Alya Adamany Woods is the Executive Director of ChicagoNEXT, World Business Chicago’s dedicated effort to drive growth and opportunity for Chicago’s tech economy. Governed by a council of technology leaders, ChicagoNEXT strategic focus areas include capital, talent, industry and community and her portfolio of programs includes the Chicago Venture Summit, ThinkChicago, and the Blackstone Inclusive Entrepreneurship Challenge.
Prior to her role at World Business Chicago, Alya was the Managing Director for Innovation Initiatives at the Illinois Science & Technology Coalition (ISTC), a statewide advocacy group dedicated to cultivating technology-based economic development in Illinois. She co-founded and managed the ISTC’s award-winning Corporate-Startup Challenge, a program designed to create a bridge between major corporations and startup and emerging growth technology firms. She was also the co-creator of the Illinois Innovation Index, a monthly publication developed in conjunction with World Business Chicago to benchmark the city and state’s ability to attract capital, create and retain talent and business, and drive dynamic technologies.
Prior to that, Woods worked for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, where she most recently served as the Assistant Director for studies, and prior to that as the Interim Director for the Global Midwest Initiative. There, she tackled global policy issues including energy, immigration, and agriculture.
Alya received her bachelor’s degree in political science from Yale University and a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Chicago. She has lived in Chicago since 2002 and currently resides in Logan Square with her family.