Maura O’Neill

Maura O’Neill has focused her life on the audacious goal of a freer, fairer, more prosperous life for all, while stepping on the earth more lightly. And she knows it only happens when usual and unusual suspects come together to forge truly breakthrough solutions. Through her work in the public, private and academic sectors she has created entrepreneurial and public-private solutions for some of the toughest domestic and global problems.

Maura has founded four companies (energy efficiency and curbside recycling, electricity customer info systems and billing, e-commerce and digital textbook platform), served as Chief of Staff in the U.S. Senate, appointed President Obama’s first Chief Innovation Officer, US Agency for International Development ($22 billion Agency budget). Maura co-led the Agency’s major reform initiative as well as oversaw over 600 global public-private partnerships including mobile money; supply chain elimination of ingredients/packaging from virgin forests; clean water and health interventions; gender equity and entrepreneurship.  Maura served on the White House Innovation Cohort assisting the Administration in innovation across the federal government and an official USG representative to many international meetings including COP 15 (climate), G8 Impact Investment Forum, RIO+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development. 

In addition to advising early stage companies and serving as co-lead for the Aspen Institute’s Global Health Ideas Incubator, Maura is a Distinguished Teaching Fellow at the Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley.  She teaches courses in entrepreneurial finance, innovation, and executive leadership. Awards include the Cheit Award for Excellence in Teaching at UC Berkeley and the Greater Seattle Businessperson of the Year.

Maura has a Ph.D from the University of Washington where her research focused on narrow-mindedness and the errors it leads to in science, medicine, business and political decision-making. Maura has M.B.As from UC Berkeley and Columbia University. She also is the founding Vice Chair of the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women, the public charter school featured in the award-winning film, STEP.

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