Our Team

Lidya Makonnen

Manager, Organizational Strategy & Execution

On the Organizational Strategy and Execution team, Lidya helps with strategic planning across BE’s growing set of programs and initiatives.

Lidya joined Gates Ventures, Bill Gates’ private office, as a Program Associate in 2019, where she worked on various programs and projects across the organization’s clean energy and Alzheimer’s Disease work. During her time at Gates Ventures, she helped to launch the Alzheimer’s Disease Data Initiative (ADDI), which aims to move Alzheimer’s disease (AD) innovation further and faster by connecting researchers with the data they need to generate insights that will lead to better treatments and diagnostic tools for AD and related dementias. Prior to that, she worked as an Outreach Director in the Office of U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, where she served as the lead in-state staff member on issues related to business, commerce, banking, workforce development, export promotion, travel and tourism, and foreign affairs. She also worked in the office of former Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, where she held multiple roles, including Scheduling Director for the Lt. Governor, Director of Strategy and Operations for the Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota, and Appointments Coordinator, where she facilitated the judicial appointments process for the Governor.

Lidya earned her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Minnesota. She lives in DC and enjoys trying new foods & restaurants. She is passionate about empowering underserved communities which is why she serves on the board of Resources Enriching African Lives (REAL), an organization dedicated to supporting girls in Oromia, Ethiopia obtain their education.