Transformative Data Science for Social Impact: at Good Tech Fest

Twitter-FB-9_2-1024×535 invites the global Good Tech Fest audience to reimagine data science for transformative social change

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (May 17, 2021):, with generous sponsorship from The Rockefeller Foundation, will take the stage this May 18-19 at Good Tech Fest to deliver a keynote address and host six workshop sessions exploring unique approaches to building the field of data science for social impact.

Marketed as “an impact conference first and foremost”, Good Tech Fest brings together thought leaders, data practitioners, social impact organizations, and philanthropic organizations to wrestle with topics of access, equity, and responsibility. Over the course of two days, speakers, panelists, and workshop facilitators will challenge the traditional conceptions of data science and encourage participants to imagine a future where social impact and technology are not two separate fields, but one. is delighted to present at this festival, and to engage in critical conversations on ways to reimagine and catalyze building the field of data science for social impact. Read more about each of these sessions below.

MAY 18

KEYNOTE 3:00 – 3:15 PM ET | Data Science: Reimagined for Impact’s Executive Director, Danil Mikhailov, will kick off Good Tech Fest with a keynote address articulating’s vision for a reimagined approach to data science. He will share how is working alongside a global community to build the field, by connecting partners across sectors, and offering unique ways for individuals and organizations to take part.

WORKSHOP 6:00 – 7:00 PM ET | MobileAid: Dial 999 to Receive Emergency Cash

What if during a crisis like a public health lockdown or flood, people in need could simply dial 999 and receive an instant cash transfer? Led by Han Sheng Chia, Vice President, Innovation, GiveDirectly & Emily Aiken, Data Scientist, University of California Berkeley School of Information, this workshop will explore the partnership between Inclusive Growth and Recovery Challenge awardees, GiveDirectly, CEGA, and the Government of Togo and their innovative new approach to deliver aid to the extreme poor at new levels of speed and scale.

MAY 19

WORKSHOP 10:00 – 11:00 AM ET | Drivers wanted: Help Steer the Future of a Digital Platform for Social Impact

As a platform for partnerships to build the field of data science for social impact, is re-imagining how our digital platform can be a valuable resource for key actors in the sector. In this interactive workshop,’s Chief Marketing Officer, Perry Hewitt, will lead an open discussion eliciting participants’ input on preliminary ideas for resources, tools, and community features for our new web platform.

WORKSHOP 10:00 – 11:00 AM ET | Preserving the Infinity Stone – Building, Supporting, and Retaining Top Data and Tech Talent to Build Data-Driven, Social Impact Organizations

The need for the best and brightest minds to solve today’s biggest social challenges is great. But how do we better enable and support the “superheroes” engaging in this work? Chief Strategy Officer, Ginger Zielinskie, will host an interactive workshop focused on discussing pragmatic ways to better support these social superheroes and build a more data-driven social impact sector.

WORKSHOP 3:00 – 4:00 PM ET | Better Data Sharing, Better Health: Streamlining Benefits Access

We know that effective data sharing can break down barriers to enrollment, but state agencies and their partners often face technical, operational, policy and regulatory barriers to carrying out this modern approach to benefit outreach and enrollment. Benefits Data Trust (BDT) colleagues, Jess Maneely, Policy Manager, and Julia Kosov, Outreach Analytics Manager, will discuss how to effectively work with government partners to leverage data, improve process, modernize technology and build a stronger safety net.

WORKSHOP 3:00 – 4:00 PM ET | Building Software in a Pandemic

Developing software across diverse cultures and contexts is always challenging. Add to this challenge the environment of developing software in the middle of a global pandemic. Led by Evan Tachovsky, Director & Lead Data Scientist, Innovation, The Rockefeller Foundation, this workshop features two conversations between software developers shipping tools in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the users of those tools. Panelists include Julia Kodysh, Data Infrastructure Lead, The COVID Tracking Project; Michal Mart, Data Quality Lead, The COVID Tracking Project; Aman Ahuja, Consultant; Jon Zelner, Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology, University of Michigan, Center for Social Epidemiology and Population Health; & Marisa Eisenberg, Associate Professor, University of Michigan, Departments of Epidemiology, Complex Systems, & Mathematics.

WORKSHOP 4:15 – 5:15 PM ET | Mapping the Data for Good Landscape

In recent years, interest in using tech for good has peaked and as a result, a plethora of new organizations have entered the fray. With all of this excitement and new energy added to the field, we at are interested in making sense of the key players and mapping out this evolving landscape. Newly appointed Fellow at, Jake Porway, will lead a workshop to map out which organizations we know of doing data for good work around the world, understand how they relate to one another and, most importantly, identify what we think they need to do next.