The world is changing fast. Often so fast that we don’t take the time to think about what kind of society and future we actually want to build. Politics has become disconnected from fact. Innovation is pursued without consideration of ethics. Around the world, we are building walls instead of bridges.
New Rules asks:
• How can we be more empathetic when we design for the future?
• How can we reconnect policy with facts, truth, and logic?
• What ethics should we pursue as we shape our rapidly changing world?
The answers are elusive — but we become stronger when we ask these questions together. What are the New Rules that will help guide us for the next century?
Watch Martin O’Malley’s talk »
Martin O’Malley served as the Governor of Maryland from 2007 to 2015. Prior to being elected as governor, he served as the Mayor of Baltimore from 1999 to 2007 and was a Baltimore City Councilor from 1991 to 1999. In City Hall, he implemented a program called CitiStat, a cutting-edge system that tracked how well Baltimore’s government was serving its citizens. The program won Harvard University’s Innovations in American Government Award, and TIME Magazine named O’Malley “one of America’s top five big city mayors.”
Over his seven years as Mayor, O’Malley’s policies helped the people of Baltimore achieve the greatest crime reduction of America’s largest cities.
With O’Malley as Governor of Maryland, the state recovered 100 percent of the jobs lost during the national recession, and was one of only seven states to maintain a AAA bond rating. The Washington Post named Maryland as one of the top states for holding down the cost of college tuition, and Maryland was also recognized as having the best public schools in America for an unprecedented five years in a row.
Recognizing the threat that climate change posed to Maryland’s coastal communities, O’Malley took action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, invest in renewable energy, and grow green jobs. He also worked to uplift the dignity of all Marylanders—by signing marriage equality into law, abolishing the death penalty, and passing the DREAM Act to expand the opportunity of a college education to more local students.
O’Malley served as the chair of the Democratic Governors Association from 2011 to 2013, while being governor of Maryland. Following his departure from public office in early 2015, he was appointed to the Johns Hopkins University’s Carey Business School as a visiting professor focusing on government, business, and urban issues.
Watch Ann Mei Chang’s talk »
Ann Mei Chang
USAID Chief Innovation Officer
Ann Mei Chang is the Chief Innovation Officer and the Executive Director of the U.S. Global Development Lab at USAID. The Lab is the newest bureau at USAID and aims to transform global development through science, technology, innovation, and partnerships. Prior to USAID, Ann Mei was the Chief Innovation Officer at Mercy Corps, an international NGO. She also served as the Senior Advisor for Women and Technology in the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues at the U.S. Department of State.
She conceived and launched the Alliance for Affordable Internet, a public-private partnership which aims to increase Internet access to the next billion.
Ann Mei has more than twenty years of engineering and leadership experience in Silicon Valley. She served as a Senior Engineering Director at Google for eight years, where she led worldwide engineering for Google’s mobile applications and services. She oversaw 20 times growth of Google’s mobile business in just three years, delivering over $1 billion in annualized revenues. At Google, she also led the product development team for Emerging Markets, with a mission to bring relevant mobile and Internet services to the two-thirds of the world’s population that is not yet online. Ann Mei has held leadership roles at several other leading companies including Apple (leading engineering for the initial release of Final Cut Pro), Intuit, SGI, and a few startups.
Ann Mei was recognized as one of the Women In the World: 125 Women of Impact for 2013 by Newsweek/The Daily Beast. She is a member of the 2011 class of Henry Crown Fellows at the Aspen Institute and holds a BS degree in Computer Science from Stanford University.
Watch Bob Woodward’s talk »
Journalist & Author
Bob Woodward is regarded as one of America’s preeminent investigative reporters and non-fiction authors. He has worked for The Washington Post since 1971 as a reporter, and is currently an associate editor of the Post. While a young reporter for The Washington Post in 1972, Woodward was teamed up with Carl Bernstein; the two did much, but not all, of the original news reporting on the Watergate scandal that led to numerous government investigations and the eventual resignation of President Richard Nixon.
Gene Roberts, former managing editor of The New York Times has called the work of Woodward and Bernstein “maybe the single greatest reporting effort of all time.”
Woodward has authored or coauthored 18 non-fiction books. All 18 have been national bestsellers and 12 of them have been #1 national non-fiction bestsellers — more #1 national non-fiction bestsellers than any contemporary author.
Watch Jean Case’s talk »
Jean Case is an actively engaged philanthropist, investor and a pioneer in the world of interactive technologies. A passionate believer in all things digital and the amazing potential of technology to change the world for the better, Jean and her team focus the efforts of the Foundation around many of the same entrepreneurial approaches she and Steve cultivated throughout their business careers. In addition to her role as CEO of the Case Foundation, Jean is Chairman of the National Geographic Society Board of Trustees.
Jean’s career in the private sector spanned nearly two decades before she and her husband, Steve Case, created the Case Foundation in 1997. The Case Foundation is recognized for its innovative efforts to address significant social challenges, harnessing the best impulses of entrepreneurship, innovation, technology and collaboration to drive exponential impact.
Before co-founding the Case Foundation, Jean spent her career as a technology executive in the private sector. As a senior executive at America Online, Inc. (AOL), Jean directed the marketing and branding effort that launched the AOL service, directed the communications strategy for taking the company public, and helped establish AOL as a household utility. Before joining AOL, she held strategic marketing positions at GE’s Information Services Division and at The Source, the nation’s first online service.
Jean also serves on the boards of Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2), the White House Historical Association and BrainScope Company, Inc. She sits on the advisory boards of the Harvard Business School Social Enterprise Initiative, the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, Georgetown University’s Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation, the Brain Trust Accelerator Fund, and the George W. Bush Presidential Library Center’s Women’s Initiative Policy Advisory Council.
Jean was an advisor to the U.S. National Advisory Board to the Social Impact Investing Task Force established by the G8 and served in two appointed roles leading strategic public-private efforts, including the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation, to which she was appointed as Chair by President George W. Bush, and as Co-chair of the U.S.-Palestinian Partnership.
Musician & Activist
As a member of the groundbreaking rock band Nirvana, Krist Novoselic and bandmates Kurt Cobain and David Grohl changed the course of music history with their much-acclaimed album Nevermind. Nirvana paved the way for a new generation of bands. Krist is one of rock’s most politically-minded musicians. He has committed himself to numerous community projects and has become an influential part of the Northwest political scene. Krist joined FairVote’s Board in 2005 and was elected chair in 2008. He is a strong advocate of fair voting systems to open up politics to the next generation of engaged voters.
What would become Nirvana started out as a trio, with Novoselic, Cobain and drummer Aaron Burckhard. In 1987, they started playing house parties and other small gigs in Olympia. Using the name Skid Row, the band played on Evergreen State College’s radio station. They toyed with a few other names before finally settling on Nirvana.
Soon the major labels became interested in the group, offering contracts with large advances. Nirvana ended up signing with Geffen Records. Their first release with them, 1991’s Nevermind, became a huge hit, driven in part by the single, “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” While Kurt handled most of the songwriting duties, all three band members worked on this track, which combined elements of punk, metal and pop.
After Nirvana, Novoselic has devoted a lot of his time to activism. He was president of the Joint Artists and Music Promotions political-action committee in the mid-1990s. The organization fought against legislation aimed at regulating music lyrics. In 2004, Novoselic’s book Of Grunge and Government: Let’s Fix This Broken Democracy! was published.
While he reportedly turned down an offer to join Grohl’s band, the Foo Fighters, Novoselic has continued to be involved in the music world. After Nirvana, he formed Sweet 75, which produced one self-titled album released in 1997. Novoselic also directed and produced the film L7: The Beauty Process, which followed the struggles of an all-female hardcore group. In 1999, Novoselic played with Jello Biafra, formerly the lead singer of the Dead Kennedy, and Kim Thayil, a guitarist who used to be with Soundgarden. The trio performed at a special show in Seattle as part of a protest against the World Trade Organization.
Watch Michael’s talk »
National Drug Policy Director
As Director of National Drug Control Policy, Michael Botticelli leads the Obama Administration’s drug policy efforts. The Administration has advanced historic drug policy reforms and innovations in prevention, criminal justice, treatment, and recovery. Mr. Botticelli has been in long-term recovery from a substance use disorder for more than 26 years and has encouraged the millions of Americans in recovery today to make their voices heard and confront the stigma associated with substance use disorders, which often keeps individuals from seeking and receiving treatment.
In response to the national opioid epidemic, Mr. Botticelli has coordinated actions across the Federal government to reduce prescription drug abuse, heroin use and related overdoses. These include supporting community-based prevention efforts; educating prescribers and the public about preventing prescription drug abuse; expanding use of the lifesaving overdose-reversal drug naloxone by law enforcement and other first responders; and increasing access to medication-assisted treatment and recovery support services to help individuals sustain their recovery from opioid use disorders.
Mr. Botticelli has more than two decades of experience supporting Americans affected by substance use disorders. Prior to joining ONDCP, he served as Director of the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, where he successfully expanded innovative and nationally recognized prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery services for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He also forged strong partnerships with local, state, and Federal law enforcement agencies; state and local health and human service agencies; and stakeholder groups to guide and implement evidence-based programs.
Mr. Botticelli has served in a variety of leadership roles for the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors. He was a member of the Advisory Committee for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. He has also co-authored many peer-reviewed articles that have significantly contributed to the field.
Born in Upstate New York, Mr. Botticelli holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Siena College and a Master of Education degree from St. Lawrence University.
Watch Christine Fox’s talk »
Defense Policy Expert
Christine H. Fox is the Assistant Director for Policy and Analysis of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Prior to joining APL, she served as Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense from December 2013 to May 2014, making her the highest-ranking female official in history to serve in the Department of Defense. Ms. Fox is a three-time recipient of the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal. She has also been awarded the Department of the Army’s Decoration for Distinguished Civilian Service.
From 2009 to 2013, Ms. Fox served as the Director, Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. In that position, she was the principal civilian advisor to the Secretary of Defense for analyzing and evaluating plans, programs, and budgets in
relation to U.S. defense objectives and resource constraints.
From 2005 to 2009, Ms. Fox served as the President of the Center for Naval Analyses (CNA), a Federally Funded Research and Development Center, and as the scientific analyst to the Chief of Naval Operations. During her 28-year career at CNA, Ms. Fox oversaw analysis of real-world operations, from the first Gulf War and the operations in Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s, to the operations in Afghanistan immediately following the September 11th attacks, and the operation in Iraq in early 2003. From 2003-2005, Ms. Fox served as a member of NASA’s Return to Flight Task Group, chartered by the NASA Administrator to certify the recommendations made by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board.
Ms. Fox currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Board on Mathematical Sciences and their Applications (BMSA) at the National Research Council, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
With nearly 6,000 staff at what is the nation’s largest University Affiliated Research Center, Johns Hopkins APL makes critical contributions to a wide variety of national and global technical and scientific challenges. As the Director of Policy and Analysis, Ms. Fox leads efforts to increase APL’s engagement on technical policy issues and directs research and analysis projects on behalf of the Department of Defense, the intelligence community, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and other federal agencies.
Ms. Fox earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and a Master of Science degree in applied mathematics from George Mason University.
Watch Ellen Lupton’s talk »
Museum Curator & Designer
Ellen Lupton is curator of contemporary design at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York City and director of the Graphic Design MFA program at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore. An author of numerous books and articles on design, she is a public-minded critic, frequent lecturer, and AIGA Gold Medalist, one of the highest honors given to a graphic designer or design educator in the U.S.
Her book Thinking with Type (2004) is used by students, designers, and educators worldwide. D.I.Y.: Design It Yourself (2006), co-authored with her graduate students at MICA, explains design processes to a general audience. D.I.Y. Kids (October 2007), co-authored with Julia Lupton, is a design book for children illustrated with kids’ art. The Lupton twins’ latest book is Design Your Life: The Pleasures and Perils of Everyday Things (St Martin’s Griffin, 2009).
Other books include Graphic Design: The New Basics (with Jennifer Cole Phillips, 2008) and Indie Publishing: How to Design and Produce Your Own Book (2008). She is the co-author with Abbott Miller of several books, including The Bathroom, the Kitchen, and the Aesthetics of Waste (1992), Design Writing Research (1996), and Swarm (2006).
Watch Alec Ross’ talk »
Tech Policy Expert
Alec Ross is one of America’s leading experts on innovation. He is currently a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Johns Hopkins University and the author of the New York Times bestseller The Industries of the Future. Alec Ross recently served for four year as Senior Advisor for Innovation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a role created for him by Secretary Clinton to maximize the potential of technology and innovation in service of America’s diplomatic agenda.
In this role, Alec acted as the diplomatic lead on a range of issues including cybersecurity, Internet Freedom, disaster response and the use of network technologies in conflict zones.
Previously, Alec served as the Convener for the Technology, Media & Telecommunications Policy Committee on Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and served on the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team.
In 2000, he and three colleagues co-founded the technology-focused nonprofit organization One Economy and grew it from modest origins in a basement into a global organization serving millions of low-income people, with programs on four continents.
Alec serves as an advisor to investors, corporations and government leaders to help them understand the implication of factors emerging at the intersection of geopolitics, markets and increasingly disruptive network technologies.
He currently sits on the board of directors or advisors for companies in the fields of technology, media, telecommunications, education, health care and cybersecurity.
Watch Julie Ann’s talk »
Julie Ann Crommett
Science in Media Advocate
Julie Ann Crommett joined Google in December 2013 and is currently the Entertainment Industry Educator in Chief, working to shift perceptions of computer science in mainstream media so as to encourage more diversity in the field (a position she created). Previously, she was at NBCUniversal where she was responsible for behind-the-camera diversity initiatives including the NBCU Directing Fellowship Program and Writers on the Verge. Julie Ann is originally from Atlanta, Ga., via San Juan, Puerto Rico (Cuban too!).
Throughout her time in Hollywood, Julie Ann initiated a cross-company Hispanic episode of NBC’s Grimm, was an Entertainment Associate at Universal Cable Productions, an associate producer on the Animal Planet series, I’m Alive and a production intern in DVD/Promotions at Pixar Animation Studios.
Julie Ann graduated with a B.A. degree in English and American literature from Harvard University. She currently serves on the board of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP), Women in Animation (WIA), the Barbie Global Advisory Council and on several media advisory councils.
In September 2015, Julie Ann was honored with ADCOLOR’s prestigious Innovator Award for her work in shifting on-screen perceptions, and Univision’s Flama named her one of the “7 Latinos to Look Out for in 2016.”
Watch Lester Spence’s talk »
Lester Spence is an associate professor of political science and Africana studies at Johns Hopkins University. He specializes in the study of black, racial, and urban politics in the wake of the neoliberal turn. An award winning scholar (in 2013, he received the W.E.B. DuBois Distinguished Book Award for his book, Stare in the Darkness: The Limits of Hip-hop and Black Politics) and teacher (in 2009, he received an Excellence in Teaching Award), he can regularly be heard on National Public Radio and the Marc Steiner Show.
Raised in Inkster, Spence holds both a BA and a PhD in Political Science from the University of Michigan. He has lived in Baltimore since 2005 and is a father of five.
Watch Nina Fedoroff’s talk »
Nina V. Fedoroff received her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the Rockefeller University and has served on the faculties of the Carnegie Institution for Science, the Johns Hopkins University, the Pennsylvania State University, and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia. Fedoroff has published three books and more than 160 scientific papers. She is a member of the U. S. National Academy of Sciences and a 2006 National Medal of Science laureate.
Fedoroff served as the Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State and to the Administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) from 2007 to 2010. She is member of the Science Advisory Board of the Santa Fe Institute and serves as Senior Science Advisor to OFW Law, Washington, DC.
Watch Judith Heumann’s talk »
Disability Rights Advocate
Judith Heumann is an internationally recognized leader in the disability community and a lifelong civil rights advocate for disadvantaged people. She has been appointed Special Advisor for International Disability Rights at the U.S. Department of State. She previously served as the Director for the Department on Disability Services for the District of Columbia, where she was responsible for the Developmental Disability Administration and the Rehabilitation Services Administration.
From June 2002- 2006, Judith E. Heumann served as the World Bank’s first Adviser on Disability and Development. In this position, Heumann led the World Bank’s disability work to expand the Bank’s knowledge and capability to work with governments and civil society on including disability in the Bank discussions with client countries; its country-based analytical work; and support for improving policies, programs, and projects that allow disabled people around the world to live and work in the economic and social mainstream of their communities. She was Lead Consultant to the Global Partnership for Disability and Development.
From 1993 to 2001, Heumann served in the Clinton Administration as the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services in the Department of Education. Heumann was responsible for the implementation of legislation at the national level for programs in special education, disability research, vocational rehabilitation and independent living, serving more than 8 million youth and adults with disabilities.
For more than 30 years, Heumann has been involved on the international front working with disabled people’s organizations and governments around the world to advance the human rights of disabled people. She represented Education Secretary, Richard Riley, at the 1995 International Congress on Disability in Mexico City. She was a US delegate to the Fourth United Nations World Conference on Women in Beijing, China. She has been active with Disabled Peoples’ International, Rehabilitation International and numerous Independent Living Centers throughout the world. She co-founded the Center for Independent Living in Berkeley California and the World Institute on Disability in Oakland California.
From 1995-1980 Heumann served as the Deputy Director of the Center for Independent Living in Berkeley, California, the first CIL in the United States and was a cofounder of the World Institute on Disability a Public Policy Institute from 1982 -1993 in Oakland, California
Heumann graduated from Long Island University, Brooklyn, NY in 1969 and received her Masters in Public Health from the University of California at Berkeley in 1975. She has received numerous awards including being the first recipient of the Henry B. Betts Award in recognition of efforts to significantly improve the quality of life for people with disabilities. She has received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Long Island University in Brooklyn, an Honorary Doctorate of Public Administration from the University of Illinois, Champaign, and an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service from the University of Toledo, Ohio.
Watch Ronald Sullivan’s talk »
Criminal Justice Reformer
Harvard Law School Professor Ronald Sullivan has fought to get more incarcerated people out of prison – over 6,000 – than arguably anyone in American history. He is a global leader in combatting wrongful convictions and in advocating for criminal justice reform, having testified before Congress multiple times in this capacity and appearing regularly as a legal analyst on various major news networks. He was also tapped to represent the Family of Michael Brown in their wrongful death suit against the City of Ferguson and Darren Wilson – a case stemming from facts which have spawned a global movement and defined a generation.
Professor Sullivan was tasked with designing and implementing a Conviction Review Unit for the newly elected Brooklyn District Attorney in 2014. This unit, designed to identify and exonerate wrongfully convicted persons, quickly became regarded as the model conviction integrity program in the nation. In its first year, Professor Sullivan discovered over 10 wrongful convictions, all of which the District Attorney ultimately vacated; most of the exonerees had served decades before being released.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, over 6,000 citizens were incarcerated in and around New Orleans without legal representation and with all official records destroyed; Professor Sullivan was asked to solve this problem. He designed and oversaw an indigent defense delivery system that resulted in the release of nearly all the inmates. Shortly thereafter, Professor Sullivan chaired his former Harvard Law School classmate Barack Obama’s Criminal Justice Advisory Committee and was also a member of Obama’s National Legal Advisory Group, appointed to make legal policy recommendations for the Obama campaign.
Professor Sullivan is currently part of the head legal defense ‘Dream Team’ for former New England Patriots football player Aaron Hernandez in his double homicide case in Massachusetts, among various other high-profile representations. Professor Sullivan is also known to take on countless cases, pro bono, across the nation, in addition to the cases he oversees as Director of Harvard Law School’s Criminal Justice Institute – representing, among many others, one of the Jena Six defendants. As a young defense attorney with hundreds of clients during his years as a public defender in Washington, D.C., Professor Sullivan broke records by never losing a case.
Professor Sullivan’s scholarship centers around criminal law, criminal procedure, democracy, and race. He began his teaching career at Yale Law School, where he won the prestigious award for Outstanding Teaching after just his first year. He now teaches criminal law and procedure at Harvard Law School, in addition to serving as director for Harvard’s Criminal Justice Institute, a premiere indigent defense clinic, and overseeing Harvard’s Trial Advocacy Workshop twice a year, an intensive three-work trial practice course which features high-profile lawyers and judges from around the country. Professor Sullivan also serves as Master of Winthrop House at Harvard College and was the first African-American ever appointed Master in Harvard’s history.
Watch John Noonan’s talk »
National Security Advisor
John Noonan is former national security advisor to Governors Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney. Noonan spent over half a decade working in the U.S. House of Representatives, and is the veteran of two presidential campaigns. He is a former Policy Director of the Foreign Policy Initiative, a Washington based think-tank committed to a strong American role in world affairs. A former Captain and U.S. Air Force nuclear launch officer, Noonan was assigned to the 90th Missile Operations Group as a weapon system instructor and missile combat crew commander.
Noonan spent several years as a contributor to The Weekly Standard, and has been featured in National Review, Fox News, NBC, POLITICO, and The Washington Post.
He is a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute.
Watch Laura Dowling’s talk »
White House Floral Designer
Laura Dowling served as Chief Floral Designer at the White House for 6 years from 2009 until 2015. In this position, she planned and implemented decorations for major events at the White House, including the White House Christmas, state dinners, the presidential family quarters, the public tour route displays, and Camp David, an imposing portfolio of literally thousands of large and small events, floral arrangements, table settings and innovative volunteer projects.
She is renowned for creating a new romantic style of flower arranging featuring free-flowing lines of vines and flowers emanating from a classical bouquet. This style is most evocative of nature and the garden, and balances a strong artistic vision with the wildness of nature. Under her leadership, Laura implemented floral artistry at the White House, designing bouquets of garden flowers in a style that is both modern and refined, yet casually elegant. She often presents her distinctive arrangements in hand-made organic containers composed of leaves, branches and berries that are woven into patterns and motifs, creating integrated, cohesive displays that conjure both nature and the garden.
Laura is a featured speaker at leading museum and national horticultural associations, including the American Horticultural Society, the San Francisco’s DeYoung Museum, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Texas Floral Society and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Last April, she delivered the keynote address at the Cincinnati Flower Show and travelled to Belgium to create an installation for Floralien 2016, an international floral event. For the last 10 years, Laura has been a presenter at the Philadelphia Flower Show, the nation’s oldest and largest flower expo. Her flowers have been featured in many design magazines and on Home and Garden Television (HGTV). In 2012, she received the Frances Jones Poetker Award from the American Horticultural Society for achievements and contributions in floristry. The Belgian Royal Horticultural Society named her “Distinguished Flower Ambassador 2016” at a ceremony celebrating international floral diplomacy in Ghent, Belgium.
She recently launched a new platform that expands her event design and consulting portfolio to include writing and speaking about flower and event designs, and presenting design workshops and floral demonstrations throughout the world. Her first book, entitled “Floral Diplomacy at the White House,” is scheduled for publication this fall.
A native of Chehalis, Washington, Laura received her B.A. degree in political science and Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Washington in Seattle. Fifteen years ago, Laura was inspired to change careers (from strategic communications to flowers) after travelling to Paris and becoming intrigued with French flower design. She studied French floral art under the direction of leading Parisian designers and operated a small studio out of her basement kitchen. From this position, Laura competed in the nation-wide search for White House Chief Floral Designer and won, proof that identifying and following a passion can lead to extraordinary things. By expanding her floral design and consulting platform to include writing books and teaching, Laura’s goal is to continue to share a unique vision for creative floristry in the romantic style and to inspire others with her story.
Watch Haley Edwards’ talk »
Haley Edwards is an author and correspondent at TIME. Her book, Shadow Courts: The Tribunals That Rule Global Trade will be published in 2016. Previously, she was an editor at the Washington Monthly and a foreign correspondent in the Middle East and the former Soviety Union, where she reported for the Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic, The New Republic, and other publications. She studied philosophy at Yale University and journalism at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.
Shadow Courts: The Tribunals That Rule Global Trade covers a small provision in nearly every trade agreement, including NAFTA and the TPP, that allows foreign investors to sue sovereign nations outside of their own court systems. That provision, Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), was designed in the 1950s to provide foreign corporations with property protections abroad. But many believe that savvy corporate lawyers, schooled in the dark arts of exploiting decades-old legal language, are using it in ways that it was never intended—to the detriment of public policy, environmental regulations and human rights.
Watch Amr Hamzawy’s talk »
Human Rights Activist
Amr Hamzawy is an Egyptian political scientist and human rights activist. He is a former member of the People’s Assembly after being elected in the first Parliamentary elections in Egypt after the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. He is also a former member of the Egyptian National Council for Human Rights. Hamzawy is currently a visiting scholar at Stanford’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) and an associate professor of political science at Cairo University.
Amr Hamzawy studied political science and developmental studies in Cairo, The Hague, and Berlin. He was previously a senior associate in the Middle East program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace between 2005 and 2009. Between 2009 and 2010, he served as the research director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, Lebanon. He has also served on the faculty at the American University in Cairo, Cairo University, and Stanford University.
His research and teaching interests as well as his academic publications focus on democratization processes in Egypt, tensions between freedom and repression in the Egyptian public space, political movements and civil society in Egypt, contemporary debates in Arab political thought, and human rights and governance in the Arab world.
Watch Sarah Shanley’s talk »
Sarah Shanley Hope
Renewable Energy Advocate
Sarah Shanley Hope is the Executive Director of the Solutions Project, a national organization accelerating the transition to 100% clean energy for 100% of people. Solutions has engaged millions through its marketing campaign, influenced and convened dozens of leaders from business, government, entertainment and the social sector to carry the 100% banner, and invested more than $1,000,000 in community organizations making 100% happen in target states. Sarah is also on the Board of People’s Grocery.
She has held leadership roles at the Alliance for Climate Education, Green For All, Cargill and Best Buy over her 15+ years of experience in brand strategy and social change. Shanley Hope graduated with an MBA from the University of Minnesota and a BA in political science from Vassar College. She grew up in Buffalo, NY and lives with her husband, daughters and dog in Oakland, CA.
Sarah’s work has been featured in a range of outlets including the NY Times, People Magazine, and Origins. She has spoken about the vision, strategies and stories of change at the intersection of climate solutions and equity as part of the Social Venture Network and Bioneers annual conferences.
Watch Mark Gage’s talk »
Mark Foster Gage
Mark Foster Gage is an acclaimed architect, innovator and Assistant Dean of the Yale School of Architecture. His pioneering design work fuses advanced technologies with philosophical speculation and interdisciplinary collaboration, and has been featured in institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Venice Biennale, and the Beijing Biennale. His projects have been published in venues such as Vogue, Fast Company, The New York Times, Harper’s Bazaar, and on PBS, Fox and MTV.
He has designed architectural projects across a variety of typologies ranging from the new Live Arts Center at Bard College to the twenty-two story “Aurum” residential tower in Manhattan. His work also includes experimental advanced technology projects that explore new forms of interactivity, virtual reality, robotics, 3d printing, and spatial social media for clients such as Intel Corporation, Lady Gaga, Google, Diesel, H&M, Samsung, and Vice Media. Mr. Gage also oversees, as the Product Design Director for Nicola Formichetti’s “Nicopanda” fashion line, a new series of high-tech accessories ranging from iPhone cases to USB jewelry. Mr. Gage has received recognition in the form of nominations or awards from various institutions including the Architectural League of New York, the American Institute of Architects, The Chernikhov Foundation, The Ordoz Prize Foundation, and the USA Artists Fellows Program, and was named an “Avant Guardian of Architecture” by Surface Magazine. After practicing as a founding partner of Gage / Clemenceau Architects from 2001-2013, he founded Mark Foster Gage Architects in 2014.
He has lectured extensively in the United States and abroad on his design work, emerging trends in design, and his technological contributions to the field of architecture. Gage has written extensively on architecture and design in academic and popular publications including The Journal of Architectural Education, Volume, Fulcrum, Mole, Perspecta, and Log, for which he also guest edited issue #19 with Florencia Pita. He has published several books including Composites, Surfaces and Software: High Performance Architecture, co-edited with Greg Lynn (Yale, 2012); Aesthetic Theory: Essential Texts for Architecture and Design (WW Norton & Company, 2011); and the forthcoming 2016 monograph on his work entitled The Software Diaries. Mr. Gage combines his unique background as a classically trained architect, protégé of Robert A.M. Stern, and studio assistant to Frank Gehry into a practice that combines the best design techniques of the past with the emerging technologies of tomorrow.
Watch Ari Wallach’s talk »
Futurist & Innovation Strategist
Applied futurist and innovation strategist Ari Wallach is CEO of New York City based Synthesis Corp. and is Fast Company’s expert on emergent macro-trends in business and culture. Combining a grasp of new technology and business models with a broader understanding of social, political, economic, and demographic transformations, Wallach helps leaders understand, and shape, the future — of their organizations, their industries, and the world.
Wallach has been helping governments, NGOs, foundations, and corporations at the C-suite level solve for tomorrow by acting today for over 20 years and has engaged with sr. leadership from across a broad swath of clients ranging from the US Department of State and VW to CNN and the Ford Foundation.
In addition, Wallach was co-founder of The Great Schlep, whose eponymous video garnered over 25 million views, 350 million global media impressions, and started a national conversation about race, faith, and democracy during the 2008 presidential campaign. He is creator and founding director of INFORUM at the Commonwealth Club—one of the nation’s largest non-partisan public affairs forums for young people—and worked as VP of Corporate Development for Seed Media Group, an organization that helps people and companies think scientifically.
Wallach is adjunct associate professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, lecturing on innovation and the future of governance and public policy. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Peace and Conflict Studies from U.C. Berkeley, where he served as the Director of Conflict Resolution and Peer Counseling for the USCA, and was a Coro Fellow in New York City. Over the course of his career, he has worked for organizations and individuals such as the Democratic National Committee, the United States Institute of Peace, Deepak Chopra, and President Shimon Peres. He sits on the boards of 70 Faces Media, BlankonBlank and Romemu. Wallach is also on the advisory board to the CITRIS Data and Democracy Initiative at U.C. Berkeley. Wallach was a former Commissioner for the City of Berkeley in California.
Watch Stefaan’s talk »
Stefaan G. Verhulst is Co-Founder and Chief Research and Development Officer of the Governance Laboratory at NYU (GovLab) where he is responsible for building a research foundation on how to transform governance using advances in science and technology. Verhulst’s latest scholarship centers on how technology can improve people’s lives and the creation of more effective and collaborative forms of governance. Specifically, he is interested in the perils and promise of collaborative technologies and how to harness the unprecedented volume of information to advance the public good.
Before joining NYU full time, Verhulst spent more than a decade as Chief of Research for the Markle Foundation, where he continues to serve as Senior Advisor. At Markle, an operational foundation based in New York, he was responsible for overseeing strategic research on all the priority areas of the Foundation including, for instance: transforming health care using information and technology, re-engineering government to respond to new national security threats, improving people’s lives in developing countries by connecting them to information networks, developing multi-stakeholder networks to tackle global governance challenges, changing education through information technology et al. Many of Markle’s reports have been translated into legislation and executive orders, and have informed the creation of new organizations and businesses.
He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Culture and Communications at New York University, Senior Research Fellow for the Center for Media and Communications Studies at Central European University in Budapest; and an Affiliated Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Global Communications Studies at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communications.
Previously at Oxford University he co-founded and was the Head of the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy at the Centre for Socio Legal Studies, and also served as Senior Research Fellow of Wolfson College. He is still an emeritus fellow at Oxford. He also taught several years at the London School of Economics.
Verhulst was the UNESCO Chairholder in Communications Law and Policy for the UK, a former lecturer on Communications Law and Policy issues in Belgium, and Founder and Co-Director of the International Media and Info-Comms Policy and Law Studies at the University of Glasgow School of Law. He has served as a consultant to numerous international and national organizations, including the Council of Europe, the European Commission, UNESCO, World Bank, UNDP, USAID, the UK Department for International Development among others. He has been a grant recipient of the Bertelsmann Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Markle Foundation.
Verhulst has authored and co-authored several books, including: In Search of the Self: Conceptual Approaches to Internet Self Regulation (Routledge, 2001); Convergence in European Communications Regulation (Blackstone, 1999); EC Media Law and Policy (AWL, 1998); Legal Responses to the Changing Media (OUP, 1998); and Broadcasting Reform in India (OUP, 1998) and The Routledge Handbook of Media Law (2013).
Watch Adrienne Clancy’s talk »
Adrienne Clancy, Ph.D. , M.F.A. (Founding & Artistic Director) is a dance artist and proclaimed “wizard of invention” by the Washington Post. As a “tour de force of unpredictable partnering,” her work explores architecturally informed partnering developed among diverse artists. Simultaneously dynamic and emotionally perceptive, Clancy’s choreography exemplifies an environment of mutual respect and creates images that embrace diversity and foster community awareness.
Over the past twenty years, Dr. Clancy has choreographed and performed throughout the world. She was the youngest choreographer to present at the Suzanne Dellal International World Dance Competition in Tel Aviv, and the sole student choreographer to represent the United States in the International College Dance Festival in Kobe, Japan, which toured to Tokyo and other Japanese cities. Clancy has taught and performed at the Open Look Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia and toured her work alongside the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange (LLDX). As a member of LLDX, Clancy taught modern dance techniques for the Dance and Community Partnerships Workshop at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Her choreography has been performed internationally in Colombia, England, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Paraguay and Poland.
Dr. Clancy was a member of the Bella Lewitzky Dance Company; a rehearsal director, project director, and company member for the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange; a principal dancer for Nora Reynolds Dance and RoCoCo Modern Dance Company; and guest artist for Maida Withers Dance Construction Company, Victoria Marks, Bill Evans Dance Company, Paradigm Dance Company, Doug Hamby Dance, and Cathy Paine Mixed Media.
Clancy earned her Ph.D. and a MFA in Dance from Texas Woman’s University. Clancy holds a BFA in Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University and a MA in Dance, emphasis in History & Criticism, from University of New Mexico. Clancy continues to write, most recently penning the foreword for Reminiscences of a Dancing Man, a book written by Bill Evans and published by the National Dance Association in 2006. In addition, she has been commissioned to write for the Oxford University’s International Encyclopedia of Dance. Adrienne has been on faculty at many universities, including: George Mason University (VA), American University (DC), the University of Maryland Baltimore County (MD), Towson University (MD), Community College of Baltimore Essex (MD), George Washington University (DC), Goucher College (MD), and graduate courses at the University of Maryland College Park (MD).
Watch Jeffrey Kahn’s talk »
Jeffrey Kahn is the Andreas C. Dracopoulos Director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. He is also Robert Henry Levi and Ryda Hecht Levi Professor of Bioethics and Public Policy, and Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management in the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. His research interests include the ethics of research, ethics and public health, and ethics and emerging biomedical technologies.
Dr. Kahn speaks widely both in the U.S. and abroad, and has published four books and over 125 articles in the bioethics and medical literature. He is an elected Fellow of the Hastings Center, and has chaired or served on committees and panels for the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Institute of Medicine/National Academy of Medicine, where he is currently chair of the Board on Health Sciences Policy. His education includes a BA in microbiology (UCLA, 1983), MPH (Johns Hopkins, 1988), and PhD in philosophy (Georgetown, 1989).
Watch Leonard Tramiel’s talk »
Computer Industry Pioneer
Fresh out of graduate school, Leonard Tramiel joined his father and two brothers when his father bought Atari from Warner Communications in 1984. For the next 12 years, Tramiel was involved in the development of Atari’s products as vice president of software, managing an internal group of a dozen programmers while interacting worldwide with software developers and contract programmers. Since retiring from Atari at age 42, he has been concentrating on advocating science education.
A life-long interest in astronomy led to two intertwined journeys through life. The first is a love of science and the wonder of the universe. The second is an interest in the technology that science has enabled us to build and the ways this technology effect our society, but by design and accident.
Between graduating college and attending graduate school, both in Physics, he was part of the team that developed one the the first personal computers, the Commodore PET.
After retirement he tried, without success, to reform the textbook adoption process in California. The primary goal was assure that textbooks in science were factually correct.
Since then he has been a volunteer teacher, a science center docent, and a board member of a science and critical thinking advocacy organization.
Watch Anna Rothschild’s talk »
Anna Rothschild is the creator and host of Gross Science, a YouTube series from NOVA and PBS Digital Studios. More generally, she’s a multimedia producer and science journalist with a deep curiosity, a passion for education, and expertise in all areas of production: Anna directs, shoots, edits, animates, narrates, and hosts. Anna is committed to fostering diversity in both science and media. Anna was awarded the American Institute of Physics’ 2012 Science Communication Award for New Media, and their 2015 award for Broadcast/New Media.
Her work was also included in the 2012 Science Studio collection, an anthology of the best science multimedia on the web.
Anna has a bachelors in biology from Brown University, and a masters in science journalism from NYU. While video is her current passion, Anna has been involved with print, radio, and broadcast television, as well. In her spare time, she likes going on scavenger hunts and watching Star Trek.
Watch David Fleischer’s talk »
Dave Fleischer runs the Leadership LAB at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. The LAB helps both LGBT and straight leaders improve their ability to reduce prejudice and change the hearts and minds of voters. After an independent evaluation of the LAB’s effectiveness was published in the April 8, 2016 issue of the peer-reviewed journal Science, media coverage for the LAB’s work included this New York Times Magazine story. In September 2016, the American Political Science Association’s Experimental Research Section gave Dave its public service award for his body of work.
Dave has been a full-time organizer since he graduated from Harvard Law School (J.D. 1980) and Rice University in (B.A. 1977).
Watch Iris Krasnow’s talk »
Iris Krasnow is the author of Surrendering to Motherhood, the New York Times bestseller Surrendering to Marriage, Surrendering to Yourself (Miramax Books), and I Am My Mother’s Daughter (Basic Books). The Secret Lives of Wives, published in October 2011 by Penguin/Gotham Books, continues her journey as a journalist who chronicles the adult female growth cycle. Her latest book was published February 2014, Sex After…Women Share How Intimacy Changes As Life Changes.
Iris Krasnow was born and raised in Oak Park, Illinois. A graduate of Stanford University, she became the fashion writer for the Dallas Times-Herald, and then moved to United Press International in Washington, D.C. to become the national feature writer.
In her several years at UPI, Krasnow specialized in celebrity profiles, including Yoko Ono, Billy Graham, Ted Kennedy, Norman Mailer and Queen Noor of Jordan.
Her writing has been featured in many national publications, including Parade, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and AARP The Magazine. She is a regular columnist for Huffington Post-50. Iris has been a guest on numerous national television and radio programs including Oprah, Good Morning America, Today, All Things Considered, and has been featured on CNN several times. Interviews with Iris, and reviews of her work, have appeared in Time, O: The Oprah Magazine, Glamour, The New Yorker, U.S. News & World Report, and Redbook.
Iris is a journalism and women’s studies professor at American University in Washington, D.C. She is married to an architect. They are parents of four tall and feisty sons in their twenties.
Watch Gabe Klein’s talk »
Transportation & City Planner
Gabe is the former Commissioner of the Chicago and Washington DC Departments of Transportation. In both cities he revamped technology platforms and government processes while focusing on putting people first vs. automobiles on city streets. This included launching two of the first and largest bikeshare systems in the U.S. and building protected bike lanes and better pedestrian infrastructure for vulnerable citizens citywide, as well as facilitating private services like carshare and rideshare that could help each cities mobility goals.
Gabe honed his creativity and leadership skills working in business, including Zipcar, where he served as Vice President, Bikes USA as national Director of Stores and his own electric powered, organic food truck chain, On The Fly.
Post-government, and after an enriching fellowship with the Urban Land Institute in 2014, Gabe joined Fontinalis Partners as a Special Venture Partner on their $100 million 2nd fund. Gabe also advises governments and companies worldwide on innovation in cities including Singapore where Gabe has been a visiting fellow for the Centre For Livable Cities, working on creating a “car-lite” city-state.
In 2015, Gabe also published Start-Up City with David Vega-Barachowitz on Island Press, a manifesto on revamping how (and how fast) we innovate in cities and rethinking public-private partnerships with a triple-bottom line approach as technology shapes a dramatically different future.
Gabe sits on the boards of Streetsblog, Carma, and advisory boards of NACTO, Sensity Systems, Zendrive, and advises next-gen start-ups including Phone2Action and Transit Screen. As Commissioner, he has worked to bring a new Riverwalk to Chicago as well as the breathtaking Bloomingdale Trail, 100’s of miles of bike lanes, new policies combined with technology solutions to revamp parking, permitting, and many other arcane government processes.
Watch Ed Mabaya’s talk »
Ed Mabaya is a scholar and a development practitioner with more than a decade of experience working on agricultural development and food security issues in Africa. Motivated by childhood experiences growing up in rural Zimbabwe, he is involved in several programs that seek to improve the lives of African farmers through improved access to better performing seed varieties. He is a 2016 Fellow of the The Aspen Institute’s New Voices Fellowship and current President of African Association of Agricultural Economists.
As a senior research associate in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University, he conducts research on food marketing and distribution, seed systems and the role of efficient agricultural markets in Africa’s economic development. He is associate director of Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture, and Development (CIIFAD). Mabaya earned a Master of Science and a doctoral degrees in agricultural economics at Cornell University and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Zimbabwe. Mabaya was recently profiled as “2016 Top African Innovators to Watch” by the Ventures Africa magazine.
Watch Kate Wagner’s talk »
Author of McMansionHell
Kate Wagner is the author of the blog McMansionHell, which aims to educate the general public about architecture, design, and urbanism by making examples of America’s most despised architectural style. Her personal research is in how socioeconomic changes in the last 36 years are reflected in architecture and design at the consumer level. Kate is currently a first-year master’s student in Acoustics, a joint venture between Johns Hopkins University and Peabody Conservatory.
Watch Melanie Nezer’s talk »
Melanie Nezer is HIAS’ Vice President, Policy & Advocacy. She directs HIAS’ Washington, DC office and leads HIAS’ education and advocacy on immigration, asylum, and refugee protection issues. Melanie also has served as HIAS’ Senior Director, Policy & Advocacy and, previously, as Migration Policy Counsel and Director of the Employment Visa Program, representing at-risk Jewish professionals and religious workers seeking to work in the U.S. during times of instability and crisis in their home countries.
Before joining HIAS, Melanie was the Immigration Policy Director for the organization now known as US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), where—in addition to conducting advocacy on immigration and asylum issues—she was co-editor of Refugee Reports and a writer for the annual World Refugee Survey. Prior to her work in Washington, Melanie was in private practice in Miami, Florida, where she specialized in immigration law and criminal defense.
Melanie obtained her law degree from Boston College Law School and her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Watch Kathleen’s talk »
Kathleen Hall Jamieson
Kathleen Hall Jamieson is the Elizabeth Ware Packard Professor of Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication and Walter and Leonore Annenberg Director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Professor Jamieson’s research areas include political communication, rhetorical theory and criticism, studies of various forms of campaign communication, and the discourse of the presidency. She is the author or co-author of 15 books.
Professor Jamieson is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Political and Social Science and the International Communication Association. She is the author or co-author of 15 books including: Presidents Creating the Presidency (University of Chicago Press, 2008), Echo Chamber: Rush Limbaugh and the Conservative Media Establishment (Oxford, 2008) and unSpun: Finding Facts in a World of Disinformation (Random House, 2007). Jamieson has won university-wide teaching awards at each of the three universities at which she has taught, and political science or communication awards for four of her books. Her book, co-authored with Kate Kenski and Bruce Hardy, The Obama Victory: How Media, Money, and Messages Shaped the 2008 Election, received the 2010 American Publishers Award for Professional and Scholarly Excellence (PROSE Award) in the area of government and politics.
Watch Evan Lutz’s talk »
Food Waste Fighter
Evan is a Conscious Capitalism entrepreneur from Baltimore, MD. From an early age, he’s been passionate about business, food justice, and the Baltimore Ravens. He graduated from the University of Maryland in 2014, and started on a food-waste fighting journey called Hungry Harvest at the age of 21. He was recognized in 2016 as one of Baltimore’s ’40 under 40,’ and was featured on the ABC show Shark Tank, where he made a deal with Robert Herjavec.
He has also won the Social Entrepreneur of the Year award from UMD’s Smith School of Business, and was a semi-Finalist for the Cupid’s Cup business competition, hosted by Kevin Plank.
Watch Dan Bell’s talk »
Dan Bell’s narrative films and documentaries have screened at national and international film festivals. His critically acclaimed documentary web-shows, “Dead Mall Series” and “Dead Motel Series” have a large and devoted fan base worldwide.
Bell is currently producing a new show, “Another Dirty Room” which will premiere this Halloween on his Film It channel. His documentary feature, “Margie and Scott” is slated for release in spring of 2017.
Watch Carolyn Yarina’s talk »
Sisu Global Health
Carolyn Yarina is the CEO and co-founder of Sisu Global Health, based in Baltimore, Maryland. Sisu Global Health is a medical device company for emerging markets where her role includes business operations, development and strategy. The company is currently launching Hemafuse, a surgical tool to recycle a person’s own blood from internal bleeding. Outside of Sisu, Carolyn is particularly involved in promoting an inclusive culture for women and minorities within the technology community through mentorship.
Carolyn has successfully launched both for-profit and non-profit international social ventures, worked on corporate supply chain management and medical product design. She has numerous accolades including features in in Business Insider and Entrepreneur Magazine and has presented in global health conferences in England, India, Malawi, and across the US. Her education includes a BSE in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan.
Carolyn came to Baltimore in February of 2015 to participate in the DreamIt Health Accelerator program. DreamIt was supported by EAGB, DBED, Johns Hopkins, BioHealth Innovation, and the Abell Foundation. After the program ended in May, Carolyn, along with Sisu Global Health, decided to make Baltimore their permanent home because of the partnerships they made during the Accelerator program and the community she found here. Since the program, she has raised $700k from Mid-Atlantic investors including Steve Case, the Abell Foundation and Camden Partners.
Watch Carla’s talk »
Carla Dirlikov Canales
Opera Singer & Educator
Versatile mezzo-soprano Carla Dirlikov Canales has been acclaimed by Opera Magazine for possessing a voice that “grabs the heartstrings with its dramatic force and musicality.” Ms. Canales is a passionate humanitarian who for the past 10 years has served as a U.S. Department of State Cultural Arts Envoy promoting American culture overseas, giving master classes and teaching music to orphans and poverty-stricken youth.
In 2014 she became the first singer ever to win the prestigious Sphinx Medal of Excellence, an honor bestowed upon her by Justice Sotomayor in a ceremony and concert at the Supreme Court of the United States. In 2015 she became the first opera singer to be names as one of Foreign Policy’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2015.
Carla Dirlikov Canales is the proud daughter of a Bulgarian father and a Mexican mother. For her advocacy work with underpriviledged youth of over a decade, the U.S. State Department recently conferred upon her the title of Cultural Envoy. Ms Canales is the first opera singer to join the roster of the President’s Committee for the Arts and the Humanities’ Turnaround Arts initiative, which promotes arts education in public schools. She was also recently added to the prestigious roster of the Americans for the Arts Artists Committee. and she is a board member of the Artful Learning model, established by Leonard Bernstein.
In an effort to give voice to issues of identity and culture Ms Canales founded the The Canales Project in 2016.
Watch Mathew Ramsey’s talk »
Chef & Author
Mathew Ramsey is a chef, food stylist, and photographer, and author of the cookbook Pornburger. A graduate of the California Culinary Academy, he has worked for National Geographic and the San Francisco Chronicle’s Food and Wine section. After launching PornBurger to huge buzz and rave reviews, Ramsey began Bar R, a four-person dinner series featuring a secret, six-course tasting menu, with a waitlist of hundreds for its second season. He lives in Washington, DC.
Watch Naeemah Clark’s talk »
Race in Media Researcher
Noticing a lack of diversity and unfair portrayal of marginalized groups in the media, Naeemah Clark pursues an interest in race and gender, economic status, disabilities, LGBTQIA and ethnicity in the media. She also studies and teaches about economic, programming and diversity issues related in the media and entertainment industries. She has edited the book, “African Americans in the History of U.S. Media,” co-authored a textbook, “Diversity in U.S. Mass Media,” published work in Journalism History, American Behavioral Scientist and has presented numerous papers at various conferences.
Watch Sebastian’s talk »
Economic Policy Analyst
Sebastian Johnson is a Senior Associate with Freedman Consulting, LLC and a passionate believer in the role public policy can play in bettering lives. From 2014 to 2016 Mr. Johnson was the state policy fellow at the Institution on Taxation and Economic Policy. He also served as a policy analyst for Governor Martin O’Malley and a number of local officials in Maryland. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Politics.
Sebastian is a 2010 TFA Corps Member, and taught third grade in Lawrence, MA. He currently helps drive strategic research and planning for firm clients and has experience working for public officials, research organizations, and students. His academic background is in economics, political science, history and public policy. In 2016, Mr. Johnson was a candidate for a seat on the Board of Education in Montgomery County, Maryland.
Watch Knatokie Ford’s talk »
Tech Policy Advisor
Dr. Knatokie Ford is a Senior Policy Advisor at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) where she oversees development of national initiatives to raise visibility and improve the image of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields and careers. She previously served as a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow at OSTP from 2012-2014 with the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) where she managed concurrent projects on education technology and improving the Nation’s health care system.
In 2014, Dr. Ford established Fly Sci Enterprise, LLC, a STEM education/media consulting organization focused on increasing student interest in STEM and public understanding of science. Prior to working at OSTP, Dr. Ford was a postdoctoral research fellow at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA. She also spent time in Los Angeles where she had the opportunity to work as a background actress in television and film and serve as a middle school teacher in an underserved community in South Central Los Angeles. Dr. Ford completed her PhD in Experimental Pathology at Harvard University where she studied age-related macular degeneration and received a BS/MS in Chemistry/Biological Chemistry from Clark Atlanta University.
Watch Jay’s talk »
Journalist & Author
Jay Newton-Small is Washington correspondent for TIME and the author of Broad Influence, a book about women in politics. She writes about everything from Washington politics to foreign policy and national trends. She has covered stories on five continents for TIME from conflicts in the Middle East to the earthquake in Haiti to the Scottish independence movement and the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris.
Jay has written half a dozen TIME cover stories and contributed to dozens of others. She has interviewed numerous heads of state, including Presidents Obama and George W. Bush, as well as senators, governors and foreign dignitaries. Before TIME, Newton-Small was a reporter for Bloomberg News, where she covered the White House, Congress and the 2004 presidential campaign.
Newton-Small received an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University and a double B.S. in International Relations and Art History from Tufts University. She was a 2015 Harvard Institute of Politics fellow and is a 2016 New America Foundation fellow. The daughter of two United Nations diplomats, she grew up abroad, living in such places as Asia, Africa and Europe. She is fluent in French.
Watch Sheryl Winarick’s talk »
Sheryl Winarick is an immigration lawyer based in Washington, DC and Austin, TX. Her clients include organizations like Oxfam International and TED, small businesses and start-ups, as well as individuals and families from all over the world. She is an Aspen Institute Scholar (2014) and serves on the HIAS Public Policy Committee. Sheryl recently completed the TED Residency in NYC.
For the next year, she is traveling around the USA on a “listening tour” to explore and celebrate the country’s rich cultural heritage, while challenging communities to think creatively about navigating change. Local and national partners are helping to plan inclusive events to promote unity and deepen understanding through personal interaction.
Watch John Phillips’s talk »
John Aristotle Phillips is a serial entrepreneur and investor, and his company, Aristotle was the first to introduce specialized computer software to political campaigns, online contribution processing, voter targeted digital messaging and big data analytics to politics. In 2014 Aristotle launched www.PredictIt.org with Victoria University. This stock market for politics, authorized by the US Commodities Futures Trading Commission, allows individual investors to forecast, with real money, political outcomes.
With more than 350 million shares traded since inception, PredictIt is today the largest prediction market in the world, and is today affiliated with 65 universities.
Aristotle campaign technology has been deployed in democratic efforts on 5 continents and its databases cover citizens of 134 countries. The company is non-partisan and headquartered on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
John graduated from Princeton University in 1978 with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering. While at Princeton, he gained notoriety for designing an atomic bomb for his physics thesis. He resides in New York City and Washington.
Watch Tariq’s performance »
Tariq Al Sabir
Vocalist & Composer
Vocalist and composer Tariq Al-Sabir has been described as a “prolific composer” by the Peabody Magazine and the Baltimore Examiner dubbed him “a rising musical mastermind.” He sings and writes many styles of music including gospel, classical, jazz, pop and musical theater. Tariq began writing music/poetry and performing in 3rd grade. His first complete piece “Carry On” was premiered by the Peabody Conservatory’s Junior Bach program in his 6th grade year.
Junior Bach has since premiered six of his pieces. In 7th grade he joined the Booker T. Washington Boys Choir, (later Kids L.E.A.D), directed by Tony Small. His travels with this Award winning composer and musician have taken him all across the country to experience and teach music at a professional level. Thanks to this collaboration, Tariq was featured as one of the lead vocalists on the theme song for HBO’s “The Wire” in 2006.
Tariq’s awards include the 2006 Centerstage Young Playwrights Award for his musical, “Another Man’s Treasure”, the 2008 NIYC Gospelfest Awards, the Baltimore Choral Arts 2009 Student Composer Project Award with his piece, “With Open Wings”, the 2009 Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, “Oh Say Can you Sing” competition and a 2011 National Foundation for Advancement of the Arts Young Arts Finalist in both Classical and Popular voice. He has been featured as soloist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, the D.C. Jazz Festival, Anacostia Jazz Festival, and Hilary Hahn’s Tsunami Relief Concert. Tariq has shared the stage with artists such as Kishna Davis, the Bel Canto Singers, Dejuana Small, Rance Allen, Sandy Patti, Andy Williams, and Maurette Brown Clark.
Watch Judah’s performance »
The music of composer Judah Adashi, grounded in the classical tradition and imbued with soul and pop influences ranging from Nina Simone to Björk, has been described as “beguiling” (Alex Ross, New Yorker), “elegant” (Steve Smith, Boston Globe), “affecting” (Tim Smith, Baltimore Sun) and “impassioned” (Will Robin, Bandcamp). His recent work centers on the the interplay of art and activism, guided by a belief that the creation and performance of new music can bear witness to injustice, bring together diverse constituencies, create space for empathy, and serve as a call to action.
Dr. Adashi is on the faculty of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, where his teaching is focused on new music and community engagement. He is also the founder and artistic director of the Evolution Contemporary Music Series, which has made Baltimore a destination for outstanding new music and musicians since 2005. Dr. Adashi holds degrees from Peabody and from Yale University. He lives in Baltimore with his wife and frequent collaborator, cellist Lavena Johanson. More information is available at judahadashi.com.
Watch Jessica’s performance »
Musician & Educator
Jessica Garand has performed on the stages of Carnegie Hall, United Nations, Alice Tully Hall, the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, Le Chapelle Historique du Bon Pasteur, and the Museum of Fine Art in Montreal. Jessica holds a bachelor degree from McGill’s Schulich School of Music and is currently pursuing her Master of Music degree at the Juilliard School under the direction of Samuel Rhodes.
Jessica is inspired by the role music can serve in the community. In 2011, she founded Opportunity Music Project, a non-profit instrument instruction program for low-income families. She is an active volunteer in the Montreal and New York City scenes, performing for benefit galas, retirement residences, hospitals, and homeless shelters. In 2008 Jessica was awarded a Canadian Millennium Scholarship in recognition of her community contribution.
Watch Strother Gaines’ talk »
Strother is a speaker, trainer, and coach for creative entrepreneurs and those who want to become one. He works with lawyers who just wanna dance, programmers who wish they were potters, and undercover Yogi CFO’s to integrate their professional life with their authentic creative self. He is a multi-passionate entrepreneur with a background in theatre, education, sales, management, leadership, and Segway tour-guiding.
His private practice is called “But I’m a Unicorn, Dammit!” and he is passionately working to help as many people as possible own up to the fact that they are a unique fu@%!#& snowflake. He is also the Event Director for the DC Chapter of Network Under 40
and believes deeply in the power of authentic connection.
Watch Lavena’s performance »
Cellist Lavena Johanson is a multifaceted musician who has performed throughout the United States and Canada. Her passion for chamber music has led to performances with esteemed artists such as Robert McDuffie, Mischa Dichter, Peter Wiley, Andres Diaz, Amy Schwartz Moretti, and Elizabeth Pridgen. Lavena is a member of the Atlas String Quartet, semifinalists in the 2014 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. As a soloist and chamber musician, she has performed new and recent works by Ted Hearne, Amy Beth Kirsten, Caroline Shaw and Anna Thorvaldsdottir on Baltimore’s Evolution Contemporary Music Series.
Lavena has also premiered two pieces written expressly for her by her husband, Judah Adashi, and is only the second cellist to have performed Michael Hersch’s Second Sonata for Unaccompanied Cello; she will perform both of Hersch’s unaccompanied sonatas in Baltimore next month. Most recently, Lavena toured as a cellist with the indie rock band Ra Ra Riot, playing to sold-out crowds at the 9:30 Club (Washington, DC), The House of Blues (Cleveland, OH), and Lincoln Hall (Chicago, IL). A native of Seattle, Lavena holds a Bachelor of Music degree from The Robert McDuffie Center for Strings and a Master of Music degree from the Peabody Conservatory. She plays on a cello made by Jason Viseltear (New York) and Robert Young (France) in 2005. More information is available at lavenajohanson.com.