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.
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.
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, an online crowdfunding and subscription streaming platform for content that emphasizes diversity and inclusion. An advocate for diversity and inclusion in the entertainment industry, Best regularly speaks at conferences and events about building equity and sustainability for everyone.
Jessica Brown leads the digital design team as Director of UX at VICE Media, where she focuses on showcasing VICE’s distinct storytelling on mobile, web, and TV apps. 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.
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.
Heidi Connal is a seasoned technology executive with over twenty years of experience building collaborative, compassionate, and high performing individuals and teams. Heidi is known for her strategic expertise in large global enterprises, most recently as an executive at Salesforce.
Rachel Cook is the founder and CEO of Seeds, the easiest way to ask the blockchain for help and receive it as a monetary gift - no strings attached. Rachel wants to transcend the broken parts of capitalism, rendering the gatekeepers obsolete.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Andrea Guendelman is the founder and force behind BeVisible, the first career social media platform for Latinx. Andrea founded BeVisible after her own experiences as a Harvard-trained corporate lawyer and an entrepreneur. Andrea is considered a thought leader in the topics of Latinx career building and creating diverse workforces.
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.
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.
Yelitsa Jean-Charles founded Healthy Roots in 2015 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 in the creation and commercialization of tech through venture capital.
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.
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.
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.