Palak Shah is a social entrepreneur, a leader in the social movement for workers’ rights in the new economy, and a speaker and thought leader on the future of work. She serves as Social Innovations Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), 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. In this role, she leads NDWA’s national strategy on raising market norms and standards, partnering with the private sector, and building scalable and sustainable business ventures. Palak is also the Founding Director of NDWA Labs, the innovations arm of NDWA, which experiments with how technology can improve job access and job quality for domestic workers. Specifically, NDWA Labs partners with Silicon Valley companies and builds its own worker-centric technology to ensure an equitable future for workers as labor markets shift online. In 2018, Palak and NDWA Labs launched Alia, the first online platform to get domestic workers benefits.
Palak’s career spans the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. Most recently, she led strategy and implementation of the Affordable Care Act at Wellmont Health System, an eight-hospital health care system serving coal country in Tennessee and Virginia. She also 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 has worked as a management consultant at Accenture Strategy, 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 and a Masters in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School. Palak is a sought-after media commentator on the future of work and labor issues in the new economy and has spoken at TEDx, NPR Boston’s IdeaLab and Personal Democracy Forum about the future of work and the importance of partnerships between social movements and the private sector.
While at SICI, Palak will further her efforts by developing a 21st-century labor policy framework that centers workers. On campus, she will convene a multidisciplinary working group that unpacks the fourth major industrial revolution, examines technology’s role in the restructuring of labor markets, and advances a dignified future of work for all.