Balla named new board chair at Rising Tide Capital

Rising Tide Capital, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering entrepreneurs and communities through business development, recently announced the appointment of Aicha Balla as its new chair of the board of directors.

Balla, a vice president at RBC Capital Markets, is the first Black woman to serve in the role. She will replace the outgoing chair, Doug Forrester, who has served the organization since its founding in 2004.

Balla first worked with RTC in 2015. In her new role as board chair, she will work closely with the leadership team to set strategic direction and oversee the organization’s programs and operations. She will also serve as an ambassador for Rising Tide, promoting the organization’s mission to future and existing supporters and investors.

About Rising Tide Capital

Rising Tide Capital is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization headquartered in Jersey City that aims to equip entrepreneurs — especially women of color — to pursue greater economic security and deliver value to their communities.

Rising Tide’s community includes 7,500 entrepreneurs across New Jersey. It now operates in California, Florida, Kansas, Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Texas through partnerships with local nonprofits.

The Community Business Academy is RTC’s signature entrepreneur training program.

“I am thrilled and honored to have been chosen to lead such an important and impactful organization as Rising Tide Capital by continuing to champion its critical work to uplift entrepreneurs and communities,” she said. “For the past eight years, Rising Tide has played such a critical role in my life. I have witnessed firsthand the impact that Rising Tide has on empowering entrepreneurs and creating economic opportunities in our communities — which is nothing short of awe-inspiring.

“I want to thank Alfa Demmellash for trusting me to serve as board chair of her organization and my predecessor, Doug Forrester, for shepherding this wonderful organization for the past 19 years. My goal is to build upon his legacy to help create opportunities for small business owners and entrepreneurs, and I am excited to work with the leadership team to advance the organization’s mission.”

Balla is a seasoned executive with over 20 years of experience in business management and operations, having previously worked at JPMorgan Chase for 18 years in various leadership roles. She also is a longtime supporter of social good organizations such as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Ronald McDonald House Charities, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, World Vision, Plan International, Children International and Save the Children.

Balla first teamed up with Rising Tide in September 2015 as a member of its strategic advisory board and became co-chair in 2016. She was elevated to board member in 2019.

Forrester said she has been instrumental to the organization.

“Aicha has been a critical part of Rising Tide Capital’s recent success,” he said. “Her insight and wisdom have helped deepen and expand our organization’s influence within our home state of New Jersey and nationwide.

“I know her expertise in business and passion for uplifting traditionally marginalized communities by providing them the tools to stake out a future on their own terms will be invaluable to Rising Tide Capital’s future as it continues to grow. I look forward to seeing the organization thrive under her leadership.”