Net Supatravanij standing next to a large poster that shows the UX design of her app, ALLY.

On any given day, you might find Net Supatravanij in Bangkok or London. Wherever she’s at home, she and her team at ila Generation are hard at work. Net cofounded ila, a social enterprise that connects purpose-driven young professionals, in 2018. Together, they developed ALLY, an app that creates safe spaces and provides training and access to a network of partner organizations, all in service of ending gender-based violence. Net’s journey as a start-up cofounder began at the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

As a Steinhardt student, Net found the education, community, and alumni network to help launch her future. Her NYU experience led to a career at the advertising and marketing agency Ogilvy Singapore, formerly Ogilvy & Mather, followed by further education at the London School of Economics and Political Science. There, the idea for ALLY by ila was born.

Net Supatravanij standing on a stage with a group of people for the 2023 International Women’s Day MOU Signing Ceremony.
It All Started with NYU’s Flexible Curriculum

“NYU was always my dream school,” Net explains. “I knew I would love integrating into New York City and having a more independent and well-rounded experience. Plus, I wanted to capitalize on the opportunity to learn firsthand. It was genuinely the only place I wanted to be.” At Steinhardt, Net built her home base in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication. Through her coursework, she learned all about the field. Then, she turned to NYU’s Wasserman Center for Career Development, where she connected with internships that gave her the chance to try out different career paths, like journalism at Seventeen magazine and public relations at Elizabeth Arden. “NYU gave me a safe space to explore my interests,” she says.

After some reflection, Net also credits the NYU Feminist Society as a foundational entry point for her into ideas of gender equality and equity. “In most of Asia, including Bangkok, where I spent much of my early life, society is not as vocal about feminism,” she shares. “I loved being in an environment where people talked and learned about issues.” Additionally, she notes how the NYU alumni network, including Steinhardt graduates, helped ila build connections early on. Now she continues to stay in touch with the Thai community at NYU as well as NYU’s alumni network in London.

Room to Explore at NYU

Like all NYU students, Net also had the opportunity to take courses through NYU schools other than Steinhardt. For example, at the Stern School of Business, she took Luxury Marketing, taught by Professor Thomaï Serdari. Reflecting on the class, Net says, “Marketing is about people and their behavior. Luxury marketing takes it to another level, where you consider how people form their beliefs.” The transformative course exposed her to the idea of creating a mindset and elucidated how taking such an approach differs from marketing practical goods, such as groceries. In the years since, she’s applied those lessons to her business.

Net Supatravanij sitting on a panel for the United Nations in commemoration of International Women Day 2020.
The Future of Gender Equality and Equity

While the ALLY team continues to build on their early success, Net is turning toward the future. “I would love to be in an advisory role that helps other female founders,” the Steinhardt alumna explains. “For women of color in tech, there are a lot of layers. And I’m familiar with all the barriers, challenges, and struggles.” She points to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, noting that gender equality worldwide lags behind other benchmarks. “There’s so much more potential than just improving pay equity or adding more women to boards. It’s the ‘more’ that I’m really interested in.”