Founder of Capway and Sheena Allen Apps, Author
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.
Co-founder of Tangelo Technologies
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.
Co-founder Tangelo Technologies, Author
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”
Visionary Entrepreneur, CEO of Black Star Fund
Kwame Anku is the CEO and Chairman of the Black Star Fund, an early-stage innovation fund. Kwame has worked extensively in business development and media marketing for over two decades, entering into the tech industry after being personally recruited by the late legendary rock star Prince to develop his mobile app, overseeing business and development teams on Africa, Asia, and the US.
Columnist, Author, Tech Entrepreneur
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.
Co-Founder & CEO of O.school, Author
Andrea Barrica, author of Sex Tech Revolution, 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.
Founder and CEO of Seed&Spark
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.
General Partner, Lightship Capital
Brian Brackeen is a General Partner at Lightship Capital, the Cincinnati-based VC firm dedicated to backing underrepresented entrepreneurs in the Midwest. Brian lectures extensively around the world on entrepreneurship, code, the digital economy, AI and machine learning — and participates in mentorship programs for organizations like Girls Who Code, Black Girls Code and The School District of Miami.
Founder of Thurst
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.
COO & Partner at Tangelo
Tara Carter is a highly driven COO/Partner at Tangelo and a Partner at Backstage Capital, providing full circle guidance to startups and larger. She has over 25 years of experience in mentoring, growing and advising startups, investor relations, omni-channel marketing, business strategy, deep technology, and product development, diversity and inclusion, predictive analytics, data visualization, business intelligence, and activism.
Former NASA Astronaut and International Space Station Commander
Dr. Chiao began his professional career as a chemical engineer, and his passion for space exploration led him to NASA. Following a stellar 15-year astronaut career, he moved on to leadership positions in entrepreneurial startups, applying his space experience to the business world.
Founder of Please Assist Me
Stephanie Cummings is the founder of Please Assist Me, an all-inclusive home management app. She is an experienced entrepreneur, business leader, and philanthropist, priding herself in being a minority tech founder promoting the importance of STEM education.
Founder & CEO of PopCom
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.
CEO of Siempo
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.
Co-Founder & CEO of SHYFT Power Solutions
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.
Founder & CEO of Change Catalyst
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.
Co-Creator of Wallbreakers
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.
Founder Backstage Capital, Studio & Accelerator / Venture Catalyst
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.
Founder & CEO of Bandwagon
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.
Founder & CEO of Healthy Roots Dolls
Yelitsa Jean-Charles founded Healthy Roots after recognizing a need for more diverse toys and representation in children’s publishing. She has been recognized as Essence’s 50 Founders to watch and frequently speaks about entrepreneurship, social justice, and cultural competency.
Award Winning Global Sales Enablement Thought Leader
For over twenty years, Roderick, has built award-winning sales enablement organizations within some of the world's most successful Fortune 1,000 companies. Roderick has won numerous awards including being selected as the 2015 Sales On-boarding Program of the Year by SiriusDecisions.
Intersection of Law, Innovation, and Pop Culture
Shontavia Johnson serves as a highly acclaimed writer, speaker, and commentator thriving at the intersection of law, innovation, and pop culture. She is host of The Shontavia Show and creator of the Brand+Business academy, teaching working professionals how to grow and operate businesses and build personal brands. She was the first African-American woman to receive full tenure at Drake University Law School and is the Associate VP for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Clemson University.
CMO of Watty, Self-Made Marketer, Influencer
Maral, also known as, ‘Maral from Twitter’, ‘Powerhouse’, ‘energy pack’ or ‘Curly’ is one of the most familiar faces in the Nordic tech scene. Maral is the CMO at Watty, one of the hottest startups in Europe. She is also the co-founder of Peppy Pals, an active ambassador for diversity in tech. Former StartupGrind chapter director and SUP46 Femtech co-organizer.
Founder & CEO of Avisare
Sky Kelley is the founder & CEO of Avisare, an enterprise software marketplace simplifying the government RFP process to foster an inclusive ecosystem for small businesses. Sky found a need to help non-technology companies use technology to innovate their products and services. Her focus is on making technology simple and user-friendly with the ability to grow the bottom line.
CEO of Drop, Creative Technologist
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.
Purpose-driven Experiential Marketer
Max Lenderman is the leading voice at the vanguard of two massive trends in branding and innovation: brand experience and brand purpose. These two modern tenets of brand-building have led his entire career at the world’s largest and most-awarded creative agencies. And he is on a mission to share the keys to unlocking business growth and social impact together.
Employee Experience Pioneer, Globally Minded HR Leader
Mark Levy is a seasoned globally-minded Employee Experience Leader who has chosen to work for big-hearted companies and focus on how he can unleash the talents and passions of a company’s employees. Mark was the pioneer of designing the Employee Experience at Airbnb and most recently at Allbirds, showing organizations what is possible when you empower employees and rethink HR.
Marketing and Brand Elevation Specialist, Corporate Coach, Afro-Latina Content Creator
Sandra Garcia Lowery is a Sales and Marketing professional with over 11 years of industry experience, during 4 of which she managed her own event planning agency simultaneously. Today, she manages her own Marketing Agency, EMPR, where she develops and executes strategies and partnerships to help elevate the presence of small to mid-size businesses and non-profits.
The Business Sculptor
Scott offers an unusual mix of experience, having worked as a research scientist, HR director, business consultant, rock musical producer, writer, keynote and TEDx speaker. His delivery style, which he has developed across the sectors in over 20 years, is humorous, well-crafted, inspiring and direct.
Economist, Futurist, Author
Linda Nazareth is an economist, a futurist and a respected authority on the future of work. As a newspaper columnist and an author, she knows how to frame things in ways that both educate and entertain, and as the Senior Fellow for Economics and Population Change at think-tank the Macdonald Laurier Institute she knows what she is talking about.
Founder & CEO of Pilotly
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.
CEO and Co-Founder of Revry
Damian Pelliccione is the CEO and Co-Founder of Revry, the world’s first LGBTQ Global Content Streaming Network. With over 15 years of experience in the digital and new media world and as an avid speaker, passionate about supporting the LGBTQ community in both authentic representation and entrepreneurship, Damian has spoken at more than over 250 conferences and film festivals around the world.
The Race Healer
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.
General Partner of Backstage Capital, CEO of Backstage Studio
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.
Founder, Political Activist, Miss Black America
Ryann Richardson made history when she became the 50th Anniversary Miss Black America. The tech marketer-turned-founder and Diversity & Inclusion advocate spent 10 years building brands and culture for companies spanning early-stage startups to billion-dollar "unicorns" to the Fortune500. Her work earned her a spot as the youngest honoree on Savoy Magazine’s list of Most Influential Black Executives in Corporate America, and set her on the path to discovering her unique purpose as a champion for underrepresented voices.
Gender Economist, International Keynote Speaker
Katica Roy is an ambassador for gender equity in the workplace and beyond. She is a gender economist and the CEO and founder of Denver-based Pipeline, an award-winning SaaS platform that leverages artificial intelligence to drive economic gains through closing the gender equity gap.
Technical Founder, CTO of Wallbreakers
Leah La Salla is the CTO of Wallbreakers, an AI-powered platform that enables companies to identify, evaluate, recruit, and retain the next generation of software engineers. 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.
CEO of Opportunity Hub, Inclusive Startup Ecosystem Builder, Venture Capitalist, Economist
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.
Director of Growth and Campus Operations at Course Hero
As an early former employee of Airbnb, Kati Schmidt worked on launching and scaling Airbnb’s operations in Europe, starting Airbnb’s public policy efforts globally and launching Airbnb Experiences. Kati is passionate about female entrepreneurship, immigration, and the transatlantic relationship.
Serial Entrepreneur in Social Innovation & Systems Change
Dr. Astrid J. Scholz is a serial entrepreneur in social innovation and systems change. She is the Founder and Managing Partner of Sphaera, Founding Director and Treasurer of XXcelerate Fund and the Founding Director and Treasurer of Zebras Unite. Astrid’s work focuses on democratizing innovation and capital to solve today’s wicked problems.
Director of Backstage Accelerator LA
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.
Founder of Novoron Bioscience
Dr. Travis Stiles is the founder of Novoron Bioscience, which is developing therapeutics to reverse damage of the brain and spinal cord. A member of the Cherokee Nation, Dr. Stiles is a passionate advocate for diversity, equality, science and informed solutions to the world’s problems and speaks across the spectrum from innovators to policymakers to encourage the ideas and policies that will shape the future.
LatinX Allyship, Co-Founder and GP of The Community Fund
Lolita Taub is a woman of color with 13 years in tech, is an investor, micro-influencer, an international keynote speaker, 2x TEDx speaker, who has been recognized for her work in venture capital and tech on Forbes, Inc.com, The Huffington Post and Entrepreneur.com among other publications.
Founder of Urbangeekz, Award-Winning Journalist
Kunbi Tinuoye is an award-winning British-born journalist and broadcaster based in the United States. She is the founder of UrbanGeekz, a groundbreaking video-centric African-American, Latinx, and multicultural digital news platform focused on technology, science, business, and startups.
Creator, Inventor, Tech Changemaker
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.