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.

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 2016-2017, 92% of our Fellows identified as people of color and 70% as first generation college students.


of Braven 2016 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.

Innovation Partners:

Charles Schwab provided Braven with pro-bono consulting.

Charles Schwab

LinkedIn opened up their API to Braven enabling us to track our Fellows’ job success over time. They also sponsored our Bay Area Design-Thinking Hackathon and provide Leadership Coaches.


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

Impact Partners:


Access Partners:

City of San Jose’s Vice Mayor’s office


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


$150,000 – $249,999


$100,000 – $149,000

Arthur Rock


$50,000 – $99,999


$20,000 – $49,999

LinkedIn opened up their API to Braven enabling us to track our Fellows’ job success over time. They also sponsored our Bay Area Design-Thinking Hackathon and provide Leadership Coaches.



$5,000 – $19,999

Charles Schwab provided Braven with pro-bono consulting.

Charles Schwab

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



Brian Federico

Gale Mondry

Jen Holleran

Shannon Birk Jibaja

Sue Kalman

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. She is also responsible for people and operations at Braven, which includes hiring/onboarding, strategic planning and operations, culture, and performance management.


Edgardo Perez

Edgardo Perez

Edgardo oversees Braven program implementation at San José State University. Edgardo ensures the successful execution of the Accelerator course, recruits and trains volunteers, and builds and supports partnerships with the university and employers.


Lesley Alegria

Lesley Alegria

Lesley oversees all student recruitment and the overall student experience of Braven at San José State University. She runs operations and logistics for Learning Labs and Braven events, as well as overseeing the Post-Accelerator experience (student club and e-board).

Martha Mendoza

Martha Mendoza

Martha manages Bay Area operations and event planning. She is the right-hand person to the Bay Area Executive Director, supporting development research and operations to create and sustain employer and community partnerships.


Bay Board of Directors

Braven-Bay Area is working to launch a founding local board – more coming soon!

Bay Area Stories

Meet the SJSU Braven Brand Ambassadors

By: Martin Tran, Spring 2017 Braven Fellow at San José State University San José State University provides numerous resources for students to develop their career and leadership skills. Braven’s mission is to empower promising, underrepresented young people–first-generation college students, students from low-income backgrounds, and students of color–with the skills, confidence, experiences and networks necessary to […]

Read the Full Story

At San Jose State, building connections, no ‘rich uncle’ required

By: Emily DeRuy, The Mercury News

Most days, Juan Rocha pulls away from his home 50 miles to the south in Watsonville around 6 a.m. and points his car toward San Jose State University.
“Strawberry fields, that’s it,” he said, of the landscape that surrounds him as the sun creeps up.

It’s a long, solitary slog to the gleaming tech campuses that make up Silicon Valley, but the 26-year-old hopes the drive will pay off.

Read More

Braven Prepares Students for Careers After College

By: David Goll, SJSU Academic Spotlight Newsletter

At the age of 19, San Jose State University junior Nasheli Arce can already visualize how her business career could look.

The young woman who spent part of her childhood in a town near Mexico City with her eyes on a global career spends one night a week at Facebook Inc. as part of a course she is taking through SJSU’s College of Science and nonprofit Braven.

Read More

Contact the Bay Team

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


Braven Accelerator: Fall 2018

San José State University


  • Sophomore, juniors, and first-year transfer students are preferred
  • In good academic standing and able to register for ‘Sci 75’ (3 unit lower division elective) or ‘Sci 125’ (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, September 8th from 10am-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.There are two sections available during registration and students must add either SCI 75 or SCI 125 to their MySJSU.

  • SCI 75 Leadership and Career Accelerator
  • SCI 125 Leadership and Career Accelerator

Additional Events

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

Fall 2018:

  • Saturday, September 8th, 2018: Storytelling As Leadership Workshop
  • December TBD: 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: This spring, the Accelerator was hosted at LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook.

Apply Now

Volunteer in the Bay Area

We are no longer accepting applications to the Spring 18 Professional Mentor Program.

Our Fall 18 program will launch in September. If you would like to stay on the applicant list to receive more information about the Fall program, please contact Martha Mendoza at martha@bebraven.org