June 15, 2022—Following an extensive national search, Data & Society is delighted to announce the appointment of Sona Rai as its next director of communications.
Rai has more than 15 years of interdisciplinary communications experience in the fields of government, media, civil rights, immigration, and criminal legal system reform, and has worked closely with academics and researchers in the nonprofit, university, and media spaces. Adept at communicating complex initiatives and ideas, Rai will lead D&S’s communications work in a moment when research on technology’s societal impacts urgently needs to reach new audiences.
“I am thrilled that Sona is bringing her wealth of expertise across fields, and her passion for communicating high stakes issues to Data & Society,” said Executive Director Janet Haven. “As D&S focuses ever more intently on advancing people’s understanding of how data-centric technologies shape their lives and communities, and on changing the terms of the debate about the governance and impact of those technologies, Sona’s leadership will be invaluable.”
“Data & Society’s body of work reflects the importance of creating a future in which data-centric technologies are built with values that respect human dignity and the needs of systemically marginalized populations,” Rai said. “I am honored to have the opportunity to partner with the team and further the organization’s impact as it advances public understanding of the social and cultural implications of data-centric technologies and automation.”
Rai joins Data & Society from the Vera Institute of Justice, where she was the media strategy director. She previously served as communications director for the City of New York’s NYC Census 2020 campaign and the New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. She also worked as communications director for Quartz, where she led communications for both the editorial and business arms of a global media brand.
Rai began her media relations career at global PR agency Porter Novelli and then served Columbia Business School as a media relations manager. She earned an MPA from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and her BA from the University of Rochester.