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The connection between two individuals is a powerful agent for social change.

Co-Founder of Kiva, the microlending site, and Author of Clay Water Brick

Jessica Jackley | Co-Founder of Kiva, the microlending site, and Author of Clay Water Brick
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Higher Love | Jessica Jackley & Reza Aslan | TEDxStanford

Lavin Exclusive Speaker

You can do good and do well at the same time. Just ask JESSICA JACKLEY, founder of KIVA, the world’s most successful microlending site. Praised by the likes of Oprah and Bill Clinton, Jackley champions diverse skill sets, finding meaning in your work, and dreaming big. On stage, Jackley delivers an upbeat and enduring message: you can synthesize your disparate skills to create a meaningful life and career.

“Clay Water Brick is a tremendously inspiring read. Jessica Jackley, the virtuoso cofounder of the revolutionary micro-lending platform Kiva, shares uplifting stories and compelling lessons on entrepreneurship, resilience, and character.”— Adam Grant, author of Give and Take

Jessica Jackley is a Founder and former Chief Marketing Officer of KIVA, the world’s first peer to peer microlending website. KIVA lets users lend as little as $25 to aspiring entrepreneurs around the globe, providing affordable capital for them to start or expand microenterprises. Named one of the top ideas of the year by The New York Times Magazine, and praised by Oprah, Bill Clinton, and countless others, KIVA is one of the fastest-growing social benefit websites in history and has, since its inception, raised over $1 billion for aspiring entrepreneurs across 206 countries. Jackley was also named by Forbes as one of 5 rising stars in Healthcare, Education, and the Environment. She is the author of the book Clay Water Brick: Finding Inspiration from Entrepreneurs Who Do the Most with the Least, which the Financial Times called “so thoroughly well meaning and engagingly put it is too magnetic to put down.”

Jackley first saw the power and dignity of microfinance while working in East Africa with a microenterprise non-profit. Convinced that social change happens across all sectors, Jackley has worked in public, nonprofit, and private organizations including the Stanford Center for Social Innovation, Amazon.com, Potentia Media and many others. Jackley is the recipient of the Symons Innovator Award, which recognizes the importance of women’s participation in technology innovation and business.

Jackley was also a founder and CEO of ProFounder, which joined forces with GOOD to create innovative tools and experiences for entrepreneurs to crowdfund. She is currently an independent consultant and investor with the Collaborative Fund, and recently served as Walt Disney Imagineering’s first Entrepreneur-in-Residence, focusing on projects related to corporate citizenship, social impact, and happiness.

Jackley served as a Visiting Practitioner at Stanford’s Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society. She has taught Entrepreneurial Design for Social Change at Drew University and Global Entrepreneurship at the Marshall School of Business at USC. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leader, and serves as an active board member or advisor for several nonprofit organizations including Habitat for Humanity.


Thank you for bringing Jessica Jackley to us. We were so thrilled with Jessica’s first appearance that we asked her to attend each of our events in a multi-city roadshow, totaling four appearances. Each time, Jessica delighted our audience with her wit, charm and compelling story-telling ability. We received many compliments about Jessica’s presentation from our attendees, and many said that “Jessica was an unexpected but relevant addition to our agenda.” After her talk at each event our attendees lined up to take photos and ask questions of Jessica – which she happily obliged to do! Jessica received 5 out of 5 for both content and delivery from everyone who rated her! Jessica is a true pleasure to work with!


Thank you for gracing us with your presence during Stetson University’s Values Day. Your story is the perfect example of following one’s passion—and following one’s heart. Your contribution to our discussions was well received and inspired us all to think more deeply about our individual and university commitments.

Stetson University

Speech Topics

Doing the Most With the LeastInspiration and Wisdom from the World’s Unexpected Entrepreneurs

What do brick makers, basket weavers, farmers, seamstresses, and so many other hardworking entrepreneurs have to teach us about resilience, hope, resourcefulness, and purpose? And how can these incredible individuals teach our organizations—from nonprofits to small businesses to the Fortune 500s—to foster creativity, manage risk, and rapidly innovate? Highlighting stories and lessons from her recent book Clay Water Brick, Jackley presents a powerful keynote that proposes new, unique business wisdom and reframes existing best practices in atypical, thought-provoking ways. Bright, energetic, and unapologetically optimistic, Jackley challenges us to embrace entrepreneurship as a powerful force for change in the world.

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Why Kiva WorkedLessons From Founding a $1B Mission-Driven Venture

Kiva is one of the fastest-growing, most successful social ventures in history. Since its founding, Kiva has facilitated over $850M in loans to entrepreneurs in the world’s poorest communities, connecting people across 216 countries. And it continues to grow. In the for-profit world, $1B companies are often called “unicorns”—Jackley is one of only a handful of people in the country who can speak to the experience of starting a “unicorn” in the social sector. She shares the inspiring, circuitous, and unlikely story of Kiva’s founding, its hyper-rapid growth, and how she navigated the inevitable twists and turns along the path to success. In this inspiring keynote, audiences learn everything from harnessing the power of social media for social change, to embracing radical transparency, to navigating rapid growth without losing sight of your core values.

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Designing a Meaningful LifePursuing Social Entrepreneurship as a Career

In this talk, Jessica Jackley shares the inspirational path that led her, just after graduation, to create Kiva. It’s a story of unorthodox beginnings, surprising growth, and the unprecedented social change that has revolutionized a worldwide microlending movement. Jackley drew on an unlikely background—studying philosophy and art; seeing microfinance firsthand in Africa; earning an MBA while launching Kiva—to become one of the world’s leading female entrepreneurs. And though Kiva’s successes can be measured in many ways, Jackley reminds students that Kiva’s most important contribution has been to the thousands of lenders and borrowers who use the site. This connection, based on dignity and respect, is crucial in whatever you dedicate yourself to.

Enthusiastic, grounded, and very relatable, Jackley helps students realize that they, too, can spend their lives doing meaningful work. She shows them how to synthesize their skills to do what they love, design an extraordinary career, and, most importantly, build a truly meaningful life by working entrepreneurially—in any field—in the service of others.

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A Multi-Faith LifeWith Reza Aslan

Join author and award wining social entrepreneur Jessica Jackley and her husband, acclaimed scholar of religions and #1 New York Times best-selling author Reza Aslan, for an intimate chat, as they discuss the ups and downs of raising a multi-faith family. Jackley, a Christian, and Aslan, a Muslim, share the hilarious lessons they have learned negotiating their different backgrounds, dealing with well-intentioned in-laws, raising spiritually-minded kids, and finding common ground in a world mired in religious conflict.

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This Is How It WorksInterfaith Marriage & Family with Reza Aslan and Jessica Jackley

Jessica Jackley was raised a conservative Christian; Reza Aslan, a Muslim. Married with three young sons, and each busy with extraordinary careers inspired by their own faith journeys, Jackley and Aslan’s dynamic interfaith family has been admired and praised by many. While their partnership has been written about in books, and even profiled in mainstream business media as a shining success story, they are now speaking publicly about how they do it. With raw honesty, Jackley and Aslan reveal how their marriage works: emphasizing their shared values, celebrating their different faith stories, and sharing it all in creative, transparent, inspiring ways with their children.

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