Pioneer Award

Kathy Odell

Award Sponsor: J.P. Morgan Private Bank

Kathy Odell is CEO of Women’s Economic Ventures, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the economic empowerment of women. Kathy joined WEV as CEO in 2019 after a rewarding career as a technology entrepreneur. As a serial entrepreneur, she has experienced firsthand the challenges of operating a small business, and the need to educate the public on the critical role such firms play in creating and sustaining vibrant local economies. Kathy is personally committed to advancing women’s entrepreneurship as a mentor to female entrepreneurs and as an angel investor.

Kathy began her entrepreneurial career in 1985 as co-founder of Medical Concepts, which over a five-year period became the world’s leading designer and manufacturer of video systems for minimally invasive surgery, resulting in its acquisition by Karl Storz Endoscopy, a market leader in rigid endoscopy. Following the acquisition, Kathy served the Storz organization as Managing Director of Karl Storz Imaging and President of Karl Storz Veterinary Endoscopy America until 2000, when she elected to return to the entrepreneurial realm.

From 2002 to 2008, Kathy served as CEO of Inogen, a Goleta-based manufacturer of advanced therapy devices for treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. During Kathy’s tenure, Inogen received more than $53 million in venture capital. Today Inogen is a public company with a $1 billion market cap.

From 1998 to 2012, Kathy was a director of Pacific Capital Bancorp, where she served as Chair of the Compensation Committee and as a member of the Enterprise Risk and Governance committees.

Kathy currently serves as a board member of the UCSB Economic Forecast Project and the Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce, and as a Managing Director of Annovium Products. She is a former board member of Pointe Conception Medical (sold to Arthrex) and RVM Scientific (sold to Agilent Technologies).

Kathy is a graduate of Stanford University. She resides in Santa Barbara with her husband, Charles (Chuck) Bischof. They are the parents of four sons.