Welcome Lauren Woodman, DataKind’s CEO

October 12, 2021

We’re thrilled to introduce Lauren Woodman as our new CEO! Lauren’s notable career has been defined by the intersection of technology, development, and policy. She’ll lend her expertise to expanding DataKind’s reach, growing support for our mission, and extending the impact of data science and AI to solve community-based problems.

Lauren joins us at a pivotal time in our organization. Next year, we’ll celebrate 10 years of successfully leveraging data for good—an idea that seemed novel a decade ago when data science was barely on the radar. Now, as conversations about data science and AI have entered into the public discourse, Lauren will help us grow our impact for the next 10 years and beyond. She’ll support our mission of harnessing the power of data science and AI in the service of humanity to help organizations achieve their goals. 

As a trailblazer in this industry, Lauren has a deep understanding of what nonprofits need from data and technology partners to successfully expand impact. Lauren’s most recent position as CEO of NetHope, a consortium of global nonprofits empowering organizations to change the world through technology, provided her with a platform to direct more than $100 million in technology to humanitarian organizations. By encouraging nonprofits and software companies to work together to embrace digital transformation, NetHope enabled these organizations to reach their goals more effectively, whether in humanitarian response or environmental conservation.

Prior to assuming the leadership role at NetHope in 2014, Lauren served as the General Manager of Education Programs for Microsoft where she was responsible for the company’s flagship education program, Partners in Learning (PIL), a 15-year, $750 million investment to help educators use technology effectively in teaching and learning. In addition to her work in the private sector, Lauren has held a variety of positions in government and with the United Nations. She currently is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Board of Stewards for its Initiative on Digital Economy and its Trustworthy Data Collaboration. 

Lauren’s longstanding commitment to connecting nonprofits to technology as a fundamental way to deliver impact, as well as her achievements in educating donors on this issue, has changed the way NGOs work. Her ability to empower nonprofits to operate as digital organizations will serve DataKind well as we seek to scale our solutions to further support both local and global initiatives.  

Data is being collected by and informing every digital action we take each and every day. Algorithms and AI are affecting not only our digital experiences, but also access to real-world services and opportunities - like healthcare, financial services, loans, jobs, judicial decisions, and more. DataKind is connecting mission-driven organizations with our global network of over 20,000 volunteer data scientists to gain insights, predict outcomes, and develop tools to drive positive change. 

Lauren will help us advance the collective lessons we’ve learned from 10 years of pioneering projects that have established tools, standards, and best practices to serve as a model for doing Data Science and AI for Good. While data is critical to advancing the mission of any nonprofit, data expertise isn’t always available to these organizations. We have the ability to change the lives of communities through the power of data, and with strong leadership, we can overcome the obstacles to widespread adoption in the social sector. 

As we welcome Lauren, DataKind Board Chair Elizabeth Grossman and the entire Board of Directors expresses its gratitude to Russatta Buford for her steady leadership as interim Executive Director and to Jake Porway for his innovation in founding and nurturing DataKind.

We’ll be sharing more about Lauren’s thoughts on Data Science and AI for Good and her goals for DataKind over the next few weeks. We’re thrilled to have her leading our team as we look to celebrate our 10th anniversary next year. Welcome to the team, Lauren!

Join us in advancing the use of data science and AI to support causes that can help make the world a better place.