We believe in the power of community.

We're building a dream team of talented, inquisitive, and kind-hearted people who want to create meaningful, magical work.


Founder

Payam Salehi

Growing up in an immigrant family, I’ve always craved a greater sense of purpose and belonging. I’ve found I feel most fulfilled and energized when I’m creating spaces for people to share their talents and support one another to overcome challenges and pursue their dreams.

Outside of SoulFriends, I serve as an Advisor to mRelief, a Y-Combinator backed startup that is transforming the way individuals access social services.

I graduated from USC with a BS in Business Administration and an emphasis in Entrepreneurship.

Myers–Briggs Personality: INFJ
Favorite Book: Anam Cara by John O'Donohue ("Anam Cara" is an old gaelic phrase that translates to "Soul Friends")

Our Advisors

Mark Chavez,
Former CIO, Salesforce

Part of the original engineering team at ExpertCity (acquired by Citrix).

Currently building a cloud-free privacy technology platform.

Alka Joshi, Author of the New York Times Bestseller, The Henna Artist

Born in India, Alka has lived in the U.S. since the age of nine.

She graduated from Stanford University and worked in the fields of advertising and PR before obtaining her MFA in Creative Writing at the age of 53.

Her debut novel, The Henna Artist, was a NYT Bestseller, a Reese Witherspoon Book Pick, and is being adapted into a TV series.

Chas Edwards, Co-Founder & President, Pop-Up Magazine Productions

Pop-Up Magazine Productions publishes The California Sunday Magazine and the touring live magazine show, Pop-Up Magazine.

Previously, Chas was the Co-founder at Federated Media and Chief Revenue Officer at Digg.

Faith Adiele, Award-Winning Author & Writing Professor

An award-winning author, professor, and speaker who was named one of Marie Claire magazine’s “5 Women to Learn From."

Her memoir Meeting Faith, chronicles her journey dropping out of Harvard and ordaining as Thailand’s first Black Buddhist nun.

She’s the host of African Book Club at San Francisco’s Museum of the African Diaspora, and her work has been featured in places such as NPR, the Oprah Magazine, Huffington Post and soon, HBO Max.

David Ibsen, Advisor to Startup Founders & CEOs

Has worked as a business strategist and advisor to Founders & CEOs of over 200 emerging companies and established brands, including CEOs of Recode, Fitbit, True Ventures, Autodesk, and more.

(In Memoriam) 🖤


Milicent Johnson, San Francisco Planning Commissioner

Deep background in forming partnerships across private, nonprofit, and government sector to improve SF communities.

Co-wrote “SF Gives Corporate Philanthropy Playbook.”

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