We are a small and lean team with a great deal of experience in social media startups, web and mobile app development, graphic design, and outreach and marketing.

Duncan Work

Co-Founder and Acting CEO


My experience is grounded in social sciences and a strong interest in collective intelligence and collective consciousness.  Early on, I have been a planner and evaluator of social programs, an international business/international trade consultant, and for the last many years a social software designer and start-up entrepreneur, including starting a social networking company between the late 90s to early 00’s, followed by 3+ years as Chief Scientist and Privacy Officer at LinkedIn.   (For more details, see:


Ty Hallock

Chief Technology Officer


In 2002 Ty started a Web and mobile app development and communications company   called Top Floor Studio, which he still owns.  As Top Floor's CEO he grew the company very successfully to include many loyal clients locally and nation-wide, including Yahoo.  In addition to being a talented technologist and project manager, Ty is a natural networker and has considerable experience in social media marketing.
As a founder and partner of Trusted Sharing, Ty has cultivated a Get Things Done software culture, that is creative, responsive and effective. Ty is someone who has an insatiable desire to learn about how the world works and how people relate and interact in that world. He has created a “learning culture” at Trusted Sharing, where each new project is an opportunity for the group to dive in and do something that has never been done before. Trusted Sharing partners are “innovation partners” who are concerned with evolving their business, not just growing it.

Ty serves on the boards of the A-B Tech's Business Computer Technologies Department, and is the founder of TEDxAsheville and Creative Facilitators. Ty works tirelessly to connect local media artists and tech workers as well as raise the national and international profile of Western North Carolina as a crossroads for creativity, technology, and economic development.

J Smilanic

User Interface and Graphic Designer


J is a UI designer and front-end developer who has always had a strong interest in the world wide web ever since he first dialed into AOL in 1995. Once he got his first desktop computer in 1998, he quickly took to teaching himself how to build websites and learning how to use Adobe Photoshop. Today (and many computers later), J uses industry standards to provide a comfortable and familiar experience for end-users. His artistry lends itself perfectly to web and mobile app design.

Based in Asheville, NC, J runs TheCustomPixel, a small web design company that focuses on helping small businesses grow their digital presence. When not sitting behind a computer, J enjoys taking nature photos while hiking and backpacking across the Western North Carolina mountains and beyond. Photography has become a serious passion of J’s. You can find his images under the moniker Dawnfire Photography.

Deepak Balani

Senior Software Developer


Deepak is a software developer who enjoys working in Linux. Deepak has started career as a Java Developer and quickly switched to server side development when Web rose to popularity. Today Deepak works with technical team to bring ideas into reality and manages infrastructure. He likes using new technologies to solve problems and create robust code. He also likes to learn new mobile technologies and passionate to create apps that can be access from any device.

When not working Deepak likes to ride bikes and capture beauty of Jaipur. He also mentors small start-ups about using new technologies and solving problems efficiently.

Ruth Backstrom

Outreach and Marketing Director


Exec Director of the nonprofit SGN (Solution Generators Network)

As part-time Outreach Director I help Trusted Sharing, reach out to facilitators and other potential user groups. I am particularly interested in helping Trusted Sharing be a platform for public conversations that can make a difference.
I am also Executive Director of the Solution Generators Network (SGN), a nonprofit bringing worker-owned co-ops to Durham, and fiscal sponsor for Transition Durham and developing public community conversations to create a more caring economy.

I have a PhD in education and have taught many different ages in various educational settings. I think of myself as still educating and learning through my talks, writings and community facilitation. I have come to see that in order for learning to happen there has to be a lot of deep listening on both the side of the learner and the teacher.

Case Studies

Expanding a Short Course at NYU through Trusted Sharing
Adding Trusted Sharing Conversations to a Consulting Process
Facilitated Strategic Planning Workshop with TS Conversations Before and After
Trusted Sharing Conversations Enhance Learning from Blogs