past event
Employment and Jobs

Good Work in the Gig Economy: Building a Sustainable App-based Economy


About this Event

App-based short-term work, often called gig work, has been around for more than a decade. As use of app-based services has grown and become part of many people’s daily lives, so has awareness of the risks and challenges it presents to workers. During the pandemic, attention on gig work surged as thousands of unemployed service workers turned to apps for an income, and millions relied on these workers to deliver food and other essentials to their homes. Coming out of the pandemic, what is the status of gig work today, and what does the future hold? While many problems with the most widely used apps persist, new models have emerged as platform-based work has become an established part of the labor market. Join as we explore how people are challenging the status quo of gig work and reimagining platform-based jobs to be good jobs that can sustain workers.

We will hear about alternative models of platform-based work, including cooperatives and public options, about policies being introduced to improve gig workers’ lives, and about research showing us what’s ahead.


Aug 8: “Good Work in the #GigEconomy” by @AspenJobQuality. Featuring @WColeman84 (@TheWorkersLab), @lexigervis (@WorkersJusticeP), @LigiaGuallpa (@TheSteadyApp), and @haro_adrian (@RideAlto) and @ShellySteward (@AspenFutureWork).


How can we ensure that #GigWork is good work? Join @AspenJobQuality on August 8 to #TalkOpportunity and explore how gig work is evolving, with a focus on good, sustainable jobs.


What’s the state of app-based work? Join @AspenJobQuality and special guests @WColeman84, @lexigervis, @LigiaGuallpa, @haro_adrian, and @shellysteward to #TalkOpportunity about challenges, models, and policies shaping the #GigEconomy.


The #GigEconomy is evolving, and it’s time to shape its trajectory! Delve into the platforms and policies that can enhance the lives of gig workers. Be part of the virtual conversation with @AspenJobQuality and guests on August 8.


I’m excited to #TalkOpportunity about good work in the #GigEconomy. Join me August 8 for this @AspenJobQuality event, featuring @WColeman84, @lexigervis, @LigiaGuallpa, @haro_adrian, and @shellysteward. RSVP here.


headshot of Will Coleman
Will Coleman ( @willcoleman84 )

Co-Founder and CEO, Alto

Will Coleman is the co-founder and CEO of Alto, an affordable premium rideshare service headquartered in Dallas. Alto elevates the experience for passengers and drivers by providing unmatched safety, hospitality, and consistency in every ride and delivery. Will is a former partner at McKinsey & Company, where he led the consumer air and travel practice and helped some of the world’s largest travel brands build disruptive strategies for growth. Will graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and is a Dallas native. 



headshot of Lexi GervisLexi Gervis ( @lexigervis )

VP of Impact, Steady

Lexi Gervis, PhD, is an economic sociologist who has conducted extensive research on benefits for nonstandard workers, low-wage work, income volatility, and the institutional transmission of inequality. Since completing her doctoral work on portable benefits, Lexi has turned her attention to the private sector, working with tech startups focused on improving financial outcomes for nonstandard workers.

Formerly the head of policy at Catch, a portable benefits platform, she is currently the vice president of impact at Steady, a platform designed to improve the earnings potential and income stability of its six million members. At Steady, Lexi coordinates efforts with state and federal leaders on benefits access, leads the platform’s impact work on direct cash assistance and guaranteed income, and manages collaborations with think tanks and research institutes on Steady’s broader policy goals.



headshot of Ligia GuallpaLigia Guallpa ( @LigiaGuallpa

Executive Director, Worker’s Justice Project

Ligia Guallpa is the co-founder and executive director of the Worker’s Justice Project (WJP) and Los Deliveristas Unidos. For more than twelve years, she has been organizing gig workers to build a government and economy that works for all workers. Under her leadership, WJP launched Los Deliveristas Unidos, the country’s largest workers’ collective, which represents 65,000 app-based delivery workers and is organizing to advance the rights of app-based delivery workers in New York City.

Guallpa is currently leading some of the most important issues of our time, including immigration, workers’ rights, climate change, and runaway inequality. Guallpa was named as New York City’s Labor Power 100 leader by City & State New York for protecting app delivery workers from powerful tech companies.



headshot of Adrian Haro

Adrian Haro ( @haro_adrian )

Chief Executive Officer, The Workers Lab

Adrian Haro joined The Workers Lab in 2017, overseeing the formation of The Workers Lab nonprofit corporation, doubling the budget and staff. Before his promotion to CEO, Adrian served as interim leader to oversee a critical transition period. Prior to joining The Workers Lab, Adrian built a career in progressive politics, government, and public affairs. He started as a field organizer on Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, served as a confidential assistant at the US Department of Education, and then served as the speechwriter to US Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. He then spent four years at Civitas Public Affairs Group, a leading national public affairs firm where he worked for a variety of clients developing and implementing strategic plans for a range of issues and serving as a key advisor to top nonprofit executives.

Adrian had a brief but beloved stint in Hollywood working under the mentorship of acclaimed Latino entertainment executive, activist, and entrepreneur Moctesuma Esparza. Adrian holds a degree in rhetorical studies and political science from California State University, Long Beach, and grew up in East Los Angeles.



Photo of Shelly Steward

Shelly Steward ( @shellysteward )

Director, Future of Work Initiative, Aspen Institute

Shelly Steward serves as director of the Future of Work Initiative, a part of the Economic Opportunities Program. Her team strives to identify challenges faced by workers today and develop policy-based solutions to address those challenges and build a more equitable economy. Shelly is an economic sociologist and applied scholar who has studied the changing nature of work for more than ten years. She is an expert on nonstandard work arrangements and the gig economy and is lead author of the Gig Economy Data Hub in collaboration with Cornell University’s ILR School. She is also a research associate with the Fairwork Project based at the Oxford Internet Institute, which assesses the working conditions of gig economy platforms around the world, and teaches courses on technology and tech policy for the University of California’s Washington Program. 

Her academic interests center on how people understand their position in the labor market and how they navigate increasing insecurity. She has studied work in the tech and oil and gas industries in depth, examining how people make sense of and internalize the rising risk and uncertainty of these sectors. She has written for both academic and popular publications, including the Washington Post, the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, and the Journal of Consumer Culture, and has been quoted in major outlets including the Wall Street Journal, NBC News, and NPR, among others. Shelly received her doctorate in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, where she was a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow. She holds a bachelor’s degree with highest honors in sociology from Harvard. Prior to graduate school, she was a middle school science teacher in South Dakota through Teach for America. Outside of work, she volunteers at the National Zoo and enjoys swimming, sewing, and cookies.

Opportunity in America

Opportunity in America, an event series hosted by the Economic Opportunities Program, considers the changing landscape of economic opportunity in the US and implications for individuals, families, and communities across the country. The series highlights the ways in which issues of race, gender, and place exacerbate our economic divides, and ideas and innovations with potential to address these challenges and broaden access to quality opportunity.

We are grateful to Prudential Financial, Walmart, the Surdna Foundation, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, Bloomberg, and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth for their support of this series.

Learn More

The Economic Opportunities Program advances strategies, policies, and ideas to help low- and moderate-income people thrive in a changing economy. Follow us on social media and join our mailing list to stay up-to-date on publications, blog posts, events, and other announcements.

Event information
Tue Aug 8, 2023
2:00pm - 3:15pm EDT