Co-Founder of Kiva, the Revolutionary Microlending Website, and Author of Clay Water Brick
“With only a dream and a lot of determination, Jessica Jackley founded Kiva, an organization that has empowered millions of people around the world. Clay Water Brick is the inspiring story of her own far-flung journeys as an entrepreneur, but it’s also a blueprint for anyone who wants to make the world a better place and find fulfillment in the process, no matter how scarce their resources or how steep the challenge.”—Arianna Huffington
“Clay Water Brick is a tremendously inspiring read. Jessica Jackley, the virtuoso cofounder of the revolutionary micro-lending platform Kiva, shares uplifting stories and compelling lessons on entrepreneurship, resilience, and character.”—Adam Grant, Wharton professor and New York Times bestselling author of Give and Take
Jessica Jackley is a Founder and former Chief Marketing Officer of KIVA, the world’s first peer to peer microlending website. KIVA lets users lend as little as $25 to poor entrepreneurs around the world, providing affordable capital for them to start or expand microenterprises. Named one of the top ideas of 2006 by The New York Times Magazine, and praised by Oprah, Bill Clinton and countless others, KIVA is one of the fastest-growing social benefit websites in history. Jackley was also recently praised by Forbes, named as one of 5 rising stars in Healthcare, Education, and the Environment. She is the author of the book Clay Water Brick: Finding Inspiration from Entrepreneurs Who Do the Most with the Least (Random House), which the Financial Times called “so thoroughly well meaning and engagingly put it is too magnetic to put down.”
Jackley first saw the power and dignity of microfinance while working in East Africa with a microenterprise non-profit. Convinced that social change happens across all sectors, Jackley has worked in public, nonprofit, and private organizations including the Stanford Center for Social Innovation, Amazon.com, Potentia Media and many others. She also starred in a viral 2012 Best Buy television commercial about how her first laptop helped her start KIVA. Jackley is the recipient of the 2012 Symons Innovator Award, which recognizes the importance of women’s participation in technology innovation and business.
Jackley is currently an independent consultant and investor with the Collaborative Fund, and recently served as Walt Disney Imagineering's first Entrepreneur in Residence, focusing on projects related to corporate citizenship, social impact, and happiness. She was a Cofounder and CEO of ProFounder, a pioneering crowdfunding platform for U.S. entrepreneurs which later joined forces with GOOD to create new tools and experiences for their community of creators.
Jackley served from 2010-2012 as a Visiting Practitioner at Stanford’s Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society. She has taught Entrepreneurial Design for Social Change at Drew University and Global Entrepreneurship at the Marshall School of Business at USC. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a 2011 World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leader, and serves as an active board member or advisor for several nonprofit organizations including Habitat for Humanity.
Doing the Most With the Least: Inspiration and Wisdom from the World’s Unexpected Entrepreneurs
What do brick makers, basket weavers, farmers, fishermen, seamstresses, shopkeepers, shepherds, and so many other hardworking entrepreneurs have to teach us about resilience? Hope? Resourcefulness? Purpose?
What do these incredible individuals have to teach our organizations—from nonprofits to small businesses to the Fortune 500s—about fostering creativity? Managing risk? Rapidly innovating? Prioritizing what matters most?
Highlighting stories and lessons from her recent book Clay Water Brick, Jackley presents a powerful keynote that proposes new, unique business wisdom and reframes existing best practices in atypical, thought-provoking ways.
Bright, energetic, and unapologetically optimistic about the power of entrepreneurship to change the world, Jackley offers a refreshing and deeply inspiring perspective relevant to a wide range of organizations and individuals.
Why Kiva Worked: Lessons From Founding a $1B Mission-Driven Venture
Kiva is one of the fastest-growing, most successful social ventures in history. Since its founding in 2005, Kiva has facilitated over $850M in loans to entrepreneurs in the world’s poorest communities, connecting people across 216 countries. And it continues to grow. In the for-profit world, $1B companies are often called “unicorns”—Jackley is one of only a handful of people in the country who can speak to the experience of starting a “unicorn” in the social sector.
Jackley shares the inspiring, circuitous, and unlikely story of Kiva’s founding; its hyper-rapid growth; and navigating inevitable twists and turns along the path to success. Each lecture is tailored, but some lessons she’s shared in the past include:
· Harnessing the power of social media for social change
· Getting to Oprah with zero marketing budget
· Earning the influencers: when President Clinton becomes your ambassador (without being asked!)
· Handling the tough stuff, from fraud to other failures
· Navigating hyper-rapid growth (200x in four years) while maintaining core values
· How to be heard among the noise: crafting a bold, beloved online presence
· Embracing radical transparency
· Nurturing a culture of trust across diverse, decentralized teams
· Inspiring co-creation with and within your community
Based on her core conviction that relationships are the most powerful force for change, Jackley shows us how to build unstoppable web momentum that translates into positive real world action.
Love, Money, and Work: Social Entrepreneurship as a Career (For College Audiences)
In this talk, Jessica Jackley shares the inspirational path that led her, just after graduation, to create Kiva. It’s a story of unorthodox beginnings, surprising growth, and the unprecedented social change that has revolutionized a worldwide microlending movement. Jackley drew on an unlikely background—studying philosophy and art; seeing microfinance firsthand in Africa; earning an MBA while launching Kiva—to become one of the world’s leading female entrepreneurs. And though Kiva's successes can be measured in many ways, Jackley reminds students that Kiva’s most important contribution has been in the minds and the hearts of the thousands of lenders and borrowers who use the site. This connection, based on dignity and respect, is crucial in whatever you dedicate yourself to.
Enthusiastic, grounded, and very relatable, she helps students realize that they, too, can spend their lives doing meaningful work, synthesize their skills to do what they love, design an extraordinary career, and, most importantly, build a truly meaningful life by working entrepreneurially—in any field—in the service of others.
This Is How It Works: Interfaith Marriage/Interfaith Family with Reza Aslan and Jessica Jackley
Jessica Jackley was raised a conservative Christian; Reza Aslan, a Muslim. Married with three young sons and busy with their own individual extraordinary careers inspired and directed by their own faith journeys, Jackley and Aslan’s dynamic interfaith family has been admired and praised by many.
While their partnership has been written about in books and even profiled in mainstream business media as a shining success story, they are now speaking publicly about how they do it. They reveal how their marriage works by emphasizing their core shared values, celebrating their different faith stories, and sharing all of this in creative, transparent, inspiring ways with their children.
Thank you for gracing us with your presence during Stetson University’s Values Day. Your story is the perfect example of following one’s passion—and following one’s heart. Your contribution to our discussions was well received and inspired us all to think more deeply about our individual and university commitments.
Clay Water Brick: Finding Inspiration from Entrepreneurs Who Do the Most with the Least
In the tradition of Kabul Beauty School and Start Something That Matters comes an inspiring story of social entrepreneurship from the co-founder of Kiva, the first online microlending platform for the working poor. Featuring lessons learned from successful businesses in the world’s poorest countries, Jessica Jackley’s Clay Water Brick will motivate readers to more deeply appreciate the incredible entrepreneurial potential that exists in every human being on this planet—especially themselves.
For as long as she could remember, Jackley, the co-founder of the revolutionary microlending site Kiva, had a singular and urgent ambition: to help alleviate global poverty. While in her twenties, she set off for Africa to finally meet the people she had long dreamed of helping. The insights of those she met changed her understanding. Today she believes that many of the most inspiring entrepreneurs in the world are not focused on high-tech ventures or making a lot of money; instead, they wake up every day and build better lives for themselves, their families, and their communities, regardless of the things they lack or the obstacles they encounter. As Jackley puts it, “The greatest entrepreneurs succeed not because of what they possess but because of what they are determined to do.”
In Clay Water Brick, Jackley challenges readers to embrace entrepreneurship as a powerful force for change in the world. She shares her own story of founding Kiva with little more than a laptop and a dream, and the stories and the lessons she has learned from those across the globe who are doing the most with the least.