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US West: $5,000 – $10,000*
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* Ranges are presented as a guideline only. Speaker fees vary by engagement type and are subject to change without notice. For an exact quote, please contact Gravity Speakers.

Traveling From

South Carolina, USA

Tags: Gravity's Exclusives / Business / Future of Work / Entrepreneurship / Startup / Journalist / Social Change & Issues


Mara Zepeda is a Co-Founder and Managing Director of Zebras Unite, an international and intersectional hybrid cooperative creating the capital, culture, and community for the next economy. This global community of founders, investors, and are creating a more ethical, inclusive, collaborative, and sustainable approach to building businesses. 

Prior, Mara was the founder of a venture-backed software company, Switchboard (now Hearken). It was through her experience as an entrepreneur of a different stripe that led her to co-found Zebras Unite, along with Jennfier Brandel, Astrid Scholz, and Aniyia Williams. Their manifesto,“Zebras Fix What Unicorns Break,” launched this timely, necessary, culture-shifting movement that has garnered broad recognition. It now boasts an online community of 10K+ strong, 100+ member-owners, and over 25 chapters around the world. 

Mara is a systempreneur and serial social entrepreneur. She has also co-founded and was the founding board chair of Business for a Better Portland and XXcelerate. BBPDX is a next-generation business organization 350+ members strong that forges public-private collaborations to advance systemic change, shared prosperity, and social justice and equity in Portland. XXcelerate provides business support, education, peer mentorship, and funding to 200+ Oregon womxn entrepreneurs.

She speaks about and leads workshops on education, trust, social networks, and the future of business internationally. Mara has spent her career at the intersection of community building, economic empowerment, and movement building.

Mara speaks from her experience as an economic reporter for NPR, calligrapher, and child of bohemian and spiritually curious artists. She holds a BA in Russian from Reed College and an MS in Journalism from Columbia University where she graduated with honors. She grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


Zebras vs Unicorns 

Become a doula for the new economy

Call and Response: How listening leads to social change

Entrepreneurship & the Creative Process

From Moscow to Jung: An entrepreneur’s journey




  • "I love the way Mara engages with the audience. She has this unique ability to appear utterly at ease on stage, conversational, and eloquent. All while conveying ideas and concepts with strength and approachable simplicity. Whether in a large conference presentation or an intimate setting. Best of all, she never talks down to the crowd. She has a conversation with them." Rick Turoczy Founder, TechFest Northwest
  • Mara gave a fantastic talk in front of a packed audience of women entrepreneurs at Portland's Women Founders Forum on "Sex and Startups." Her innovative, refreshing, and provocative perspective threw some new light on some of the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs. Mara is an independent thinker and was able to convey new ideas on some of the topics near and dear to this audience. She is amazing in how she connects with the audience and is able to engage people in an ongoing conversation, while at the same time touching on subjects that are simply not easy to cover in public speaking. The feedback from the group was superlative, quite frankly one of the best speakers we have ever had. Paola Moretto Founder, Portland Women's Founders Forum
  • Mara gave a stellar presentation at WarmGun 2014. In conversations with other attendees, I was impressed how many others mentioned that her talk was a standout among a very stellar roster of speakers. Given the impact she had there, I invited her to speak at the SiliValley chapter of the professionals engaged in human-computer interaction. In front of a packed audience of designers, product managers, and more technically inclined developers, I was impressed (but not surprised) by how immediately Mara engaged the spectrum of diverse professionals. As I'd expected, her presentation was accessible, interesting, and full of interesting ideas. I've invited 100s of speakers to present to our group, and I'd place Mara in the top tier. Paul Sas Behavioral Economist, Speaker Coordinator for BayCHI