Rachel Payne has built an exceptional career as a technology executive and entrepreneur, while actively involved in philanthropic activities. A recognized thought leader in the advancement of technology to reshape our world, she champions policies that make a meaningful place for everyone in the new economy.
Rachel was born in San Bernardino, California and grew up in a working class family. When her family moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, her father became a union operating engineer. After her parents were divorced, Rachel’s mother worked multiple jobs to support her family as a single mom of three children.
Rachel won numerous scholarships, worked several part-time jobs and took out loans to become the first person in her family to go to college. At Smith College, she majored in government and through her studies, became passionate about gender justice.
After graduation, a global publishing company hired Rachel to help build their digital network, which is where she discovered the power of technology and joined the first wave of Internet companies in Silicon Valley.
Throughout her technology career, Rachel thrived on the opportunity to create a positive impact through hard work, perseverance and a commitment to results. She has held key leadership roles during the early, pioneering days of the Internet and later at groundbreaking, Fortune 100 companies where she witnessed firsthand how technology and new business models transformed the economy.
Rachel returned to school at Stanford Graduate School of Business, studying public management and international development, working in Mexico City and Kampala for microfinance organizations that provide financial services and access to technology for low-income individuals in Latin America and Africa. After earning her MBA, Rachel joined the founding team of Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google.
While at Google, Rachel led International Business Operations in Emerging Markets, spending several years living and working in sub-Saharan Africa. Rachel served as Country Manager, Africa Leadership Team, with the goal of building the foundation for an Internet Economy. She focused on infrastructure, localization, strategic partnerships, and public policy to ensure broad-based participation in the opportunities created by mobile phones and emerging technologies. Her team’s work was recognized in 2010, where she accepted Google’s first award at Mobile World Congress for “Best Mobile Apps for Economic and Social Development” for building and scaling critical mobile services in agriculture, trade and health that serve people in poor, rural areas. She also worked with heads of state on policy relating to Internet access and job creation.
Rachel settled in Orange County in 2009 to be closer to her family, working for Google in Irvine, leading the Technology Vertical, and managing sales teams across Southern California. She later became Principal, Global Strategic Alliances, and managed Google’s most important relationships in Media & Entertainment.
In 2012, she co-founded FEM Inc., a holding company focused on research and development at the intersection of media, technology and gender. In 2015, FEM Inc. launched Prizma, an AI tech startup offering personalized content discovery and analytics for major media and tech companies.
Rachel served on the Board of Directors for BRAC USA, ranked the #1 NGO in the world. BRAC takes a holistic approach to ending poverty through microfinance, education, agriculture and health care. She is a founding member of the Aliso Niguel Democratic Club, a member of the Democratic Women of South Orange County and the Newport Beach Women’s Democratic Club. She currently resides in Aliso Viejo with her dog Mochi and enjoys living down the street from her sister and nieces.