At our Board of Directors meeting on August 5, as part of our organizational transformation to a think tank model, the Board voted to create new staff roles of Executive Director and Director of Research, and a new board role of Vice Chair. These roles will significantly broaden our energy and resources from our current staffing in which Founding Member and board chair David Brenner has played the role of “super volunteer”, assisted by our web contractor, Natasha Lim.
The Executive Director will function in a CEO capacity as head of staff, reporting to the Board Chair. The Director of Research will launch our think tank operations. The Vice Chair will take the lead director role on corporate governance and our relationships with strategic partners. The Board elected director Reid Maclellan to this role. Reid will bring his full range of experience to bear as a medical doctor, health care AI-driven start-up entrepreneur, and member of a number of other boards, not least the Maclellan Foundation in his home town of Chattanooga.
In a separate action which the Board is especially delighted to report, it named Founding Members Gretchen Huizinga and Dan Rasmus to the newly created roles of Executive Director of AI&F and Director of Research, respectively. Although these positions will not be immediately compensated, since compensation is contemplated in the future, this action was taken by the four other members of the board, voting unanimously. Both Gretchen and Dan have committed to function in the same kind of “super volunteer” capacity as David, as we execute on our think tank strategy and move toward a more fully funded phase of AI&F’s corporate existence.
Gretchen’s and Dan’s work experience with nonprofit and think tank research management equip them incredibly well for these roles as does their deep faith and engagement in church and synagogue life respectively. Our board is especially appreciative in light of their skills and expertise for their willingness to make the initial commitments necessary to move us forward without immediate compensation:
Gretchen is a media entrepreneur, educator, researcher, and writer, and for the last 30 months served as the Executive Producer and Host of the Microsoft Research Podcast. In that role, she met and interviewed a great many of the top executives and researchers at Microsoft whose work deals with AI. Gretchen founded Extra Strength Media, a non-profit media production organization, and is the creator of the Digital Wisdom Project, as well as the Center for Digital Wisdom, a nascent consortium of cultural guardians dedicated to the qualitative search for wisdom in a quantitative world. Gretchen has worked as the executive director of a non-profit foundation different from the above, and also as an educator, a film and video producer, a writer, an adjunct professor, a qualitative researcher, and a software product planner. She holds a BA in English, a Master of Mass Communication and is completing a PhD exploring voices of faith in the responsible AI conversation in the School of Education at the University of Washington where our Founding Member Jim Wellman is one of her thesis advisors. Separate but related to her thesis, Gretchen is laying the foundation for our Perceptions of AI Ethics study, the first of our think tank’s “demonstration projects.”
Dan is the head of Serious Insights, a digital design consultancy, and has served as a director and Founding Member of AI&F from our commencement. Prior to the founding of Serious Insights, Dan was the Director of Business Insights at Microsoft Corporation, where he helped the company envision how people will work in the future. Dan developed the Microsoft Office Information Worker Board of the Future, and was the Center for Information Work’s creative leader. Before joining Microsoft, Dan was Vice President and Research Director for Collaboration and Knowledge Management at Forrester Research Inc., and served as the Chief Knowledge Officer of Forrester’s Giga Information Group Subsidiary. Most recently, Dan served as Chief Marketing Officer at GlobalEnglish.
Dan is an internationally recognized speaker. He has addressed audiences at Enterprise 2.0, CeBIT, UBTech, The Front End of Innovation, The National Association of Workforce Boards, ProjectWorld, KMWorld, SAE International, Computers and Libraries, The CIO Association of Canada and Future Trends. Dan is also a well respected writer on technology, popular culture and business whose work has appeared in many global publications such as Fast Company, the Harvard Business Review, PC Magazine, and Wired.
With Gretchen and Dan’s wholehearted commitment to our growth, we are well on our way to AI&F 2.0!