November 12–13, 2015  •  San Francisco, CA
Palak Shah

Palak Shah
Social Innovations Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance

Domestic workers are the ultimate invisible “on demand” workers. Palak Shah has learned a lot by organizing them, and she’s applying those lessons to creating the first set of guidelines for creating good work in the online economy, which she is calling the Good Work Code. We’ll be talking with Palak about this initiative, why it’s important, and who is signed on..

— Tim O’Reilly

Quotes from Palak

The creative collision of business tech and social movements is the only sustainable way forward. For all of us.

All that separates inequality from opportunity, anxiety from security, feeling discarded to feeling valued are the choices we make, the businesses we build, and the way we code.

Social movements plus technology can be the great equalizer. But only if we decide to make it so.

Domestic work is just one area where technology is disrupting the future of work, but as a canary in the coal mine, it’s a sector that signals what lies ahead.

Our greatest opportunity is to solve the puzzle of how we use technology to link efficiency and equity.

True technological innovation will aspire to do more than replicate the inequity faced offline by simply moving it online.


Palak Shah is the social innovations director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. She is also the founding director of Fair Care Labs, the innovation arm of the domestic worker movement. Palak leads NDWA’s national strategy on raising market norms and standards, partnering with the private sector, and building scalable and sustainable business ventures. NDWA is the nation’s leading organization working for the power, respect, and fair labor standards for the 2.5 million nannies, housekeepers, and elderly caregivers in the U.S.

Palak’s career spans the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. Most recently she led strategic responses to the ACA at Wellmont Health System. Prior to that she was a member of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s administration budget team and subsequently served as the Commonwealth’s deputy director of performance management. Palak trained as a community organizer in Los Angeles, and co-founded the international public health non-profit Visions Worldwide.

Palak received a dual degree in political science and broadcast journalism from Northwestern University. She received a masters in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, where she was awarded the prestigious Public Service Fellowship and Presidential Scholarship.

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