I am an entrepreneur, community builder, and innovation strategist with a background in experience design, social innovation, and technology.

We urgently need new ways of addressing complex challenges that are impacting people around the world. Towards that objective, I am passionate about connecting people and ideas across silos. Whether it’s through a company, product, service, or community, my work is typically grounded in bridging different networks to exchange information, opportunities, and resources.

Experiments

InclusionVentures

Innovator-in-Residence // SF

2019

Innovation

Automated anti-bias impulses built into product development tools could help anticipate risks and mitigate harm emerging from flawed human assumptions.

InclusionVentures was a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion consultancy with clients like Twitter, Salesforce, World Economic Forum, the Omidyar Network, adidas, and some of the world’s largest global philanthropic organizations. Like most of the DEI industry, they’ve traditionally focused on organizational culture and hiring practices.

Building back doors

People can’t build solutions for problems they can’t see. Even if we assume best intentions, issues around racial and gender bias continue to plague products and services, perpetuating societal inequities from seemingly inconsequential actions that scale. As we wait for cultural attitudes to progress, how do we put measures in place to shift power even when we’re not there?

Frustrated by the inability for organizations to resolve internal obstructions, I wanted to investigate alternatives to current DEI efforts by moving beyond staff trainings (education) into the production cycle (process). Recognizing this was a departure from typical practices, I approached InclusionVentures about incubating my exploration.

Highlights

  • Conducted user interviews with product managers about potential process interventions.
  • Piloted workshops at the EuroIA conference for designers across Europe to begin co-designing collaborative bias mitigation models relevant to technology product development.
  • Created strategic roadmap with possibilities for short to mid-term solutions that can be quickly deployed within pre-existing product development practices and the current cultural landscape.
  • Founder Amy Lazarus continued testing these initial explorations as a member of the Responsible Innovation team at Facebook.

RSA

2018-Present

Community

How do we harness the power of 30,000 social innovators and their networks around the world to coordinate progress on a global scale?

RSA (The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) is a London-based global network of 30,000 Fellows committed to finding innovative practical solutions to today’s social challenges. Former Fellows include Stephen Hawking, Charles Dickens, Karl Marx, and Benjamin Franklin. Fellowship experiences are conducted within a volunteer capacity.

Hypothesis

Broadening perspectives to tackle interlocking global challenges results in better, more relevant solutions from new lines of inquiry.

Global Fellowship Council

Washington DC Ambassador

Highlights

  • Selected to represent the US on the Global Fellowship Council, a 30-member governing body that represents the interests of Fellows.
  • Regularly convene and facilitate key multi-stakeholder conversations, identify and develop relationships for aligned opportunities towards shared social impact goals, and drive strategic alliances that connect local, national, and global social innovation experts and influencers.
  • As DC Ambassador, increased brand awareness, developed local partnerships, recruited and revived a community of 100+ fellows with hosted events including salons, conferences, discussion groups, and other gatherings.
  • Developed and designed the RSA US Fellowship orientation guide, a synthesis of the vast RSA ecosystem to help with the onboarding experience.

Hypothesis

To move towards a more sustainable future, we need to embrace a more inclusive political-economic order.

Street University Project Exploration

While traditional approaches of promoting financial empowerment in low-income communities are important, they don’t address the foundational issue of systemic economic oppression. Street University seeks to reverse the destructive cycle of economic extraction targeting low-income/low-powered demographics through “economic literacy.” By democratizing access to high-level knowledge of economics, political advocacy, and social movements, more people can be empowered to actively participate in discussions shaping economic policies and practices in their local areas.

Highlights

  • Assembled a team of university professors, community leaders, and experts in finance, economics, social innovation, community organizing, and political history to co-design a pilot project and an introductory “economic literacy” curriculum.
  • Conducted early stage user interviews with potential participants, city officials, and community leaders to gauge interest on “economic literacy” skills and potential for broader social impact if more people can help shape their community’s economic future.
  • Developed a strategic roadmap from initial concept to 14-week curriculum design.

Hypothesis

In order to coordinate towards a shared vision of progress, we need new frameworks relevant to today’s social change efforts.

Art of Change Workshop

The RSA has been at the forefront of progressive social innovation for over 260 years. Today with 30,000 Fellows around the world and with countless more allies working to drive transformation in society, we want to pause and interrogate assumptions and common myths around how we show up. Art of Change work supports Fellows in providing key insights, tools and analysis into the art and mechanics of social change-making.

Highlights

  • Curated a group of 30 high-level grass-top and grassroots leaders across government, community development, technology, philanthropy, education, and the arts to share perspectives on the mechanics of social change-making for the 21st century.
  • Designed a one day workshop together with key RSA staff. Coordinated all event logistics in partnership with Eaton House DC and other vendors.
  • Created a microsite compiling results and participant interviews from the day.
  • Insights from the event have been integrated into RSA Lab’s model for creating enduring social change.

Tabletribes

Founder, CEO

2014-2018 *

Technology

TABLETRIBES was a technology platform that designed spontaneous micro-communities for conversation-based experiences around media content.

Can we design the conditions for more serendipity? Can we intentionally optimize for the mechanics of empathy and deeper human connection to scale? Can we facilitate more high-quality opportunities for productive conversations?

Wore various hats: product and design, UX research, content writing and marketing, community building, operations, developing business and social impact strategies, and securing partnerships. After 4+ years of rewarding, challenging, and overall, transformative experiences, it was time to turn the page.

Hypothesis

TABLETRIBES can coordinate conversations for focused engagement around current events and issues.

Radius Project

I wanted to contribute to the urgency of the 2014 killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson by using TABLETRIBES for focused conversations about race in America. That resulting campaign  – which also served as an early beta test – was Radius Project, which began as discussions sparked by an art exhibit in Washington DC responding to a newly emerging Black Lives Matter movement.

TABLETRIBES collaborated with the curators to extend the reach of these powerful conversations by bringing together artists, experts, and community leaders across silos – starting in DC, and eventually including SF, NYC, and Philadelphia – around topics such as race, politics, and religion.

Radius Project helped clarify how we might use digital social networks, AI, and the power of collective conversations to intentionally weave our ties across perceived differences in the real world.

Highlights

  • Prior to Radius Project, to build a technology-based solution that would authentically engage and build trust in the real world, I first organized 100+ in-person conversation opportunities that brought together 1000+ people across different formats and group sizes to deconstruct our most fundamental communication tool: the face-to-face conversation.
  • The results – combined with best practices in cross-cultural facilitation, evidence-based conversation design methods, and a foundation of empathy feedback loops – helped to build consistency around elements like network diversity, productive group dynamics, collaboration potential, and most importantly, event/topic/partner relevance.
  • More than 2000 people participated in Radius Project. Featured in Forbes, Fortune, Financial Times, and others.

Hypothesis

TABLETRIBES can help create sustained relational organizing infrastructure.

Civic Hall // NYC

Civic Hall is a collaborative innovation center that advances the use of technology for the public good. It was built on the idea that together – technologists, government officials, community organizers, researchers, makers, social entrepreneurs, change-makers, hackers, academics, journalists, artists – we can build and scale solutions to civic problems.

Highlights

  • Selected as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence to explore application of TABLETRIBES in political organizing and civic innovation contexts. Presented findings at “Empathy and Tech” showcase event.

Xuntora Labs

Founder

2011-2014

Burning Question

How do we radically change the way we engage with each other and the world around us to create a global network of sustainable empathy?

Xuntora Labs started with a series of dinner parties and ended with a single question that delved into how we might scale empathy. In between, it was dedicated to research and experimentation around practical solutions that drive positive feedback loops in activating meaningful connection among strangers.

Number 68 Project // DC

Number 68 Project united nationally-recognized writers, artists, journalists, entrepreneurs, thought leaders, policy makers, and other guests of influence with some of Washington DC’s top fine dining chefs and mixologists for a 9-week integrated cultural, culinary, and conversational experience that promoted meaningful and productive dialogue around the dinner table.

With origins in London, I came on board as a Co-Founder and Cultural Director to adapt the concept of a fine dining pop-up experience for the Washington DC audience. Prior efforts were overhauled with new concept development, unifying purpose, experience design, communications strategy, and event facilitation, as well as tapping into my networks across DC, NYC, and LA for speakers, guests, and partners.

Highlights

  • “Functioning within the normal context of the ‘public’ dinner party trend and combining the notion of the traditional dinner party, No. 68 playfully interlaces the two to reveal that classic ideas can still remain innovative.” – Kat Popiel, PSFK (Apr 12, 2011)
  • 7 sold out evenings with almost 300 participants, raising $70,000 in ticket sales and sponsorships.
  • Speakers included Eric Weiner, Martha Raddatz, Robert Egger, Nick Galifianakis, and Kokayi.
  • Featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, and other local tv, radio, digital and print media.

Wisdom Hackers

Wisdom Hackers brought together fifteen leading young thinkers (entrepreneurs, literary talents, leading artists, culture hackers) from across art, design, technology, and innovation to deeply explore a burning question that touched on themes of human agency and ancient wisdom applied to modern contexts.

Highlights

  • Over an 8-week period, began process of initial reflections around the history, social context, and mechanics of empathy as a developable skill.
  • Synthesized findings into 5000 word essay that was published as a compilation – Hacking Wisdom – by UK-based Pigeonhole Publishing (released Nov 2014).

Advisory Roles

I share expertise and resources with other socially-minded ventures.

Kona Connect // Switzerland

Board

Kona Connect combines human rights expertise & technology to empower individuals in vulnerable situations. Practical tools include “Sophia,” a messaging chatbot to assist survivors of domestic violence with support and resources, and a legal aid chatbot that’s tailored for individuals in precarious and often life-threatening settings.

Action Together: Zurich // Switzerland

Board

Action Together: Zurich (ATZ) is a political group of 600+ Americans in Switzerland. I helped develop a digital strategy to mobilize overseas voters and raise money for the Nov 2020 US elections.

Atlas Corps // Global

Tech Advisory Board

Atlas Corps is an international leadership development network that promotes innovation, cooperation, and solutions to address today’s global challenges. Atlas Corps has supported over 750 leaders from 96 countries who have served at more than 250 leading organizations such as American Express, Ashoka, Grameen Foundation, McKinsey, UNICEF, and the US Peace Corps.

DC Civic Innovation Council // DC

Steering Committee

DC Civic Innovation Council coordinates social and financial resources for effective collective action, working towards a more equitable and resilient DC. Provided strategic advisory support for the Council’s early formation.

Center for Global Policy Solutions // DC

ADELPHI Strategy Collective

Member

The ADELPHI (Advancing Data Equity, Leadership, Policy, Health, and Innovation) Project – an initiative of the Center for Global Policy Solutions – seeks to identify and uplift equity-centered technology solutions that help drive social innovations in areas such as health, education, economics, and civic engagement.

Speaking

Euro IA // Riga, Latvia

Euro IA Conference: Impact

Workshop

2019

Topic: “Design for Worldview”

Built a workshop integrating early findings from my work with InclusionVentures, and facilitated co-design of collaborative bias mitigation models relevant to technology product development.

School of Visual Arts // NYC

Design for Social Innovation

Guest Lecture

2019

Topic: “A Brief Investigation of how Power, Bias, and Blindspots Affect our Work”

Invited to speak about design approaches to dismantling power structures.

The Global Guest Lecture series exposes students to the lives and ideas of some of the most important people defining social innovation in the world today.

Race Forward // Atlanta, GA

Facing Race Conference

Panel

2016

Topic: “The Business of Racial Justice”

Invited to provide perspective of balancing the pressures of a market-driven system with the desire to achieve social impact.

The panel was assembled by Melinda Weekes-Laidlow, former Managing Director of Race Foward.

U.S. Institute of Peace // DC

PeaceTech Lab

Roundtable

2015

Topic: “Amplifying the Power of Peacetech”

Invited to present TABLETRIBES at the U.S. Institute of Peace and Peacetech Lab Roundtable on Technology, Science, and Peacebuilding. Experts from NGOs, start-ups, government, and academia came together to explore frameworks, partnerships, and creative means of financing to scale a peacetech industry.

Life before

Work

In a prior life, I spent a few years in media, marketing, branding, public relations, and ad agencies as a writer/creative director in New York, Los Angeles, and London. I learned the art of how to construct reality and shape cultural perceptions, particularly in the fashion, entertainment, hospitality, and lifestyle industries.

Education

My background in the humanities taught me how to analyze the artifacts of civilization. A design education gave me the tools to reverse-engineer them.

Johns Hopkins University // Baltimore, MD

  • English Literature, Art History, Film & Media Criticism

Art Center College of Design // Pasadena, CA

  • Environmental Design, Advertising Design

Central Saint Martins (UAL) // London, UK

  • Graphic Communication Design

Contact

Reach out if you’re interested in specific findings, potential collaborations, or learning more about what’s next.

Having a deeper understanding of the problem with a broader range of perspectives leads to more insightful solutions. I’m grateful for the incredible founders, creators, innovators, activists, journalists, thinkers, and builders I’ve met from around the world, all committed to striving towards the greater good. Witnessing their passion to better society inspires me to do the same.

Some topics I have spoken about include social innovation, design and power, building automated interventions for mitigating racial and gender bias, scaling empathy, and startups. Projects have been featured in the Financial Times, New York Times, Forbes, Fortune, and Washington Post.

I am currently based in the US and Switzerland.