I was the first person in my working-class Mexican-American family to go to college.
In my high school, I was the first person to graduate in 3 years, and the first Stanford University attendee.
I was Stanford’s first Hispanic petroleum engineering graduate.
I was also the first Hispanic woman to take a directorial position in a renowned venture capital company.
My life has been a series of interesting first steps. I get the challenges of being at the forefront of change.
I am Yaqui – Native American on my father’s side. My lived experiences as a woman of colour lend me the lens to navigate cultures and systems, and notice hidden yet pressing problem spaces in organizations.
As a social entrepreneur, I’ve seen why companies with big ideas fail: It boils down to not understanding how capital and systems work.
Policy-makers and leaders need to understand the role of entrepreneurial change and the opportunities available to them through macro and micro-level system change.
She is the Executive Director of the Peace Innovation Lab (PIL) at Stanford and the Peace Innovation Institute at The Hague.
Margarita launched Astia, the first technology incubator for women entrepreneurs, and raised $67M in venture funding within 18 months.
As a public speaker on entrepreneurship and social behavior, she has addressed many corporations and institutions on ESG, ethical business, and innovation.
Margarita divides her time between academia and corporate engagements. As a research team member at BJ Fogg’s Behaviour Design Lab, she combines behavioral change, persuasive tech, and finance for real-world impact.
At PIL, she researches innovation, mass collaboration, and social technology to reform society. The focal points of her work have included the application of persuasive technology for government innovation, humanitarian relief, and citizen diplomacy.
Margarita has also been an entrepreneurship consultant to the US State Department.
She has been widely quoted in the Asian Venture Capital Report, NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, US News & World Report, Forbes ASAP, CNN, and CBS MarketWatch.