Heather Leson

Data Literacy Lead - International Federation of Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
About Heather Leson

Heather is the Data Literacy Lead at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), supporting 191 National Societies and 11.6 million volunteers. As a technologist, she approaches humanitarian data and technology opportunities by combining human-centered design, social learning, diverse partnerships, and innovation methodologies. Together with 100s of contributors from across the globe within IFRC and partners, she curated the Data Playbook (Beta) project to support a data-driven organizations. This project is being piloted in four regions across many sectors.

Heather has previously led programs on community building, social innovation and technology at the Qatar Computing Research Institute (Qatar Foundation), Ushahidi, and Open Knowledge International's 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 the OpenStreetMap Foundation (OSMF) and was a past board member at the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) for four years. She co-authored a chapter on Open Communities as part of the Open Organization Workbook and has written articles on 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.