Chief Community Officer, The Circle

“The mountains are calling and I must go.” —John Muir

Kalee Gardella is deeply passionate about supporting company builders and job creators. After a decade-long tech career in the heart of Silicon Valley, she found her “soul work” in community and her forever home at 11,000 feet in the Colorado Rockies.

Born and raised in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, Kalee has always been an entrepreneur at heart. As a child, she hustled the neighborhood with her latest crafted wares and logged her P&L in KidBiz software (on a purple floppy disk, with a PC she built herself from parts with her dad). As a teen, she had at least three part-time jobs for local small businesses at any given time and won multiple state-wide entrepreneurship competitions as president of her high school’s Marketing club. College took her to Northeastern University in Boston, where she studied marketing, communications, and social entrepreneurship and worked for General Electric, EMC, and VMware — all before graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree. 

After graduation, Kalee made the full-time move to Silicon Valley to work for VMware, rising through the ranks in multiple marketing and communications roles. When she caught the itch to jump into the startup scene, she took a full time Head of Marketing position with early stage VC firm Trinity Ventures.

The mountains finally called Kalee and her husband Joe to move from California to Colorado in 2020. To maintain ties to the industry she loved, Kalee founded a consulting firm serving VCs, taking on Founders Circle as one of her very first clients. We eventually convinced Kalee to join us full time as our Partner & Chief Community Officer, focused on serving the hundreds of executives in our private leadership community, The Circle. She lives and breathes our “give to get” ethos, inspiring us to innovate in ways that stay true to the trust and needs of our members. We could not be happier to have her as a part of the Founders Circle family. 

Outside of work, Kalee can be found enjoying her four-season, high-altitude lifestyle – touring the backcountry on a splitboard, climbing trails on a mountain bike, fly-fishing in an alpine lake, or chasing 14er summits with Joe and their dog Kaya.

by Marilu Livermore