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Julia Novy-Hildesley, Founder and CEO

Julia founded Resilience in Action to create a groundbreaking platform for leaders worldwide to translate resilience theory into action, enabling them to build the orientations critical to tackling the nature and scale of 21st century challenges.

In addition to her role as Founder and CEO of Resilience in Action, Julia is a Lecturer at Stanford University. Her research and teaching focus on cross-sector partnerships and innovations that accelerate the transition to a sustainable society. Julia was recognized as a distinguished Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2010. She served as Topic Leader for the Clinton Global Initiative on “Market-based solutions to environmental challenges.” A Fulbright and Marshall Scholar, Julia earned a B.A. in Human Biology and a Minor in African Studies from Stanford University, and her graduate degree in International Development from the Institute for Development Studies at Sussex University in England.

Julia was formerly CEO of Washington STEM, a partnership between Microsoft, Boeing, and the education community to bring business into the classroom and cultivate 21st century skills for underserved youth. She served for a decade as the Founding Executive Director of the Lemelson Foundation, where she spurred innovations in technology, finance, marketing and distribution to advance sustainable development globally. As Director of World Wildlife Fund’s Pacific Marine Office, she helped launch and develop the Marine Stewardship Council - a global partnership with Unilever and other retailers to use certification and eco-labeling as a catalyst for sustainable  fisheries.

Julia speaks French, Spanish and Kiswahili, and has worked extensively in developing countries for agencies, including the World Bank, USAID and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). Her writing has been published in Innovations Journal, Far Eastern Economic Review, the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, and other publication .

A Fellow of the Donella Meadows Sustainability Leaders Program, Julia was selected as one of Oregon Business Magazine’s “50 Great Leaders for Oregon.”  She has served on several boards, including the Harvard Women’s Leadership Board, the Editorial Board of MIT’sInnovations Journal, and the Karuna Foundation.  Julia lives in Portland with her husband and two children.


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Gabriela Leslie, Project Coordinator

Gabriela joined Resilience in Action in 2014, conducting research, developing content, and aiding in project facilitation and execution.  She worked to co-create the first Resilience Journey for Young Global Leaders in the Peruvian Amazon alongside Julia and Rainforest Expeditions.

She is a recent graduate of Stanford University, with a B.S. in Earth Systems, an interdisciplinary environmental science program.  Her research focus includes land-use change in tropical regions, sustainable commodity crop markets, and promoting healthy socio-ecological systems.

 In 2013, she conducted research in Ecuador under professors Eric Lambin and Ximena Rueda on cacao supply chains, land use, and certification markets through the MUIR Woods and SEED programs.  In 2012, she received a Chappell-Lougee Scholarship from Stanford to explore farming practices and place-based connections in the Brazilian Cerrado through the media of photography and writing.  

Gaby is passionate about environmental reform and social justice, and in her free time is deeply involved in the arts and in civic activism.  Currently, she is a candidate for an M.S. in Earth Systems at Stanford University.