Mike Hess is the founder and executive director of the Technology and serves on its Board of Directors. Determined to reduce the high unemployment rate among skilled blind and visually impaired IT and tech professionals in the U.S., Mike leads BIT’s mission to prepare blind and visually impaired people and the employers who hire them for success in the workplace.
Before founding BIT – a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Colorado in February 2013 – Mike spent four years as a senior software engineer for Level 3 Communications, where he led a variety of IT and other technical projects. Prior to Level 3, Mike held IT, software engineering and other technical positions with , U.S. West and other companies during the course of his 18-year career.
Mike, who has been legally blind since first grade, graduated from in 1995 with a certificate in applications programing and also received the Student of the Year award from the Computer Training for People with Disabilities (CTPD) program.
An English proverb states, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Mike began his journey as a disabled person at the age of seven in a small, Midwestern town in Ohio. As an April Fools baby, he was a natural class clown and wanted to sit in the back of the class cracking jokes as early as first grade. He quickly moved to the front of the class after realizing he was not able to see the chalkboard.
After visiting several optometrists, Mike ended up in a large Cleveland hospital. It was there that he and his mother learned that Mike was losing his sight and would be completely blind by the age of 18. At such a young age, he had no idea what blind even meant. When he asked his mom, she simply stated that he was going to be special. At this point, in many ways, Mike began to fulfill her prophecy.
Mike’s mom was determined to keep him within the public schools and did not want to send him to a school for blind and deaf children. Disabled children are commonly placed into special learning programs within the public school system and Mike was no exception. This established a clear line in the sand with his classmates, stating plainly that he was different. However, he maintained the belief instilled in him by his mom that he was special, regardless of the large print books and dark colored paper he needed to aid his learning. Mike learned to make friends quickly and refused to allow classmates to bully him for being blind. Thus, Mike plotted the course along his thousand-mile journey by either engaging people with his sense of humor or by being tough.
At the start of junior high school, Mike’s family moved to Colorado and it was there that Mike began using low-vision technologies for the first time. His secondary school education was split between proactively learning the skills he would need in the future to live as a totally blind person (cane training and Braille classes) and the low-vision technologies that would assist him in the present.
Throughout his college career, Mike had to continue pushing through challenges. With the limited technology at that time, he needed to collaborate with others and use alternative methods to achieve success. In one instance, he paired up with a fellow student who had carpal tunnel syndrome. Mike was able to do the typing while his classmate acted as his eyes. So as a blind young person, Mike had experienced the shunning of someone who is different, but also the thrill of achieving goals that were widely considered unattainable for a blind person. His success and accomplishments continued to grow, and so did Mike’s belief that his journey was meant for greatness.
Immediately after college, Mike married his wife, Natalie, and adopted her two daughters. His family grew again in 2008 with the addition of Maddox (aka ‘Little Man’). Mike believes it’s important to show his children and others that his disability does not affect his life and that he is just as capable as people who have sight. Mike’s family continues to be his driving force whenever it seems like the world is unfair, supporting and inspiring him as he inspires others through all his successes and challenges.
Mike’s family, friends and business colleagues have seen him live his mantra that vision loss is simply an inconvenience and nothing more. They have watched Mike keep a positive attitude throughout all his trials and tribulations. In addition to his education and career accomplishments, Mike competed in martial arts, became a snow and water skier, ran half marathons and climbed 14,000 foot mountains.
Mike’s journey has been both trying and thrilling. However, his thousand miles are far from over. Thanks to his leadership, Board of Directors, corporate partners, talented blind and visually impaired IT and tech pros, family, friends and volunteers, the current phase of Mike’s journey – the Blind Institute of Technology — is materializing right before his mind’s eye.
Ai's website: www.classroomwithoutwalls.ai
Download a copy of Ai's workbook, what parents need to know to future proof your kids: www.classroomwithoutwalls.ai/future-proof-workbook
Learn more about Ai's Life Accelerator program: lifeaccelerator.classroomwithoutwalls.ai/welcome-page
Dr. Ai Addyson-Zhang is an educator and an entrepreneur. She received her MA and Ph.D. in Communication from Syracuse University and the University of Maryland. Ai is the founder of Classroom Without Walls, an alternative school for entrepreneurship. As an Adobe Education Leader, Ai is passionate about incorporating social media and creative technologies to enhance student learning and to acquire skills that help them become future-ready. Ai’s work has been featured in Forbes, Inside Higher Education, Pearson Education, and Mark Schafer’s book among others. She additionally contributes to Entrepreneur and Thrive Global. Ai hosts two weekly live streaming shows, where she interviews thought leaders in social media and education such as Seth Godin. Ai is also a HubSpot Academy instructor, and frequently speaks at academic and industry conferences including VidCon, Global Marketing Day, Social Media Week Lima (the largest social media marketing conference in the midwest, and others.
Lawrence Wagner is an eight-year Army veteran who also is Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of Spark Mindset. Lawrence has over ten years of project management experience, along with a background in military, cybersecurity, high-tech business, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and human design thinking. Lawrence has a Master’s Degree in Business Management from Colorado Technical University. He also received leadership training from Leadership Pikes Peak Signature Program and Center for Creative Leadership Community Leadership Program and is currently serving on the Colorado Workforce Development Council. Now living in Colorado Springs, Colorado, he is originally from Cleveland, Ohio and is a huge Ohio State Buckeyes, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Cleveland Browns fan.
Lauren Gifford, PhD is a critical geographer exploring the intersections of global climate change policy, conservation, markets and justice. Her work asks how, and by whom, climate and conservation policies are enacted. She is a Research Affiliate at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and teaches courses on climate change and human-environment interactions at CU Boulder and Metropolitan State University of Denver. She is founder of the Somes Group, a climate and environmental policy consulting firm that helps governments, foundations, NGOs and start-ups understand financialized conservation management and carbon pricing. She is also host of the podcast Carbon Social Club.
Dr. Gifford holds a PhD in Geography from University of Colorado, Boulder, an MA in Environmental Studies from Dartmouth College, a BA in Communications from American University, and completed courses in greenhouse gas and forest carbon accounting through the Greenhouse Gas Management Institute (GHGMI). She has conducted mixed methods field research in the Peruvian Amazon, on Cuban organic farms, throughout Maine’s forests, at the United Nations’ annual climate negotiations, and at countless civil society meetings around the world. Recently she’s been studying the use of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology to verify carbon offsets.
Join us at 4Front to meet Lauren.
Elizabeth Giorgi is a media entrepreneur and Emmy-Award winner. Her newest company, soona, is a same-day photo and video studio that provides professional, custom photo and video for less than the price of stock content. Her first company, Mighteor, was the world’s first professional production company to specialize in internet ads. She is a passionate advocate for women in production and entrepreneurship and the creator of the Candor Clause – an effort to level the playing field for women raising venture capital. You can learn more about her businesses at soona.co and mighteor.com
Ethan Decker, PhD, is president of Applied Brand Science. Ethan unearths and distills the latest and most relevant research on marketing and human behavior to increase the effectiveness of his clients’ advertising and branding expenditures. Having spent a dozen years leading strategy and research at some of the world’s best agencies for some of the world’s biggest brands, he saw firsthand the waste and damage that many modern marketing beliefs and “best practices” are causing to firms. Now he is pioneering the field of brand science to help companies that want to embrace a more effective, evidence-based approach to advertising and brand growth.
Aditi U. Joshi MD, MSc is Medical Director of , Thomas Jefferson University Hospital’s on-demand telemedicine program and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine. Her position is multi-faceted in telehealth and tele-intake: working in operations, quality assurance, provider training, resident and medical education and implementing new programs and use cases for telehealth. She is also co-director of the at Sidney Kimmel Medical College, teaching medical students how digital health technologies will influence their careers. She runs a Telehealth fellowship for physicians. Nationally, she is the chair elect for the telehealth working group and on the consensus committee for ’s consensus conference. Prior to Jefferson, she worked at a telemedicine startup, learning barriers in uptake, marketing and business development. She is considered an expert in acute care telehealth and regularly speaks on the topics of how digital technologies will impact the future of healthcare and the workforce. She completed her residency at and has a Masters in International Health Policy from the London School of Economics.
John is an Engineering Fellow for CommScope CTO Network Solutions group, investigating Advanced Technologies for Broadband Systems. John was inducted into the Cable TV Pioneers in 2019 as part of the DOCSIS Inaugural class.
Recent research includes:
• Next generation HFC distributed access architectures
o including Remote PHY, Remote MACPHY
• FTTx migration strategies for HFC: Fiber Deep N+0, FTTC & FTTH
• DOCSIS 3.1/4.0 and its futures: Full Duplex (FDX) & Extended Spectrum
• Network capacity modeling
• IP Video solutions featuring multicast- ABR
John’s three decades in the Broadband industry began as architect and MAC developer at LANcity, pioneering the industry’s first cable modems. He was a primary author for the Cable Industry’s DOCSIS 1.0 and 1.1 specifications. He also was senior technical consultant to Broadband industry with YAS Corp and Eng Fellow with Motorola’s Broadband Group and ARRIS Corp.
John holds a BSEE and MSEE from RPI and has a multitude of papers and patents to his name.
Ryan Holdaway is an educator passionate about helping people unlock their potential, regardless of circumstance. When he isn't helping Lambda School students build real-life software applications or prepare for job interviews, he's playing golf, watching baseball, or taking his three little daughters to Disneyland.
We started Lambda School because we believe that the “traditional” model of higher education is broken. Every year, people as young as 17 years old take on tens of thousands of dollars in student debt and pray that the education they’re investing in will land them on a job on the other side.
Unfortunately, traditional colleges and universities have no incentive to ensure their graduates get hired – they get paid regardless.
At Lambda School, we believe there is a better way to approach education.
Instead of asking our students to bet on us, we bet on them first. Lambda’s model is built on Income Share Agreements (ISAs) – our students pay no tuition upfront, and agree to pay back 17% of their income post-graduation for two years, but only once they’re making $50,000 or more. And if they don’t find a high-paying job after 60 months of deferred payments? They pay nothing. This paradigm-shifting model allows us to align the incentives of the school with the incentives of our students – and we all win when our graduates succeed.
We’re in this together.
Jill Banks is responsible for creating consistent learning experiences that leverage technology, next-generation educational science and data analytics to drive cable workforce technical expertise and ROI for the industry.
Prior to joining SCTE•ISBE in 2017, Jill spent 25 years serving in various learning and development capacities with multiple Fortune 500 companies, including General Electric, American International Group (AIG), and Farmers Insurance. With SCTE•ISBE, she has supported double-digit growth in course material and has been instrumental in the organization’s use of 3D simulations and other technologies to improve knowledge retention, reduce training time, and increase the impact on the organization. Her philosophy is that every encounter is a teachable moment at which persons can learn, develop, and grow regardless of age, profession, or titles.
In addition to her responsibilities with SCTE•ISBE, Jill serves on the Board of Directors for Chestnut Hill College. She has served on the Advisory Boards for the Farmers Insurance Group’s Women’s Inclusion Network supporting mentoring and Daddy University, Inc., geared at educating men in raising their children. Jill also has participated as a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters. In addition, she has volunteered for numerous community events, including Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure, Ronald McDonald House and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.
Jill holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Millersville University and a Master’s in Business Administration at DeVry University.
Dr. Nathan D. Lang-Raad is a speaker, author, and professional learning facilitator. He is the Chief Education Officer at WeVideo. Throughout his career, he has served as a teacher, assistant principal, university adjunct professor, and Solution Tree consultant. He was director of elementary curriculum and instruction for Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, as well as education supervisor at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. He speaks at both local and national professional conferences and is the cofounder of Bammy Award-nominated #LeadUpChat, an educational leadership professional learning network (PLN) on Twitter. Nathan is also the cofounder of #divergED, a Twitter chat focused on divergent thinking and innovations in education. He is a Google Certified Educator, Microsoft Innovative Educator, and 2016 Apple Teacher, serves on the board of the Student Voice Foundation, and serves on the International Literacy Association Task Force.
He has written several blog posts that have been featured on the EdTech K-12, Corwin Connect, Education Week, K-12 Blueprint, and the Solution Tree Blog.
Nathan received a Bachelor of Arts degree in general science-chemistry from Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, a master of education degree in administration and supervision from the University of Houston-Victoria, and a doctorate of education degree in learning organizations and strategic change from David Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee.
He resides with his husband, Herbie Raad, in beautiful Maine.
To learn more about Nathan’s work or follow him on Twitter @drlangraad.
Jim Forster is passionate about extending the Internet. He started at Cisco in 1988 when it was quite small and spent 20 years there, becoming a Distinguished Engineer. While at Cisco he started working on projects and policies to improve Internet access in developing countries. Now he is working with several for-profit and non-profit efforts to extend communications in unserved areas in Africa, India. His foundation, NetworktheWorld.org has supported AfNOG, and his firm, INIHoldings.com, has invested in five ISPs (Mawingu Networks (Kenya), Too Much WiFi (South Africa), Habari Node (Tanzania), and CTN (Malawi), AirJaldi (India). He and Ben Matranga have started a Debt Fund, ConnectivityCap.com, to offer loans for ISPs in Frontier Markets.
Dr. Aubrey de Grey is a biomedical gerontologist based in Mountain View, California, USA, and is the Chief Science Officer of SENS Research Foundation, a California-based 501(c)(3) biomedical research charity that performs and funds laboratory research dedicated to combating the aging process. He is also VP of New Technology Discovery at AgeX Therapeutics, a biotechnology startup developing new therapies in the field of biomedical gerontology. In addition, he is Editor-in-Chief of Rejuvenation Research, the world’s highest-impact peer-reviewed journal focused on intervention in aging. He received his BA in computer science and Ph.D. in biology from the University of Cambridge. His research interests encompass the characterization of all the types of self-inflicted cellular and molecular damage that constitute mammalian aging and the design of interventions to repair and/or obviate that damage. Dr. de Grey is a Fellow of both the Gerontological Society of America and the American Aging Association, and sits (uncompensated) on the editorial and scientific advisory boards of numerous journals and organizations. He is a highly sought-after speaker who gives 40-50 invited talks per year at scientific conferences, universities, companies in areas ranging from pharma to life insurance, and to the public.
Kevin was drawn to winemaking due to its confluence of his passions for nature, agriculture, and craftsmanship.
After earning his degree in Viticulture & Enology from the renowned UC Davis program, Kevin apprenticed around the world throughout his 20s to master the craft. He then returned to California and spent ten years building startups into successful wineries for other people, while also returning to school and obtaining a degree in Wine Business and a WSET diploma while launching his wine consulting business.
Finally, Kevin decided it was time to launch his own winery, and started Voluptuary Wines to focus on his passion for organic & experimental small-batch winemaking. After his first release quickly sold out, Kevin launched the sister brand Lucid Wines to bring his wine to a crowd-pleasing style.
John Paul Francis is the CTO of a biomedical image collaboration platform called Microscape and a Computer Science Ph.D. student at the Michelson Center for Convergent Biosciences at USC. He earned his Bachelor's degree from USC in 2016 in Computer Science, Cinema, and Business Administration. In the past, he has worked as an award-winning wildlife and adventure virtual reality filmmaker for USA Today, xRez studios, and others in addition to his role as an R&D game developer for the USC Mixed Reality studio and USC Bridge.
In 2018, he joined the Michelson Center where he now uses machine learning techniques to annotate, model, and render 3D images of cells for type II diabetes research, from which Microscope spun out.
When he is not working with virtual environments he enjoys climbing, creative writing, and serving as head coach of the lacrosse team at Beverly Hills High School.
Kyle McClary, Ph.D. is a recent graduate of the University of Southern California and Founder of the Bridge Art + Science Alliance. He holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry as well as bachelor’s degrees in Mathematics and Chemical Physics, with over ten years of research experience. His work focuses on connecting techniques in Biochemistry, Computer Science, Digital Arts, and Storytelling to model and communicate how biological systems produce the phenomenon of life. He leads an organization at USC that connects artists and scientists for collaborative projects called The Bridge Art + Science Alliance (BASA). Through BASA, Kyle produced and directed projects in VR, film, and games that have been official selections at more than twenty science, media, and film festivals like South by Southwest and ARS Electronica, and have received awards from groups including the Directors Guild of America, Association of Medical Illustrators, as well as Emmy consideration.
From four-time track and field all-American to Gulf War Army veteran to amputee to Paralympic silver medalist, John has never allowed adversity to hold him back. He continues to hurdle adversity and turn obstacles into opportunities and show others how to do the same.
During a training session in Hays, Kansas, Register, the 8th fastest 400m hurdler at the time, landed awkwardly dislocating his left knee. His artery behind the kneecap was blocked. A 11-hour vein graph surgery was conducted but was inadequate. 5 subsequent operations were not able fully save the limb. Register made the decision to amputate his leg, and his dreams.
With his dreams of Olympic glory dashed, John’s wife Alice told him they would come through this together, it was just their new normal. Armed with this new determination, John decided to take a new step every day.
It began with swimming. His steps to the pool each day resulted in making the Paralympic swim team. He then turned his attention back to running. He and his prosthetist crafted a running leg which took John to the Paralympic Games in Sydney, Australia, where he won the silver medal in the long jump.
With his previous goal now accomplished, John turned his sights on creating opportunities for people with disabilities by utilizing the lens of sport.
His post athletic career accolades are equally impressive as he founded the sport program which assist wounded, ill, and injured service members in their recovery to a healthy and active lifestyle and serving in a variety of capacities to include special advisor to two U.S. Secretary of State on disability foreign policy and being a U.S. Sports Diplomacy Ambassador (Envoy). The latter attracted the attention of President Barack Obama and John was asked and served in the capacity of being one of 35 co-chairs for 44th Presidents’ re-election.
As a highly sought-after keynote speaker, John believes in audience engagement and collective learning. In either his interactive keynote address, or half day training sessions, experiential learning is at core of each presentation.
John’s partial client list now includes American Airlines, BP, KPMG, Southwest Airlines, Hewlett Packard Enterprises and ReMax, to name a few.
John is the President and CEO of Inspired Communications International, LLC, an experiential professional speaking company showing businesses how to hurdle adversity and create the new normal to win the medals in their life.
Oh, yeah, he sings, plays piano, and is a recovering cellist.
A passionate technologist and entrepreneur whose primary mission is to have a positive impact on the world, Joe Thurman is the Chief Executive Officer for interview ia. interviewIA is committed to systematically building an Inclusive Future of Work. A world where organizations can be objective and inclusive in hiring to create thriving, diverse, engaged cultures of high-performing employees. interviewIA is redefining the actual practice of interviewing by creating the first solution to bring human calibration, structure, and data-driven interview outcomes into one, fully integrated, easy-to-use cloud application. interviewIA uses deep learning (IA) Intelligence Amplification technology and human-centered design to redefine the method of interviewing. interviewIA supplements its cloud-based application with industry-leading online inclusion training, digital coursework and industry-leading expertise to help shape and guide the inclusive foundation of an organization.
With over 10 years’ experience in people operations and 6 years’ experience in executive development, Joe has worked with hundreds of technology executives and sits on the board of the Colorado Technology Association with some of the biggest tech names in the state.
Joe’s strengths lie in building companies and assembling teams of talented people. Helping leaders build inclusive organizations where #PEOPLEMATTER has been his objective for almost 15 years. Joe believes that a connected world only thrives when we are an inclusive world. By effectively coaching people and empowering them to value curiosity, we can unlock the mindset that encourages inclusion, diversity and a vision of human equality.
Mathew Portell has dedicated a decade and a half to education in his role as a teacher, instructional coach, teacher mentor, and school administrator. It is through the collaborative team approach and building positive relationships that Portell is leading his school into success. He is currently in his fifth year as principal of Fall-Hamilton Elementary, a nationally recognized innovative model school for trauma-informed practices in Metro Nashville Public Schools. The school’s work has been featured on National Public Radio, the local documentary Enough, PBS, and Edutopia, one of the world’s top educational practices website funded by the George Lucas Foundation. Principal Portell had the honor of presenting Fall-Hamilton’s work to Tennessee State Legislative and Senate Education Committees, at the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the National Commission of Social Emotional and Academic Development. In January 2019 he traveled to England as the keynote speaker for Towards Trauma Informed in Northampton. He served as a monthly contributor to the Education Week blog tilted "Learning is Social and Emotional" where he is documenting the journey of sustaining a trauma-informed school. He is the founder of the Trauma Informed Educators Network Group on Facebook which has connected over nearly 12,000 educators in over 90 different countries around becoming more trauma-informed! In July of 2019 his consulting company Paradigm Shift Education hosted an international conference in Nashville title Trauma-Informed Educators Network Conference: Cultivating Connections. It was a huge success and he has already schedule next year’s conference for July 2020. He launched the Trauma Informed Educators Network Podcast in October of 2019. The focus of the podcast will focus on educators globally who are making a difference in their areas around being trauma-informed.
Mathew’s work extends past his educational experience. As a classroom teacher in 2008, he combined his passion for literacy and cycling and founded the double award winning national non-profit Ride for Reading. The organization promotes literacy and healthy living through the distribution of books via bicycle to underserved children. Ride for Reading has donated over 500,000 books to children nationally.
Mads has over 20 years of experience leading and working for visionary organizations in the telecommunications, data networking and high-tech markets. His executive experience ranges from Fortune 500 publicly traded companies, to privately held companies, to mid and early-stage start-ups. His background and international experiences living and working in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the U.S. allow him to bring a truly global perspective to his leadership positions. He is currently the CEO of Benu Networks, where they are leading the charge toward virtualized, disaggregated network architecture.
Julie Kearney is Global Head of Communications Regulation and Policy for Loon, where she leads the company’s U.S. and international regulatory initiatives. Loon is working to bring internet access to unserved and underserved communities around the world via a network of balloons traveling on the edge of space. Loon is a subsidiary of Alphabet.
Prior to joining Loon, Kearney was VP of Regulatory Affairs for the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). She previously served in government affairs at NPR, in MCI’s International Affairs group, and as an associate at Haley Bader & Potts (now Garvey Schubert Barer).
Kearney is a recent Past President of the Federal Communications Bar Association (FCBA) and is a past chair of the FCBA Foundation. She served seven terms on the Federal Communications Commission’s Consumer Advisory Committee and currently serves on its Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee. She also serves on the Board of the United States Technical Training Institute (USTTI).
Kearney earned her B.A. from Mount Holyoke College and a J.D. from Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law with a certificate from its Law and Technology Institute. She currently serves on the Columbus School of Law’s Board of Visitors. A trained singer, Kearney sings with the “kindie” rock band, “Here Comes Trouble.” She also has sung with many choruses in the Washington, DC area, most recently with the Choral Arts Society of Washington.
Tiago Rodrigues is the CEO of the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA). Tiago is responsible for leading the overall strategy, together with the WBA Board, and the operational planning for the WBA. As well as overseeing the day to day management, Tiago takes a leadership role in understanding industry challenges and working with membership to agree the key focus areas and programs that need to be developed to ensure the wireless industry optimises market opportunities for Wi-Fi and works to resolve any business issues that impede the success of the industry overall.
Before he joined the WBA, Tiago spent 15 years at the Portugal Telecom Group. In his previous role as Head of Business Innovation, he collaborated with various departments within the company to identify and develop new business opportunities. Prior to this, he managed the Public Wi-Fi sector of Portugal Telecom Group where he was responsible for service management, development, strategy and internationalisation of the Wi-Fi service. He was also involved in strategic marketing, regulatory affairs, pricing, product development and roaming.
Tiago holds an M.Sc. in Economics and Management of Science and Technology, and a degree in Business Administration from the Higher Institute of Economics and Management at The Technical University of Lisbon He also has a BA. Honors Degree in Business Administration from Humberside University, UK.
Andrew is the President & CEO of Edgewater Wireless. Andrew’s broad strategic perspective comes from his work with both multinational equipment vendors and a number of start-up network operators. Andrew has significant multinational experience. He was based in Asia for seven years where he worked for Newbridge Networks/Alcatel; Silicon Valley-based, InterWAVE Communications and the Commercial Division of the Canadian High Commission (Malaysia). His roles included strategic marketing, international business development and business planning. A proven telecom innovator and leader, Andrew founded an innovative GSM operator in Brasil, taking the project from concept to fundraising, license acquisition and launch phases. Mr. Skafel holds an MBA from INSEEC (Paris), a graduate diploma from the McRae Institute of International Management (Vancouver) and a BA in Economics & Politics from the University of Western Ontario.
JC is the co-founder of Good Luck Yogi, a family wellness brand committed to serving the well-being of every child. JC started his career as a music producer touring with hip hop artists and later became a music therapist for children with Autism. In 2013, JC began living with monks in India and throughout the U.S. for the next six years. During this time, JC further served as the Director for Music Meditation at the University of Southern California, combining the two arts of music and mindfulness.
Pat is among the world’s most experienced tech strategists. He builds and leads the strategies, products, ecosystems and operations for some of the most complex emerging technologies, and has served as a leader or adviser to scores of industry initiatives across 5G/Mobile, IoT, big data, connected car, smart grid, cable, artificial intelligence, defense and homeland security domains.
Academically he researches the intersection of neuroscience and emerging technologies, and his new book, The Disruption of Thought, is expected out next year.
Shelby has over sixteen years of financial, management, and event planning experience, in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theatre performance from Denison University and a Master in Public Administration with a concentration in nonprofit management from The University of Colorado Denver. She is a committed volunteer, dedicating hours to many organizations including Girls on the Run of the Rockies, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Ronald McDonald House and Casa de Paz. She is currently the president of the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce Downtown Power Partners Group and the Chair of the Aurora Cultural Arts District Stakeholders Group. Shelby has been with Inside the Orchestra since 2012, and has been thrilled to commit her professional career to centering children in the world of the arts.
Shelli is the COO of Space Foundation and brings a broad perspective and deep vision of the global space ecosystem — from a distinguished career as a space acquisition and program management leader and Congressional Liaison for the US Air Force — to her current role, including overseeing Center for Innovation and Education, Symposium 365 and Global Alliance. Advocating for space technology innovation, entrepreneurship, diversity and inclusion, Shelli collaborates with organizations around the world to connect government, commercial and educational sectors.
Brunswick’s work to champion the inclusion of underserved groups stems from staying true to the values instilled while she was in the military — a passion to share her journey, give back to the space community, and contribute to the development of the next-generation workforce. She collaborates with organizations around the world to advance the opportunities for entrepreneurs, piloting the launch of the Space Commerce Entrepreneurship Program and the Junior Space Entrepreneur Program. As a leading role model for women in space, Brunswick was selected as the 2020 Diversity and Inclusion Officer and Role Model of the Year by WomenTech Network.
Brunswick speaks at organizations and events around the globe to advance space technology innovation partnerships and collaboration, chairs the Women in Aerospace (WIA) Foundation, and hosts the Women’s Global Gathering annually at Space Symposium. In addition, she is one of only 35 women worldwide to be selected by the United Nations as a mentor for its Space4Women program and is a World Business Angels Investment Forum (WBAF) Senator for the United States of America. She sits on the Board of Directors for Manufacture’s Edge.
Ken is Senior Vice President of Technology Services at Cable One. He is responsible for the strategic evolution of technology roadmaps related to products, as well as Information Technology, Network, Engineering and Construction.
Before joining Cable One, Johnson served as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Technology Officer for NewWave Communications. Prior to NewWave, Johnson was Chief Technology Officer for SureWest Communications and Everest Connections.
Originally from Lenexa, Kansas, Johnson holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer and Information Sciences from Friends University.
Johnson currently serves on the board of the National Cable Television Cooperative and the CableLabs Technology Advisory Board.
Prof. Alyssa K. Whitcraft is the Deputy Director and Program Manager for NASA Harvest, a thematically and geographically diverse consortium of more than 50 institutions focused on advancing the use of satellite-based EO by agricultural and food security decision makers.
She has a broad portfolio ranging from management of large, multi-national programs to applications research in remote sensing of agriculture and in the social, political, economic, and technical aspects of transforming decision support systems through the integration of Earth observations (EO). She is also an Associate Research Professor in the Department of Geographical Sciences at UMD, and since 2015, she has served as Program Scientist at the G20’s Group on Earth Observations Global Agricultural Monitoring (GEOGLAM). She has co-developed the foundations of the GEOGLAM program, serves as Agriculture Point of Contact to the world's space agencies (Committee on Earth Observation Satellites – CEOS), and founder and director of the Agricultural Monitoring in the Americas Initiative.
She is an expert in organizational and institutional change with respect to new satellite technologies. She regularly provides insight into new satellite mission design, based on real-world decision support needs. In the process, she’s developed collaborations and partnership models with public and private sector, emphasizing sustainable business models and value to all actors. She firmly believes in intersectionality in all things, acknowledging the role that each of us has in revolutionizing the food system in the face of pressing global challenges.
Israel Madiedo is Director, Innovation & Technology at izzi (Televisa Group). With over 28 years in the Telecommunications Industry, Mr. Madiedo has participated in a wide number of international projects, both in fixed and wireless networks, covering an array of positions in Engineering, Operations, and Technical Support organizations, to mention some.
He currently leads the efforts for evaluating and introducing new Technologies in izzi, pursuing the delivery of best of class services to the customers as well as opening new market opportunities.
Architecture design, homologation, local development, adaptation & transformation, are among the tasks covered by his team.
Prior to joining the Televisa Group, Israel was part of AT&T Network Services and Lucent Technologies, working in the CALA Region and being a part of the extended EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Asia) Transmission group, which took him to spend time in the whole LATAM Region as well as in Europe. He later became part of Cablevision México and was part of the team in charge of moving the Cable Industry in the Country towards a new phase of consolidation and higher competitive levels in the Telecom arena.
Among his tasks, he leads the team that represents izzi in several International Standards Organizations and keeps close contact with other colleagues and Operators worldwide. He is also a speaker and panel moderator in several Telecommunication events.
He combines his current position in izzi with Academic endeavors as Professor in several programs (including master’s degree and Executive level “hacks”) in fields such as Telecom, Digital Transformation, ML & AI and others.
Israel holds a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering, and a Masters in Telecommunications and Business Administration from the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey.
Jean M. Twenge, Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University, is the author of more than 140 scientific publications and the books iGen: Why Today's Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy--and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood, Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled — and More Miserable Than Ever Before and The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement (co-authored with W. Keith Campbell). Dr. Twenge frequently gives talks and seminars on teaching and working with today’s young generation based on a dataset of 11 million young people. Her audiences have included college faculty and staff, high school teachers, military personnel, camp directors, and corporate executives. Her research has been covered in Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, USA Today, U.S. News and World Report, and The Washington Post, and she has been featured on Today, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, Fox and Friends, NBC Nightly News, Dateline NBC, and National Public Radio. She holds a BA and MA from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.
Julie Laulis is Chair of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cable ONE.
Laulis joined Cable ONE in 1999 as Director of Marketing-NW Division. In 2001, she was named Vice President of Operations for the SW Division. In 2004, she became responsible for starting Cable ONE's Phoenix Customer Care Center. Laulis was named Chief Operations Officer in 2008, responsible for the company's three operation divisions and two call centers. In 2012, Laulis was named Chief Operating Officer, adding sales, marketing, and technology to her responsibilities. In 2015, Laulis was promoted to President and Chief Operating Officer of Cable ONE. In 2017, she was named President and Chief Executive Officer and in 2018 she was named Chair of the Board.
Prior to joining Cable ONE, Laulis was with Jones Communications in the Washington, DC area and Denver, where she served in various marketing management positions. Laulis began her 35-year career in the cable industry with Hauser Communications.
Laulis graduated from Indiana University in Bloomington with a bachelor's degree in Telecommunications. She attended the Woman in Cable Television Betsy Magness Leadership Institute in 1998/1999, and graduated from the Program for Management Development at the Harvard Business School in 2002. Cable FAX Magazine has named Laulis one of the Most Powerful Women in Cable for the past 10 years running.
Laulis currently serves on the boards of The AES Corporation, CableLabs, The Cable Center, and C-SPAN and is a trustee of the C-SPAN Education Foundation.
A graduate of MIT, Shawn Frayne has been reaching towards the dream of the hologram for over 20 years. Shawn got his start with a classic laser interference pattern holographic studio he built in high school, followed by training in advanced holographic film techniques at MIT. He has been awarded dozens of patents around the world, the Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award, and noted as one of the ‘20 Best Brains Under 40’ by Discover Magazine.
Shawn serves as co-founder and CEO of Looking Glass Factory working between their Brooklyn, NY and Hong Kong offices.
As Editor-in-Chief of Fast Company—the influential magazine championing creativity, innovation, and thriving workplace cultures for a new generation of business— Mehta is the rare editor who talks to pure creatives and corporate leaders in equal measure. She draws on her decades in business journalism to show us how to inject imaginative thinking, entrepreneurial zeal, and unbridled innovation into everything we do.
Whether she’s investigating the prodigious rise of Silicon Valley, the domino effect of technology on our lives, or what makes a workplace truly innovative, Stephanie Mehta has her finger on the pulse. She brings over twenty-five years of experience in business journalism to her new role as Editor-in-Chief at Fast Company, the publication that businesses all over the world turn to for inspiration and guidance. The magazine has a storied history of eschewing traditionalism, rules, and the “old way” of doing things, instead showcasing the people, teams, and organizations inventing the future of business. Today, the company operates a number of franchises that highlight the world’s most progressive leaders and companies, including “Most Creative People,” “Most Innovative Companies,” and “World Changing Ideas.” With a prolific career that includes long-term posts at Vanity Fair, Fortune, Bloomberg LIVE and The Wall Street Journal, Mehta has come to value a human centered approach to her work, modeled by her commitment to thoughtful, radical storytelling. “[Businesses] are part of an ecosystem that includes more than just their shareholders—they are part of communities, they have employees and customers,” Mehta explains. In her dynamic keynotes, she draws on those stories to show the next generation of business leaders how to push creative boundaries, nurture a radical vision, and make innovation happen.
Prior to Fast Company, Mehta was Deputy Editor at Vanity Fair, where she coedited the influential New Establishment ranking, curated the New Establishment Summit, and oversaw the Founders Fair conference for women entrepreneurs. Previously, she was editor of Bloomberg LIVE, and Bloomberg Media’s global conference division. Mehta spent 14 years as a writer and editor at Fortune, where she rose to the No. 2 position on the masthead. While at Fortune, she directed the magazine’s technology, management, Washington, and international coverage, and helped set its overall editorial direction. Mehta also spent six years as an editor and writer at The Wall Street Journal. She received a BA in English and an MS in journalism from Northwestern University.
A Distinguished Technologist at CableLabs. Jennifer led the development of DOCSIS 3.0, DOCSIS 3.1, and Full Duplex DOCSIS MAC specifications. She was a key leader in the development of unlicensed LTE and 5G NR technologies at the 3GPP and the Wi-Fi Alliance on the behave of the cable industry. She co-invented Low Latency Xhaul (LLX) technology. Jennifer currently heads the convergence architecture for mobile and cable.
Jennifer has more than 100 patents issued or pending and published more than 30 papers at the IEEE and SCTE. She serves on the Technical Committee at the Facebook Telecom Infra Project (TIP).
Jennifer holds a Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of California, San Diego, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology.