The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University has announced the appointment of Susan Hendrickson ’93 as its new executive director. Hendrickson will help lead the center and shape its next generation of education, research, and engagement on technology and society, connecting it to new communities and collaborators. She will begin her appointment in February 2022.
“Sue brings an extraordinary combination of energy, enthusiasm, and expertise to BKC,” said Faculty Chair Jonathan Zittrain ’95, George Bemis Professor of International Law. “Not only is she a brilliant and innovative practitioner and counselor in areas of technology that the center’s communities care about deeply, but she’s also a resourceful and effective leader. We’re thrilled she’s joining us at a fraught moment in the study of the digital space.”
Hendrickson is a leading technology and intellectual property legal strategist focused on cutting-edge technology and innovation. An accomplished team builder, she has served as a partner at Arnold & Porter, where she co-heads the technology and life sciences transactions practices. Her extensive experience with complex legal, commercial, and public policy issues spans three decades of technology expansion, from the early days of AOL to today’s advanced AI/machine learning, autonomous, and connected technologies. Her expertise extends across many sectors, including digital media, IT and telecommunications, healthcare, education, and the arts.
Hendrickson has forged effective alliances enabling leading international organizations, civil society organizations, technology companies, investors, and philanthropists to embrace the promise and mitigate the risks of emerging technologies. Her longstanding involvement with advocacy and philanthropy organizations includes her current service as board member and liaison to the tech advisory board of Human Rights First where she is assisting the Innovation Lab’s efforts to incubate technologies to address pressing human rights issues.
Hendrickson said, “I’m excited to be joining the team at BKC and grateful for the opportunity to lead the center at this consequential time in the relationship between the internet, technology, and society. The opportunities from technological development are vast and promising, but the disruptions and risks — whether to personal freedoms, democracy, equity, the rule of law, business models, or otherwise — are serious, complex, and need to be tackled head on. Charting a positive course forward requires exactly the public-spirited, collaborative, interdisciplinary, and international work at which BKC excels. I’m looking forward to diving in with BKC’s dynamic communities and advancing the Center’s real-world impact.”
“Sue Hendrickson joins the Berkman Klein Center as we navigate our third decade, a time in which we are redefining our research, outreach, and educational programs. I look forward to collaborating with Sue on these vital efforts, which will benefit from insights from both her practice and her public interest work, as well as her deep connections with legal, tech, and policy communities,” said Berkman Klein Managing Director Elisabeth Sylvan. “Sue’s passion for human rights work, in particular, resonates with so much of what we care about at BKC.”
James Mickens, associate professor of computer science and Berkman Klein co-director, said, “I’m very excited to welcome Sue to the executive director role at BKC. She has an amazing amount of experience with thorny issues at the intersection of technology, law, and policy. She’s also been very successful at managing complex teams and executing on large projects. BKC will benefit from Sue’s leadership as we tackle daunting problems like misinformation, content moderation, and data privacy legislation.”
Hendrickson serves on the board of the KID Museum, a pioneering educational makerspace for young people, has long been an advocate on behalf of initiatives for the advancement of women and girls, and was a Founding Board Member of Women in Bio, a nonprofit fostering entrepreneurship of women in life sciences. She holds degrees from Harvard College, Harvard Kennedy School, and Harvard Law School, where she was an editor of the Harvard Law Review.
“Sue Hendrickson comes to Berkman Klein with a distinguished record of forging agreements around difficult intellectual property innovation issues in crucial sectors and global contexts,” said Ruth Okediji LL.M. ’91 S.J.D. ’06, Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Professor of Law and Berkman Klein faculty co-director. “The Berkman Klein faculty directors look forward to having Sue on board, and we’re deeply grateful to Managing Director Lis Sylvan for her remarkable leadership of the center during our transition and search for an executive director.”
Hendrickson succeeds Urs Gasser LL.M. ’03, who stepped down after twelve years of transformative service to accept an inaugural professorship of public policy, governance, and innovative technology at the Technical University of Munich. Gasser will remain on the board of directors, further fostering the center’s transatlantic collaborations.