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Julia Novy

Professor of the Practice, Change Leadership for Sustainability
Julia Novy is co-founder and co-director of the Sustainability Science and Practice (SUST) MS/MA program. She is Professor of the Practice and Executive Director of Stanford's Change Leadership for Sustainability Program, which includes executive leadership education, online learning, and the interdisciplinary SUST master's program - all of which equip students with knowledge, mindsets, and practical skills to advance sustainability. Core curricular areas include understanding complex systems, decision-making in uncertain contexts, leading systemic change, and driving innovation at scale through partnerships, policy, market-based approaches and technology innovation. The Sustainability Science and Practice master's program includes this core curriculum, a range of electives, and a required practicum during which students develop their identity, agency, capabilities and perspectives as sustainability leaders working with sustainability partners on sustainability challenges. The Strategies for Sustainability professional program offers online and in-person business and leadership courses for managers and executives to unpack the core mindsets, knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainability and resilience in today’s complex environment:

Novy's research and teaching focus on business strategies, leadership approaches and cross-sector partnerships that spur global development and align systems with the goal of intergenerational well-being. With over 25 years of experience leading non-profit and philanthropic organizations, Julia is recognized for her innovative leadership in designing and scaling entrepreneurial solutions to global challenges that integrate economic, social and environmental objectives. As Executive Director of the Lemelson Foundation for nearly a decade, Novy was responsible for guiding over $200 million of investment in new technology, inventors and social enterprises in the U.S., Africa, Asia and Latin America. She developed innovative financing mechanisms to back new innovators and entrepreneurs and leverage traditional capital from more risk-averse national and international banks, by emplying a combination of loans, equity investments, grants, and first-loss capital. These collaborative investments supported inventor-entrepreneurs who created clean energy technologies, clean water solutions, health innovations and agricultural tools that served the needs of those living on less than $3 per day, building businesses that created jobs, increased incomes, and improved livelihoods in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

As Director of World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Pacific Marine Office, Novy collaborated with colleagues at Unilever and WWF to develop and launch the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), a global partnership that uses third-party certification and eco-labeling to transform fisheries supply chains into sources of sustainable seafood with products now widely available in Walmart, Safeway, Target and other major retailers. As CEO of Washington STEM, Novy-Hildesley worked with Microsoft, Boeing, and the education community to bring business into the classroom and cultivate 21st century skills for underserved youth.

In 2010, Novy was recognized as a distinguished Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and served as a Topic Leader for the Clinton Global Initiative on “Market-based solutions to environmental challenges.”

A Fulbright and Marshall Scholar, Novy speaks French, Spanish and Kiswahili, and has lived and worked extensively in Africa, Asia and Latin America for agencies, including the World Bank, USAID and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). Her writing has been published in in Innovations Journal, Far Eastern Economic Review, the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, and other publications.


B.A., Stanford University, Human Biology (1993)
Minor, Stanford University, African Studies (1993)
M.Phil., University of Sussex, Institute for Development Studies, International Development Studies (1997)