Hema Vallabh

| Five35 Ventures

| CEO

Hema Vallabh is an engineer, turned entrepreneur, turned investor. Hema is a founding partner at Five35 Ventures, a pan-African VC fund investing in women in tech. She is also the co-founder & CEO of WomHub, a boutique pan-African incubator and the first co-working space for female-founders in STEM in Africa. WomHub is a spin-out of her global, award-winning non-profit WomEng which provides interventions for girls and women at every stage of the engineering skills pipeline. Over the past 17 years Hema has built the full ecosystem of interventions supporting women in STEM from talent pipelining, venture building, incubation, acceleration through to investment. Hema has a diverse and unique set of skills ranging from being a trained engineer, having practiced locally and abroad; to being a social entrepreneur, leading and growing a global social enterprise; as well as being a certified ontological coach and a noted international speaker and facilitator. She is an avid gender advocate and also serves as a diversity & inclusion specialist, providing advisory and informing policy at various levels. Hema has recently completed her Executive MBA at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford. Hema is also an angel investor with Dazzle Angels, a female-focused angel fund in South Africa. Her passion for the work she does has resulted in a number of accolades in recognition of her leadership. These include being awarded the South Africa’s Most Influential Woman in Engineering title, branded as a “Change-Maker” by Oprah Magazine, named as one of the Top 200 Young South African’s by Mail & Guardian and being selected for the Fortune Global Women’s Mentorship Exchange. She is a Vital Voices Global Leader and a member of the African Leadership Network, a community of dynamic and influential leaders in Africa. She has been named as a finalist for the CEO Most Influential Woman in Africa Awards and Trust Women Hero Award. She been named as one of South Africa’s Inspiring Fifty Women in Tech, a fellow of prestigious Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship, and winner of the Fortune/Goldman Sachs Global Women Leader’s Award. Hema is a scholarship holder of the SoGal Diversity Scholarship for the VC Unlocked programme run by Stanford and 500 Start-ups. Hema is also board member of Ping Lady and ALA Student Enterprise Program. However, it is not these accolades that define her, but rather the impact that she has through her work.

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Cassandra Lichnock, CalSTRS Chief Executive Officer

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