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Jessica Jackley      

Co-Founder of Kiva, the Revolutionary Microlending Website

Jessica Jackley is a Founder and former Chief Marketing Officer of KIVA, the world's first peer to peer microlending website. KIVA lets users lend as little as $25 to poor entrepreneurs around the world, providing affordable capital for them to start or expand microenterprises. Named one of the top ideas of 2006 by The New York Times Magazine, and praised by Oprah, Bill Clinton and countless others, KIVA is one of the fastest-growing social benefit websites in history. Jackley was also recently praised by Forbes , named as one of 5 rising stars in Healthcare, Education, and the Environment. Jessica Jackley also stars in a viral 2012 Best Buy television commercial about how her first laptop helped her start KIVA. Jackley is the recipient of the 2012 Symons Innovator Award, which recognizes the importance of women's participation in technology innovation and business.

Since its founding in 2005, KIVA has loaned over $500 million from lenders to entrepreneurs across 206 countries. For all its success, KIVA remains focused on a simple mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty, one person at a time. Jackley was also a founder and CEO of ProFounder, which joined forces with GOOD in 2012 to create innovative tools and experiences for entrepreneurs to crowdfund.

Jackley first saw the power and dignity of microfinance while working in East Africa with a microenterprise non-profit. Convinced that social change happens across all sectors, Jackley has worked in public, nonprofit, and private organizations including the Stanford Center for Social Innovation, Amazon.com, Potentia Media and many others.

Jessica currently serves as a Venture Partner with the Collaborative Fund, focused on investing in creative entrepreneurs who want to change the world through emerging technologies. She is also the director of the board for Habitat for Humanity and is a Visiting Practitioner at Stanford University’s Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society. Also an educator, Jackley was Barer Visiting Fellow at Drew University, taught Global Entrepreneurship at the Marshall School of Business at USC, and lectures frequently at other universities around the country. She holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a BA in Philosophy and Political Science, and serves as an active advisor and board member on several organizations championing women, microfinance, tech, and the arts. Discussing a wide range of timely issues, from economic development to women's empowerment to Web 2.0, she reminds us that, at the heart of social entrepreneurship, the relationships we form with each other and the extent to which we believe in each others' potential are the most powerful forces for positive change.

Jackley has published a book about her entrepreneurial journey, and the lessons learned along the way from entrepreneurs in unexpected places—the goat herders, seamstresses, farmers, and many more.

Speech Topics


KIVA and New Business Thinking: Challenging Common Business Practices

KIVA, launched in 2005, now channels two million dollars every week to entrepreneurs in the world's poorest communities. So, how do you rapidly scale a global company while staying true to core values? In the midst of intense growth, how do you foster innovation and design thinking while managing risk? What business lessons can be learned from goat herders, farmers, and fishermen in the developing world? How do you manage increasingly decentralized teams while maintaining a common purpose? Drawing on her eclectic background—she studied art and philosophy before earning an MBA—Jackley presents powerful new business lessons, reframing best practices in atypical, thought-provoking ways. Bright, energetic, and unapologetically optimistic about the power of business to change the world, Jackley offers a refreshing keynote relevant to any company, from not-for-profits to Fortune 100s.

Using Social Media to Create Social Change

From the beginning, Kiva's presence on the Internet has been extraordinary. Its voice in the blogosphere, the Twitterverse, and in far-reaching pockets of the Internet—anywhere people are online and social—has been bold, clear, and unique. In four years, with zero marketing budget, Jessica Jackley (former Chief Marketing Officer) helped Kiva reach more than 750,000 lenders, 400,000 entrepreneurs, and millions of supporters in over 206 countries. In this idea-packed talk, Jackley delivers expert lessons for any company, in any sector, non-profit and for-profit alike. How do you maximize your social media initiatives, embrace radical transparency, nurture a culture of trust, and inspire co-creation of your product among a wide user base? By facilitating meaningful connections between individuals, Jackley shows us how to build unstoppable web momentum that translates into positive real world action.

Love, Money, and Work: Social Entrepreneurship as a Career (For college audiences)

In this talk, Jessica Jackley shares the inspirational path that led her, just after graduation, to create Kiva. It's a story of unorthodox beginnings, surprising growth, and the unprecedented social change that has revolutionized a worldwide microlending movement. Jackley drew on an unlikely background—studying philosophy and art; seeing microfinance firsthand in Africa; earning an MBA while launching Kiva—to become one of the world's leading female entrepreneurs. And though Kiva's successes can be measured in many ways, Jackley reminds students that Kiva's most important contribution has been in the minds and the hearts of the thousands of lenders and borrowers who use the site. This connection, based on dignity and respect, is crucial in whatever you dedicate yourself to. Whatever you plan to do after graduation, Jackley provides practical, encouraging lessons from her own journey. Enthusiastic, grounded and very relatable, she helps students realize that they, too, can spend their lives doing meaningful work, that they can synthesize their skills to do what they love, and that they can build an extraordinary career—a meaningful life—by helping others.

The Promise and Perils of Social Media (with Reza Aslan)

Reza Aslan and Jessica Jackley know all about the social web's remarkable ability to build communities and incite social change. As the founder of Aslan Media, which is altering perceptions of the Arab world through traditional and online entertainment, Aslan has traced the impact of social media in the Middle East. As the co-founder of KIVA, the world's largest microlending website, Jackley has harnessed the power of one-to-one relationships to triumph over bureaucratic lending models. Together, this husband and wife team explains how social media has irrevocably changed the world, and explores the future of online collaboration. How has social media gone from simple news gathering to revolutionizing the concept of community? What changes must our institutions make—from government to business to education—in order to catch up to our new web-based society? And what can an individual do to ensure that social media reaches its full potential as a force for global change?

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