Jennifer Van Dam
Digital & Community Engagement Manager
Jenn serves as Digital & Community Engagement Manager at Innovation Works (IW). In this role Jenn manages the online presence for the Innovation Works’ programs, develops messaging and branding for the organization, engages with diverse tech and investor communities through outreach, relationship building, collaboration, and events, and works with IW and Riverfront portfolio companies to develop their marketing strategies. Jenn is also a co-host of IW’s podcast, Caffeinated Innovation.
Jenn is committed to supporting and empowering people of color, LGBTQIA folks, women, and underserved communities to prosper in the southwestern Pennsylvania and national tech ecosystems. Not only does Jenn focus on this work through her role with Innovation Works, it’s programs, and companies, she also brings that commitment to her role on the boards and committees of the Pittsburgh Venture Capital Association, Allegheny Conference on Community Development, ATHENA Pittsburgh, and Invest In Her. Jenn is also involved with the Grace Hopper Celebration and HBCUvc as a scholarship reviewer.
Prior to taking on the role of Digital & Community Engagement Manager, Jenn was the Program Coordinator at IW’s software startup accelerator, AlphaLab. Before moving to Pittsburgh and joining the IW team, Jenn served as a Customer Specialist at Squarespace, a New York-based technology start-up. In this role Jenn worked directly with clients to build their websites using the Squarespace CMS platform, communicated issues to engineers, developed help guides, and advised customers on their website design strategy. Prior to Squarespace, Jenn worked as an External Relations Assistant helping to fundraise from individual donors at the Third Wave Fund, an activist fund led by and for women of color, intersex, queer, and trans folks.
Jenn holds a BA in Communications and Cultural Studies with a focus on African-American studies from Chatham College for Women at Chatham University. She has been a guest speaker and panelist at local and national conferences, including the Lesbians Who Tech Summit in San Francisco, and the TechUp Summit in Washington, DC where she has spoken about “bro-culture” and the ways that startups can develop a culture that is inclusive of everyone. Jenn is an Imagine Pittsburgh Neighbor, has also been noted for her work in tech and economic development, is part of the inaugural class of The Incline Pittsburgh’s “Who’s Next In Technology,” was recently featured in Crunchbase, and was named one of HBCUvc’s 31 under 31: The Future of Venture Capital.