Jill Finlayson is managing director of the CITRIS Innovation Hub, which is dedicated to accelerating research into action. In alignment with the CITRIS mission of IT research in the interest of society, the CITRIS Innovation Hub nurtures innovative research collaborations, next-generation talent and commercialization to hasten technological progress, workforce inclusion and societal impact. Featured programs include the Workforce Innovation Program, the Visiting Innovators Program and EDGE in Tech.
Finlayson was formerly director of the Expanding Diversity and Gender Equity in Tech Initiative at the University of California (EDGE in Tech), co-sponsored by CITRIS and the College of Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. EDGE in Tech supports research and programs to promote the equitable participation of those who are currently underrepresented in the tech industry. Flagship programs include the annual EDGE in Tech Symposium and Athena Awards, which recognize those who embody, encourage and promote the inclusion of women and people of color in technology.
Finlayson has a strong background in strategy, entrepreneurship and mentorship. Prior to her role at CITRIS, she led mentorship and developed and delivered incubator programs for Singularity University Ventures, whose mission is to increase the number of impact-focused startups applying exponential technologies to address humanity’s grand challenges. Finlayson has managed a community of social entrepreneurs at the Skoll Foundation, led marketing at various startups, consulted for the World Bank, Gates Foundation and Ford Foundation, and led the Toys category at eBay where she also sat on the first board of the eBay Foundation, and later authored the book Fundraising on eBay.
Finlayson judges, mentors and coaches founders of global startups, from Singularity University, Cal Big Ideas and other startup competitions. She has mentored impressive technology leaders from the Middle East, North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia and Pakistan through the U.S. State Department’s TechWomen program for more than 10 years. She also participates in delegations and U.S. Embassy trips to deliver innovation, entrepreneurship and mentoring talks and workshops. She is passionate about startups, social entrepreneurship, civic tech, education, inclusive innovation, mentoring, tech for good, impact, ethics and leadership. Finlayson is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley.