Julia Novy-Hildesley is Executive Director of The Lemelson Foundation. Along with a team of advisors and staff, Julia develops and implements the Foundation’s programs and oversees operations.
The Foundation’s work is rooted in the belief that ingenuity is evenly distributed throughout the world and that all people should have the opportunity to realize their creative potential and benefit from the power of technology. Programs in the U.S. and developing countries support invention-led economic, social and environmentally sustainable development. The Foundation works with partners to recognize and celebrate accomplished inventors; provide financial and mentoring support to grassroots inventors; offer hands-on opportunities that enable young people to develop their budding scientific curiosity; and disseminate technologies that improve people’s lives. To date the Foundation has donated or committed more than $150 million in support of its mission.
The unifying theme across Julia’s past and current work is forging multi-stakeholder partnerships to unleash innovation and develop strategies for economic growth that sustain natural resources. She has worked extensively toward these goals with government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and private sector partners in the U.S., Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, Mexico, Peru, Bolivia, Indonesia, India, French Polynesia, and other countries.
Prior to joining the Lemelson Foundation, Julia was the Director of the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Pacific office where she spearheaded the organization’s strategy for marine conservation and public outreach on the west coast of the United States, and implemented WWF’s program to promote certification and eco-labeling of well-managed fisheries in developing countries, in partnership with Unilever, the Dutch transnational corporation. She also taught courses on ocean policy and marine conservation at Stanford University in the Law School and Earth Sciences, Anthropological Sciences, and Human Biology departments.
Prior to joining WWF and teaching at Stanford, Julia conducted research in Madagascar, funded by a Fulbright Scholarship. She analyzed the potential for non-timber forest products to serve as economic alternatives to slash and burn agriculture in the island’s rain forests and published her work in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology. She continued working in this domain for the USAID in Madagascar and the World Bank in Washington D.C.
Julia earned a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degree in International Development from the Institute for Development Studies at Sussex University in the United Kingdom, funded by a Marshall Scholarship. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Human Biology with a Minor in African Studies and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University. Julia serves on the John F. Kennedy School of Government Women’s Leadership Board, the Board of the World Affairs Council of Oregon, the Board of Directors of Grantmakers of Oregon and Southwest Washington, the Board of Advisors of the Anwarul Quadir Foundation and the Editorial Board of Innovations, a journal published by the MIT Press. Her writing has been published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Innovations, and the Far Eastern Economic Review. A Fellow of the Donella Meadows Leadership Fellows Program, Julia was recognized as one of Portland Business Journal’s 2008 “Forty leading business people under the age of 40,” and featured in Oregon Business Magazine’s 2005 “50 Great Leaders for Oregon.” She speaks French, Spanish and Kiswahili.