A new talent strategy for the bay

In 2014, Braven launched its founding site in the Bay Area with partners across the region to ensure that all local talent thrives.

Braven – Bay Area Jobs Report (2021)

An Engine of Economic Opportunity

Silicon Valley is is the world’s number one startup ecosystem. Job growth in the Bay is predicted to be 69% higher than job growth across the state, yet local talent is often not filling these open roles.

The tech sector continues to be one of the biggest job markets in the region, but while 26.5% of Silicon Valley identifies as Latinx, only 6% of employees at the top 75% tech firms identify as such.

Braven is proud to be joining partners across the Bay Area who are working to build a strong, local, diverse workforce to power the local economy.

Founding University Partnership

With shared desire to innovate for student success, San José State University (SJSU) became Braven’s founding university partner in 2014. Together Braven and SJSU have successfully empowered 600+ SJSU students toward graduation and career success, and in 2017 we signed a 5-year partnership agreement to ensure the work continues. We plan to serve 250 new Fellows during the 2017-2018 school year.

“Many of our students have spent their time here trying to hide their story because they see it as a liability. After Braven, they realize that their stories — instead of being a detriment — can be an asset. They realize they belong.” – Elaine Collins, Associate Dean, College of Science

Employers fueling a new generation of local leaders

The Bay Area is home to the second highest concentration of Fortune 500 companies, many of which are looking for ways to impact their community, build their employees’ leadership skills, and create more diverse and inclusive workplaces.

Braven offers these local companies opportunities to do all three while also gaining access to rising talent. To date, partnerships in various capacities with LinkedIn, Teach For America, Google, Facebook, Schwab, Yahoo!, and Salesforce have empowered talent of all levels towards strong careers and lives of impact. To learn more about our various partnership opportunities click here.

Bay Area Pipeline Partners

Pipeline partners are K12 organizations and community colleges that encourage their students and alumni to participate in the UNVS 101 SJSU Braven course, adding an additional layer of support to ensure their students persist, graduate, and secure high-quality career-accelerating outcomes. Below are some of our existing partners:

  • Breakthrough Silicon Valley
  • Latino Education Advancement Fund
  • Richmond Promise

To become a pipeline partner, reach out to diana.phuong@bebraven.org. 

The Bay Area Braven Community

Our Fellows, volunteers, employer partners and university partners work together to make this startup hub a region of opportunity for all. In 2019, 88% of our Fellows identified as people of color and 61% as first-generation college students.


of Braven 2019 graduates at SJSU secured a strong first job or entered graduate school within 12 months


of SJSU Braven Fellows completed at least one internship during college compared with 49% of peers nationally


of Braven Fellows are persisting in or have graduated from college

Bay Area Employer Partners

Our employer partners encourage their employees to participate in Braven’s professional development and engagement opportunities, sponsor events and learning experiences, provide access to externship, internship and full-time opportunities, and offer critical financial support.

Anchor Partners:

Adobe employees have volunteered their time, hosted events in-office, and hired SJSU Fellows to be interns and full-time employees.


Deloitte sponsored Mock Interview Nights, treks, and pro bono projects in Chicago and the Bay Area.


Google employees have consistently volunteered as Leadership Coaches since 2016, and several teams have hosted treks networking events for our Fellows across the country.


LinkedIn has hosted networking events, recruited hundreds of volunteers, sponsored our Summit, donated product, and opened up their API, enabling us to track our Fellows’ job success over time. Braven is a proud member of LinkedIn’s Network Gap Coalition.

LinkedIn Social Impact

Salesforce is an anchor partner committed to the idea that the next generation of leaders needs to emerge from everywhere. The company was a seed funder of Braven NYC. They have also hosted student events in NYC, Chicago, and the Bay Area and sponsored the Career Booster nationally.



Keystone Partners:

Charles Schwab employees have volunteered with Braven, collaborated on an innovative pilot, and provided pro-bono consulting.

Charles Schwab

Cisco employees have generously invested their time in Braven through various volunteer opportunities and crowdsourced employee donations to support our Fellows after COVID-19.


PwC supports Braven Bay Area by volunteering as coaches, mentors, and mock interviewers; hosting events; and hiring Fellows for jobs and internships.


Innovation Partners:


Impact Partners:

Google employees have consistently volunteered as Leadership Coaches since 2016, and several teams have hosted treks networking events for our Fellows across the country.


Bay Area Supporters

We are incredibly thankful for the generosity of our Bay Area supporters, who sustain and grow the Braven Accelerator in our region. For a complete list of Braven supporters, please go to our national supporters page.


$250,000 – $999,999

Sarah Peter

Susan & Thomas Dunn

$150,000 – $249,999


$100,000 – $149,000


$50,000 – $99,999

$20,000 – $49,999

Charles Schwab employees have volunteered with Braven, collaborated on an innovative pilot, and provided pro-bono consulting.

Charles Schwab

Leslie Family Foundation


$5,000 – $19,999

James Slavet

Since 2014, Teach For America-Bay Area has exclusively hired it’s summer interns from Braven. TFA has also provided Leadership Coaches and sponsored several events. Our first Braven Fellow joined the teaching corps in summer 2017.

Teach For America



Andrew Tran

Arvind Toor

Brian Federico

Gale Mondry

Jen Holleran

Juan Chung

Kayla Kahl

Kyle Barry

Laseandra Kelly

Latrece Johnson

Shannon Birk Jibaja

Sue Kalman

Wendy Rowatt


Our Bay Team

Andrea Schwartz Boone

Andrea Schwartz Boone

  • Exec. Director, Bay Area; Head of People and Ops
  • San José, CA

Andrea ensures the success and sustainability of the Bay Area region including program outcomes, fundraising, employer partnerships, and expansion efforts.


Briannah Drew

Briannah Drew

  • Operations Coordinator, Bay Area
  • San José, CA

Diana Phuong

Diana Phuong

  • Site Director, San Jose
  • San Jose, CA

Bay Board of Directors

Beth Sutkus Thompson

Beth Sutkus Thompson

Founding CEO, KIPP Bay Area Schools

Beth Sutkus Thompson has been the founding CEO of KIPP Bay Area Schools for over a decade, where she is responsible for the organization’s performance, growth and sustainability. KIPP Bay Area Schools currently serves nearly 6,000 students in 15 schools across 6 cities on a path to doubling in size in the coming years; and serves nearly 3,000 alumni on their journey to choice-filled lives. Previously, Beth was the West Coast Trailblazer at the KIPP Foundation, where she created and implemented a strategic growth plan for KIPP schools, including securing charters, start-up funding, facilities, and community support. Prior to her work at KIPP, Beth was on the founding team of NewSchools Venture Fund, a national nonprofit venture philanthropy working to reimagine public education. Beth holds a B.A. in political science, an M.A. in Education, and an MBA with a certificate in nonprofit management, all from Stanford University. She is a graduate of The Broad Academy and the Aspen-Pahara Fellowship. Beth serves on the Board of Cambiar Education, Kids Love Writing, and the Advisory Board of The Broad Center. She resides in Oakland with her husband and two young children.

Jessica García-Kohl

Jessica García-Kohl

Executive Director, Westly Foundation

Jessica García-Kohl is the Executive Director of the Westly Foundation. For two decades she has dedicated her career to nonprofit, government and philanthropic sectors, serving to strengthen communities and create equitable opportunities for children, youth, and families. Previously, Jessica has held executive roles in non-profit education and affordable housing organizations, and has served as a policy advisor for the cities of San José and San Francisco. Jessica holds masters’ degrees from the University of California, Berkeley in Public Policy and Public Health, and a bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University.

Muna Sheikh

Muna Sheikh

Deloitte & Touche

Muna Sheikh is a leader in the Deloitte & Touche Risk & Financial Advisory practice. She brings more than 27 years of professional experience in risk management and internal controls consulting. Muna has experience performing enterprise risk assessments, assisting clients to align strategy and enhance risk response, and partnering with senior corporate management teams to address significant issues. She has been a member of Deloitte’s San Francisco Volunteer Council for many years, participates regularly in Deloitte’s Impact Day of volunteerism and is passionate about education and preparing students for a successful future.

Van Dang

Van Dang

Executive Advisor, General Counsel

Van has more than 30 years of experience in the technology industry. Van was VP, Deputy General Counsel, at Cisco for 18 years. She’s credited for playing a critical role in building a world-class legal department from the ground up and supported the company growth from less than $2B to $50B when she retired from Cisco. Her current activities include working with entrepreneurs and startups. She also mentors people of all ages from high school students to corporate executives. She serves on the board of several non-profits focusing on workforce development and education. Van is the recipient of multiple awards, including Silicon Valley Women of Influence, Silicon Valley Pro Bono’s Lady Justice Innovator, Community Champion, Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund’s Women of Achievement, and Asian American for Community Involvement’s Business Trailblazer. She is an avid reader and enjoys reading anything from history, science, psychology, biography and literary fiction. Van loves to hike, garden, cook, write, plays the piano, and walk her dog twice a day. Van is always happy to drop whatever she’s doing to have coffee with a friend.

Sunita Suryanarayan

Sunita Suryanarayan

Principal, PwC

Sunita is a leader in Risk Assurance practice of PwC with extensive experience in driving advanced analytics solutions and digital transformations for her clients. She has a couple of decades of consulting experience advising C-suites and boards in multiple domains including product, strategy and regulations.  She specializes in creating and taking to market AI/ML & data science-driven products and solutions.

Sunita is a member of the diversity, equity and inclusion council of PwC and Hillbrook school and is passionate about mentoring and coaching students and professionals in their career journey.  She has also led pro bono projects at several not-for-profit organizations


Bay Area Stories

From Braven Leadership Coach to Ongoing Mentor: Impact Beyond the Accelerator

A Leadership Coach’s impact extends far beyond the Braven program. Joy Dahlen has continued to support her Fellows and helped one land his first internship.

Read the Full Story

Salesforce.org Announces Major Education Cloud Updates, Invests $1.75 Million in College-Ready Nonprofit Organizations

Salesforce.org has announced a new data architecture to support lifelong learning, new capabilities for its Education Cloud, and more.

Read the Full Story

“Undercover” at the Campus Career Fair

Attending a career fair can be exciting and extremely nerve-racking at the same time. Read about Jimmy Vo’s undercover experience at his campus career fair and check out his tips for mastering your next career fair.

Read the Full Story

Contact the Bay Team

c/o WeWork
75 E Santa Clara St
San José, CA 95113


Braven Accelerator: Spring 2021

San José State University


  • Open to all majors
  • Open to all undergraduate years; sophomore, juniors, and first-year transfer students are preferred
  • In good academic standing and able to register for ‘UNVS 101’ (lower & upperclassman can enroll)
  • Able to meet virtually once a week on Tuesdays or Wednesdays from 6pm-8pm
  • Able to commit an average of 4-5 hours a week to this course

Course Description

This course prepares students for the increasingly competitive, globalized job marketplace. Through online and peer learning, interactive experiences, and reflection, students will build meaningful networks, discover their innate leadership, and cultivate the “hard” and “soft” skills and habits of mind needed to thrive in twenty-first-century workplaces. This course will require your commitment. Nothing good comes easy, but this course will be equally rewarding as it is challenging.

Course Section

The Braven Accelerator is a 3 unit elective credit course that meets Tuesday or Wednesday evenings from 6:00 – 8:00 pm. Students must add UNVS 101 to their MySJSU.

  • UNVS 101 Leadership and Career Accelerator

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Exercise habits to persist through and thrive beyond college
  • Know and demonstrate the skills and mindsets employers hire for
  • Navigate the workplace
  • Build a record of achievement and apply skills to land a career-accelerating internship or research opportunity
  • Expand personal and professional networks
  • Lead with their assets and values


In light of COVID-19, Braven is prepared to conduct the fall 2021 semester course completely virtually. Should the university return to in-person instruction, students will have an opportunity to preference their location after the first week of classes:

  • SJSU’s campus, or
  • One of our employer partner sites: In the past, the Accelerator has been hosted at companies like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Register Now

Volunteer in the Bay Area

We are looking for professionals from all fields who are willing to share their career experience, personal stories, and unique talents with our diverse and driven Fellows.

All volunteer opportunities will be virtual while social distancing orders are in effect. To receive alerts about upcoming volunteer opportunities:


Please contact diana.phuong@bebraven.org with questions.