Leetha Filderman is the President of the PopTech Institute (www.poptech.org), a global innovation network that focuses on collaborative solution development in areas such as public health, poverty alleviation, human rights, education and the environment.
Under her stewardship, PopTech has developed two highly regarded Fellows programs that identify and mentor emerging innovators and scientists. She is a principle architect of the PopTech Accelerator – an incubation platform that supports robust cross-sector collaborative projects around the world. In addition, she curates and facilitates the organization’s exploratory labs and salons, which are funded by major foundations and Fortune 500 corporations. Topic areas have included climate change through the lens of gender, the quest for new eco-materials, financial inclusion as a path out of poverty and the future of work.
Leetha has a deep and diverse background in strategic program development and the use of technology platforms to scale initiatives in a variety of challenging settings. In the 1980s and 90s she developed a number of programs that opened access to state-of-the art care for the urban poor suffering from HIV/AIDS, serving as the Administrative Director of the Yale-New Haven Hospital AIDS Program and research liaison for the Boston City Hospital AIDS Research Program. Subsequently she ran a successful consultancy that provided strategic planning and fundraising support to a number of nonprofit organizations. She has advised and served on the boards of numerous organizations and agencies, and been a peer reviewer of funding applications for government and non-government funding entities.
Project lead on globally recognized program that employed mobile technology as a high impact, lowcost tool in the fight against HIV/AIDS and TB in South Africa. The project received recognition from the UN Foundation and the Innovation Award from the Impumelelo Trust of South Africa.
Currently oversees a collaborative team of technologists and social innovators to test the persuasive power of social media platforms and text messaging to stem violent behavior domestically and abroad.
Pilots have been implemented in Chicago and Nairobi, Kenya.
Harvard Humanitarian Initiative Signal Program
Facilitating the creation of case studies that capture harm to vulnerable populations stemming from ICT (tech platforms, drones, satellite surveillance etc.) use in humanitarian and human rights contexts.