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Katharine Tomko


Katharine is a Partner of First Ascent Ventures and is based in Silicon Valley. Katharine is an expert in the area of privacy and data protection and an experienced operator. She spent a decade at Facebook in various risk and operations-based roles and has a strong understanding of the modern privacy frameworks developing across the globe.

In 2019, Katharine became a Venture Partner at First Ascent Ventures, having previously advised several of the firm’s portfolio companies on privacy strategy.  Following the close of Fund II, she joined First Ascent Ventures as a full-time Partner. Currently, she serves on the board of ThinkData Works and is a board observer for Osano. She also leads the Data Privacy Sub-Committee at Potloc. Katharine is a member of C100 and sits on the Alpha Advisory Board for the Silicon Valley chapter.

Before joining First Ascent Ventures, Katharine spent almost a decade at Facebook where she was part of the team that pioneered the landscape of online privacy. During her time at Facebook, she held various risk and operations-based roles, promoting user safety and engagement. Most notably, she served as Head of Privacy Programs, overseeing major initiatives related to privacy and data protection issues. She was responsible for building and managing Facebook’s privacy and information security program, which included but was not limited to regulatory compliance, threat detection, as well as developing the internal methodology and process for executing privacy risk assessments. Katharine also worked with Facebook’s M&A team, assessing the privacy impact of target companies, and helping newly acquired companies embed risk mitigation strategies into their workflow.

Katharine left Facebook in 2017. Aware that the landscape of privacy was evolving and moving into new territory and armed with the knowledge and experience gained from both successes and failures at Facebook, Katharine had the curiosity to explore the world and learn more about privacy beyond Silicon Valley. In that time, she travelled to numerous countries and advised start-ups on privacy and security concerns. Katharine holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice and Public Policy from the University of Guelph.

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