Featured Rebecca Altamirano Keynote Speaker Activist Education Speaker
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California, USA

Tags: Business / Activism / College & University / Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) / Education / Emcees & Moderators / Entrepreneurship / Motivational / Social Change & Issues / Technology


Rebecca Altamirano is an entrepreneur, author, and activist.  She has dedicated her professional life to working within underrepresented communities to open up access to the culture of power.  As a biracial woman from a multicultural family, she is primed for building bridges between people, networks, and communities. 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 published by Columbia’s Teachers College Press.  Most recently she has been working on Venture Development at Tangelo Technologies, the company she co-founded with her husband in 2007. Rebecca also serves on several boards and task forces including Stanford Hospital, Stanford School of Education, and most recently The Art of Yoga Project, which focuses on early intervention to help marginalized and justice-involved girls prepare for a positive future. She has written for the Huffington Post, Thrive Global, and Ms. Magazine.

After graduating magna cum laude from Wellesley College with a degree in Psychology and English and earning her master’s degree from Stanford Graduate School of Education, she joined her first startup:  building a high school from the ground up in an under-resourced community whose residents were mostly people of color.

In her first year at East Palo Alto Academy (EPAA) Rebecca worked as the community outreach coordinator. A year later she was in her own classroom teaching English, history, and English Language Development to immigrant children. Rebecca became an administrator and Early College Program Director, achieving her goal of having every high school student graduate with having successfully completed at least one college class.  She created numerous programs that continue to serve the students to this day. In collaboration with Stanford and other institutions, she raised millions of dollars for scholarships for undocumented students as well as establishing a scholarship fund for basic student needs such as books and transportation.

In 1999, as a Thomas J. Watson fellow, Rebecca studied weaving in the Andes Mountains.  For a year she traveled to indigenous villages in South America, learning the craft from masters, in the process transforming strings and threads of wool and cotton into blankets, belts, and bags. During a tumultuous transportation strike in Ecuador, she met her future husband, Antonio Altamirano.  They traveled together for one year, surviving and thriving despite challenges of military coups, erupting volcanoes, and other natural disasters before eventually settling in the Bay Area.

Rebecca and Antonio started Tangelo Technologies.  Established in 2007, Tangelo works on experience design with startups and corporations such as Intel, Facebook, Google, and Intuit. Working across multiple facets of business — digital revenue growth, automation, conversational technology, and custom software applications — Tangelo is recognized for its innovative approach.

Diverse since its inception, Tangelo has been working to level the playing field for underrepresented entrepreneurs.  In 2018, as part of an expansion effort, Tangelo established a joint venture with Backstage Capital, an up-and-coming venture fund focused on making investments in companies founded by underserved minorities–women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ community.  Led by Arlan Hamilton, one of the hottest names in venture capital, Backstage has made over 100 investments as of this writing.


Raising Low Tech Kids in Silicon Valley

Despite being constantly inundated with technology, it’s possible and almost easy to raise creative, thoughtful, innovative, and happy children in a low tech and low budget environment.

Beyond the Glass Ceiling: How to Access the Culture of Power

Learning to believe in yourself so that you can accomplish your ancestors’ wildest dreams is crucial in gaining access to the culture of power.  In this powerful and inspiring keynote, Rebecca will provide answers to some crucial questions like how do you get a permanent seat at the table in a biased world?  And how do you bring others along for the ride so that you make generational change?

Becoming an Activist in the Age of Trump

Learn about how Rebecca and her team at Tangelo created WalkWoke, a protest sign making app, that mixes art and activism to create social change.  

Be The Change: Reinventing Schools for Student Success

Be the Change tells the remarkable story of an innovative public high school launched by dedicated teachers in East Palo Alto, California, one of a growing number of low-income communities starved of the resources needed to serve its students and schools. Chronicling a rags-to-riches story of how two very different communities came together to change the historical trajectory of educational failure that had robbed so many students of their futures, Be the Change demonstrates how to plant the seeds of new possibilities in its place. The school’s unique design, modeled after successful small schools in New York City, offers authentic and engaging instruction in a personalized setting that has allowed students who start off far behind to graduate and go on to college in record numbers. The lessons learned will help improve student outcomes not just in East Palo Alto but in ALL schools.