Board Bios

The Mission of Public Invention is to "Invent in the public, for the public."


Robert L. Read, PhD

Founder and Head Coach

Robert L. Read, PhD, founded Public Invention in 2019, 35 years after first being inspired to do so by Buckminster Fuller. He is a professional computer programmer and manager, and amateur scientist, physicist, and mathematician, mycologist and electrical engineer. He speaks Esperanto fluently. He hopes that 20 years from now you will be able to go to a party and say, “I’m a Public Inventor” and have everyone know what that means.


Stephanie Liu

Stephanie Liu serves as Vice President and Board Member for Public Invention. 

She spent most of her career at Google, first leading Google’s global programs for developer platforms, and then working on renewables and other early stage climate change projects at X, Google’s “moonshot” incubator. She continues her work on climate change through consulting, including impact investment firms and non-profits like Drawdown. She also advocates for climate change action through community groups and civic service.

Stephanie holds a BA in Computer Science and Psychology from the University of California, Davis.


Marc Jones

Marc Jones works primarily as in-house legal counsel for CivicActions, which provides professional services related to free software to nonprofit and government clients. He also works on the CivicActions infrastructure team, as a security and compliance officer, and provides consulting and training services to government procurement and legal teams. Prior to this, he worked for the State of Connecticut for seventeen years managing IT infrastructure and eventually as the associate director of an IT department. His pro bono practice is focused on free software nonprofits.

Adam's Hand

Adam Riggs

Adam is an experienced executive and investor in e-commerce, finance, and media companies.   Since 2017, he has been the Chief Executive Officer of Plectica, which makes a variety of collaboration tools. From 2013-2016, Adam was a Presidential Innovation Fellow at the Treasury Dept. and a subject matter expert at the State Dept. on a variety of open data and knowledge management challenges.

Adam was also's first President and CFO, from 2005 - 2010.  Prior to Shutterstock, Adam was a professional derivatives trader for nine years, from 1997 through 2005. Focusing on index arbitrage, he actively traded futures contracts, ETFs, and stocks as a member of both the American Stock Exchange and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Prior to his trading career, Adam did econometric research on securities fraud and antitrust at the NERA division of Marsh & McLennan. Adam graduated from Reed College in 1995.  Beyond work, he’s a proud father and husband, and a bona fide jazz nut…


Victoria Jaqua

Victoria F. Jaqua is a registered radiology technologist specializing in cardiac catheterization procedures. When not working her clinical job, she is the Medical Community Lead for Open Source Medical Supplies (OSMS), where she supports the maker-medical connection, especially for traditionally underserved populations and crisis response efforts. She is a co-author on Design | Make | Protect, an OSMS and Nation of Makers (NOM) white paper documenting the open source and maker-made PPE accomplishments of 2020.
In her very little spare time, she researches neurobiology with a particular interest in CranioSacral Therapy (CST), Somatic Experiencing (SE), and Poly-Vagal Theory. This research is the foundation of her network building within the open source community, particularly focused toward project management, collaborations, and documenting effective systems.
John K. Gibbons

John K. Gibbons

John K. Gibbons is a retired software developer, a hiker, a science fiction writer, a gardener, and a volunteer speaker for NASA’s JPL through the Solar System Ambassadors Program.


Sarah Benson-Konforty

Dr. Sarah Benson-Konforty is a seasoned entrepreneur, executive and a medical doctor currently serving as CEO & Co-Founder of AssemblyDrop, an early stage startup in Silicon Valley.
She was formerly the Founding Managing Partner at the early seed stage fund Gimmel Entrepreneurs Group, where she led the investments in the health space. She also served as Head of Business Development at (Acquired by Algolia) and as Interim-CEO at Biomed Simulation.
She was the Co-founder of Macpire, a leader in building web and CRM platforms (Acquihired by Chegg, NYS: CHGG) Sarah is passionate about democratizing inventions for the benefit of humankind, she also serves on the Advisory board of Insurights, a medical benefits platform, and is leading the Business Development club as part of INTRO -, the largest Israeli tech-community in Silicon Valley.
Sarah Holds an MD degree from Tbilisi State Medical University and is a graduate of Wharton’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program.

Sabia Abidi

Sabia Abidi is a lecturer in the bioengineering department at Rice University and teaches
courses in Systems Physiology, Troubleshooting of Clinical Lab Equipment, and Senior
Design. Abidi has a doctorate in biomedical engineering from the University of Texas, Austin
and completed postdoctoral research at NYU School of Medicine and MIT. She has research
experience in stem cell differentiation methods, microbiological techniques and microfluidic technologies for hematopoietic associated disease applications such as sickle cell anemia and malaria. She is committed to mentorship and STEM outreach through her advisory and mentor roles at Rice, IEEE WIE, Big Brother/Big Sister, and serving as a judge for Rice related and Future City competitions. In her spare time, she enjoys taking things apart and keeping her boys out of trouble.

man working on invention project

Avinash Baskaran

Avinash is driven by his desire to leverage science and technology to restore the function, independence, and quality of life of people with disabilities. His research interests include assistive robotics, telepresence and human robot interaction. In his spare time, he enjoys painting, listening to music and completing DIY projects.

Current Advisors

Nina's Hands

Nina Bianchi

An experienced transformation leader, Nina Bianchi builds brave organizations that achieve more. She advances a smarter future of work by expanding mindsets and coaching others to seek new ways to solve unbeatable problems. From service front lines to C-suites, she combines her creativity with stakeholder partnerships to form an agile culture of healthier collaboration, fresh perspectives, and tangible results.

As Director of Workforce Solutions at U.S. General Services Administration’s Centers of Excellence, she focuses on developing leaders and adaptive teams through enhanced learning and design. From 2017 to 2019, she served as a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow.

From 2007 - 2017, she co-founded and led The Work Department, an innovation consulting firm that invented strategic emerging technology toolkits for building collaborative infrastructure projects.

She also serves as a a mentor for health entrepreneurs-in-residence at Sibley Memorial Hospital.

Past Board Members


Lea Shanley, PhD

Dr. Lea Shanley is a geographer, technologist, and a research fellow at the Nelson Institute of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She collaborates globally to address scientific and societal challenges through open science and innovation. Previously, Shanley was the founding co-Executive Director of the NSF South Big Data Innovation Hub, a venture launched to catalyze cross-sector partnerships in data science. As Director of the Wilson Center’s Commons Lab and as a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow under the Obama Administration, she co-founded the Federal Community of Practice on Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science and

Board Term: Feb. 2019 - Feb. 2020

Martin Smith

Martin Smith, PhD

Martin is the proprietor of Blind Goat Geophysics. He has a PhD in Geophysics and Seismology from Princeton University. He is a builder and maker who brings vast experience and technical expertise in mathematical modeling, computer programming, microelectronics and physics to Public Invention.


Keeshan Patel

Keeshan Patel is a student at The University of Texas at Austin who completed his bachelor’s in Electrical and Computer Engineering and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Software Engineering. He has a passion for robotics and embedded systems. Specifically, his interests lie in rehabilitation robotics where he has conducted exoskeleton research in the Non-Invasive Brain-Machine Interface Lab at the University of Houston and the RENEU Lab at The University of Texas at Austin. Throughout his undergraduate experience, he has interned at Viasat, PriceWaterhouse Coopers, and Apple and has continued his pursuit to extend his knowledge of the tech industry. His various projects can be found on his website: