Tech Strikes: Gates Basis provides board members; former Boeing exec joins Kymeta board

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Ashish Dhawan (left) and Dr. Helene Gayle. (Gates Foundation Photos)

— The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation added two members to its board of trustees: Dr. Helene D. Gayle, president of Spelman College, and Ashish Dhawan, founder of the Convergence Foundation.

Gayle previously worked at the foundation as director of the HIV, TB, and Reproductive Health program. She was also president and CEO of The Chicago Community Trust.

Dhawan chairs India-based Ashoka University and Central Square Foundation, an education nonprofit in India. He is based in New Delhi.

“They have been great partners to the foundation over the years — and in Helene’s case, a fantastic leader there. I’m looking forward to working with them,” Bill Gates said in a statement.

The Gates Foundation announced its new board of trustees earlier this year, adding outsiders for the first time as part of the Seattle-based foundation’s effort to reshape its governance following the divorce of Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates last year and other changes.

Other Gates Foundation board members include Strive Masiyiwa; Baroness Nemat (Minouche) Shafik; Thomas J. Tierney; Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman; and Co-chairs Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates.

The foundation said last month it will increase its annual payout in grants and other financial assistance by 50% to $9 billion by 2026, responding to what it describes as “compounding global crises” including the pandemic, inflation, the Russian war in Ukraine, and climate change.

Other key personnel changes across the Pacific Northwest tech industry:

  • Seattle-area flat panel antenna maker Kymeta named retired Boeing exec Nicole Piasecki to its board, and retired U.S. Army leader Lt. General Fran Beaudette to its advisory board.
  • Seattle-area collaboration and work management giant Smartsheet said Monday that former Activision Blizzard CFO Dennis Durkin resigned from the board less than a month after he was named to the role.
  • Seattle legal tech startup Lexion hired Laura Reigel, previously a marketing leader at Esper and PayScale, as vice president of marketing.
  • Seattle-area audience experience startup Tagboard added former NBA executive and current NorthRock X president Aaron Ryan to its board.
  • Seattle-based product design veteran Forrest Corbett joined Kickstarter as director of product design.
  • Seattle biotech company Atossa Therapeutics added clinical trial expert Dr. Paul Wabnitz to its scientific advisory board.
  • Seattle semiconductor technology startup Tignis hired Mario Faria, a former partner at The MAX Group, as director of semiconductor solutions.
  • Seattle air purification startup Violett added Nicey Hilton, formerly of Sema4, as vice president of business development.
  • Seattle venture capital firm FUSE added Nolan Van Nortwick, a recent graduate of Vanderbilt University, as an analyst.
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