Rony Abovitz is the Founder, President, and CEO of mixed reality startup Magic Leap. So far, Abovitz has largely kept Magic Leap’s head-mounted retinal display under wraps, but that hasn’t stopped it from receiving A-List attention. The creative geniuses behind New Zealand design studio Weta Workshops have already teamed up with Magic Leap to build games, and science fiction writer Neal Stephenson signed on as its Chief Futurist. Prior to starting Magic Leap in 2011, Abovitz was Cofounder and Head of Development and Technology for Mako Surgical, a leader in human-interactive robotics for orthopedic surgery. From 1994 to 1996, he worked as an R&D engineer for Lima Orthopedics, developing orthopedic implants. Abovitz holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering and a M.S. in biomedical engineering from the University of Miami.
Erica Baker wants to change the face of tech. As a Sr. Engineer for Slack, she’s spent the past year releasing new builds of the popular project collaboration platform. Behind the scenes, Baker has become an outspoken advocate for diversity in tech and expanding the reach of tech education. Before leading Slack’s build engineering team, Baker joined Google as a support technician in 2006. Over the following eight years, Baker worked her way through the company’s engineering ranks before transitioning into the role of Site Reliability Engineer. In 2014, Baker addressed the issue of inequality at Google by doing the unthinkable: releasing heaps of salary and hiring demographics info while encouraging others to contribute. Today, Baker is on the Advisory Boards for Atipica and Hack the Hood and is a Tech Mentor for Black Girls Code. She is based in Oakland, California.
Mary Barra wants to change how we think about personal mobility. As Chairman and CEO of the General Motors Company, Barra is at the forefront of the automotive revolution. Prior to being named CEO, Barra served as EVP, Global Product Development, Purchasing & Supply Chain since 2013, and as SVP, Global Product Development since 2011. These roles gave Barra an intimate view of an automotive industry in flux, while also putting her in charge of the design, engineering, program management, and quality of GM vehicles around the world. Barra began her career with GM in 1980 as a General Motors Institute (Kettering University) co-op student at the Pontiac Motor Division, graduating with a B.S. in electrical engineering.
In the spring of 2015, Sukhinder Singh Cassidylaunched ChoosePossibility, an effort to promote gender diversity in the technology industry and beyond. Last July, its first project was introduced, known as theBoardlist, which is an online marketplace of endorsed and nominated female candidates for private and public board service. As Founder and CEO of the video shopping network Joyus, she has broad experience to understand how critical strong boards are for a growing business, as well as how vital women are to our economy. Her digital career began in 1998 when she led business development for ecommerce startup, Junglee, later sold to Amazon. Cassidy then spent four years running business development for the financial account aggregation service Yodlee, before joining Google in 2003. Cassidy spent six years as Google’s President of Asia Pacific and Latin America. In addition to her management experience, Cassidy is a director at TripAdvisor and Ericsson, and previously served on the J.Crew Group board of directors.
Carlton Cuse has mastered the art of primetime storytelling. As one of television’s most successful scribes, he’s currently writing, executive producing, and showrunning three drama series: “Bates Motel” (A&E), “Colony” (USA) and “The Strain” (FX). Cuse started his career in feature films. His first TV gig was as a writer on the Michael Mann series “Crime Story,” and then he became Co-creator and Executive Producer of the critically-acclaimed Fox series “The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.” In 2004, Cuse teamed up with prolific writer-producer Damon Lindelof as Showrunner, Executive Producer, and writer for all six seasons of “Lost” on ABC. While overseeing “Lost,” Cuse pioneered using content on multiple platforms, or transmedia content, to extend and deepen the story. Over the years, Cuse has received 10 Emmy nominations for his work, snagging wins for Best Drama Series and Outstanding Achievement in Interactive Media.
CO-OWNER & HEAD OF NARRATIVE NUMINOUS GAMES CREATOR THAT DRAGON, CANCER @RYANGREEN8
Ryan Green is intimately familiar with the narrative power of gaming. Green is a Cofounder and developer at Numinous Games, the studio behind this year’s heartbreaking indie game That Dragon, Cancer. Green crafted the autobiographical game as way of capturing the emotional highs and lows of raising his son Joel, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer at twelve months old. As a programmer and 3D artist, Green has been developing mobile apps and games for the better part of 15 years through his own studio, Media Greenhouse. Prior to that, Green worked for Soma Games as a developer lead for two years and DaVita, a dialysis provider, for 10 years as a developer and software architect. At DaVita, Green was one of the lead architects of Falcon EHR, a medically certified nephrology-focused electronic health records tool, designed from the ground up by technology experts and nephrologists.
Diane Greene is no stranger to doing business in the cloud. Since last November, Greene has spearheaded Google’s foray into the cloud, overseeing strategy for delivering Google Cloud Platform and Google Apps to the enterprise. Before stepping in at Google, Greene was Cofounder and CEO of the virtualization giant VMware from 1998 – 2008. Her skill as an executive is tempered with a love for engineering. Greene has held engineering and management positions at SGI, Sybase, and Tandem, ran engineering for Windsurfing International, and designed ships and large ocean deployment structures as a naval architect. Diane’s degrees include a B.S. in mechanical engineering, an M.S. in naval architecture, and an M.S. in computer science from the University of Vermont, MIT, and the University of California, Berkeley, respectively. She also serves on the boards of Alphabet, Intuit, Khan Academy, and MIT. Diane is married, has two children, and was the 1976 National
MANAGING DIRECTOR & EXECUTIVE PRODUCER FUNNY OR DIE D.C. @BRADJENKINS
Brad Jenkins is an expert at turning belly laughs into beltway advocacy. As Funny Or Die’s Managing Director and Executive Producer in Washington D.C., Jenkins handles content creation and branding strategy for the comedy website’s range of clients. Before joining the site last year, Jenkins spent four years serving as President Obama’s associate director in The Office of Public Engagement. From The White House, Jenkins brought together creative executives, advocacy leaders, and some of the world’s biggest stars to advance the President’s agenda—culminating in the Emmy-award winning “Between Two Ferns” interview on the Affordable Care Act. In 2008, Jenkins also served as the Deputy Director of Special Projects for the President’s election campaign, specializing in the intersection of youth media and grassroots engagement. Prior to joining the White House, Jenkins was the founding VP of Business Forward, an organization that brings entrepreneurs into the policymaking process.
Arvind Krishna is the leader of IBM Research. As SVP and Director Krishna has spent the past year guiding the company’s technical strategy in core and emerging technologies including cognitive computing, cloud platform services, data-driven solutions, and blockchain. He oversees a network of approximately 3,000 scientists and technologists in 12 labs across six continents. Before heading up IBM’s research arm, Krishna was general manager of IBM Systems and Technology Group’s Development and Manufacturing organization, responsible for engineering and developing everything from leading-edge microprocessors to servers and storage systems. Earlier in his 25-year IBM tenure Krishna served as VP of Strategy for IBM Software, specializing in identifying and integrating new companies into the fold. Over the years he has held several key technical roles in IBM Software and IBM Research, and ultimately pioneered the company’s security software business. Arvind has an undergraduate degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
On top of being Facebook’s Director of AI Research, LeCun is one of the founding fathers of convolutional networks, a resource that has become instrumental in training computers to recognize objects in images. Before joining Facebook in 2013, LeCun was the founding Director of New York University’s Center for Data Science from 2012 to 2014. After tackling postdoctoral study at the University of Toronto, he joined AT&T Bell Laboratories and was quickly promoted to head the company’s Image Processing Research Department in 1996. In between leading AI research projects in Facebook’s lab, LeCun also teaches part-time at NYU and the Courant Institute for Mathematical Science. He currently holds a post as Co-Director of the Neural Computation and Adaptive Perception Program of the Canadian Institute of Advanced Research (CIFAR), and co-leads the Moore-Sloan Data Science Environments for NYU.
Nancy Lublin is the Founder and CEO of Crisis Text Line, an organization that provides free crisis counseling via text message. In a little over two years, the nonprofit has processed over 15 million messages and has become one of the first organizations to leverage its user data for social good. When Lublin took over as CEO of DoSomething.org in 2003 she did a little crisis management of her own. Over her 12-year tenure she took the nonprofit from bankruptcy to solvency, turning it into one of the largest youth-focused social change organizations in the world. In 1996, she transformed a $5,000 inheritance into her first global venture, Dress for Success, which helps women achieve economic independence by providing job development resources and coaching. Before her start as a serial entrepreneur, Lublin studied politics at Brown University, political theory at Oxford University (as a Marshall Scholar), and earned her law degree from New York University.
Susan Lyne is President of BBG Ventures, a new venture capital fund investing in women-led startups. Before launching the BBG fund, Lyne was CEO of AOL’s Brand Group where she oversaw high-traffic verticals like AOL.com, TechCrunch, Engadget, StyleList, Moviefone, and MapQuest. From 2008 to 2013, Lyne was CEO and then Chairman of Gilt Groupe, the innovative e-commerce company that popularized the flash sale business model in the U.S. Prior to leading Gilt, Lyne spent three decades in the media industry. She served as President and CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia from 2004 to 2008, and from 1996 to 2004 she held various positions at the Walt Disney Company and ABC, including EVP of Movies and Miniseries. She rose to become President of ABC Entertainment, overseeing the network’s primetime schedule and development of shows including Desperate Housewives, Lost, and Grey’s Anatomy.
David Marcus specializes in starting global conversations. From within Facebook Marcus oversees Messenger, the social network’s worldwide chat application connecting millions of daily users. Before joining Facebook in 2014, Marcus spent a year as PayPal’s VP of Mobile, followed by two more years as company President. A lifelong entrepreneur, he explored tech at an early age. At eight years old, he had already taught himself to code. By the time Marcus turned 23, he had dropped out of the University of Geneva to start his first two companies in Europe. In 2008, Marcus founded the mobile payments startup Zong, which was acquired by PayPal in 2011. Born in France, Marcus spent his formative years in Paris and Geneva before setting his sights on Silicon Valley.
Rick Stollmeyer understands the business of wellness from the ground up. The MINDBODY software Cofounder, President, and CEO originally launched the wellness startup in his garage. Sixteen years later, Stollmeyer has transformed the company into one of the biggest online marketplaces for connecting health, wellness, and beauty professionals to the millions of clients they serve. Today, MINDBODY's SaaS solution is powering local wellness businesses in over 130 countries and territories. Before helming MINDBODY, Stollmeyer was commissioned as a U.S. naval officer at the age of 21, serving six years at sea aboard a nuclear submarine. After the military, Stollmeyer pursued a career in corporate engineering until officially bootstrapping MINDBODY in 2001. He holds a B.S. degree in Political Science and Russian Language, with a concentration in International Relations, from the United States Naval Academy. Stollmeyer lives with his wife, Jill, and four children near the company headquarters in San Luis Obispo, California.
DIRECTOR, RED BULL HIGH PERFORMANCE RED BULL NORTH AMERICA @DRANDYWALSHE
Dr. Andy Walshe is Head of the Red Bull High Performance program. He collaborates with hundreds of elite athletes and industry-leading experts to develop and implement performance models. Walshe’s ultimate goal is to share learnings with the world to elevate human potential. Walshe’s skill for quantifying excellence and “de-mystifying talent” led to an appointment of High Performance Director for Red Bull Stratos where he prepped Felix Baumgartner for his record-breaking jump from the stratosphere. Prior to Red Bull, he was helping the U.S. Olympic ski team hit their performance targets as their High Performance Director until 2007. A native Australian, Walshe has a Ph.D. in Applied Biomechanics from Southern Cross University and holds a seat on the Information Science and Technology (ISAT) advisory board for DARPA.
Chris Milk believes in the transformative power of visual storytelling. As the founder and CEO of the virtual reality technology company Vrse, and Creative Director of VR production company Vrse.works, Milk weaves together artistic and technological innovations in search of new and daring narratives. Milk began his career creating music videos for Kanye West, Arcade Fire, Beck, Jack White, U2, Johnny Cash, Gnarls Barkley, and many more. As a visual artist, Milk’s interactive installations have been showcased at the MoMA, the Tate Modern, and museums the world over. Milk has released projects on the Vrse platform that have been created in partnership with The New York Times, The United Nations, Apple, Vice, and NBC.