Who I am
I am Candace Faber.
Candace means luminescent (think in-candes-ence). I reflect back to the world what I see in it, highlighting where attention is needed and lighting up the paths of possible action. From this spirit comes my passion for writing as well as my ability to serve those who are having difficulty seeing the obstacles – and solutions – that are right in front of them.
Faber is as in Homo Faber, which translates in modern language to human, the maker. I inherited from my paternal line of carpenters, engineers, and home appliance technicians an ability to understand how machines serve or don't serve the ends we intended when creating them. Working in digital technologies where everything centers on data, I have found that the question of who these systems serve is more important than ever. Accountability and innovation are two sides of the same coin.
Why I'm here
Professionally, I fill many roles, usually at the same time: As a strategist, I observe things from a bird's-eye view, taking into account the capacities of an organization as well as its operating environment. As a facilitator, I help teams discover and define their shared goals. Most importantly, as an optimist, I hold space for possibility even when it seems like things can only go on as they have ever been. I know that there is always a way.
I like to call myself a specialist in human-human-computer interaction, ensuring that technology is a tool that liberates humans to do their best work, rather than a cage of binary choices. I love to rethink business processes so we can make the absolute most out of limited resources, as well as to tap the potential of technology and human creativity to make those resources multiply. I usually get hired with the title of strategic advisor, project manager, or consultant. All that matters is that the language be open enough to allow space for what we learn along the way.
My favorite work is collaborative, generates faith in one another, and takes us to places that are aligned with our goals but further than we had dared to dream. There is always more beyond the reef.
What I've been up to
Since 2013, I have been actively engaged in the civic technology space, the global open data movement, and entrepreneurship, with a particular focus on using technology to create a more just and equitable world.
In 2015, I was appointed as the City of Seattle's first-ever Civic Technology Advocate. In this role, I connect actors across the technology and civic ecosystems. I invest energy in projects t0 bring more energy, innovation, and safety to all those who live in or visit this emerald city. I hope that someday we can all remove the goggles of privilege worn in our mythical Oz and manifest the ideals of social and environmental justice we so frequently proclaim. We are not there yet.
Since 2016, I have had the honor of serving as guest faculty in the Information School at the University of Washington, supporting teams of seniors as they complete their capstone projects – new technologies that will change the world for the better. Together with the other faculty, I teach the students everything I know. Then, I watch as they weave it together with what they know to create things we so-called experts could not have imagined.
In 2012, I set up a strategic communications & project management firm, Whoa Strategies, through which I orchestrated several large-scale collaborations in Seattle, mostly at the intersection of technology & society. These included hackathons around homelessness and transportation, a series to connect independent artists with one another's wisdom, and a conference to engage the technology industry in our region's most wicked problems. Every year, it has included some writing and speaking for hire as well. I keep it open.
Prior to that, I served as a diplomat in the U.S. Foreign Service. I worked at U.S. embassies in Russia, Poland, Belarus, and Afghanistan, and also served in Washington DC. I speak Russian, Polish, and Dari (Persian), and some Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, and Georgian.
I have been a featured speaker at the Moth, Ignite, TEDx, Creative Mornings, and the Facebook Design Lecture Series, as well as numerous conferences and professional events.
In 2014, I was named one of the 51 Most Influential People in Seattle by Seattle Magazine. In 2017, the cool kids' alternative newspaper The Stranger named me a Person of Interest. Perhaps the greatest honor I've received, though, is that I am currently reigning Queen of the Washington Technology Industry Association's annual Debates & Drinks holiday party. Never underestimate the power of a great high school speech & debate coach (thanks, Gorne!).
I write a great deal of poetry, which I hope you will be able to find soon. Other stuff goes up on Medium.
I serve proudly on the board of Copious Love, a theater group in Seattle that nurtures new works from local writers. I also serve on the board of Seattle Women in Tech and was formerly in the Women's Funding Alliance Young Professionals, where I helped to launch the #ToGetHerEqual campaign that is still in action today.
I completed two bachelor's degrees at the University of Washington, in Political Science and Slavic Languages & Literatures, along with a Phi Beta Kappa in Linguistics and a thesis I'm still ridiculously proud of called "Ghosts That Bear Arms: Russian military policy in the former Soviet space." I am a proud alumna of the Master of Science in Foreign Service at Georgetown University, where I served as editor-in-chief of the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs.
Interviews & Press
The Stranger, 1 February 2017
GeekWire, 11 August 2016
GovTech, 29 June 2016
GovTech, 24 May 2016
Open Seattle, 2 February 2016
GovTech, 11 January 2016
MyNorthwest, 1 May 2015
GovTech, 18 March 2015
Caring Magazine, 11 February 2015