Jill Finlayson is Director of the Women in Technology Initiative at UC, co-sponsored by CITRIS and the Berkeley Engineering Department at UC Berkeley and serving Berkeley, Davis, Santa Cruz, and Merced campuses. WITI@UC supports research and initiatives to promote the equitable participation of women in the tech industry.
WITI 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 Women in Technology Leadership Round Tables to develop sustainable solutions to address the high attrition of women in technology and the Athena Awards to recognize those who embody, encourage, and promote the inclusion of women in technology.
Finlayson has a strong background in strategy, entrepreneurship, and mentorship. Prior to Berkeley, 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 was 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 State Department’s TechWomen program for the past 8+ 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 at Berkeley.