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Maura ONeill

Distinguished Teaching Fellow, University of California, Berkeley


Maura O’Neill through her work in the public, private and academic sectors have created entrepreneurial and public policy solutions for some of the toughest domestic and global problems. Maura has started four companies in the fields of electricity efficiency, customer info systems and billing, e-commerce and digital education. In 1989, she was named Seattle Business Person of the Year.

President Obama appointed her the first Chief Innovation Officer and Senior Counselor to the Administrator at USAID where she had responsibility for inspiring and leading breakthrough innovations in $22 billion of foreign assistance worldwide. Maura co-led USAID Forward, the Agency's major reform initiative as well as oversaw over 600 global public-private partnerships. Groundbreaking ones included mobile money; supply chain elimination of ingredients/packaging from virgin forests; water and health interventions; gender equity and entrepreneurship. Maura is most well known for adapting venture capital and drug discovery methods to development by co-creating the Development Innovation Venture Fund. She served on the White House Innovation Cohort assisting with innovation across the federal government.

Maura was Senior Advisor and Chief of Staff to the Under Secretary at U.S. Department of Agriculture, and served as Chief of Staff in the U.S. Senate (Cantwell D-WA) addressing the 2008 financial crisis, oil price explosion, renewal of clean energy tax credits and range of domestic and international issues.

Currently at the Business School at UC Berkeley Maura received 2016 Cheit Award for Excellence in Teaching. She also has taught at Stanford and Columbia Universities and regularly advises early stage companies, global government institutions and foundations.

Maura is founding Vice Chair of the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women (public charter school). She has M.B.As from Columbia University and UC Berkeley; PhD from University of Washington.