Courtney Karnes


With more than 17 years of experience building strategies to engage multiple stakeholders in addressing some of the most pressing societal issues, Courtney Karnes joined Silicon Valley Bank in 2017 to establish and expand SVB’s signature program, Access to Innovation. The mission of Access to Innovation is to build a more diverse, equitable and accessible innovation economy for all. Her work at SVB stretches across the breadth of innovation — partnering with founders, investors and rising and thriving professionals, as well as corporations to address and tackle opportunities to fuel diversity and drastically increase representation.

Courtney has a long-standing passion for building partnerships that address big problems. Before joining SVB, she worked in the nonprofit sector raising funds to support advancements in cancer treatments. Serving as an executive at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, she devoted her talents to major-gifts fundraising, business development and culture transformation. During this time, Courtney was regularly inspired by diagnostic and therapeutic advancements. In her current role, she finds it gratifying to focus her work on increasing equity and access.

Courtney holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California, Davis. Outside of work, she enjoys anything involving fresh air and exercise. The pandemic inspired her to tackle her lifelong goal of learning to surf and also to join the board of the City Surf Project, an organization that provides opportunities to San Francisco youth who might not otherwise have access to activities such as ocean recreation, leadership development and environmental education. Courtney’s spare moments are filled with writing, hiking, reading and adventuring with her three daughters; she always makes time for great conversation…and fun.
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