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 (2020)

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.

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 Bay Area Fellows to be interns and full-time employees.


LinkedIn opened up their API to Braven enabling us to track our Fellows’ job success over time. They also sponsored a Regional Summit, hosted a networking event with their executives, and have provided Leadership Coaches every semester.


Salesforce is an anchor partner committed to the idea that the next generation of leaders needs to emerge from everywhere. The company sponsors student events in San Jose and Chicago.


Keystone Partners:

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

Charles Schwab


Innovation Partners:

PayPal employees serve as Leadership Coaches, host Mock Interview Night on campus, and recruit Fellows into internship programs.


Teach For America recruits from the Braven talent pipeline and has sponsored several events.

Teach For America


Impact Partners:

Binc sponsored our Bay Area

Mock Interview Night.



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

Salesforce is an anchor partner committed to the idea that the next generation of leaders needs to emerge from everywhere. The company sponsors student events in San Jose and Chicago.


Sarah Peter

Susan & Thomas Dunn


$150,000 – $249,999


$100,000 – $149,000

LinkedIn opened up their API to Braven enabling us to track our Fellows’ job success over time. They also sponsored a Regional Summit, hosted a networking event with their executives, and have provided Leadership Coaches every semester.


$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

Teach For America recruits from the Braven talent pipeline and has sponsored several events.

Teach For America

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

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


Martha Mendoza

Martha Mendoza

Martha works closely with our Bay Area Executive Director, Bay Area Site Director, and Braven External Affairs team to manage projects in support of multiple functional areas including partnership building, development, marketing, and team operations.



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.


Bay Area Stories

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

My values and strengths are paving the way for my future

Martin Tran’s values and strengths are paving the way for his future. He’s learned valuable lessons from his family about leadership, networking, and team building. Read about Martin’s story and his passion for helping students find beneficial programs and resources at the library.

Read the Full Story

Contact the Bay Team

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


Braven Accelerator: Spring 2020

San José State University


  • Sophomore, juniors, and first-year transfer students are preferred
  • In good academic standing and able to register for ‘UNVS 101’ (3 unit upper division elective)
  • Able to meet once a week on Tuesdays or Wednesdays from 6pm-8pm
  • Able to commit an average of 4-5 hours a week to this course
  • Able to attend our signature ‘Storytelling as Leadership’ event on Saturday, February 15th from 9am-4pm

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 at SJSU or off-campus at employer partner offices. Students must add UNVS 101 to their MySJSU.

  • UNVS 101 Leadership and Career Accelerator

Additional Events

In addition to the weekly class, the following activities are a part of the Accelerator:

Spring 2020:

  • Feb 15, 2020: Storytelling As Leadership Workshop, 9am-4pm
  • May 19, 2020: Live Your Legacy Celebration, 5:15- 8:00 pm

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


Fellows 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


The Braven Accelerator empowers promising young people on their path to college graduation, meaningful careers, and lives of impact. From the Accelerator will come a generation of leaders as diverse as our future demands.

Refer New Fellows/Leader Coaches Now

Volunteer in the Bay Area

Braven Mock Interview Nights are March 17 and 18, 2020:

Mock Interviews are a critical part of the Braven Accelerator course. On March 17 and 18, volunteers will conduct four to five mock interviews in-person at San José State University (SJSU) between 5pm-8pm. Braven will provide sample questions and guidance on how to offer feedback to interviewees.
  1. Sign up through Calendly below by February 28. Email diana@bebraven.orgwith questions or to express interest.

Become a Professional Mentor: Pay it forward! Apply to become a Professional Mentor (PM) by May 2020.

Professional Mentor application

The PM Program is part of the Post-Accelerator experience for Braven Fellows. As a PM, you play a critical role in the success of our Fellows after graduation. You will be matched with a Braven Fellow in their junior or senior year who is searching for a career accelerating internship or full-time job in your career field. For 15 weeks, you will help your Fellow navigate the job/internship application process and help develop their professional skills through real-world application in weekly, one-hour meetings. Braven provides helpful tools and frameworks to guide you and help ensure you are making progress. You will work with your mentee to ensure their professional portfolio (resume, LinkedIn, cover letter, etc…) is polished and that they practice critical professional skills, such as interviewing and communicating to prepare them for the workforce.

The commitment is about 1.5 hours per week for 15 weeks (June through September) including meeting preparation and follow-up. Meetings with your mentee can be virtual or in person at a mutually convenient time.

Contact Crista@bebraven.org with questions or for more information.

Leadership Coaches: If you are interested in becoming a Leadership Coach, please visit our leadership coach page. The Fall 2020 program runs from August – December.

Braven Network: Sign up to join the Braven Network, and you will be the first to know about upcoming one-time and recurring volunteer opportunities by email. When you register, you will also have the chance to indicate if you are interested in connecting with some of our Braven Fellows who are eager to learn more about your industry and career path.