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Carol Rava speaks at the 2018 State of Technology Luncheon in Seattle. (GeekWire photo / Kevin Lisota)

Technology Alliance CEO Carol Rava is leaving the Seattle-based trade organization.

Rava became CEO in 2016, heading up the non-profit group that advocates for the tech industry. She’s taking on the head of student engagement role at AstrumU, a Kirkland, Wash.-based startup using machine learning to help students find impactful careers.

Carol Rava.

Rava said it was a tough decision to leave the Tech Alliance, but is looking forward to a “great opportunity” with AstrumU, where she’ll leverage both her subject matter expertise and past experience building direct-to-youth tech applications.

Mary Beth Lambert, a former communications officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will serve as the interim executive director of the Tech Alliance.

During Rava’s time leading Tech Alliance, the group hosted tech leaders like Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, and Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman at its annual luncheon. It produced several reports analyzing tech’s impact on education, research, and innovation.

“The Technology Alliance is the only cross-sector organization working statewide to grow and strengthen Washington’s innovation economy,” Rava told GeekWire. “Given its board with top research institutions, innovation-driven businesses and service providers, the Tech Alliance is uniquely situated to serve as an independent broker of information on the issues that matter to this economy and the approaches that can make a difference.”

In 2016, Rava replaced Susannah Malarkey, who held the CEO role since the organization was formed 22 years ago with assistance from Bill Gates Sr.

The Technology Alliance officially planted its stake in the ground in 1996 as an advocate for the tech industry, bringing together players from aerospace, software, life sciences and various research organizations. The idea was to think long-term about the health of the innovation economy in Washington state — an industry that was purring with the success of Microsoft and had just given birth to Amazon.com.

Rava previously co-launched Get Schooled, a gaming platform designed to motivate low-income teens to graduate from high school and go on to college. She’s also the former executive director of strategic planning and partnerships at Seattle Public Schools and deputy director of education at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Over the years, the Technology Alliance has pushed for additional resources related to STEM education in Washington state.

“I have little doubt that the Technology Alliance and its board will continue to play an important role and have a real impact on this state, and I look forward to remaining active in the local tech ecosystem,” Rava said in an email to supporters.

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