Presented by

  • Valerie Young

    Valerie Young

    Valerie Young works at Igalia, a worker-owned co-op, focusing on web standards related to accessibility. Her work there includes co-chairing the ARIA working group of the W3C and being an editor of the CORE-AAM specification. In the course of her career, she has worked up and down the web stack -- from building web apps to standards and standards testing in browsers, and more recently on the browsers themselves. From the moment she learned about the free software from fellow nerds in college, she has been an advocate for it. Outside of work, she has spent her whole adult life participating in non-hierarchical co-operative structures, from housing co-ops, to political projects, to academic conferences and community farms. Valerie is endless curious about ways to organize work that lead to empowerment, self actualization and joyful collaboration for individuals involved -- she has seen many successes and many failures and would love to hear from you about yours!


Igalia is an open source tech co-op success story. We have been around for 22 years; we have 140 members. We play an essential role in several open web platform projects such as Chromium/Blink, WebKit (WPE & WebKitGTK), Firefox and Servo. We have contributed to GNOME / GTK+ / Maemo, WebKit / WebKitGtk+ / JSC, Blink / V8, Gecko / SpiderMonkey projects, amongst others. The reason we started as a co-op and the reason the focus of our work is Free and Open Source software are one and the same. Both are implementations of our values, in a word: egalitarianism. In this talk you will hear a bit about our history. We will focus on how we found our FOSS business niche and how we grew from a few friends to 140 people in more than 25 countries all the while maintaining our flat organization structure. You will learn what it's like to participate in a company that is run by an Assembly, the decision making body that includes every Igalian, instead of a hierarchy of bosses. We hope that this talk will expand the limits of your imagination on what a company can look like, and that next time you think about starting your own company or looking for a new job, you consider a co-op!