Who we are /

Vanessa Rhinesmith

Transformation Coach • vanessarhinesith.com • she/her

Vanessa Wrenn Rhinesmith (she/her/hers) is the Executive Director of the UCLA Center for Critical Initiative (C2i2) where she also oversees the Minderoo Initiative on Technology and Power. Vanessa brings over 15 years of project, program, and strategy experience working with non profits, higher education institutions, and social entrepreneurs. She takes an approach to work that is rooted in critical inquiry, collaboration, and trust.

Vanessa started her journey as a social worker in Chicago, Illinois before transitioning to work centered in purpose, community, and care in relation to intersectional feminism, harm reduction, and technology and society. Vanessa received her Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Simmons School of Management (Massachusetts) with a focus on women* and org behavior.

Vanessa continues to explore feminist approaches to cyber security and international relations; the role of history, narrative, and power in the creation of sex trafficking policies. She is currently cultivating a care network with and for women-identifying and gender nonconforming folx experiencing online and other forms of harassment in STEM. Vanessa has spoken at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Simmons University, Harvard Kennedy School, South by Southwest (SXSW), the Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTEN), and more. Vanessa speaks, and facilitates conversations, on a variety of topics that include intersectional feminist approaches to data and digital technology; activism, advocacy, and stewardship; and community engagement.

Vanessa is also the Event Producer of the Community Informatics Research Network (CIRN), annual research conference, and Review Editor for the Journal of Community Informatics (JoCI). She lives with her husband, child (they/them), and two cats. In her (little) free time, you’ll find her running, reading graphic novels, or scuba diving (post-pandemic).