FIBA Announces Leadership Changes

TAMPA – November 6, 2020 – Looking back to last January, the Florida-Israel Business Accelerator (FIBA) team had an outstanding year. It started with bringing nine Israeli start-ups into the FIBA Launch program which concluded in March, just before the lockdown caused by the pandemic. 

FIBA also significantly expanded its activities in Sarasota, Naples, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Palm Beach and Orlando.  In addition, it continued with a successful project with industry partner, Jabil, followed by a strong effort to keep the Israeli and Florida communities engaged by providing content through seven virtual events that attracted more than 1000 guests, including FIBA’s annual event, Innovation Fusion.

The last big project for the year will be a virtual summit in collaboration with the Florida Department of Agriculture showcasing 15 Israeli ag tech companies and leaders from the agricultural industry.

Following the conclusion of the summit on November 19th, Rachel Feinman, FIBA’s Executive Director, for the past three years, will be moving on to a new role with Tampa General Hospital. She’ll assume the position of V.P. of Innovation overseeing all the innovation programs associated with the hospital, including innovation coming from within, and also managing a newly created investment fund.

“We’re excited about Rachel’s new opportunity with one of our key industry partners, Tampa General Hospital, and fully anticipate continuing to collaborate with her in her new role. Under Rachel’s leadership, FIBA brought over thirty Israeli companies into the FIBA program and expanded its network of partners, advisors and investors.  We’re extremely grateful for the energy, ideas and talent she brought to the position”, said Gary Gould, CEO of the Tampa JCCs and Federation and Co-Chair of FIBA, with Sue Schoenbaum.

Building on the momentum of 2020, and in preparation for a promising 2021, the FIBA team will be changing its organizational structure. Rakefet Bachur-Phillips, FIBA’s Director of Marketing and Strategic Partnerships and Pam Miniati, Program Director, who have both been with FIBA since its inception in 2016, have been promoted to Co-Executive Directors, with Bachur-Phillips overseeing planning, marketing and partnerships in Israel and Florida and Miniati overseeing FIBA’s operations, programming and the organization’s portfolio of over 40 companies and network of advisors.

Bachur-Phillips has two decades of creative and strategic marketing experience in Israel, Europe and the U.S. Prior to FIBA she worked at BayCare Health System, the second largest healthcare provider in Florida, where she led marketing campaigns and two hospital openings. Prior to her corporate experience, Bachur-Phillips worked with start-ups in the medical device, design and non-profits industries. She relocated from Israel to Tampa in 2004 with an Israeli start-up.

Miniati has 20 years of experience directing complex organizations and programs in the technology, healthcare and non-profit industries. Prior to FIBA she worked at California-based Neoforma, Inc., a leading provider of supply chain management solutions for hospitals and their suppliers, where she managed all aspects of the alliance relationship with their largest customer and shareholder. Prior to her technology start-up experience, Miniati was a manager at Ernst & Young Health Care Consulting. She started her professional career on Capitol Hill, serving as a legislative correspondent for both a U.S. congressman and U.S. senator.

Bachur-Phillips and Miniati will be joined by Jack Ross, who was FIBA’s Executive Director in 2016-2017 before he transitioned to one of FIBA’s inaugural portfolio companies, StemRad. Ross will be returning to FIBA in a new role, Director of Impact Investing.  In this capacity he will be responsible for connecting FIBA companies with investors as well as developing a FIBA venture fund.

For three years Ross led the operations of StemRad, as its V.P. of North America and then as Chief Operating Officer.  In addition to establishing and managing StemRad’s U.S. subsidiary, Ross led a national awareness campaign regarding the company’s proprietary radiation protection technology among key industry and public sector constituents.  Ross also played an integral role in raising a six million dollar investment round led by Tampa Bay Lightning Chairman and Governor, Jeff Vinik.  Schoenbaum said, “I think the new organizational structure is going to position FIBA to make many important gains this coming year.  Rakefet, Pam and Jack are all stars in every sense of the word.”

The re-united team is eager to make 2021, FIBA’s fifth year of operation, a year focused on partnerships with industry partners and expansion to south, west and east Florida.  The organization will also be emphasizing finding investment dollars for FIBA’s portfolio companies.


About FIBA

The Florida-Israel Business Accelerator (FIBA – pronounced Fee-Bah) is a Florida-based business development and community engagement project established by the Tampa Jewish Community Centers & Federation and supported by the State of Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity, Hillsborough County and the generous support of several community philanthropists.  FIBA provides a soft landing for Israeli tech companies that are ready to expand into the US market. FIBA offers entrepreneurs strategic alignment with corporate partners, facilitates introductions to prospective customer, strategic partners and investors, assists with sales and lead generation activities and encourages the companies to establish a U.S. subsidiary in Florida that is responsible for sales, marketing, tech and customer support throughout North America. 


For more information:

Christina Belchere, Marketing Coordinator:

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