Leadership Team

Kaliya and Shireen are the co-leaders of this project. They have a mix of talents and networks that are synergistic and complementary.

Kaliya Young

Kaliya just graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Master of Science in Identity Management and Security. She has worked on a range of parties on digital identity projects including the Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology and the World Economic Forum.

Kaliya has been on what the Exponential Foundation calls a Massive Transformative Purpose for the past 15 years – to bring about the creation of an layer of identity for people based on open standards. . Kaliya was originally inspired by the community around Planetwork and the paper they wrote called the Augmented Social Network: Building Identity and Trust into the next Generation Internet published in 2003 in First Monday. She co-founded the Internet Identity Workshop in 2005 with Phil Windley and Doc Searls and still leads it every 6 months. It brings together technologist who want to see, what was when we began called user-centric identity and now called, Self-Sovereign Identity come into being.  Kaliya facilitated the 2nd REbooting the WEb of Trust ID2020 Design Workshop in NYC in April of 2016. She was recognized as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2012.

In 2007 Kaliya founded She’s Geeky a conference to support women working in STEM fields connect to each other. The conference expanded to be hosted in several other cities including Washington, DC, Seattle, MSP and Salt Lake City. Like IIW it uses open space technology to support the creation of a multi-track agenda live at the event.   

Kaliya serves on the board of Patient Privacy Rights. In 2009 Kaliya was named one of Fast Company’s The Most Influential Women in Technology.  She advises a variety of startups focused on self-sovereign identity technologies.

From an identity perspective Kaliya identifies as a Canadian-American now. She originally moved to the United States from Vancouver to attend UC Berkeley, recruited to play on the women’s Water Polo Team. During her time in college she also played for the Canadian National Team and won a gold medal at the 1999 Pan American Games.

Shireen Mitchell

Shireen Mitchell is an award winning technological woman of color, serial founder, author, speaker, social entrepreneur, nonprofit leader, advocate, diversity analyst, and a political, digital & social strategist.

She is a native New Yorker playing video games, designing bulletin board systems and gopher sites prior to the Web going world wide. She is the first women of color web designer. She’s been involved with tech and social networks for over 30 years.

Shireen founded Digital Sisters/Sistas Inc. the first organization to focus on women and girls of color in tech and online access. She created the first women of color web multimedia management firm (MHG). In addition, she founded Stop Online Violence Against Women (SOVAW) a project to address online threats against women particularly women who face both gender based and racially charged threats of violence. She is co-founder of Nonprofit 2.0 and Feminism 2.0 conferences. Fem 2.0 is the conference that changed the landscape for traditional women’s organizations in using social media for activism and online organizing.

In some of her more interesting roles she was the manager for PoliticallyBlack.com a site that ended at Politico.com. She created the game TechnoDemic, a multimedia based competition to help youth learn technology and programming terms.

Shireen has helped to organize various tech events around the country and/or on planning committees including the Digital Community, Techno Rodeo, She’s Geeky DC, Geeky Girls Night Out, Computers, Freedom and Privacy, Gov20 Expo, and others.

As an author she’s written “Gaining Daily Access to Science and Technology” in the book “50 Ways to Improve Women’s Lives”, “Access to Technology: Race, Gender, and Class Bias,” in The Scholar and Feminist Online and her signature article “What does Tech have to do with Women’s Rights?”

Shireen has been named one of Fast Company’s The Most Influential Women in Technology, Washingtonian’s Top 100 Tech Titan, DC’s Top Ten most influential in Social Media, The Root 100: African-American Leaders of Excellence and GovFresh’s 100+ Women in Government & Tech. She’s been awarded the Social Citizen: Apps for Democracy DC, Rising Star: Woman of Color in Technology, and Heroine in Tech.

In 2014 Shireen became the first African American Chair of the National Council of Women’s Organizations (NCWO). NCWO is a nonpartisan national nonprofit membership organization of women rights groups that collaborate through substantial policy work and grassroots activism to address issues of concern to women.

Shireen currently resides with her family in the Washington DC metro area, a city engrossed in Government 2.0 politics and a founding member of the DC Tech community.