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Women Who Inspire Us

Gail Ann Williams

Gail Ann Williams

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Gail Ann Williams is the executive director of The WELL, one of the first and most popular online communities (recently acquired by She came to the WELL community in 1990 as part of a CompuMentor project to match nonprofits with expert computer professionals, and joined the WELL management team in 1991 as the director of conferencing.

Williams has been the primary official liaison with the system's users since that time, handling the human issues of the conferencing system, along with selecting and training over 200 volunteer conference hosts and several new host trainers, managing several software upgrades and launching numerous conferences on subjects ranging from jazz to Java. Williams has spoken on online governance and community management issues for professional gatherings such as Computers Freedom and Privacy, South By Southwest, the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers' (IEEE) Community Networking, Earth To Avatars and VirComm.

Prior to her work at The WELL, Williams spent over 12 years at arts organizations in both creative and administrative capacities. She was a founding member of the award-winning satire group, the Plutonium Players, and a writer, performer and co-director in their long-touring show, "Ladies Against Women." She launched a community development program for the San Francisco-based Traveling Jewish Theatre, where her outreach endeavors helped increase audience-building activities and individual donor contributions.

Williams has a B.S. in conservation of natural resources, with an emphasis on mass media and environmental issues, from UC Berkeley. She credits this background with her understanding of the online environment as an ecology of expression rather than a highway of information.


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