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Kait
Community Manager
Community Manager

Pledge 1%'s #WomenWhoLead series celebrates female leaders who are paving the way for the next generation. While our featured leaders come from a variety of backgrounds and industries, they are united in their efforts to promote equality for all women in the workplace. We’ve asked them to share a bit about their journey to success, as well as lessons they’ve learned along the way. 

 

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Keren Pakes

VP Brand Marketing & Communications + General Manager of The Bright Initiative

Tel Aviv, Israel 

 

What is your current role? Briefly describe in 1-2 sentences. 

 

As the VP of Brand Marketing & Communications, I manage the company's entire market positioning as well as its reputation. I manage a team of 12 people overall.

 

I also serve as the General Manager of The Bright Initiative, a pro bono organization that I established in mid-2020 as part of the global effort to help researchers make sense of the Covid pandemic. The Initiative has quickly grown and now supports close to 400 organizations, universities, NGOs, NPOs, and public sector bodies.

 

What’s the best part of your job? What do you enjoy the most?

 

The best part of my job is the opportunity I have to inspire change! I love the fact that business-oriented technology can make such a big difference in people’s lives. For example, public web data helped the Covid vaccine become more widely accessible by making vaccine appointments available across the US through the FindAShot organization. And there are many more examples of web data being used for good. If you stick to the ethical guidelines and to public data only as well as utilize the largest database in the world, which is the internet, you can really make a clear difference – whether it is environmental, social, or related to people’s well-being. 

 

We’ve all faced personal and professional challenges these past two years - what motivates you to keep going?

 

I always tell myself that a challenge managed in the right way can turn into a great opportunity and that only when we are faced with the greatest challenges do we actually have the opportunity to grow. My own challenges inspired me to take some bold steps that I probably would have refrained from taking had I not been faced with them – those bold steps resulted in some great professional achievements and even greater opportunities that would not have happened if I had not used the challenges to grow. 

 

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received? 

 

Sometimes, it is best to stand still and wait for things to naturally unfold, and only then act. 

 

What does generosity mean to you?

 

Seeing the other person's perspective and trying to support them when they need you. I always aim to be available to those who need support, even on my busiest of days. I think words carry a lot of power, and sometimes when you are there for a person, truly listening and responding can make a real difference where you are needed the most. 

 

How do you feel businesses can play a larger role in solving today’s biggest challenges? Do you have any specific stories or examples from your work or colleagues you can share? 

 

I think businesses should look at ways to help the most critical causes by doing what they do best. For this reason, I established The Bright Initiative. Today, we share our expertise and our technology with many inspiring organizations (pro bono, of course). These include organizations such as HTI Labs, which utilizes public web data to fight human and sex trafficking, or the upReach charity, which partnered with us to run sessions and share our data-driven expertise, among many others. Any business can drive change where it matters the most. We started initiating change when the pandemic broke, and we found out about so many causes we could help to drive forward. Consequently, we decided to expand our organization and turn it into a comprehensive hub that delivers many benefits. For example, in another month, we plan to launch the Bright Academy, which will be available for all who wish to advance in the data profession. 

 

If you could describe yourself in one word what would that be and why?

 

Bold – and, if I may add, persistent. I am a former war journalist of 14 years who has truly seen it all 😊. I think that I turned my journalistic skills into my current approach, which has basically made all the difference in my professional world. I truly think that every bright idea deserves to be realized, and I aim to make it happen. Why wait – right? 

 

If you could pick a song to guide you through 2022, which song would it be? 

 

There are many – if I had to choose one it would be Stronger by Kelly Clarkson, a song that still speaks to me today

 

What are you looking forward to this year? Are there any goals (personal or professional), activities, or experiences you are excited about?

 

My team and I are going to establish a commission that uses public data sharing to fight violence against women. This has already started, and we hope to bring it to the public sector so they can make the necessary changes in their policies.