Lilia Villa

Strategist, Digital Engagement Expert, Social Entrepreneur

CEO, Sierra Research Partners

Lilia is a marketing strategist and digital engagement expert with more than a decade of experience working at the intersection of tech and tourism, e-commerce, non-profits, and politics. Born and raised in southern California, Lilia grew up along the US-Mexico border and built her first website in 6th grade.

 

The first in her family to go to college, she had an early interest in the connection between Psychology, Art, and Technology.  In 2006, Lilia joined the team at Advanced Reservation Systems, a startup building innovative booking-engine software serving the US travel market. She started as a record-setting agent, landing her first million in sales within her first 6 months, and was promoted to Implementation Manager where she worked closely with the developand four years later went on to volunteer with the community-based tour operator Andaman Discoveries in Thailand, where she now serves as advisor. In 2012 she was part of the founding team at startup NationBuilder, where she served as an organizer engineer & email deliverability expert to non-profits, campaigns, and businesses worldwide.

In 2015, Lilia co-founded We Help Nepal, a network supporting locally-led, peer-to-peer Nepal earthquake relief efforts, launching a digital campaign that crowdfunded over half a million USD online within weeks of the disaster. 

As National Digital Organizing Director on the Bernie Sanders campaign in 2016, she managed digital communications for staff and volunteers across the continental US & territories in both English and Spanish. Her team helped pioneer new “distributed organizing” tactics that mobilized thousands of volunteers to make more than 74 million calls and send over a million peer-to-peer text messages, building one of the biggest voter contact machines seen in US politics. She later joined the team at Fight for the Future to help campaign tech for a rock tour against the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), organizing communities to defeat the trade deal. 

Most recently, Lilia was Director of Digital Engagement for the Dream Corps, a social justice non-profit founded by Best-Selling Author & CNN commentator Van Jones. There she led digital campaign strategy for the initiatives #YesWeCode, #cut50, #GreenForAll, and helped launch the #LoveArmy, building tools to enable in-person, volunteer-driven activism to solve some America’s toughest problems.

Lilia currently lives between California and Thailand, and loves getting outdoors whenever possible. She is a Board Member of Global Purpose Group, a non-profit supporting education, empowerment, and direct aid for individuals, communities, and organizations most commonly in the areas of disaster recovery, education, cultural empowerment, poverty alleviation, and sustainable development.