Karla Gill recently joined Momentus Capital as its first Chief Technology Officer (CTO). In her role overseeing the integration of new technologies that make our work more effective, she will manage Ventures Lending Technologies, Information Technology, and the data analytics teams. In this blog, we take some time to get to know more about Karla, her history, and what keeps her committed to building communities of opportunity.
Q: Talk about your background
Karla: I grew up in Pennsylvania and Virginia, where I went to Virginia Tech for my undergrad in Computer Science and later earned my master’s degree in Information Systems. I have spent most of my career in the Washington metro area and have worked across multiple industries.
I enjoy being a part of our local Capital CIO chapter of InspireCIO, a community where heads of technology come together to maximize their leadership effectiveness and create value. I also serve on the Computer Science and Business IT Advisory Boards at Virginia Tech.
Q: How did you get into the technology field?
Karla: I graduated in computer science and it was a very natural transition for me to start as an entry-level programmer. I have always valued technology and the role it can play in enabling businesses to thrive and in bringing people together. I started out in the technology division of Mobil Oil and later worked as a consultant for five years across multiple industries. I spent half of my career at Marriott International, then in the financial services and hyperscale technologies sectors.
Q: Do you have prior experience leading technology projects for nonprofit organizations?
Karla: I served as the chief information and innovation officer of a D.C.-based nonprofit financial services firm that provides retirement services to the public sector. During my tenure there, I led technology and digital transformation for both clients and employees.
Q: What role do you feel technology has in expanding equity and access to communities that have been historically disinvested?
Karla: I see a wonderful parallel between us providing more equitable access to capital resources on the one hand, and technology providing equitable access to our products, services and resources. Technology can be leveraged to streamline access to our continuum of services, making it easier for those we serve and for partners to work with us, simplifying our delivery of services through further digitized data and processes. It also enables us to measure the progress and impactful results of each project aimed towards our mission. I view technology as an amazing vehicle for democratized access.
Q: How do you anticipate your role as Chief Technology Officer will support Momentus’ mission of helping build inclusive and equitable communities by providing people access to the capital and opportunities they deserve?
Karla: It’s always been an exciting time to be in the technology space and it’s an especially exciting time to serve as Momentus Capital’s CTO. Technology is advancing faster than it ever has and along with it our expectations. Even in these early weeks, it is clear to me that technology and data have played a significant role in our evolution to-date, giving us a foundation to build upon. Our opportunity going forward is to provide next-generation digital solutions that can further propel awareness of and access to the financial, knowledge, and social capital solutions we offer. We will leverage data insights in order to grow in areas that can have even more impact.
Q: What does it mean to be an industry leader in technology and how will your leadership contribute to Momentus’ growth and evolution into the future?
Karla: There’s much expected of today’s technology leaders – too much for just one blog post. More recently, industry leadership in technology has emphasized the transformation of digital, data, and cybersecurity as well as ensuring always-on operations, and an increasing focus on being an adaptable and strategic general business manager too. Our need for building high-performing teams and exercising empathetic leadership has never been greater. I expect these will be among the focus areas that will help us advance our mission. I look forward to continuing to learn from the talent here and applying my cross-industry expertise to advance our technology ecosystem, amplify our data practices, and support the delivery of solutions designed for our next level of growth. We have a real opportunity to explore where fintech advancements intersect with our mission and grow an ecosystem of like-minded vendor partners.
The organizations that now form Momentus Capital – Capital Impact Partners, CDC Small Business Finance, and Ventures Lending Technologies – have a history of being pioneers. I expect we will be pioneering the digital solutions our communities deserve.
Q: What motivates you to do what you do?
Karla: Throughout my career, I have seen where technology can truly be an enabler to help meet mission and strategy. Here that means making a difference in people’s lives. As a people-centric leader, that is motivating. With my heart and head aligned around Momentus’ mission, I look forward to working with our talent, partners and customers to co-create and co-deliver.
Q: What are you most grateful for in your life?
Karla: It is a long list! Among the top few: faith, family, and friendships.
Q: What was the last thing that made you smile?
Karla: Watching last night’s sunset.