Ayan Kishore is an experienced social entrepreneur and leader in technology for social impact and international development. He has a successful record in building and growing tech organizations that have helped millions globally– particularly minorities and the disadvantaged –to learn and secure jobs. As CEO, Kishore is tasked with unlocking opportunities for large-scale systems change and driving innovation through technology to transform how students, jobseekers, and older adults across the globe read, learn, and work through inclusive and equitable access to information. Prior to joining Benetech, Kishore founded and directed a digital social innovation lab at Creative Associates International focused on global literacy and peacebuilding. He served as EVP, Operations and Technology, and helped lead the IPO at Professional Diversity Network (PDN), an organization focused on increasing diversity and inclusion in the American workforce. He also founded and served as CEO for CareerImp, providing career improvement tools for jobseekers and college students to understand and overcome algorithmic biases in recruiting. Since 2008, Kishore has served as the Chairman of the Board for Development Solutions Organization, a volunteer program for top-tier college students and private sector professionals to provide pro bono consulting to racial justice and international development nonprofits. Kishore received a BSS in Computer Engineering from Georgia Tech and an MS in Human-Computer Interaction from Carnegie Mellon University.
Lucy has extensive experience counseling mid-stage to late-stage companies. In 1998, she pioneered the “fractional” general counsel model to address the in-house legal needs of emerging growth companies; and since 1998, she has worked in that capacity in a variety of technology sectors, including pharmaceuticals, therapeutics, interactive media, and mobile applications. Prior to establishing her fractional general counsel model, Lucy served as Vice President, Legal Affairs for a national behavioral managed care company. Before her tenure in the managed care sector, she had been in a general corporate practice with Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison. Lucy is active with the Board of Directors for the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel and is also Chair of the chapter’s Pro Bono Committee. Throughout her career she has devoted her time and expertise to various not-for-profit organizations. Before law school, while working as Deputy Director of the Seventh Step Foundation and, then, as a Research Associate in the San Francisco office of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, she served on the Boards of Directors for both the San Francisco Child Abuse Council and the Center for Applied Local Research. She later served as Director, Outreach and Alliance Development for a non-profit microfinance investment vehicle, which mobilized private capital to provide loans to microfinance institutions in developing countries. Lucy received her baccalaureate degree in psychology from Vassar College, an interdisciplinary master’s degree in education and psychology from Tulane University, and, then, her law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
Tia serves as the VP of Finance and Administration at Benetech. She is responsible for financial reporting and planning, People and Culture, and IT functions for the organization. She brings more than 20 years of experience in the nonprofit arena, working for both public accounting firms and nonprofit organizations. Tia has a passion for accounting and streamlining processes to help reduce costs and improve efficiency. Before coming to Benetech, Tia served as the financial leader at various nonprofits including the Stimson Center, National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), and the American Institute in Taiwan. Tia spent the first half of her career working at CPA firms whose focus was on nonprofit and government organizations. Tia holds a B.S. in Accounting and Information Systems and a B.S. in Management from Virginia Tech. She also holds a Master of Business Administration from Longwood University.
Matt leads Benetech’s Technology Group which includes engineering, product and user experience. Matt is a seasoned tech executive with a 16-year track record of building successful products for consumers and enterprise customers around the world. Prior to joining Benetech, Matt served as VP of Product at Rosetta Stone, where he oversaw the development of an immersive language learning platform that has helped millions of learners worldwide. He has also held senior product and executive positions at leading startups and public companies, including TripAdvisor and Microsoft. Matt is deeply committed to using technology as a driver of innovation and transforming user experiences. In his free time, Matt enjoys spending time with his family, reading, and exploring the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
Aaron Firestone is an experienced Business Development executive. At Benetech, Aaron is responsible for developing and implementing strategic fundraising priorities, enabling Benetech to scale impact in existing and new areas of work. Prior to Benetech, Aaron held marketing and program director roles at various environmental nonprofits. Aaron earned an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, where he focused on social enterprise and sustainable business, and he holds a B.A. in psychology from Swarthmore College. Aaron is passionate about harnessing new business models to drive social impact. In his free time, Aaron enjoys gardening, woodworking, and playing in the ocean with his family.
Lisa oversees outreach, community, and advocacy work for Benetech’s Bookshare initiative. Lisa is an expert on special education policy and law, inclusion, and family and school collaboration, especially as it relates to accessible educational materials. She has a PhD in Special Education and Policy from UC Berkeley and San Francisco State University as well as a MA in Special Education from Santa Clara University.
Michael Johnson is a seasoned executive with almost 40 years of experience in the technology, publishing, and education markets. Michael speaks regularly around the world on the need for content that is Born Accessible, meaning designed from the beginning in digital formats that are compatible with all key book reading platforms and accessibility features. Michael also works directly with the publishing industry to implement Benetech’s Global Certified Accessible program which empowers organizations to create, distribute, sell and offer fully accessible ebooks. He fervently believes in the importance of providing equal access to written information for people with disabilities and is using his long-standing relationships in the publishing industry to lead to systematic change.
Tanya brings over two decades of Human Resources expertise to her role at Benetech. Her extensive experience spans both private and non-profit sectors, with a particular focus on organizations dedicated to aiding individuals with disabilities. Tanya is deeply committed to creating an inclusive and supportive workplace environment for all staff. She has traveled extensively around the world and throughout the US, which has reinforced her firm belief in promoting diversity and fostering global perspectives. Tanya holds a Bachelor’s in Business Administration and a Master’s in Human Resources and Labor Relations. She enjoys outdoor activities and spending time with her family and friends.
Mario is a mission-driven marketer with over 20 years of experience helping teams to create impact. At Benetech, he leads product marketing, user growth, and loyalty, leveraging data and customer insights to design and execute campaigns. Prior to Benetech, he worked as a brand strategist for B2B and B2C tech startups and Fortune 500 clients. Mario has a Master in Public Administration from Baruch College, a Master in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago, and a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Chicago.
Carrie manages internal and external communications to amplify Benetech’s thought leadership and impact. With over 20 years of marketing and communications experience in the technology sector, Carrie has a proven track record for transforming impact programs and cultures. Previously, Carrie served as SVP and Head of Emerging Technologies at Hotwire PR and ran her own consulting group serving women-led companies. As VP of Marketing at TechShop, she collaborated on initiatives with The White House and major brands such as GE, Ford, and Intel. She launched her career in Silicon Valley working at Sun Microsystems and public relations firm Burson-Marsteller. Carrie is a champion for women in technology and STEAM education; she is passionate about building community engagement through partnerships and advocacy. Carrie graduated from Michigan State University and studied at the University of London. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband, two boys and German Shepherd, Freyja.
Charles has over 25 years’ accessibility development experience and has been a pioneer in accessible product development since 1993. Charles currently is an active member of multiple W3C Standards working groups. Charles is the technical architect of our new Global Certified Accessible (GCA) initiative at Benetech to certify publisher content as conforming to the EPUB Accessibility Specification. Charles has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.
Katy is a dedicated, client-focused project manager with over 10 years of experience working with SaaS web-based applications in digital and traditional publishing. At Benetech, she is responsible for defining the product strategy and roadmap, gathering and documenting product requirements and user stories for multiple, large-scale projects. She manages the products for Bookshare U.S., Bookshare International, data processing and reporting, and U.S. higher education initiatives. Katy is a seasoned book industry professional, previously working for Independent Publishers Group, INscribe Digital, and Borders Group Inc. In addition to her role at Benetech, Katy is the President of the non-profit Bay Area Women in Publishing and serves on the Alameda City Commission on Persons with Disabilities.