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Karen M. Sandler - Executive Director

Karen M. Sandler is the executive director of Conservancy. Karen is known as a cyborg lawyer for her advocacy for free software, particularly in relation to the software on medical devices. Prior to joining Conservancy, she was executive director of the GNOME Foundation. Before that, she was general counsel of the Software Freedom Law Center. Karen co-organizes Outreachy, the award-winning outreach program for women globally and for people of color who are underrepresented in US tech. She is also pro bono counsel to the FSF and GNOME. Karen is a recipient of the O’Reilly Open Source Award and cohost of the oggcast Free as in Freedom.

Karen received her law degree from Columbia Law School in 2000, where she was a James Kent Scholar and co-founder of the Columbia Science and Technology Law Review. Karen received her bachelor’s degree in engineering from The Cooper Union.

Bradley M. Kuhn - Policy Fellow and Hacker-in-Residence

Bradley M. Kuhn is the Policy Fellow and Hacker-in-Residence at Software Freedom Conservancy and editor-in-chief of copyleft.org. Kuhn began his work in the software freedom movement as a volunteer in 1992, when he became an early adopter of Linux-based systems, and began contributing to various Free Software projects, including Perl. He worked during the 1990s as a system administrator and software developer for various companies, and taught AP Computer Science at Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati. Kuhn's non-profit career began in 2000, when he was hired by the FSF. As FSF's Executive Director from 2001–2005, Kuhn led FSF's GPL enforcement, launched its Associate Member program, and invented the Affero GPL. Kuhn began as Conservancy's primary volunteer from 2006–2010, and became its first staff person in 2011. Kuhn holds a summa cum laude B.S. in Computer Science from Loyola University in Maryland, and an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Cincinnati. Kuhn's Master's thesis discussed methods for dynamic interoperability of Free Software programming languages. Kuhn received the O'Reilly Open Source Award in 2012, in recognition for his lifelong policy work on copyleft licensing. Kuhn has a blog and co-hosts the audcast, Free as in Freedom.

Brett Smith - Director of Strategic Initiatives

Brett Smith began his FLOSS advocacy in 2000 at college, organizing student groups and discussing the issues with professors and journalists. He also spent a couple of those summers interning at the Free Software Foundation, and working in various assisting roles there when he returned to campus. Later on he worked as the FSF's License Compliance Engineer from 2006-2012, helping to shepherd the GPLv3 drafting process and do outreach after the license was released. From there, he worked as a Systems Engineer at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and an Arvados maintainer at Curoverse before joining Conservancy as Director of Strategic Initiatives in 2016. He holds a BS in Computer Science from the University of Kentucky.

Deb Nicholson - Director of Community Operations

Deb Nicholson is the Director of Community Operations at the Software Freedom Conservancy where she supports the work of its member projects and facilitates collaboration with the wider free and open source software community. After years of local organizing on free speech, marriage equality, government transparency and access to the political process, she joined the free software movement in 2006. While working for the Free Software Foundation, she created the Women’s Caucus to increase recruitment and retention of women in the free software community. She piloted messaging and directed outreach activities at the Open Invention Network, a shared defensive patent pool for free and open source software. She won the O’Reilly Open Source Award for her work as GNU MediaGoblin‘s Community Liaison and as a founding board member at OpenHatch. She also continues to serve as a founding organizer of the Seattle GNU/Linux Conference, an annual event dedicated to surfacing new voices and welcoming new people to the free software community.

Deb received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Bradford College and lives with her husband and her lucky black cat in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Denver Gingerich - FLOSS License Compliance Engineer

Denver works part-time managing the technical side of Conservancy's license compliance work, triaging new reports and verifying complete and corresponding source (C&CS). His roles elsewhere have recently included financial trading software development on GNU/Linux and previously involved writing system software for hardware companies, including driver writing for the kernel named Linux at ATI (now AMD) and Qualcomm. He founded a company that designs and builds magnetic stripe readers for security hobbyists where he designed the hardware and developed the device's tools and firmware, which are both free software. Denver also writes free software in his spare time, with patches accepted into Wine, the kernel named Linux, and GNU wdiff. Denver received his BMath in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo. He gives presentations about digital civil rights and protecting the free software ecosystem, having spoken at conferences such as CopyCamp Toronto, FOSSLC's Summercamp, and the Open Video Conference.

Rosanne DiMesio - Technical Bookkeeper

Rosanne DiMesio is the Technical Bookkeeper at the Software Freedom Conservancy where she handles incoming and outgoing accounting activities for all its member projects as well as financial operations for Conservancy itself. Rosanne has been volunteering with the Wine Project since 2008 where she focuses on user support and documentation. She has worked as an English teacher, a freelance writer and as IT support. She is passionate about helping free software projects improve their user experience. Rosanne received her Masters in Communication & Theater at the University of Illinois at Chicago and her Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Chicago.

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