Fellows Network




Julia Novy-Hildesley

Independent, Entrepreneur

Portland, Oregon

Julia’s past and current work is unified by the theme of forging multi-stakeholder partnerships to test new models and extend proven approaches to unleashing innovation in service of balanced, sustainable development.

Julia has had over 15 years’ experience leading organizations, responsible for designing and implementing organizational strategies, market development approaches and metrics of success. Formerly, she was the founding Chief Executive Officer of Washington STEM, a non-profit established by Microsoft, Boeing, Gates Foundation and others, committed to catalyzing improvements in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education throughout Washington state.

Julia served as Executive Director of The Lemelson Foundation, a four hundred million dollar philanthropy, where she partnered with the Board and renown international development leaders to launch the Foundation’s program in the developing world, dedicated to invention, innovation and creative investment strategies for sustainable development. During her tenure, the Foundation doubled its grantmaking, invested in social enterprises in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, expanded its focus on STEM education for under-served youth, established its operations and international team, and secured a permanent headquarters in a LEED Platinum historic building in Portland, Oregon.

Prior to joining The Lemelson Foundation, Julia was founding Director of the World Wildlife Fund’s Pacific Office, where she spearheaded public outreach efforts and partnered with communities in the U.S. and developing countries to apply market-based solutions to environmental challenges.

Julia served as a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University, designing and teaching courses in the Law School, and the Earth Sciences, Anthropology and Human Biology departments. She has conducted research and lived in Madagascar, Tanzania, Bolivia, French Polynesia and other developing countries and consulted for a range of governmental organizations, including the World Bank, USAID and the U.K. Department for International Development.

A Fulbright and Marshall Scholar, Julia earned a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology from Stanford University with a Minor in African Studies. She earned a Master of Philosophy degree in International Development from the Institute for Development Studies at Sussex University in England.

Julia has served on several boards, including the Harvard Women’s Leadership Board, the Board of the World Affairs Council of Oregon, the Editorial Board of MIT’s Innovations Journal, and the Engineering and Technology Management Department at Portland State University. Her writing has been published in Innovations Journal, the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, GOOD magazine, Sustainable Business Oregon, and Far Eastern Economic Review.

Julia was recognized as a distinguished Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2010 and served as a Topic Leader for the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in 2010. She is a Fellow of the Donella Meadows Leadership Fellows program and was selected as one of Portland Business Journal’s 2008 “Forty leading business people under the age of 40,” as well as Oregon Business Magazine’s 2005 “50 Great Leaders for Oregon.”

Julia speaks French, Spanish and Kiswahili. She lives in Portland with her husband, Will, and her two children, Eva and Miles.

Updated January 2013.