Captain's Log Spotlight

Changemakers of XRSI – Celebrating Women’s History Month

As the next iteration of the Internet emerges, along comes the opportunity and obligation to build responsibly where issues like safety, privacy, accessibility, diversity, sustainability, and responsible innovation are addressed proactively.

XRSI is defining the North Star for the Metaverse to help guide global citizens’ actions and choices that will inevitably shape the future. This Women’s History Month, we are proud to highlight the women working with XRSI. They are helping shape the narrative and work within the XRSI ecosystem to help guide the positive change necessary to build a future we can all trust. Let us all celebrate these changemakers whose work truly has a global impact on the future of humanity.

Kavya Pearlman

CEO and Founder

Behind every avatar, there is likely a human being. Therefore, when we extend reality into other dimensions and move fast towards the next iteration of the internet, we need to honor human nature and protect our consciousness and prevent harm from happening.

Well known as the “Cyber Guardian,” Kavya Pearlman is an award-winning cybersecurity professional and the founder & CEO of the XR Safety Initiative (XRSI), a Standard Developing Organization with the mission to help build safety and inclusion in emerging tech ecosystems. Kavya is the pioneer of the novel XRSI Privacy and Safety Framework for the Immersive Technologies Domain, Metaverse Safety Week Annual Awareness Campaign, and various baseline security, privacy and ethics standards for Emerging Technologies. She has won several awards for her work and been named one of the Top twenty Cybersecurity influencers for three consecutive years, 2018-2019-2020, and again for the year 2022 by IFSEC Global. 

Read more about Kavya

While leading XRSI, Kavya has founded The CyberXR Coalition which now focuses on diversity and inclusion and the cross-section of Cybersecurity and XR, helped launch a trustworthy XR news platform, ReadyHackerOne, established a Medical XR Advisory Council, XRSI Child Safety Initiative, and Metaverse Reality Check (The MRC). Kavya is constantly exploring new technologies to solve current cybersecurity challenges and currently advises several governments and big tech corporations on technology policymaking and program development globally. Kavya is a category Queen who has pioneered XR Safety Domain and won many awards for her work and contribution to the security community. 

Kavya has previously advised Facebook on third-party security risks during the 2016 US presidential elections and worked as the head of security for the oldest virtual world, “Second Life” by Linden Lab. Kavya is the leading voice in cybersecurity, privacy, and Ethics for Emerging technologies including AR, VR, XR, exploring cross-sections of 5G, AI, and BCI – leading Standards development and promoting Diversity and Inclusion in the Immersive Technologies. Kavya serves as the key member to Global Coalition for Digital Safety at the World Economic Forum (WEF) and a subject matter expert at several Security and safety focused multidisciplinary groups including INTERPOL’s Metaverse Experts Group (i-MEG), United Nations Business and Human Rights Working Group, Metaverse Standard Forum and the new Metaverse Initiative at WEF. Kavya currently advises over 30 global governments and several big tech corporations on cybersecurity and global policymaking to safeguard humans in emerging tech ecosystems. Kavya is the leading voice in cybersecurity, privacy, and Ethics for Emerging technologies including AR, VR, XR, exploring cross-sections of 5G, AI, and BCI – leading Standards development and promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Immersive Technologies.  Kavya is one of the Top 50 speakers in the cybersecurity industry and constantly shares knowledge via webinars, conference talks, and blog posts around Application Security, Cloud-native technologies, Machine Learning, and the global challenges that come along with the next iteration of the internet, the Metaverse and web 3.0. 

Kavya holds a master’s degree in Computer, Information, and Network Security from DePaul University, Chicago, and many prestigious Information Security certifications including CISM (Certified Information Security Manager) from ISACA and PCIP for Payment Card Industry Security Standard Council. Kavya is truly passionate about her work and inspires many around the world including women and underrepresented communities in security and emerging technologies. Kavya is a board of directors for EM360, an advisory board member for “CISO Council North America”, Provenance Tech Inc, and a cybersecurity advisory board member for the University of New Haven.

Kavya is a hijabi Muslim and a woman of color, who is constantly trying to create awareness on how immersive and emerging technologies impact humanity as well inspire and encourage other underrepresented minorities to do the same. Kavya sees the tech industry’s obsession to blindly continue down the rabbit hole of the rush to move fast and create the next best killer application for profiteering and dedicates her life to mitigate the unintended consequences that come along with such velocity. She understands that the biases displayed in the headlines covering the George Floyd and Breonna Taylor cases are in fact the same biases that go into data sets and moderation tools that put people of color and historically marginalized populations at risk in immersive environments as well. A humanitarian and an advocate for women in tech as well as diversity and inclusion in XR, Kavya is a remarkable human being, a change catalyst, and a great leader.

April Boyd-Noronha

Global Diversity & Inclusion Advisor

Representation always matters; whether its impact is felt by one individual, a small collective group, a community or historically marginalized population. We must amplify the unsung voices of people of color whose various lived experiences otherwise would continue to go untold, not be properly addressed, or even simply not acknowledged in the ever-evolving immersive technology industry. And this is why representation matters.

April Boyd-Noronha, also known as The STEM Broker, is the Global Diversity & Inclusion Advisor and Board Member of the XR Safety Initiative (XRSI). In her role, she continues to advise the CyberXR Coalition, launched by XRSI, where she helped lead the launch of the Immersive Technology Standards as a baseline for developing a new mindset for immersive tech.

Read more about April

XRSI’s executive board member April has helped build the very first immersive technology standards for accessibility, ethics, inclusion, and safety that were used by the eSafety Commissioner of Australia to create a positioning statement for AR/VR and immersive technologies for the entire country of Australia. 

April has over 20 years of experience in academia and advanced technologies as an author, global keynote speaker, and thought leader on emerging trends and the future of work on diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility of historically marginalized populations. April educates and trains the Next Generation of diverse and innovative technologists of the global cybersecurity ecosystem as the Program Director and Professor of Cybersecurity at the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, Kansas.

She is the first Black elected school board member of the Shawnee Mission School District (SMSD) which is the 3rd largest school district in the state of Kansas.  In her role on the Board of Education, April looks forward to ensuring that “diversity is our strength” in SMSD. April is the parent of three children who all are pursuing a STEM career track in cybersecurity, engineering, and drone piloting.

Rachel Michelson

Medical XR Advisory Council Lead

I am looking forward to the day when doctors and their patients of any age, race, level of familiarity with technology,  socio-economic  groups have at their disposal trustworthy, safe, intuitive, affordable, reliable, and ethical XR devices that enhance the patient-doctor experience.

Rachel Michelson joined XR Safety Initiative (XRSI) in March 2020 as the Medical XR Advisory Council Lead. Rachel brings over 20 years of experience in software for securing the telecommunication of first responders and in cybersecurity assessment for regulated medical devices.

Read more about Rachel

At the Medical XR Council, Rachel works with academics, research labs, medical device entrepreneurs, regulatory experts, government entities, and cybersecurity specialists who incorporate XR into healthcare. Rachel holds a Bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from MIT and a Master’s degree in the same discipline from National Technological University (currently Walden University). She also volunteers with MIT’s Educational Council to help students with their career goals and build a better future for themselves.

Since joining XRSI, Rachel has been instrumental in establishing the Medical XR Advisory Council and works with organizations in the medical XR ecosystem to form a Research Partner Network to encourage research in patient privacy and related aspects to build an informed Medical XR Privacy and Safety Framework. 

Rachel aspires to help enable trustworthy medical XR: reliable, safe, secure, aware of patient privacy rights, inclusive, and ethical. Rachel has played a pivotal role in Medical XR Use Cases research in collaboration with the University of San Diego (UCSD), California. Rachel, along with other Council members, contributed to the growing value of XR in the healthcare report. Rachel has also contributed to the RFI from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy on public & private use of Biometric technologies, including Biometrically Inferred Data. She is currently supporting the development of a NIST-commissioned project for creating Augmented Reality based natural authentication methods for first responders.

Kristina Podnar 

Chair of the Metaverse Reality Check (MRC)

Most people think of digital policies as restrictive, bureaucratic, red tape that slows things down and makes their jobs harder. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Digital policies are liberating. Once everyone knows what the rules are, they can stop worrying about them—and focus that energy instead on being creative and productive within the established framework.

The Power of Digital Policy, 2019

Kristina Podnar is the Global Digital Policy Advisor for the XR safety Initiative (XRSI) and the Chair of XRSI’s Metaverse Reality Check (MRC). For over two decades, she has worked with some of the most high-profile organizations in the world and has helped them see policies as opportunities to free the organization from uncertainty, risk, and internal chaos.

Read more about Kristina

Kristina’s approach brings in all members of the enterprise to create digital policies and practices that comply with regulation, honor consumer rights, and build trust in products and services. More importantly, though, digital policies unlock opportunity, strengthen the brand and liberate employees to drive innovation, regardless of digital channel or technology.

Kristina has a history of successfully deploying complex digital transformation projects for Fortune 500, government, and not-for-profit organizations, as well as solving organizational challenges related to IT and digital governance. Kristina has a BA in international studies and an MBA in international business from the Dominican University of California and is certified as both a Change Management Practitioner (APMG International) and a Project Management Professional (Project Management Institute).

Kristina is a TEDx Speaker and an author of “The Power of Digital Policy”, a handbook to help unleash the power of digital policies to maximize business opportunities. Kristina has held many reputable positions as Advisor and Consultant in various organizations. Along with building Metaverse Reality Check (MRC), she is also a Digital Policy Consultant at NativeTrust Consulting LLC.   

In 2021, Kristina helped launch the MRC and has developed a programmatic framework for citizens to help regulators and hold businesses accountable for building safety and inclusivity in the Metaverse. By partnering with other citizen volunteers, Kristina aims to create resources that can help organizations balance Metaverse opportunities with the shared responsibility to build and maintain public trust in the metaverse.

Kristina thinks of herself as a digital policy sherpa. She helps governments shape laws and regulations to ensure citizens’ rights in the metaverse and advises businesses on the hidden benefits and opportunities in immersive technologies by continuing to place the human at the center of development choices.

Vivian Chazen

VR Esports & Entertainment Media Specialist

We have the opportunity to start at the beginning with the benefit of hindsight of similar fields. What can we do differently knowing what we know? How do we build a metaverse with intention and without exclusion? The possibilities of what we can accomplish together is exciting and I’m honored to be among those working on it.

Vivian Chazen, the creator of The Hive VR is the VR Esports and entertainment media specialist with XR Safety Initiative (XRSI). In 2017, The Hive was one of the first in-world VR talk shows that merged VR experiences and games together. This bridged to her work teaching older adults emerging tech to help with isolation and loneliness in the global world.

Read more about Vivian

Vivian underwent chemotherapy in 2018 and used VR throughout treatment to stay connected, even hosting a show while undergoing a blood transfusion. This was the type of advancement and benefit of using VR for Vivian. She started to expand into gaming and played VR esports to help her post-treatment. There is a commonality between the different worlds of non-profit, gaming, and education and that is the use of technology with purpose. 

Vivian began introducing the gamers of VR to the mission of XRSI and the CyberXR coalition in terms of creating a safe and inclusive community. Through fundraisers and hosting open forums with leagues, the VR esports world has shared their experience and given input into what makes a safe community. Vivian lives by the following motto: “The answer is yes; the question is how”. The common thread between everything Vivian has done is her love and enthusiasm for technology. Currently, Vivian is working on building global esports collaborations with a focus on VR to help the domain reach a global audience.

There are opportunities that tie many interests, passions, and experiences together but in silos, these are hard to identify. Vivian moves between different communities while finding ways each community can contribute to the bigger picture of shaping the metaverse. She sees firsthand how the freedom of identity helps those who struggle in the real world, either with gender identity or their mental health. Most importantly, she believes that this can be fun work and accessible to everyone by eliminating gatekeeping.

Brandy Thibodeaux

Partnership and Outreach Manager

Being new to the world of Immersive Technologies, new experiences open up in front of my eyes. I look forward to continuing my contribution to help build safe and inclusive XR ecosystems.

Brandy Thibodeaux is the Partnership and Outreach Manager with XR Safety Initiative (XRSI). In addition to servicing the XRSI mission, Brandy is also a Senior Program Manager at Baylor College of Medicine. She has nearly a decade of experience managing successful grant programs and supporting the formulation of strategic funding initiatives.

Read more about Brandy

Brandy’s experience spans various industries, including higher education and non-profit. 

Within XRSI, Brandy helps with a variety of Programs including Medical XR, XR Data Classification Roundtable, and most recently Privacy Safety Framework 2.0 R&D.

Beyond managing partnerships, and outreach campaigns she advises XRSI on strategies to increase financial resources via philanthropic donations and grants. Brandy successfully uses years of her experience to build and strengthen relationships with global organizations collaborating with XRSI on several focus areas.
While Brandy is new to the world of immersive technologies, she is always excited to learn, solve complex challenges and support XRSI in driving positive change for the Metaverse. Brandy is proficient in mathematics and leverages her lived experiences to create a culture of empathy and care. Her contributions today lay down the foundation for a future Metaverse that is open, equitable, and free from harm.

Priscilla Koukoui

Strategic Global Advisor

The metaverse is our imagination taking shapes. It is a new world, a new connected nation: Always Test and Learn to make the world a better place.

Priscilla Koukoui is Strategic Global Advisor with a focus on Privacy, Safety and Governance at XR Safety Initiative (XRSI). Priscilla is based in Australia and serves as a liaison to the Government of Australia. An artist at heart, Prisicilla is also the founder of OviSquare (XR for Business) and Power Women NFT, with a mission to empower Women in Business.

Read more about Priscilla

Priscilla acts as a driver of change within organizations while exploring emerging advanced technologies and new ways of working to create an impact on Business, Societies, and Humanity. 

Priscilla creates immersive multi-sensory experiences involving science and art explorations that involve perceptions and chemical senses in immersive environments. Her work explores a variety of scientific research domains, including neuroscience, psychology, ethics, chemical (olfaction+gustation) sense, human-machine interaction, emotional design, and purpose-driven storytelling.

On behalf of XRSI Priscilla advised the eSafety commissioner of Australia on Basic Online Safety Expectations (BOSE) Determination 2021, Safety by Design (SbD) tools, and Industry Codes established by the Australian Parliament. Based on her contributions, XRSI advisory recommendations were used to inform changes to an exposure draft of the Online Safety Determination 2021 to set out the Government’s minimum safety expectations for online services providers for 2021 and beyond.

Priscilla likes to advise organizations for the future to create and develop skills, autonomy, and collaboration. She is committed to bringing awareness to immersive technology safety, exploring and sharing knowledge, and cultivating diversity in technologies. She constantly explores new ways of working, living, playing, while challenging the status quo.

Dr. Diane M. Janosek

Senior Advisor on Cyber Ethics and Policy

I am pleased to support XRSI through zealous advocacy of XRSI mission and successes as an ethics advisor. What an honor to support this amazing organization addressing gaps in this critical area!

Dr. Diane Janosek is a Senior Advisor on Cyber Ethics and Policy with XR Safety Initiative (XRSI). Dr. Janosek is the President, of Mid-Atlantic Affiliate (MAA), Women in CyberSecurity (WiCyS). She also serves as a senior executive and leader whose career spans legal, policy, and executive management positions in the US Government at the National Security Agency, the Pentagon, and the White House. Her expertise in cyber education, privacy & technology, information security, cyber/fiscal law, data governance & information security, export control/foreign military sales, resource management & inclusion/diversity has informed all of her work.

Read more about Diane

Awarded 2020 CybHER Warrior Award, 2019 Cyber Warrior Women of the Year by CAMI, as well as the 2019 Women in Cybersecurity Affiliate Leadership Award by WiCyS. Diane is passionate about giving back and protecting the Nation’s economic security and national security with strong cybersecurity defenses.

Diane is Senior Executive in Defense Intelligence and provides thought leadership by speaking engagements and publishing research-based content.

Diane continues to help build safe and inclusive XR ecosystems with XRSI by providing legislative reviews, advocacy, and counsel around ethics and legal affairs.

Diane continues to serve as a vocal and zealous advocate of pro-active safeguards required for today’s increasingly sophisticated interconnected environments, including the critical infrastructure as well as the next iteration of the internet, aka the Metaverse. Diane is a strong proponent of compliance and safety controls through universal acceptance and not through strict enforcement.

Dr. Donna Brady Raziano

Medical XR Council Advisor

Working with forward thinkers who are not only visionaries but also patient advocates is an honor for me.

Dr. Donna Brady Raziano MD MBA FACP AGSF is a Medical XR Council Advisor with XR Safety Initiative (XRSI) and the Chief Medical Officer of Mercy LIFE, Mercy Home Health. She is a physician and a leader committed to improving the care of older adults. She is board certified in Internal Medicine, Geriatric Medicine and Hospice & Palliative Care.

Read more about Donna

Donna has a history and an interest in advanced healthcare IT platforms that improve provider diagnostic efficiencies as well as protect the vulnerable patient population. 

Dr. Raziano has lectured extensively and has been a leader in Innovation and Geriatrics. In 2012, she received the Physician Executive Health Care Innovation Award from the Philadelphia Business Journal. In 2016, she received the SmartCEO Magazine’s 2016 Philadelphia Executive Management award, and in 2018, she was the recipient of the Dr. Barbara Bell Award for Distinguished Service in the Field of Geriatric Medicine.

Donna helps XRSI’s Medical XR Advisory Council with a global strategy to develop a medical XR framework while ensuring the interests of the elderly population are taken into account. Donna has also helped in establishing a baseline taxonomy for immersive healthcare ecosystems. As an early adopter, Dr. Raziano serves as a voice of change and an influencer within her industry.

Alina Kadlubsky

Lead strategist of the CyberXR Coalition

Infusing accessibility, Diversity and inclusion into the privacy landscape is not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it leads to better, more inclusive digital environments and a culture where everyone feels welcomed.

Alina Kadlubsky is the lead strategist of the CyberXR Coalition, a diversity, and inclusion effort by the XR Safety Initiative (XRSI). Alina is also an Art Director, WebXR Developer, and Managing Director of Open AR Cloud Europe. Alina is a fierce advocate for accessibility, inclusion, and ethics with a passion for Immersive Technology and Spatial Computing.

Read more about Alina

Alina has been collaborating with XRSI since the beginning of 2019. She is the founding member of the CyberXR Coalition as well as a founding member of XRSI Europe. In the early days of XRSI, Alina contributed to the very first novel publication called the XRSI Definitions of Extended Reality (XR), a milestone standard to put the war of words to an end.

Together with CyberXR Coalition Alina helped build the very first novel “Immersive Technology Standards for Accessibility, Inclusion, Ethics, and Safety,” which continues to influence and shape the XRSI Privacy and Safety Framework.

Alina’s expertise in various domains adds value to the multidisciplinary approach to strategic problem-solving. She collaborates and works on various levels to help create human-centric standards for XR ecosystems.

Sarah Ticho

Medical XR Council Advisor

I believe that XR can play a vital role in enhancing the future of health and wellbeing.This technology is enabling us to explore the connection between the brain and body – and that creativity and play should be at the center of preventive care recovery.

Sarah Ticho is the medical XR Advisor with XRSI Medical XR Council. Sarah is also serial founder, curator, researcher and international speaker specializing in arts, health and immersive technology.

Read more about Sarah

Starting her career in the NHS before moving into contemporary art and film, she worked with organizations including Fabrica Gallery, Lighthouse Arts and The School of Life. Her experience of grief and mental health challenges led to a fascination about how to use embodied technologies to tell stories about how we see the world, and how we can use the arts and expression to help us live more fully. 

Sarah has worked with a number of organizations across the immersive and healthcare space including Immerse UK, Healthcare Education England including XR Safety Initiative Medical Council where she continues to create opportunities to bring together practitioners across academia, healthcare and the creative industries to create an equitable and just future.

In the past Sarah has presented her work and research at YouTube VR Labs, MIT Open Docs Lab, Stanford University Psychiatry and Immersive Technologies Lab, The University of Washington Reality Lab, Kings College London, PAX, Freeplay Festival and plenty of others.

Callie Leone

Medical XR Council Advisor

The extensive work, research, and advocacy that XRSI is putting towards the ethical applications for the metaverse is crucial. The metaverse allows people to experience education, connection, commerce, healthcare, and much more. I am really honored to be serving at the council to help build a safe and inclusive Metaverse.

Callie Leone is a medical XR Advisor with XRSI Medical XR Council. Callie is also the CEO and founder of Eunoe, an immersive self-discovery and resilience platform, empowering individuals and organizations to holistically overcome burnout and other barriers to mental wellbeing. She leads a multi-disciplinary and passionate team weaving evidence-based practices from psychology, neuroscience, gaming, and storytelling to guide people to believe in themselves and forge their own towards wellness by helping them reframe negative thoughts using the power of their own voice.

Read more about Callie

She was a member of the 2018 Oculus Launchpad cohort and has been active in the XR community since 2014. Callie has launched and operated innovation studios, accelerators, and coworking spaces, and hackathons for organizations that include the United States Department of Defense, NYU, Amazon, and the Tri-Institutional Program at Weill Cornell Medicine, The Rockefeller University, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and Galvanize in New York City. Callie also has experience in the venture world, having supported 100+ early-stage digital health entrepreneurs in scaling their companies throughout the health and wellness ecosystem.

Callie now serves as an advisor on the XRSI Medical Council where she helps with building the strategies and resources necessary to help healthcare solution providers, health delivery organizations, and regulators leverage XR to be more successful. Callie’s expertise adds to the Medical XR Council’s global collaborations with agencies like FDA, WHO, CDC, and other industry advisory councils to further study the implications of XR adoption within the medical ecosystems.

She also serves on the Young Professionals Committee as the Science Co-Chair at the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation. The ADDF is dedicated to rapidly accelerate the discovery of drugs to prevent, treat and cure Alzheimer’s disease.

Elena Mercep

Medical XR Council Advisor

Human well-being can be so much enhanced through the synergy of Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence, provided their fair and responsible use.

I am very lucky to be able to build solutions at the intersection of these two powerful technologies together with smart, supportive and inclusive teams.

Elena Mercep is a medical XR Advisor with XRSI Medical XR Council. Elena Mercep, Dr. rer. nat., is also a product development professional with expertise in building innovative software solutions for regulated industries. She has a Master’s degree in Biomedical Computing and a Ph.D. from the Technical University of Munich.

Read more about Elena

She has been leading product development for software systems in the domains of Medical Imaging, Augmented Reality, and Machine Learning in Life Science, Pharma & MedTech companies. Elena is building products that help people to make their daily tasks faster, safer, and more enjoyable using advances in data science, cloud services, digital, and emerging technologies. In the past, Elena has owned and facilitated product roadmaps for novel medical ultrasound devices, including the relevant aspects of product requirements specification, risk management, and validation. As Product Owner, together with the Goodly Innovations team, she has helped shape the vision for the augmented reality (AR) guidance software OptiworX.

She is also a Case Manager for use case alignment and review as part of the Medical XR Privacy and Safety Framework. Elena has successfully collaborated with many Medical XR-focused organizations and the University of San Diego (UCSD) to conduct research work around risks associated with various use cases. Through an evidence-based, data-centric collection of the XR use cases, she is helping to establish a free, globally accessible collection of modern best practices that ensure the safety of personal health data in medical XR ecosystems.

April Speight

Director of Community and Education for the CyberXR Coalition

A concept that more or less runs on the very technology that’s disproportionately distributed across the world can only be used by those with access. We must strive to break down these barriers and provide the necessary resources for everyone to both access and contribute to the Metaverse.

April Speight the Director of Community and Education for the CyberXR Coalition – an organization formed by the XR Safety Initiative (XRSI) to address the global necessity of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the cybersecurity and XR domain. April is also a developer, speaker, and educator who believes that creating for XR should be accessible for all. She leads the Spatial Computing technology team at Microsoft within Cloud Advocacy. 

Read more about April

Her experience in technical training and developing curriculum spans 10 years in the non-profit sector and now includes the onboarding of developing for XR. Her focus on fundamentals, safety, design principles, and inclusivity serves as the foundation of her approach to educating others. April believes that learning shouldn’t start with building an app or experience, rather, understanding the what, why and impact is the stepping stone to fostering a new generation of developers who are both mindful and strategic throughout the creation process.

April is passionate about the use and development of AR/VR apps and experiences for educational purposes. April, together with her team,  won Best in Learning, Education, and Research as well as Best in Health and Wellness + Medical for their app Spellbound at the January 2020 MIT Reality Hack. April has authored two books: Bite-Size Python: An Introduction to Python Programming and Visual Studio Code for Python Programmers.

April graciously contributes her time in giving back to the community where she often partners with other XR-focused organizations to create awareness and solutions related to avatars, virtual harassment, and several other XR Safety challenges in many domains including higher education.

April believes that bridging the digital divide is essential to ensuring that everyone has access to the resources that are necessary for contributing to the Metaverse. April has joined alongside others to provide XR educational resources to both underserved and underprivileged communities. She currently leads an initiative to bring XR curriculum, workshops, presentations, and events to Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU). As this initiative grows, her plan is to scale to other communities that are often left behind during times of technical advancement.

Divya Chander

Medical XR Council Advisor

Data and technology in the XR space is empowering and can transform society. But it can also be misused, weaponized, sold and turn society into a surveillance economy. We need to be forward thinking about digital data and biometry, and consider protecting these to be a human right. The obligation for governments, companies and citizens to protect these rights is a profound trust.

Dr. Divya Chander, a Neuroscientist, Physician, Data Scientist, Futurist, Consciousness Hacker is the medical XR Advisor with XRSI Medical XR Council.  Divya is also a Harvard, Stanford, UCSF, UCSD trained anesthesiologist (MD), neuroscientist (Ph.D.), and futurist who also works at the intersection of health, data, technology, and data security. 

Read more about Divya

Divya is a practicing physician, Chair of Neuroscience and Faculty of Medicine at Singularity University, former faculty in the Stanford Department of Anesthesiology, and Senior Non-Resident Fellow at the Atlantic Council GeoTech Center. An advocate for data and biometric rights, she has been serving as a medical advisor to XR Safety Initiative (XRSI) and is helping develop standards for identity and sensitive healthcare data security. In 2020, she was named as one of the top digital health innovators by Intelligent Health AI.

Dr. Chander has also served on a NASA task force for COVID19 and directed the post-pandemic global health initiative for OneShared.World. Her research involves mapping consciousness and writing algorithms for the automated tracking of altered states, elaborating theories of consciousness (which she presented on the TED-NYC and UN stages), predicting the effect of human augmentation on consciousness, and how mapping consciousness in humans may enable us to recognize it in non-human, intelligent beings (both on and off-planet, through initiatives like SETI, where she joins the newly formed Complexity Group). Dr. Chander also contributes to space life sciences and medicine. 

Besides advising XRSI Medical XR Council, Divya has co-chaired and curated the content and talks for the Medical Safety track as part of XRSI Safety Week, presented the Future of XR in Medicine at XR Safety Week, and is an active contributor to the XR Privacy and Safety Framework 2.0 research and development effort. With her vast and multi-disciplinary expertise and experience, Divya is helping develop new standards for XR in the realm of health, medicine, neuroscience, biometrics, defining new standards for the right to and protection of neural privacy – preventing unwanted intrusion by read-write technologies to the brain. She works in the public and private space to deploy future internet architectures that can create personal data lockers and user-centric control of Personal Identifiable Information (PII) and biometric data, especially in health and wellness applications.

Laurie Segall

Founding member of the Metaverse Reality Check (MRC)

We cannot build a new tech infrastructure and only allow certain people to participate. Web 3 has extraordinary implications on the future of communications. If we are not careful people will be left behind. Together we can all help build a better and more accessible Metaverse.

Laurie Segall is a founding member of the Metaverse Reality Check (The MRC), an oversight board for and by the citizens. Founder of the Dot Dot Dot Network, a media company for the web3 era, Laurie Segall is an American journalist. Noted for interviewing leaders in technology, including Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Cook, among others, she was the senior technology correspondent and an editor-at-large for CNN for more than a decade.

Read more about Laurie

Laurie loves to tell stories and fight for people, it is no wonder that she is helping share knowledge via her media platform while supporting XR Safety Initiative (XRSI) via the MRC, an oversight board meant to give power back to the people impacted by emerging technologies.

Laurie Segall has reported on stories ranging from drone technology in Israel to the benefits of digital classrooms. She has interviewed entrepreneurs like Bill Gates and given her audience, a behind-the-scenes look at tech companies like Twitter and Instagram. These encounters are detailed in Segall’s new memoir, “Special Characters: My Adventures With Tech’s Titans and Misfits” giving people insights into how she told the human side of the story of tech’s biggest execs Segall has worked on a series that explored the growing rate of sex trafficking in Silicon Valley, exposing how victims are recruited via social networks.

In addition to reporting about technology, Segall has also used the latest technologies to cover national breaking news. In the aftermath of the Boston Bombing, she was able to reconstruct suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s deleted Instagram account. She also used technology to track down and exclusively interview Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro’s daughter, Angie Gregg. Segall started out as a news assistant at CNN. She wrote extensively for CNNMoney and field produced during Hurricanes Irene and Sandy.

Segall earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Michigan. Segall was named to Forbes’ ‘30 Under 30’, Mashable’s ‘Seven Top Journalists to Subscribe to on Facebook. She has also spoken at industry conferences, including Internet Week New York and SXSW, where she led CNN’s technology coverage.

Vandana Verma

Founding member of the CyberXR Coalition

As we start “living” in the virtual worlds, it is important to establish and adhere to some baseline standards to stay safe so that we can truly take advantage of these worlds with infinite possibilities.

Vandana Verma is a founding member and an advisor for the CyberXR coalition, a Diversity and Inclusion effort by XR Safety Initiative (XRSI). Vandana is a cybersecurity professional with over 15 years of experience, which she uses to lead diversity initiatives like InfosecDiversity and InfosecGirls. She is also the founder of InfosecKids. Vandana is the chair of one of the largest open communities, the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP).

Read more about Vandana

She has been the recipient of multiple prestigious awards like Cyber Security Woman of the Year Award 2020 by Cyber Sec Awards, Application Security Influencer 2020 by WhiteSource, Global cybersecurity influencer among IFSEC Global’s “Top Influencers in Security and Fire” Category for 2019, Cybersecurity Women of the year award by Women Cyberjutsu Society in the Category “Secure Coder”. She has also been listed as one of the top women leaders in this field of technology and cybersecurity in India by Instasafe. She has trained over 10000+ Diverse candidates in cybersecurity.

Her experience ranges from Application Security, Infrastructure Security, and Product Security. Vandana is a member of the Black Hat Asia Review Board as well as multiple other conferences including Grace Hopper India, OWASP AppSec USA to name a few. 

Vandana has helped XRSI build novel Immersive Technology Standards for Accessibility, Ethics, Inclusion, and Safety, which have been used by the eSafety Commissioner of Australia in creating a positioning statement for Australia. Vandana is an active contributor to the XRSI Privacy & Safety standards research development effort and has been strategically advising XRSI Child Safety Initiative as well. Vandana is constantly giving back to the community by training kids, parents, and diverse candidates to expand their understanding of the Information security aspects and emerging threat landscape.

Kathy Bisbee

Tech policy and Inclusion advisor

I profoundly believe in the uniquely-visceral sense of presence, play, community and healing possible through XR. However, XR and the Metaverse are still in their “Wild West’ era; its territories are being staked out by corporations who have indefensible track records and a low regard for public safety, transparency, privacy policies and human rights.

Kathy Bisbee is the tech policy and inclusion adviser with XR Safety Initiative (XRSI). For her love for XR and community interest, Kathy co-founded the Public VR Lab in Boston, Massachusetts, the first publicly-accessible XR lab in the U.S. to help develop a field for community XR.

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Kathy has presented the Lab’s XR projects at the United Nations Environmental Assembly in Kenya, developed and taught XR curriculum to adults and youth, and co-produced nine XR pilot projects in the public interest. 

Kathy works in solidarity with diverse communities to amplify their voices; managing programs and organizations rooted in participatory media and tech equity and inclusion as a creative technologist, policy advocate and community organizer. An alumni research fellow at the MIT Open Doc Lab, Kathy’s fieldwork was featured in Ms. Magazine and on Kent Bye’s Voices of VR on public access to community-based XR. In 2019, Kathy received the ‘Nextant Legacy Prize’ from the Virtual World Society, where she was greeted ebulliently by Kavya Pearlman and immediately became part of the XRSI family, presenting and advising on digital policy strategy, coalition-building, and educational curriculum. 

Kathy frequently speaks at conferences and at workshops about the need for public accessibility to emerging media training and tools, and on immersive storytelling, including on panels to world leaders at the United Nations in Nairobi, Kenya, to local and regional arts, media, and cultural organizations, and trains communities to facilitate, document and share their stories in multiple formats.

Michelle Aebersold

Medical XR Council Advisor

Integrating XR into the training of healthcare professionals and students is critical to improving patient outcomes and patient safety. We need to be at the front of this revolutionary new technology to make sure we are using it to optimize our ability to care for patients

Dr. Michelle Aebersoldis is the medical XR Advisor with XRSI Medical XR Council. Dr. Michelle Aebersoldis a Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator and a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing. She is currently an XR Faculty Innovator in Residence through the University of Michigan XR Initiative at the Center for Academic Innovation. 

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Dr. Aebersold has extensive experience in using a variety of simulation learning methods including Extended Realities to improve the care of patients through caregiver education and training. She has developed the Simulation Model to Improve Learner and Health Outcomes (SMILHO). She is a strong healthcare service professional skilled in Coaching, Instructional Design, Team Building, Public Speaking, and Simulation-based Education. 

Michelle has a history and interests in Simulation, XR- Mixed, Virtual and Augmented Reality, Serious games, Quality and Safety, Teamwork, and Communication Training. She has presented with others from XRSI and spreads the great work XRSI does in her presentations and articles.

Dr. Aebersold works with other faculty, industry partners, and students to identify ways the Metaverse can be leveraged to support the education of healthcare professionals while maintaining a safe and engaging environment.

Janae McPhaul

Diversity and Inclusion advisor

Showing the younger generation how they can change the world is one of the best ways to ensure there is a world to come.

Janae McPhaul is a diversity and inclusion advisor for XR Safety Initiative (XRSI)XR Safety Initiative (XRSI)’s CyberXR Coalition. Janae, known professionally as JaneyLaney, is a family-friendly gaming content creator, entrepreneur, and podcaster. She created an initiative called BlackMinecraft in 2018 that focuses on the need for diversified representation in the gaming space, especially within the Minecraft creator and gaming communities.

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Janey is also an XboxMVP that has been recognized by the gaming industry for her influence in the gaming industry. 

Janey has spoken at several conferences and events about the need for more diversity, inclusion, and representation within the gaming and tech spaces and continues to promote diversity, equity and inclusion whenever the opportunity arises.

Janey created BlackMinecraft, which is an initiative within the gaming space that aims to bring more diversity and inclusion within the Minecraft space. She is using the game Minecraft to change how people view BIPOC representation in gaming. She focuses much of her gaming content on a family-friendly audience in order to expose children to the importance of D&I at a young age.

Kai Frazier

Global Child Safety & Education Advisor

Teaching with technology can both expand access for all students and make it easier for educators to differentiate content for the diverse needs of their students. Today’s global society demands tech skills and higher levels of educational achievement. Which is why we need to adopt these technologies with safety in mind.

Kai Frazier is the Global Child Safety & Education Advisor with XR Safety Initiative (XRSI). An educator turned EdTech entrepreneur, Kai is a historian (B.A History) & innovative educator (M.Ed). She is passionate about using technology to provide inclusive and accessible opportunities for under-appreciated communities.

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Kai Frazier is the founder & CEO of Kai XR, which creates safe pathways to the Metaverse for students so they can be better prepared for a highly technical future. Before creating Kai XR, she worked with several museums such as the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum as well as the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture, specializing in digital strategy and content creation.

Her company is backed by Techstars & T-Mobile and has been featured in Forbes, NBC, the Steve Harvey Show & more. Kai served as an entrepreneur in residence at the Kapor Center for Social Impact Techstars’ Social Impact cohort sponsored by Cox Enterprises, and T-Mobile’s Immersive Accelerator. Her work has been featured by Forbes, The U.S Department of Education, NBC, the Steve Harvey Show & more.  Through extensive outreach, Kai makes museums, STEM careers, college campus tours more accessible to students, globally.

Samantha G. Wolfe

Strategic Advisor

The Metaverse is the culmination of a wide variety of emerging technologies maturing simultaneously. This wave of new technologies will enable a full digitalization of the physical universe and seamless interconnection of everything, creating a new interactive, digital dimension. I am delighted to advise XRSI on both risks and the opportunities the Metaverse brings along.

Samantha G. Wolfe is a Strategic Adviser with XR Safety Initiative (XRSI). Samantha is the Founder of PitchFWD, a strategic consultancy focused on the acceleration of consumer and enterprise adoption of emerging technologies through brand and marketing strategy as well as product and developer marketing.

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Sam is a Board Member of SXSW Pitch and XR Ignite, and she has been on the judging panel for the Games for Change Festival, AWE Auggie Awards, MIT Reality Hack, and CES Innovation Awards.

She is an Adjunct Professor at NYU’s Steinhardt School teaching ‘The Business of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality’ and ‘The Marketing of Innovation’, both courses she created and developed. Samantha also has co-authored the book, “Marketing New Realities: An Introduction to Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality Marketing, Branding, & Communications” and is a contributing author to Charlie Fink’s book “Convergence: How The World Will Be Painted With Data” with a chapter focused on “Augmented Reality & Brands.”

Samantha talks about the emerging technology marketing and brand strategy, including appearances at events and conferences at SXSW, the VRARA, CES, and at the Augmented World Expo, where she hosted and co-curated AWE’s inaugural Marketing & Sales Track. Samantha has been advising XRSI for a couple of years unofficially and recently assumed a role as an official strategic adviser.

Debbie Reynolds

Global Data Protection Advisor

Technology should serve the needs of people and XRSI is leading the charge by creating frameworks that technology developers, implementation companies and regulators can use as a guide that supports the safe use of emerging technologies like XR by everyone.

Debbie Reynolds, “The Data Diva” is a world-renowned technologist, thought-leader, Global Data Protection advisor to XR Safety Initiative (XRSI). Ms. Reynolds is also an internationally published author, highly sought speaker, and top media presence about global Data Privacy, Data Protection, and Emerging Technology issues.

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Ms. Reynolds has been named to the Top Ten Global Data Privacy Experts by Martechvibe 2021, the Global Top 30 CyberRisk Communicators by The European Risk Policy Institute, 2021, and recognized as one of the stellar women who know Cyber by Cybersecurity Ventures in 2021. Ms, Reynolds also produced the #1 Data Privacy Podcast in 2021 called “The Data Diva” Talks Privacy Podcast.

Ms. Reynolds is the author of works in books, The GDPR Challenge: Privacy, Technology, and Compliance In An Age of Accelerating Change, and eDiscovery for Corporate Counsel; She is the author of works in publications like The International Journal for the Data Protection Officer, Privacy Officer, and Privacy Counsel, Bloomberg Law, Thomson Reuters West, and much more.Ms. Reynolds is also a board member and advisor to technology companies and has also been an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University and Cleveland Marshall College of Law.

Debbie Reynolds has collaborated with XRSI since 2020 on the Data Privacy Framework and heads the Compliance project of the 1.1 and 2.0 versions of the framework.  She assumed the role of XRSI’s Global Data Protection Advisor in 2022 and helps with demystifying global Data Privacy laws, Cyber Data Breach response, and complex cross-functional regulatory and governance matters as they apply to the metaverse. 

Debbie Reynolds is changing the world by offering leading edge Data Privacy advocacy and steller technology advisory to organizations who are looking to work with emerging technologies while respecting the rights of individuals.  She helps companies accelerate change and remove barriers to technology adoption.