Heather Leson

Heather is the Data Literacy Lead at International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. As a technologist, she strengthens community collaboration via humanitarian technologies and social entrepreneurship. She builds partnerships, curates digital spaces, fosters volunteer engagement and delivers training while inspiring systems for co-creation with maps, code and data. At the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent, her mandate includes data skills global advocacy and training programs in partnership with the 190 national societies and over 11 million volunteers. Previously, she was lead programs on community, social innovation, and technology at Qatar Computing Research Institute (Qatar Foundation), Ushahidi, and Open Knowledge (School of Data).

Her experience also includes working on internet technologies including domain name services, network operations, and software-as-a-service. She is a current Board Member at OpenStreetMap Foundation and a past Board Member at the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (4 years). She co-wrote a chapter on Open Communities and articles the power of data and digital literacy for the World Economic Forum and Civicus Datashift. Heather holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Combined Political Science and History from Carleton University, as well as a Library and Information Technician diploma from Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology.

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