Founders and staff

Staff

A smiling woman facing the camera with purple accents in her hairCrystal Huff, Executive Director

Crystal Huff is the Executive Director of the Ada Initiative. She is a skilled leader, project manager, and human resources professional with over a decade of experience in open technology and culture communities. She studied Psychology and English at Tufts University as an undergraduate, and is a certified mediator and licensed massage therapist. Previously, she was the Chief Coherence Officer for software startup Luminoso Technologies, where her duties included head of HR, Scrum Master, project manager, and office manager. Ms. Huff has served in key leadership positions on dozens of science fiction and fantasy conventions over the past decade, most notably as convention chair of Readercon, Arisia, Relaxacon, and JOFcon I. Along with Rose Fox, she led the successful resolution of a high-profile harassment incident to the satisfaction of the Readercon community.

Crystal lives in Boston, MA and frequently travels to San Francisco, CA and Helsinki, Finland.

Mary GardinerMary Gardiner, Deputy Executive Director

Mary Gardiner is the Deputy Executive Director and co-founder of the Ada Initiative. With co-founder Valerie Aurora, she created and implemented projects like the Ada Initiative conference anti-harassment policy, now adopted by hundreds of open tech/culture events. Aurora and Gardiner were both recognized as one of Femme-o-nomics Top 50 Women to Watch in Tech in 2011 and SC Magazine’s 6 Influential Information Security Thinkers in 2012. Gardiner created and organized the world’s first conference for women in open tech/culture, AdaCamp.

Gardiner is formerly a software developer and computational linguistics research student. Gardiner was the keynote speaker at Wikimania 2012, the world-wide conference for Wikipedia, the world’s 5th most popular web site. Her work has been discussed in Slate, the Huffington Post, and the Sydney Morning Herald. She is a major contributor to the influential Geek Feminism blog and wiki. After more than 10 years of service to the open source community in Australia and worldwide, Gardiner’s contributions were recognized with the prestigious Linux Australia Rusty Wrench award in 2012.

Gardiner holds a B.S. with honours in computer science and a major in mathematics; a B.A with majors in linguistics and philosophy; and a computer science PhD. She is based in Sydney, Australia and you can find her on Twitter at @me_gardiner.

Valerie AuroraValerie Aurora, Director of Training

Valerie Aurora (formerly Val Henson) is the Director of Training, co-founder, and former Executive Director of the Ada Initiative. With co-founder Mary Gardiner, she created and implemented projects like the Ada Initiative conference anti-harassment policy, now adopted by hundreds of open tech/culture events. Aurora and Gardiner were both recognized as one of Femme-o-nomics Top 50 Women to Watch in Tech in 2011 and SC Magazine’s 6 Influential Information Security Thinkers in 2012. Aurora created and teaches the Ada Initiative Ally Skills Workshop, which teaches men simple ways to support women in open tech/culture.

Aurora, an experienced software engineer, was a leading file systems developer, researcher, and consultant for over a decade. She invented several new file systems concepts, including a widely used power-saving feature in file systems called relative atime, and co-founded the Linux Storage and Filesystems Summit. Her contributions to the field were recognized by invitations to speak at or serve on the program committees for many top file systems and open source conferences, including USENIX File Systems and Storage Technology, OSCON, and linux.conf.au. Her contributions to open source software were recognized with the O’Reilly Open Source Award in 2013.

Aurora holds a double B.S. in computer science and mathematics and lives and works in San Francisco, California.

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