By Lisa Gordon
Anjou Ahlborn moved from the Midwest to the Bay Area in high school. Now, she can’t imagine living
anywhere else. Despite her young age, she’s already making huge strides to better our community,
including co-founding HackCancer, a campaign team and organization that raised more than
$240,000 in less than 10 weeks for funding local clinical trials and research grants. It’s a feat
that won her the Woman of the Year title for The Leukemia
& Lymphoma Society.
Both of Anjou’s parents were physicians. Her mother is a heart and
lung specialist, and her late father was the Director of Hospice of Contra Costa as well as a
pioneer in critical and hospice care. As a young child, Anjou remembers her parents going out on
the coldest nights in Chicago to provide blankets and medical care to the homeless. In those days,
it wasn’t uncommon for her father to invite Anjou to volunteer side-by-side with him at the
hospital, nursing homes, and homes serving AIDS and cancer patients. This instilled in her the
desire to serve the community in her parents’ honor.
Now, she’s a Senior Account Executive with the tech company FusionStorm, which delivers IT
solutions to companies around the world from start-ups to Fortune 100 businesses. She loves where
she works, who she works for, and who she works with.
Five years ago, Anjou decided to make a New Year’s resolution. She formed a motto to keep her
resolution in check, but that motto ended up becoming a lifetime mantra: “Eat well, live well, do
well.” It was part of the impetus for creating two of her most successful ventures.
One of those ventures is Bamboo Asia, a quick and casual restaurant in the Financial District
that Anjou and her business partner,
Sebastian, started because they felt the Financial District was
missing something flavorful and healthy. It offers a modern Californian take on Asian food,
providing fresh salads, bowls, and rolls from Japan, Vietnam, and India. Bamboo Asia was profitable
in less than a year, and it is now expanding into catering, private events, and happy hour.
With a full-time job at FusionStorm and Bamboo Asia, you’d think Anjou doesn’t have time for
anything else. But in her “spare time,” she works on HackCancer.
“I was out for dinner at 5A5 [Steak Lounge] with some friends when the concept of HackCancer was
formed,” she says. “We thought, ‘how can we leverage all the people we know in the Bay Area? How
can we show that tech can give back?’” She wanted to give “going out” a purpose.
She did that by continuing to throw wildly elaborate, successful parties that also raise money for
charity. It’s hard enough for most people to execute a successful dinner party, but for Anjou, it
seems natural. Through events like Mr/Ms Silicon Valley, Rockstars (the world’s first bitcoin
fundraiser), the White Party, and a Game of Thrones event at The Armory, HackCancer raised more
than any amount in the Bay Area in the history of the Man & Woman of the Year campaign.
Her impressive accomplishments might make someone in her shoes inaccessible, but instead, Anjou is
humble and kind. Everything she does honors her parents’ philosophy to “give outside of herself,”
even adopting a second dog when she thought she might be too busy for one dog in the first place.
(She has a Yorkshire Terrier, Mitzi, and a rescue Pomeranian, Polo.) She’s also a passionate San
Franciscan who loves the Giants (she got to throw out the first pitch at a game in June, and “threw
a strike,” she says with a wink.), the San Francisco Symphony, family dinners, travel, scuba
diving, and snowboarding. When describing what she loves about San Francisco, she says, “The
natural beauty beside the international cosmopolitan vibe tied with the entrepreneurial spirit.
There’s no more perfect place for
me.” We’re glad to have her.