Bio

Laura Weidman Powers is the Head of Impact at Echoing Green, a global social innovation fund that discovers emerging social entrepreneurs and invests deeply in the growth of their ideas and leadership. In this role she oversees impact strategy, investments, portfolio support, and the global ecosystem that supports the Echoing Green Fellows. Laura herself was a 2013 Echoing Green Fellow.

Prior to joining Echoing Green, Laura served as Entrepreneur in Residence at New Media Ventures, a nonprofit venture firm that invests in entrepreneurs and activists wrestling with the biggest challenges facing our democracy. At NMV, Laura supported the portfolio of 80+ companies and developed an ongoing portfolio support strategy for the organization.

 

Laura is the co-founder and CEO emerita (2012-2018) of Code2040, a nationally-recognized nonprofit activating, connecting, and mobilizing the largest racial equity community in tech to dismantle the structural barriers that prevent the full participation and leadership of Black and Latinx technologists in the innovation economy. Through events, trainings, early-career programs, and knowledge sharing, Code2040 equips Black and Latinx technologists and their allies with the tools, connections, and care they need to advocate for and achieve racial equity in the tech industry. Laura grew Code2040 from inception to a $7M organization with a staff of 35 partnering with 100+ companies and serving 250+ students and 6,000+ community members annually.

 

In summer 2016, Laura was invited to join the Obama Administration for a six month term as a senior advisor to U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith. At the White House, Laura focused on issues of diversity and inclusion related to ensuring the hiring practices, entrepreneurial ecosystems, and tech products and platforms of the future work for all Americans, particularly those from historically marginalized backgrounds.

Most recently before co-founding Code2040, Laura served as VP of product at a consumer web startup. Prior to that, she directed operations for New York City’s largest public art project and co-founded two organizations in the education space, one nonprofit arts education organization in West Philadelphia that is currently celebrating its 15th year, and one for-profit tutoring company that gave rise to a book.

Laura was the American University of Rome’s first Social Entrepreneur in Residence in 2019, where she originated a course in social entrepreneurship. She is a 2018 Stanford Social Entrepreneur in Residence, and a 2016 New America California Fellow. In 2016, Ebony included her on their Power 100 list, Foreign Policy Magazine gave her a Global Thinker award, and The Root named her one of the 100 Most Influential African Americans. In 2015, Fortune named her one of 10 Female Executives on the Rise and San Francisco Magazine saluted her as one of 37 Soldiers of Social Change. From 2014-2016 Laura sat on the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE) for the US Department of Commerce. Goldman Sachs named her one of the 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs of 2013. She was a 2013 Echoing Green Fellow and a 2013 Stanford Social Innovation Fellow. Her work has been covered by The New York Times, Forbes, NBC, Bloomberg, Fast Company, Inc., NPR, and others.

Laura has a BA cum laude from Harvard College and a JD and an MBA from Stanford University. In fall 2018 she, her husband, and their new baby took 303 days to travel across 11 countries and 48 cities and towns, and then after more than 10 years away Laura finally moved back to her hometown of New York City. 

 

You can find Laura's quick thoughts on Twitter (@laurawp), her longer thoughts on Medium (@laurawp), her management musings on LinkedIn (/in/laurawp), and her personal adventures on Instagram (@lewp).

 

SELECTED ACCOLADES

  • Social Entrepreneur in Residence, Lecturer, American University of Rome (Fall 2018)

  • Stanford Social Entrepreneur in Residence (SEERS) Fellow (Spring 2018)

  • New America CA Fellow (2016-2017)

  • New Profit Accelerator (2016)

  • Ebony Power 100 List (2016)

  • National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, US Department of Commerce (2014-2016)

  • 100 Most Influential African Americans, The Root (2016, 2013)

  • 10 Female Executives on the Rise, Fortune Magazine (2015)

  • 37 Soldiers of Social Change, San Francisco Magazine (2015)

  • Points of Light Civic Accelerator (2014)

  • Echoing Green Fellow (2013)

  • Stanford Social Innovation Fellow (2013)

  • 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs, Goldman Sachs (2013)

  • Aspen Institute Ideas Festival Scholar (2007)

  • StartingBloc Fellow (2006)

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© 2018 by Laura Weidman Powers