Jennifer Aaker is General Atlantic Professor and Coulter Family Fellow at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a leading expert on how purpose and meaning shape individual choices -- and how technology can positively impact both personal well-being and company growth. Her work has been widely published in leading scientific journals and featured in The Economist, New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic and Science. Most recently, she coauthored the national bestseller Humor, Seriously: Why Humor Is a Secret Weapon in Business (and Life). Once named MBA Professor of the Year, Aaker counts winning a dance-off in the early 1980s among her greatest feats.
Chris Anderson is the Curator of TED, a nonprofit devoted to sharing valuable ideas, primarily through the medium of 'TED Talks' -- short talks that are offered free online to a global audience.
Chris was born in a remote village in Pakistan in 1957. He spent his early years in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, where his parents worked as medical missionaries, and he attended an American school in the Himalayas for his early education. After boarding school in Bath, England, he went on to Oxford University, graduating in 1978 with a degree in philosophy, politics and economics.
Chris then trained as a journalist, working in newspapers and radio, including two years producing a world news service in the Seychelles Islands.
Back in the UK in 1984, Chris was captivated by the personal computer revolution and became an editor at one of the UK's early computer magazines. A year later he founded Future Publishing with a $25,000 bank loan. The new company initially focused on specialist computer publications but eventually expanded into other areas such as cycling, music, video games, technology and design, doubling in size every year for seven years. In 1994, Chris moved to the United States where he built Imagine Media, publisher of Business 2.0 magazine and creator of the popular video game users website IGN. Chris eventually merged Imagine and Future, taking the combined entity public in London in 1999, under the Future name. At its peak, it published 150 magazines and websites and employed 2,000 people.
This success allowed Chris to create a private nonprofit organization, the Sapling Foundation, with the hope of finding new ways to tackle tough global issues through media, technology, entrepreneurship and, most of all, ideas. In 2001, the foundation acquired the TED Conference, then an annual meeting of luminaries in the fields of Technology, Entertainment and Design held in Monterey, California, and Chris left Future to work full time on TED.
He expanded the conference's remit to cover all topics, including science, business and key global issues, while adding a Fellows program, which now has some 300 alumni, and the TED Prize, which grants its recipients "one wish to change the world." The TED stage has become a place for thinkers and doers from all fields to share their ideas and their work, capturing imaginations, sparking conversation and encouraging discovery along the way.
In 2006, TED experimented with posting some of its talks on the Internet. Their viral success encouraged Chris to begin positioning the organization as a global media initiative devoted to 'ideas worth spreading,' part of a new era of information dissemination using the power of online video. In June 2015, the organization posted its 2,000th talk online. The talks are free to view, and they have been translated into more than 100 languages with the help of volunteers from around the world. Viewership has grown to approximately one billion views per year.
Continuing a strategy of 'radical openness,' in 2009 Chris introduced the TEDx initiative, allowing free licenses to local organizers who wished to organize their own TED-like events. More than 8,000 such events have been held, generating an archive of 60,000 TEDx talks. And three years later, the TED-Ed program was launched, offering free educational videos and tools to students and teachers.
An experience designer, executive advisor and leading expert in the intersection of humor and business, Naomi Bagdonas is the coauthor of the national bestseller Humor, Seriously: Why Humor Is a Secret Weapon in Business (and Life).
Bagdonas teaches at Stanford's Graduate School of Business and facilitates interactive sessions for the boards and leadership teams of Fortune 100 companies and nonprofits. Versed in behavioral science, human perceptions and professional comedy, she advises executives and celebrities on events ranging from appearances on Saturday Night Live and The Today Show to company all-hands meetings and political campaign speeches. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Sports Illustrated, Forbes, Financial Times and on her mother's fridge.
In her spare time, Bagdonas runs a program teaching improv comedy in San Francisco's county jail, backpacks in the Sierras and fosters a revolving door of rescue dogs whom she adores and who systematically destroy everything she owns.
An energy and regulatory attorney, Jamie C. Beard left the white-shoe law firm scene to try her hand at bringing about fast, efficient climate change solutions. She founded the Geothermal Entrepreneurship Organization, a US Department of Energy-funded program aimed at recruiting oil and gas talent to launch geothermal startups.
A passionate advocate for geothermal energy as the natural and obvious future business model for the oil and gas industry and the missing link to meeting or exceeding 2050 climate goals, Beard is known by colleagues as a climate realist. She has been credited with catalyzing a wave of recent investment and engagement by oil and gas entities in the geothermal space and with recruiting and mentoring hundreds of new voices to the geothermal industry.
Chris Bennett is cofounder and CEO of Wonderschool, an online platform that helps families find local childcare and preschool options -- and supports those who provide care and education. Born out of Bennett's own experience of excellent early childhood education, Wonderschool's mission is to provide high quality early childhood education to every child in the United States.
Recognized by Fast Company as one of the world's most innovative companies, Wonderschool has received fundings from storied VC firms, including Andreessen Horowitz and First Round Capital. Bennett is a graduate from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is originally from Miami, Florida and, when not working, he enjoys traveling and scuba diving.
Saad Bhamla is an assistant professor of biomolecular engineering at Georgia Tech. A self-proclaimed "tinkerer," his lab is a trove of discoveries and inventions that span biology, physics and engineering. His current projects include studying the hydrodynamics of insect urine, worm blob locomotion and ultra-low-cost devices for global health. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Economist, CNN, Wired, NPR, the Wall Street Journal and more.
Nels Cline's many accolades include being anointed by Rolling Stone as both one of "20 New Guitar Gods" and one of the top "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time."
Cline and his twin brother, drummer Alex, formed a teenage rock band called Homogenized Goo, inspired by the groundbreaking psychedelic guitar work of Jimi Hendrix's "Manic Depression," Jeff Beck's solo on The Yardbirds' "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago," George Harrison's playing at the end of the Beatles "Strawberry Fields Forever" and Pete Townshend's feedback squalls on "I Can See for Miles." In 2014, Cline joined the band Wilco, subsequently appearing on 2005's Kicking Television: Live in Chicago, in 2007's Sky Blue Sky, 2009's Wilco (The Album), 2011's The Whole Love, 2014's Alpha Mike Foxtrot, 2015's Star Wars, 2016's Schmilco and 2019's Ode to Joy.
Isha Datar is the executive director of New Harvest, a research institute exploring alternatives to industrial livestock production. She created a category for agriculture products produced from cell cultures -- rather than whole plants or animals -- called "cellular agriculture." In 2010, she published "Possibilities for an in-vitro meat production system" in Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies, beginning her quest to establish the field of cell agriculture. She cofounded Perfect Day Foods (originally called Muufri) and Clara Foods in 2014, and soon after she passed her founding equity to New Harvest in full to establish the first endowment for public cell agriculture research.
Datar is a Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow and served as a director's fellow at the MIT Media Lab. She holds a bachelor's in cell and molecular biology from the University of Alberta and a master's in biotechnology from the University of Toronto.
Tyrone Davis, Jr. has performed at Carnegie Hall, on Broadway, national tours, television and in regional theaters across the country.
A researcher at Google, Jeff Dean has built software to help epidemiologists and HIV researchers; technology used by billions of people every day to answer questions or give them information (including Google products such as Search, News and Translate); tools to help software developers process and handle large datasets; and open-source tools to enable people to use machine learning to solve new problems. Over the last decade, Dean has managed large teams of researchers and software engineers to tackle important computer science and societal problems.
Carlos M. Duarte is working to rebuild the abundance of marine life by 2050. Following his research showing mangroves, seagrasses and salt marshes to be globally relevant carbon sinks, he developed the concept of "blue carbon" as a nature-based solution to climate change. He has conducted research across all continents and oceans, from inland to near-shore and the deep sea, from microbes to whales.
Duarte led the Malaspina 2010 Expedition that sailed the world's oceans to examine the impacts of global change on ocean ecosystems and explore their biodiversity. He has published more than 900 scientific papers and has been ranked as one of the most influential scientists in the world, receiving many international honors and awards for his research.
Before she joined Zoox in 2019, Aicha Evans served as the senior vice president and chief strategy officer at Intel Corporation, driving the company's transformation from PC-centric to a data-centric company. Previously, she ran the company's wireless efforts and oversaw a global team of 7,000 engineers. Evans is a member of the supervisory board of SAP and holds a Bachelor's degree in computer engineering from the George Washington University.
Maria Gallucci writes about the latest advances in clean energy technology and the ways communities are confronting and adapting to climate change. She began focusing her coverage on the global shipping industry during a 2017-2018 fellowship at the University of Texas at Austin, a position that allowed her to hop on freighters (and schooners) and visit laboratories and bustling ports to experience the growing effort to clean up cargo ships.
Josh Giegel is passionate about the power of engineering to create solutions that enable people to live their lives how they want, where they want, in a sustainable way. This led him to combine his expertise in high-performance rocket engines with his grasp of clean energy generation to develop the world's first autonomous, high-performance, electric mode of mass transportation.
After a 40-year career in enterprise computing, Gay Gordon-Byrne is now an advocate for the right to repair the things we buy. Equipment manufacturers make it difficult for businesses and consumers to repair parts and execute essential patches and fixes for their products. This travesty spurred her to volunteer for a committee seeking to keep the business of repair viable. She now serves as chairman and executive director of the The Repair Association, which pushes for legislative, regulatory and standards changes.
Susan Graham serves as CEO of Dendra Systems, a data analytics company that uses AI and drone technology to restore natural ecosystems. She leads a team of ecologists, engineers and computer scientists to assess ecosystems and execute customized restoration plans that support plant, animal and microbial life. With her deep understanding of the biodiversity of complex ecosystems, as well as the incentives that drive global change, Graham has led Dendra to partner with industry-leading companies, such as BHP and Glencore, to comprehensively restore the land they manage.
As an organizational psychologist, Adam Grant rethinks how people lead, work and live. His pioneering research has inspired people to question assumptions about motivation, generosity and creativity. He has been the Wharton School's top-rated professor for seven straight years, his number one New York Times bestselling books have sold millions of copies, his TED talks have more than 25 million views and his podcast, WorkLife with Adam Grant, has topped charts. He has been recognized by Forbes as one of "The World's Ten Most Influential Business Thinkers," highlighted as a Fortune "40 Under 40" and received distinguished scientific achievement awards from the American Psychological Association and the National Science Foundation. Grant received his BA from Harvard University and his PhD from the University of Michigan. He is a former magician and junior Olympic springboard diver. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife and their three children.
As executive vice president and managing director for the Horizon Group at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), Adrian K. Haugabrook works to drive access, equity and opportunity for marginalized populations in education. He cultivates strategic public-private partnerships to extend SNHU's offerings and curricula to new learners. He mitigates systemic, persistent and pervasive barriers by providing innovations in processes, systems and products that dramatically improve the impact and reach of higher education.
Karoli Hindriks founded her first company at 16, officially becoming the youngest inventor in her native Estonia. She then led the launch of seven television channels in northern Europe, including National Geographic and MTV. As CEO and founder of Jobbatical, she works to make immigration smart and change lives by building high-performing teams that relocate exceptional people to impactful tech jobs around the world.
Forbes named Jobbatical one of Europe's "10 Most Exciting Technology SMEs" for 2018. EU-Startups named her one of the 50 most influential women in the European startup and VC space each year since 2016. In 2020, the EU Council named her one of the eight most inspiring women in Europe.
Hrishikesh Hirway is a musician, songwriter and music producer. He's recorded several albums under the name The One AM Radio and has composed original music for Netflix, ESPN, the NBA and the Sydney Opera House. In addition to his work on Song Exploder, he is cohost and producer of several podcasts, including Home Cooking with Samin Nosrat and The West Wing Weekly with Joshua Malina. He helped launch Google's first original podcast and has executive produced original podcasts for Mailchimp. He also serves the Library of Congress as an advisor on digital strategy.
On his shows, Hirway has interviewed a wide range of guests, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; cellist Yo-Yo Ma; White House Chief of Staff Ronald Klain; playwright Aaron Sorkin; singers Bono, Alicia Keys and Selena Gomez; and the cofounders of Instagram.
Joan As Police Woman, born Joan Wasser, began her musical career as a classically trained violinist in her early teens. She left her classical roots behind to play with a number of 90's alt rock bands, including The Dambuilders, Those Bastard Souls and Helium. In 1999, she joined Antony and the Johnsons and recorded the Mercury Prize-winning album I Am a Bird Now.
In 2002, Wasser formed Joan As Police Woman. Her debut album Real Life was released in 2006 to wild acclaim. Originally self-described as "Punk Rock R&B," her sound evolved through 10 acclaimed studio albums and hundreds of incredible collaborations, including Gorillaz, John Cale, Meshell Ndegeocello, Lou Reed, David Sylvian, Rufus Wainwright and Damon Albarn (the last four of which feature on her own records).
In January 2021, Wasser joined NYU's Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at Tisch as a mentor and completed her new album The Solution Is Restless (released November 2021), a collaboration with the late great Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen (Fela Kuti) and Dave Okumu (The Invisible).
Author Steven Johnson is a leading light of today's interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to innovation. His writings have influenced everything from cutting-edge ideas in urban planning to the battle against 21st-century terrorism. He is the host of the podcast American Innovations and the host and cocreator of the Emmy-winning TV series, How We Got To Now. Johnson is a regular contributor to WIRED magazine, the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and many other periodicals. He lives in Brooklyn, New York and Marin County, California with his wife and three sons.
Ma Jun began his career in 1993 working for the South China Morning Post, where his research on China's environmental problems spurred him to publish his 1999 book China's Water Crisis. In 2004, he was selected as a Yale World Fellow, and in 2006, he founded the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE), a nonprofit in Beijing. He and his colleagues have initiated a green supply chain, green finance program and public supervision, motivating more than 16,000 companies to openly address their violation problems or disclose emission data.
Betül Kaçar is an assistant professor of astrobiology at the University of Arizona, where she explores the essential attributes of life and how they shape our notions of habitability and the search for life on other worlds. Her research centers on the origins of life, early evolution, life in the universe and the molecular mechanisms of evolution.
As an editor at the Whole Earth Review, Wired magazine and the Cool Tools podcast and website, Kevin Kelly shares other people's concepts, views and ideas. He is also the author of bestselling book The Inevitable, a photobook called Vanishing Asia and Recomendo, a weekly newsletter. He is a raging optimist who believes that the only way to steer technology is to use it.
Stephanie Kelton wants to change the way we think about money. Her 2021 book The Deficit Myth became an instant New York Times bestseller. In it, Kelton makes the case for new ways of understanding money, taxes and the critical role of deficit spending, redefining how to responsibly use our resources so that we can maximize our potential as a society.
Kelton has worked in both academia and politics. She served as chief economist on the US Senate Budget Committee in 2015 and as a senior economic adviser to Bernie Sanders' 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns. She works as a professor of economics and public policy at Stony Brook University and holds visiting professorships at The New School for Social Research, the University of Ljubljana and the University of Adelaide. In 2020, Prospect Magazine named her one of "the world's top 50 thinkers."
Ian Kerner specializes in sex therapy, couples therapy and working with individuals on a range of relational issues that often lead to distress. He is the New York Times best-selling author of She Comes First and So Tell Me About the Last Time You Had Sex, and he contributes regularly on the topic of sexuality for CNN Health.
In addition to being a Clinical Fellow of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT), Kerner is certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists and is a member of the American Family Therapy Academy (AFTA). He is coleader of the Sex Therapy Program at the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy, one of New York's oldest and most respected psychoanalytic institutes. He lives with his wife and two sons in New York City, where he maintains a private practice dedicated to honoring the centrality of sexuality in his patients' lives.
Zach King is on a mission to fill the void of darkness on people's social media feeds. Over the years, his work has garnered an audience of more than 100 million followers, and he has collaborated with artists such as Selena Gomez, Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard and David Blaine.
King uses his platform to teach and inspire the next generation of filmmakers by running monthly film competitions on his YouTube channel, receiving thousands of submissions for each challenge. His goal is to encourage the next generation of storytellers to create more than they consume. King and his wife are foster parents and are passionate about advocating for foster kids.
Jarrett J. Krosoczka is the New York Times-bestselling author/illustrator behind more than forty books for young readers, including his wildly popular Lunch Lady graphic novels, select volumes of the Star Wars: Jedi Academy series and Hey, Kiddo, a National Book Award Finalist. In addition to his work in print, he coproduced, codirected and performed in the audiobook adaptation of his graphic memoir, which garnered both Audie and Odyssey Awards for excellence in audiobook production. Young creatives can hear him on SiriusXM's Kids Place Live and catch his popular web show, Draw Every Day with JJK, on YouTube.
Understanding that his books inspire young readers beyond the page, Krosoczka founded School Lunch Hero Day, a national campaign that celebrates school lunch staff. An advocate for arts education, he also established the Joseph and Shirley Krosoczka Memorial Youth Scholarships, which fund art classes for underprivileged children in his hometown of Worcester, Massachusetts.
"[Lizzo's] sound is relentlessly positive and impossibly catchy: bangers that synthesize pop, rap and R&B, with hooks so sharp it feels like they've been in your brain forever," writes Samantha Irby in TIME, which named the self-described "Bop Star" its Entertainer of the Year in 2019. With the help of anthemic smash hits like the 5x Platinum "Truth Hurts," the 3x Platinum "Good As Hell" and the Platinum "Juice," Lizzo released her debut album, Cuz I Love You, on April 19, 2019, debuting at no. six on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart and spending 24 consecutive weeks in the chart's Top 10. After spending seven weeks atop the charts, "Truth Hurts" became the longest running no. 1 by a solo female rap artist in history.
Since the release of the meteoric Cuz I Love You, Lizzo has been named Entertainment Weekly's 2019 Entertainer of the Year and has graced the covers of Rolling Stone, Billboard, British Vogue, Elle and many others. She kicked off 2020 with a showstopping opening performance at the 62nd Grammy Awards, took home three big wins and was the most-nominated artist of the year. She won awards for Best Female R&B/Pop Artist at the 2020 BET Awards and Entertainer of the Year and Outstanding Video at the 2020 NAACP Awards. Her list of high-profile TV performances include the 2019 American Music Awards, MTV VMAs, BET Awards and Saturday Night Live.
As a visual columnist for the New York Times and California Sunday Magazine, Wendy MacNaughton has drawn everywhere from high school cafeterias to Guantanamo Bay. She has illustrated, authored and edited eleven books, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat, The Gutsy Girl by Caroline Paul and her own book, Meanwhile in San Francisco: The City in Its Own Words. She is the cofounder of Women Who Draw, an advocacy database created in 2016 to increase visibility and access for underrepresented artists, illustrators and cartoonists. During the pandemic, she created and produced DrawTogether, a socioemotional learning-based drawing show for kids, which she also hosts. She lives with her wife in San Francisco, but you can often find her on the road in her mobile drawing studio built inside the back of a Honda Element.
(Photo credit: John Keatley)
Katherine Maher has spent her career at the intersection of technology, human rights, democracy and international development. Most recently, she served as CEO and executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation. Previously, she was advocacy director for the international digital rights organization Access, where she worked on global policy issues related to freedom of expression, access to information and privacy. She is a fellow at the Truman National Security Project, and her writings on human rights, technology and foreign policy have appeared in various publications, including the book State Power 2.0 and periodicals Foreign Policy, The Atlantic and The Guardian. She is a member of the Advisory Council of the Open Technology Fund and the board of the Sunlight Foundation.
Maher was a founding member of the UNICEF Innovation team. She received her bachelor's degree in Middle Eastern and Islamic studies from New York University.
In 2013, Irma L. Olguin Jr. decided to build a company focused on strengthening the tech industry in Fresno, California, leveraging it as the economic driver to remake the city. In 2019, her company Bitwise Industries secured one of the largest series A rounds of funding ever for a female, Latinx-led company. The company now aims to activate human potential for the technology industry in underdog cities across the United States. As CEO and cofounder, she oversees Bitwise's operations teams, the company's tech-focused training program and software development.
Pardis Parker is a writer whose work has been published by the New Yorker, the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Chicago Sun-Times, Lit Hub and McSweeney's. He is also cocreator of Uncivil, a sitcom for NBC from Universal Television and Hazy Mills Productions.
As a performer, Parker is a six-time Canadian Comedy Award nominee, a frequent guest on Comedy Central's @midnight, and a contributing correspondent and writer for CBC's This Hour Has 22 Minutes. He is a stand-up comedian who's headlined comedy clubs and small theaters across Canada, the United States and England and an actor who's appeared on shows for ABC, CBS, CBC, Showcase, Family Channel, Comedy Central and others. As a filmmaker, Parker's short films and music videos have received over 80 awards and distinctions.
Ryan Phelan leverages advanced biotechnology solutions to empower conservation efforts. For three decades, she played a key role as a nonprofit leader in patient-oriented health care and built two innovative health care companies focused on empowering the health care consumer.
With cofounder Stewart Brand, Phelan made the case for de-extinction at TEDxDeExtinction in 2013, which helped shift perceptions and attitudes about what's possible in a traditionally conservative field. She also launched the Intended Consequences Initiative, which promotes a rebalancing of the risk-benefit equation for conservation.
Steven Pinker grew up in the English-speaking community of Montreal but has spent his adult life bouncing back and forth between Harvard and MIT. He is interested in all aspects of human nature: how we see, hear, think, speak, remember, feel and interact.
To be specific: he developed the first comprehensive theory of language acquisition in children, used verb meaning as a window into cognition, probed the limits of neural networks and showed how the interaction between memory and computation shapes language. He has used evolution to illuminate innuendo, emotional expression and social coordination. He has documented historical declines in violence and explained them in terms of the ways that the violent and peaceable components of human nature interact in different eras. He has written books on the language instinct, how the mind works, the stuff of thought and the doctrine of the blank slate, together with a guide to stylish writing that is rooted in psychology.
In his latest book, Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, he writes about progress -- why people are healthier, richer, safer, happier and better educated than ever. His other books include The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature, The Stuff of Thought, and The Better Angels of Our Nature.
Loretta J. Ross encourages young people to build a human rights movement that focuses accountability for the United States. She began her career in human rights activism and social change in the 1970s. She has worked at the National Football League Players' Association, the DC Rape Crisis Center, the National Organization for Women (NOW), the National Black Women's Health Project, the Center for Democratic Renewal (National Anti-Klan Network), the National Center for Human Rights Education and SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective. She retired from organizing in 2012 and now teaches activism as a clinical professor.
Ross's most recent books include Reproductive Justice: An Introduction, cowritten with historian Rickie Solinger, and Radical Reproductive Justice: Foundations, Theory, Practice, Critique. Her forthcoming book, Calling In the Calling Out Culture, is scheduled to be released in 2022. She has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and TIME magazine, among others.
Prior to joining Netflix, Bozoma Saint John served as head of global consumer marketing at Apple Music and iTunes, chief brand officer at Uber and CMO at Endeavor. She has been recognized on the Forbes 2018 "World's Most Influential CMOs" list, Billboard 2018 "Women in Music Hall of Fame" list and Hollywood Reporter 2018 "Women in Entertainment Power 100" list. She has also been featured on the cover of Adweek as "one of the most exciting personalities in advertising" and on lists ranging from Ad Age's "Most Creative People" to Ebony's "100 Powerful Executives" and Black Enterprise's "Most Powerful Women in Business". She was inducted into the American Advertising Federation Hall of Achievement in 2014.
Professor Frances Frei of Harvard Business School has used Saint John's successful marketing career as a case study in her MBA class, "Leading Difference." Saint John has appeared as a guest lecturer for Harvard MBA students, delving into the tactical and pivotal marketing moves she made throughout her career, which she credits as intrinsic to her success. Her philanthropic efforts include representing Pencils of Promise as a Global Ambassador to Ghana and serving on the boards of Girls Who Code and Vital Voices.
Nabiha Saklayen's team is building the first closed-loop system to make custom cell therapies accessible to every human for diseases such as Parkinson's, diabetes and vision loss. She was selected as a "Pioneer" in MIT Tech Review's "35 Innovators under 35" list for her patented invention in cellular laser editing and was a 2019 Forbes "30 under 30" awardee for health care. She received her PhD in physics from Harvard University as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute International Fellow. She is also the inaugural Tory Burch Foundation Fellow in Genomics at the Innovative Genomics Institute led by Nobel Laureate Dr. Jennifer Doudna.
Saklayen's commitment to creating accessible therapies for all humans comes from her multicultural upbringing: she was born in Saudi Arabia to Bangladeshi parents and grew up in Germany and Sri Lanka. She is keen to drive the diversification of STEM leadership and launched an education program nationwide to inspire the next generation of diverse STEM leaders.
Jenny Scheinman has worked extensively with some of the most innovative jazz artists in the world such as Bill Frisell, Jason Moran, Brian Blade, Nels Cline and Marc Ribot. She has also toured and recorded with numerous American songwriting legends such as Lucinda Williams, Bruce Cockburn, Rodney Crowell, Lou Reed and Ani Difranco. She is featured on the original cast recording of Anais Mitchell's hit musical Hadestown. In 2015, she premiered a multi-media performance at Duke University entitled Kannapolis:A Moving Portrait, which she continues to present in theaters around the country. She has released ten albums of original music: Here On Earth, The Littlest Prisoner, Mischief & Mayhem, Jenny Scheinman, Crossing The Field, 12 Songs, Shalagaster, The Rabbi's Lover and Live At Yoshi's. In 2019, she released an eponymous album with her band Parlour Game, which she coleads with drummer Allison Miller.
Trebor Scholz is the founding director of the Platform Cooperativism Consortium (PCC) at The New School, a leading hub for the research and coordination of the international cooperative digital economy, and the founding director of the Institute for the Cooperative Digital Economy (ICDE). His book Uberworked and Underpaid: How Workers Are Disrupting the Digital Economy introduces the concept of "platform cooperativism" as a way of joining the co-op model with the digital economy.
Scholz is a faculty associate at Berkman Klein Society of Internet and Society at Harvard University. His articles and ideas have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, The Nation, The Financial Times and Le Monde.
Todd Sickafoose has collaborated with an array of musical innovators, including 17 years recording and touring with artist and activist Ani DiFranco. In 2019, he won a Tony Award as arranger/orchestrator on Anais Mitchell's Broadway hit Hadestown. The next year, he won a Grammy Award for producing the Hadestown Original Broadway Cast Recording. Sickafoose has been making music with Jenny Scheinman and Nels Cline since 2000.
Alex Smith played college football at Utah, where he was recognized as an All-American and led his team to victory in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl. Following his collegiate success, he was selected first overall by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2005 NFL Draft. In 2011, he led the 49ers to their first NFC West division title and playoff win since 2002 and the team's first NFC Championship Game appearance since 1997. In 2012, he joined the Kansas City Chiefs, where he guided the team to four playoff runs and one postseason victory, their first since 1993. He received three Pro Bowl selections during his Chiefs tenure and led the league in passer rating for 2017.
Smith was traded to the Washington Football Team in 2018. During his first season with Washington, he suffered a life-threatening injury to his right leg that nearly resulted in amputation. Although he was expected to never play again, he completed a lengthy rehabilitation process and started as quarterback in 2020, leading Washington to an NFC East division title and earning him NFL Comeback Player of the Year. He retired after his incredible recovery, regarded as one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history.
Julia Sweeney is a writer, director, actress, comedian and monologist. She is known for being a cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1990 to 1995, where she created and popularized the androgynous character Pat. She is also well known for her comedic and dramatic monologues. God Said Ha! is a monologue about serious illness, her brother's lymphoma and her own cancer, and her family's crazy reactions to this crisis as they soldiered their way through struggle, confusion and death. The play was performed all over the US and on Broadway at the Lyceum Theater. It was made into a film produced by Quentin Tarantino, and the comedy album from the show was nominated for a Grammy.
Sweeney's second monologue, In the Family Way, played in theatrical runs in New York and Los Angeles. It was ultimately fashioned into a book, a memoir titled If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother. Sweeney's third monologue, Letting Go of God, chronicled her journey from Catholicism to atheism. It was made into a Showtime film. Her latest show, Older and Wider, was filmed in April 2020.
Kayvon Tehranian has worked as a creative technologist for more than a decade. He started as a software engineer at Google and held leadership positions at various startups before entering the rapidly evolving world of crypto. He is deeply committed to building the new creative economy by harnessing the untapped potential of the internet, Web3 and the Metaverse.
Nigel Topping strengthens collaboration and drives action from investors, businesses, organizations, cities and regions on climate change and coordinates this work with governments and parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). He works alongside the Chilean High-Level Climate Action Champion, Gonzalo Muñoz.
Topping was most recently CEO of We Mean Business, a coalition of businesses working to accelerate the transition to a zero carbon economy. Prior to that he was executive director of the Carbon Disclosure Project, following an 18-year career in the private sector where he worked across the world in emerging markets and manufacturing.
Neuroscientist Li-Huei Tsai's studies on dysfunction in neural circuits and networks suggest that restoring key brain wave patterns can help prevent loss of certain brain capabilities and preserve memory. She is the Picower Professor of Neuroscience at MIT and the director of the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory as well as the recipient of the Society for Neuroscience Mika Salpeter Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2018 Hans Wigzell Research Foundation Science Prize for her research on Alzheimer's disease.
Özlem Türeci, MD, cofounder and chief medical officer of BioNTech, is a physician, immunologist and cancer researcher with translational and clinical experience. She has helped lead the discovery of cancer antigens, the development of mRNA-based individualized and off-the-shelf vaccine candidates and other types of immunotherapies that are currently in clinical development. In her early studies, she found that the established mRNA delivery mechanisms had a poor potency and were not suitable to achieve sufficiently strong immune responses against the encoded antigen. She discovered various ways for improving the efficacy to induce a comprehensive immune response.
Türeci previously served as CEO and chief medical officer of Ganymed Pharmaceuticals AG, which she cofounded with Uğur Şahin and Christoph Huber. The company was acquired by Astellas in 2016. She currently serves as president of the Association for Cancer Immunotherapy (CIMT) in Germany and is a recent recipient of the German Sustainability Award, among other notable recognitions. She is married to Uğur Şahin.
Xiaowei R. Wang is an artist, writer, organizer and coder. Their collaborative project FLOAT Beijing created air quality-sensing kites to challenge censorship and was an Index Design Awards finalist. Other projects have been featured by the New York Times, BBC, CNN, VICE and elsewhere. Their most recent project, The Future of Memory, was a recipient of the Mozilla Creative Media Award. They are the author of the book Blockchain Chicken Farm: And Other Stories of Tech In China's Countryside and one of the lead facilitators of Logic School, an organizing community for tech workers.
Kathryn A. Whitehead is an associate professor and Dean's Career Fellow in the departments of chemical engineering and biomedical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. Her lab builds tiny packages that deliver medicine to the right places in the body. In addition to its work on vaccines, the Whitehead Lab also formulates protein therapeutics like insulin for oral administration and investigates how the maternal cells in breastmilk can be used to deliver medicines to infants.
Whitehead earned a BS with distinction from the University of Delaware and a PhD in chemical engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara before an NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein Postdoctoral Fellowship at MIT. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the NIH Director's New Innovator Award, the DARPA Director's Fellowship and the ASEE Curtis W. McGraw Research Award. She has also received the Controlled Release Society's Young Investigator Award and currently serves on the society's board of directors. An elected fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, she was named a "Pioneer" on the MIT Technology Review's "Innovators Under 35" list and one of the "Brilliant Ten" by Popular Science. Several of her patents have been licensed and sublicensed for reagent and therapeutic use.
Liam Young is cofounder of Tomorrow's Thoughts Today, an urban futures think tank exploring the local and global implications of new technologies, and Unknown Fields, a nomadic research studio that travels on expeditions to chronicle emerging conditions as they occur on the ground.
Described by the BBC as "the man designing our futures," Young's visionary films and speculative worlds are both extraordinary images of tomorrow and urgent examinations of the environmental questions facing us today. As a worldbuilder, he visualizes the cities, spaces and props of our imaginary futures for the film and television industry. He is a BAFTA-nominated producer and has premiered with platforms such as the BBC, Channel 4, SXSW, Tribeca, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Royal Academy, Venice Biennale, and The Guardian.
Young's work has been collected internationally and acclaimed in both mainstream and design media. He has held guest professorships at Princeton University, MIT and Cambridge, and he now runs the groundbreaking master's in fiction and entertainment degree program at SCI-Arc in Los Angeles. He has published several books, including Machine Landscapes: Architectures of the Post Anthropocene and Planet City, a story about a fictional city for the entire population of Earth.
Jamil Zaki is fascinated by human connection, what it does for us and how people can learn to connect better. His research demonstrates that qualities such as empathy and kindness are skills that people can build through practice, like they would strengthen a muscle. He and his colleagues think of their work as constructing "empathy gyms," where they can work out their care and understanding.
In addition to his scientific work, Zaki is active in outreach and public communication of science. He has written about the psychology of empathy and kindness for the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal and The New Yorker. In 2019, he published his first book, The War for Kindness, which NPR called a "wide-ranging, practical guide to making the world better."
Amir Nizar Zuabi is the founding artistic director of ShiberHur Theater Company and an alumnus of the Sundance Institute Theatre Program. Previously, he was an associate director of the Young Vic and a member of the United Theaters Europe for artistic achievement. He is currently creating a show for Riksteatern Theater in Stockholm and writing a new play for the National Theatre in London. In July 2021 he takes up the role of artistic director at Good Chance, which will produce "The Walk."
Zuabi has written and directed extensively for festivals and theaters around the world, including pieces such as I am Yusuf, Three Days of Grief and Grey Rock. He directed Jidarriya by Mahmoud Darwish for the Edinburgh International Festival and The Comedy of Errors for the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Professor Uğur Şahin, MD, cofounder and CEO of BioNTech, is a physician, immunologist and leader in the development of novel approaches to fight cancer and infectious diseases. He has pioneered several breakthroughs enabling the development of mRNA vaccines and other types of immunotherapies. He initiated and oversees "Project Lightspeed," the historic development of the first mRNA vaccine for COVID-19, moving from lab and clinical testing to conditional approval within an unprecedented 11-month period. He also leads BioNTech's research and development of neoantigen specific mRNA cancer vaccines, which are individually tailored and produced on demand. Şahin and his team developed RNA vaccine nanoparticle delivery strategies that target tissue-derived dendritic cells body-wide. They became the first to administer an mRNA encapsulated in a nanoparticle delivery system to humans.
Şahin is coinventor of more than 500 filed patents applications and patents. His academic credentials include serving as a full professor (W3) in Translational Oncology and Immunology at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, where he was the supervisor for more than 50 PhD students. He also holds the role of Chairman of the Scientific Management Board of the Helmholtz Institute for Translational Oncology (HI-TRON) in Mainz. For his contributions to scientific discovery, Şahin has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the German Sustainability Award, the Mustafa Prize and the German Cancer Award. He is married to Özlem Türeci.