By Noa Ronkin, Communications Consultant posted in on April 8, 2015 at 2:40pm
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Gerardo Capiel has over 25 years of experience leading the development of innovative internet and enterprise software. From 2010 to 2014, he served as Benetech’s vice president of engineering and was responsible for the development, testing, and deployment of new technology in all program areas. He also oversaw volunteers contributing to Benetech’s open source projects; brought partners to integrate with the organization’s products; and advised the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and other leading organizations and standards groups in the field of accessibility in education.
Currently, Gerardo leads product management for consumer payments at Google. Gerardo has co-founded three internet companies: Digital Impact, a publicly traded e-marketing software provider; Gydget, a provider of social network marketing products for the entertainment and nonprofit sectors; and Meerchant, a provider of omni-channel commerce software for SMBs.
Gerardo holds a BS in Engineering Systems and Computation from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He has traveled extensively through the developing world and has served as a volunteer in the Dominican Republic and Cambodia.
What first made you excited to get involved with Benetech?
My parents were both public servants and implanted in me the importance of giving back to humanity. After a successful career in the technology industry, I decided to look for an opportunity to give back. I wanted to provide not only my time, but also the valuable knowledge and skills I had learned along the way. When I learned of Benetech, I reached out via my network to its founder, Jim, and was immediately inspired by his energy, accomplishments, and the team he built around him. Luckily for me, he was in search of a vice president of engineering and the rest is history.
Based on your experience, what is the significance of technology in driving social progress?
Technology enables cost-efficient scaling of manual tasks and efficient replication and transformation of digital things. This means that good deeds by humans can now be done 10x faster or 10x cheaper. Furthermore, good ideas and information regarding humanitarian needs and injustices can be spread almost instantaneously.
What would you say to someone who is considering partnering with Benetech or maybe even joining you on the board?
One of the Benetech Seven Truths (i.e., values) is partnership over going at it alone. For me during my time as VP of Engineering at Benetech, the desire and willingness for the organization to work with partners meant that we could accomplish things no other nonprofit or even for-profit could typically accomplish. For example, we had Google leading changes to web browsers to make digital books more accessible. I am fortunate to stay closely involved with Benetech as a board member and work with a other board members who also believe in the Benetech Truths.