Meet the Team

Portrait of Christine Lemmer-Webber
Christine Lemmer-Webber, Executive Director

Christine has devoted her life to advancing user freedom. Realizing that the federated social web was fractured by a variety of incompatible protocols, she co-authored and shepherded ActivityPub's standardization. She has also contributed to many other free and open source projects, including co-founding MediaGoblin.

Christine established the open source Spritely Project to solve known problems in existing centralized and decentralized social media platforms and to re-imagine the way we build networked applications - work that now continues here at the institute under her guidance as Executive Director.

Portrait of David Thompson
David Thompson, Chief Technology Officer

David Thompson is a software engineer and free and open source software advocate who enjoys writing software at every level of the stack. Dave is one of Spritely's earliest engineers and today serves as Spritely's CTO, leading Spritely's engineering team, overseeing Spritely's architecture, and getting in plenty of Spritely's core code himself.

David is a former DevOps engineer and full-stack web developer for Vista Higher Learning where he worked on everything from product feature implementation to production infrastructure automation. He is also a former web developer for the Free Software Foundation, has made numerous contributions to free software projects such as Guile and Guix, and has built his own game development and web development tools in Scheme.

Portrait of Jessica Tallon
Jessica Tallon, Founding Technologist

Jessica is co-author and co-editor of the ActivityPub specification as well as being an active contributor to MediaGoblin and many other open source software and open standards for the last decade, working on everything from decentralized social media architecture to compilers.

Today Jessica is the lead developer of Spritely Goblins (or as we like to say, Jessica is the "Enchantress of the Goblin Realm"), continuing and building upon the early foundations laid by Christine. Jessica is also the primary author of the OCapN specification documents, the protocols of which power Spritely Goblins' distributed networked capability architecture.

Portrait of Andy Wingo
Andy Wingo contractor, Compiler Specialist

Andy Wingo of Iglalia consulting is working with the Institute to provide technical leadership on our Guile on WASM project.

“At Igalia, we have long loved both Guile and WebAssembly. Now thanks to Spritely’s vision we are delighted to be able to combine these efforts to bring a secure, capabilities-based Scheme to the web.” -- Andy Wingo

Portrait of Briana Laurant
Briana Laurant, Human Resources Administrator

Briana runs the day-to-day for us, HR, administration, bookkeeping, the list goes on...

Interested in decentralizing trust, identity, and community for everyone? Join the team!

Board of Directors

Portrait of Karen Sandler
Karen Sandler, ED @ Software Freedom Conservancy

Karen M. Sandler is the executive director of the Software Freedom Conservancy. Karen is known as a cyborg lawyer for her advocacy for free software, particularly in relation to the software on medical devices. She was executive director of the GNOME Foundation and general counsel of the Software Freedom Law Center. Karen co-organizes Outreachy, the award-winning outreach program for women globally and for people of color who are underrepresented in US tech. Karen is a recipient of the O’Reilly Open Source Award and cohost of the oggcast Free as in Freedom.

Portrait of Deb Nicholson
Deb Nicholson, ED @ Python Software Foundation

Deb is an experienced non-profit professional and passionate open source community builder who has worked at the Open Source Initiative, Software Freedom Conservancy and the Open Invention Network. She is also a founding organizer of the Seattle GNU/Linux Conference, an annual event dedicated to surfacing new voices and welcoming new people to the free software community.

Portrait of Alex Handy
Alex Handy, Founder/Chairman The MADE

Alex Handy is Chairman of the Board for the Museum of Art and Digital Entertaingment (The MADE), which he founded 2010 after finding a parcel of unreleased Atari and Colecovision games. A veteran technology journalist, Alex started out covering the release of the first iMac. His writing has appeared in Wired, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Computer Gaming World, and many other publications.


Spritely began as research project by Christine Lemmer-Webber to determine the future of decentralized social networks following Christine's experiences contributing to the popular ActivityPub standard. In finding that the object capability security community had the answers to most of the problems identified, Christine began speaking to Randy Farmer, who has been shaping networked community architecture for decades and who co-founded Electric Communities which pioneered much of the technology Spritely has been built upon. Christine and Randy decided to co-found the Spritely Networked Communities Institute, bridging Randy's long history of research with Christine's new technology. Jessica Tallon, who had previously worked with Christine on standardizing ActivityPub, joined as the first major developer using and extending Goblins, Spritely's distributed programming environment. Today, Spritely continues to develop, innovate, and research the future of networked community architecture.