Meet the Joint Venture Team
Rachel Massaro (they/them)
Vice President and Director of Research
Rachel Solomon Massaro is Vice President of Joint Venture and Director of Research at the Silicon Valley Institute for Regional Studies. Their expertise lies in research, data analysis, and the Silicon Valley ecosystem.
Rachel joined Joint Venture in 2009 to work on the organization’s climate, energy, and sustainability initiatives, leading programs in energy storage and solar photovoltaics. They served as the convening project manager of two successive collaborative purchasing projects, which led to the installation of more than 200 solar PV systems on city/county facilities and >$126 million in taxpayer savings. As the nation’s first public sector collaborative of its kind, the projects were recognized by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council and also received the Governor’s Award for Environmental and Economic Leadership in 2011.
Since the launch of the Institute in 2013, Rachel has grown the research team from one staff member to more than a dozen, implemented a regional data dashboard for the public benefit that attracts more than 20,000 new users annually (and includes Silicon Valley’s first and only population clock), authored dozens of research reports and articles, and established the Institute’s Equity Advisory Committee.
In 2019, Rachel was honored as one of 100 Women of Influence by the Silicon Valley Business Journal, highlighting their work on the Silicon Valley Index and Silicon Valley Indicators online data hub.
With prior experience spanning a variety of earth science disciplines, Rachel’s most recent work focused on global climate change and the role of the coastal ocean with respect to carbon dioxide dynamics. That research effort included maintenance of the first autonomous data collection buoy in the federal coastal CO2 monitoring network – a collaboration with researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Rachel’s interest in research sprouted at a young age, noting in their kindergarten journal an aspiration to be “a research scientist.” By age 17, nonprofit and environmental interests were also evident through Rachel’s volunteer work as an ocean kayaking and whitewater rafting guide for accessible outdoor adventures.
A former EMT, lifeguard, and research diver, Rachel rarely shies away from a challenge or adventure. They ran the Honolulu marathon during the same, momentous week they defended their master’s thesis, then moved back to Silicon Valley within days of the 2008 stock market crash.
Rachel holds a BS in physical geography with a minor in geology from UC Santa Barbara, an MS in geochemical oceanography from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and professional certificates from Stanford University’s School of Engineering and the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business.
Born and raised in Palo Alto, Rachel now volunteers as a member of the Philanthropy Cabinet for Jewish Silicon Valley (the entity resulting from the merger of the Jewish Federation and the Addison-Penzak JCC) and with the Girl Scouts, and participates as a member of the California Employment Development Department’s Labor Market Information Advisory Group.
Rachel’s curiosity extends well beyond research, filling their time with movement, creation, and connection. Above all, they enjoy spending time with their husband and three kiddos, family, and friends.