human Resources & Organizational Behavior: David Lewin, Kimberly Harris & Marta Ferro. 1999. “Human Resource Management at Levi Strauss & Company: Techniques or Strategy?”, 23 pp.
Before attending the Anderson School, Marta worked for Town Sports International, Inc. in the Washington, DC corporate office as the Assistant Director of Sales and Marketing. She also continued her research with Dr. Barry Smith, the Chairman of the Psychology Department at the University of Maryland.
Marta graduated Cum Laude from Vassar College with a BA in Psychology and Education. She was awarded the John Iyoya Prize in Education for Creative Skills in Teaching, The Edith Neisser Prize for Excellence in Child Development and Education, and Distinction in her Honors Thesis. Marta achieved an Elementary Education Certification, New York State. She also published five psychophysiology research articles with Dr. Barry Smith and researched and edited his psychology textbook. Marta was the Co-Captain of the Women’s Varsity Soccer Team and was the starting striker forward all four years. She holds Vassar College women’s soccer records for goals scored, assists and total points.
Marta has been extremely active in her community since founding a nonprofit in high school, and specifically in the greater Los Angeles community with multiple nonprofit organizations including her current roles as a Social Venture Partners (SVP-LA) Partner and Liberty Hill Foundation Board Member. She has also founded three giving circles: #SupportingOurSector, GoodAdviseHers and Angeles4ART. Former commitments include serving as the Chairman of the Board of the C5 Youth Foundation of Southern California (formerly the Camp Coca-Cola Foundation) and as a member of the National C5 Youth Foundation Board. She was President of the Step Up Women’s Network Los Angeles Chapter & Board, a Board member of the Eisner Pediatric & Family Medical Center, The Dubnoff Center, and Global Children’s organization, a Fulfillment Fund mentor and a member of the Fulfillment Fund’s Financial Advisory Council for several years. Marta belongs to numerous professional and alumni organizations including Southern California Grantmakers.
When she isn’t working, Marta is usually with her son and husband playing or watching sports, traveling, cooking, hiking, or reading.