For more than 30 years, James Bernard has worked at the intersection of social impact, partnerships, and communications. Having worked in more than 50 countries, he brings a deep understanding of the cultural, economic, and environmental challenges that multisector partnerships can address.
Prior to his work with DT Global, James built and ran a commercial advisory group at Resonance, growing it to a multi-million-dollar business with 20 staff, working with a variety of clients, including Unilever, PepsiCo, Cargill, Microsoft, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the IKEA Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation. James also spent 15 years at Microsoft, including eight as Senior Director of Global Strategic Partnerships for the education group, where he led a team that was responsible for building partnerships with publishers, education technology companies, NGOs, and international development organizations. He also held a variety of communications positions focused on consumer technology and digital access programs for emerging markets.
James serves on the board of Atlas Corps, an organization dedicated to fostering leadership in underrepresented communities, and teaches a graduate-level class on the intersection of partnerships and technology at the University of Washington’s Jackson School of Public Policy. He lives in Seattle.
What’s your favorite place of all the places you’ve travelled?
I spent six years growing up in Kenya, and we used to frequently visit Lamu Island, on the northern coast. I remembered it as a magical place, where there were few cars, fewer tourists, white sand beaches, and a fascinating mash-up of Swahili, Arab, Portuguese, and Indian influences. When I visited as an adult, I was amazed that it still held me as much in its thrall.
What’s the one piece of advice you would give others about life?
Don’t expect life (or your career) to be linear. Take the curves or forks in the road. They’ll inevitably lead someplace more interesting, fulfilling, and fun.