Sara Farley

Co-Founder and Former Chief Operating Officer, Global Knowledge Initiative

Sara founded GKI with Dr. Nina Fedoroff and Sam Pitroda.  She built GKI from a concept to an organization serving more than 60 countries and one that The Rockefeller Foundation designated as one of the “Top 100 Social Innovations for the next century”.  Sara believes in the power of the world’s 7 billion solvers to connect and to solve the world’s most complex challenges.  Collaborative Innovation is her calling card and motivated her to create GKI.  Since GKI’s founding in 2009, Sara’s cultivated more than 1000 strategic partners globally, hailing from universities, private sector, government, civil society, and other sectors. She manages design and execution for all GKI programs, including Collaborative Innovation trainings, network optimization programs (e.g., formulating/ sustaining problem-solving networks), and Collaborative Innovation strategy setting (with partners including the World Bank, East African Community, African Development Bank, etc.).  Beyond her executive duties at the helm of GKI, Sara continues to thrive on the ground, running trainings and facilitating networks alongside her incredible team.

Prior to founding GKI, Sara spent a decade as an innovation strategist for the World Bank and other donor and development organizations, including UNIDO and The Rockefeller Foundation.  She has been commissioned by national governments, and international development and science-related affinity organizations to lead thinking, develop networks, and devise policies to strengthen developing countries’ science and innovation capacity.  Before joining the World Bank, Sara graduated with honors in Science, Technology, and Society from Stanford University’s School of Engineering where she also earned a Masters degree in International Policy Studies. Following her time at Stanford, she was a Rotary International Ambassadorial Fellow at the Universidad de Buenos Aires where she did post-graduate study in Technology Policy and Management. Sara’s list of presentations and publications includes more than 100 monographs, strategies, and policy papers.

When not immersed in all things innovation, Sara can be found in a dance studio, a yoga studio, or with a pack on a trail, exploring the wilderness with her family and friends.