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TARA GRAHAM


CLICK HERE to view the most up-to-date version of my CV, along with testimonials from former managers, teammates, collaborators and students.


EDUCATION

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, Los Angeles

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, Berkeley


EXPERIENCE

Oct. 2013 — May 2016 | DIRECTOR, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT & GLOBAL PROGRAMS
500 Startups, Silicon Valley, CA, USA

I led content, branding, marketing, operations, and partnerships for business development & events at 500 Startups. With aim to educate startup and investor audiences, grow the #500STRONG community worldwide, and produce profitable programming, my responsibilities included:

  • CONTENT & PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT: Produced the themes, agendas, and overall content strategy for 500 Startups conferences and global technology tours. Researched, interviewed, and booked industry influencers for events. Once confirmed, I provided speakers with editorial support and presentation feedback.
  • MARKETING & BRAND BUILDING: Developed event and partnership messaging across digital and print properties (web, email, social, video, pitch decks), as well as merchandising. Oversaw production and design of all collateral, including the writing and editing of copy. Determined advertising spend for event marketing across multiple channels: email, social, AdRoll retargeting, Google AdWords, and Display Network campaigns, etc.
  • SALES & CORPORATE ENGAGEMENT: Managed a multi-million dollar budget and determined quarterly performance goals; pitched and closed $1M+ of corporate partnerships (sponsorships) with leading technology companies and industry players, including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, PayPal, IBM, Capital One, and others.
  • LIVE EVENT & PROGRAM PRODUCTION: Worked as the front-of-the-house executive producer for our live shows, which accommodated 500+ attendees per event. Managed associated operational, content, and marketing deadlines, as well as event spending and budgets for 500 conferences and global technology tours.
  • TEAM RECRUITMENT & MANAGEMENT: Recruited and managed a team of 5+ BD & Events professionals in the following capacities: operations (x3), marketing/design (x1) & corporate partnership management (x1). I also mentored interns & liaised with temporary contractors to perform short-term work.

Jul. 2010 — Aug. 2013 | LECTURER OF ONLINE MEDIA
International and Area Studies Academic Program, UC Berkeley, CA, USA

  • Developed the curriculum for undergraduate courses exploring the demands and techniques of international reporting in the digital age, online research, web production and new media theory
  • Delivered weekly lectures and led multimedia workshops to help students package their findings (research/commentary/interviews/photography/videos) into multimedia websites
  • Evaluated student performance; held weekly office hours for 1:1 tutoring/mentoring
  • See courses taught; student evaluations available upon request

Mar. 2012 — Aug. 2013 | DIRECTOR AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Blum Center for Developing Economies, UC Berkeley, CA, USA

  • Co-founded and co-developed  The #GlobalPOV Project, an innovative approach to hybrid pedagogy whereby in-class and online learning methods are blended into a mixed-mode participatory curriculum
  • Co-produced a series of educational videos that combined critical social theory, live-action sketch, improv art and social media to explore innovative ways of thinking about poverty, inequality and undertaking poverty action
  • Managed the video production process and deliverables: hiring and team management, project scheduling and invoicing, script and storyboard development, production oversight and direction, post-production revisions (locking picture, zooms, visual effects, sound design, credits)
  • Strategized and managed in-class social media experimentation in a lecture hall accommodating 700+ students
  • Co-developed project branding and designed website; updated and maintained The #GlobalPOV Blog and web presence (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube)
  • After 10 months, GlobalPOV YouTube channel had nearly 30,000 views, and the pilot video had over 15,000 views. The project hashtag is tweeted on a daily basis by students, educators, social entrepreneurs, poverty alleviation experts, nonprofit organizations, and foundations

Sept. 2010 — Aug. 2013 | DIRECTOR OF MEDIA
Center for Middle Eastern Studies, UC Berkeley, CA, USA

  • Reported on Middle East-related happenings, interviewed relevant parties (including Syrian President Bashar al-Assad) and photographed/filmed events and lectures for the Center’s publication materials
  • Managed the production, organization and re-design of the Center’s website by collaborating with web designers and developers; also managed routine maintenance of the site
  • Produced, edited and digitally prepared content for the website; published all content
  • Cultivated and managed the Center’s social media presence (Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo)

Jan. 2010 – Jul. 2010 | WEB REPORTER/PHOTOGRAPHER
KCET’s “SoCal Connected”, Los Angeles, CA, USA                 

  • Investigated and reported on the Calif. economic crisis, and its impact on Orange County’s housing, education, transportation and government sectors
  • Digitally prepared multimedia content for the website (wrote stories, cropped/uploaded photos, produced audio slideshows, crafted feature summaries)
  • Cross-published work on the Carnegie-Knight News21 USC Annenberg website
  • Investigation awarded the First Place “Best of the Web” Individual Journalism Award from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC).

Jan. 2009 – Jun. 2010 | CO-EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, SUPERVISING EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
USC Annenberg Digital News, Los Angeles, CA, USA                                   

  • Managed a 50+-person editorial staff, organized website posting schedules and led online training sessions
  • Selected top content for the day, crafted headlines and promoted stories to the front page
  • Digitally prepared, edited and published multimedia news content to the website

May 2009 – Aug. 2009 | WEB EDITOR
New Statesman, London, England                                                                       

  • Researched and reported U.S. news stories for the website and contributed book reviews to the print publication
  • Digitally prepared magazine content for the website; managed and promoted content to the online homepage; and moderated comments

Aug. 2008 – Feb. 2009 | STAFF WRITER
Farai Chideya’s “Pop and Politics” website (now Farai.com), Los Angeles, CA, USA

  • Reported on breaking political and popular culture news, interviewed relevant experts and digitally prepared multimedia content for the website
  • Wrote regular commentary and investigative features
  • Website launched and managed by NPR’s Farai Chideya

Nov. 2006 – Jul. 2008 | ASSOCIATE EDITOR
P✪PSUGAR , San Francisco, CA, USA

  • Launched a popular culture website in 2006 that grew to average 1,000,000+ page views per month
  • Researched and posted content on an hourly basis, adding editorial commentary to engage, inform and entertain readers
  • Marketed website through social media activity and by negotiating traffic exchanges with other sites

WRITING & EDITING

New Urban Mobilities As Intelligent Infrastructure
Edited volume by Prof. Therese Tierney, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Editor (Jul. 2013 – Oct. 2013), manuscript in progress

The Public Space of Social Media: Connected Cultures of the Network Society
Authored by Prof. Therese Tierney, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Editor (Jun. – Dec. 2012), manuscript published by Routledge in Jun. 2013

Cairo: Histories of a City
Authored by Prof. Nezar AlSayyad, University of California at Berkeley
Editor (Oct. – Nov. 2010), manuscript published by Harvard University Press in May 2011

NanoCity: A Project By The Berkeley Group for Architecture & Planning
Writer/Editor (Aug. – Oct. 2007), publication used to promote NanoCity, a 21st century, high-tech, eco-friendly Indian metropolis developed and funded by Hotmail founder Sabeer Bhatia


PROFESSIONAL TRAVEL

April 2016 — CHINA | TAIWAN | JAPAN

Led an 11-day Geeks On A Plane delegation of 50+ entrepreneurs, investors, and executives to East Asia to meet with local startup/tech ecosystem players, gain insight into cross-border challenges and opportunities, and forge new global business connections. We also produced a PreMoney Hong Kong event to bring together the local investor community and explore the latest strategies, models and trends in venture capital.

December 2015 BAHRAIN | UAE | JORDAN | EGYPT

Led a 10-day Geeks On A Plane delegation of 30+ entrepreneurs, investors, and executives to the MENA region to meet with local startup/tech ecosystem players, gain insight into cross-border challenges and opportunities, and forge new global business connections. We also produced a PreMoney MENA conference in Manama, Bahrain, to bring together the region’s investor community and explore the latest strategies, models and trends in venture capital.

May 2012 — TURKEY

Covered an international conference on the Arab uprisings in Istanbul, Turkey, hosted by Istanbul Ayden University and organized by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at UC Berkeley. Speakers included experts from Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Syria and Turkey.

December 2010 — SYRIA | LEBANON 

Accompanied a UC Berkeley delegation to Damascus and interviewed President Bashar al-Assad on matters involving political and economic reform in Syria, along with the Israeli peace process. Also traveled to Beirut, Lebanon, to promote and cover the International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments 2010 conference.

October 2010 — GERMANY

Traveled to Berlin and Munich as one of 10 U.S. journalists selected to attend a one-week press tour organized by the Goethe Institut and the German Foreign Office in Washington, DC. The program provided historical background to inform contemporary reporting on German affairs. Participants also met with political decision makers, scientists involved in the country’s renewable energy projects, and artists behind Berlin’s vibrant art scene.

March 2010 — ISRAEL | PALESTINE                 

Traveled to Israel and Palestine as one of 10 Annenberg graduate students selected to report in the region. Participants met with religious, political and human rights activists, as well as educators, legislators, refugees, settlers, and media commentators to explore the ways in which the ongoing conflict affects on-the-ground attitudes, beliefs and behaviors.

October 2009 — BELGIUM

Traveled to Brussels, Belgium, as one of 14 U.S. graduate students selected to attend a one-week press tour organized by the European Union. The program provided an overview of the EU’s history, policies and struggles, with special focus on EU—US relations.

May-August 2009 — ENGLAND | NORTHERN IRELAND    

Traveled around the United Kingdom for a USC foreign reporting class. Worked as a web editor for the New Statesman magazine during this time.

July 2008 — EGYPT

Traveled to Cairo, Egypt, to conduct preliminary research for Cairo: Histories of a City, a Harvard University Press book authored by Prof. Nezar AlSayyad of the University of California, Berkeley. Later worked as an editor on this book.


VOLUNTEER WORK

Mar. 2016 – Present | BUSINESS & CAREER COACH

Defy VenturesEntrepreneurship, employment, and character training program for the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated.

  • Provide résumé and interview feedback during in-prison business coaching days
  • Judge Shark Tank-style business plan pitch competitions to help determine the allocation of startup seed funding

Nov. 2012 — Dec. 2013 | BOARD OF ADVISORS                                               

Equalize Youth: An online support network for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) youth and their families

  • Participated in virtual board meetings to help inform business strategy, website design, audience acquisition and online community building.

AWARDS AND FELLOWSHIPS

Jan. 2016“GET SH*T DONE” PEER RECOGNITION AWARD
500 Startups

Aug. 2012 — May 2012 | LECTURER TEACHING FELLOW
University of California, Berkeley

June 2011 | “BEST OF THE WEB” FIRST PLACE INDIVIDUAL JOURNALISM AWARD
Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication

May 2010 | PENNY LERNOUX AWARD FOR INTERNATIONAL REPORTING
University of Southern California

May 2010 | PHI KAPPA PHI HONOR SOCIETY
University of Southern California
*Membership awarded to the top 10 percent of USC’s graduate students

Jan. 2010 – Jul. 2010| CARNEGIE-KNIGHT NEWS21 FELLOW
University of Southern California

Aug. 2009 – May 2010 | DEAN’S MERIT SCHOLAR
University of Southern California

Aug. 2008 – May 2009 | ANNENBERG GRADUATE FELLOW
University of Southern California

Aug. 2001 – May 2005| THE LEADERSHIP AWARD
University of California, Berkeley

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About

The Narrative #Selfie

tg-head-f1

Lose the shirt off my back? Nah.

When life got dicey, I opened my closet doors, bypassed the blouses, and earned a (modest) payday by selling used hangers in 25-pack bundles.

More recently, I put my hustle into play at 500 Startups, the world’s most active venture capital fund and startup accelerator, where I led content, branding, marketing, operations, and corporate partnerships for business development and global programs.

Before transitioning into tech, I worked in higher education, teaching online research and media production classes across a variety of disciplines at the University of California, Berkeley. During that time, I also worked as the Director and Executive Producer of Digital Media Projects at the Blum Center for Developing Economies, where I co-founded and led The #GlobalPOV Project, a mixed-media approach to thinking about poverty, inequality, and undertaking poverty action.

In addition, I was the Director of Media at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, where I had the opportunity to interview Bashar al-Assad in his presidential palace in Damascus, Syria, in late December of 2010. I asked Assad if he considered himself a dictator. He dodged the inquiry, but his actions in the immediate weeks, months, and years to follow answered the question . . . and then some. Sadly.

Before that, I was a practicing journalist and graduate fellow at the University of Southern California. During that time, I worked as a web reporter and photographer for KCET’s “SoCal Connected,”​ as an online editor for the London-based New Statesman magazine, and as the co-editor-in-chief of USC Annenberg’s award-winning digital news website. I got my start in journalism as a full-time associate editor (and employee #20!) at P✪PSUGAR, a Sequoia-backed content and commerce startup turned global media empire.

My freelance reporting has been featured in NBC, CBS, and ABC news broadcasts and in online publications, including The Huffington Post. I have also done manuscript editing for various authors with recognized commercial and university presses.

You can find me tap dancing in the dark corners of my imagination to a sold-out audience of — none. Like most everything else, it’s all for fun.

Let’s connect! Join me on Twitter or Instagram or LinkedIn.

Self-Assessment:

#Hashtagging While Talking
Upholding The Distinction Between To & Too
Tap Dancing Down Store Aisles
Exemplifying
Inverting Pyramids