Craig Aaron

President and CEO, Free Press

Craig has led Free Press and the Free Press Action Fund since 2011. For more than a decade, he has been a leader in major campaigns to safeguard Net Neutrality, stop media mergers and consolidation, oppose unchecked surveillance, defend public media and sustain quality journalism. He works in Washington and speaks often to the press and the public on media and technology issues. His commentaries appear regularly in The Huffington Post, and he has written for The Daily Beast, The Guardian, The Hill, MSNBC, Politico, The Progressive, The Seattle Times, Slate and many others. Before joining Free Press, he was an investigative reporter for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch and the managing editor of In These Times magazine. He is the editor of two books, Appeal to Reason: 25 Years of In These Times and Changing Media: Public Interest Policies for the Digital Age. He is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

Ibrahim Abdul-Matin

Director of Community Affairs, NYC Department of Environmental Protection

Ibrahim has expertise in the public, private, and civic sectors focusing sustainability, technology, community engagement, sports, and new media. He has served as a sustainability policy adviser to Mayor Bloomberg and currently serves as the Director of Community Affairs at the NYC Department of Environmental Protection. In 2015 Ibrahim joined the board of the Seattle based Living Future Institute. Part environmentalist and part community organizer, he is a former Outward Bound instructor, helped found the Brooklyn Academy for Science and the Environment, and blended youth organizing and technology while at the Movement Strategy Center in Oakland, CA. Ibrahim has appeared on various media outlets including Al Jazeera, FOX News and ABC News, and his writings can be found in many publications including The Washington Post,, the Muslim Observer, Thought,, and more. His book, Green Deen: What Islam Teaches About Protecting the Planet explores how faith and environmentalism intersect. He holds numerous awards including the National Urban Fellow (2008), Green for All Fellow (2009), and most recently was named one of the 40 Under 40 Rising Stars in New York City Politics from City & State Magazine (2015). Abdul-Matin holds a BA from the University of Rhode Island and a MPA from CUNY (City University of New York) Baruch College. He lives in New York City with his wife and three sons.

Lori Adelman

Writer & Advocate;

Lori Adelman is a writer and advocate for gender equity. She currently co-runs a community run by and for young feminists and is the head of communications at Planned Parenthood Global.

Esra'a Al-Shafei

Founder, Mideast Youth

Esra'a Al-Shafei is a Bahraini civil rights activist, blogger, and the founder and executive director of Mideast Youth and its related projects, including Al-Shafei is a senior TED Fellow, an Echoing Green fellow, and has been referred to by CNN reporter George Webster as "An outspoken defender of free speech". She has been featured in FastCompany as one of the "100 Most Creative People in Business." In 2011, The Daily Beast listed Al-Shafei as one of the 17 bravest bloggers worldwide. She is also a promoter of music as a means of social change, and founded Mideast Tunes, which is currently the largest platform for underground musicians in the Middle East and North Africa.

Erica Anderson

Lead, Google News Lab

Erica Anderson joined Google in January to lead News Lab programs in New York City.

Prior to Google, Erica spent four years at Twitter. Recruited in 2011, she was the company's first news industry hire and became the point person for journalists around the globe. She was the catalyst behind Dataminr for News and led the creation of long codes which allowed journalists in war zones to Tweet from satellite phones.

Before Twitter, Erica worked for CBS News and Katie Couric where she ran Couric’s social media strategy. Erica covered the 2008 Presidential election for MTV News as a mobile citizen journalist. She has a B.A. from Indiana University’s School of Journalism and is passionate about creating opportunities for quality journalism to thrive in this technological age.

Kristen Soltis Anderson

Cofounder, Echelon Insights; Author, The Selfie Vote

Kristen Soltis Anderson is a pollster and author of The Selfie Vote: Where Millennials Are Leading America (And How Republicans Can Keep Up). She is co-founder of Echelon Insights and is a columnist for The Washington Examiner. During the fall of 2014, she was a Resident Fellow at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics. Previously, she served as Vice President of The Winston Group, a Republican polling firm in DC. In 2013, she was named one of TIME Magazine’s “30 under 30 Changing the World,” Marie Claire’s “New Guard“ of fifty rising female leaders, one of Campaigns & Elections’ “The Influencers 50” as one of the campaign “disruptors” to watch, and as one of National Journal Magazine’s “25 Most Influential Women Under 35 in Washington.” Anderson frequently appears programs such as NBC’s “Meet the Press,” CNN’s “State of the Union,” ABC’s “This Week,” Fox News’ “The Kelly File,” and HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher.” She has written about elections and trends in public opinion for The Daily Beast, POLITICO, U.S. News and World Report, Huffington Post Pollster Campaigns & Elections magazine, National Review Online’s “The Corner,”’s “Room for Debate,” and The Orlando Sentinel.

Betsy Aoki

Senior Program Manager, Bing Elections

Betsy Aoki is a 20‐year veteran of Web technology and online community applications. Mary Jo Foley of CNET once called her a “Microsoft Woman to Watch” for her work in launching Microsoft’s corporate blogging platforms, a Live Q&A consumer question‐and‐answer site, and pioneering the Xbox Live Indie Games platform. Lured to the marketing side to launch Bing, Aoki devised the new search engine’s social media strategies and outreach programs for startups, educators, and influencers, earning a Webby for Bing's site dedicated to education reform.

Now back in Bing engineering, she currently leads Bing's Election 2016 effort.

Esther Meroño Baro

Communications Manager, Auburn

Esther Meroño Baro (pronounced Es-tair Meh-roh-nyoh Bah-doh) is the Communications Manager at Auburn, a leadership institute equipping and amplifying multifaith leaders on the front lines of social change. She served as a digital organizer for the Sanctuary Movement in 2014-2015, placed with Auburn's digital organizing platform, Groundswell, through the UCLA Labor Center's Dream Summer program. Esther also works as a creative consultant for the New World Foundation, and is a writer and editorial fellow for The Tempest.

Katie Benner

Technology Reporter, The New York Times

Katie is a New York Times technology reporter who covers venture capital and startups. Previously she covered Apple and led the paper's coverage of Apple's fight with the F.B.I. over consumer privacy. She was a columnist at Bloomberg and a tech reporter at the Information, as well as a writer at Fortune magazine for nearly a decade where she covered Wall Street and the 2008 financial crisis. covered the financial crisis. She also spent nearly four years as a freelance writer in China, and her work appeared in publications including the Boston Globe. Katie has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, Marketplace Radio and WNYC. Katie has a bachelor’s degree in English from Bowdoin College and resides in San Francisco.

Lucy Bernholz

Research Scholar, Stanford University

Lucy Bernholz is currently a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University. Previously, she founded Blueprint Research & Design, Inc., a strategy consulting firm that helps philanthropic individuals and institutions achieve their missions. Bernholz is also the publisher of Philanthropy2173, an award winning blog about the business of giving, and she serves as Executive Producer of The Giving Channel on Dr. Bernholz is a noted analyst of the philanthropic industry and has published articles in the trade and general press, edited collections, and scholarly journals. Her most recent book, Creating Philanthropic Capital Markets: The Deliberate Evolution, was published in 2004. Bernholz has a BA from Yale University and a MA and PhD from Stanford University.

Beth Blauer

Johns Hopkins University Center for Government Excellence

A well-known proponent of open government, data transparency, and utilization, Beth Blauer is a true visionary and the nation’s leading expert in implementing government “stat” programs. She has helped to design and bring Socrata’s GovStat platform to all levels of federal, state, and local governments as well as non-profit organizations and international NGOs. She is also renowned for her leadership of Maryland’s innovative performance management program, StateStat.

Greg Bloom

COO, Open Referral; Civic Imagination Fellow, Civic Hall Labs

Greg Bloom is a Civic Imagination Fellow with Civic Hall Labs. He is the founder of Open Referral, which is promoting open access to resource directory data (i.e. information about the health, human, and social services available to people in need). Before Open Referral, Greg managed communications for Bread for the City, the District of Columbia’s pre-eminent anti-poverty service provider. He is a certified cooperative developer and a dedicated community organizer, with more than a decade of experience in GOTV, class-action labor lawsuits, municipal budget battles, death penalty abolition campaigns, community wireless networks, and even a backyard chicken legalization movement. His writing has been published in In These Times, Civic Quarterly, Personal Democracy Forum, and Code for America’s Beyond Transparency.

Ron Bouganim

Founder & Managing Partner, Govtech Fund

Ron Bouganim is the founder of the Govtech Fund: the first-ever venture fund focused on startups that help government be more responsive, efficient and better able to serve society. Previously, as an active angel investor and advisor, Ron worked closely with more than twenty startups including ShareThrough, HelloSign, PagerDuty, and Ron has also been actively involved with a number of nonprofits as a donor, advisor and board member including Kiva, Full Circle Fund, Endeavor, Presidio Knolls School and Code For America.

danah boyd

Founder, Data & Society

Danah Boyd is a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and the founder of Data & Society. She is also a Visiting Professor at New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program. She is an academic and a scholar and her research examines the intersection between technology and society. For over a decade, her research focused on how young people use social media as part of their everyday practices. She wrote It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens (2014) to document her findings. More recently, she has turned to focus on the social and cultural dimensions of the "big data" phenomenon, with an eye to issues like privacy and publicity, data(mis)interpretation, and the civil rights implications of data analytics. This is core to the mandate of Data & Society, a research institute that she founded in 2013 and currently runs.

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.

Gale Brewer

Manhattan Borough President

Gale A. Brewer is the 27th Manhattan Borough President, taking office in January of 2014. Ms. Brewer previously served on the City Council for 12 years, where she was the founding chair of the Council’s Technology Committee in 2002, and successfully passed legislation requiring all City data be published online, among many other initiatives.

Her experience in City Government also includes four years as New York City Deputy Public Advocate; Director of Mayor Dinkins' Federal Office in New York City; Executive Director of the Mayor's Commission on the Status of Women; and Chief of Staff to West Side Council Member Ruth W. Messinger.

Immediately prior to her election to the City Council, Brewer served as Project Manager for the NYC Nonprofits Project at CUNY’s Graduate Center, and before that worked for the Telesis Corporation, a private firm that builds affordable housing in New York City.

Brewer has an MPA from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, and did her undergraduate work at Columbia University and Bennington College.

Danielle Brian

Executive Director, Project On Government Oversight

Since 1993, Danielle Brian has been the Executive Director of the Project On Government Oversight (POGO). She frequently testifies before Congress and regularly meets with Members of Congress and officials at the White House and federal agencies to discuss how to achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government. Ms. Brian was appointed by the Secretary of the Interior to serve on the U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Federal Advisory Committee in 2012. In 2013, she was elected chair of the civil society organizations on the Federal Advisory Committee. In 2015, Ms. Brian was elected to the Board of the D.C. Open Government Coalition. Ms. Brian serves on the board of Taxpayers for Common Sense, and is the chair of the Steering Committee for Ms. Brian was inducted into the Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame, was ranked by Ethisphere magazine as one of the top 100 most influential people in business ethics, and received the Smith College Medal.

Under Ms. Brian’s direction, POGO has conducted numerous investigations that have resulted in major public policy reforms:
  • Exposed wasteful spending, which led to the cancellation of some of the government’s largest contracts, including the Boeing tanker lease, the $13 billion Superconducting Super Collider, the $11 billion Army Crusader, and the Army’s Sergeant York DIVAD. POGO also was a leader in the fight to end production of the F-22 fighter.
  • Uncovered oil and gas industry fraud on public lands that led to the Justice Department’s recovery of nearly half a billion dollars, rule changes to prevent future fraud, and the dismantlement of the Minerals Management Service into separate bureaus with strengthened ethics rules.
  • Investigated lax nuclear power plant security, sparking improved training and working conditions for guards. POGO’s investigations into the U.S. nuclear weapons complex also increased security at the complex by reducing the number of vulnerable sites.
  • Filed and won a lawsuit against then-Attorney General John Ashcroft for retroactively classifying FBI documents.
  • Successfully pushed for reforms that bolstered both the independence and accountability of the federal Inspectors General system.

Simone Brody

Executive Director, What Works Cities

Simone Brody is the Executive Director of What Works Cities, a Bloomberg Philanthropies initiative, working with city leaders around the country to improve their use of data and evidence to inform city decision-making. What Works Cities is currently partnering with 27 cities around the country - providing expert technical assistance to improve city practices, building a peer learning network and advancing a national movement to improve the effectiveness of city governments. Simone previously served as a Senior Executive Director at the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE), leading evaluation and accountability for the city’s 1,800 public schools. Prior to joining NYCDOE, Simone was a Principal at Ascend Ventures, investing and supporting early stage education and technology companies. Simone began her career in investment banking at Goldman Sachs, focusing on mergers, acquisitions and capital raisings for financial institutions. Simone earned a BA, Master of Education and MBA from the University of Pennsylvania.

Lizz Brown

Attorney, Journalist and Political Analyst

Lizz Brown is an Attorney and an award-winning journalist and political analyst. A former Special Public Defender, Lizz has always been a passionate defender of the rights of the oppressed and forgotten. Lizz believes that women and people of color must lean in and speak with a “disruptive voice”. The host of an Award-winning talk show “The Wake Up Call” for 15 years Lizz conducted 1000s of interviews with News Makers and Policy Shapers. Her shows determined the political fate for many elected officials. In St. Louis, as an activist and organizer, Lizz led 1000s of students to engage in the only successful shutdown/occupation of the Mayor’s office-an occupation that led to a student negotiated settlement. A popular columnist for the St. Louis American, Lizz holds the distinction of being the one of the few African American columnists to have a column, “Clarence Thomas….Accidental Jurist” inserted into the Congressional Record. Lizz has been the "go to" legal analyst for MSNBC, CNN and Al Jazeera. She has also been seen on NBC, ABC and Fox. After six Baltimore police were charged with various crimes in connection to the killing of Freddie Gray, CNN sought Lizz out to debate attorney Alan Dershowitz. She is also a frequent political analyst on Huff Post Live and the Winner of the Pundit’s Cup at Netroots Nation in 2015.

Mischa Byruck

Director of Summit Partnerships, Code for America

Mischa leads Code for America's relationships with its corporate sponsors and partners. Previously, he was the Manager of Strategic Partnerships at DataKind, an organization harnessing the power of data science in the service of humanity. He has worked as a labor journalist, an activist and community organizer, and in international and economic development. Following Hurricane Katrina, he founded Emergency Communities, an organization that operated large-scale disaster relief camps along the Gulf Coast. He is a 2013 Coro Leader, a 2012 NYU Reynolds Scholar in Scaling Social Enterprises, a 2009 Wagner Scholar, and a 2007 Nominee for CNN Hero of the Year. He received his BA from Columbia University and his MPA from NYU.

Robin Carnahan

Senior Advisor, 18F

Robin Carnahan leads 18F’s State and Local Government Practice. She is a businesswoman, lawyer and former Missouri Secretary of State. Her life-long passion for improving how people experience and value their government inspires her work helping state and local governments get the digital tools they need to deliver better services to more people that cost less. Today, in addition to her work at 18F, Robin advises a number of civic technology companies and serves on the boards of the National Democratic Institute and the LaunchCode Foundation. She also serves on the Democracy Fund’s National Advisory Committee, is a Senior Fellow at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Service and was a 2013 Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Politics. She frequently speaks about government innovation through smarter use of technology and in 2014 joined the global strategy firm Albright Stonebridge Group as a Senior Advisor.

Nicole Carty

Senior Campaigner, SumOfUs

Nicole Carty is a Senior Campaigner at SumOfUs and a Lead Trainer and Core team member at Momentum. Nicole has been committed to grassroots and digital organizing for the past ten years. She is a movement builder who was deeply involved in Occupy Wall Street and has played critical roles in the Movement for Black Lives. Previously Nicole was Programming Director at The Other 98% where she helped grow the organization’s social media reach into the millions.

Kenyatta Cheese

Co-Founder/Creative Director, Everybody at Once

Kenyatta Cheese is a professional internet enthusiast best known for co-creating the web series and internet meme database Know Your Meme, often cited as the go-to resource for tracking and understanding internet culture.

Kenyatta is also a creative technologist having pioneered early work in online video, activist media, and art and technology. He created some of the web’s first videoblogs in Durban Diaries and BrowseTV, built operations and infrastructure for the first online video network in Rocketboom, created open source wireless backpack streaming technologies for protest and conflict zones with WiFiTV, and organized communities at the intersection of art, media, and technology at both Unmediated and the Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology.

Currently, Kenyatta is co-founder and Creative Director at Everybody at Once, a consultancy dedicated to audience development for media, entertainment, and sports where he develops and supports fan communities for shows like Doctor Who, Top Gear, and Orphan Black.

Michael Connor

Executive Director, Open MIC

Michael Connor is Executive Director of Open MIC - the Open Media and Information Companies Initiative - a non-profit organization that works to foster more open and democratic media, principally through shareholder engagement and activism. Launched in 2007, Open MIC organizes investor campaigns on issues such as network neutrality, privacy and data security, big data and civil rights, and government surveillance.

Michael co-founded Open MIC following a distinguished career as a media executive, entrepreneur and journalist. He has launched and managed ventures on multiple media platforms in the U.S., Europe and Asia. A former reporter for The Wall Street Journal and correspondent for ABC News, his journalism has won numerous honors including a national Emmy, Writers’ Guild Award and a nomination for an Academy Award. Michael currently serves as Vice Chair of the board of the Center for an Urban Future, a NYC-based think tank dedicated to highlighting the critical opportunities and challenges facing New York and other cities. He is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross.

Kate Crawford

Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research

Kate Crawford is a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research New York City, a Visiting Professor at MIT's Center for Civic Media, and a Senior Fellow at NYU's Information Law Institute. Her research addresses the social impacts of big data, and she's currently writing a new book on data and power with Yale University Press. She is on the advisory boards of the Information Program at George Soros' Open Society Foundation, The New Museum's art and technology incubator NEW INC, and several academic journals including Big Data and Society. In 2013, she was a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio fellow, where she worked on issues to do with big data, ethics and communities. She is also a member of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Data for Development, and a co-director of the Council for Big Data, Ethics & Society. Apart from the academic stuff, Kate has also written for The Atlantic, The New York Times and The New Inquiry.

Christine Cupaiuolo

Civic Engagement Fellow, Civic Hall's Rethinking Debates

Christine Cupaiuolo is the Civic Engagement Fellow leading Civic Hall's Rethinking Debates project. She reports on how political debates around the world are using innovative formats and social media, focusing on examples that help make these crucial public events more informative, engaging, and responsive to the concerns of voters.

Her work has focused on digital media, both as a strategist for nonprofits and foundations and as a writer and editor covering political and cultural issues. She was the managing editor of the 2011 edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves and provided editorial direction for the book's parent organization and website, focusing on the politics of women’s health. She previously created ms.musings, Ms. magazine's first blog on women, media, and culture, and later became the magazine's online editor.

As a contributing editor to Spotlight, an online publication covering the MacArthur Foundation's Digital Media and Learning Initiative, she wrote about the latest news and academic research on social networks, gaming, maker culture, and digital/media literacies. In 2000, she founded and edited, a magazine on the intersections of pop culture and politics featuring essays and reporting by journalists, academics, and cultural critics.

She has also worked as a researcher/writer for C-SPAN and as a news reporter for the Rutland Herald and a New York weekly. Her writing and investigative reporting, including a federal death penalty case based on an internet-related murder, have been recognized by the Vermont and New York press associations.

Asha Curran

Chief Innovation Officer and Director of the Center for Innovation & Social Impact, 92nd Street Y

Asha Curran is Chief Innovation Officer and Director of the Center for Innovation & Social Impact at the 92nd Street Y. She is the director of #GivingTuesday, the annual day of giving following Black Friday and Cyber Monday, as well as a portfolio of global, digitally-driven initiatives including 7 Days of Genius, the Social Good Summit, 92Y American Conversation, and the Women inPower and Venture Fellowships. She is the recipient of the 2015 Social Capital Hero Award and named a 2016 Woman of Influence by New York Business Journals. 92Y was recently named one of the 10 Most Innovative Nonprofits by Fast Company.

Anil Dash

CEO/Cofounder, ThinkUp

Anil Dash is cofounder and CEO of ThinkUp, the creators of Makerbase, a directory of apps and websites and the people who create them, and ThinkUp, which offers fun personal insights into social media activity. Dash is also cofounder of Activate, the consultancy which defines strategy for the most important companies in technology and media. Described as a "blogging pioneer" by the New Yorker, he has published his blog at continuously since 1999, earning recognition as a Webby honoree. In 2013, Time named @anildash one of the best accounts on Twitter, and some of its half million followers agree.

Carol Davidsen

VP of Political Technology, Rentrak

Carol Davidsen is passionate about creating cutting-edge technology to help the political space identify the best places to find their audience across all screens including TV and Digital in the most cost effective manner. Carol currently leads the political technology group at comScore, working to bridge the gap between what political campaigns, super PACs and lobbyists need today, and the technology they will need in the future as TV and digital evolve. Before joining the comScore team, Carol served as the Director of Integration and Media Targeting for the 2012 Obama for America re-election campaign, where she led the development of "The Optimizer," an analytics tool that combined campaign data with set top box viewership data, and “Narwhal” the integrated campaign API platform that unified political data available to every arm of the campaign. Carol has also spent more than 18 years in the tech world, building technical CRM, billing, and set-top box audience measurement platforms for the cable, satellite, telecom, campaign, and adtech industries. Carol has been featured on Business Insiders Top 10 people in Digital Politics, Campaigns and Elections Top 10 Technology Disruptors list, and Huffington Posts 50 Women Who made the 2012 Elections. Her insights have been featured by Fox News, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bloomberg Business, The Victory Lab, and Prototype Politics: Technology-Intensive campaigning and the data of democracy.

Julia Rhodes Davis

Managing Director of Capital and Growth, DataKind

Julia Rhodes Davis is Managing Director of Capital and Growth at DataKind, a nonprofit dedicated to harnessing the power of data science and predictive analytics in the service of humanity. Julia leads efforts for company growth and sustainability. Previously, Julia served as the Chief Development Officer for Citizen Engagement Laboratory, an incubator for tech-fueled social change organizations. In 2008, she founded Production Collective, a New York-based consulting firm that provided fundraising, organizational development, and experiential marketing services to organizations across the nonprofit sector. Julia currently serves on the board of, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that builds technology to make it easier to vote. When Julia’s not working with amazing change makers, she’s cooking, running, or helping someone start a new project.

Tracy Dennis-Tiwary

Professor of Psychology, Hunter College

Tracy Dennis-Tiwary is a researcher in psychology and neuroscience who is passionate about using science to drive the digital mental health revolution. She has translated two decades of her research on the anxious brain and the impact of emotions on health into the development of clinically-validated digital mental health tools. Her stress-reduction app Personal Zen has been featured in media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, CBS, CNN, NPR, Huffington Post, Bloomberg Television, and Lifehacker. Her work in mindfulness-based stress reduction in at-risk youth is the topic of the documentary film “Changing Minds at Concord High.” She explores ideas about growing up and growing old in the digital age in her blog Psyche’s Circuitry and on Medium. She is director of the Hunter College Stress, Anxiety, and Resilience Research Center.

Hossein Derakhshan


Hossein Derakhshan is a Canadian-Iranian author and journalist. He was the pioneer of blogging in Iran which earned him the title of 'blogfather' there. He spent six years in prison in Iran over his blog posts and other web activities. He is the author of The Web We Have to Save (Matter, July 2015), which was published in Liberation, Die Zeit, Corriere della Serra, El Pais, Folha de Sao Paulo and The Guardian. He now writes about Iran and technology for various media outlets, including Hamshahri Javan (in Tehran) and shares his thoughts at @h0d3r on Twitter and Medium. He is also the creator of Link-age, an art project to promote open and diverse internet.

Hilary Doe

VP of Strategy, NationBuilder

Hilary Doe is a nonprofit leader, committed to civic engagement and leadership development. She is the VP of Strategy at NationBuilder.

Prior to joining NationBuilder, Hilary served as the Senior Advisor to the President and, previously, the Vice President of Operations and Programming at the Roosevelt Institute. In her role at the Roosevelt Institute, Hilary received national recognition from the White House, the Francis Perkins Center, the National Consumers League, the National Academy of Social Insurance, and others. Her work has been featured by numerous national and regional media outlets, including cable news networks, the Washington Post, the Nation, and NPR. Prior to joining Roosevelt, Hilary worked as a Senior Analyst in the Public Policy Analysis practice area of Anderson Economic Group, and held positions with the Brookings Institution and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation.

Hilary graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. She went on to earn a Master's degree from Michigan's Ford School of Public Policy, and was a doctoral student in the Department of Politics at Princeton University.

Stacy Donohue

Investment Partner, Omidyar Network

Stacy leads Omidyar Network's Governance & Citizen Engagement initiative in the United States. In this role, Stacy works to improve the relationship between citizens and government by promoting citizen engagement, government accountability and effectiveness, and improved public service delivery. Stacy's portfolio includes, Code for America, Datakind , NationBuilder, NewsDeeply, SeeClickFix, and Tumml. She is a board member for and Code for America. Prior to joining Omidyar Network, Stacy spent nine years at Hewlett-Packard in senior roles spanning strategy, corporate development, and merger and acquisition transactions. Previously, Stacy was a project leader at the Boston Consulting Group, where she provided analysis and consulting for clients across multiple industries from healthcare to financial services. She began her career as an associate in corporate finance at JPMorgan Chase & Co. Stacy received an MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School, an MA in art history from the University of California, Berkeley, and a BA from Yale University, where she graduated summa cum laude and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

Sam Dorman

Strategic Technology Consultant, Sam Dorman Consulting

Sam Dorman is one of the social change sector’s recognized leaders in the technology arena, helping organizations deliver high-quality technology, including building internal teams that can manage and sustain their systems over time. His work creating these “product teams” helps groups break long-standing cycles of technology dysfunction — instead harnessing tech’s potential to enhance mission and impact.

Elizabeth Eagen

Program Manager, Open Society Foundations

Elizabeth Eagen is a program manager with the Open Society Information Program. Eagen’s work focuses on the use of new media tools in knowledge management. Her portfolio includes projects addressing human rights and policy issues using data sets, and advocacy campaigns employing data-visualization tools and tactics. Previously, she was a joint program manager with the Information Program and the Human Rights Initiative, where she established the Human Rights Data Initiative, and the Human Rights and Governance Grants Program, with country portfolios in Armenia, Georgia, and Russia.

Eagen holds a dual MPP–MA in public policy and Russian–East European studies from the University of Michigan, and a BA in international studies and Russian from Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

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.

Vyki Englert

CoFounder, Compiler LA

Vyki is a software developer, cartographer, and cyclist who fell in love with Los Angeles after landing in downtown in 2012. Raised in a college town on the east coast, she was introduced to advocacy early and has found herself pushing for change in a world that often shies away from progress.

In 2014, Vyki cofounded Compiler LA, a civic tech consultancy dedicated to building a better Los Angeles. Previously Vyki worked at NationBuilder building a national voter file to empower smarter campaigns. She also built Onebox, an open source ruby gem, as an immersive learning experience and hands on intro to the open source community for new developers.

Vyki helped launch the city of Santa Monica's open data initiative by publishing the city's first datasets online, as well as launching new websites tailored toward engaging the public in the city's planning and development processes.

From running a nonprofit bike cooperative to working for city government, Vyki has found data to be necessary today to empower individuals in building strong capable communities. She firmly believes Los Angeles is an ideal proving ground for new ideas in livability. Vyki currently lives car-free in downtown Los Angeles.

Zack Exley

Senior Advisor, Bernie 2016

Zack Exley is a political and technology consultant and the co-founder and former president of the New Organizing Institute, a progressive political technology training organization. In July 2015, Exley joined the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign as a senior advisor responsible for distributed organizing. In 2004, he was the Director of Online Communications and Organizing on John Kerry's presidential campaign and directed Internet operations for the UK Labour party's re-election campaign in 2005. In both cases, the campaigns' opponents attacked Exley as a controversial figure, hoping to make his hiring a campaign issue. Exley was Organizing Director at during the group's campaign to prevent the Iraq War, and during its controversial involvement with the Dean campaign. He was criticized then too, for "rigging" the "MoveOn Primary" in favor of Dean—a charge the group rejected. Exley began his political career working as a union organizer, and has also worked as a computer programmer.

Rod Falcon

Program Director; Technology Horizons, Institute for the Future

Rod currently leads IFTF’s Technology Horizons team. With a deep background in public health policy, he has served in several different capacities at IFTF since 1995, including leading theFood and Health programs and directing research for the Technology Horizons program. In the course of his work, Rod speaks to executive audiences and helps them find innovative strategies for participating in the global economy. His research focus areas have included personal health technologies, communication and messaging practices in the workplace and home, social networks and abundant connectivity, and health-aware environments.

Born in Oakland, California, in a time and place of great social change, Rod attended nearby UC Berkeley to better understand what was happening. There he earned a BA in American history and a master’s of public policy. After working one summer enforcing the Voting Rights Act for the Justice Department, Rod realized that public policy was not as future oriented as it might be and was inspired to do something about it. He came to IFTF to forecast the future of the California health care safety net and ended up staying on.

Evan Feeney

Media Justice Campaign Manager, ColorofChange

Evan Feeney joined ColorofChange as a Media Justice Campaign Manager in May 2015. He has been helping to lead ColorOfChange's work to combat government and police surveillance of Black people and Black-led movements. Evan and his team have been working on the FOIA Project for Safe Activism - a project to use freedom of information laws to further expose surveillance of movement for Black lives organizers and to provide organizers with tools to reduce law enforcement's ability to surveil them. His anti-surveillance work also includes ongoing campaigns to rein in the warrantless use of 'StingRay' devices and to prevent the FBI from gaining a Privacy Act exemption for its massive, and racially biased, facial recognition database.

Marcus Ferrell

Political Consultant, Propellant Digital Media

Marcus Ferrell served as African American Outreach Director for Bernie Sanders 2016 and currently works as a political consultant for Propellant Digital Media where he directs candidates on targeting and constituency messaging. Marcus has managed and worked as a General Consultant on progressive political campaigns across the country on the local, state, and federal levels. Considering himself as a community mobilizer first, Marcus has organized against Florida’s Stand Your Ground laws, the ‘Free Marissa Alexander’ movement, and multiple actions against police shootings of unarmed black men around the nation. His focus on political empowerment lead him to working as a facilitator of the 2014 Congressional Black Caucus Institute Boot-camp where 10 graduates went on to win elections in their respective areas the following year. Born and raised in Tallahassee Florida, Marcus attended Florida A&M University and is a veteran of the U.S. Navy.

Devin Fidler

Research Director, Institute for the Future

Devin directs the Institute for the Future’s Workable Futures Initiative and enjoys regularly working with organizations to lay the foundations today to lead in tomorrow’s talent landscape. His interests center on applying foresight to strategy, with an emphasis on the impacts of emerging technologies and shifting approaches to organizational design. He sees organizations as systems designed to activate workforce know-how in the right places and at the right times. From this perspective, he argues that in a post-globalization world, all management is knowledge management.

Devin is a frequent speaker at gatherings of business leaders and others interested in the transformation of work and organizations. He approaches projects from a strongly international perspective, having lived and worked in several countries throughout his career.

He holds a BA in history from the University of Colorado, and an MBA with a focus on innovation in emerging markets from Budapest University of Economics and Institut des Hautes Etudes Economiques et Commerciales in Paris. Devin also participated in the inaugural class of Singularity University, a NASA and Google–sponsored program focused on harnessing emerging technologies to meet humanity’s grand challenges.

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.

Mariana Ruiz Firmat

Co-Founder/Fellowship Director, Kairos

Mariana Ruiz Firmat is the Kairos Fellowship Director. Mariana has over fifteen years of experience as a community organizer and digital campaigner. She helped co-found the Kairos Fellowship along with Jackie Mahendra and others while serving as Managing Director of She launched her digital campaigning career at where she was Deputy Field Director before joining the digital campaigning team. Mariana currently sits on the WebofChange Board. She also provides digital strategy support to criminal justice and immigrant rights organizations. Mariana has spent most of her career working on racial justice issues, immigrant rights, and ending violence against migrant women. She is also an essayist and poet and lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Natalie Foster

Fellow, Institute for the Future; Co-founder,

Natalie has spent the last 15 years at the crossroads of social movements and technology, and is currently a Fellow at Institute for the Future in Palo Alto and an advisor to the Aspen Institute's Future of Work Initiative. She’s transformed and run some of the largest digital teams in the country, including President Obama’s successful effort of pass health reform, and built two organizations from scratch. Most recently, Natalie co-founded and launched Peers to support people who are working in the sharing and on-demand economy. Prior to Peers, she was the CEO and co-founder of Rebuild the Dream, a platform for people–driven economic change, with Van Jones. Previously, Natalie served as digital director for President Obama’s Organizing for America (OFA) and the Democratic National Committee. She built and directed the team responsible for the president's message and fundraising through social, mobile, and email communication with the President's millions of supporters. Natalie built the first digital department at the Sierra Club and served as the deputy organizing director for

Alicia Garza

Co-Founder, Black Lives Matter

Alicia Garza is an organizer, writer, and freedom dreamer living and working in Oakland, CA. She is the Special Projects Director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the nation’s leading voice for dignity and fairness for the millions of domestic workers in the United States, most of whom are women. She is also the co-creator of #BlackLivesMatter, a national organizing project focused on combatting anti-Black state sanctioned violence.Alicia's work challenges us to celebrate the contributions of Black queer women's work within popular narratives of Black movements, and reminds us that the Black radical tradition is long, complex and international. Her activism reflects organizational strategies and visions that connect emerging social movements without diminishing the specificity of the structural violence facing Black lives. She has been the recipient of numerous awards for her organizing work, including the Root 100 2015 list of African American achievers and influencers between the ages of 25 and 45, and was featured in the Politico 50 guide to the thinkers, doers and visionaries transforming American politics in 2015.

Christie George

Director, New Media Ventures

Christie George is one of the country’s leading experts on investing in mission-driven startups. As Director of New Media Ventures, an angel network and seed fund focused on accelerating progressive innovation, Christie has catalyzed the investment of more than $8m into some of the fastest growing for-profit and nonprofit startups of the last few years including Upworthy, CrowdTangle and SumOfUs.

Christie’s work centers on fostering an independent, vibrant, and diverse media sector by supporting individuals and institutions that are making media that matters. She started her career at a venture capital firm, then spent six years managing sales and marketing for Women Make Movies, the world's leading distributor of films by and about women, and was a co-founder of Louder (acquired by, the crowd-promotion platform for ideas that matter. She serves on the board of the Roosevelt Institute and was named a Social Citizen Ambassador by the Case Foundation.

Christie holds a BA from Yale University and an MBA with distinction from the University of Oxford, where she was a Skoll Scholar in Social Entrepreneurship and graduated with the Said Prize. She lives in Oakland and is a proud co-owner of the Rio Theater in Monte Rio, CA.

Wael Ghonim

Internet Activist; Cofounder, Parlio

Wael Ghonim is an Internet activist and computer engineer with an interest in social entrepreneurship. In 2011, he became an international figure and energized pro-democracy demonstrations in Egypt after his emotional interview following 11 days of secret incarceration by Egyptian police—during which he was interrogated regarding his work as the anonymous administrator of the Facebook page, "We are all Khaled Saeed", which helped spark the revolution. Time magazine included him in its "Time 100" list of 100 most influential people of 2011, and the World Economic Forum have selected him as one of the Young Global Leaders in 2012. Wael is the author of "Revolution 2.0: The power of people is stronger than the people in power". In 2012, he founded Tahrir Academy, a technology focused NGO that aims at fostering education in Egypt. He is currently a co-founder at Parlio.

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.

Tom Glaisyer

Program Director for the Informed Participation Program, Democracy Fund

Tom is the Program Director for the Informed Participation Program at the Democracy Fund, a private foundation which fosters the highest ideals of the American republic – government of, by, and for the people. He supports the fund’s mission to invest in efforts to ensure that the U.S. political system is responsive to the priorities of the American public and has the capacity to rise to meet the challenges facing the country. Previously he was an investment principal at Omidyar Network for two years where he supported the development of the Democracy Fund.

Tom invests in organizations working to inform the American public and reduce deceptive practices with a focus on public engagement as well as journalism at the local level. Tom’s current portfolio includes the Institute for Nonprofit News, the American Press Institute and the Engaging News Project.

Tom brings to the Democracy Fund a background in media research and policy, as well as social media advocacy consulting. He led the Media Policy Initiative at the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute where he sought to track and influence media efforts at the local, community, and national levels. During his time at New America, Tom’s efforts centered on policies that support the open Internet and innovation in media, strengthening independent reporting on issues of public interest, and helping citizens access and engage with high-quality information. Prior to this, he was a consultant and analyst focused on leveraging online platforms for knowledge management and building and sustaining advocacy networks. Tom also brings more than 14 years of international experience in information technology implementation and organizational change to the Democracy Fund.

Tom received his bachelor of engineering and economics from the University of Birmingham, England. He also holds a master’s of international affairs from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University as well as a master’s of philosophy from Columbia University where he is pursuing a PhD in communications at the Graduate School of Journalism. He serves as board secretary for the Outward Bound Center for Peacebuilding.

Marina Gorbis

Executive Director, Institute for the future

Marina Gorbis is a futurist and social scientist who serves as executive director to the Institute for the Future (IFTF), a Silicon Valley nonprofit research and consulting organization. In her 18 years with IFTF, Marina has brought a futures perspective to hundreds of organizations in business, education, government, and philanthropy to improve innovation capacity, develop strategies, and design new products and services.

Marina’s current research focuses on how social production is changing the face of major industries, a topic explored in detail in her book, The Nature of the Future: Dispatches from the Socialstructed World. She has also blogged and written for, FastCompany, Harvard Business Review, and major media outlets. A native of Odessa, Ukraine, yet equally at home in Silicon Valley, Europe, India, and Kazakhstan, Marina is particularly well suited to see things from a global viewpoint. She has keynoted such international events as the World Economic Forum, The Next Web Conference, NEXT Berlin, the World Business Forum, the National Association of Broadcasters annual convention, and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges annual conference. She holds a BA in psychology and a master’s of public policy from UC Berkeley.

Susie Gorden

Oversees Professional Development, CMF

Susie Gorden oversees the professional development of congressional staff and internal management of CMF. She comes to CMF with over 15 years' experience in policy, government relations and advocacy.

Susie has extensive experience in the nonprofit sector, for organizations small and large. Most recently, she was the Policy Director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. She was also selected by her peers to chair the Washington Group of the National Collaboration for Youth, which provides a unified voice for over 50 national nonprofits working to better conditions for America's youth. Prior to that, Susie was a liaison to Congress for Capitol Advantage (now part of CQ Roll Call). In that role, she interacted with dozens of congressional offices and advocacy groups to improve constituent communications and citizen engagement. She came to Capitol Advantage after a stint as a Legislative Assistant for an influential member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Susie also has a background in research, as co-author of a National Library of Medicine project.

Erhardt Graeff

PhD Researcher, MIT Center for Civic Media

Erhardt Graeff is a sociologist, designer, and entrepreneur. His work explores creative uses of media and technology for civic engagement and learning. His has written about youth digital activism, civic drone design, bots and information privacy, and political memes. He regularly leads workshops on civic media and participatory design for students, teachers, and social entrepreneurs.

As a PhD student in the Center for Civic Media at the MIT Media Lab and an affiliate at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Erhardt has contributed to Media Cloud, studying the impact of media activism around the death of Trayvon Martin, and designed Action Path, a location-based app for civic engagement. Recently, Erhardt has worked with Facebook's Civic Engagement team as a researcher. He is also a founding trustee of The Awesome Foundation, which gives small grants to innovative and promising projects.

Adam Green

Co-Founder, Open Debate Coalition

Adam Green is Co-Founder of the Open Debate Coalition and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC), a grassroots organization with a million members that engages in electoral and issue advocacy work building the "Elizabeth Warren wing" of American politics. From 2005 to 2008, he led MoveOn's media reform and Internet freedom campaigns. Previously, Adam served as the Democratic National Committee’s press secretary in Oregon for the 2004 presidential campaign, communications director for the New Jersey Democratic Party in 2003, and press secretary for the top winning Democratic U.S. Senate race of 2002 in South Dakota. He has a B.A. from George Washington University and a law degree from University of Virginia. He is a frequent contributor on both MSNBC and CNN.

Lawrence Grodeska

Founder, CivicMakers

Lawrence Grodeska is a creator, communicator, connector and futurist dedicated to the well-being of all crew members on Spaceship Earth. He is the founder of CivicMakers, an innovation studio using human-centered design and lean principles to solve pressing public challenges.

Lawrence helps citizens, communities, businesses and governments listen to and collaborate effectively with each other. He released the government of San Francisco‘s first mobile app based on open data, built the B2B content marketing program at, and launched Accela’s Contractor Central app to facilitate municipal licensing and permitting. He has hosted 20+ civic networking events and spoken at SXSW Interactive, SXSW Eco, Nonprofit Technology Conference, and Code for America Summit.

Lawrence lives in San Francisco, where he composts compulsively and writes happy-go-lucky songs about bicycles, numbers and unicorns.

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.

Sunita Grote

Innovation Fund Manager, UNICEF’s Office of Innovation

Sunita Grote is the Innovation Fund Manager at UNICEF’s Office of Innovation, based in New York. The Innovation Fund is supporting early-stage projects that explore how open source technology can improve the lives of children and young people. Prior to working on the Innovation Fund, Sunita facilitated the expansion of private sector support of UNICEF Innovation projects. Previously, Sunita spent 10 years working in the global HIV and health response, managing grants and technical support for community leaders and organizations working with marginalized groups. She has a background in innovative financing for development and a Master in Business Administration from INSEAD.

Mary Katharine Ham

Journalist, Fox News Channel

Mary Katharine Ham is an American journalist. Graduated from Riverside High School in 1998. She graduated in 2002 with a bachelor of arts degree in Journalism from the University of Georgia. She is editor at large of Hot Air, a contributing editor to Townhall Magazine, and a Fox News Channel contributor. At CPAC 2014, she was presented with the ACU Blogger of the Year award.

Jeremy Heimans

Co-Founder and CEO, PURPOSE

Jeremy Heimans is co-founder and CEO of Purpose, a home for building 21st century movements and crowd-based social and economic models to tackle the world’s biggest problems. Since its launch in 2009, Purpose has launched several major new organizations including All Out, a 2.2 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.

Jeremy has been building movements since the age of 8 when, as a child activist in his native Australia, he ran media campaigns and lobbied leaders on issues like children's rights and nuclear non-proliferation. In 2005, he co-founded GetUp, an Australian political organization and internationally recognized social movement phenomenon that today has more members than all of Australia's political parties combined. And in 2007, Jeremy was a co-founder of Avaaz, the world’s largest online citizens’ movement, now with more than 40 million members.

In 2011, Jeremy received the Ford Foundation's 75th Anniversary Visionary Award for his work as a movement pioneer and the World Economic Forum named him a Young Global Leader. He also serves as Chair of the Forum's Global Agenda Council on Civic Participation. In 2012, Fast Company named him one of the Most Creative People in Business. The World e-Government Forum has named him as one of the top ten people who is changing the world of politics and the internet, and The Guardian named him one of the ten most influential voices on sustainability in the US. And in 2015, Jeremy received the Performance Theatre's Inspired Leadership Award, whose previous recipients have included Melinda Gates, Richard Branson, and Paul Polman. His work has been profiled in publications like The Economist and The New York Times, and his most recent thinking with Henry Timms on "new power" was featured as the Big Idea in Harvard Business Review, as one of 2014’s top TED talks with more than 1.25m views, and by CNN as one of ten top ideas to change the world in 2015.

Jeremy has been a keynote speaker at venues such as the World Economic Forum at Davos, TED, the RSA, Chatham House, the United Nations, Blair House, The Economist Big Rethink, The Guardian Activate, and Social Media Week.

Jeremy began his career with the strategy consultants McKinsey & Company and he has degrees from Harvard University and the University of Sydney. He lives in New York.

Sarah Henry

User Experience Strategist, Accela

Currently, Sarah works as a User Experience Strategist for Accela, helping to design civic and government technology. Alongside working on digital products for the public sector, Sarah advocates for designing data-driven systems with emotional data and human-centered design.

She received her MFA in Interaction Design at the School of Visual Arts and has worked with organizations such as The New York Times, Columbia University, The Santa Monica Public Library, Tribeca Film Institute, and General Electric.

In 2015 Sarah created Civic View, an experiment in emotional data, combining video, GPS, interview transcripts, and biometric data to provide a window into the deeply personal experiences that residents have in their public space. She has also worked on open data initiatives, in particular with the Civic Innovation Lab in Los Angeles.

Sarah is also a public speaker and workshop facilitator. She recently presented on emotional data at Interaction16 in Helsinki. She has also presented at Lincoln Center in New York City and traveled throughout the US and Europe to help folks better understand how to creatively incorporate emotional data into their designs.

Parker Higgins

Director of Copyright Activism, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Parker Higgins is an activist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, specializing in issues at the intersection of freedom of speech and copyright, trademark, and patent law. He previously lived and worked in Berlin, Germany.

Parker studied at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University, where he developed a concentration of "Creativity, Freedom of Speech, and Intellectual Property." While at NYU, he served on the board of the global Students for Free Culture organization and as the president of its NYU chapter.

Harlo Holmes

Digital Security Trainer

Harlo Holmes is a Digital Security Trainer. She strives to help individual journalists in various media organizations become confident and effective in securing their communications within their newsrooms, with their sources, and with the public at large. She is a media scholar, software programmer, and activist; and contributes regularly to the open source mobile security collective The Guardian Project.

Abdi Nor Iftin

Writer, The Telling Room

Abdi Nor Iftin is a current member of The Telling Room, a non profit writing center in Portland, Maine. Abdi’s story was shared in real-time on This American Life in July 2015, and it was a 2015 Peabody story finalist. Abdi is currently working on his own book project, named “Call me American”, which will be released later in 2016. Abdi has contributed to Refugees International, American Public Media and the BBC. He told his own stories as a refugee in Kenya and Somalia. His stories have been documented on several media outlets that have touched the hearts and minds of many people across the world. Abdi is a natural story teller. As a former refugee, a recent immigrant to the US, and a Muslim, Abdi is frequently asked to speak at public events, including TEDx and universities. Abdi has just finished a radio producing workshop in Cape Cod, Massachusetts and hopes to advance his story telling skills to the next level.

Ellora Israni

Software Engineer: Civic Engagement, Facebook

Ellora Israni is a software engineer on Civic Engagement at Facebook, where her team's goal is to help people have a voice in their governments. Ellora has also worked on Facebook's Search and Local products in London and New York City. Before Facebook, Ellora spent time at Palantir Technologies and Stanford University, where she earned a B.S. in Computer Science. While at Stanford, Ellora co-founded she++ (@sheplusplus) and continues to work with the U.S. Department of State as well as nonprofits and schools around the world to empower women & girls with computer science. Ellora grew up in Portola Valley, CA, and she'll always be a fan of Philz Coffee and the Golden State Warriors.

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.

Emily Jacobi

Founder & Executive Director, Digital Democracy

Emily Jacobi is Founder and Executive Director of Digital Democracy, a non-profit dedicated to empowering marginalized communities to use technology to defend their rights. Since beginning her career as a youth journalist reporting from Cuba at age 13, for almost two decades Emily has worked to leverage media & technology to connect people across persistent divides. Under her leadership, Digital Democracy has grown from a start-up non-profit to a leader in the technology for human rights space, training grassroots leaders in more than 20 countries, building open source tools with local partners, and recognized by Secretary Hillary Clinton for co-creating the first rape response & women’s health hotline in Haiti. She has presented on the intersection of technology, civic engagement and human rights to US Congress, the State Department, the United Nations, and numerous universities and technology conferences. Emily is a passionate advocate for leveraging technology to achieve a more equitable & democratic future, and putting marginalized communities at the center of the design process.

Joanna S. Kao

Data Visualisation Journalist, Financial Times

Joanna S. Kao is data visualisation journalist at the Financial Times. She was previously a multimedia reporter and interactive developer who covered veterans issues, immigration and homelessness at Al Jazeera America. She creates immersive longform and audio story templates, studies accessibility and explores theater-related data in her spare time. She has a bachelors degree in computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and enjoys living at the intersection of computer science, design and journalism.

Dave Karpf

Assistant Professor, George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs

Dave Karpf is an Assistant Professor in the George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs. He teaches and conducts research on the Internet and political advocacy organizations. He is the award-winning author of The MoveOn Effect: The Unexpected Transformation of American Political Advocacy and is currently working on a book about analytics and activism. Dave blogs regularly at and tweets as @davekarpf.

Dr. Mark Keida

Vice President/Head of Polling, iCitizen

Mark Keida is the Vice President, Head of Polling at civic engagement platform icitizen. His work experience showcases his specialty in multi-modal qualitative and quantitative research design and execution, with a focus on social and digital innovation. Keida has advised White House staff and Senate leadership on strategic messaging and communications and is a thought leader in polling and trends in political research. Prior to icitizen, he worked for GfK, Anzalone Liszt Research, Lake Research Partners, US Representative Heath Shuler and the AFL-CIO. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Miami University.

Lorelei Kelly

Project Lead, Resilient Democracy Coalition

Lorelei is the founder or director of six projects and organizations in Washington, D.C. with the purpose of building a more inclusive and informed democracy. She currently leads the Resilient Democracy project, a coalition working to make sure that Congress succeeds in the information Age.

Ariel Kennan

Director of Innovation and Design, NYC Mayor's Office of Operations

Ariel Kennan draws upon her experience in multidisciplinary design and technology to lead research, concept development, and design, collaborating closely with design teams, vendors, and partners. She has created digital strategy and policy, mobile applications, websites, and media installations with a wide variety of cultural, corporate, and government partners. Her projects have won numerous awards, including the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival Award for Transmedia. Ariel currently serves the City of New York as Director, Innovation and Design at the Mayor's Office of Operations, where she is improving service delivery and advancing equity and opportunity for all New Yorkers. She is an alumna of Parsons School for Design and has held fellowships with Code for America and the Center for Urban Pedagogy.

Elspeth Kirkman

Head, The Behavioural Insights Team

Elspeth Kirkman runs the Behavioral Insights Team's North American branch out of New York. Since its establishment in August 2015, BIT North America has -- as a partner on the Bloomberg Philanthropies What Works Cities Initiative -- worked with municipal government across the US, and conducted over twenty randomized control trials in the process. These trials have examined what works in a wide range of contexts, from improving code enforcement processes, to boosting access to healthcare, to collecting government debt, and beyond. Prior to moving to the US, Elspeth worked with BIT in London running the education, skills, and youth portfolio. As part of her work, Elspeth was the founding Director of the Behavioural Research Centre for Adult Skills and Knowledge (ASK), the remit of which is to apply behavioral science to improve educational outcomes for adult learners. During her time with BIT (on both sides of the pond) Elspeth has worked on a range of complex social issues, leading projects in settings as diverse as foster care, national school funding and employment. Prior to joining BIT, Elspeth was a senior consultant at a large consultancy firm where she worked with public sector clients around the world.

Josh Klein

Technologist/Author, "Hacking Work"

Joshua Klein is a technologist who uses systems thinking to create alternative methods of succeeding in divergent fields. He is most widely known for his project designed to train crows to fetch lost change, but has also used this method to write two books (a science fiction novel and a business book), participate in several startups, work for the US Intelligence Community, and speak at conferences such as Davos and TED. Klein's speeches and articles frequently center on hacking as a theme, in which he reappropriates the term from its common misconception (as executing malicious computer attacks) to instead emphasize the unorthodox reworking of existing systems (systems thinking) for mutual benefit. This theme is elaborated on in his speeches to explain how he was able to achieve exploits such as publishing a book by giving it away for free, training crows to fetch coins, and reworking the employee/employer relationship.

Andrew Konya

CEO/Founder, Remesh, Inc

Andrew Konya, CEO/Founder of Remesh, Inc., is a PhD student in computational/theoretical physics at Kent State University. With extensive experience developing and implementing mathematical models for natural and man-made systems, Andrew brings a creative and versatile technical toolbox. This expertise, in concert with his passion for linguistics, led him to develop a mathematical framework for collective speech. His goal is the completion of a conversation platform, built on this framework, which can make conversations between countries in conflict a viable alternative to war.

Seamus Kraft

Executive Director, OpenGov Foundation

Seamus Kraft is a communicator and civic activist building new means for successful democracy in the digital age. Since February 2013, he has built The OpenGov Foundation into a dedicated four-person team producing cutting-edge civic software used by elected officials and citizens in governments across the US. Seamus is also a co-creator of the Free Law Founders, a coalition of leaders from New York, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, and Washington, DC working to open the processes and information of government to access and innovation for all. Prior to creating The OpenGov Foundation, Seamus served as Digital Director and Press Secretary for The US House Oversight Committee, where he built one the most successful digital communications operations in government from the ground up. Seamus’s work both in and outside of government has been viewed by millions of people worldwide; in 2012 TechCrunch named him among its list of the “20 Most Innovative People of 2012”. A native of Marblehead, MA, he received his undergraduate degree in classical political philosophy from Georgetown University in 2007.

Anand Kulkarni

Founder & Chief Scientist, LeadGenius

Anand is an entrepreneur and researcher on topics human computation and online crowdsourcing platforms. His most recent role is cofounder of LeadGenius, a Silicon Valley social enterprise that's a founding signatory of the Good Work Code. Anand was named to Forbes "30 under 30" list. In a previous life, Anand was a NSF graduate research fellow at UC Berkeley.

Priya Kumar

Research Analyst, Ranking Digital Rights Project

Priya Kumar is a research analyst with the Ranking Digital Rights project, where she studies online freedom of expression and privacy. Her writing has appeared in Slate, Time, Pacific Standard, Brooklyn Quarterly, and American Journalism Review, and her research has been referenced by NPR, Buzzfeed, Washington Post, Financial Times, and Consumer Reports. Priya holds a master’s degree from the University of Michigan School of Information, where she designed her own curriculum in data storytelling. She also holds bachelor’s degrees from the University of Maryland in journalism and government & politics, as well as a minor in Spanish.

Adrienne Lever

Director of Partnerships for Change Politics,

Adrienne is the Director of Partnerships for Change Politics, a new elections project from of is the world’s largest platform for civic action with more than 150 million users globally.
Prior to joining, Adrienne was the Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships at Democracy Works, a non-profit technology startup that works to make voting easier by building tools to streamline the elections process. At Democracy Works, Adrienne coordinated voter registration efforts at over 200 U.S. colleges and universities through the TurboVote program. Adrienne’s passion for civic engagement around elections also extends beyond US borders. In her spare time, she designs and leads training programs for youth activists and political leaders internationally, with a focus on West Africa.

Adrienne began her career working on political campaigns and in government. She served as a Regional Director for two years on the first campaign to elect Barack Obama, and in 2009 joined the US Department of Energy as Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary, where she led strategic communications and coordinated with political staff across Federal agencies, Congress and the White House.

Adrienne holds a BA in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley, an International Diploma from the Institut d’Études Politiques in Paris, and a dual Masters in International Affairs and Public Administration from Columbia University and the London School of Economics.

Annmarie Levins

General Manager of Technology & Civic Engagement, Microsoft

Annmarie Levins is the General Manager for Microsoft’s Technology & Civic Engagement Group. Her team works with the civic tech community, government leaders, and other community stakeholders to bring creative approaches and technology to address society’s most pressing challenges. She founded the Innovation & Policy Center at Microsoft’s New England Research & Development Center (NERD) in Cambridge, which focuses on technology, law, and policy, and serves on the boards of numerous tech-related organizations. Her teams are based in Boston, Chicago, New York, Seattle, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Annmarie received a BA from Brown University and a PhD in politics from Princeton University.

William Li

Ph.D. Student, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

William Li is a first year graduate student (having completed his Masters in TPP/EECS in June, 2012). He works with Seth Teller in the Robotics, Vision and Sensor Network Group and with Nicolas Roy in the Robust Robotics Group. He is developing computational methods to draw insights from large collections of legal and political documents. This work offers new ways to answer research questions in law, politics, and public policy, from the authorship of Supreme Court opinions to the evolution of our laws. It could also lead to new technologies that promote citizen engagement and government transparency. Previously, he earned his master's degrees at MIT in computer science and the Technology and Policy Program. As an undergraduate, he was an Engineering Science student at the University of Toronto.

Tom Liacas

Senior Strategist, NetChange Consulting

Having pioneered distributed organizing tactics as global coordinator of Buy Nothing Day in the late nineties, Tom went on to work private sector where he developed expertise in social media marketing and online stakeholder dialogue. An avowed digital people-power wonk, his insights on the power of networked social movements have led him to speak repeatedly before the leaders of major NGOs and Fortune 500 companies. He also writes frequently on these subjects for The Guardian, Mashable and Mobilisation Lab.

Chris Maddox

CEO, Seneca Systems

Chris Maddox is co-founder and CEO of Seneca Systems, a mission-driven product company dedicated to empowering public servants. Their Romulus CRM helps cities manage constituent requests, with customers including Oakland, Chicago, Boston, Miami, Detroit, and Columbus. Before Seneca Systems, Chris was the 6th employee at ZenPayroll, leading their culture from 9 to 70 employees. He championed and built their charitable donations feature as well as architecting their partner API to integrate the SMB back-office.

As a company founder, Chris is passionate about culture, employee happiness, and doing the right thing regardless of difficulty. He studied Philosophy at Hamilton College, concentrating in existentialism and happiness before dropping out. He took one Computer Science class at Stanford and received an A+.

His favorite animal is the octopus for its independence, alien intellect, and cheerful curiosity. Chris lives in San Francisco, CA.

Luna Malbroux

Comedian and Founder, EquiTable

With a master's from Columbia University in clinical social work and the crushing debt to prove it, Luna fell back on her sense of humor to survive on the mean streets of San Francisco. With a background in supporting schools and organizations with anti-bias training, Luna blends her passion for social justice and comedy together to challenge the notion of what's impossible. She's also the visionary behind EquiTable, a comedic app which explores the wage gap featured in acclaimed news sites across the world- from The Atlantic and Huffington Post to China News Daily and the London Telegraph. Never the type to shy away from subjects, she crafted Live Sex SF, a comedy talk-show exploring sex and relationships as a way to combine her debaucherously charming humor and her life-long love of sexology. A fixture in the stand-up scene, Luna performs regularly in comedy clubs across the country. She's explores topics of sex and race as a writer for and is also an artist in residence at African American Arts and Culture Complex.

Marina Martin

Chief Technology Officer, Department of Veterans Affairs

Marina Martin is currently the Chief Technology Officer at the Department of Veterans Affairs where she runs the U.S. Digital Service at the VA, focusing on appeals modernization and transforming the Veterans’ digital experience. Prior to joining the VA, she served as a Senior Advisor to US CTO Todd Park, where her portfolio included veterans’ claims processing as well as the government-wide Open Data Initiative.

As one of the 18 inaugural Presidential Innovation Fellows – tech-savvy entrepreneurs from the private sector brought in for six-month tours of duty in the federal government -- Marina was also the first Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the U.S. Department of Education. Before joining the federal government she was a business efficiency consultant and Web developer, helping traditionally low-tech businesses save time and money by adopting 21st century technologies. Marina founded the efficiency consulting firm The Type-A Way and is the author of Business Efficiency for Dummies. Outside of work, Marina oversaw the launch of the Startup Weekend GOV vertical, served on the City of Seattle Citizens' Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board for three years, and has volunteered as a Court-Appointed Special Advocate for at-risk foster children for the last seven years (and she thinks you should volunteer as one, too). Today, Marina splits her time between DC and her home in Seattle, WA with her cats and dog, Momo.

Emily May

Co-Founder and Executive Director, Hollaback!

Emily is an international leader in the anti-harassment movement. In 2005, at the age of 24, she co-founded Hollaback! ( in New York City, and in 2010 she became the first full-time executive director. Hollaback!’s mission is to give women and LGBTQ folks an empowered response to harassment in public space, and ultimately, to end it. Emily has a Master’s Degree in Social Policy from the London School of Economics, is an Ashoka Fellow, a Prime Movers Fellow, and has won over ten awards for her work including the TEDCity 2.0 Prize. She recently co-founded HeartMob, an online platform designed to provide support for people being harassed online.

Alia McKee

Principal, Sea Change Strategies

Alia McKee is a principal at Sea Change Strategies, a strategic marketing and research consulting firm that specializes in high-touch donor engagement. Alia is a senior online communications and fundraising strategist with more than ten years "in the trenches" experience developing brand-perfect integrated marketing and fundraising campaigns. Clients have included: The Wikimedia Foundation, Amnesty International USA, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the International Rescue Committee, The Wilderness Society, Earth Justice, The Center for Community Change and Conservation International among others.

DeRay McKesson

Co-Founder, Campaign Zero

DeRay McKesson is a protestor, activist, and educator focused primarily on issues of innovation, equity and justice. Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, he graduated from Bowdoin College and has advocated for issues related to children, youth, and families since he was a teen. DeRay has served as an educator, student leader, and founding director of an after-school/out-of-school program. He has also provided leadership to the executive teams of two large urban school districts. Spurred by the death of Mike Brown and the subsequent protests in Ferguson, Missouri, DeRay has become a leading voice in the effort to confront the systems and structures that have led to the mass incarceration and police killings of black and other minority populations. The cofounder of the Protestor Newsletter and Campaign Zero, DeRay has worked to connect individuals with knowledge and tools, and provide citizens and policy makers with commonsense policies to end police violence. As a civil rights activist, DeRay’s work has had national impact - leading Fortune Magazine to name him one of 2015’s 50 World’s Greatest Leaders, and the New School to award him an honorary doctorate in 2016.

Duncan Meisel

Lead Digital Campaigner for Keystone XL Campaign, 350

Lead digital campaigner for 350’s groundbreaking Keystone XL campaign, and digital point person for 350’s efforts to mobilize tens of thousands of people at major climate actions in the US over the past 5 years. He has contributed writing on movement building to the Beautiful Trouble collection, Waging Nonviolence and other outlets.

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.

Peter Micek

Global Policy & Legal Counsel, Access Now

Peter Micek is Global Policy & Legal Counsel at Access Now, a digital rights organizations, and Lecturer at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. Peter leads the Access Now policy team's business and human rights work, advocating for a more rights-respecting telecom and tech sector. Through direct corporate engagement, norm-building at the United Nations, and investor advocacy, Peter helps Access Now to defend and extend the digital rights to privacy and freedom of expression online. As Lecturer at Columbia on internet governance, Peter’s course focuses on the structures and processes that determine public policy in the digital age.

A lawyer by training, Peter completed a JD cum laude at the University of San Francisco School of Law, and in 2010 published "A Genealogy of Home Visits," critiquing surveillance of at-risk communities. As a law student, Peter defended independent journalists and engaged in Freedom of Information litigation at First Amendment Project. For five years, in his native San Francisco, Peter led youth and ethnic media development at New America Media, and was Web Editor at KALW's daily radio program Your Call. Peter studied political science and journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. He is licensed by the state bars of California and New York, and has no cats.

Jed Miller

Digital Strategist

Jed Miller is a veteran digital strategist who guides mission-driven organizations to stronger alignment between vision, tools and communities. He currently consults on open data and social justice programs to the World Bank, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and the Natural Resource Governance Institute, among others. He previously served as internet director for the Revenue Watch Institute and, before that, as digital director at the American Civil Liberties Union. Jed has taught communications at Columbia's School for International Public Affairs (SIPA) and has written for the Guardian, Open Society Foundations and the General Services Administration. He is a native New Yorker a founding contributor to Personal Democracy Forum.

Jason Mogus

Principal Strategist, NetChange Consulting

Jason is the principal strategist at Communicopia. Over a twenty year career he has led digital transformation projects for some of the world's most recognized social change brands including Human Rights Watch, NRDC, the City of Vancouver, the Elders, the UN Foundation, and the David Suzuki Foundation. Jason won a Webby Award for the "Nothing But Nets" project that raised over $65M for Malaria, ran a $1M digital campaign for TckTckTck that coordinated the work of 225 global NGO's for the UN Copenhagen climate conference, and was the lead digital strategist for two winning Vision Vancouver municipal election campaigns. Currently he supports over 60 environmental and First Nations groups working to stop the expansion of Canada's tar sands. He is the founder of the 14 year old Web of Change conference that connects the leaders in progressive digital campaigns, communications, and organizing, and created the world's first research report on the state of digital teams in non-profits. A recognized thought leader in the fields of digital strategy, network campaigns, digital teams, and organizational change catalyzed by technology, in 2014 Jason was named to the first round of Leadership Fellows at the Broadbent Institute.

Travis Moore

Founder/Director, TechCongress

Travis Moore is the founder and Director of TechCongress, which is incubated at the Open Technology Institute at New America. TechCongress is dedicated to building 21st Century government with technology talent and its first two Congressional Innovation Fellows are now serving in Congress. Travis worked on Capitol Hill for six years and was the Legislative Director for Rep. Henry A. Waxman, helping guide his work on technology, health care and the environment. He founded Congress’ first digital communications fellowship and the institution's first Congressional staff conference.

Antonella Napolitano

Communications Manager, Italian Coalition for Civil Liberties (CILD)

Antonella Napolitano is the communications manager for the Italian Coalition for Civil Liberties (CILD), a multi-issue network of 32 NGOs advancing human rights in Italy. From 2010-2015 she was the Europe editor of techPresident. With CILD, she recently co-produced The 19 Million Project, an event that brought together a coalition of journalists, coders, designers, digital strategists, and global citizens, to address the spiraling refugee crisis and finding innovative ways to advance the narrative around the issue. In the past, she served most notably as editor and outreach coordinator for Diritto Di Sapere, an Italian NGO that advocates for a broader access to information in Italy and abroad; as media consultant and volunteers coordinator for an Italian political party; and as community manager for Kublai, a project of the Italian Ministry of Economic Development. She also worked at the Consulate of Italy in New York. She is the author of three books (in Italian) on the use : LinkedIn per aziende e professionisti (2015), Facebook e la comunicazione politica (2013) and LinkedIn. La rete per trovare il lavoro dei sogni (2011), and regularly writes about tech and politics for Italian and international outlets.

Antonella holds a master’s in Media Studies from the University of Bologna, and was a research fellow at Vassar College.

Jennifer Nedeau

Director of Strategic Communications, Bully Pulpit Interactive

Jennifer Nedeau is a leader in communications, digital strategy and marketing. Over the past 10 years, she has managed earned, owned and paid media strategies for corporations, non-profits, publishers and political campaigns. Currently, she serves as the Director of Strategic Communications at Bully Pulpit Interactive (BPI), where she is in charge of the agency’s marketing, PR and new business operations. Since joining BPI in 2012, she has worked to expand the agency’s footprint in DC, New York and Chicago. She previously served as a Senior Account Director at BPI where she led advertising and digital strategy for a variety of clients. She has been featured on PRWeek’s Innovation 50 list and named one of the top PR pros to follow on Twitter by PRNewser. Her industry insights have been featured by CNBC, The Washington Post and Good Morning America. Previously, she worked in New York City where she helped to direct traditional, mobile and online communications strategy for some of the largest media brands in the world: TIME, FORTUNE, MONEY, LIFE and CNNMoney. Prior to that she worked for Air America Media and New Media Strategies. Nedeau has given presentations and speeches about media, leadership, innovation and politics at SXSW Interactive, The New York Times Social Media Summit, The National Press Club and Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School. Nedeau was born and raised in San Francisco before she moved to the east coast to complete a bachelor’s degree in Journalism at The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs. She is currently based in Washington, DC.

Safiya Noble

Assistant Professor, UCLA

Safiya Noble is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Information Studies in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA. She conducts research in socio-cultural informatics; including feminist, historical and political-economic perspectives on computing platforms and software in the public interest. Safiya’s research is at the intersection of culture and technology in the design and use of applications on the Internet. She is currently writing a book about Google and Information bias (forthcoming from NYU Press).

Eduardo F. Ortiz

Creative Director, User Experience at the United States Digital Service

Eduardo F. Ortiz is Creative Director, User Experience at the United States Digital Service at the Department of Homeland Security. Eduardo has over 13 years of experience as an engineer, front end developer, and a user experience designer.

Eduardo is a cofounder of BKUX, one of the fastest growing design communities in Brooklyn. He is also a Local Leader for the Interaction Design Association and a volunteer for the Information Architecture. He has spoken at several conferences on topics about measuring user experience, empathy and team building. At DHS, he works with the Program Owner for myUSCIS, a redesigned online immigration experience. Together, they are working to digitize a mostly paper based immigration system, transforming how immigration benefits have been accessed by the public to date.

Amanda Padgett

Partner, Starbucks

Amanda Padgett has been a Starbucks partner for 8 years, and currently runs field implementation for the Starbucks Retail Brand Partnerships team. Amanda’s career with Starbucks began in Washington, DC, where she attained her degree in International Relations with a concentration in peace and conflict resolution. After 9 years living in Washington, Amanda recently moved to New York to focus on her current role, implementing regional market tests throughout the United States.

Annabel Park

Filmmaker, Story​ of America​ &

Annabel ​produces videos and organizes online communities. Her goal is to produce content and create platforms that engage the public in deliberative discussions. She currently contributes to as a video producer and is finishing up Story of America, a YouTube series and a feature-length documentary about her travels exploring America's political divide and the need for racial reconciliation.

Her previous project​s include the Coffee Party movement and ​​9500 Liberty​, a​ ​documentary YouTube series and a​ critically acclaimed feature film about the culture war over immigration policy. ​ ​She studied philosophy at Boston University and then politics at Oxford University as a Marshall Scholar. ​ She grew up in South Korea, Texas and Maryland.

Kimberly C. Ellis, Ph.D.

Scholar, Artist, Activist

Affectionately known as “Dr. Goddess,” Kimberly C. Ellis, Ph.D. is a Scholar of American and Africana Studies, an Artist, Activist and Entrepreneur. She is an international thought leader on culture, gender, social technology and the digital humanities; and has been named one of the top "People of Color Impacting the Social Web," one of the "Top Ten Women in Social Media" and one of the "Most Influential Black Women on Twitter.” Thus, she is a staple at conferences such as Netroots Nation, the Personal Democracy Forum, Blogging While Brown, Blogalicious, Black Thought 2.0 (Duke University), BlogHer and South by Southwest (SXSW); and presented stellar, featured panels at #SXSW including, "#SCANDAL: How Television's Hottest Show is Fueled by Social Media,” “The Bombastic Brilliance of Black Twitter 2.0” and “A Conversation with Gina Prince-Bythewood” (Love and Basketball, The Secret Life of Bees, Beyond The Lights). She is also the creator of the tweetchat, “The Color of #GameofThrones,” which opens and closes every season of the show under the popular hashtag, #DemThrones.

A published author, speaker and producer, Dr. Goddess has successful campaigns under her belt and engages in digital strategy, civic tech and social media training, as well as consults on Social TV under “Fierce Star Media.” Her writings and appearances can be found across the internet, from Ebony, Essence and BlackEnterprise, to HuffPostLive, Alternet, Al Jazeera America and radio programs on Sirius/XM, NPR, BBC_WHYS, Voices of Russia and MomsRising as well as in the Women’s Media Center’s “SheSource” Directory. Dr. Goddess served as the Digital Director of the National Black Theatre Festival, the co-founder of #AskaSista, the founder of the civic tech project, #BlackPoliticsMatter, the author of the upcoming book, “The Bombastic Brilliance of Black Twitter (2009-2016)," and the producer of “You’re Beautiful to Me” (#YBTM), a feature documentary film about the journey with her Mother’s dementia.

As an artist and world traveler, Dr. Goddess has lectured and/or performed on Martha's Vineyard, at the Virginia Center for the Arts, at the Banff International Center in Canada and in Jamaica, China and Dubai. Recently, she served as the closing, plenary panel speaker on “Black Twitter, the Digital Humanities and #Charleston,” at the Association for the Study of the World African Diaspora Conference (ASWAD) in Charleston, South Carolina. And most recently, she returned from South Africa, wherein she bore witness and participated in the #FeesMustFall Movement. In March 2016, she gave an IGNITE talk on "The Bombastic Brilliance of Black Twitter" at SXSW in Austin and in June 2016, she will give a keynote faculty address on "Black Twitter" for the National Endowment of the Humanities, Digital Humanities Institute at Purdue University.

John Pudner

Executive Director, Take Back Our Republic

The oldest of 9 children growing up in a 3 bedroom house in inner city Richmond, VA - now the father of 9 children, John Pudner learned at a young age the importance of timing, negotiating and diplomacy. More importantly, he learned how to live on a shoe-string budget. Those early life lessons helped put him on the national political scene when in the 2014 primaries, he jump-started the campaign of Dave Brat, who would ultimately unseat U.S. Majority Leader Eric Cantor in one of the most unprecedented upsets in political history. Later in the general election of the same year, he would help defeat a 32-year incumbent state senator in Alabama’s general election. He managed campaigns for almost three decades. His now-famous strategy of outsmarting instead of outspending the opposition was born out of a hobby of extrapolating statistical data on sports teams. With an affinity for numbers and grassroots initiatives, John became known as the go-to-guy to help upstart candidates that didn’t have the financial backing needed to play in the political sandbox. During his career, he won 3 out of every 4 races in which he was involved. But through all his successes, John Pudner saw firsthand the influence of money on politics—the manipulation of the system and the loopholes that didn’t favor a transparent election— one in which only select major corporate donors and union bosses were the true winners. With a desire to now recreate the system instead of circumventing it, John Pudner will lead this team of ex-political wonks to help change the very industry in which they once thrived.

Shaifali Puri

Visiting Scholar, New York University

Shaifali Puri is the former Executive Director of Global Innovation at NIKE Foundation where she helped drive innovation across all aspects of the Foundation's work. Before that as the Executive Director of Scientists Without Borders Shaifali raised millions of dollars to support open-source innovation in the sciences with partners that range from Johnson & Johnson to Pepsico. At NIKE Shaifali continued her quest to address some of the world's most pressing challenges—ranging from health to innovation from poverty to gender equality and beyond.

Russ Reeder

CEO & Co-Founder, iCitizen

Russell P. Reeder is the co-founder and CEO of icitizen, a civic engagement platform dedicated to open government and connecting communities through innovative tech. A 20-plus-year IT veteran, he has worked in leadership roles at major tech companies including Media Temple (a GoDaddy company), LibreDigital, NXTV, Inc., RightsLine, Inc., RightWorks and Oracle. Throughout his career, Reeder has enjoyed being a constant student of change and strives to help others live happier, more productive lives. In 2014, he was named to the socialTECH 50: 'Ones to Watch.’

Sarnata Reynolds

International Human Rights Lawyer

Sarnata Reynolds is an international human rights lawyer and an expert on refugee and migrants' rights, statelessness and the right to nationality, and the rights of displaced persons during humanitarian crises. Between 2011 and 2016, Sarnata served as both the Senior Advisor on Human Rights and the Program Manager for Statelessness at Refugees International, where she was responsible for leading the organization's analysis of international humanitarian responses from a human rights perspective. Sarnata conducted field research and produced reports on humanitarian needs and human rights concerns in Bangladesh, El Salvador, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Myanmar, South Sudan, and Turkey, among other countries. Sarnata spent the previous four years as Amnesty International USA's Director for Refugee and Migrants' Rights, serving as a lead researcher on two groundbreaking reports, and spearheading AIUSA's policy and advocacy strategies in these areas. Sarnata is a frequent author and her publications include ​Pursuing Protection From Organized Criminal Groups in the Americas (December 2015), and the iBook, Who Is Dayani Cristal: An Examination of Modern-Day Migration (May 2014). She has been a guest on PBS NewsHour, NPR News, CNN International, ABC News, Univision, and NPR's Latino USA.

Amanda Rose

CEO/Founder, Timecounts

Amanda rose is a social entrepreneur and activist focused on moving the voluntary sector forward, Timecounts a community organizing platform for leaders, companies and volunteers who wish to have a real world impact. Rose has form in this space: she is also the founder and president of Connect the Dots Collective, a nonprofit organization which uses technology for social good. She is the brains behind Twestival, a global grassroots movement which uses Twitter to highlight causes. Since its inception in 2009, Twestival has raised over $1.84million for 300+ causes in more than 250 cities worldwide.

Deena Rosen

Product Designer

Deena Rosen is a product designer who specializes in influencing behavior to benefit society. As the former head of the Design team at Opower, she led the design of products that nudge people to use less energy, and with big impact: Opower has so far created over 9 billion kWh of energy savings across 32 million homes around the world. Prior to Opower, Deena spent 15 years designing across multiple industries, including mobile technology, enterprise software, and organic food. She has a masters degree in Product Design from Stanford University and a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Duke University. In addition to being a designer, she can be tagged as a meditator, amateur anthropologist, farmers’ market aficionado, and post-it doodler. She lives happily in San Francisco, and is the person always nagging you to turn off the lights when you leave the house.

Perry Rosenstein

Co-Founder, Hustle

Perry Rosenstein is the Chief Evangelist and co-founder of Hustle, the peer-to-peer text messaging tool for organizations serious about organizing. Perry has worn every hat at the company, from software development to product management, business development, customer support, and more. Prior to founding Hustle, Perry worked at Trilogy Interactive as a digital strategist and product developer, and before that as New Media Director in Nevada during then-Senator Barack Obama's 2008 general election campaign. Perry is based out of San Francisco, California.

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.

Jacob Schonberg

Product Manager on Google’s Civic Engagement team

Jacob Schonberg is a Product Manager on Google’s Civic Engagement team, which aims to increase informed engagement in democracy in countries across the globe. Previously, Jacob worked at Etsy, where he helped improve user experience and growth, leading to a redesign of the homepage and email outreach strategy. Jacob got his start developing products and improving systems while working with Google AdWords, Ads Quality, and Google Earth and Satellite Imagery teams. Jacob has a B.S.E. in Computer Science from the University of Michigan.

Nancy Scola

Reporter and Writer, Politico

Nancy Scola is a reporter and writer whose work focuses on the intersections of technology, politics, and government. She is a reporter for Politico, and for nearly a decade, her coverage of everything from how tech is changing the art of political campaigning to the ongoing policy debate over net neutrality has appeared in the Atlantic, the Washington Post, Reuters, Washingtonian, the American Prospect, Next City, and many other publications. She has also served as a tech policy reporter for the Washington Post, a contributing writer at the American Prospect, a columnist at Next City, a tech and politics correspondent for the Atlantic, and editor of the daily newsletter techPresident. In a previous life, she worked in the U.S. House of Representatives."

Aaron Sherinian

Chief Communications and Marketing Officer, United Nations Foundation

Aaron Sherinian is the Chief Communications and Marketing Officer for the United Nations Foundation. Aaron has led the Foundation’s public relations efforts, media relationships, strategic outreach, and online presence since 2009, managing an award-winning team of communicators and digital pioneers who believe that innovative communications can help change the world. He has helped build some of the most talked about milestones in digital global engagement around causes and UN issues over the last few years including the Social Good Summit, #GivingTuesday, Rio+Social, International Day of Happiness, and the Momentum1000 global social media rally. He is a passionate supporter of efforts to build a new era of global activism and philanthropy among a younger generation that is emerging on the global scene. Before joining the UN Foundation, Aaron Sherinian served as Managing Director of Public Affairs for the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a U.S. Government development assistance agency administering $7 billion in poverty reduction grants in 40 partner countries. He oversaw the agency’s strategic communications portfolio, media relationships, public relations agenda and a global re-branding.

His professional background includes a decade of service as a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. Department of State. Before returning to Washington, his diplomatic service included tours at U.S. Embassies in Ecuador, Armenia, Costa Rica, Colombia, and in Washington serving two Assistant Secretaries of State. Aaron’s experience also included work at the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See (Vatican).

Before joining the Department of State, Aaron worked at the Washington International Trade Association (WITA). He also held positions as a marketing consultant for the Italian distributors for Apple Computer and as a freelance interpreter and writer in Italy.

Aaron is proud to be a part of the public relations community as a member of the Arthur Page Society, the Seminar, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the National Association of Government Communicators (NAGC). Aaron won the PRWeek Global Professional Award in 2016. His team won three consecutive honors by PRNews as “Public Affairs Team of the Year” in 2012, 2013, and 2014.

While he has lived in a lot of places, Aaron’s heart is always in his native Pasadena, California. He holds degrees from the Johns Hopkins University (School of Advanced International Studies – SAIS) and Brigham Young University. In addition to Spanish, he speaks (or at least does his best) at Italian, Armenian, and French. He and his wife have four children. Aaron served a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints in Milan, Italy. He loves cooking, travel, and connecting with friends all over the world. He is a proud Eagle Scout, although wonders some days how he ever got through all the merit badges…then he realizes it was all about a dedicated Mom and Dad! He blogs at about fatherhood, public relations and social media.

Michael Silberman

Global Director, Mobilisation Lab

Michael Silberman is the Global Director of the Digital Mobilisation Lab at Greenpeace. The "MobLab" exists to transform how campaigns are fought and won, pioneering a powerful new era of people-powered strategies that amplify campaign impact and create positive change. Silberman and his team work with Greenpeace and its allies in 55 countries to envision, test, and roll out creative new means of communicating, organizing, and fundraising online.

A senior digital campaigns strategist, Silberman is recognized as one of the U.S.’s 50 most influential leaders by The NonProfit Times and one of LinkedIn’s "Top Professionals 35 and Under” transforming the social impact sector. He got his start as the National Meetup Director for Governor Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential bid, where he developed one of the first successful online organizing programs in American politics and lead a team that regularly mobilized nearly 200,000 volunteers in over 1,200 cities worldwide. Silberman subsequently co-founded Echo & Co, a digital agency that empowers organizations to have a greater impact through the creative use of new technologies.

Erin Simpson

Founding Program Director, Civic Hall Labs

Erin Simpson is the founding program director of Civic Hall Labs. Erin joins Civic Hall Labs from a Fellowship on Microsoft’s Civic Team, where she supported community organizing around open data and digital equity in the Chicagoland area. Prior to Microsoft, Erin founded and directed a volunteer-run digital strategy consultancy for Chicago nonprofits and local government. Her past work includes civic innovation with the Clinton Foundation and the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, and policy research for the White House Domestic Policy Council. Erin has advised on the execution of hackathons and venture challenges for Microsoft, the Chicago Innovation Exchange, the New York City Economic Development Council, and the Center for Neighborhood Technology. Her award-winning thesis on digital inequality investigated the user experience of public computer centers in Chicago libraries and community centers. Erin is a 2015 Truman Scholar and has a Bachelor's Degree in Public Policy with an emphasis on issues of inequality from the University of Chicago, where she graduated with top honors.

Andrew Singleton

Program Manager, Venture Cafe Foundation

Andrew Singleton is a Program Manager for the Venture Cafe Foundation. The Foundation's goals are to empower people by democratizing the processes of innovation and entrepreneurship. His team of volunteers and staff have run Venture Cafe Thursdays, the largest weekly gathering for entrepreneurs and innovators in the world, for over six years. He supports the expansions of Venture Cafe nationally and internationally and is on Foundation teams which run two public innovation centers in Boston, District Hall Boston and the Roxbury Innovation Center. Andrew received his BS from MIT.

Jessica Singleton

Chief Digital Officer, City of New York

Jessica Singleton is the Chief Digital Officer for the City of New York, where she is working to support the city's thriving tech ecosystem and ensure that every New Yorker is just a click or swipe away from the information and services they need. Prior to her role in City Hall, Jessica was the Digital Director for Bill de Blasio's campaign for mayor of New York City. Jessica has worked on the digital team for President Obama’s campaign, advocated for LGBT equality at the Human Rights Campaign, studied the intersection of technology and politics at the think tank NDN/NPI, and co-founded the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network. An East Tennessee native, Jessica is a graduate of Middlebury College. She lives in Brooklyn.

Andrew Slack

Civic Imagination Fellow at Civic Hall

Andrew Slack is the Civic Imagination Fellow at Civic Hall, and also an Ashoka Fellow. He is a practitioner of cultural acupuncture and the founder of Imagine Better, where he has directed campaigns around Star Wars and money in politics, Back to the Future and imagination, Superman and immigration, the Hunger Games and economic inequality, and begun to remix holidays with projects like #TeachMeYouDid and assisting in Esther Day.

He started his work on Imagine Better in creating the Harry Potter Alliance (HPA) where he served as Executive Director, Movement Director, and Board of Directors president for 10 years. While at the HPA, he helped direct campaigns that have sent five cargo planes to Haiti, allowed all Harry Potter chocolate to be either Utz or Fair Trade certified, and started a chapters program that now boasts close to 300 chapters in over 30 countries on six continents.

Lina Srivastava

Founder, CIEL

Lina Srivastava is the founder of CIEL,a social innovation strategy group in New York City, and the co-founder of Regarding Humanity. ​Catalyzing social impact through culture, the arts, innovation, and technology, Lina​ creates narrative-based social change initiatives with NGOs, global institutions, and independent media creators, combining both field experience with skills in community engagement and narrative design. Lina has worked with social impact organizations such as UNESCO, the World Bank, AARP, UNICEF, Internews, and Apne Aap, and has worked on social impact campaigns for independent media projects, including Oscar-winning Born into Brothels, Oscar-winning Inocente, Sundance award winning and Social Impact Media Award winning Who Is Dayani Cristal?, and UN Women Gender Equality Champion winning Priya’s Shakti. She is a Steering Committee Member of Donor Direct Action, and on the Advisory Board for Tech 4 Good​, and is on faculty in the Master's of Design for Social Innovation at SVA. Lina is a frequent speaker, including presentations and workshops at such conferences as the International Journalism Festival, the Tribeca Film Festival, the BOND International Development Conference, SOCAP, and the Inter-American Development Bank.

Matt Stempeck

Director of Civic Technology, Microsoft

As Microsoft’s Director of Civic Technology in New York City, Matt leads strategic outreach and develops creative engagement opportunities to apply technology towards shared challenges. He has a Master's of Science from the MIT Media Lab’s Center for Civic Media, where he quantified global media attention to stories like Trayvon Martin, designed for tech-enabled peer-to-peer humanitarian aid, and built award-winning products to fight misinformation online. Prior to MIT, Matt led online advocacy campaigns, communications, and trainings for the New Organizing Institute, Americans for Campaign Reform, and EchoDitto. Matt also holds a BA with high honors from the University of Maryland College Park.

Elizabeth Stewart

Founding Executive Director, Civic Hall Labs

For the last 15 years, Elizabeth has focused on the intersection of environmental, social, and economic sustainability in a range of roles within nonprofits and social enterprises, with a particular emphasis on water, energy, and urban economic development. She is the Founding Executive Director of Civic Hall Labs, the nonprofit arm of Civic Hall, a collaborative hub for the civic tech community based in New York City. In 2010, she co-founded Hub Los Angeles, a for-profit social enterprise with the mission to connect, empower, and resource Angelenos who are working to create positive change in the world. As founding CEO for over three years, she oversaw the mission and ran the business in Downtown Los Angeles that allowed a diverse membership of over 500 individuals and 20 organizations to collaborate, learn, access market opportunities and capital, build community, and scale ideas. In this role, she advised a variety of start-ups ranging from clean tech to community-oriented technology enterprises.

Prior to starting Hub Los Angeles, she was the Founding Director of Causemopolis, a boutique consulting firm focused on enhancing urban places worldwide working at the intersection of economic development, social and environmental justice, and entrepreneurship. She has also worked abroad in Sub-Saharan Africa and South America on poverty reduction and women empowerment programs. Elizabeth holds an MA in Urban Planning from the University of California Los Angeles, where she co-founded the Graduate Leaders in Sustainability Certificate. She serves on the Board of Liberty Hill Foundation, which focuses on social justice in Los Angeles, and serves on the Board of Advisors in Philanthropy in LA. Recently she was featured in Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People 2013 issue, and profiled on as “a woman changing the LA entrepreneur landscape.” She loves to cook, travel, and get lost in big cities.

Mark Surman

Executive Director, Mozilla Foundation

A community activist and technology executive of 20+ years, Mark currently serves as the Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation, makers of Firefox and one of the largest social enterprises in the world. At Mozilla, he is focused on using the open technology and ethos of the web to transform fields such as education, journalism and filmmaking. Mark has overseen the development of Popcorn.js, which Wired has called the future of online video; the Open Badges initiative, launched by the US Secretary of Education; and the Knight Mozilla News Technology partnership, which seeks to reinvent the future of digital journalism.

Prior to joining Mozilla, Mark was awarded one of the first Shuttleworth Foundation Fellowships, where he explored the application of open principles to philanthropy. During his fellowship, he advised a Harvard Berkman study on open source licensing in foundations, was the lead author on the Cape Town Open Education Declaration, and organized the first open education track at the iCommons Summit, which led to him becoming a founding board member of Peer-to-peer University (P2PU).

From 2005 to 2008, Mark served as the first Director of, a $26M initiative to connect 1000s of community technology centres around the world supported by Microsoft, Canada's International Development Research Centre, and the Swiss Development Corporation. While at, Mark spoke at the first World Summit on the Information Society, provided the keynote at the Global Knowledge Partnership Summit, and built a global network of community technical centres that spanned over 25 countries.

As a consultant and social entrepreneur, Mark has designed and implemented community-driven technology projects for dozens of organizthe Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, the Association for Progressive Communications, Amnesty International, Greenpeace, and the Canadian Labour Congress. He has raised more than $30M, authored two books, presented at 100+ conferences, written dozens of papers, and traveled to more than 40 countries. Despite his travels, his favourite place remains the armchair next to the fireplace in his living room.

Mark lives in Toronto, Canada with with wife Tonya, founding Executive Director of the Centre for Social Innovation, and his sons Tristan and Ethan. Mark holds a BA in the History of Community Media from the University of Toronto.

Nabiha Syed

Assistant General Counsel, BuzzFeed

Nabiha Syed has been described as "one of the best emerging free speech lawyers" by Forbes magazine. She is currently the Assistant General Counsel at BuzzFeed. Prior to BuzzFeed, Nabiha helped start the emerging technology practice at Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, a leading First Amendment law firm, and was named the First Amendment Fellow at The New York Times.

She has worked on legal access issues at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; advocated for women's rights in Pakistan; counseled on the publication of hacked and leaked materials; and advised documentary filmmakers through the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program. She is the co-founder of Drone U and the Media Freedom and Information Access legal clinic at Yale Law School.

Nabiha is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, Yale Law School and Oxford University, which she attended as a Marshall Scholar. She serves as a non-resident fellow at both Stanford Law School and Yale Law School.

Elsa Sze

Founder & CEO, Agora

Born in Hong Kong, Elsa has realized from a young age that democratic participation is not only a right, but also a privilege. At a time when democracy is being challenged at home and abroad, she believes it is the ultimate responsibility of the millennial generation to harness the power of technology to reimagine democracy in the 21st century.

While pursuing a joint degree from Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Elsa founded Agora, an online townhall platform for building engaged communities. Her belief in the power of ordinary citizens to change the world was further affirmed by her experience serving as a policy advisor for the Obama campaign in 2012. Agora was initially incubated at Harvard Innovation Lab and recently raised its seed financing, led by venture capital firm CRV.

Prior to Harvard, Elsa was a consultant at McKinsey & Co. where she advised Fortune 500 executives on growth strategy, organizational effectiveness, and risk management. During the crisis, Elsa was at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC, advising G20 finance ministers on fiscal stimulus policies. Elsa spent a brief time at Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan after graduating from the University of Chicago, where she majored in Economics and Political Science. Elsa was named a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum in 2015.

Elsa enjoys running along the Charles River when Boston is not hit by a blizzard, doing yoga, playing Philip Glass, practicing meditation, and exploring the coolest brunch spots with friends.

Lilia Tamm

Program Director, Open Debate Coalition

Lilia Tamm is Program Director of the Open Debate Coalition, a group made up of progressive, conservative, and Silicon Valley leaders dedicated to making electoral debates bottom-up to better reflect the will of the people. Lilia spent her early career helping the progressive movement make the leap from traditional field organizing to harnessing the power of the grassroots online with groups including, SEIU, Tuition Relief Now, and Environmental Action. In 2008 she served as National Blog Outreach Director and Statewide Youth Vote Director for California's No On Prop 8 campaign, and founded the Courage Campaign Equality Program. Lilia returned to school in 2009, studying business and leadership as a graduate student at Stanford and rapidly accelerating technologies as a student and teaching fellow at Singularity University. Following her time there, she joined the founding team of mobile app start-up and grew it to over 1 million users. Lilia trains adult students on a variety of subjects, from design thinking to fundraising to giving and receiving feedback in the workplace.

Evagelia Emily Tavoulareas

Co-Founder, VA Digital Service

Evagelia Emily Tavoulareas is a Founding Member of the first agency-level team of the U.S. Digital Service, where she focuses on product management, service design, and technology policy. Emily has helped grow the team, worked with the VA Center for Innovation to introduce Human-Centered Design (HCD) to the VA, and led the development of the new application for VA healthcare. In June she will join the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy as a Senior Advisor, where she will be focused on Digital Government.

Emily started her career in international development, designing and implementing a social entrepreneurship program for young women in Saudi Arabia, and conducting digital media training for non-profit leaders in the Middle East. From there she joined Ashoka Changemakers, where she mapped out and connected global networks of entrepreneurs, funders, and influencers. She later joined iStrategyLabs--a creative agency in Washington DC, where she helped lead digital products and campaigns for clients of all shapes and sizes.

From working with young social entrepreneurs in Saudi Arabia, to mapping the refugee process with the U.S. Digital Service, to helping the Department of Veterans Affairs better understand the needs of Veterans and their families, Emily's career has been spent focused on building practical and human-centered products, programs, and experiences for underserved populations. She is also an Adjunct Professor at Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs.

Yvette J. Alberdingk Thijm

Executive Director,

Yvette is a human rights activist who envisions a world in which millions of people have the skills and the tools to, safely and effectively, participate in the fight for human rights. She serves as the Executive Director of, a global team that enables activists using video and participatory technologies to fight effectively against injustice and realize rights for their communities. Linking on the ground needs to systems changes, WITNESS also advocates for scalable solutions that optimize human rights uses of consumer technologies and online platforms.

YAT is an advisor/board member of,,, and is a co-initiator of BK@24FPS.

Kentaro Toyama

Associate Professor, University of Michigan School of Information

Kentaro Toyama is W.K. Kellogg Associate Professor of Community Information at the University of Michigan School of Information, a fellow of the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at MIT, and author of Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change from the Cult of Technology. Previously, he was a researcher at UC Berkeley and assistant managing director of Microsoft Research India, which he co-founded in 2005. At MSR India, he started the Technology for Emerging Markets research group, which conducts interdisciplinary research to understand how the world's poorer communities interact with electronic technology and to invent new ways for technology to support their socio-economic development. The award-winning group is known for projects such as MultiPoint, Text-Free User Interfaces, and Digital Green. Kentaro co-founded the IEEE/ACM International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development (ICTD) to provide a global platform for rigorous academic research in this field. He is also co-editor-in-chief of the journal Information Technologies and International Development. Prior to his time in India, Kentaro did computer vision and multimedia research at Microsoft Research in Redmond, WA, USA and Cambridge, UK, and taught mathematics at Ashesi University in Accra, Ghana. Kentaro graduated from Yale with a PhD in Computer Science and from Harvard with a Bachelors degree in Physics.

Kendall Tucker

CEO & Founder, Polis

Kendall is the CEO and Founder of Polis, a startup working to revolutionize mobile canvassing and democratize campaign analytics. Having been elected to local office and managed a state legislative race, Kendall has a unique perspective on the technical challenges that running an effective field operation represent for the average campaign. Seeing the potential of technology to level the playing field and improve voter outreach led her to found Polis, where she has become an expert at raising money, managing teams and selling to campaigns. Prior to her work at Polis, Kendall worked as a management consultant, where she advised the executives of multi-national corporations and Fortune 500 companies.

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

Sherry Turkle

Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Sherry Turkle is the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is the author, most recently of the best-selling Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age and Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Lesss from Each Other. A Harvard trained sociologist and licensed clinical psychologist, Turkle now focuses her research on the social, psychological, cultural, and political implications of social media, sociable robotics, mobile technology, and virtual reality.

Erin Vilardi

Founder and Director, VoteRunLead

Erin Vilardi is the Founder and Director of VoteRunLead, leveraging technology and training to accelerate the number of women in civic and political leadership. She first launched VRL as Vice President of Program and Communications at The White House Project, establishing the largest national political training program readying women for public office, training over 15,000. Erin has served as leadership development consultant for a diverse range of clients including Fortune 100 companies, global girls’ initiatives, the U.S. Department of State, and the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College, Columbia University. At Barnard, she co-authored the Athena CORE10©, an innovative set of 21st century leadership competencies based on the latest research and gender analysis. Erin serves on the Advisory Boards of Girl Meets World, the New American Leaders Project, and Vision2020. She is an Executive Producer of Ann Richards’ Texas, a documentary about the late pioneering governor. She has appeared on CNN, BBC, and Fox News, and her work was featured in O, The Oprah Magazine as well as numerous international and domestic publications.

Mike Ward

TurboVote Program Director, Democracy Works

Mike Ward is the TurboVote Program Director at Democracy Works and co-creator of the TurboVote Challenge. TurboVote is an online service to help every American vote in every election -- local, state, and national, by making it easy to register, vote by mail, and get election reminders. The TurboVote Challenge is a group of companies, nonprofits, and colleges working together to achieve 80% voter turnout in 2020. Mike passionately believes that broadening and deepening voter engagement will improve everyone's quality of life. He also recently moved into an apartment with a backyard and would love to hear your urban gardening advice.

Nancy Watzman

Internet Archive. Managing Editor, Television Archive

Nancy Watzman is managing editor of the Political TV Ad Archive for the Internet Archive. She's worked for the Sunlight Foundation, the Center for Responsive Politics, & the Center for Public Integrity. She co-wrote Is That a Politician in Your Pocket? Washington on $2 Million a Day (John Wiley & Sons, 2004). She has also contributed to The Buying of the Congress (Avon Books, 1998), Harper's Magazine, The Nation, The New Republic, and The Washington Monthly.

J. Matthew Williams

Educator, Organizer, Political Analyst

J. Matthew Williams is Director of Communication for Diversity and Inclusion at Wake Forest University. Williams’ prior work as a marketing and communications professional includes positions at two top-ranked public relations firms where he developed campaigns for nonprofits, government agencies, and Fortune 500 companies to advance civic and social justice issues. His work has been nationally recognized by the Public Relations Society of America, National Public Radio, Rhetoric Society of America, and at other industry events. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Wake Forest and currently is completing his Master of Arts in Communication from Wake. His research focuses on how community organizers are using social media to challenge anti-black racism and sexism.

Alex Wirth

Cofounder, Quorum

Alex Wirth is the cofounder of Quorum, an online legislative strategy platform that provides unique quantitative insights into the U.S. Congress and all 50 state legislatures. Featuring interactive visualizations and up-to-date statistics for every Member, bill, vote, committee, issue area, and congressional district, Quorum is changing the way people see, explain, and influence the legislative process. Quorum has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Journal, and POLITICO and is currently in use by numerous congressional offices and organizations including Etsy, General Motors, The League of Conservation Voters, Club for Growth, The First Focus Campaign for Children, and The United Nations Foundation.

John Wonderlich

Interim Executive Director, The Sunlight Foundation

John Wonderlich is the Interim Executive Director for the Sunlight Foundation and one of the nation's foremost advocates for open government. John spearheads Sunlight's goal of changing government at every level, by opening up key data sources and information to make government more accountable to citizens. He is one of the foremost authorities on transparency policy, from legislation and accountability in Congress to ethics and information policy in the executive branch. John has spoken internationally on technology and transparency and has testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. He has appeared on NPR, Fox News and C-SPAN, and his expertise has been cited by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other media outlets.

Betsy Wright-Hawkings

Program Director, the Governance Initiative at the Democracy Fund

Betsy is the Program Director for the Governance Initiative at the Democracy Fund, a private foundation that fosters the highest ideals of the American republic – government of, by, and for the people. She leads the Democracy Fund’s grant making to organizations building bridges across the ideological divide and seeking out ways for our government to solve problems in the face of increased polarization. Current grantees of the Governance Program include the Bipartisan Policy Center, the Aspen Institute’s Congressional Program, and the Faith & Politics Institute.

Betsy brings more than 25 years of experience on Capitol Hill to the Democracy Fund. She worked for two decades for her hometown congressman, Christopher Shays of Connecticut, taking a leading role in helping Rep. Shays build bipartisan coalitions to balance the federal budget in 1995-96 and to establish the 9-11 Commission and implement its recommendations. She also supported the enactment of the Congressional Accountability Act, a provision of the 104th Congress’ “Contract with America,” which applied labor, civil rights, and workplace safety laws to Congress.

From 1996-98, Betsy was also Deputy Director of the Congressional Management Foundation, a non-partisan organization that works directly with Members and staff to enhance their operations and interactions with constituents. Betsy oversaw day-to-day operations of the Foundation and developed numerous guides and resources that provide Members with critical information, from how to establish and run Washington and district offices to best practices for setting strategic priorities over the course of a term.

Following Shays’ departure from Congress in 2008, Betsy left the Hill briefly to work for Amnesty International, where she was Managing Director of Government Relations and then Deputy Executive Director for Advocacy, Policy, and Research. She returned to Congress to lead the staffs of Congressmen Mike Turner and later Bobby Schilling of Illinois before signing on as Congressman Andy Barr’s chief of staff in 2012. In 2014, she was awarded the Cresswell Congressional Staff Leadership Award from the Stennis Center for Public Service.

Betsy is a graduate of Williams College, where she was named a Mead Scholar of American Studies, has attended courses at Harvard’s Kennedy School and is a founder of the Form of 1981 Memorial Fund at her alma mater, Groton School, to support student financial aid. She and her husband, David, live in Washington with their two sons.

Deanna Zandt

Co-Founder, Lux Digital

Deanna Zandt is an award-winning media technologist, the co-founder of and partner at Lux Digital, and the author of Share This! How You Will Change the World with Social Networking (Berrett-Koehler 2010). She is a consultant to key media and advocacy organizations, and her clients have included The Ford Foundation, Deutsche Telekom, Planned Parenthood, and Jim Hightower’s Hightower Lowdown. Zandt has advised the White House on digital strategy and public engagement; she has been a regular contributor to, as well as NPR’s flagship news program, “All Things Considered.” Zandt specializes in emerging media, is a leading expert in women and technology, and is a frequent guest on MSNBC, CNN International, BBC Radio, Fox News and more.

Zandt works with groups to create and implement effective web strategies toward organizational goals of civic engagement and cultural agency, and uses her background in linguistics, advertising, telecommunications and finance to complement her technical expertise. She has spoken at a number of conferences, including TEDxBerlin, SXSW Interactive, Tribeca Film Festival, re:publica, Personal Democracy Forum, Ignite (NYC), Netroots Nation, the National Conference on Media Reform, Facing Race, Web 2.0 Expo, Bioneers, Women Action & The Media, and provides beginner and advanced workshops both online and in person.

In 2012, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America awarded Deanna their first-ever social media Maggie Award for Media Excellence for her work on the Planned Parenthood Saved Me Tumblr blog during the Susan G Komen crisis. Deanna was a fellow at American University’s Center for Social Media (2010-2011), and at the Progressive Women’s Voices program at the Women’s Media Center (2009). She is on the board of the Applied Research Center, a racial justice think tank and home for media and activism, and Women Action & The Media, the activism home of gender justice in the media. Deanna also serves as an advisor to Social Media Week NYC, and the Media Ideation Fellowship.

In addition to her technology work, Deanna writes and illustrates graphic stories and comics, and volunteers with dog rescue organization Rat Terrier ResQ.
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