In the spring of 2004, Jessica boarded a plane to Kenya, about to begin a new job doing microenterprise development throughout East Africa. While she was there, Jessica formed powerful connections with entrepreneurs who had started small businesses with just a few hundred dollars, working themselves and their families out of poverty. Jessicas desire to share their stories and allow her friends and family to participate in those stories would inspire the creation of Kiva (www.kiva.org).
Named as one of the Top Ideas of 2006 by the New York Times Magazine, called "revolutionary" by the BBC, and featured on Oprah, the Today Show, and much more, Kiva is the world's first online micro-lending marketplace for the working poor. Kiva lets internet users lend as little as $25 to specific developing world entrepreneurs, providing affordable capital to help them start or expand a small business. Kiva has been one of the fastest-growing social benefit websites in history, with hundreds of thousands of people lending millions of dollars to entrepreneurs in over 50 developing countries.
Jessica has worked in a variety of organizations across the public, nonprofit, and private sectors, including World Vision, Potentia Media, the International Foundation, Amazon.com, and others, and serves as an active nonprofit board member in the Bay Area and internationally. Jessica graduated from the Stanford Graduate School of Business with her MBA in 2007, including Certificates in Public Management and Global Management, and holds a BA in Philosophy and Political Science from Bucknell University.
Jessica is an art lover, poet, trained yoga instructor, and mediocre (but dedicated!) surfer.