Leadership

We pride ourselves on the trust developed with our clients through our discretion, integrity and keen judgment. Our team members are most notably distinguished by their professionalism, broad and deep experience, commitment to clients and strong work ethic.

Erica Mannion
Partner and Founder

Erica founded Sapphire in January of 2002. With over 20 years of experience working in/with the financial community, she brings a wide range of experience in working with private and public companies at various stages of their life cycles, ranging in market capitalizations from $40 million to $20 billion. Erica has successfully executed numerous tailored IR programs with a broad range of IR goals. She has extensive experience working with IPO candidate companies and newly public technology companies; creating initial IR programs and establishing Best Practices and infrastructure. She has further distinguished herself by providing her clients with extremely comprehensive investor marketing programs, demonstrating a track record of expanding her client companies’ visibility within the institutional investment community. The majority of her investor relations experience is in technology (sectors: software, security, telecommunications, wireless, semiconductor, semiconductor equipment, and gaming) and renewable energy.

Erica began her investor relations career at Morgen-Walke Associates. Prior to investor relations, Erica worked for several years in investment banking, including the technology group of Cowen & Company, San Francisco where she spent the majority of her time working with management teams preparing to go public or completing secondary offerings. Prior to Cowen & Company, she worked at Kidder Peabody & Company, New York in the public finance group. Her investment banking experience includes equity, debt and financial advisory work.

Erica earned an MBA with a concentration in Finance and Organizational Behavior from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management and a B.A. with a major in finance from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Erica earned a Series 7 license from the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD).

Michael Funari
Partner

Mike has over 15 years of financial advisory and operations experience working with both public and private companies.  Prior to joining Sapphire, Mike spent the past decade with the Technology Investment Banking Group at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.  During his tenure, Mike advised more than 100 public and private companies across both the technology and renewable energy industries, working directly with boards and senior management teams to achieve their strategic and financial goals.  Beyond his significant advisory experience and expertise in messaging, positioning, due diligence and Q&A preparation, Mike has personally led and executed a wide range of transactions, including IPOs, mergers and acquisitions and equity and debt financings. 

Mike earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Tulane University. Mike earned a Series 7 and Series 63 license from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Alicia Nieva-Woodgate 
Managing Director

Alicia Leads Sapphire's Financial Media Efforts.

Alicia Nieva-Woodgate has a substantial track record as a communications professional and provides Sapphire's clients with financial media relations services. She brings over 22 years of deep technology knowledge and experience to the team and is an award winning business writer. Alicia was director of corporate communications for Opsware Inc. where she managed all aspects of the Company's international public relations, media relations, analyst relations, and customer reference programs. She joined Opsware from Mediabolic inc. where she was acting director of corporate communications. Prior to Mediabolic, she served four years as a strategic communications consultant, and a freelance writer, working for publications as diverse as Teen Magazine and Sports Illustrated for Women. Before that she was a director for Phase Two Strategies' B2B services where she headed up the PeopleSoft and Intraspect accounts. She joined the agency from Buzz divine, a divine interVentures Company, where she was part of the media relations team and oversaw international public relations. Prior to joining Buzz divine, Nieva-Woodgate worked at Morgen-Walke Associates (MWA), where she headed up the Technology Press Group for MWA's San Francisco office. She joined from The Financial Relations Board where she worked on clients of varying industries, but found her niche within technology. She was transferred to the Company's San Francisco office to establish and develop a media relations department.

Alicia's public relations career began at Crosby Securities (USA) Inc. as manager of media relations and marketing for North America. Before working in public relations she spent six years at various Wall Street firms, including Drexel, Burnham & Lambert; Kidder, Peabody & Co. and Banco de Investimento Garantia, now part of CSFB.

Nieva-Woodgate majored in History at Fordham University.