Alumni Spotlight – Dana Ledyard

Dana LedyardDana Ledyard, MBA 12, has always valued the importance of having a social impact. This value stems from three main influences in her life.

As the daughter of two Peace Corps volunteers, Dana grew up with the idea that service is both incredibly important and an expectation. Second, a generous undergraduate scholarship led her to explore ways to “pay it forward” for future generations. Third, the “Leave no Trace” philosophy has instilled in her the idea of leaving a place better than when you arrived.

“I see my career in the social sector as trying to achieve that philosophy, even if on a relatively small scale” says Dana. Her current role as Managing Director of Girls Who Code (GWC) touches on all these values. GWC’s mission is to close the gender gap in the tech sector. They aim to do this by providing

Image from Girls Who Code Facebook page

high-impact computer science education programs to middle and high school girls. GWC partners with leading technology companies like Twitter, Intel, and eBay to host summer programs that provide students an incredibly valuable education and the opportunity to experience life at a tech company. After the 2013 program, 95% of GWC students indicated they were definitely or more likely to major in computer science. These kinds of outcomes are “a huge win for us as we look to build the pipeline of women pursuing technical careers,” says Dana.

How did Haas factor into her career? She explains, “I knew I wanted to attend a top-tier business school and complete a ‘general’ MBA degree. I chose Haas in large part due to the social impact resources available on campus such as the Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership (CNPL) and Center for Responsible Business.”

Two specific opportunities came through CNPL that directly furthered Dana’s interests in technology and social impact. After her first year, Dana interned with the Salesforce Foundation and created a dashboard that enabled them to track the different ways they were working to drive impact. She notes, “it was fascinating to see how a large tech company was thinking about impact and using metrics to inform their strategy.” She also took Social Sector Solutions and worked with TechSoup Global. TechSoup asked the consulting team to map out a data strategy, which proved to be an involved business challenge. That project provided great exposure to a nonprofit working at the intersection of technology and social change.

Her words of wisdom for current Haas students?

“Through initiatives like GSVC and Net Impact, and internships at and the Salesforce Foundation, I made great connections with classmates and professionals in my field and got a great deal of hands on learning that supplemented the MBA coursework. So make sure to take advantage of opportunities that come up outside the classroom!”


One thought on “Alumni Spotlight – Dana Ledyard

  1. Congratulations, Dana. Y-SF certainly benefited from your input through your Board Fellows project at Y-SF and we’re happy to watch your trajectory. The YMCA’s program impact work continues from strength to strength with our continued partnership with the Haas School’s Board Fellow and Social Sector Solutions opportunities.

    Roxanne Richards, Association Board Chair Y-SF

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