Alexa von Tobel, CFP® is the founder and CEO of LearnVest.com, and the New York Times-Bestselling Author of Financially Fearless. A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM who attended Harvard College and Harvard Business School, Alexa launched LearnVest to help bring financial advice to people nationwide. Since then Alexa has raised over $73 million in financing for LearnVest from Accel Partners, American Express Ventures, and others.
Alexa has been named to the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship, given a “Genius Award” by Elle, and selected as one of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs. She is a columnist for Cosmopolitan and Inc. and hosts a weekly radio show on SiriusXM.
Arun Sundararajan is Professor and NEC Faculty Fellow at New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business. He also heads the Social Cities Initiative at NYU’s Center for Urban Science+Progress, and is an affiliated faculty member at NYU’s Center for Data Science. Professor Sundararajan’s research program studies how digital technologies transform business and society. He has published in numerous scientific journals and has given more than 200 conference and invited presentations internationally. His research has been recognized by four Best Paper awards, been supported by organizations that include Yahoo!, Microsoft, Google and IBM, and recently profiled by trade publications that include The Atlantic, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Fast Company, the Financial Times, Forbes, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Wall Street Journal. He holds degrees from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras and the University of Rochester.
Ben Kaufman—Breaker, Maker, Founder and CEO of Quirky—makes invention accessible. At 18, he founded his first company, mophie, and learned just how difficult it is to bring one single product to market. In 2009, Ben launched Quirky to break down the barriers to invention and allow creative people all over the world to invent together. He’s helped hundreds of everyday inventors bring their product ideas to life and forged partnerships with the world’s largest retailers to sell those products. Today, Ben and Quirky continue to redefine the way the world thinks about product development and invention.
David Zweig is a writer, lecturer and musician based in New York. Invisibles (Penguin, June 2014), his first nonfiction book, is an expansion of his acclaimed Atlantic article “What Do Fact-Checkers and Anesthesiologists Have in Common?” The book has generated press around the world, and translation rights have been sold to countries in Europe, Asia, and South America. His debut novel, Swimming Inside The Sun, a modernist tour de force about identity and self-consciousness, received a rave review from Kirkus calling it a “terrific debut from a talented writer.” Zweig has been invited to lecture about the intersection of media, technology and psychology at numerous organizations, universities, and conferences around the States and abroad. As a freelance journalist he has written for The Atlantic, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal, among other publications.
Deborah Dugan is the Chief Executive Officer of (RED). Founded in 2006 by Bono and Bobby Shriver, (RED) partners with the world’s most iconic brands, including Apple, Starbucks, The Coca Cola Company and Belvedere, who contribute up to 50% of profits from the sale of (RED)-branded products and services to the Global Fund to fight AIDS. To date (RED) has raised more than $250 million, with 100% of that money going to AIDS programs that have impacted the lives of 55 million people. Prior to (RED), Deborah was President of Disney Publishing Worldwide, generating $1.8 billion in global retail sales. During her eight years at Disney, she oversaw 275 magazines and published more than 4,000 new book titles. Deborah’s roots are in the music industry – she spent many years as Executive Vice President at EMI/Capitol Records. Deborah began her career as an attorney on Wall Street.
Over the course of two albums, ELEW has interpreted and reenergized songs by Coldplay, Nirvana, Radiohead, the Foo Fighters, The Bravery, Michael Jackson, and more. And the choice of material is only part of rockjazz. In addition to his groundbreaking recordings and performances, ELEW has collaborated with a host of other artists. He joined forces with platinum-selling rapper Lil Wayne, providing the piano background for “IANAHB,” the opening track on Lil Wayne’s 2013 album “I Am Not a Human Being II.” He has performed at the behest of Google, Fendi, Disney, and Mercedes Benz. Donna Karan included his music on her iPhone app. And ELEW has even taken rockjazz to the White House, where he played for Barack and Michelle Obama in the East Room.
Elle Luna works out of her studio in San Francisco, where she paints, designs, and writes. She recently launched Bulan Project, limited-edition collections of livable art, and had a show based on the challenge of painting 100 self portraits in 100 days. Prior to making art, she worked with teams to design and build Mailbox’s iPhone app, redesign Uber’s iPhone app, and scale the storytelling platform, Medium. Before startups, Elle spent five years at IDEO where she worked across a variety of industries to develop multi-channel, holistic design experiences. When she’s not making a giant mess in her studio, you might find her running through the international terminal at SFO, where she just returned from a month of art making in Indonesia, or sharing stories about how it’s possible and worth it to find your life’s work.
Emilie Baltz, an NYC-based non-traditional creative, works at the intersection of design, performance, and the visual arts, creating experiences that provoke new connections between the senses. She uses the eating experience as a lens for cultural reflection and creation, working to reframe, re-question and remind us of the fundamental place food occupies in our lives. Baltz holds a B.A. in Film Studies from Vassar College and an M.I.D from Pratt Institute. She is part of the founding faculty of the School of Visual Arts Products of Design program and founded the Food Design Studio at Pratt Institute. In addition to her artistic practice, she works as a Strategic Creative Director, teaches team-building workshops, and lectures on the sensory experience. Baltz, former Creative Director of the Museum of Sex, is also the author of L.O.V.E FOODBOOK and Junk Foodie: 51 Delicious Recipes for the Lowbrow Gourmand.
JC Herz is a former rock critic and tech writer for Rolling Stone and Wired and wrote the first game design column for The New York Times. She started doing CrossFit in a gym where white-collar professionals and new moms hit WODs with active-duty military and members of the presidential Secret Service detail. While at The New York Times, she wrote about computer games as technology, design, and popular culture and helped formulate the critical language around this then-emerging medium. Herz’s company, Joystick Nation, is a hub for projects that translate the most compelling aspects of computer game design – immersion, social interaction, and play – into online and offline media and research. Joystick Nation’s clients include global corporations and nonprofit institutions alike. Herz served on the National Research Council’s committee on creativity and information technology and managed technology projects for DARPA. Her favorite video game, after all these years, is Atari Missile Command.
Jessica Butcher is the co-founder and CMO of Blippar, the market leading mobile visual discovery platform. She’s also the proud chief proponent of a new consumer verb, to “blipp.” As CMO, Butcher is responsible for managing the international expansion of the brand and the marketing divisions of the business. Marketing and deal-making for fast-growth businesses within technology and marketing sectors are one of her specialties Butcher has spoken at conferences around the world (including Mobile World Congress, Le Web, Ad:tech & more) and with her co-founders, has led Blippar to victory in a number of start-up competitions, including Best of Le Web in London (2012) and Most Innovative New Tech at MWC 2012. She was also named one of Fortune Magazine’s Top 10 Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs of 2012.
Kathryn Minshew is the CEO & Founder of TheMuse.com, the career platform that’s helped 15+ million people find and succeed at their dream jobs. Kathryn has spoken at MIT and Harvard, appeared on The TODAY Show and CNN, and contributes on career and entrepreneurship to the Wall Street Journal and the Harvard Business Review. She was previously named to INC’s 35 Under 35 and Forbes’ 30 Under 30 for two years in a row. Before The Muse, Kathryn worked on vaccine introduction in Rwanda and Malawi with the Clinton Health Access Initiative and was previously at the management consultancy McKinsey.
Maureen leads L2’s Research Team and co-authored the Digital IQ Index®. research methodology. During her tenure at L2 she has overseen the digital competence benchmarking of more than 2,000 brands across Auto, Beauty, CPG, Drinks, Fashion, Retail and Travel. Her research focus spans eleven geographies including North America, Europe, APAC, Middle East and Russia. In addition to her role as Head of Research and Co-Founder, Maureen also leads business development for L2. Prior to joining L2, she was with Triage Consulting Group and led managed-care payment review and payment benchmarking projects for hospitals, including UCLA Medical Center, UCSF, and HCA. Maureen has a BA in Human Biology from Stanford University and an MBA from NYU Stern.
Michael Sweeney has served as a director of Steinway Musical Instruments, Inc. since April 2011, chairman of the board since July 2011 and president and chief executive officer since October 2011. Mr. Sweeney has served as chairman of the board of Star Tribune Media Holdings, the holding company for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, since September 2009. He also remains a partner in Goldner Hawn Johnson & Morrison, Inc. (GHJM), a private equity firm. He had previously served as president of Starbucks Coffee Company (UK) Ltd. in London and held various operating management and corporate finance roles. Mr. Sweeney’s background in investment banking and private equity, as well as his operating company business acumen, are valuable resources to the board and the Company, particularly with respect to the board’s consideration of compensation and financial matters and strategic investments. Mr. Sweeney graduated from Swarthmore College.
Nancy Etcoff is a psychologist and faculty member of the Harvard Medical School and of Harvard University’s Mind/Brain/Behavior Initiative. She directs the Program in Aesthetics and Well Being at the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Psychiatry. Etcoff has conducted research on the perception of beauty, emotion, and the brain for over fifteen years. She is the author of Survival of the Prettiest: The Science of Beauty, which is the subject of a Discovery Channel program. Nancy Etcoff’s work has been cited in countless publications including The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly, and O. She has appeared as a featured guest on Dateline, Good Morning America, The Oprah Winfrey Show, NPR, and numerous other national television and radio programs.
Nicholas A. Christakis is a sociologist and physician known for his research on social networks and on the socioeconomic and biosocial determinants of behavior, health, and longevity. He is the Sol Goldman Family Professor of Social and Natural Science at Yale University, directs the Human Nature Lab, and co-directs the Yale Institute for Network Science. From 2001-2013, he taught multiple subjects (including medicine and sociology) at Harvard. Christakis has been named to Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world and to Foreign Policy magazine’s list of top global thinkers. He was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2006 and named a Fellow at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2010. Christakis was educated at Yale, Harvard, and the University of Pennsylvania.
Owen Mundy is an artist, designer, and programmer who investigates public space and its relationship to data. His artwork highlights inconspicuous trends and offers tools to make hackers out of everyday users. He has completed multiple networked art works which constitute various overlaps between creative practice, technological research, and cultural production. He has an MFA in Visual Art from the University of California, San Diego and is an Associate Professor of Art at Florida State University. His work has been shown at Transitio_MX in Mexico City, the California Center for the Arts in Escondido, CA, Compactspace in Los Angeles, Golden Thread Gallery in Belfast, the Sarai Media Lab in New Dehli, Bauer&Ewald Gallery in Berlin, and APEXART, Flux Factory, and Art Currents Gallery, in New York. I Know Where Your Cat Lives is a data visualization project to create awareness about internet privacy. It has been profiled by NPR, the New York Times, The Atlantic, and Time Magazine, among others.
Paul Sagan is an XIR at General Catalyst Partners where he focuses on identifying and supporting businesses that capitalize on trends in cloud computing, hyper-connectivity and mobility, media, and big data. Paul is vice chairman of Akamai Technologies, which he joined as COO and employee #15 in 1998, and served as CEO for nine years until 2013. He is also a director of three other public companies, EMC, VMware and iRobot, and he serves as non-executive chairman of Datto and L2. Prior to joining Akamai, Paul served as a senior advisor to the World Economic Forum, and as president and editor of new media at Time Inc., when it was a division of Time Warner. Paul is a three-time Emmy Award winner for broadcast journalism and a winner of Ernst & Young’s U.S. Entrepreneur of the Year award in the technology category. In 2010, he was appointed by President Obama to the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee.
Robert Cowie is a jazz pianist and composer living in Brooklyn. He performs regularly around NYC and internationally. From 2007-2009 he was Musical Director at the infamous Lower East Side hot spot, The Box, where he composed, arranged, and performed music for every type of act imaginable (and few he couldn’t even begin to imagine) in its nightly neo-vaudvillian show “Pandora”. His trio was in residence 5 nights a week for the opening year of The Standard Hotel’s Boom Boom Room in 2009-2010. Over the last 4 years he has served as Musical Director for downtown-chanteuse Lady Rizo, performing with her at Joe’s Pub, The Darby, and around the world. Robert has also composed music for TV, short-films, theatre, cabaret, and the circus. More info can be found at http://robertcowiemusic.com/
Robert is an artist/coder living in Brooklyn. His work ranges from simple 2D data visualizations to immersive 3D terrain simulations. He is a founding partner of the Barbarian Group and is a co-creator of the Cinder C++ framework.
Scott is a Clinical Professor at the NYU Stern School of Business, where he teaches brand strategy and digital marketing, and is the founder of L2, a subscription business intelligence firm serving prestige brands. Scott is also the founder of Firebrand Partners, an operational activist firm that has invested more than $1 billion in U.S. consumer and media companies. In 1997, he founded Red Envelope, an Internet-based branded consumer gift retailer. In 1992, Scott founded Prophet, a brand strategy consultancy that employs more than 250 professionals in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Scott was elected to the World Economic Forum’s “Global Leaders of Tomorrow,” which recognizes 100 individuals under age 40 “whose accomplishments have had impact on a global level.” Scott has served on the board of directors of Eddie Bauer, The New York Times Company, Gateway Computers, and Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. He received a BA from UCLA and an MBA from UC Berkeley.
Steve Bock is the Business CEO of Shinola. In addition to his current role at Shinola, he leads and supports Sales, Finance, and Direct at Filson. Having worked with companies like DFS, Sephora, Fossil and Saks Fifth Avenue, he brings over three decades of hands-on experience in luxury retail, prestige cosmetics, and timepieces to Shinola. Based in Detroit, Shinola manufactures American-made products including handcrafted watches, leather goods, journals, shoe polish, cola and bicycles. Dedicated to craftsmanship, Shinola delivers goods of the highest quality, that are built to last.
Sujari showed her prodigious talent from a very early age. She began formal study of the cello at age four, following her study on the violin, and piano. Sujari has won numerous awards and competitions, and is a multi-year recipient of the prestigious Sidney E Frank Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music (MSM). Now 13 years old, Sujari continues her years of study with noted pedagogue Marion Feldman as a college student at MSM. Sujari has delighted audiences at Carnegie Hall, the United Nations, WQXR Radio, Madison Square Garden, Harman Arts Center, Beacon Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre, Palace Theatre, Gracie Mansion, and the White House. Sujari is featured in multi-media including StayThirsty, THKR/RadicalMedia PRODIGIES, NBC, TED Talks, Katie!, Ebony.com, and Time Magazine. In addition to her prowess on cello and forte in academics, Sujari composes music, paints, sketches, and writes fiction.
Ted Gibson is one of the most sought-after editorial, runway, and celebrity hair stylists in the business. His work has appeared in publications such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Marie Claire, Vanity Fair, People StyleWatch, W, and Allure and backstage at runway shows such as Chanel, Prada, and Dolce & Gabbana. Ted is perhaps most known for toiling over the tresses of top celebrities including Anne Hathaway, Debra Messing, Angelina Jolie, Ashley Greene, Joy Bryant, Zoe Saldana, Emma Watson, Gabrielle Union and many more. Follow him on twitter @tedgibson.
William Lindmeier is the creator of the app Tunnel Vision, which he developed as part of his thesis at ITP/NYU. The app “turns any MTA subway map into an interactive exploration of NYC through data,” or, in layman’s terms, shows the viewer fascinating statistics about subway usage, census data like household rent and income, and much more. The app was featured in Apple’s AppStore and widely recognized by major media outlets including BuzzFeed and The New York Times. In addition, William has done software development for industry leaders such as Netflix and Nike, as well as data visualization for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and The Office for Creative Research.