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Elizabeth Schaeffer Brown, Co-Founder

Elizabeth began her career in advertising introducing leading international brands, like Sony Ericsson, into the North American market. This work lead her to co-found StudioE9 in 2004. StudioE9 was an independent digital laboratory servicing global advertising agencies including IRIS Nation and TBA Global.

Through the course of her career, her interest shifted from selling consumer products to promoting ideas with the potential to change lives in meaningful ways. Starting in 2010, while still running StudioE9, she began to develop social initiatives, Choose Haiti and Maiden Nation. This new work focused on job creation for women in developing countries through ethical fashion. The initiatives represented some of the first public/private partnerships of their kind. In 2013, she co-founded Uncommon Union to build awareness around the activities of social businesses and global leaders intent on changing their industries. Over time she has built a network of partnerships bringing together celebrities, governments, businesses, and non-profits. Uncommon Union has used these networks to advance such issues as countering violent extremism, fair trade coffee, ethical supply chains, digital education for girls Afghanistan, global public defender systems for the poor and the recognition of the Yazidi genocide.

Ancillary to this, she is a founding member and executive director of UNODC Goodwill Ambassador Nadia Murad’s Foundation, writes on the subject of women’s empowerment and serves on the board of The Digital Citizen Fund.


Paul Rene Johnson, Co-Founder

Paul Johnson began publishing software professionally in his teens. Since then, he has helped found, launch, and sell several technology companies. Paul played a key role in defining many conventions of online media leading to the acquisition of in2, a prominent Silicon Alley agency, by Monster.com in 2000.Paul’s digital art work has been exhibited around the world in venues including the Museum of Modern Art / PS1, Galerie Lambert, Postmasters Gallery, ZKM, InterCommunication Center, Eyebeam, and Seoul Museum of Art. An inadvertant pioneer of the DIY movement, he was featured in early Wired and Make Magazine issues. He is the recipient of many industry awards, including a Cannes Interactive Award, and his work is cited in periodicals, blogs, newspapers, and books such as Art After Appropriation, by John Welchman, and Internet Art, by Rachel Greene. As an educator, he has both taught and developed curriculums for RISD and Rutgers University. Recently, Paul spoke and presented hacked GameBoys at the inauguration of the Rutgers-Camden Archive of Digital Ephemera (RCADE), a collection of hardware and software made available to scholars for research purposes.

Paul is now focused on launching Uncommon Union partner, Uncommon Labs, which represents a new model for the development and support of technology that emphasizes community and research.