Cristina Alesci

Reporter, Bloomberg Television and Bloomberg News

Cristina Alesci covers private equity and deal-making for Bloomberg Television and Bloomberg News. Based in New York, she also contributes articles to Bloomberg Markets magazine and Bloomberg Businessweek.

Alesci broke news on the largest buyout deals of 2012 and interviewed some of the major dealmakers in private equity including Blackstone Group Chairman and CEO Steve Schwarzman, Blackstone Group President and COO Tony James, KKR co-Chairman and co-CEO Henry Kravis and Carlyle Group co-CEO David Rubenstein. She has covered the collapse of commodity brokerage MF Global, the challenges facing Bank of America and potential conflicts of interest in leveraged lending.

Prior to joining Bloomberg L.P. in February 2009, Alesci worked at Pfizer Inc. in New York and at law firm Sidley Austin LLP.

Alesci is a graduate of the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism and earned her undergraduate degree from Pace University.

Philip Ashlock

Co-Founder, Open311

Phil has spearheaded community-driven civic technology initiatives with global reach. Most recently he served as a Presidential Innovation Fellow working with the GSA and the White House Office of Digital Strategy on Project MyUSA. Previously he was the Open Government Program Manager at OpenPlans where he established the Open311 initiative. Open311 is a standard for publicly reporting and tracking civic issues and is now implemented in dozens of cities around the world. In partnership with Code for America he also co-founded Civic Commons, an initiative to help governments share technology and their experiences using it.

Phil has also facilitated broader collaboration between cities and other government bodies around open government initiatives, standards, and open source civic technology. He's been active in the Open Government Partnership and served as a member of the NYC Transparency Working Group where he helped shape one of the world's strongest open data laws: NYC Local Law 11 of 2012.

He currently lives in Washington D.C. where he's working independently on efforts like DemocracyMap and overseeing a portfolio of projects at

Seth Bannon

Founder and CEO, Amicus

Seth is the founder & CEO of Amicus, a social good startup that helps nonprofits turn their supporters into fundraisers and advocates. Having graduated from Y Combinator, Amicus has raised nearly $4M from some the the world's most prestigious investors.

After Amicus was used to power the Human Rights Campaign's digital organizing efforts in the successful 2012 marriage equality fight, Seth was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for Social Entrepreneurship. Since the age of twelve, Seth has been volunteering for, founding, and working for advocacy organizations, including the Obama campaign in 2008. After many years of frustration with the state of technology in the nonprofit world, he founded Amicus in an effort to fix it.

An avid chess player, Seth can often be found in Union Square Park attempting to hustle the chess hustlers.

Erin Barnes

Co-Founder and Executive Director, ioby

The Rockefeller Foundation awarded Erin Barnes and her co-founders at ioby the 2012 Jane Jacobs Medal for New Technology and Innovation. Erin met her co-founders while studying water economics and hydrogeomorphology in graduate school at the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental studies. Before ioby, Erin Barnes was an environmental editor at Men’s Journal magazine, freelance environmental writer, and contributor to Al Gore’s book Our Choice. She conducted field research on socio-economic values of water in Nicaragua and the Amazon, and worked as a community organizer at the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition. She has a B.A. in English and American Studies from the University of Virginia and an M.E.M from Yale University. Erin lives in Brooklyn and serves on the Board of EcoDistricts, Resource Media, the Steering Committee for EPIP-NYC, and as an advisor to ArtBridge, Charity Sub, Shared Squared, and the Social Innovators Collective.

Dionne Baux

Program Officer, Local Initiatives Support Corporation Chicago

Dionne Baux, a native Chicagoan, has worked in city government and for nonprofits for more than seven years, primarily in the area of community economic development. She’s currently a program officer with Local Initiatives Support Corporation-Chicago, where she works on economic development and technology programs. Baux leads LISC’s Smart Communities program, which is designed to increase digital access and use by youth, families, businesses and other institutions in the Auburn Gresham, Chicago Lawn, Englewood, Humboldt Park, and Pilsen neighborhoods. She has a master’s degree in public administration, with a focus in government, from Roosevelt University.

Lois Beckett

Reporter, ProPublica

Lois Beckett has been a reporter for ProPublica since 2011. She covers the intersection of big data, technology and politics. Her recent work focused on the role of data analysis and targeted advertising in the 2012 campaign. Her story on Minnesota's data-collecting "Grandma Brigade" looked at how sophisticated modeling techniques still depend on old-school local organizing. Before joining ProPublica, she wrote for the SF Weekly and the Nieman Journalism Lab.

Rod Beckstrom

Author, The Starfish and the Spider

Rod Beckstrom is a well-known cybersecurity authority, Internet leader and expert on organizational leadership and social networking. He is the former President and CEO of ICANN, the multi-stakeholder organization that helps keep the global Internet secure, stable and unified, and was the founding Director of the U.S. National Cybersecurity Center, the office entrusted with coordinating the Federal Government’s cybersecurity efforts. He is co-author of the critically acclaimed book The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations and a frequent international media commentator and public speaker.

Jeremy Bird

Founding Partner, 270 Strategies

Jeremy Bird is a founding partner at 270 Strategies and a longtime grassroots organizer with broad experience across domestic and international politics, labor, and policy. He helped launch 270 Strategies after serving most recently as the National Field Director for the 2012 re-election campaign of President Barack Obama, where he had primary responsibility for building a nationwide army of staff and volunteer organizers. He is credited with helping establish a ground game and turnout machine that in 2012 “reproduced – through brute force, dedication and will – a turnout in the swing states that in some cases bested the campaign's remarkable performance of four years ago.”

Jeremy has played a number of key leadership roles in support of President Obama since 2007 – including serving as the South Carolina Field Director in the 2007-08 primary campaign and as the Ohio General Election Director in 2008. As the National Deputy Director of Organizing for America – the grassroots organization born out of the 2008 campaign – he was also central to some of the Obama Administration’s most historic policy achievements between 2009-2011, including the Affordable Care Act and Wall Street Reform. Across these roles, Jeremy helped create and implement the Obama campaign’s neighborhood team organizing model – an approach which transformed organizing in presidential politics by merging people-focused, community organizing with empowering and inclusive digital technology and cutting-edge data analytics.

Becky Bond

President, CREDO SuperPAC

Becky Bond is the president of the CREDO Super PAC and the political director of CREDO Mobile. Becky has been at the forefront of the online to offline organizing movement since she joined CREDO in 2000, building CREDO Action into one of the biggest progressive organizations in the country with over 3.3 million members. CREDO's work combines innovative technology, rapid response, measurable results, volunteer engagement and a passionate commitment to winning progressive victories.

Becky heads up CREDO's electoral work and led CREDO's 2004 effort to register over 1 million progressive voters and ran the "Hell No on 23" winning statewide ballot initiative campaign in California in 2010. And most recently, Becky ran CREDO Super PAC’s “Take Down the Tea Party Ten” Campaign, where Bond employed data-driven field operations to defeat five of the most extreme Tea Party Republicans in Congress. She serves on the boards of the New Organizing Institute and

Catherine Bracy

Civic Technologist and Community Organizer

Catherine Bracy is a civic technologist and community organizer whose work focuses on the intersection of technology and political and economic inequality. She is the co-founder and Executive Director of the TechEquity Collaborative, an organization in Oakland, CA that seeks to build an inclusive and community-oriented tech ecosystem in California’s Bay Area.

She was previously Code for America’s Senior Director of Partnerships and Ecosystem where she grew Code for America’s Brigade program into a network of over 50,000 civic tech volunteers in 80+ cities across the US. She also founded Code for All, the global network of Code-for organizations with partners on six continents. Catherine built Code for America’s civic engagement focus area, creating a framework and best practices for local governments to increase public participation which has been adopted in cities across the US.

During the 2012 election cycle she was Director of Obama for America's Technology Field Office in San Francisco, the first of its kind in American political history. She was responsible for organizing technologists to volunteer their skills for the campaign’s technology and digital efforts. Prior to joining the Obama campaign, she ran the Knight Foundation’s 2011 News Challenge and before that was the administrative director at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society. She is on the board of directors at the Citizen Engagement Lab and the Public Laboratory.

Kimberly Bryant

Founder, Black Girls Code

Kimberly Bryant is the Founder and Executive Director of Black Girls CODE, a non-profit organization focused on introducing girls of color (ages 7-17) to the field of technology and computer programming with a concentration on entrepreneurial concepts. Ms. Bryant has enjoyed a very successful professional career as a Biotechnology Engineer in a series of technical leadership roles for various Fortune 100 companies such as Genentech, Merck, and Pfizer. Ms. Bryant serves on the National Champions Board for the National Girls Collaborative Project, and the National Board of the NCWIT K-12 Alliance. In August 2012, Kimberly Bryant was also given the honor of receiving the prestigious Jefferson Award for Community Service for her work to support communities in the Bay Area with Black Girls Code, and was selected by Business Insider in 2013 on its list of The 25 Most Influential African-Americans in Technology.

Brad Burnham

Managing Partner, Union Square Ventures

Brad Burnham is a managing partner at Union Square Ventures. He began his career in information technology with AT&T in 1979. Brad held a variety of sales, marketing and business development positions there until 1990 when he spun Echo Logic out of Bell Laboratories. As the first AT&T "venture," Echo Logic was a catalyst for the creation of AT&T's venture capital arm, AT&T Ventures. When Echo Logic was sold in 1993, Brad joined AT&T Ventures as an Executive in Residence. He became a Principal in 1994 and a General Partner in 1996. At AT&T Ventures, Brad was responsible for 14 investments including Argon Networks, Audible, Avesta Technologies, Classic Sports Network, Multex Systems, Physicians Online, and Paytrust.

Brad currently serves on the boards of Tumblr, Stack Exchange, DuckDuckGo, DuoLingo, Flurry, GetGlue, SimulMedia, Meetup, YieldMo and Bug Labs. He represented USV on the board of Indeed prior to the companies successful exit. Brad has a BA in Political Science from Wesleyan University, is married with two kids and lives in New York City.

Mark Edward Campos

Chief Data and Information Expert, Waze

Mark Edward Campos is chief data and information expert for Waze, the social mapping and traffic app. Formally trained in architecture at California College of the Arts, his personal work explores the intersection of information design, robotics, custom fabrication, and public space. At Waze, Mark is responsible for the aggregation, visualization, and distribution of some of the most real-time data in the world. During his tenure at Waze, Mark has had the opportunity to work with some of the brightest minds in geo-location, and has spoken on data and policy across the country.

Scott Chacon

Git Evangelist and Ruby Developer, GitHub

Scott Chacon is a Git evangelist and Ruby developer working on He's the author of the Pro Git book by Apress, the Git Internals Peepcode PDF as well as the maintainer of the Git homepage and the Git Community Book. He's presented for conferences and local groups and has done corporate training on Git across the country.

Robin Chase

Founder, Buzzcar, Zipcar, and GoLoco

Robin Chase is founder and CEO of Buzzcar, a service that brings together car owners and drivers in a carsharing marketplace. empowers individuals to take control of their mobility, without looking to governments or big businesses for solutions. Robin is also founder and former CEO of Zipcar, the largest carsharing company in the world, and GoLoco, an online ridesharing community.

She is on the Board of the World Resources Institute, the National Advisory Council for Innovation & Entrepreneurship for the US Department of Commerce, and the OECD’s International Transport Forum Advisory Board. She also served on the Intelligent Transportations Systems Program Advisory Committee for the US Department of Transportation, the Massachusetts Governor’s Transportation Transition Working Group, and Boston Mayor’s Wireless Task Force. Robin lectures widely, has been frequently featured in the major media, and has received many awards in the areas of innovation, design, and environment, including Time 100 Most Influential People, Fast Company Fast 50 Innovators, and BusinessWeek Top 10 Designers. Robin graduated from Wellesley College and MIT's Sloan School of Management, and was a Harvard University Loeb Fellow.

Shannon Chatlos

Managing Partner & Political Practice Lead, SalientMG

Shannon Chatlos is Managing Partner and Political Practice Lead at SalientMG where she advises and implements marketing efforts and market growth strategies for tech industry companies and political technology products. Shannon also works with clients to develop impactful digital marketing, advertising, and campaign strategies. She has worked in the Political Technology industry since 2000 with a background in digital advertising, compliance software solutions, voter data, "Big Data" platforms, fundraising solutions, political field operations, as well as campaign and PAC fundraising.

During the 2012 election cycle, she was the Dir. of Business Development for conservative/Republican clients at Resonate where she implemented dozens of digital media campaigns using Resonate’s unique “big data” platform. Before joining Resonate, Chatlos held a 12 year position with Aristotle, where she worked with clients on both side of the aisle; she has worked with hundreds Federal and Statewide campaigns, Super PACS, and campaign organizations, assisting them with their technology needs. Shannon is also a board member at the Naval Academy Primary School and has been an active volunteer for non-profits, military organizations, and political campaigns since college. She holds a Bachelors in Journalism from the University of Georgia, and now lives in Annapolis, MD where she resides with her husband and two children.

Tiffiniy Cheng

Co-Founder and Co-Director, Fight for the Future.

Tiffiniy Cheng is a co-founder and co-director of Fight for the Future. Cheng has spent eleven years building activism campaigns, organizations, and software applications for social change. During that time, she co-led Downhill Battle, a first-of-its-kind viral campaign operation; built Open Congress, the most popular government transparency site; and nearly moved legislation on breaking up too-big-to-fail -- her work is on art, culture and structural power issues. Fight for the Future is known for its visionary and massive viral organizing campaigns that changed Internet history both nationally and globally. Faced with the passage of Stop Online Piracy Act/SOPA and the Protect-IP Act/PIPA, Fight for the Future organized the largest and most visible online protest in history.

Steven Clift


Steven Clift is @democracy on Twitter. In 1994 he launched, the world's first election information website. After launching the State of Minnesota's e-government program at 25, he spent over a decade speaking and consulting on democracy and community online across 30 countries. Today as E-Democracy's Executive Director and an Ashoka Fellow, his focus is on inclusive community engagement via the Knight Foundation funded non-profit initiative with 15,000+ members in the Twin Cities. Steven lives with his wife and two small children in a house with an open front porch in Minneapolis, Minnesota. From here he connects daily with over 1,000 of his nearest neighbors to generate inspiring community good via his local BeNeighbors forum on E-Democracy.

Gabriella Coleman

Professor, McGill University and Author, Coding Freedom

Gabriella (Biella) Coleman is the Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy in the Art History and Communication Studies Department at McGill University. Trained as an anthropologist, she researches, writes, and teaches on hackers and digital activism. Her first book on Free Software, “Coding Freedom: The Aesthetics and the Ethics of Hacking” has been published with Princeton University Press. She is currently working on a new book on Anonymous and digital media under with Verso.

Michael Connery

Vice President of Digital Communications, Powell Tate

Michael Connery is a Vice President of Digital Communications at Powell Tate, where he develops and implements integrated digital strategies for public affairs campaigns. He is currently the digital lead on This Is Personal, a national campaign to bring young women into the reproductive health advocacy community. Prior to joining Powell Tate, Michael worked in political campaigns and nonprofits with a focus on reaching young voters. He was the New Media Director for the New York State Senate Democratic Campaign Committee, and led the reboot of the committee’s branding and digital platforms in 2010. In 2004 he co-founded a nonprofit voter engagement organization that reached 2 million young voters at over 2,400 live music events. He is also the author of Youth To Power: How Today’s Young Voters Are Building Tomorrow’s Progressive Majority.

Cheryl Contee

Partner, Fission Strategy

Cheryl Contee, Partner at Fission Strategy, specializes in helping non-profit organizations and foundations use social media to create social good. She is also the co-founder of Jack and Jill Politics writing as “Jill Tubman” on one of the top black blogs online. Cheryl is included in The Root 100 list of established and emerging African-American leaders. Huffington Post listed her as one of the Top 27 Female Founders in Tech to Follow on Twitter in 2011. Fast Company named her one of their 2010 Most Influential Women in Tech. She has over 15 years of award-winning interactive expertise and previously served as Vice President and lead digital strategist for Fleishman-Hillard’s West Coast region in San Francisco. Cheryl has appeared in the Washington Post, New York Times, San Francisco Magazine, BBC, and CNN, among other media appearances. She is also proud to serve on several boards and advisory committees: Netroots Nation, BlogHer, Blogging While Brown, Applied Research Center, and Public Radio International. She received her B.A. from Yale University and has an International Executive M.B.A. from Georgetown University. In her spare time, Ms. Contee enjoys hiking, yoga, movies and tai chi sword.

Sara Critchfield

Editorial Director, Upworthy

Sara Critchfield is a founding staff member and Editorial Director at, where she's currently having a ball! Upworthy, founded by Eli Pariser and Peter Koechley in March 2012, is social media with a mission: to draw attention to the issues that really matter by making them irresistibly shareable.

Sara is passionate about using technology, religion, design, advocacy, pop culture, and even the old-fashioned art of real-life conversation to pursue a more equitable society. In previous lives, Sara worked as the Community Manager at, co-founded an intellectual property firm, worked on food security programs in Guatemala, and did lots of grassroots organizing for nonprofits in Washington DC. She holds a Master of Nonprofit Administration from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Science in Visual Communication from Drexel University.

Keya Dannenbaum

Founder and CEO, ElectNext

Keya Dannenbaum is founder and CEO at ElectNext, an award-winning civic startup that translates open political data into embeddable tools for digital news media.

Keya has long been a political person (which is totally different from a political junkie, as she likes to point out). She studied and worked in politics as a Stanford undergrad and Princeton Ph.D., internationally as a Fulbright Scholar in Colombia and a Melman Fellow in India, nationally in the 2008 Presidential election, and locally for the Mayor of New Haven, CT. She is a junkie for Manchester United, Elvis Presley and the Insanity DVDs.

Rodrigo Davies

Research Assistant, MIT’s Center for Civic Media

Rodrigo is a Research Assistant at MIT’s Center for Civic Media and a masters student in Comparative Media Studies. His research focuses on crowdfunding for civic projects and telephone-based ICT4D. He is is a policy advisor to the UK-based civic crowdfunding platform Spacehive and a technical consultant to the United Nations Development Program. Before joining the Center Rodrigo was based in Mumbai, where he was a co-founding editor of Conde Nast India's digital editorial business. Previously he worked with the BBC and Bloomberg News in London.

Demond Drummer

Organizer, Smart Chicago Collaborative

Demond Drummer is part of the Smart Chicago Collaborative, where he leads a multi-sector partnership to drive full participation in the digital economy: The Connect Chicago Challenge.

He was previously tech organizer at Teamwork Englewood. As tech organizer he facilitated digital leadership trainings with block clubs, parent leaders and business owners. His projects included Englewood Codes, a summer youth code camp, and, a community-driven effort to reclaim city-owned vacant lots.

An alumnus of Morehouse College, Demond is a founding member of the Resident Association of Greater Englewood (R.A.G.E.) and a longtime member of Chicago's open government movement. He was previously an Organizing Fellow with the New Organizing Institute and a field organizer for Barack Obama's primary campaign in South Carolina.

David Eaves

Public Policy Entrepreneur & Open Government Activist

A public policy entrepreneur, and expert in information technology, innovation and government, David Eaves serves as a fellow and adjunct lecturer at the Belfer Center, at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

In 2009, as an adviser to the Office of the Mayor of Vancouver David proposed and helped draft the Open Motion which created one of the first municipal open data portals in the world. He subsequently advised the Canadian government on its open data strategy where his parliamentary committee testimony laid out the core policy structure that has guided multiple governments approach to the issue. He has also advised numerous local, state and national governments advising on technology and policy issues, including sitting on Ontario’s Open Government Engagement Team in 2014-2015.

In addition to working with government officials, David served as the first Director of Education for Code for America – training each cohort of fellows for their work with cities. David has also provided training and support to 18F and the Presidential Innovation Fellows program at the White House.

Althea Erickson

Director of Policy, Etsy

Althea Erickson is director of public policy at Etsy, the marketplace for creative people to buy and sell unique goods. Althea leads Etsy’s government relations and advocacy efforts, focusing on educating and advising policymakers on the issues that micro-entrepreneurs and creative businesses face. She is also responsible for developing and advancing Etsy’s position on issues ranging from taxes and regulation, to open Internet and free trade, to IP and privacy policies.

Prior to joining Etsy, Althea was the advocacy and policy director at Freelancers Union, where she helped build the membership into a powerful political constituency, leading its successful campaign to repeal unfair tax laws. She also launched Freelancers Union’s Political Action Committee and promoted legislation to protect freelancers from unpaid wages. Previously, Althea worked at the Rockefeller Foundation, where she focused on strategies to build economic security within the U.S. workforce. She has a B.A in government and public policy from Wesleyan University.

Hollis Felkel

Creator and Chief Advocacy Innovator, RAP Index

Hollis "Chip" Felkel is an entrepreneur, veteran public affairs strategist and an advocacy innovator with over twenty-five years of experience in national politics and policy. He is the creator and Chief Advocacy Innovator of RAP Index, a revolutionary "influencer identification" tool for public affairs and serves as CEO of Felkel Group, a strategic communications firm focused on public policy issues.

Today, Felkel offers guidance as a communications advisor, counselor, navigator and connector to senior decision-makers at all levels of business and government providing a frank objective perspective on political and policy issues, on communications challenges and business development projects. Felkel’s expertise and insight is sought Fortune 100's, state and national associations as well as issue focused coalitions.

Felkel is recognized as a knowledgeable, experienced observer of today's volatile political/public policy area with his opinions and views appearing regularly in both national and international media outlets including NYT, Fox, WSJ, CNN, MSNBC, Politico, NPR, TIME, the Telegraph and Guardian (UK) DR (Denmark), BBC, and CBC (Canada). Locally, he serves as the Political Analyst for WYFF (NBC-Greenville).

A political campaign veteran, Chip Felkel began his career with Campbell for Governor (1986) and later served in management roles with the 1988 Bush-Quayle campaign, with Jim DeMint’s 2002 Congressional re-elect, and in strategic and communications roles with Bush-Cheney 2000 and 2004.

Today, Chip Felkel serves as a member of the Board of Visitors at his alma mater, the University of South Carolina and is a former board member with the UpCountry History Museum and local YMCA. He resides in Greenville (Simpsonville) SC with his wife Shonna and their two children.

Allison Fine

Author, "Matterness: Fearless Leadership for a Social World"

Allison Fine is among the nation’s pre-eminent thinkers and strategists on networked leadership. Over the past ten years, she has written three books, keynoted conferences around the world, and coached hundreds of organizations. Her particular expertise is in developing efforts that combine the power of personal relationships with the scale of social media to enable efforts to grow exponentially. She is the author of Matterness: Fearless Leadership for a Social World, the award-winning Momentum: Igniting Social Change in the Connected Age, and co-author of the bestselling The Networked Nonprofit. She writes an advice column for the Chronicle of Philanthropy and serves on the boards of the Sunlight Foundation, NARAL, and Civic Hall.

Alex Fowler

Global Privacy and Public Policy Leader, Mozilla

As Mozilla’s Global Privacy & Public Policy Leader, Alex is responsible for leading strategic and operational initiatives on privacy, as well as overseeing the independent organization’s public policy activities. With over twenty years of experience, Alex is a dedicated professional focused on consumer rights, privacy by design and data safety.

Alex’s past experience includes roles with Zero-Knowledge Systems, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Most recently, Alex served as a leader of PwC’s privacy practice, where he advised clients spanning finance, technology and healthcare industries on privacy, security, data breaches, technology policy and IT risk and compliance.

Alex holds degrees from Brown University and George Washington University. He’s also a professionally trained cellist and beginner surfer, activities he rarely engages in at the same time.

Lindsey Franklin

Program Manager, New Media Ventures

Lindsey Franklin is the Program Manager for New Media Ventures, a national network of early stage investors supporting startups that create progressive political change.

She is also the co-founder of ecoVC, a social venture designed to help startups grow with sustainability built into their core. An emeritus board member for San Francisco's Young Women Social Entrepreneurs, she has guest lectured at Monterey Institute for International Studies and Middlebury College on business model generation and social entrepreneurship.

Lindsey cut her political chops during the 2008 Presidential election, where she coordinated three different climate campaigns during the primaries before working for President Obama's Campaign for Change in Michigan. She received her BA from Middlebury College in Environmental Studies and Philosophy.

Sharon Bradford Franklin

Senior Counsel, The Constitution Project

Sharon Bradford Franklin is Senior Counsel at The Constitution Project, a constitutional watchdog based in Washington, D.C. Her work focuses on TCP’s Rule of Law Program, including issues of government secrecy, individual privacy, and detention policies. She works principally with the Project’s bipartisan Liberty and Security Committee, seeking to protect Americans’ civil liberties as well as our nation’s security. She worked closely with the committee in the development of the report Recommendations for the Implementation of a Comprehensive and Constitutional Cybersecurity Policy, and she is a member of the Cybersecurity Subcommittee for the DHS Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee. Before joining The Constitution Project, Ms. Franklin served as Executive Director of the Washington Council of Lawyers, a voluntary bar association whose mission is to promote pro bono and public interest law. Previously, Ms. Franklin spent ten years as a civil rights lawyer. She served as a Trial Attorney in the Housing & Civil Enforcement Section of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and she worked on civil rights policy matters as a Special Counsel in the Office of General Counsel at the Federal Communications Commission. She graduated from Harvard College and Yale Law School.

Camille François

Fellow, Harvard Berkman Center for Internet & Society

Camille François is a Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society and at the Yale Law School Information Society Project. She specializes in the public policy of cyberwar and cyberpeace, and related issues in surveillance, privacy and robotics.

A Fulbright Fellow, she is also a visiting scholar at Columbia University’s Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies. There, she worked with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) on cybersecurity and privacy, and won first prize at the Atlantic Council Cyber 9/12 National Challenge in Cyber Policy. She previously worked for Google in Europe, managing cross media market research and key policy and privacy trends.

Camille holds a Master’s degree in International Public Management from Sciences-Po Paris University, and a Master’s degree in International Security from the Columbia School of Public and International Affairs. She completed her Bachelor at Sciences-Po Paris, with a year as a visiting student at Princeton University, and received legal education at Paris II - Sorbonne Universités.

Camille has been involved in a wide range of free culture advocacy projects and serves as a Digital Advisor for Libraries Without Borders, working on digital literacy and digital inclusion.
She co-organizes the Drones and Aerial Robotics Conference (DARC).

In France, Camille served two years in the Parliament as a legislative aide.
Her work and opinions have been featured in media such as Scientific American, The Guardian, WIRED and the BBC.

Jaclyn Friedman

Executive Director, WAM!

Jaclyn Friedman is a writer, educator, and activist. She is the editor of the hit book Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape (one of Publisher's Weekly's Top 100 Books of 2009) and author of What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl’s Shame-Free Guide to Sex & Safety. Friedman is a founder and the Executive Director of Women, Action & the Media, a national organization working for gender justice in media. She is also a charter member of CounterQuo, a coalition dedicated to challenging the ways we respond to sexual violence. Friedman hosts the weekly podcast Fucking While Feminist.

Ralph Garvin

Founder and CEO, Organizer

Ralph Garvin, Jr is the founder and CEO of Organizer, which makes the nation’s most powerful set of mobile cloud-based tools for large-scale, face-to-face, community outreach; whether it’s informing a community of their healthcare choices or surveying residence of a hurricane damaged neighborhood. A computer scientist turned Obama campaign staffer, Ralph combined his field experience with his expertise in artificial intelligence and system design to code the original Organizer system in 2010 and now leads the company’s product and strategic vision. Ralph launched his first startup in 1999 while a sophomore at Stanford University and is now dedicated to the exciting intersection of technology and social activism and how such an intersection can improve society.

Jim Gilliam

Founder and CEO, NationBuilder

Jim Gilliam is the founder and CEO of NationBuilder, the essential toolkit for leaders.

Previously, he co-founded Robert Greenwald's Brave New Films, building a non-profit grassroots media powerhouse of a million members. In the late 90's, he launched as its Chief Technology Officer, and worked at Lycos, one of the first internet search engines. Gilliam has produced four documentaries, and was honored in 2008 with Take Back America’s second annual Maria Leavey Tribute Award.

His speech at the Personal Democracy Forum in June 2011, The Internet is My Religion, has been viewed over 500,000 times and called "the best video on the internet."

Dan Gillmor

Founding Director, Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship, Arizona State University

Dan Gillmor teaches journalism entrepreneurship and digital media literacy at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communication at Arizona State University. He writes a weekly column for the Guardian. He's author of two books about the evolution of media ("We the Media" and "Mediactive") and is working on a new book about technology and liberty. He co-founded several companies, is an investor/advisor in others, and serves on several nonprofit boards.

Aaron Ginn

Co-Founder, Lincoln Labs

Aaron is a growth-hacker and co-founder of Lincoln Initiative. Lincoln's mission is to build a community of liberty-oriented technologists from Silicon Valley to Silicon Alley and connect them into the civic process. He has deep experience in technology and product development. His expertise is blending data, philosophy, and behavioral sciences in product design. From this passion, he was one of the first writers on growth hacking movement. He led growth at Everlane, StumbleUpon, and Romney’s 2012 campaign. In 2016, WIRED name him one of the top 20 influencers in politics. In 2015, he was named one of the top digital marketers in America. He was elected to the CAGOP Executive Board in 2014 and serves the CTO of the California Young Republicans.

Seth Godin


Seth Godin is the author of 17 books that have been bestsellers around the world and have been translated into more than 35 languages. You might be familiar with his books Linchpin, Tribes, The Dip and Purple Cow.

In addition to his writing and speaking, Seth is founder of, a fast growing, easy to use website. His blog (which you can find by typing "seth" into Google) is one of the most popular in the world.

Recently, Godin once again set the book publishing on its ear by launching a series of four books via Kickstarter. The campaign reached its goal after three hours and ended up becoming the most successful book project ever done this way. His latest, The Icarus Deception, argues that we've been brainwashed by industrial propaganda, and pushes us to stand out, not to fit in.

Find out why American Way Magazine called Seth Godin, "America's Greatest Marketer."

Amy Gonzalez

Founder and President, Blueprint Interactive

Amy Niles Gonzalez is Founder and President of Blueprint Interactive. A veteran entrepreneur, interactive strategist and management consultant, Amy works with numerous clients on issue advocacy and digital campaigns that leverage data and modeling alongside creative and messaging. Amy was recently selected as 2013 CampaignTech Innovator by Campaigns and Elections magazine.

Prior to Blueprint, Amy served as President of MSHC Partners, Inc. where she managed the overall business as well as led the interactive division. Under her leadership, MSHC’s interactive division grew from three employees to more than twenty, generated record profits and won numerous awards, including the coveted Yahoo! “Big Idea Chair Award.”

Previously, Amy founded and managed the Interactive Marketing group of Capital One, one of the nation’s largest and most diversified financial services companies. She also co-founded Strong Numbers – a software firm – that was recognized as a Top 10 e-Commerce Company in Massachusetts and a finalist in Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s $50K Entrepreneurship Competition. Amy has held management consulting positions at The Boston Consulting Group and McKinsey & Company.

Amy holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania and a Masters of Business Administration from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Erine Gray


Erine Gray is an experienced director, consultant and software developer. Immediately prior to founding Aunt Bertha, Mr. Gray served as Director of Business Analysis and Reporting for MAXIMUS, Inc., a global government outsourcing firm where he was responsible for conceiving, selling and delivering more than 40 software and operational improvement projects that saved the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) more than $5 million dollars per year in operating expenses. Mr. Gray started his career as a software developer and project manager, delivering projects with Dell Computer, AON Insurance and the City of Austin. Mr. Gray has a Masters in Public Affairs (MPA) from the University of Texas and a Bachelors in Economics from Indiana University with a concentration in Computer Science. Erine is a certified project management professional (PMP) and holds several technology certifications.

Nick Grossman

General Manager for Policy, Union Square Ventures

Nick is the General Manager for Policy at Union Square Ventures. In this role, he works with USV portfolio companies on public policy and regulatory issues and with internet advocates to support the health of the open web.

Previously, he led an incubator for technology & media businesses at the intersection of cities and data at OpenPlans, which, among other things, built NYC’s real-time bus data platform. Nick is an advisor to the Data & Society Institute and the Data-Smart Cities Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School, and has been a visiting scholar at the MIT Media Lab, an affiliate at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School.

Steve Grove

Director, News Lab at Google

Steve Grove leads a team at Google called the News Lab, focused on empowering innovation at the intersection of media and technology. Before the News Lab, he started his career at Google by building its News and Politics team at YouTube. Bringing the first media organizations and political campaigns onto the platform, he built a series of partnerships and programs that created opportunities for YouTube users to gain nationwide exposure during key moments in the media cycle. His team created such projects as the CNN/YouTube Debates, a series of YouTube Interviews with the President, and CitizenTube. After YouTube, he hired and led a 75-person team called "community partnerships", focused on growing Google's social efforts on Google+. Before working in technology, Steve was a journalist in his hometown of Northfield, MN and later at the Boston Globe and ABC News.

Brian Gryth

Manager, Operational Support Team, CO Secretary of State’s Office

Brian Gryth is a passionate advocate for civic innovation and technology driven open government. Brian is the Manager of the Operational Support Team in the Business and Licensing Division of the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office. While at the Secretary of State, Brian led the creation and managed of the Operational Support Team. Through the adoption of continuous improvement and data-driven management processes, this team has implemented more effective and efficient service delivery to the Division’s customers. Most recently, Brian lead the effort to gain funding to create the Business Intelligence Center program. This program will centralize access to government data relevant to businesses and implement a civic apps challenge to incentivize the tech community to use the data and create tools useful to business owners.

Brian also co-founded OpenColorado, a non-profit formed to help facilitate a transformation in government that will lead to a more useable and interactive government. Through the use of open source technologies, OpenColorado deployed, one of the first community driven CKAN data catalogs in the world. This catalog makes nearly 700 government datasets accessible to the public and developer community. As part of OpenColorado’s educational efforts, Brian led the effort to create, which creates and publishes open government policy templates to help municipal governments adopt and institutionalize open government in their organizations.

Brian has also co-organized multiple unconferences and community events, such as Gov 2.0 Camp Rocky Mountains, CityCamp Colorado 2010, 2011, 2012, and Denver Startup Week. In order to help reach a new population of civic activists, Brian has planned or advised the planning of several civic hackathons, including Colorado Code of Communities Civic Hackathon, Hack for Longmont, and Hack4Colorado. Brain frequent presents on the topics of Open Government, data transparency, innovation, and social entrepreneurship. Brian earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Northern Colorado and a Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Hamline University School of Law.

Peter Hamby

Political Reporter, CNN

Peter Hamby is a national political reporter for CNN, based in the network's Washington bureau. He reports on campaigns and politics for CNN’s domestic and international television networks as well as for He most recently covered the 2012 presidential race, with a focus on the Republican primary contest and Mitt Romney’s campaign. After the 2012 campaign, POLITICO named Hamby was one of "10 Breakout Reporters of 2012." He is a fellow at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, where he recently wrote a study about the impact of Twitter on media behavior and campaign press strategy. Hamby is a graduate of Georgetown University and the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University.

Stefan Hankin

Founder and President, Lincoln Park Strategies

Stefan Hankin is the founder and president of Lincoln Park Strategies. Over the past decade and a half, Stefan has led research efforts for political candidates running for President, Congress, Governor, Attorney General, and Mayor, as well as candidates on the state legislative level; as well as message-driven communication campaigns for a wide range of clients from Fortune 500 companies to trade associations, non-profits, industry groups and colleges and universities. His research and analysis has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, USA Today, and the Christian Science Monitor as well as political outlets such as Politico and National Journal. He has also appeared on numerous radio and TV programs including WJLA’s Nightly News, CSpan, ABCNews’ Topline, and CTV Televisions’ Question Period discussing his research and opinions. A native of the Boston area, Stefan now resides in Washington DC with his wide and daughter.

Serenety Hanley

Founder, The Social Shack

Serenety Hanley has spent the last 14 years working in politics, technology and online grassroots activism. She had the honor of serving President George W. Bush as the first woman to hold the title of White House Internet Director, and as the first Director of the Office of Web Communications at the Environmental Protection Agency. Previously, Serenety was the first Director of Political Technology at the Republican National Committee where she developed and managed innovative and first-its-kind political technology projects, including, Voter Vault and the Wireless 72 Hour get-out-the-vote program. Last year, Serenety was named an Innovator of the Year by Campaigns & Elections for her work to include more citizens in the political process through new technologies. Recently, Serenety opened her own social media grassroots consulting firm, The Social Shack.

Rachel Haot

Chief Digital Officer, New York City

Rachel Sterne Haot is the Chief Digital Officer for the City of New York, leading NYC Digital, part of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. The mission of NYC digital is to realize Mayor Bloomberg's digital roadmap for New York City, a plan to fulfill the City's digital potential.

Prior to this role, Rachel was an independent digital strategy consultant, and Founder and CEO of GroundReport, a global, crowdsourced news startup. She has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Columbia Business School, specializing in social media and entrepreneurship.

A lifelong New Yorker, Rachel attended public schools and graduated magna cum laude from New York University with a BA in History. In 2012 she was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, and serves on the digital advisory board of Women@NBCU and the NY/NJ 2014 Super Bowl Social Media Advisory Committee.

Jeremy Heimans

Co-Founder and CEO, Purpose

Jeremy Heimans (@jeremyheimans) is co-founder and CEO of Purpose, a home for building 21st century movements and ventures that use the power of participation to change the world. Since its launch in 2009, Purpose has launched several major new organizations including All Out, a 1.5 million-strong LGBT rights group, built the world's first open-source global activism platform, and advised institutions like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the ACLU and Google.

Ari Hoffnung

Deputy Comptroller, New York City

Ari Hoffnung has been a leader in promoting transparency and civic engagement initiatives since he joined the Comptroller’s Office in 2010. He is the driving force behind Checkbook NYC, a website that empowers the public to keep an eye on more than $70 billion in annual government spending with detailed, up-to-date information about New York City’s revenues, expenditures, contracts, payroll, and budget, and was called the best of its kind by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. Hoffnung also spearheaded The People’s Budget NYC, a crowd-sourcing website that offers taxpayers a platform to vote, discuss, and suggest new budget ideas.

Hoffnung currently serves as Comptroller Liu’s representative at the Office of Payroll Administration (OPA) and the Financial Services Agency (FISA), where he played an integral role in ending the runaway spending associated with the CityTime project. Hoffnung was also appointed to the newly formed NYC Technology Development Corporation which provides senior project management and other consulting services for the City’s most critical and complex information technology projects.

Prior to joining Comptroller Liu’s administration, Hoffnung served as Chief of Staff to then-City Councilman Simcha Felder, and was a Managing Director at Bear Stearns where he worked for more than a decade. Hoffnung holds an MBA in Finance from New York University’s Stern School of Business and a bachelor’s degree from Queens College. He resides in the Riverdale section of the Bronx with his wife, Annie, and their two children.

Andrew Hoppin

Founder, Nuams

Andrew Hoppin is co-founder and CEO of New Amsterdam Ideas (Nuams). He previously served as Chief Information Officer of the New York State Senate from January 2009-January 2011. There, he led the successful effort to deploy the first major New York State government website using the Drupal content management system,, which won "Best of New York" awards for Project Excellence. Andrew was awarded the 2010 New York State Public Sector CIO of the Year by GovTech Magazine, and was named one of the top 50 government CIOs in the United States by Information Week magazine. Andrew's experience with Drupal dates back to 2005, when he served as Strategy Director for the CivicSpace Labs project, one of the first major Drupal consulting firms. Later, as co-founder of the startup company Goodstorm, he invested in the development of some of Drupal's earliest e-commerce capabilities. Finally, as co-founder of the CoLab project at NASA, he invested in the development of the first version of Drupal's "Conference Organizing solution." Andrew keynoted the 3,000 person 2010 Drupalcon conference in San Francisco. He serves on the Board of Directors or Advisory Boards of Open Plans, Civic Commons (now Code for America), OpenCongress, and Yenza.

Salim Ismail

Founding Executive Director, Singularity University

Salim Ismail is a sought-after speaker, strategist and entrepreneur based in Silicon Valley. He travels extensively addressing topics including breakthrough technologies and their impact on a variety of industries.

Salim spent the last four years building Singularity University as its founding Executive Director and current Global Ambassador. SU is based at NASA Ames and is training a new generation of leaders to manage exponentially growing technologies. Before that, as a Vice President at Yahoo, he built and ran Brickhouse, Yahoo’s internal incubator. His last company, Angstro, was sold to Google in August 2010. He has founded or operated seven early-stage companies including PubSub Concepts, which laid some of the foundation for the real-time web.

Sasha Issenberg

Author, "The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns"

Sasha Issenberg is columnist for Slate and the Washington correspondent for Monocle, where he covers politics, business, diplomacy, and culture. He covered the 2008 election as a national political reporter in the Washington bureau of The Boston Globe, and his work has also appeared in New York, The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Monthly, Inc., The Atlantic, Boston, Philadelphia, and George, where he served as a contributing editor. "His first book, The Sushi Economy: Globalization and the Making of a Modern Delicacy," was published by Gotham in 2007.

Joi Ito

Director, MIT Media Lab

Joichi Ito is the Director of the MIT Media Lab. He is a Board Member of The New York Times Company, on the Board of The MacArthur Foundation, The Knight Foundation, Creative Commons and co-founder and board member of Digital Garage an Internet company in Japan. He is on board of a number of non-profit organizations including The Mozilla Foundation and WITNESS. He has created numerous Internet companies including PSINet Japan, Digital Garage and Infoseek Japan and was an early stage investor in Twitter, Six Apart, Wikia, Flickr, Last.fmKickstarter, Path and other Internet companies. He is the Guild Custodian of the World of Warcraft guild, We Know ( He is a PADI IDC Staff Instructor, an Emergency First Responder Instructor and a Divers Alert Network (DAN) Instructor Trainer.

Ito was named by Businessweek as one of the 25 Most Influential People on the Web in 2008. In 2011, he was chosen by Foreign Poicy Magazine as one of the "Top 100 Global Thinkers". In 2011, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oxford Internet Institute in recognition of his role as one of the world's leading advocates of Internet freedom. In 2011 and 2012, Ito was chosen by Nikkei Business as one of the 100 most influential people for the future of Japan.

Nick Judd

Managing Editor, techPresident

Nick Judd is the managing editor of Personal Democracy Media's techPresident, where he has been a writer and editor since 2009. Prior to joining Personal Democracy Media, he covered local politics, government and breaking news for The Riverdale Press in the Bronx and The Jersey Journal in Jersey City, N.J., and also served a brief stint as a research assistant at the nonpartisan policy think tank Center for an Urban Future. His work has also appeared in Yahoo News, The Newark Star-Ledger, and City Limits, among others. Judd managed candidate relationships and media partnerships for "10 Questions," PDM's online citizen engagement project for the 2010 midterm elections. He graduated magna cum laude from New York University with a bachelor's degree in journalism and metropolitan studies.

Manu Kabahizi

Emerging Tech Strategist, Purpose

Manu Kabahizi is the emerging tech strategist at Purpose. Manu brings more than a decade of experience working on various mobile application projects in areas of governance, public health and agriculture across Africa.

He has worked as a researcher and technology specialists with such organizations as the International Institute for Sustainable Development, UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and National Democratic Institute. His work has been published by the UN and the Occupy movement. In his 12 year career in technology, Manu has worked on various mobile application projects in areas of civic engagement, public health and agriculture. Some of his work has been published by the UN while others have been showcased by the Occupy movement. For the last six months Manu has coordinated implementation of the tech infrastructure for the Rules, a movement challenging structural causes of poverty, and has overseen design and development of CrowdRing, a platform designed especially for activists in emerging economies.

He was born in Rwanda and graduated from the University of Cape Town, where he was one of the first black graduates from their prestigious computer science department.

Mark Kaigwa

Partner, African Digital Art

Mark Kaigwa is a consultant, technologist and blogger based in Nairobi, Kenya. Technology continues to transform Africa; as reach grows on the continent, innovation is accelerated particularly by the mobile phone. Mark leads in advising brands, businesses and nonprofits aiming to impact the hundreds of millions across the connected continent. A multidisciplinary background with work across 10 Sub Saharan African countries forms his worldview. As the writer of an award-winning African videogame for Warner Bros. Interactive and work across film, new media and the mobile, Kaigwa's experiences have put him as a thought leader in Africa's emerging media industry. His most recent work leading digital advisory for "MamaYe" a 5 year campaign aimed at using information, advocacy and evidence to improve maternal and newborn survival in 6 Sub Saharan African countries.

His entrepreneurial exploits in online publishing have led to leadership roles at and respectively, contributing to their strategies and growth in their formative years.

A storyteller and speaker, Mark frequently gives keynotes, workshops and participates in regional and international discussions on technology, communication and mobile on the African continent.

He can be reached at and at

Becky Kazansky

Media Policy Consultant, Ford Foundation

Becky is a TechPresident contributor. She researches digital privacy and security issues for Tactical Technology Collective in Berlin, and is independently documenting the history and development of community wireless networks in the United States and Europe. She received her master's degree from ITP -- the Interactive Telecommunications Program, at NYU. In the past, Becky served as as a consultant on media rights and tech policy for the Ford Foundation's Freedom of Expression Unit, and designed games and systems of play aimed at encouraging civic participation, for the Come Out & Play Festival, Area/Code, and Unicef.

Derek Khanna

Yale Law Fellow, Information Society Project

Derek Khanna is a Yale Law Fellow with the Information Society Project, a columnist, policy expert and thought leader on technology and innovation. He has experience on two Presidential campaigns and working for the House and Senate, where he worked for Senator Scott Brown. Until recently, he was a staff member for the House Republican Study Committee, where he authored the widely read House Republican Study Committee report “Three Myths about Copyright Law.” In the few months since he was on Capitol Hill he has taken on the largely unknown issue of phone unlocking and created it as a national issue by spearheading a modern digital advocacy campaign. His unprecedented and unfunded campaign on cellphone unlocking included a White House petition that achieved over 114,000 signatures, which led to a White House endorsement, an FCC investigation, and several pieces of legislation to allow for unlocking. He has spoken widely, since his time on the Hill he has spoken at the Consumer Electronics Show, South by Southwest, the Conservative Political Action Conference, Princeton University, Harvard Berkman Center, Cardozo Law School, and Freedom to Connect, and has made regular appearances on television. He is also a prolific writer, as a regular contributor to the National Review, Forbes, the Atlantic, Townhall, Daily Caller, and Human Events. He has also published several law journal articles. While only 25, Derek is considered to be an up and coming thought leader on technology policy - specifically focusing upon disruptive innovation.

Cyrus Krohn

Co-Founder, Crowdverb

Cyrus Krohn is co-founder of Crowdverb, a digital grassroots advocacy firm acquired by Burson—Marsteller in 2012 focused on building “Always on Armies” for clients using Modern Mobilization™ techniques.

Krohn was senior director and executive producer at Microsoft, responsible for the content programming and business strategy for the lifestyle and local initiatives for the U.S. web portal, Krohn returned to Microsoft in May 2009 after a four year hiatus.

Prior to Microsoft, Krohn served as director of digital strategy for the Republican National Committee's New Media Division. He joined the RNC following two years at Yahoo! as director of original content programming and election strategy.

Prior to Yahoo!, Krohn spent ten years at Microsoft. He was Slate Magazine’s first employee and then publisher while the webzine was owned by Microsoft. While publisher, Slate reached profitability and won a National Magazine Award for General Excellence Online. Krohn also managed the political advertising effort for, the Microsoft Network and was executive producer at MSN Video. Krohn worked in CNN's Washington, D.C. bureau producing Larry King Live and Crossfire and served as an intern in the White House for Vice President Dan Quayle. Krohn served as president of the Washington State News Council, an independent, nonprofit, statewide organization whose members share a common belief that fair, accurate and balanced news media are vital to our democracy.

Kate Krontiris

Civic Researcher and Strategist

Kate Krontiris is a social scientist, strategist, and facilitator working to transform civic life in America. In pursuit of a society where more people assert greater ownership over the decisions that govern their lives, she uses ethnographic tools to design products, policies, and services that enable a more democratic future. As a consulting user researcher for the United States Digital Service, Kate is currently exploring improvements to the experience of applying for an immigrant visa to the United States. She is has just completed an embedded ethnographic investigation of what motivates everyday Americans to take civic actions, and what holds them back, in collaboration with Google. For the 2014-2015 academic year, she holds a fellowship at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, at Harvard University.

John Lee


John Lee is the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and a member of the executive team at NGP VAN, the leading provider of technology to Democrats and progressive organizations. Prior to the merger of NGP and VAN in 2011, John led Voter Activation Network as its Chief Operating Officer, guiding the growth of the organization while managing high profile projects such as VAN’s integration with Blue State Digital for the Obama campaign’s Neighbor-to-Neighbor program.

Subsequent to the merger, John is aiding in the vision and execution of NGP VAN’s innovative new Social Organizing product, which allows supporters of a campaign to match their Facebook friends to the voter file and claim responsibility for them. Tech President writes that this tool “has the potential to change the way campaigns work.” John is also focused on NGP VAN’s mobile technology strategy via MiniVAN, continuing on the mission that VAN started when it first moved campaigns from paper based electoral rolls and district maps to the digital age.

Josh Levy

Internet Campaign Director, Free Press

Josh Levy is Internet Campaign Director for Free Press, where he leads efforts to secure an open Internet, strong protections for mobile phone users, public use of the public airwaves and universal access to high-speed Internet. Before joining Free Press, Josh was managing editor of, a social action network where he supervised the launch of more than a dozen issue-based blogs. He previously worked as an associate editor for and Personal Democracy Forum, and was an adjunct lecturer in media studies at Hunter College in New York City.

John C. Liu

Comptroller, New York City

As the 43rd Comptroller of the City of New York, John C. Liu is responsible for ensuring the City’s financial health.

Independently elected and sworn into office on Jan. 1, 2010, Comptroller Liu audits the finances and performance of City agencies, reviews City contracts, reports on the state of the City’s budget and economy, markets municipal bonds, and serves as custodian and trustee of the five New York City Pension Funds.

Since taking office, Liu has worked aggressively to ensure that New Yorkers’ tax dollars are spent wisely. In three years, he has produced more than $3 billion in cost savings for the City by vigorously rooting out wasteful City spending on consultants and technology contracts. Audits of the CityTime automated payroll system and a long-delayed 911 call center have brought to light hundreds of millions of dollars of mismanagement and malfeasance.

One of America’s pre-eminent proponents of government transparency, Liu launched the Checkbook NYC website in order to provide the public with unprecedented access to information about all expenditures in the City budget. Part of “My Money NYC,” a suite of online applications that enables viewing of City contract and pension data and live webcasts of Pension Board investment meetings, Checkbook NYC was judged by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group as the premier municipal transparency site in the country.

Liu earned his bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Binghamton in mathematical physics. He lives in Flushing, Queens, with his wife, Jenny, and their son, Joey.

Luther Lowe

Director of Public Policy, Yelp

Luther Lowe joined Yelp in February 2008 and serves as the Director of Public Policy. In this role, he works to educate policy makers about the important role Yelp plays in connecting consumers with great local businesses. He meets often with policy makers across the U.S. and Europe and works closely with the different divisions within Yelp to develop and execute products and best practices that further speak to the needs of local businesses. Previously, Luther worked as a Special Assistant to retired General Wesley Clark. He holds a B.A. in government from The College of William & Mary.

Nancy Lublin


As CEO of, the largest organization for teens and social change in the world, Nancy Lublin is able to name all 5 members of One Direction without a smidge of sarcasm. An expert on youth, social media, and pop culture, brands like Pepsi and Chase and several tech start-ups have sought her advice and Fast Company has named her to their Most Creative People list. In 2013, while still CEO of, Lublin turned her popular TED talk into her third company, Crisis Text Line (CTL). CTL is the first 24/7, free, nationwide text line for teens. Prior to leading and CTL, Nancy turned a $5,000 inheritance into Dress for Success, which helps women transition from welfare to work in more than 125 cities in 15 countries. Before leading two of the most popular charity brands in America, she was a bookworm. She studied politics at Brown University, political theory at Oxford University (as a Marshall Scholar), and has a law degree from New York University. She is the author of the best-selling business book Zilch: The Power of Zero in Business and is one of the top 50 Influencers on LinkedIN. Nancy was recently named Fortune’s “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” alongside the Pope and Dalai Lama (We know, she thinks it’s funny too!). Nancy is a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum (attending Davos multiple times), was named Social Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014 and has been named in the NonProfit Times Power and Influence Top 50 3 times. She is married to Jason Diaz and has two children who have never tasted Chicken McNuggets.

Patrick Lucey

Policy Researcher, New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute

Patrick Lucey provides the Open Technology Institute with research and writing support on U.S. telecommunications policy, focusing mainly on issues of broadband competition. He has co-authored reports on broadband pricing and data cap policies.

Prior to joining New America, Patrick worked as an analyst for CTC Technology & Energy, an engineering and consulting firm that advises local governments and public sector clients on broadband infrastructure issues. He also has worked in Congress as a staffer for U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

Patrick holds a bachelor's degree in art history from Colgate University and a master's degree in public policy from American University. While a graduate student at American he completed research fellowships at Free Press and the Federal Communications Commission.

Liz Mair

Founder and President, Mair Strategies

Liz Mair is a communications expert, new media adviser, political consultant and blogger, who writes principally about politics, with additional commentary on sports, travel and other assorted topics. She is the founder and President of Mair Strategies LLC.

A libertarian Republican and Arsenal FC fan, Liz served as Online Communications Director at the Republican National Committee during 2008, where she led an aggressive and groundbreaking online media outreach effort aimed at electing John McCain, Sarah Palin and Republicans across the country. During the 2010 cycle, she advised Carly Fiorina on online communications. She also consulted for Gov. Rick Perry during his presidential run.

Liz was born and raised in Seattle, Washington, and lived in the United Kingdom for ten years. There, she earned an MA in International Relations from the University of St. Andrews and attended law school, ultimately practicing corporate law in the City of London for three years. Liz also holds a certificate in Political and Social Sciences from the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris.

Michel Martin

Host, Tell Me More, NPR

Michel Martin is the host of Tell Me More, the one-hour daily NPR news and talk show that made its national premiere on April 30, 2007, on public radio stations around the country.

While working on the development of Tell Me More, Martin also served as contributor and substitute host for NPR newsmagazines and talk shows, including Talk of the Nation and News & Notes.

Martin joined NPR from ABC News, where she worked since 1992. She served as correspondent for Nightline from 1996 to 2006, reporting on such subjects as the Congressional budget battles, the U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, racial profiling and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. At ABC, she also contributed to numerous programs and specials, including the network's award-winning coverage of September 11, a documentary on the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas controversy, a critically acclaimed AIDS special and reports for the ongoing series "America in Black and White." Martin reported for the ABC newsmagazine Day One, winning an Emmy for her coverage of the international campaign to ban the use of landmines, and was a regular panelist on This Week with George Stephanopoulos. She also hosted the 13-episode series Life 360, an innovative program partnership between Oregon Public Broadcasting and Nightline incorporating documentary film, performance and personal narrative; it aired on public television stations across the country.

Before joining ABC, Martin covered state and local politics for the Washington Post and national politics and policy at the Wall Street Journal, where she was White House correspondent. She has also been a regular panelist on the PBS series Washington Week and a contributor to NOW with Bill Moyers.

Martin has been honored by numerous organizations, including the Candace Award for Communications from The National Coalition of 100 Black Women, the Joan Barone Award for Excellence in Washington-based National Affairs/Public Policy Broadcasting from the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association and a 2002 Silver Gavel Award, given by the American Bar Association. Along with her Emmy award, she received three additional Emmy nominations, including one with NPR's Robert Krulwich, at the time an ABC contributor as well, for an ABC News program examining children's racial attitudes.

A native of Brooklyn, NY, Martin graduated cum laude from Radcliffe College at Harvard University in 1980 and has done graduate work at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.

Mike Masnick

Founder and CEO, Floor64

Mike is the founder and CEO of Floor64, building up the core idea into reality and recruiting the management team. In addition to providing the strategic direction for the company, Mike oversees all editorial aspects of the Floor64’s public and customer sites. Mike’s insight into the realms of business and technology are the basis for his frequent posts to the award winning Techdirt blog. The widely followed, often quoted blog was launched in 1997 and remains one of the top destinations online for discussions on the future of media, business models and policy. Mike is a sought after conference keynote speaker, and regularly does executive briefings with C-level execs. He is also known for coining the term "The Streisand Effect," to describe how attempting to stifle speech online can serve to draw even more attention.

Katie McAuliffe

Federal Affairs Manager at Americans for Tax Reform and Executive Director of Digital Liberty

Katie McAuliffe is Federal Affairs Manager at Americans for Tax Reform and Executive Director of Digital Liberty. She focuses her research and advocacy efforts on telecom/technology issues, such as spectrum allocation, internet taxation, electronic communications privacy reform, and tech/telecomm reform. In the telecom field she has experience from not only the legislative side, but the industry perspective as well. Before staffing Congressman Cliff Stearns' (R-Fla.) DC office in various capacities (Staff Assistant/Legislative Correspondent and Budget Legislative Assistant) she spent time as a radio station professional in the US and abroad. Her commentary has been published in The Hill, U.S News & World Report, and The Daily Caller. She received her Master of Mass Communications with a Telecommunications Policy focus from the University of Florida and her B.A. from Virginia Tech. Follow her blog,, and on Twitter: @DigitalLiberty and @1KMCA

Nicco Mele

Adjunct Lecturer, Harvard Kennedy School and Author, "The End of Big"

Nicco Mele is an entrepreneur, angel investor and consultant to Fortune 1000 companies. He's one of America's leading forecasters of business, politics, and culture in our fast-moving digital age.

Born to Foreign Service parents, Nicco spent his early years in Asia and Africa before graduating from the College of William and Mary in Virginia with a bachelor's degree in government. He then worked for several high-profile advocacy organizations where he pioneered the use of social media as a galvanizing force for fundraising. As webmaster for Governor Howard Dean's 2004 presidential bid, Nicco and the campaign team popularized the use of technology and social media that revolutionized political fundraising and reshaped American politics. Subsequently, he co-founded EchoDitto, a leading internet strategy and consulting firm, whose non-profit and corporate clients have included Barack Obama's successful Senate campaign, the Clinton Global Initiative, Sierra Club, UN World Food Programme, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, AARP, and Medco. Nicco is also on the faculty at the Harvard Kennedy School where he teaches graduate-level classes on the internet and politics.

Nicco's first book, The End of Big: How The Internet Makes David The New Goliath, will be published by St. Martin's Press in Spring 2013. In it, he explores the consequences of living in a socially-connected society, drawing upon his years of experience as an innovator in politics and technology.

Since his early days as one of Esquire Magazine's "Best and Brightest" in America, Nicco has been a sought-after innovator, media commentator, and speaker. He serves on a number of private and non-profit boards, including the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. Nicco is also co-founder of the Massachusetts Poetry Festival.

Erie Meyer

Co-Founder, United States Digital Service

Erie Meyer is a co-founder of United States Digital Service, a new team working to transform how the federal government works for the American people. She’s on the headquarters team in the White House, and helped establish, and now works with, the digital service teams at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the U.S. Department of Education.

Before joining the United States Digital Service, she was Senior Advisor to the U.S. CTO at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, where she worked on the President’s Open Data Initiatives and setting up the Digital Service. Erie is a serial public entrepreneur, having served on the implementation team to stand up the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), where she was a member of the founding Tech + Innovation Team. She worked to create a system to collect consumer complaints about financial products and services, such as students loans and credit reporting, and then to publish the data.

She also launched one of the first open source websites in government, when she stood up the first digital office for the Ohio Attorney General. She has also been part of the strategy team at Blue State Digital, working on student loan issues for Senator Ted Kennedy and campaigns like She Should Run, a nonpartisan effort to get more women in elected office.

Erie is a co-founder of Tech Ladymafia, a group of women living everywhere from San Francisco to Shenzhen, China, working on anything from DIY circuit boards to theoretical physics. She was named one of Forbes’ “30 under 30” for technology, and her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Wired, The National Journal, Elle, and more.

Ben Moskowitz

New Program Development Lead, Mozilla Foundation

Ben Moskowitz leads new program development at the Mozilla Foundation and its work in gigabit communities. He has previously led development on Popcorn.js, Popcorn Maker, the Knight Mozilla news fellows, and other initiatives in Mozilla's portfolio of media projects.

He is an Adjunct Professor at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, teaching open source development and new media production, and the co-director of the Drones & Aerial Robotics Conference at New York Law School.

Previously, he directed the Open Video Conference (, a gathering of international technology, creative, and policy leaders shaping web video standards and practices.

Keeley Mullis

Grassroots Program Manager, National Federation of Independent Businesses

In her role as NFIB’s grassroots program manager, Keeley facilitates member involvement on a range of small-business issues, working closely with NFIB’s policy team to craft messaging and action alerts that support the organization’s legislative priorities. She coordinates integrated issue campaigns in support of policy initiatives, utilizing new technologies like social media, text messaging and digital advertising. Keeley manages an expanding grassroots network of more than 10,000 small-business owners and primes those activists for roles as media spokespeople, citizen lobbyists and witnesses for hearings on Capitol Hill.

Abhi Nemani

Chief of Staff, Code for America

Abhi Nemani is the Chief of Staff at Code for America, a national non-profit dedicated to reinventing government for the 21st century. Abhi has led CfA’s strategic development and growth, including the development of multiple new programs including the launch of a first-of-its-kind civic startup accelerator and the CfA Peer Network, designed to connect cities to help them work together. Under Abhi's direction, CfA's national outreach and awareness campaigns have been recognized in the New York Times, Mashable, and CNN, and he has been featured as a speaker at SxSW, the World Bank, and various universities and conferences around the world.

Mike Norman

Founder, WeFunder and SoChange

Mike Norman is the co-founder and president of the crowd investing platform Wefunder graduated from Y Combinator this year, and their 15,000 investors have funded Y Combinator and Tech Stars companies through the platform. Mike helped craft the crowdfunding portion of the JOBS Act and watched Obama sign it into law at the White House. Prior to Wefunder Mike founded SoChange, a web and mobile platform where consumers use their spending to convince companies to improve their social or environmental performance. He holds an MBA from MIT Sloan and once upon a time represented the USA as part of the national San Shou kickboxing team.

Beth Noveck

Founder, NYU Wagner School's Governance Lab

Beth Simone Noveck is a visiting professor at NYU Wagner. She served in the White House as the first United States Deputy Chief Technology Officer and founder and director of the White House Open Government Initiative (2009-2011). UK Prime Minister David Cameron appointed her Senior Advisor for Open Government. She served on the Obama-Biden Transition Team and was a volunteer advisor to the Obama for America campaign on issues of technology, innovation, and government reform. Also a visiting professor at the MIT Media Lab, Dr. Noveck is on leave as professor of law and founder of the Institute for Information Law and Policy at New York Law School.

She focuses her scholarship, activism and teaching on the future of democracy in the 21st century. Professor Noveck directs the Governance Lab funded by a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Housed at NYU Wagner, the Gov Lab accelerates and assesses progress toward smarter, more collaborative and decentralized governance.

A graduate of Harvard University and Yale Law School, she was named one of Foreign Policy's "Top Global Thinkers for 2012," “100 Most Creative People in Business” by Fast Company magazine, ” Top 25 Game Changers” by Politico and one of the “Top Women in Technology” by Huffington Post. A Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, she spoke at TEDGlobal 2012 on the future of government.

Her book Wiki Government: How Technology Can Make Government Better, Democracy Stronger and Citizens More Powerful (Brookings Institution Press 2009), appeared in Arabic, Chinese, Russian and in an audio edition. She is also co-editor of The State of Play: Law, Games and Virtual Worlds (NYU Press 2006). Her new book, The Networked State will appear with Harvard University Press. She tweets @bethnoveck and (very occasionally) blogs at the Cairns Blog.

Jenny Nuber

Vice President, Grassroots, kglobal

Jenny is vice president of kglobal’s grassroots division and brings to her work nearly a decade of experience in cause-related advocacy, brand management, and media and communications strategy.

Prior to joining kglobal, Jenny spent several years as the director of the King Hussein Foundation International, managing the public affairs of Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan. In the American political sphere, Jenny’s campaign experience includes presidential, gubernatorial and congressional races along with grassroots legislative advocacy.

Jenny began her career in the nonprofit sector and spent half a decade raising funds, support and legislative awareness for victims of gender-based violence as well as refugees and asylum seekers.

Jenny earned her B.A. in political science and international relations from the State University of New York College at Geneseo and is currently a candidate for a Master's in political science from the State University of New York University of Buffalo.

Marco Nunez

Vice President of Marketing, RAP Index

Marco Nunez is a public affairs specialist and recovering campaign operative with over ten years experience in developing and managing political and issue advocacy campaigns at the state and national levels. Marco is currently the Vice President of Marketing for advocacy software startup RAP Index. Marco's political experience includes the 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign, the Republican National Committee, Schwarzenegger's 2006 re-elect and the 2008 Presidential campaign of Senator John McCain. Marco also served as a strategic data and digital media advisor to several campaigns throughout the 2010 cycle.

Charlie O'Donnell

Partner, Brooklyn Bridge Ventures

Charlie is a Partner at Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, working on very early stage investments in the "Greater Brooklyn" area, which also includes Manhattan and the other boroughs of New York City. He previously spent two plus years at First Round Capital, where he sourced the firm's investments in GroupMe (sold to Skype), Backupify, chloe + isabel, Refinery29, Docracy, Singleplatform, and Salescrunch. He founded New York’s largest independent innovation community group, nextNY, and was voted one of the 100 Most Influential People in New York Technology three consecutive years by Alley Insider.

Charlie was the Co-Founder & CEO of Path 101, an innovative startup in the career guidance and recruiting space, which raised half a million dollars and was a Business Insider Startup 2009 Finalist. Before founding Path 101, he spent a year as the Director of Consumer Products at Oddcast, which he joined after two years at Union Square Ventures. There, he was part of the original investment team, along with the partners of that firm, Fred Wilson and Brad Burnham.

A New York native, Charlie also teaches entrepreneurship at Fordham University and can be found blogging at In his spare time, Charlie bikes everywhere, plays softball, dodgeball, and kayaks.

Federica Pelzel

Creative Director, Nuams

Federica is Creative Director at Nuams, an open civic solution company based in NY. Formerly she served as chief of staff in Buenos Aires' city government's e-gov team, where she helped redesign and migrate all of the city's digital family onto open source technologies. She's passionate about design, UX, OpenSource and civic work.

Kathryn Peters

Co-Founder, TurboVote

Kathryn Peters is a co-founder of TurboVote, a service that brings the awesomeness of the Internet to the process of voting. Her belief in better democracy has taken her from campaign organizing in rural Missouri to a Master's in Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government to political rights monitoring with the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. Katy has also worked for the information management team for the United Nations Department of Safety and Security and the National Democratic Institute's Information and Communications Technology staff. In 2011, she was honored as one of Forbes magazine's "30 Under 30" in the field of law and policy.

Jim Pugh

CEO, ShareProgress

Jim Pugh is the CEO of ShareProgress, a politically-progressive tech startup that’s offering organizations easy-to-use tools to increase user sharing of online actions and content. He is the former Chief Technology Officer for Rebuild the Dream, and previously served as the Director of Analytics and Development at Organizing for America and the Democratic National Committee. Jim has a Ph.D. in distributed robotics from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Andrew Rasiej

Co-Founder, Civic Hall

Andrew Rasiej is a civic and social entrepreneur, technology strategist, and the founder of Personal Democracy Media focusing on the intersection of technology, politics, and government. In addition to co-founding Civic Hall earlier this year, he is the Chairman of the NY Tech Meetup, a 40,000+-member organization of technologists, venture funders, marketers, representing start up and more mature companies using technology to transform themselves, New York City, and the world. He is the founder of which focuses on 21st century public education and senior advisor to the Sunlight Foundation a Washington DC organization using technology to make government more transparent. Andrew lives and works in New York City.

Ben Rattray

Founder and CEO,

Ben is the founder and CEO of, the world's fastest-growing platform for social action, and leads the company's strategic vision and product development. A graduate of Stanford University and the London School of Economics, Ben is a frequent public speaker about the intersection of technology and social change. He was named one of TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2012.

Jordan Raynor

Co-Founder, Citizinvestor

Jordan Raynor is a Co-founder of Citizinvestor - a crowdfunding platform for local government projects. Jordan has spent his career solving real problems in government and politics through technology. Jordan most recently served as Client Director at Engage - deemed a "mega interactive agency" by Mashable. At Engage, Jordan led work on the Voting Information Project (VIP) - an initiative of Pew, Google and Microsoft that works with election officials to put polling place location data in uniform format. In 2010, Jordan led work on foursquare's "I Voted" project from within VIP. Jordan was honored as a Google Fellow at the 2010 Personal Democracy Forum.

Emma Richards

Director of Client Relations, SeeClickFix

Emma is the Director of Client Relations at SeeClickFix. In this role, Emma plays an integral part in the successful launch of SeeClickFix’s web, mobile and software solutions in cities such as Houston, Minneapolis and Albuquerque. She has also been involved with the integration of SeeClickFix in Chicago, Boston and Toronto through each city’s Open 311 API. Since joining the company in 2011 she has supported their rapidly growing client roster, with 21 million citizens collectively served by their partner municipalities.

Ethan Roeder

Executive Director, New Organizing Institute

Ethan has over ten years of experience in political organizing and data ranging from electoral and issue campaigns to labor organizing, electoral research, and LGBT rights advocacy. He ran the Data departments for the Obama presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012, pioneering the use of a large-scale data operation to support individualized, relationship-based organizing. Ethan has also done extensive work with voter files and voting information, leading the team at NOI that created the first ever comprehensive and free database of polling locations in the US in 2010. Ethan worked with NOI as the Director of Data and Technology from 2009-2011 and rejoined in the Spring of 2013 as Executive Director. He brings to NOI a passion for developing the specialized skills of organizers, diversifying the ranks of Digital and Data practitioners on campaigns, and growing the social justice movement by always being open to talent and promise sprouting from unexpected places.

Sasha Romanosky

Microsoft Research Fellow, NYU School of Law's Information Law Institute

Sasha Romanosky researches topics in cybersecurity, consumer privacy, information policy, applied microeconomics, and law & economics. He is currently a Microsoft research fellow in the Information Law Institute at New York University School of Law. Sasha holds a PhD in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University and a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Calgary, Canada. Sasha has published in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, the Berkeley Technology Law Journal, coauthored two book chapters and has written other works on information security law and economics. He was a security professional for over 10 years, predominantly within the financial and e-commerce industries at companies such as Morgan Stanley and eBay. Sasha holds a CISSP certification and is the co-author of the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS), an open framework for scoring computer vulnerabilities.

Douglas Rushkoff

Author, "Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus"

Named one of the top ten "Most Influential Thinkers in the World" by MIT, Douglas Rushkoff is the author of Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity. He is founder of the Laboratory for Digital Humanism at CUNY/Queens, where he's Professor of Media Theory and Digital Economics for the new Masters program in Media and Social Justice. Rushkoff is a prominent advocate for open source solutions to social problems. As a media theorist, he is the originator of the terms "viral media”, "digital natives," and "social media." He also wrote the groundbreaking 2003 Demos monograph, Open Source Democracy.

Douglas has written a dozen bestselling books on media, technology, and culture, including Present Shock, Program or Be Programmed, Media Virus, Life Inc and the novel Ecstasy Club, and made PBS Frontline documentaries including Merchants of Cool, The Persuaders, and Generation Like. He wrote the graphic novels Testament, A.D.D., and the upcoming Aleister and Adolf. He lives in New York, and lectures about media, society, and economics around the world. He writes for publications ranging from The Atlantic and Fast Company to and The Guardian.

Rushkoff's latest work, Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, looks at how the digital economy went wrong and what we can do to reclaim its promise.

Tracy Russo

Executive Director, Wellness Warrior

Tracy Russo is the Executive Director of Wellness Warrior, a non-profit advocacy organization founded to educate, advocate and organize the American people to fight for our own health and the health of our nation.

She is also the founder of Russo Strategies, LLC, a political consulting firm that specialized in communications and advocacy and the WIPT List, an all-women, member-driven organization that seeks to connect women working at the crossroads of politics and technology, provide support and resources to women in these industries and, encourage more women, especially young women, to enter the fields of politics and technology.

She previously served as part of the Obama Administration as a spokesperson and the Director of New Media at the United States Department of Justice.

Tracy is well known for her ability to integrate digital strategy with all aspects of a traditional organization. She has worked with prominent non-profit organizations and foundations including the Center for American Progress, the Rockefeller Foundation, and Netroots Nation.

During the 2008 presidential primary, she served as the Chief Blogger and Deputy Director of Online Communications for the John Edwards campaign. Russo also worked with Governor Howard Dean at the Democratic National Committee.

She has been a featured speaker at the Netroots Nation Convention, the Take Back America Conference and the Center for American Progress' Internet Advocacy Roundtable and Personal Democracy Forum. In addition, she has trained hundreds of individuals at home and abroad in the best practices of online engagement in partnership with a variety of organizations, including the DNC, DLCC, EMILY's List, Campaigns and Elections Magazine, and the New Organizing Institute and George Washington University.

Oscar Salazar

CEO, CitiVox & Co-Founder, Uber

Oscar Salazar is the CEO and Co-Founder and CitiVox, a message board for the mobile web designed to bring communities together. He's also a Co-Founder of Uber, the successful on-demand private car service. He has a PhD in Telecommunications from the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, France.

CitiVox began as a service that allowed governments to use mobile and crowd-sourcing technology to build and enhance relationships with citizens; based in Mexico, it served clients in Latin America and Africa. It has since developed into a social platform that asks, "What's positive about the place where you live?"

Stephen Schultze

Associate Director, Center for Information Technology Policy, Princeton

Stephen Schultze is the associate director of Princeton's Center for Information Technology Policy. His work at CITP includes internet privacy, computer security, government transparency, and telecommunications policy. Before coming to CITP he was a Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard, and helped launch the public radio startup He holds degrees from Calvin College and MIT, and blogs at Freedom to Tinker.

David Segal

Executive Director, Demand Progress

David Segal is a former Democratic Rhode Island State Representative, and served on the Providence City Council as a member of the Green Party. During his eight years as an elected official he oversaw the passage of legislation promoting economic justice, renewable energy and open space, banking reform, affordable housing, LGBT rights, criminal justice reform, and a variety of other progressive causes. He recently ran in the Democratic primary for Rhode Island’s first Congressional seat, supported by much of the netroots and organized labor. His opinion pieces have appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, and other newspapers, and in a variety of online publications. He has a degree in mathematics from Columbia University.

Shaka Senghor

Director's Fellow, MIT Media Lab

Shaka Senghor is a writer, mentor, and motivational speaker whose story of redemption has inspired young adults at high schools and universities across the nation. He is founder of the Live In Peace Digital and Literary Arts Project, a recipient of the 2012 Black Male Engagement (BMe) Leadership Award, and a 2013 MIT Media Lab Director's Fellow.

Shaka was once an angry and bitter teen who, like many other youth, kept his emotions bottled up and often lashed out in violence towards others. At the age of nineteen, he shot and killed a man during a drug-related argument and ultimately served nineteen years in prison. While he was incarcerated, Shaka transformed his life and discovered his love for writing. He has written a memoir about his life in the streets and in prison entitled Writing My Wrongs and recently published a book of his writings entitled Live in Peace: A Youth Guide to Turning Hurt into Hope, a companion piece to his mentoring program. Shaka is passionate about mentoring youth and hopes that by sharing his experiences, they will avoid the path that led him to prison. In his work with youth, he uses his experiences as a launching pad for discussing issues of abuse, abandonment, addiction, consequences, accountability and personal transformation.

Micah L. Sifry

Co-Founder, Civic Hall

Micah L. Sifry is a writer, editor and democracy activist. Since 2004, he has been the co-founder and editorial director of Personal Democracy Media. In addition to co-founding Civic Hall last year, he is also a senior adviser to the Sunlight Foundation and serves on the boards of Consumer Reports and the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science. He is the author or editor of eight books, most recently A Lever and a Place to Stand: How Civic Tech Can Move the World (Personal Democracy Media, 2015) and The Big Disconnect: Why the Internet Hasn’t Changed Politics (Yet) (OR Books, 2014), and in the spring of 2012 taught “The Politics of the Internet” at Harvard’s Kennedy School. He lives with his family in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY.

Nate Silver


Nate Silver is a statistician, a political forecaster, and the founder of, which has since 2010 been a blog of The New York Times. He's known for his incredible accuracy, correctly predicting the presidential winner in 49 states in 2008, and in all 50 states in 2012. On 2012's election night, FiveThirtyEight accounted for 20% of traffic.

He's been honored with numerous accolades, including Time's 100 Most Influential People of 2009, Rolling Stone's 100 Agents of Change, the 2008 Weblog Award for Best Political Coverage, and the 2012 Webby Award for Best Political Blog.

He's a prolific author, with titles that include "The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail - but Some Don't" (2012), "Baseball Prospectus" (an annual publication since 2003), and "Mind Game: How the Boston Red Sox Got Smart, Won a World Series, and Created a New Blueprint for Winning" (2005). He's notable in the world of baseball for creating the famous PECOTA (Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm) system. He holds a BA in Economics from the University of Chicago.

Nick Sinai

U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Nick Sinai is U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. In this role, Nick helps lead the President’s Open Data Initiatives to liberate data to fuel innovation and economic growth. Nick previously served at the FCC, where he led a team at the National Broadband Plan exploring how broadband and advanced communications can help the nation achieve its goals of energy independence and energy efficiency. Prior to the Obama Administration, Nick was a venture capitalist at Polaris Partners and Lehman Brothers Venture Partners (now Tenaya Capital). Nick also served in executive and advisory roles with two Boston area start-up technology companies, and served as a senior advisor to the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. He earned an M.B.A from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and an A.B. from Harvard University.

Bryan Sivak

CTO, US Dept of Health and Human Services

Bryan Sivak joined HHS as the Chief Technology Officer in July 2011. In this role, he is responsible for helping HHS leadership harness the power of data, technology, and innovation to improve the health and welfare of the nation.

Previously, Bryan served as the Chief Innovation Officer to Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, where he has led Maryland’s efforts to embed concepts of innovation into the DNA of state government. He has distinguished himself in this role as someone who can work creatively across a large government organization to identify and implement the best opportunities for improving the way the government works.

Prior to his time with Governor O’Malley, Bryan served as Chief Technology Officer for the District of Columbia, where he created a technology infrastructure that enhanced communication between the District’s residents and their government, and implemented organizational reforms that improved efficiency, program controls, and customer service. Bryan previously worked in the private sector, co-founding InQuira, Inc., a multi-national software company, in 2002, and Electric Knowledge LLC, which provided one of the world's first Natural Language Search engines available on the web in 1998.

Gigi Sohn

President & CEO, Public Knowledge

Gigi B. Sohn is the President and CEO of Public Knowledge, a nonprofit advocacy organization that seeks to ensure that our communications system promotes fundamental democratic principles and cultural values including openness, access, and the capacity to create and compete. She is frequently quoted in the press and has appeared on numerous national and local, broadcast, cable and radio programs. Gigi is a Senior Adjunct Fellow at the Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology and Entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado Law School. She currently is the Co-Chair of the Broadband Internet Technology Advisory Group (BITAG) and serves on the boards of the Telecommunications Policy Research Conference (TPRC) and the Sports Fans Coalition. The Next Web recently named Gigi one of “20 of Tech’s Most Underrated Founders.”

Ashley Spillane

Executive Director, The Atlas Project and Democratic GAIN

Ashley Spillane has been affiliated with Atlas from the project’s start, doing everything from researching and writing reports to running the production process. During election-year sabbaticals from Atlas, Ashley has worked with the DCCC’s independent expenditure in 2010 and the AFL-CIO’s direct mail program in 2008. She has also done several campaigns around the country, including the presidential primary campaigns of Tom Vilsack and Hillary Clinton; the 2006 governor’s race in Iowa; John Kerry’s presidential race; and the 2002 Maryland governor’s race. Ashley has also done some consulting work for the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in the Middle East and Africa.

Ben Stein

Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Mobile Commons

Ben is the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Mobile Commons, where he is responsible for product development, system architecture, and technical operations. He is one of the leading pioneers shaping how organizations successfully use mobile for healthcare, advocacy, fundraising, organizing, and other forms of communication.

Ben has 15 years of experience building Internet applications of all shapes and sizes. He spent much of his career building distributed software for B2B customers. With a background in both the financial and medical industries, he has extensive experience with high-availability systems with a focus on security and data sensitivity. As a software engineer at Bloomberg LP, Ben developed their trading system, search engine, and web services. After Bloomberg, he worked at ShadowTV, transcoding, indexing and streaming hundreds of terabytes of video data for government and corporate customers.

He earned a BS in electrical and biological engineering and a Master’s in medical image processing, both at Cornell University. After completing his studies, he took a position as a Visiting Scientist, developing medical software used in clinical trials for lung cancer screening and image analysis tools used in General Electric’s CT scanners.

Ben lives on a small urban farm in Brooklyn with his wife Arin and sons Gabriel & Ezekiel. He can usually be found coding, biking, or rock climbing. He sits on the board of and advises nonprofits on effective uses of technology.

Tom Steinberg

Founder and Director, mySociety

Tom Steinberg is the founder and director of mySociety, an international non-profit group which aims to help people become more powerful in the civic and democratic parts of their lives, through digital means.

mySociety runs the popular UK transparency websites TheyWorkForYou and WhatDoTheyKnow, and problem-fixing sites FixMyStreet and FixMyTransport.  It also builds open source software to enable international re-use of mySociety’s projects.

Tom’s interest in technology and government comes from an unusual background in both fields. Having worked as a sysadmin and junior think-tank researcher, he became a policy analyst at the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit from 2001 to 2003. He is a US/UK citizen and currently lives in Oxford.

In 2007 he co-authored the The Power of Information Review with Ed Mayo and the Strategy Unit, and from 2010-2012 was a member of the UK government’s Public Sector Transparency Board. He’s also proud to be an advisor to Code For America.

Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman

Executive Director and Founder,

Taren is the Executive Director and Founder of She is a dual Australian-American citizen and has experience with online organizing on four continents and at the global level, including at,, and the AFL-CIO. She was born in Australia, currently lives in San Francisco and enjoys reading science fiction and playing ultimate frisbee for fun.

Sarah Lai Stirland

Senior Writer, techPresident

Sarah Lai Stirland is techPresident's senior writer in San Francisco. She's a veteran legal affairs, business and politics reporter, having covered these subjects for more than 15 years. Her work has appeared in the nation's most recognized media outlets, which include: Bloomberg Wealth Manager, Business 2.0, CNN, Congress Daily, Good Housekeeping, National Journal, National Public Radio's On The Media, The New York Post, POLITICO,, Red Herring, The Village Voice, and's widely-read Threat Level, one of Time's favorite 25 blogs. Her leading coverage of the historic 2008 presidential campaign and its unprecedented reliance on social media to influence the race at was on the daily bookmark list of television and radio producers around the world. She can be reached at: Follow her on Twitter @LaiStirland.

Talia Stroud

Associate Professor, University of Texas

Natalie (Talia) Jomini Stroud is an Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Assistant Director of Research at the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life. Her recent book, Niche News: The Politics of News Choice (Oxford University Press, 2011) explores preferences for likeminded political information. Niche News received the International Communication Association's 2012 Outstanding Book Award. She is working on a project funded by Democracy Fund through the New America Foundation called the "Engaging News Project." The aim is to provide research-based techniques for engaging online audiences in commercially-viable and democratically-beneficial ways.

Terry Sullivan

Director, Reclaim America PAC

Terry Sullivan has spent over a decade running political campaigns and advising Republican candidates at all levels. Having served in senior positions in over a dozen US Senate and Gubernatorial campaigns across the country he has been in some of the toughest political battles and emerged victorious. From starting his career in politics as a youth coordinator for Senator Jesse Helms to campaign manager for Jim DeMint’s come from behind Senate campaign victory, Sullivan has worked for some of the biggest names in conservative politics. He currently manages Marco Rubio’s political operation.

Berin Szoka

President, TechFreedom

Berin Szoka is the President of TechFreedom. Previously, he was a Senior Fellow and the Director of the Center for Internet Freedom at The Progress & Freedom Foundation. Before joining PFF, he was an Associate in the Communications Practice Group at Latham & Watkins LLP, where he advised clients on regulations affecting the Internet and telecommunications industries. Before joining Latham's Communications Practice Group, Szoka practiced at Lawler Metzger Milkman & Keeney, LLC, a boutique telecommunications law firm in Washington, and clerked for the Hon. H. Dale Cook, Senior U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Oklahoma. 

Szoka received his Bachelor's degree in economics from Duke University and his juris doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he served as Submissions Editor of the Virginia Journal of Law and Technology. He is admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia and California (inactive).

He has served on the Steering Committee for the D.C. Bar's Computer & Telecommunications Law Section, and currently serves on the FAA's Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC). Szoka has chaired, and currently serves on, the Board of Directors of the Space Frontier Foundation, a non-profit citizens' advocacy group founded in 1988 and dedicated to advancing commercial opportunity and expansion of human civilization in space.

He blogs for the Technology Liberation Front.

Jill Szuchmacher

Director, Business Development, Google Fiber

Jill has over 15 years of experience at the intersection of media and technology, including stints at MTV and Scholastic New Media as well as founding roles at non-profit and venture-backed media and software startups. Jill currently leads new business development for Google Fiber, including expansion to new geographies. Most recently, her team announced deals to bring Google Fiber to Austin, TX and Provo, UT. Prior roles at Google include leadership roles on the Google TV and Google TV Ads teams as well as providing deal support for Google's Display business and, once upon a time, Google Video.

She holds a Masters in Business Administration from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Arts in Film Studies from Columbia University. She lives in Brooklyn.

Chris Taggart

Co-Founder and CEO, OpenCorporates

Chris Taggart is the co-founder and CEO of OpenCorporates.
Since it launched just 2 years ago, it has leveraged the open data community to grow to by far the largest open database of companies in the world with over 50 million companies in 70 jurisdictions, and is regularly used by journalists, anti-corruption investigators, civil society, even banks and financial institutions.

Now it is tackling the tricky task of mapping the complex and often opaque corporate networks that make up today's global corporations, with surprising results.

Eddie Tejeda

Code for America Fellow 2012

Eddie is the co-founder of Civic Insight, a service that provides citizens information on the condition and status of homes and properties. He is also the co-founder of a OpenOakland, a civic innovation non-profit, and serves on the City of Oakland's Public Ethics Commission overseeing government transparency.

Last year Eddie was a 2012 Code for America Fellow. He and his team collaborated with New Orleans to develop BlightStatus, a nationally recognized application that is helping improve communication between citizens and City Hall as they work to alleviate blight.

Before Code for America, Eddie developed Regulation Room, a project by Cornell University Law and federal agencies designed to increase public participation in federal rulemaking. He also worked as a researcher and developer at the Institute for the Future of the Book, a small publishing think-tank and was one of the creators of, a free database detailing the connections between the country's most powerful people and institutions. Eddie earned his B.A from Hampshire College with a focus on the digital divide and wrote his senior thesis on power efficient microprocessors.

Adam Thierer

Senior Research Fellow, Mercatus Center at George Mason University

Adam Thierer is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He previously served as President of The Progress & Freedom Foundation, as Director of Telecommunications Studies at the Cato Institute, and as a Fellow in Economic Policy at the Heritage Foundation. He is the author or editor of six books on technology and media policy and also writes a weekly column for Forbes called "Technologies of Freedom." Thierer earned his bachelor's degree in political science and journalism at Indiana University and received his master's degree in international business management and trade theory at the University of Maryland.

Alex Torpey

Mayor of South Orange, NJ

Alex Torpey is the mayor of South Orange, New Jersey, sworn-in in 2011 as the youngest mayor in New Jersey at 23 years old. Since his election, Alex has been recognized state-wide and nationally for among many initiatives, leading technology and open government implementations in addition to helping stabilize the government's budget and making municipal budget information more transparent through online visualization tools. Professionally, Alex founded Veracity Media, a digital strategies and organizing firm, and recently founded Rethink Leadership, a nonpartisan nonprofit aimed at educated more young people about the value of running for office and building cross-party coalitions. Alex also serves as South Orange's Office of Emergency Management Director, and has been recognized for his leadership through Hurricanes Irene and Sandy, and still rides as a volunteer EMT on South Orange's Rescue Squad. Alex graduated from Hampshire College with his BA and is completing his MPA at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Alex gave a keynote at PDF 2012 entitled "The Local Revolution." Alex is a registered independent. You can find him on Facebook or Twitter @alextorpey.

Zeynep Tufekci

Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina

Zeynep Tufekci is an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at the School of Information and a fellow at the Center for Information Technology Policy and Princeton University. Her research revolves around examining how technology and society interact especially for sociality, surveillance, social movements and civics. She also blogs at

Mike Turk

President, Opinion Movers Strategies

Michael Turk is president of Opinion Mover Strategies, a communications consulting firm in Washington, DC.

In his professional career, Turk has lived at the intersection of politics, public policy and technology - crossing from the political, to the commercial and into government. He has managed the Internet operations for three Presidential campaigns and the Republican National Committee; managed e-Government projects at the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Energy; and worked with Grassroots Enterprise - an Internet focused public affairs firm - as a technology and activism consultant.

Most recently, Turk served as Vice President of Industry Grassroots for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association before leaving to launch his own company. Turk is passionate about telecom policy and technology developments. While at NCTA, Turk launched - the cable industry’s blog.

Turk also writes (and rants) on his own blog at KungFuQuip. He is married and has two mostly wonderful children.

Molly Turner

Public Policy, Airbnb

Molly Turner joined Airbnb in 2011 as the first employee on the Public Policy team. As an advocate for the Airbnb community Molly manages government affairs for the company, which has a presence in over 34,000 cities worldwide. She has co-founded two Sharing Economy coalitions in New York and San Francisco and is currently Chair of the Policy Committee for the Bay Area Sharing Economy Coalition. In addition to advocacy Molly manages Airbnb's civic research initiatives and partnerships. Before Airbnb, Molly consulted with governments on sustainable tourism development and conducted research with the UNESCO World Heritage Center. She is also currently the Co-Editor of an international preservation journal. Molly holds a Master in Urban Planning from Harvard University and a BA from Dartmouth College.

Susannah Vila

Co-founder and Community Lead, the engine room

Susannah is a writer and entrepreneur who specializes in the use of new technologies for greater government accountability. She’s a co-founder and community lead at the engine room where she’s most recently been working on a partnership with the global NGO Transparency International to help national chapters integrate technology into their work. Based in Lima, Peru, she’s also a team member at JuventudDes, a network of youth working for more participatory governance and development in Peru.

Susannah co-founded the engine room in 2011 after co-conducting a series of interviews with coordinators of the Egyptian revolution (Tahrir Data Project) and observing a gap between national level advocacy initiatives and resources for integrating technology into their work. The organization uses research and networks to close this gap. Previously, she worked with the civic technology startup, CitiVox, to identify new initiatives looking to improve the relationship between citizens and governments. Previously, she managed a community of digital advocates and an effort to capture and disseminate best practices in the use of new technologies in social change for

Susannah began her career in journalism, working as a research assistant as the Nation Magazine and CBS news. She’s provided expertise on the nexus of new media and social change for outlets such as the New York Times, NPR and CNN and has written for Mashable, PBS MediaShift, and Global Voices Online as well as the engine room. She holds an M.A. and a B.A. in Political Science from Columbia University and New York University, respectively.

Kaiya Waddell

Client Partner, Facebook

Kaiya Waddell is a Client Partner at Facebook, where she focuses on driving strategic marketing initiatives with political organizations, government agencies and advocacy groups. Prior to managing the Facebook relationship with progressive 3rd party groups during the 2012 election, Kaiya was the PAC & Nonprofit Sales Manager at NGP VAN, a Democratic political software and new media firm. She previously served as the National Events Coordinator for EMILY’s List, which works to recruit, train and elect pro-choice Democratic women to public office. Kaiya holds a B.A. in political science from Eckerd College.

Rachel Weidinger

Founder, Upwell

Rachel Weidinger is an artist and community organizer, who makes to illustrate what is possible. Her medium is social forms. Significant past works include Upwell (2011-2015), We Are Very Hungry (2010-2012), Scrap Eden (2006-2008) and Scrap House (2005).

In 2011, Rachel founded Upwell. Over the 3.5 years of Upwell's existence, she went on to become it's Executive Director of this nonprofit PR firm. Upwell's clients were movements. The ocean was our first client. Rachel led the development and evolution of Upwell's innovative big listening practices, coupling this big data approach with the resiliency-increasing tactic of campaigning across a distributed network. The project worked on a daily basis to both massively aggregate power for movements, and immediately redistribute that power through networks. Upwell's work was grounded in both offline community organizing and online community management. We developed and tested models to measurably increase online attention to issues. In the Spring of 2014, Upwell began a test to track issues in our U.S. democracy, and undertook research to baseline the African elephant conversation. Upwell concluded operations in March 2015.

Previously, Rachel was at TechSoup Global where she provided marketing leadership for TechSoup Global, and their earned-revenue-driven, tech-capacity-building Global Network of partners in 36 countries. She has also worked with social enterprises including the Nonprofit Technology Network, Common Knowledge, the Black Rock Arts Foundation, SF Environment, Copia, and the Xtracycle Foundation.

Rachel will enter the MFA program at the California College of the Arts, in the Social Practice Workshop, in the fall of 2015. She rather likes learning, and has a B.Phil. in Interdisciplinary Studies from Miami University's Western College Program, and completed the coursework for a masters in Arts Policy and Administration at Ohio State University. The latter she often describes as an MBA for people who run cultural organizations, and she focused on earned revenue to weather funding challenges. Completing the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center's 14 week Business Planning Intensive upped her biz plan writing skills immeasurably.

Rachel paints words, and does not fear complexity.

Dan Whaley


Dan Whaley is the founder of, a non-profit whose dream is to change how we agree about the world around us by crowdsourcing the peer-review of all knowledge. He is a relentless optimist.

In 1995, together with his father and a close friend, Dan launched the first web-based travel reservation system and the company around it - Internet Travel Network. It went public in 1999 as GetThere with 500 employees and was sold to Sabre in 2000. It is still the Internet's largest B2B transaction system by revenue.

Ron J. Williams

Co-Founder and CEO, Knodes

Named one of Fast Company's 100 Most Creative People in Business, Ron J. Williams is the CEO and Co-founder of Knodes, the social data context platform that specializes in targeted word of mouth. He obsesses about making human networks actually work and loves connecting people. Before co-founding Knodes, Ron co-founded SnapGoods, an early leader in the "sharing economy". He believes that the great irony of this hyper connected age is that we still resort to broadcast spray and pray tactics to activate support. He is a Brooklyn native, active mentor, speaker and lover of speed. He gets pretty amped about STEM education, and he is a big asker of “why not?"

Benoit Wirz

Director of Venture Investments, Knight Foundation

Benoit Wirz is Director of Venture Investments at the John S. & James L. Knight Foundation where he manages the Knight Enterprise Fund, a venture fund that invests in early-stage startups that improve access to quality, useful information.

Prior to Knight, Wirz was a founder of U.S. Global, where he helped take tech, energy & manufacturing from startup to profitability. He also served as vice president of strategic planning for a manufacturing company, FLT Glass, and as vice president of business development for U.S. Global Synfuel, which invested in and developed energy companies and synthetic fuel projects. Prior to that, Wirz was an investment banker with Jefferies & Company and a reporter with Asahi Shimbun.

Wirz completed his MBA at INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France, and received a MA and a BA from Stanford University. He speaks French, Spanish and, on good days, Russian.

Anne Wizorek

Nerdette and Berlin Digital Strategy Consultant

Anne Wizorek is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a German blog about feminism, politics, media criticism, nerdery and pop culture, whose content is driven by <3. Wizorek's activism focuses on education around rape culture and gender equity, and she uses online tools to achieve offline social change.

In 2011, Wizorek was part of a team that brought the Slutwalk protest to Berlin. Most recently, she started the highly visible #aufschrei (#outcry) Twitter hashtag movement, which brings everyday sexism and sexual harassment to light.

Wizorek is a former co-organizer of re:publica, Germany’s premier online/social media conference. When she isn’t busy making the world a better place, Wizorek advises corporations and non-profits on social media strategies as a freelance digital media consultant.

Winnie Wong

Founder, Seismologik

Winnie Wong is the founder of Seismologik, an award winning progressive blog and social media feed. As a core organizer of the Occupy Movement, Wong was part of the historic occupation of Zuccotti Park on Sept. 17th. 2011. She is an in-demand digital strategist and has pioneered social media trends during the 2012 election in her work designing the political hot button site, The Message.

In the immediate aftermath of a Hurricane Sandy devastated New York, Winnie helped to get Occupy Sandy off the ground and running. More than 60,000 volunteers were trained and dispatched to the Far Rockaways, New Jersey, and Staten Island to provide what has now become the largest crowd powered disaster relief effort in history.

Winnie's commitment as a social justice activist is unwavering and she will continue to use the social web as a powerful tool in organizing for change.

Chris Wong

Executive Director, the Engelberg Center on Innovation Law & Policy at NYU School of Law

Christopher Wong is the Executive Director of the Engelberg Center on Innovation Law & Policy at NYU School of Law and a Visiting Fellow at the Yale Law School Information Society Project. Prior to joining NYU, Christopher was a Lecturing Postgraduate Fellow at the Institute for Information Law & Policy at New York Law School, as well as a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University. While at NYLS, Christopher was the lead researcher of Open Patent, a National Science Foundation-funded program to explore the use of user-generated tags to improve access to and understanding of patent information. He previously served as the founding Project Manager of Peer to Patent, an initiative allowing the public to contribute to the patent examination process at the US Patent and Trademark Office, and which led to the codification of third-party prior art submissions in the America Invents Act. He is the founder of Innovate / Activate and Co-Director of both the Open Video Conference and the Drones & Aerial Robotics Conference.

Betty Yu

Network Organizer, Center for Media Justice

Betty coordinates the Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net) where she manages our national media justice network of over 100 grassroots community organizations, coordinates nine regional chapters and curates the media justice learning community. She has over 15 years of community organizing, media activist, and filmmaking experience.

Betty has additionally worked as a labor organizer for the Chinese Staff and Workers’ Association, an immigrant rights workers center in New York City’s Chinatown. She is also co-founder of National Mobilization Against Sweatshops (NMASS), a 15 year-old multi-racial workers center. Betty is a board member for Deep Dish TV and Third World Newsreel, two media organizations that nationally distributes radical videos and films.

Betty has appeared on several local and national news outlets, and has been featured in such publications as the New York Daily News, the Financial Times, Stress magazine, Brooklyn Bridge, and City Limits.

When she is not working Betty can usually be found talking about her love of Brooklyn (born and raised), working on her creative projects, or finishing her MFA in Integrated Media Arts.

Svitlana Zalishchuk

Founding Director, Centre UA

Svitlana Zalishchuk is a journalist, activist and initiator of number of influential civic campaigns in Ukraine, including the CHESNO movement, the New Citizen civic platform, and the journalist movement Stop Censorship! She is working as a founding director of Centre UA, a Kiev-based nongovernmental organization. Previously Svitlana was an anchor of the live political TV show “From the Other Side” and an international reporter at the 5th TV Channel – the only media that broadcasted Orange Revolution in 2004. Also she has an experience working at high positions in the Government and in the Administration of the President from 2005 to 2006.

Ethan Zuckerman

Director, MIT Center for Civic Media

Ethan Zuckerman is director of the Center for Civic Media at MIT, and a principal research scientist at MIT's Media Lab. He is the author of "Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection", published by W.W. Norton in June 2013. With Rebecca MacKinnon, Ethan co-founded international blogging community Global Voices. Global Voices showcases news and opinions from citizen media in over 150 nations and thirty languages. Ethan's research focuses on issues of internet freedom, civic engagement through digital tools and international connections through media. He blogs at and lives in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts.