A veteran of the technology industry, who has transformed the lives of people around the world through her global online initiatives, she received an honorary Doctor of Civil Law degree from Northumbria University, Newcastle.
Throughout her 38-year career, Baroness Joanna Shields OBE has been at the forefront of harnessing technology to drive social change.
She has held executive positions at companies including Google, Facebook and Veon, and served as a non-executive director of the London Stock Exchange Group and TalkTalk Telecom Group.
But it is his groundbreaking work to protect children from online exploitation and lead the development of new treatments for diseases using artificial intelligence where he has had the greatest impact.
In 2014 he founded WePROTECT, a global alliance to stop the global crime of online child sexual abuse and exploitation. Initially organized by the UK government, today the WeProtect Global Alliance has more than 100 countries, 92 civil society organizations and 65 private sector companies.
In 2015, she was appointed the UK’s first Internet Safety and Security Minister, assuming the additional role of the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Internet Crime and Harm in 2016.
Her dedication to making the online world a safer place led to her being awarded an OBE for services to digital industries and voluntary service to young people in 2014. She was also appointed a Life Member of the House of Lords the same year.
Since 2018, she has been the CEO of BenevolentAI, a technology development company that uses artificial intelligence to help scientists discover new insights from medical data, enabling them to develop medicines for neglected diseases.
The Government’s National Cyber Security Center has named Northumbria University a Center of Excellence for Cyber Security Research in recognition of the strength and quality of its research in the field.
This reputation, combined with the rapid growth of the Northeast’s tech sector, means the region has both the skills and the opportunities to support future exciting innovations in online technology.
Speaking about her honorary degree and her association with Northumbria University, Baroness Shields said: “I am honored to receive a Doctor of Science degree from Northumbria University.
“Northumbria has strong and enviable leadership locally and internationally in shaping young excellence in advancing the frontiers of technology, protecting against cyber threats and harnessing digital opportunities for positive societal transformation, and I am honored to be recognized today with this significant honor.”