Founder, African Diaspora Network and Managing Director, Step Up Silicon Valley.
Almaz Negash is a seasoned business executive and nonprofit leader who believes in the power of individuals to gain economic self-sufficiency through social enterprise development and employment. Born in Eritrea, Negash immigrated to the United States in 1987 and earned her BA from the University of San Francisco and MBA from Golden Gate University. Negash is currently the managing director of Step Up Silicon Valley, a social innovation network and anti-poverty lab focused on increasing economic self-sufficiency through convening, advocating for policy changes, and incubating innovative solutions. Under her leadership, Step Up ideated and incubated the first Pay for Success, a new model for financing social programs in Santa Clara County.
For the last two decades, Negash has sought to improve the quality of life of our communities through local and global partnerships. In 2010, Negash founded the African Diaspora Network (ADN) to inform and engage Africans in the Diaspora and facilitate direct collaboration with social entrepreneurs, innovators, and business leaders to invest in and improve the lives of everyone on the continent. Her greatest gift is her natural ability to bring together individuals from all walks to life to work on something bigger than themselves. Merging business expertise with the empathy built by years of cross-cultural experience in international trade negotiations and her work with heads of state, CEOs of corporations and nonprofit organizations, community leaders, and researchers of renowned educational institutions, Negash has sought to prove that people of different backgrounds and interests can work together to create positive, impactful change in their community.
Negash has made enormous contributions both to her adopted country and to the continent of her childhood. Her rise in Silicon Valley is a statement to her agility. Her Eritrean upbringing and years of living and working in the United States seamlessly complement each other in a place that is vibrant, innovative, and embraces diversity.
Negash is author of an article on the Role of Africans in the Diaspora published in 2013 and contributing author of Awakening Social Responsibility published in 2007. She has written numerous articles on global trade, social and educational issues. Negash received the African Diaspora Bridge Builders Award from the Diaspora African Forum Foundation and the Diaspora African Forum in 2014 for her work with ADN.