Speaker Topic: "Systems Engineer to Systems Entrepreneur for Global Change"
Erna Grasz co-founded Asante Africa Foundation with two visionary African women from Kenya and Tanzania. She refers to herself as a Systems Engineer turned Systems Entrepreneur for Global Impact. Originally trained as an Electrical-System Engineer, she spent her early career at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and then in Silicon Valley. While spending 25 years in the corporate world as a senior executive, she earned the reputation as a strategic leader, “organizer of chaos”, with demonstrated success in diverse industries, including medical device, defense research, and semiconductor capital equipment. In 2011 she left the corporate world to manage Asante Africa Foundation full time. Erna brings her business savviness to the non-profit world and is the visionary behind many of the organization’s innovative programs and practices. She has a strong belief in local staff, local partnerships and developing local talent for long term sustainability. In 2013 Erna was the recipient of the Jefferson Award for public service. In 2014 she received a “Distinguished Engineering” Award for her Innovation in Developing Countries and in 2016 she was a HULT Prize Judge for Innovation in Urban slums (Clinton Global Initiative). She is on global stages on topics of traversing the corporate non-profit divide, executive leadership, innovative education programs, and sustainable philanthropy.