Welcoming new members to the CS&S Board of Directors

The CS&S Board of Directors is a group of leaders in research, technology, and nonprofit management who support CS&S with oversight and vision. Board governance is critical to any nonprofit organization's financial oversight and programmatic effectiveness. Our board is strongly engaged with CS&S’s mission to advance the power of data to improve the social and economic lives of all people. This fiscal year (July 2022 through June 2023), we set a goal of growing the board, with a specific target of expanding the board’s depth of expertise in financial oversight and nonprofit governance. I’m proud to announce three new board members who bring energy, vision, and experience to the governance of CS&S.

Cormekki Whitley, Ph.D., Timnit Gerbru, Ph.D., and Elizabeth Eagen
Three exceptional individuals joined the CS&S board this year. From left to right, Cormekki Whitley, Ph.D., Timnit Gerbru, Ph.D., and Elizabeth Eagen

We welcome Cormekki Whitley, Ph.D., whose experience will support continuing rigorous financial oversight. Dr. Whitley is Chief Finance and Administration Officer at data.org and brings the perspective of an experienced CFO/COO with over two decades of financial planning, analysis, forecasting, budgeting, and operations management in non-profit organizations. Prior to data.org, Dr. Whitley served as Interim Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), where for over a decade she led all aspects of internal management and operations. Dr. Whitley brings a deep commitment to racial equity and financial inclusion to her work, including extensive knowledge of mortgage markets and fair lending. Her dissertation addressed the impact of the North Carolina predatory lending law and the availability of credit. We look forward to Dr. Whitley’s perspective as we seek to maintain high standards in financial management and deepen our exploration of participatory and community-governed grantmaking models.

Read about Dr. Whitley’s work and perspective on the CLASP blog.

Timnit Gebru, Ph.D. brings perspective on ethical, community-centered research programs and organization building to the board. She occupies a seat scoped for representatives from the Fiscal Sponsorship Program. Dr. Gebru is the founder and Executive Director of the Distributed Artificial Intelligence Research Institute (DAIR), a fiscally sponsored project of CS&S since 2021. Before that, she was fired by Google in December 2020 for raising issues of discrimination in the workplace, where she was serving as co-lead of the Ethical AI research team. She received her Ph.D. from Stanford University. While a postdoc at Microsoft Research in the FATE (Fairness Accountability Transparency and Ethics in AI) group, she studied algorithmic bias and the ethical implications underlying projects aiming to gain insights from data. Dr. Gebru also co-founded Black in AI, a nonprofit that works to increase the presence, inclusion, visibility, and health of Black people in AI. She also sits on the board of AddisCoder, a nonprofit dedicated to teaching algorithms and computer programming to Ethiopian high school students, free of charge. Dr. Gebru brings a practical perspective on community-centered organization-building and a vision for ethical technology futures that “...let people who are harmed by technology imagine the future that they want” to the CS&S Board of Directors.

Quote from 2022 Time Magazine article, Why Timnit Gebru Isn’t Waiting for Big Tech to Fix AI’s Problems. Read more about Dr. Gebru’s work in a recent Wall Street Journal article.

CS&S is also honored to welcome Elizabeth Eagen to the board. Eagen is Deputy Director of the Citizens and Technology Lab at Cornell University, which works with communities to study the effects of technology on society. The lab tests ideas for changing digital spaces to serve the public interest better so that digital power is guided by evidence and accountable to the public. Eagen is also a 2022-23 Practitioner Fellow at Stanford University’s Digital Civil Society Lab. Previously, she established and led the Emerging Technology portfolio at the Open Society Foundations’ Information Program. This initiative funded the use of emergent technologies in evidence and advocacy, making it easier for technologists and organizations to work together as equal partners to advance human rights. Eagen brings valuable perspectives on organizational and program development and deep roots in technology and human rights to our board.

Read more about Elizabeth Eagen’s work on the CAT Lab blog.

With gratitude, we also celebrate the contributions of board member alumni Kaitlin Thaney (2018-2022), who rotated off at the end of her term in Q2 this fiscal year. During her tenure on the CS&S Board, Thaney chaired the Governance & Personnel committee, where she supported substantial documentation and policy work. She also developed a board seat for representatives of the Fiscal Sponsorship Program, now held by Dr. Gebru, as a concrete pathway for community representation on our board. Thaney is the Executive Director of Invest in Open Infrastructure, a fiscally sponsored project of CS&S. Follow the work of Invest in Open Infrastructure on their blog.

Read more about our team and our Board of Directors at https://www.codeforsociety.org/about/people

Photo by vadim kaipov on Unsplash