Karina Montilla Edmonds is a globally recognized visionary leader in the field of innovation, technology transfer, and commercialization. She is a strategic thinker and strong problem solver adept at building partnerships and influencing key stakeholders. Her strong interpersonal skills emphasize her ability to lead with empathy and trust. She has decades of experience working with the private sector, universities, and national laboratories across the country.
Dr. Edmonds currently serves as the SVP and Global Head of Academies and University Alliances at SAP. In this role, she is leading university partnerships that inspire, expose and educate students through engaging SAP curriculum. She also oversees the Sales and Engineering Academies which develop early talent and emerging leaders to build the best sales and engineering talent in the world. Prior to joining SAP, Edmonds was the Global Lead for Cloud AI at Google in Sunnyvale, California. At Google, her primary role was to facilitate research collaborations in AI between Google Cloud and top academic researchers. Edmonds joined Google Cloud from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) where she served as the Executive Director for Corporate Partnerships. At Caltech, she was responsible for implementing and managing an integrated strategy with the private sector and major federal funding agencies across numerous research areas. Edmonds was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Energy as the first full-time Technology Transfer Coordinator for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in April 2010. In that role, Edmonds was responsible for working with the DOE’s national laboratories to accelerate the advancement of discoveries from the laboratory to the marketplace. She has also held positions at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and TRW, Inc. (now Northrop Grumman). Edmonds has co-authored two patent applications in the area of noise reduction for the automotive environment. As a Principal Research Scientist, her research at Northrop Grumman was in support of speech recognition for mobile applications.
Edmonds has been a long-standing advocate for the promotion of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers, especially for underrepresented students and women. She is a product of a STEM program herself and continues to serve as a role model and mentor to students across the country. She has been a keynote speaker, panelist, and awardee at innovation, clean energy, and STEM events across the country and has received numerous national recognition and awards. She has served as a member of the White House Speaker Bureau that promotes STEM careers to women and girls. Her advocacy for STEM spans several decades, including her role as a founding member and volunteer for Science is Fun Inc. (SIFI) while still an undergraduate at the University of Rhode Island (URI). She frequently speaks at industry engagements and currently serves on the boards for the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics at the University of California, Los Angeles and was confirmed by the Rhode Island State Senate to the inaugural Board of Trustees for the University of RI in March 2020. Edmonds previously served on the boards of the URI Foundation, Caltech Alumni Foundation and ConnectEd California. She received a BS in Mechanical Engineering from URI, where she was inducted into its Engineering Hall of Fame in 2011 and was named a Distinguished Alumna in 2013. She holds an MS and PhD in Aeronautics with a minor in Materials Science from Caltech in Pasadena. She lives in Southern California with her three daughters all of which continue to show a strong interest in STEM.