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I'm //vanessa.

Executive Director, Center on Race & Digital Justice (CRDJ)

Chief of Staff to Dr. Safiya Umoja Noble

//vanessa (she_her) is Chief of Staff to public scholar, and culture maker Dr. Safiya Umoja Noble. She is Executive Director of the Center on Race & Digital Justice; an effort that focuses on deep and lasting public impact that foregrounds accountability and repair from extant and emerging digital harms.


The Center on Race & Digital Justice, founded by Dr. Safiya Noble, informs legislation, builds strong networks of coordinated work, collaborates with grassroots organizers, conducts academic and legal research, curates public lectures, and supports / amplifies new and existing thinkers and leaders. 


//vanessa is the former Executive Director of the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry (C2i2) a critical internet studies community committed racial, social, and economic via a mix of research, culture, and policy; where she also oversaw the Minderoo Initiative on Technology and Power. //vanessa brings 20 years of project, program, and strategy experience working with non profits, higher education institutions, and social entrepreneurs. She takes an approach to work that is rooted in critical inquiry, anti-racism, collaboration, and trust.


//vanessa started her career as a social worker in Chicago before transitioning to work centered in purpose, community, and care in relation to intersectional feminism, harm reduction, and technology and society. She received her MBA from Simmons School of Management at Simmons University (Boston) with a focus on women*, organizational behavior, and intersectional leadership.


//vanessa has spoken on, and currently facilitates conversations, on a variety of topics that include community-centered approaches to data and digital technology; activism, advocacy, and stewardship; application of feminist approaches to public policy and international relations; and how to traverse organizational change. //vanessa has spoken at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Simmons University, Harvard Kennedy School, South by Southwest (SXSW), the Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTEN), and more.

/very select public speaking:

  • panelist, Technology as Political Resistance

    • Technologies of Resistance: Towards Feminist Futures​ (Aug 2020)

  • co-chair, Whose Agenda: Action, Research, & Politics

    • 17th annual CIRN Conference, Monash Prato Centre (Nov 2019)

  • moderator, Women in Technology and Gender Data Gaps

    • Women in Power Conference, Harvard Kennedy School (Apr 2019)

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