By Jake Porway, DataKind founder and executive director
DataKind was founded in 2011 after a blog post I wrote went viral with a call for data scientists to rally and use their skills to address some of the world’s toughest challenges.
It was clear from the start this was going to be a global movement. In just the first week of announcing this effort, hundreds of people from around the world applied to be a part of this. That momentum has not slowed. In 2013, we launched our first Chapter, DataKind UK, then, a year later, launched five more in Bangalore, Singapore, Dublin, San Francisco and Washington DC. At the start of 2015, we were thrilled to welcome three new board members - Mike Olson, Mari Kuraishi and Jon Sotsky. In the past 4 years, you all have helped us run over 70 projects using data science for the greater good, joined the ranks of over 9000 international volunteers, and driven countless examples of data science being applied in the service of humanity. We cannot express just how impressed we are with the big things you all have grown from one tiny idea.
And now we’re poised to grow even further.
As DataKinders, we have grand visions of creating a world where data, statistics, and algorithms are used capably, ethically, and effectively to transform social change. That mighty mission requires a strong crew at the helm, and that is why we are so thrilled to announce the addition of three new, critical DataKinders to our team - Jeanne Brooks, JeanCarlo Bonilla, and Julia Rhodes Davis - the founding members of DataKind’s brand new leadership team
The leadership team will lead DataKind into its next phase of growth, providing strategic leadership to hone our programs for maximum impact. They will find new ways to deepen our relationships with our abundance of supporters. They will empower our volunteers and our Chapters to continue their trailblazing work in their local communities. Overall, they will work ceaselessly with all of us to find the most effective and high-impact ways to apply data science in service to humanity.
In addition to myself and Craig Barowsky, our Chief of Staff, we could not be more thrilled to welcome these talented leaders to the DataKind team:
Jeanne is an ecosystem architect connecting people, data and information, and technology to inspire new solutions and solve real world problems. Her event designs are community-driven and hold diversity as a core value. Her work has brought together a range of communities from space exploration and using data for good with the NASA International Space Apps and Next Gen Challenges in New York City to impact-driven media-makers at the Hacking Journalism series. Previously she was a fellow at the Reynolds Journalism Institute, the first-ever Executive Director at Hacks/Hackers and the Digital Director at the Online News Association. Jeanne will be bringing her skills weaving together broad-ranging communities to support and rally DataKind’s community of Chapter Leaders, data science volunteers and partner organizations to embark on world-changing collaborations together.
Julia Rhodes Davis is an experienced social entrepreneur and nonprofit management professional. At DataKind, she is currently leading efforts for company growth and sustainability. Previously, Julia served as the Chief Development Officer for Citizen Engagement Laboratory, an incubator for tech-fueled advocacy nonprofits. In 2008, she founded Production Collective, a New York-based consulting firm that provided fundraising, organizational development, and experiential marketing services to more than 35 organizations over five years. Julia currently serves on the board of LongDistanceVoter.org and the advisory board of CounterPAC. When Julia’s not working with amazing change makers, she’s cooking, running, or helping someone start a new project.
JeanCarlo (J.C) Bonilla is a technology and data management expert specializing in data-driven decisions, technology strategy, and insight delivery. JeanCarlo has over ten years of experience in cross-functional roles with responsibilities encompassing analytics solutions, strategic planning, technology selection and implementation, staffing, coaching, and resource and budget planning. At DataKind, he leads programs operations, ensuring programs are designed to achieve maximum impact. JeanCarlo started his career as a process engineer in the semiconductor community, followed by a decade in academia. When J.C. is not at DataKind, he can be found teaching Tech Strategy or Business Analytics at New York University.
Since that fateful blog post went up, the emails simply have not stopped. Not a day goes by that we at DataKind don’t hear from eager volunteers looking for volunteer opportunities, inspiring nonprofits and social enterprises looking to apply data science to advance their missions or a city asking to start its own DataKind Chapter.
Thanks to people like you and our generous supporters, we are now matching the grassroots enthusiasm that has led us to this point with the executive level vision and leadership necessary to fully realize the potential of the tremendous momentum you all have set in motion.
Join us in welcoming these three DataKinders to the team - we look forward to embarking on the next phase of this grand adventure together!