LAUREN CELENZA                                                           


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Lauren (she/they, @laurencza) is an independent designer, writer, and researcher. Her ongoing work and advocacy focus on steering technology towards inclusion and equity, with a particular emphasis on bridging the gap between tech makers and local communities, city experts, and social impact workers. Her work has taken her across six continents and has been featured in Forbes and The Economic Times.

Formerly, she was a Design Lead at Google and served as an initial member of the Alphabet Workers Union. She worked to make Google Maps–a tool used by one billion people–more inclusive for motorbikes, public transportation, and communities new to the Internet, ultimately mapping out millions of previously excluded businesses, landmarks, addresses, and routes across the world. Throughout the process, she sought to design with a research-driven, equity-seeking approach, building relationships and connecting Google teams in the US, UK, and Australia to communities, city experts, local teams, and social impact workers across India, Indonesia, and Nigeria. She advocated for changes to Google’s incentive structures and product development process in an effort to cede power to people with lived experience. She regularly listens and speaks at universities and conferences across the world and has worked with organizations across industries and sectors, including the World Resources Institute, Kiva, Citizen Schools, Swiggy, and The Gates Foundation, on projects related to inclusive design, accessibility, and building deeper relationships with local communities, users, and experts.

Lauren grew up in Ohio during the decline of the manufacturing industry and the rise of the Internet, witnessing tech’s disruption and power from a young age. In 2021, she was a participating writer at the Tin House summer workshop and worked with author Nadia Owusu. She is writing a debut memoir that examines the ever-expanding role of technology within the spheres of family, the workplace, and the global economy, as it seeks to interrupt normative ideas about innovation and conserve what is getting lost. She is based in Seattle, located on the unceded homeland of the Duwamish people.

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