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.
Advocate, Award-Winning Journalist, Author
Kimberly Seals Allers is an award-winning journalist, author of five books, international speaker, strategist, and advocate for maternal and infant health. A former senior editor at Essence and writer at Fortune magazine, Kimberly is a leading commentator on birth, breastfeeding and motherhood and the intersection of race, policy, and culture.
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”
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
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.
Head of Design at Clutter, Former Director of UX at VICE
Jessica Brown is the head of design at Clutter. Fascinated by the co-evolution of culture and technology, she loves leading teams to find simple design solutions to complex problems. Jessica speaks on executing redesigns at scale and common philosophies and practices guiding creative people of all disciplines. She has established design and research practices that brought users’ stories to the heart of the product.
Cofounder & COO of ShearShare
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.
Executive Coach and Strategy Expert, Former Salesforce VP
Heidi Connal is a seasoned technology executive with over twenty years of experience building collaborative, compassionate, and high performing individuals and teams. She works with visionary leaders to identify new opportunities within themselves for growth, learning, and contributions. Her techniques cultivate emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and courageous introspection.
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.
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.
Social Media Strategist and Bestselling Author
Peg Fitzpatrick is social media strategist, popular blogger, and co-author of The Art Of Social Media with Guy Kawasaki. Peg has spearheaded successful social-media campaigns for Audi, Google, and Virgin as well as having been a brand ambassador for Kimpton Hotels, T.J.Maxx, and Adobe.
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.
Futurist, AR VR Author, Speaker, and Technology Thought Leader
Cathy Hackl is an Emmy-nominated communicator turned virtual reality & augmented reality global speaker, producer, and futurist. Hackl has been featured in media outlets like Mic, CNN, Silicon Beat, Entrepreneur, CMO.com, Forbes, VentureBeat, and Mashable. She is a global advisor for VR AR Association and a leading voice in the VR AR marketing space.
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 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.
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 the founder of LVRG, where she helps women build brands and businesses, and the creator of Pop Culture Class, where she shares lessons about internet culture and intellectual property law.
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.
Lead Anchor, BBC World News America, Bestselling Author
Washington, D.C.-based British news anchor Katty Kay brings a fresh perspective to the reporting of American politics and global affairs. Katty’s insights reflect a global mindset that is a natural offshoot of having grown up in the Middle East and worked as a journalist in Europe, Africa, and Asia before coming to Washington in 1996.
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 & Co-Founder Likeable Media, Host of "All the Social Ladies", Author
Carrie Kerpen an author, columnist, host of the popular podcast “All the Social Ladies”, and the co-founder and CEO of Likeable Media, a digital agency that was named Crain’s sixth Best Place to Work in NYC.
Co-founder of Management Lab, Founding Writer of Fast Company, Author
Polly LaBarre arms leaders with a Maverick Manual to hack the status quo and ramp up originality, invention and game-changing disruption. Co-author of Mavericks at Work and founding team member of Fast Company magazine, Polly is co-founder of Management Lab, the think-and-do tank where she consults with top global brands.
Internationally Acclaimed Inspirational Performing Artist
With over 20 years in the Performing Arts - from Broadway to comedy clubs to high-profile television to commercials including a Super Bowl spot - Victoria Labalme helps people perform at their highest levels by awakening their hidden genius.
Co-Founder of CurlMix
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.
National Political Correspondent for NPR & FOX News Contributor
As the national political correspondent for NPR, Mara Liasson’s voice is unmistakable and her words memorable. Her reports can be heard regularly on NPR's award-winning newsmagazines All Things Considered and Morning Edition.
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.
First Woman Thunderbird Pilot, Fighter Squadron Commander, Indomitable Spirit
Col. Nicole Malachowski (USAF, Ret.) defies stereotypes. She was a jet fighter pilot, a combat veteran, and the first woman pilot on the Thunderbirds Air Demonstration Squadron. But her distinguished 21-year Air Force career came to an end when a devastating tick-borne illness left her unable to speak or walk for ten months leaving Nicole’s indomitable spirit to fight back against overwhelming odds and prevail.
Communications Expert and Author
Sarita Maybin is an international communication expert, keynote, and motivational speaker whose audiences have fun learning how to stay positive, constructively confront tough communication situations, and work together better.
Dynamic Motivational Speaker, Award-Winning Author
Connie Merritt, BSN, RN, PHN, has more than 25 years experience of speaking nationally with leading companies, organizations, and associations in Business and Healthcare industries.
Groundbreaking Athlete, Fashion Icon, Actor, TED All-Star
Aimée Mullins has excelled in multiple fields, inspiring people around the world as an athlete, actor, model, and speaker. As the first double amputee in history to compete in Division 1 NCAA track and field and for Team USA in the 1996 Paralympic Games. Over the past decade, she has acted in film and television shows, including the Netflix mega-hit Stranger Things, and has multiple feature films in development as a producer.
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.
EVP & COO of The Future Hunters
Erica Orange is Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of The Future Hunters, one of the world’s leading futurist consulting firms. She evaluates emerging social, technological, economic, political, demographic and environmental trends – and identifies the strategic implications of those trends for several of the most influential Fortune 500 companies, trade associations, and public sector clients.
Founder & CEO of EndeavorVR
Amy Peck is the founder & CEO of EndeavorVR, a leading global VR/AR (XR) strategy & consulting firm. Amy is a recognized thought-leader in the space and speaks globally on the future of XR.
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.
TEDx Speaker, Writer, and Life Coach
TEDx Speaker, writer, and life coach Ranbir Puar helps adults and children break free of their limiting beliefs by providing the tools to tap into their inner strength and silence their inner critics.
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.
America’s Leading Expert on Leadership Through Change
Dr. Michelle is the author of three books, a Huffington Post writer, and has been featured on NBC, ABC, CNN, FOX News and many other media outlets discussing change, motivation and how the human mind works to become exceptional in every area of our lives, personally and professionally. She is one of the most sought after change management motivational leadership speakers nationwide as well as internationally.
Technical Founder, CEO of Astral AR
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.
Founder & Executive Creative Director of Sarofsky
Erin Sarofsky is the Founder and Executive Creative Director of Sarofsky, her own design-driven production studio. Her work with a Who's Who list of top-level marketing and entertainment industry executives has her collaborating on main titles for the Marvel blockbusters, among others.
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.
Author, Change Agent, Defiance Catalyst
Janine Shepherd is an inspirational speaker and writer whose books have become classics in the survivor genre. A champion cross-country skier in training for the 1988 winter Olympics, Janine’s life changed forever when she was hit by a truck during a bicycle training ride in the Blue Mountains of Australia.
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.
Certified Speaking Professional™ and Author
Marilyn Sherman is dedicated to training people to let go of obstacles and live and work with courage, commitment, and confidence. For the last 22 years, she has motivated audiences all over the country, and internationally with topics about hope, inspiration, and practical tools to implement immediately.
Managing DIrector of Backstage Accelerator, Co-founder of Bosa
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.
LatinX Allyship, Chief of Staff at Catalyte
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.
Go-to Expert on Brand Leadership, Bestselling Author
Denise Lee Yohn is the go-to expert on brand leadership for national media outlets, an in-demand speaker and consultant, and an influential writer, authoring the bestselling book What Great Brands Do: The Seven Brand-Building Principles that Separate the Best from the Rest.