Technically Optimistic Podcast
Raffi believes that when technology is used both strategically and intentionally, it has the power to impact people’s lives — and the world — for the better. This belief has guided him throughout his career as an engineer and tech leader, and drives his work enabling technological innovation across and beyond Emerson Collective.
Over the past decades, Raffi has helped companies and organizations build teams and tech infrastructure designed for impact. He was an executive at Twitter running a global engineering team focused on making Twitter available and performant for the world. At Uber, he helped start and run the self-driving efforts tasked with building and deploying the first-ever self-driving and passenger carrying fleet in record time. His experiences at these industry- and world- changing companies gave him deep insight into the importance of thoughtful design and implementation within the social media, artificial intelligence, and commercial landscapes.
When Trump was elected in 2016, Raffi pivoted to put his technological know-how to use in the political realm. He joined the Democratic National Committee, as their first-ever Chief Technology Officer, to create a unique team fused with campaign and industry veterans, to secure the party after its breach by Russian state actors in the last presidential election, and to entirely revamp its tech infrastructure — all to enable Democrats to win the next few elections.
Over his four years at Emerson Collective, Raffi has brought his unique ability to harness tech talent to the social sector. He works across all teams — and with Emerson partners — to consider data, tools, and product design with the aim of empowering them to achieve their goals, and making EC a truly data-curious organization along the way.
Raffi is a graduate of M.I.T. He currently serves on numerous boards including TUMO, an Armenia-based organization focused on bringing cutting edge STEAM education, through an innovative free after-school program, to 50,000 kids in centers in Armenia, Lebanon, France, Switzerland, Germany, Ukraine, Albania, and others; the Community Tech Alliance, who works to break the cycle of time-intensive patchwork solutions that get rebuilt by progressive organizations election cycle to cycle; and Medic, a nonprofit organization founded to improve health and health outcomes in the world’s hardest-to-reach communities.