WorkAround was started by Wafaa Arbash, who wanted to find a more sustainable solution to the refugee crisis than perpetual aid. There are constantly crises happening around the world and humanitarian aid can’t keep up. Wafaa, who wrote her Master’s thesis on barriers to employment for refugees and displaced people, began to see an opportunity for the highly-educated and internet-connected Syrian refugee. She realized that with little or no training, these refugees could engage in “micro-work” a growing need of companies needing human intelligence tasks to, organize, and prepare data for machine learning algorithms. Wafaa believes that economic opportunity is one of the key solutions to make people feel valued and engaged by using their skills and earning income.
We believe every person deserves the opportunity to succeed. Our platform is open to everyone and we provide training and support to help our WorkArounders reach their full potential. We are committed to seeking talent that brings unique perspectives, backgrounds, knowledge, and personality to our team.
We believe that respect is not tied to status but is earned through actions, commitment, and follow-through. We also believe in the power of tools and support to help people achieve success.
We cultivate a culture of getting it right, which means empowering our workers to ask the right questions in order to deliver the right results. We build in quality control measures through initial screenings, ongoing training, and self- and peer- checks.
Wafaa has six years of experience working with refugees and development programs, building partnerships and strategic management. Wafaa has an extensive network in both the Middle East region and with US corporations. Prior to WorkAround, Wafaa worked in social development programs where she spearheaded several projects to empower local citizens, increase their leadership skills and provide refugee advocacy. Wafaa holds dual master’s degrees in Sustainable International Development and Conflict Resolution from the Heller School, Brandeis University and a BA in education and curriculum design from Damascus University.
Jennie Kelly has worked in education for over seven years, but has dabbled in industries as different as publishing and construction. She has lived and worked on four continents and craves the challenges and inspirations the result from working across cultures. She has an MBA in nonprofit management and an MA in sustainable international development from the Heller School at Brandeis University, a BA in Interdisciplinary studies from the College of William and Mary, and an Associates of Art and Science from Cottey College.
Severin Ibarluzea has experience leading product development, raising investment, establishing partnerships and leading a machine learning team as an executive officer at College AI Inc., an artificial intelligence-based college matching service. Severin is a seasoned web developer, backend operations engineer and product manager. Severin has experience developing systems at TripAdvisor and has worked at several startups in a wide array of fields including: manufacturing computer aided design tooling, cryptocurrency applications, online software development and software prototyping consulting firms. Severin was previously the lead mentor and coordinator at Rensselaer’s Center for Open Source, the largest open-source university organization in the United States. Severin holds BA of Computer and Systems Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Rainbow Street is an international NGO that provides a lifeline for exceptionally vulnerable LGBT people in the Middle East and North Africa. Rainbow Street works with local activists and partner organizations to provide shelter, food, clothing, health care, migration services, community support, and other essential resources to people facing extreme discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender expression.