Advisory Committee

We’ve brought together some of the world’s most visionary leaders renowned for using new tools and methods to create social change. The Creative Currency Advisory Committee is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between technologists, strategists, entrepreneurs, and activists shaping the future of community economics and social impact.

Premal Shah first began dreaming of “internet microfinance” while working at PayPal, the online payments company. In late 2004, Premal took a 3 month leave from PayPal to develop and test the internet microfinance concept in India. When he returned to Silicon Valley, he met other like-minded dreamers and quit his job at PayPal to help bring the Kiva concept to life and eventually to scale. Kiva today raises over $1 million each week for the working poor in +50 countries and was named a Top 50 Website by TIME Magazine in 2009. For his work as a social entrepreneur, Premal was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and selected to FORTUNE magazine’s “Top 40 under 40″ list in 2009. Premal began his career as a management consultant and graduated from Stanford University.
Jennifer Pahlka is the founder, executive director and board chair of Code for America. Previously, she ran the Web 2.0 and Gov 2.0 events for TechWeb, in conjunction with O’Reilly Media, and co-chaired the successful Web 2.0 Expo. Before that, she spent eight years at CMP Media where she ran the Game Developers Conference, Game Developer magazine, and; there she also launched the Independent Games Festival and served as Executive Director of the International Game Developers Association. Jennifer’s early career was spent in the non-profit sector. She is a graduate of Yale University and lives in Oakland, California with her daughter and six chickens.
Since 2007, Kelly Mason has managed marketing and communications programs that advance Omidyar Network’s mission, most recently with a focus on the Entrepreneurship, Microfinance, and Property Rights investment areas within Access to Capital. Additionally, Kelly helps develop and drive cross-sector partnerships in order to increase engagement, bolster deal flow, and encourage collaboration within the impact investing community. Kelly received an MBA from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. While at Haas she consulted on corporate social responsibility and brand strategy for a range of for-profit and nonprofit organizations. Kelly earned a BA in English from Duke University.
Alexa Clay is the Director of Acceleration Services, a consulting division of Ashoka Changemakers, and co-author of The Misfit Economy, a book exploring innovation in informal markets around the world, to be published by Simon & Schuster in 2013. Prior to Ashoka, Alexa documented the environmental and social impacts of US military basing, wrote collaborative poetry in Mozambique, worked with Fortune 500 companies on sustainability strategy, and contributed to research initiatives on social enterprise and open source applications in the healthcare sector.
Mira Luna is a San Francisco based activist who is working to develop an alternative economy in the Bay Area. She co-founded Bay Area Community Exchange, a regional open source timebank, the Really Really Free Market and JASecon, and is on the Board of the San Francisco Community Land Trust and the US Solidarity Economy Network.
Milicent Johnson is a Community Manager at Shareable. Her passion for empowering communities to find meaningful solutions and resilience led her to work on asset building and economic development through education, policy, research, and organizing with a focus on low-income communities and communities of color. In her role at Shareable, Milicent’s main objective is to network shareable urban designers, businesses, alternative economy and thought leaders with communities that are ripe for implementing sharing practices in order to strengthen the sharing movement.
Elvin Padilla is a multidisciplinary community development practitioner and advocate, and has worked with and for diverse low-income communities, both urban and rural. Elvin has consulted a variety of nationally prominent nonprofits working in the fields of literacy, arts, community economic development, affordable housing, food security, and urban redevelopment. He has served as consultant to the Ford Foundation and has served on the advisory board for Ford and Kellogg Foundation initiatives. Elvin’s awards include fellowships with the Center for Urban Redevelopment Excellence, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and Vista 2000 Award from the National Society of Hispanic MBAs. His published work includes: Urban Redevelopment and the Role of Arts & Culture Organizations – Views from the Real Estate Developers’ Perspective; and, The Strategic Value of Civic Engagement by Art & Culture Nonprofits.
Zach Berke is Founder and CEO of Exygy, a San Francisco web development firm focusing on technology projects for social ventures and other renowned clients. Zach is an entrepreneur and innovator who has spent the last 10 years building and working with tech startups and nonprofits around the world. He has a degree in Computational Science with High Honors from Dartmouth College where he was the recipient of awards for his research in computational neuroscience as well as pioneering work on large scale WiFi networking. Zach is a frequent speaker on the topics of technology, social enterprise, and the agile/lean startup model of development.

Dan Schulman is responsible for American Express’s global strategy to expand alternative mobile and online payment services, form new partnerships and build revenue streams beyond the traditional card and travel businesses. He is also responsible for the company’s Business Development, Mergers and Acquisitions unit, as well as Serve, a digital payment and commerce platform, and the prepaid business, Global Payment Options.

Prior to joining American Express, Dan was the CEO of Virgin Mobile USA, which he founded in September 2001. With a record of high performance in the consumer-marketing arena and almost two decades of experience in the telecommunications industry, he led the company from concept and nationwide launch in 2002 to become one of the nation’s top wireless carriers, with more than five million customers and $1.3 billion in annual sales.

Previously, Dan served as the chief executive officer of, where he established one of the most popular and recognized brands on the Internet, and was a primary architect in driving the company to profitability and more than $1 billion in revenues. Before that, Dan worked for more than 18 years at AT&T, becoming the youngest member of the company’s senior executive team, the AT&T Operations Group, and was president of its $22 billion long distance division.

In his current role as the Mayor’s Chief Innovation Officer, Jay Nath is working with the tech community and the public to help reinvent government in the digital age. Mr. Nath joined the City & County of San Francisco in September 2006 as Director of CRM where he successfully deployed Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software enterprise-wide. In 2007, he established the City’s first Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) deployment which serves as a real-time bi-directional communication hub managing millions of messages. In 2010, Jay Nath established the nation’s first open source software policy for city government, and in the same year authored Open Data Legislation requiring City departments to make all non-confidential datasets under their authority available on, the city’s one stop web site for government data. Mr. Nath launched DataSF in August 2009 using open source technology taking only three months from idea to go-live with over 200 datasets. Prior to working for the City, Jay Nath worked at SquareTrade, an internet company in San Francisco where we was a senior product manager.
Peter Hirshberg is Co-Founder and Chairman of San Francisco’s Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, a nonprofit promoting creativity at the intersection of art, technology, and society. 
A Silicon Valley executive with several high profile marketing and branding related ventures, Peter has led emerging media and technology companies at the center of disruptive change for more than 20 years.

Previously Hirshberg served as Chairman of Technorati,the largest social media ad network with an audience of over 108 million unique visitors a month on over 400 professionally run sites with over a billion monthly page views. Since 2009 Hirshberg has been an advisor the the MIT SENSEable Cities Lab and a Senior Fellow at the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy.

 During a nine year tenure at Apple Computer, Hirshberg headed Enterprise Marketing, where he grew Apple’s large business and government revenue to $1 billion annually and helped lead the company’s entry into the online service arena.

As CEO of Hub Bay Area, Cory Smith enjoys working with entrepreneurial teams that align their values with their actions and build organizations that are financially viable, can be replicated and enrich our world. Previously, Cory was the co-founder and CEO of Webcast Solutions, an international webcast company that helped organizations use audio, video, photos and web-based tools to communicate online. StarMedia Networks acquired Webcast Solutions and Cory headed up the broadband division of StarMedia, managing teams and implementing digital media studios in the US and throughout Latin America. Prior to Webcast, he co-founded Planetary Dialogues and traveled worldwide in conjunction with UNESCO, producing media about people, music, art and culture at World Heritage sites. Cory co-founded Media Cast, a webcast company that produced many of the first ever live webcasts featuring bands, CEO’s and world leaders. Other companies Cory co-founded include DAT On site, a company that digitally recorded hundreds of live music concerts and Media Synergy, which helped produce many nationally televised programs about music and culture.