Julie Hanna

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Julie Hanna
Photo Julie Hanna - San Francisco.jpg
Born (1965-08-05) August 5, 1965 (age 54)
OccupationExecutive Chairwoman Kiva
Board Member Mozilla Corporation
Board Member Esalen Institute
Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship

Julie Hanna (born August 5, 1965) is an Egyptian-born technologist, entrepreneur, investor and board director. She serves as Executive Chair of the Board of Kiva.,[1] peer-peer lending pioneer and the world's largest crowdlending marketplace for global entrepreneurs. She is a board member of Mozilla Corporation[2] and Esalen Institute and an adviser to X (formerly Google X), Alphabet's Moonshot Factory. She is a Venture Partner at Obvious Ventures.

In May 2015, President Barack Obama named Hanna Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship[3] “to help develop the next generation of entrepreneurs.”

She has been a founding executive of five Silicon Valley technology companies and served as director of strategic technologies at Lotus Development Corporation.

Escaping civil war during Black September in Jordan in 1970, she grew up in America and studied computer science at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Early life and education[edit]

Hanna was born in Sohag, Egypt. She moved with her family to Irbid, Jordan, where they found themselves on the front lines of Black September, the Jordanian civil war. After fleeing a column of tanks firing on her school, the family escaped and made their way to Beirut, Lebanon. Shortly after arrival, the tensions that gave way to what would become the Lebanese civil war peaked. Hanna immigrated to the United States with her family in 1972, originally to New York, eventually settling in Springville, Alabama. She played Little League baseball in the wake of the passage of Title IX, becoming one of the first girls to break the gender barrier in sports.

Hanna graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) with a B.S. in Computer Science. In 2007, she was named Outstanding Alumni by the UAB School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and in 2008, she was named UAB Distinguished Alumni of the Year and was the Graduation Commencement speaker[4] speech republished here[5] where she implored graduates to "be the entrepreneurs of their own life" drawing many parallels between the lessons learned from failure by successful Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and a person's life and career.


In 1992 Julie Hanna worked at Lotus Development in Mountain View, Calif., after their acquisition of cc:Mail where she worked on a next generation product strategy as part of the integration of the groupware firm with Lotus Notes. She joined Silicon Graphics to develop the first web-oriented product line for businesses in 1995 and then was recruited the following year with a group of SGI employees to help James Clark build Healtheon,[6] where she was the founding product manager. In 1997 she joined Portola Communications as founding VP of Product and Marketing, known for its expertise as developer of high performance messaging systems. Portola was acquired[7] and she was instrumental in the negotiations to successfully sell the company which would become Netscape Mail. Hanna was founding VP Products and Marketing at onebox.com,[8] founded by Bill Nguyen, acquired for $850 million in 1999 by Phone.com[9] (later part of Openwave). She became an Entrepreneur-in-Residence[10] at the Mayfield Fund venture firm in 2001 and then founded Scalix,[11] an early commercial open source electronic mail and calendaring software company where she served as chief executive until 2004. She served on the board of directors of Socialtext[12] from 2008 to 2012.

She is a member of the board of Mozilla Corporation and the Esalen Institute and is an adviser and investor to several technology companies, including Lyft, Lending Club, Bonobos, and X (formerly Google X), Alphabet's Moonshot Factory. Hanna is currently a Venture Partner at Obvious Ventures.

Global entrepreneurship and impact[edit]

In May 2015, President Barack Obama named Julie Hanna Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship[13] “to help develop the next generation of entrepreneurs in the U.S. and abroad.”[14]

In May 2009 Hanna joined the board of directors at Kiva, peer-to-peer micro-lending pioneer, whose "mission is to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.” She was appointed Chair of the Board in October of the same year and in May 2014 became Executive Chair of the Board. Since 2005, Kiva has crowdfunded over $1 billion dollars reaching 3M micro-entrepreneurs in 82 countries, at a repayment rate of 97 percent. The Kiva platform has attracted a global community of citizen lenders across 190 countries.[15]

In October 2017 Hanna became Digital Advisory Board Chair for the Girl Effect, a Nike founded social business that utilizes technology and media to help give voice and agency to girls on a mass global scale.

In recognition of her vision and global impact on economic and social progress, Hanna was named the United States Woman Icon of APEC and is a recipient of the 2016 Global Empowerment Award.[16][17]

Hanna served as a member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Humanitarian Response.[18]

Writing and speaking[edit]

Hanna is a frequent speaker and advocate for global entrepreneurship[19] on purpose-driven profit [20] and the democratizing potential of technology to solve some of humanity's greatest challenges.[21][22][23]

Hanna has published a variety of posts as a “LinkedIn Influencer” on LinkedIn. She is co-author, with Reid Hoffman, of "The World's Bank: How Crowdfunding is Disrupting Old Banking", an essay proposing that citizen lending and crowdfunding are transforming traditional banking.

Hanna has been a speaker at TEDx[24] where she spoke candidly about her experience as a war survivor, refugee and immigrant and how this has shaped her life's work.


  1. ^ "Board of Directors". Kiva. Retrieved April 28, 2015.
  2. ^ "Julie Hanna Joins the Mozilla Corporation Board of Directors". The Mozilla Blog.
  3. ^ "Meet President Obama's Entrepreneurship Ambassadors". Wall Street Journal. May 11, 2015. Retrieved May 15, 2015.
  4. ^ "UAB Celebrates First Green & Gold Commencement May 3 at Bartow Arena". April 23, 2008. Retrieved May 12, 2015.
  5. ^ "Be the Entrepreneur of Your Life". LinkedIn. Retrieved May 5, 2015.
  6. ^ Creswell, Julie (February 21, 2000). "What the Heck is Healtheon? Jim Clark set out to build an Internet startup that would revolutionize health care. It took his brainchild, Healtheon/WebMD, four years just to reach infancy. Now even Wall Street thinks it's kinda cute". Fortune Magazine. Retrieved July 1, 2015.
  7. ^ "Netscape goes on buying spree". CNET. April 30, 1997. Retrieved May 5, 2015.
  8. ^ "About Onebox / Team". Onebox.com. Archived from the original on October 6, 1999. Retrieved July 1, 2015.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  9. ^ "Phone.com buys Onebox.com for $850M". CNET. February 14, 2000. Retrieved May 5, 2015.
  10. ^ Santiago, William (January 12, 2003). "Executive Life: On the Inside Track in Venture Capital". The New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved April 27, 2015.
  11. ^ Lohr, Steve (October 26, 2003). "As Silicon Valley Reboots, the Geeks Take Charge". The New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved April 27, 2015.
  12. ^ "Socialtext Elects 20 Year Technology Veteran Julie Hanna Farris to its Board of Directors". PR Newswire. May 15, 2008. Retrieved July 1, 2015.
  13. ^ "Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship". Retrieved May 15, 2015.
  14. ^ "Obama Plugs Entrepreneurs With Democratic Ties as Cuba Opens". May 11, 2015. Retrieved May 15, 2015.
  15. ^ "Kiva gets $3M award from Google to reach the 'overlooked' poor with big ideas". Venture Beat. December 12, 2013. Retrieved May 5, 2015.
  16. ^ "Serial Entrepreneur Julie Hanna wins the Global Empowerment Award 2016 - New Asian Post". www.newasianpost.com.
  17. ^ Siofra Brenna (May 13, 2016). "Asian Women of Achievement Awards honour powerful women". dailymail.co.uk.
  18. ^ "Global Agenda Council on Humanitarian Response 2014-2016". World Economic Forum. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  19. ^ MacBride, Elizabeth. "The Egyptian-Born Immigrant Who Fled A War And Became Obama's Entrepreneurship Ambassador". forbes.com.
  20. ^ Hanna, Julie. "Startups don't need to choose between profit and purpose". wired.co.uk.
  21. ^ "The Next Billion: A Conversation with Kiva Executive Chair Julie Hanna - Computer History Museum". www.computerhistory.org.
  22. ^ "Wired Money Speakers". Wired.com. Wired Magazine. Archived from the original on July 7, 2015. Retrieved July 1, 2015.
  23. ^ "AEO Leadership Forum". Microenterpriseworks.org. Association for Enterprise Opportunity. Retrieved July 1, 2015.
  24. ^ "Bringing Humanity to Business". TED. Retrieved June 9, 2015.