Jill Finlayson

Jill Finlayson is 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 UC Berkeley and serving the Berkeley, Davis, Merced and Santa Cruz campuses. The EDGE in Tech Initiative supports research and programs to promote the equitable participation of women in the tech industry.

EDGE in Tech efforts center around advocating the adoption of meaningful diversity metrics by the tech industry; cultivating leadership skills and social acumen among women in engineering and computer science; increasing the visibility of female role models and facilitating mentorship of female students; enhancing awareness of implicit bias and promoting effective interventions, and paving new pathways to technology careers including entrepreneurship. Key initiatives include the EDGE in Tech Leadership Roundtables to develop sustainable solutions to address the high attrition of women in technology and the EDGE in Tech Athena Awards to 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 and accelerator programs for Singularity University Ventures, whose mission is to increase the number of impact-focused startups and to educate, inspire and empower leaders to apply exponential technologies to address humanity’s grand challenges.

Finlayson has years of experience as a strategic leader building online communities, growing thought leadership, and leading marketing and branding for Silicon Valley startups, nonprofits and foundations. She ran the Toys category for five years at eBay, authored the book Fundraising on eBay and sat on the first board of the eBay Foundation. She managed a community of social entrepreneurs at the Skoll Foundation, led marketing at various startups and consulted for the World Bank, Gates Foundation and Ford Foundation.

Finlayson also judges, mentors and coaches founders of global startups at Singularity University, Cal Big Ideas and other university 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 eight years, also participating in their delegation trips to deliver innovation, entrepreneurship and mentoring talks and workshops. She is passionate about social entrepreneurship, open government, civic tech, startups, education, innovation, women, mentoring, tech for good, impact and leadership. Finlayson is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley.

 

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