Ayinde Alakoye is a serial entrepreneur and the co-founder and CEO of nēdl, his third live broadcast radio streaming venture. Ayinde was also the creator of the original iheartradio app served as a Speechwriter, Staffer, and Senior Message Advisor for Presidential Candidate Barack Obama, during both elections.
Sheena Allen is the founder of Capway, a neobank for those who do not fit into the traditional banking system, and Sheena Allen Apps, a successful media tech company. Born in Terry, Mississippi, Sheena travels the world speaking on the importance of inclusion in tech and entrepreneurship. Sheena has been featured in various publications and most recently was part of the Forbes 30 under 30 for 2019.
Antonio pioneered the adoption of early social media platforms at Fortune 500 companies and managed the integration of emerging technologies. Currently, he is co-founder of Tangelo Technologies, a Venture Studio and Innovation Lab in Silicon Valley where he believes that technology can and must contribute to society in positive, ethical, equitable, and scalable ways.
Rebecca Altamirano has dedicated her professional life to working within underrepresented communities to open up access to the culture of power. Her professional path has given her deep hands-on experience on working with the underserved and underrepresented. Many of these experiences she has shared as a co-author of “Be The Change: Reinventing Schools for Student Success”
A sought after voice of inspiration, Mandy is a columnist, founder, and prolific influencer. Her breadth of work in mind+body connection and unwavering optimism has earned her global attention and positioning alongside elite social leaders and sports figures around the world. Mandy now travels the globe inspiring resilience through her recent and personal triumph in mental and physical wellness.
Andrea Barrica is CEO and Co-founder of O.school, a judgment-free multimedia platform to learn about sexuality and pleasure. Previously, Andrea co-founded accounting and tax platform, inDinero.com, where she led sales and operations. She also served as a venture partner and entrepreneur-in-residence at 500 Startups.
Emily Best is the founder and CEO of Seed&Spark, a platform that bridges online and offline experiences to make entertainment more diverse, inclusive, connected and essential. Best's talks on crowdfunding, pitching, and building equitable startups have been viewed millions of times and is an advocate for diversity and inclusion in companies across the globe.
Morgen Bromell is a founder and technologist working to make tech more accessible to people of color through justice-based initiatives and tech activism. Apart from being the founder of Thurst, a dating app for the LGBTQIA+ community, they are also deeply invested in community building and documenting queer histories, particularly how queer and trans people use digital resources and online platforms to navigate our world.
Mike Brown, a pro-athlete turned self-taught coder, transitioned from tackling to tech and went on to be the founder and CEO of Win-Win, a platform powered by gaming and giving. Win-Win enables pro athletes and influencers to monetize their fanbase and help brands engage with end consumers.
Chris is a serial entrepreneur with global experience. Since 2010, he has focused on bringing the lessons of Silicon Valley to entrepreneurs around the world. He is the co-founder of the US Market Access Center and the A3 Global Collider. Through USMAC, Chris has trained and mentored more than 1,000 startups from 25+ countries.
Jeff Butler is a speaker, author, and international consultant who helps organizations improve their relationships with millennial employees. Unlike other experts on millennials, Jeff has been in the trenches of what it means to be a millennial and what it takes to retain and keep them engaged. You may have seen him on Forbes, USA Weekly, or on the TED stage.
Dr. Tye Caldwell is the Cofounder & CEO of ShearShare. Recognized as a tech visionary and industry pioneer, Dr. Caldwell’s mission is to help beauty and barbering professionals around the world maximize their earnings potential. He has worked in beauty for 25 years as a master barber-stylist, educator, and small business coach, offering his 20+ years of industry knowledge as a proven roadmap.
Courtney Caldwell is the Cofounder & COO of ShearShare, the first on-demand salon and barbershop space rental app. She is also an award-winning entrepreneur and tech founder and has spent two decades building winning teams in tech marketing.
Dawn Dickson is a serial entrepreneur with over 16 years of experience in marketing and business development. She is currently the Founder & CEO of PopCom, an automated retail company that uses facial recognition, A.I, and blockchain technology to help retailers collect valuable customer insights.
Andrew Dunn is on a mission to elevate the human condition by intentionally shaping technology to serve as an agent of flourishing individuals, institutions, and societies. As CEO of Siempo, he helps people build healthier relationships with technology through the first smartphone interface designed to support mental health and wellbeing.
Ugwem Eneyo is co-founder and CEO of SHYFT Power Solutions, specializing in the use of IoT software and big data to improve access to clean, reliable and affordable energy solutions in markets that struggle with grid resiliency. Ms. Eneyo explores how we use tech to create ‘grids of the future’ but particularly in emerging markets. She’s given talks on the nexus of energy and sustainable development to global thought leaders, including the World Bank.
Melinda Briana Epler has over 25 years of experience developing business innovation and inclusion strategies for startups, Fortune 500 companies, and global NGOs. As CEO of Change Catalyst, Melinda works with the tech industry to solve diversity and inclusion together. Using her background in storytelling and large-scale culture change, she is a strategic advisor for tech companies, tech hubs, and governments around the world.
Carmen Gentile is a veteran journalist who has covered the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and numerous bouts of unrest throughout the world. He was seriously injured while reporting in Afghanistan, an experience he chronicles in his book “Blindsided by the Taliban.”
Aaron’s work is a melting pot of things he loves: creative thinking, strategy, inspiration, nutrition and exercise, mastery of mind, body and spirit as well as helping others with life coaching. The blend of these is the cement he works with when he helps companies and organizations shape their ideas into action.
Andrea Guendelman is a leading force in creating platforms for minority professionals and the tech industry. Through her own experiences as a Harvard-trained corporate lawyer and an entrepreneur, she co-created Wallbreakers - a solution to connect talented students from underrepresented backgrounds with companies hungry for talent and looking to build inclusive teams. Andrea is considered to be a thought leader in the topics of Latinx career building and creating diverse workforces.
As an internationally recognized speaker, Phil has shared his wisdom and inspired audiences in 40 different states and four continents to over 100,000 people. He is a firm believer that with the proper motivation, training, and support system, members of any generation can become capable of remarkable accomplishments.
Arlan Hamilton is a remarkable entrepreneur who built a venture capital fund from the ground up, while homeless. She is the Founder and Managing Partner of Backstage Capital, a VC firm dedicated to minimizing funding disparities in tech by investing in high-potential founders who are people of color, women, and/or LGBT.
Harold Hughes is the founder & CEO of Bandwagon – an analytics and identity management company that uses Blockchain technology to help teams & entertainers create more personalized fan experiences while eliminating ticket fraud. He has become a leader in the growing startup community in Greenville, South Carolina, speaking with entrepreneurs, youth, and his peers.
Shontavia Johnson serves as a highly acclaimed writer, speaker, and commentator thriving at the intersection of law, innovation, and pop culture. She is the founder of LVRG, where she helps women build brands and businesses, and the creator of Pop Culture U, where she shares lessons about internet culture and intellectual property law.
Russell Ladson is a creative technologist whose work sits at the intersection of emerging technologies, purposeful design, and visual art. His work investigates the use of emerging technologies like AR/VR (XR) to heighten the human-to-human experience through experimental concepts around information discovery in a post-smartphone world.
Kimberly Lewis is the co-founder of CurlMix, a clean beauty brand for curly hair. Her innovative take on clean beauty hair products has won her praise from top industry publications. Kimberly now shares her journey into entrepreneurship, balancing motherhood, and how to scale your beauty brand.
James Norman is a serial entrepreneur who at the age of 16 built his first online company. While previously he may have been known as a visionary in automotive product planning, over the past 10 years in the media and entertainment industry, he has become a thought leader in over-the-top media and consumer video consumption behaviors.
Damian Pelliccione is the CEO and Co-Founder of Revry, the world’s first LGBTQ Global Content Streaming Network and is passionate about supporting the LGBTQ community in both authentic media representation and entrepreneurship.
Milagros Phillips designs strategic learning initiatives for clients seeking to enhance their diversity and inclusion programs by adding race literacy to their initiatives. With more than 25 years of experience in learning and development, Milagros has consulted with, designed and delivered customized programs across many industries and services, including financial/insurance, healthcare, higher education, and national and political leaders.
Christie Pitts is an inventor and early-stage investor at Backstage Capital and co-founder of Backstage Studio, currently leading Backstage’s global Accelerator program. She identified a passion for working with early-stage companies while working as Venture Development Manager at Verizon.
Bill Reichert is co-founder and Managing Director of Garage Technology Ventures, a well-known seed and early-stage venture capital firm in Silicon Valley. Bill travels around the world giving presentations and workshops on innovation, entrepreneurship, venture capital, and technology trends.
Leah La Salla is the Technical Founder & CEO of award-winning Astral AR, a technology startup building drones that stop bullets and save lives. As an inventor, she is best known for “hacking NASA” with a toaster (a toaster-sized neuromechanical unmanned aerial vehicle, that is!). La Salla gained a decade of experience in software engineering while teaching herself to program in an additional 9 languages becoming a polyglot software architect.
Rodney Sampson, of Opportunity Hub, is heralded as the leading inclusive startup ecosystem builder and is passionate about reducing poverty and wealth gap by advancing the cause of innovation, technology, entrepreneurship and investment as a way of life for all, with an emphasis on socially disadvantaged and under-estimated and sponsored communities in America and beyond.
Amiah Sheppard is a perpetual learner who currently is the Director of Backstage Accelerator LA. In venture capital, she daily examines the myriad ways founders harness, strategize, and utilize their unique socio-cultural location to get to their desired outcome.
Anastasia Tarpeh-Ellis is the Managing Director for Backstage Los Angeles for the recently announced Backstage Accelerator. She is passionate about empowering others, creating genuine connections, and striving towards financial independence through entrepreneurship. She co-founded bosa, a wellness and productivity app that enables consultants to provide the highest level of service to their clients.
Lolita Taub is a 2-time TEDx Speaker, a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, an enterprise tech professional and an early-stage tech investor. She has a decade-long operator career in B2B Enterprise Tech, Startups, and Early-Stage Venture Capital. Lolita’s interests lie at the intersection of AI and business.
Aniyia Williams is a creator, inventor, and tech changemaker. She serves as Executive Director of Black & Brown Founders, co-founder of Zebras Unite, and founded and led the fashion tech company, Tinsel. Aniyia addresses topics of diversity, equity and inclusion in tech, the economic future of creativity, self-awareness and mindfulness, alternatives to venture capital, fashion technology, hardware design, and parenting while building a startup.