Speaker: Jennifer Atala – In this session, I talk about how technology can be used to break down socio-cultural barriers between traditionally adverse communities, and how integrated use of technology in traditional industries, particularly in developing economies or within underserved communities, can have the multiplier effect of increased job creation, lowered political and social instability, increased human capital, and increased harmony between communities. I will draw on my experience leading initiatives across the Middle East. Case studies include: Leading investment in and B2B partnership between technology companies in conflict with each other to build trust; Advising the US, Swiss and EU governments and partners (private & nonprofit) in how to catalyze growth and social impact and reach underserved communities in technology entrepreneurship ecosystems and related assessment criteria; leading PPP between MNCs, universities and technology firms to create innovative solutions to grassroots problems.
Jennifer Atala is a global business, strategy and partnerships professional with expertise in technology, financial inclusion, and private sector development in culturally and politically-diverse environments. She has led initiatives in eight countries with the US government, international institutions, SMBs and local organizations. With her consulting practice, she has led and advised clients on entrepreneurship ecosystem building with assessments, project design and partnership initiatives for the US and Swiss governments, international organizations, nonprofits and MNCs in Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Territories. This work specializes in catalyzing impact in economies, bridging the gap in areas of conflict and supporting underserved communities, job creation and integrated problem solving across industry using technology and working in public-private partnership. From 2015-2017, Ms. Atala served as the Senior Technical Advisor on the U.S. Agency for International Development’s private sector competitiveness program in the Palestinian Territories, where she led grant-investment and technical teams across seven industries with a particular focus on technology B2B and ecosystem building. In this role, she accomplished the first pilot deal in the garment sector between companies based in Gaza and Tel Aviv since the 2007 political closure as part of then Secretary Kerry’s initiative, leading her team’s market research, due diligence, negotiations and relationship-building efforts. Prior, she was based in Washington, DC, where she led data analytics consulting projects for the US government and multi-lateral institutions, served as the liaison between USAID’s Civil-Military Office and Office of Transition Initiatives and on the US State Department’s Libya Task Force, and led investment process improvement initiatives within the Financial Institutions Group of the International Finance Corporation. Ms. Atala is a Truman National Security Fellow, certified yoga teacher focused on trauma-affected communities, and graduate of both the University of Chicago and Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. She regularly volunteers as a mentor and judge for startup acceleration programs and is on the Board of Directors for BuildPalestine, a social enterprise aimed at crowd-solving development challenges and mobilizing Palestinian Diaspora. Learn more at www.jenniferatala.com. --- N.B. As of March 4, I will be taking on a position with CrossComm as their Director of Business Development, in addition to continuing my independent projects.