SPEAKER | Society

Heather Leson

Global Community Builder, Technologist


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Workshop Leader

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Date: May 27
Time: 3:35 PM – 4:25 PM
Location: The Drake | Underground


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Heather Leson is a community builder and programme manager for global open source projects and communities. Some of the organizations she had lead include the Crisis Mappers Network, Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, Open Knowledge Foundation, Ushahidi, Random Hacks of Kindness, Mozilla and more. Heather has over 15 years of experience in technical incident management, software life-cycle development, customer care, and Internet communications.

In her current role as Community Engagement Director at Open Knowledge, she creates and delivers community programming for the organization’s diverse community, specifically focused on the School of Data model.

Previously, Heather created and managed programs for Ushahidi’s diverse community, and mentored members of its open-source developer ecosystem. Her earlier leadership in open source communities such as Random Hacks of Kindness and CrisisCommons saw her successfully organize numerous participant-driven “unconferences” and hackathons.

As a Board member for Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team , Heather is focused on community engagement, organizational development and fundraising.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Combined Political Science and History from Carleton University in Canada’s capital city of Ottawa, and a Library and Information Technician diploma from Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology in Toronto. Recently, she received recognition from Crowdsourcing Week as one of the Top 10 Canadian Experts. Heather was a Personal Democracy Forum Google Fellow (2012) and participant for the Annenberg-Oxford Media Policy Summer Institute (2012).