Akira Lynn Bel ’95 is an Information Technology executive with over 20 years of experience leading technology services. Akira is currently the SVP and CIO at Mathematica, a company in Princeton, NJ dedicated to evidence and data driven research and analysis that promote public well-being in the areas of healthcare, education, employment, and human services, both domestically and abroad. Akira’s areas of focus are creating and leading transformational digital strategies, data science and engineering, consumer technology, and cybersecurity. While most of her career has been with Fortune 100 companies, her current role allows her to bring her technology expertise to a company that is working in service of others, leading what she calls “Mission Driven Technology.” Akira’s past professional awards include the CIO100 Award for innovative technology deployed in the tri-state area for Hurricane Sandy relief.
Outside of work, Akira is ever committed to playing a role in her community focusing her activities on strengthening the support and enrichment of underserved children, as well as mentoring women in STEM careers.
Akira is very proud to currently be serving as Trustee for Jack and Jill of America Foundation that seeks to invest in African American communities in the areas of education, healthcare, and family support. On the Foundation, Akira has led the National Foundation’s Program Committee, determining the types of grants that will be awarded each year, as well as chairing the Strategy and Innovation Committee. She is most proud of creating the new STEM grant that has funded over 400 hours of after school enrichment for 3000 students in under-resourced communities across the Nation.
Previously, she has worked with the American Museum of Natural History in NYC to improve patron development, a place that nurtured her love of science. She was on the STEM Advisory Committee for Stuart Country Day School, an all-girls independent school in Princeton, and served as a STEM Mentor. She has been a panelist at Princeton University She Roars (2011) conference discussion on women in STEM, and is a PUMP mentor to three current students. She is also a past board member of the YMCA of Princeton. Akira was awarded NAACP Dorothy Height Leadership Award for her leadership in the community.
Akira also draws great inspiration from her membership with the Jersey Girls Stay Strong Multisport triathlon club, a group that saw her through her first triathlon and first Ironman 70.3 race. This is a supportive group of women from all backgrounds, of all shapes, sizes and abilities who compete in triathlons and support each other in their love of the sport. This group and triathlon in general, have taught her a “no limits” attitude that she applies to work and life.
Akira draws strength from her family. She is the mother of two wonderful children, Ethan and Samantha who are seniors at The Lawrenceville School and Peddie School respectively. Her mother, Linda Brantley Blackburn, came to Princeton in 1969, in Princeton’s first year of co-education and graduated in the great class of ’71. Akira’s first memories of Princeton were accompanying her mother to ABPA meetings as a child, while her mother served as President and has found a wonderful community of mentors and friends in alumni from across the decades. Coming back to Princeton has always been truly a family affair.