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Stacy Spikes is an award-winning entrepreneur and inventor who USA Today named one of the 21 most influential Black leaders in technology. He holds several technology patents and is the co-founder and CEO of the nation’s first theatrical subscription service, MoviePass. In addition, Spikes is the founder of Urbanworld, the largest international festival dedicated to nurturing Women and BIPOC filmmakers. His memoir, Black Founder, was released in January 2023.
Co-founder and CEO, MoviePass
Julian S. Newman
Julian S. Newman is founder and CEO of The FutureCast Foundation and Culture Creative. He is a global leadership development expert and an inaugural Anthem Award winning Diversity & Inclusion Leader of the Year, along with Trevor Noah. He is an actor, filmmaker, has published writings in various media outlets, and featured on NPR and Fox News affiliates. Julian will be releasing his first book Beautiful Together in 2023.
Julian S. Newman
Founder and CEO,
The FutureCast Foundation
Chief Innovation Officer
As the Chief Innovation Officer at Critical Mass, Ara Kurnit drives global innovation efforts for clients such as Mars Wrigley, Apple, BMW, and Diageo. Combining her unparalleled expertise in media, technology, and publishing with a profound understanding of global innovation strategy, Ara creates opportunities for client growth.
Ara is a passionate consumer and student of the world, analyzing everything from people to products. She has strong human intuition, which makes her particularly great at working with both colleagues and clients. Prior to joining Critical Mass, Ara spent five years at the New York Times, leading diverse teams in areas such as Product Innovation and Customer Research, crafting groundbreaking strategies and content for clients. With over 13 years of experience as an innovation consultant, Ara commenced her career at Ogilvy & Mather.
Lori Rodriguez is a business and product leader with 25+ years proven success transforming business models, creating new digital products, and driving innovation. She equips companies to improve CX/EX and increase revenue, efficiency, and resilience through people, processes, and tech.
A passionate advocate for women in technology and STEM, Lori is the President of the US Chapter of Women in Tech, a global non-profit organization with 200,000 members in 45 chapters on 6 continents. She regularly speaks on digital transformation, customer experience, resilience, the future of work, and women in technology, STEM, and leadership. Lori is the author of the bestselling book, Hidden Lives of Women in STEM, which shares the stories of 12 remarkable women leaders. Through their successes and their scars, these living role models have profound lessons to share to help women achieve their full potential in environments where they are underrepresented.
Women in Tech US
Wendy Hu is Founder + Creative Director of Visual Conductor, an innovative creative studio where she designs bold IRL-URL events + experiences
for impact-driven brands: Empower businesses, transform lives and change the world.
Her spectrum of projects include: Multi-sensory events, workshops, conferences, pop-ups, retail innovation, fashion runway, social impact activations and beyond. Wendy consults with organizations ranging from Fortune 500s to non-profits and fashion tech.
As an ARTivist, Wendy has a deep commitment to drive change through design + art + technology. Her projects address issues such as Diversity and Inclusion, Anti-Asian Hate, De-stigmatizing Cannabis and Sustainability. She also co-founded Let's Solve X, a positive impact collective that addresses DEI and anti-discrimination issues. In addition, Wendy is a GXA model, representing diversity on the runway as an unconventional, mature Asian face.
As a disruptor, Wendy is excited to shape the future of experiential, help brands transition from Web2 to Web3 and trailblaze in productions centric to the human experience. To connect + manifest: https://linktr.ee/visualconductor
Founder + Creative Director, Visual Conductor;
Co-Founder, Let's Solve X
Founder, GUIDE beauty
GUIDE Beauty Founder, Terri Bryant has devoted her career to both makeup artistry and education. Throughout her 25+ years in the cosmetics industry, she has shared her love of makeup with people around the world. Her work has been behind the scenes as a celebrity makeup artist, in front of the camera as a presenter on QVC, QVC UK and HSN, and as an education executive, teaching makeup artistry for brands like Dior and Stila, and leading education departments for companies such as Smashbox and Josie Maran.
Throughout her time as a makeup artist, Bryant worked with people of all skill sets and abilities. She found that while her enthusiasm for makeup seemed to be shared almost universally, her skillset and natural ability as a makeup artist was not and was always looking for ways to make makeup better and easier for everybody. Then a life-changing event accelerated these efforts. When Bryant was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2015, her first thought was “what if I lose the ability to apply my makeup?” This wasn’t a question of vanity, but one of a lifelong passion and connection to a community. She got to work designing a line that would make application easier and better not only for her, but also all those people she had met over the years who struggled with applying the looks she had created for them. This resilience led to the launch of GUIDE Beauty, a collection of makeup tools and products mindfully and intentionally designed with users across all levels of skill, ability, and disability, to create products that can be enjoyed by all, regardless of skill, ability, and disability.
Chloé Valentine Toscano is an NYC-based writer, model, and diversity and inclusion advocate. She is working on an essay collection titled Disarmed: Essays From a Punk Rock Amputee. Her work has been published in The Washington Post, them., Glamour, NBC, Allure, The Huffington Post, Vogue India, Wired, Nylon, Salon, and more. You can read more of her work by visiting her website www.ChloeValentineWrites.com and follow her on Instagram @chloevalentinetoscano and TikTok @chloevalentinetoscano.
Chloe Valentine Toscano
Writer (Allure, Glamour, Wired), Model, and Diversity and Inclusion Advocate
Chloe Valenin Toscano
Kara McGrath is the deputy digital director of Allure, reporting on all aspects of the beauty industry with a focus on highlighting communities that are often left out of the conversation. She lives in New Hampshire with her partner, dog, four cats, and a rotating cast of foster animals.
Deputy Digital Director
Deborah Martin Owens is the Director of Diversity & Inclusion—Talent Development at Cravath Swaine & Moore, LLP. As director of D&I talent development, Deborah works closely with firm leaders to cultivate strategies focused on attracting, developing, and retaining the firm’s diverse associates and professional staff. She has held DEI roles at major law firms and at the New York City Bar Association. Prior to transitioning to DEI, Deborah was an attorney at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP. She is the immediate past chair of Women Creating Change, a nonprofit organization in New York City that partners with underrepresented women in their desire to become more civically engaged. Deborah graduated from Hofstra University School of Law.
Deborah Martin Owens
Director of Diversity & Inclusion, Talent Development, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP
Social Impact & Sustainability Manager
Jackson Walker LLP
Chad Cole is an accomplished business development professional with a strong track record in the legal marketing industry. His extensive experience encompasses a wide range of skills, including business development, strategic planning, marketing, budgeting, and event planning at law firms of all sizes—from employee benefit boutiques to one of the world’s largest firms, including Jackson Walker, which is the largest law firm in Texas.
Based in Dallas, Chad is the Social Impact & Sustainability Manager at Jackson Walker. In this role, he plays a pivotal part in shaping the firm’s commitment to social responsibility and sustainable practices and contributes significantly to fostering an inclusive environment within the firm.
Chad’s dedication to promoting diversity, inclusion, and belonging while leveraging his extensive marketing and business development experience allowed him to play an integral role in creating the firm’s Pillars of Success, developing the firm’s signature D&I program, spearheading the firm’s participation in the Mansfield Rule, and launching seven new Lawyer Resource Groups.
Chad has also achieved certificates from Cornell University, the University of South Florida, and Berkeley Law Executive Education Program in the areas of Diversity & Inclusion, Sustainable Capitalism & ESG, and Mental Health & Wellness in the Workplace.
Heather Reid is the Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Akin. There she is responsible for developing, implementing and monitoring programs and processes, across all firm functions, that support DEI at Akin. Heather started her career as a practicing attorney, working as an M&A lawyer for 5½ years at a large law firm and then as an entertainment lawyer at boutique entertainment firm for 5½ years. She transitioned into professional development and DEI, working at a non-profit and a global law firm, before joining Akin. She graduated from Brown University and Columbia Law School.
Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Executive Vice President, 160/90
Sam Stark oversees 160over90’s Public Relations, Social Media, Creator Marketing, and Digital teams, as well as Agency Marketing as part of the cultural-marketing agency’s Senior Leadership Team. 160over90 sits within Endeavor, the global sports and entertainment company that owns WME, IMG, and the UFC, along with other culture-driving organizations.
Throughout her 24-year career, she’s specialized in leading integrated communication campaigns that earn attention. The skills she’s developed in strategy, creativity, and earning engagement allow her to tell her clients’ stories across multiple channels, from social networks and events to top-tier broadcast.
Over the last few years, Sam was named one of PR News’ Top Women in the Industry in the Industry Innovators Category and one of Ragan's Top Women in Communications in the Leader Category. Over her career, she has been fortunate to win multiple awards on behalf of her clients as well: PRSA Silver and Bronze Anvils, PRSA National Chapter Thoth Awards, a Gold Sabre from The Holmes Group, and a Golden Bell Public Relations Award from the Hospitality, Sales and Marketing International Association List, among others.
Sam is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Institute of Public Relations as well as Director of its Digital Media Center. Internally at Endeavor, she is an active board member of the Women of Endeavor and We the Change, which are championing gender and racial equity and inclusion across the organization.
Sam joined 160over90 from Ketchum, where she was part of the Senior Leadership Team for the Technology practice. Before that, she worked at Burson-Marsteller, Rubenstein PR, and Hunter. She originally got into public relations within the music industry to learn to promote her band.
Founder/Creative DirectorCoreImpact, Inc.
Samuel Taylor is a retired professional athlete of 8 years and two MLB teams. Since then, he has become a successful entrepreneur in the athletic industry, with a proven track record and a previous exit. With the support of expert industrial footwear designer/entrepreneur Ryan Duke, Taylor established Oakland, California's groundbreaking community-driven athletic footwear and apparel company in 2013; known as TESH Sports. Through a focus on bio-mechanical movement and human anatomy, Samuel secured licensing agreements with the NFL, NBA (D-League), and MLB, propelling the company's valuation to $12M. Notably, the brand achieved record sales with major US retail sporting goods stores such as Sports Authority and Dicks - thanks to endorsement deals signed with 10 professional athletes.
Building on this success, Sam aspires to make a profound impact on a larger scale within the sports technology industry with his latest venture Core Impact. Core Impact is a sports specific wearables company that tracks muscle activity in real time and provides simple actionable insights to help athletes maximize their training and in-game performance. There is no other system on the market, that combines sensor-equipped equipment, customized apps and training content from leading industry experts to hone the best training techniques for every sport. Learn more at coreimpactinc.com.
Former Global Communications & Brand Lead, Special Olympics; Sports Marketing Influencer
Jason Teitler has worked with Special Olympics athletes, staff, partners, and volunteers globally to express the urgent need for inclusion and the importance of a unified world for people with intellectual disabilities. He is proud to have made attitude and behavior change a reality over a decade of dedicated service, as both an agency account lead and internal department leader, by helping the movement to explore and conquer new storytelling frontiers thanks to the unrivaled might of marketing-based communications.
Through volunteer work, he continues to catalyze transition as only communications can, by convincing and encouraging others, through data-influenced narrative delivery and innovative, unconventional strategies, to act, share, and influence.
Jason has extensive expertise in helping brands enhance their communications and marketing activations, strategic partnership initiatives, experiential interactions, and social purpose missions. His experience includes celebrated programs such as Gillette's Mach3 launch, M&M's Global Color Vote, Nicorette and NicoDerm's Committed Quitter NASCAR initiative, NextVR's live virtual reality breakthroughs, launch of MetLife Stadium, and global relaunches of iconic brands such as Oakley and Lincoln.
As founder of global sports and entertainment specialties for two global communications firms, Jason has assisted brands in becoming a natural part of consumers' lifestyle passions by relying on data-driven insights to gain credibility. He has implemented campaigns during the most complex storytelling environments, such as the Super Bowl and Olympic Games, and is deeply involved in purpose missions involving sport, health, education, and leadership.
Jason is an active international speaker on communications and sports marketing, has been featured at top conferences and at leading universities as a featured speaker, and has been interviewed by top-tier media outlets around the world.
Multi-Award-Wining Music Video & TV Director
Benny Boom is an acclaimed music video and television director. With a career spanning over two decades, the West Philadelphia native has worked with some of the biggest names in Hip Hop including Busta Rhymes, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Nicki Minaj, Nas, Lil’ Kim, LL Cool J, and 50 Cent. His work on Nelly’s “Dilemma” with Kelly Rowland has over 1.2 billion views and his music video filmography includes more than 300 videos. Boom is the most nominated BET Music Video Director of all time. His pioneering efforts have earned him several awards and honors including 16 nominations with 2 BET Video Director of the Year Awards, 3 BET Hip Hop Awards for Video Director of the Year, and a 2022 VMA for Best Hip Hop Video. Although Boom is well-known for his revered work in the music video industry, his television directing credits include “The Equalizer,” “NCIS: LA” and “Chicago PD.” He also directed the 2017 Tupac Shakur biographical film “All Eyez on Me”.
COMMUNITY IMPACT AWARD
Bryce Fluellen has fought for food justice and social equity for more than 20 years, developing and implementing strategic programs at Starbucks, Magic Johnson Enterprises, and the American Heart Association to drive systemic change to benefit underserved populations and communities. as community impact director at the Los Angeles Chapter of the American heart Association, he was instrumental in developing and executing a multi-year, million-dollar regional campaign with the National Football League Foundation to transform and improve youth physical activity, building a collective impact blueprint for the league to scale across 30 team markets.
Bryce also aligned with the American heart association’s national office to develop national health equity programs, cultivating volunteers, donors and corporations for both national and local initiatives. fluellen created a groundbreaking sustainable basic cooking skills and nutrition curriculum for more than 9,000 children within the Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Santa Ana school districts, and facilitated hundreds of workshops to educate parents, school administrators, corporate and community leaders about the positive impact of healthy eating on disease prevention.
a classically trained chef, he operated a Los Angeles full- service catering company, yams catering, where he created partnerships with health-focused organizations to educate black and brown communities about healthy eating.
in 2022 Fluellen was named one of the 50 most influential restaurant leaders by the nrn power list and has been a featured subject matter expert at the culinary institute of America and Harvard University’s T.H. Chan public school of health menus of change summit, fast casual magazine's franchise innovation conference, & w.k. Kellogg Foundations' radical social enterprise convening. he also serves on the executive committee of the los angeles food policy council in 2016; he published his first book that artfully connects healthy recipes with captivating family stories titled Food a Vehicle for Healing: (The Fruitful Journey) pt. 1.
THE CHAMPION AWARD
Suzan Kedron is a partner in the Land Use practice group of Jackson Walker and helps to build our cities, making them better communities to live in.
Suzan represents real estate developers, land owners and public entities in a variety of land use and real estate development issues. Suzan’s practice focuses on the following issues: zoning, development, planning, emerging technologies seeking municipal support/approval, due diligence, public private partnerships, economic development incentives, tax increment financing, green building, permitting, affordable housing, special districts, and litigation.
Previously in her career, her law practice included corporate and white collar crime, bank fraud, evidentiary procedures, and general business litigation. Her architectural practice concentrated on upper-end residential design
Suzan chairs Jackson Walker’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee and Land Use practice. She previously served as Chair of the Business Development Committee for the Dallas office.
GLOBAL LEADER AWARD
As the VP of Groupe Media & Inclusive Buying Solutions, Carlos Sanchez drives scalable client-facing media and new, high-growth inclusive solutions centered upon Publicis Groupe’s commitment to DE&I. In addition to his growth role, he is a steering committee member on Publicis Media’s Once & For All Coalition, which champions investing with minority-owned and targeted inventory, establishing a lasting infrastructure. Through this work, Carlos created Publicis’ award-winning Inclusive Buying Protocol (IBP). The IBP bolsters equitable impression delivery within digital media buys, against ethnically diverse audiences in general market buying. Previously, Carlos served as Starcom’s Diversity & Inclusion Lead. He has received multiple awards for his work, including from Cynopsis and FutureCast.
CREATIVE VISIONARY AWARD
Emilee Syrewicze (pronounced: Sir - witch) is Executive Director of Opera Grand Rapids, Michigan’s longest-running professional opera company and one of the top mid-size opera companies in North America. Emilee is the youngest person to serve in such a capacity in Opera Grand Rapids’ 56 year history and she is one of the youngest executives to manage an opera company in the world.
Since the start of her tenure at Opera Grand Rapids in 2019, Emilee has increased the production calendar from two major shows to twelve productions/events in one single season while growing the organization's budget. In March 2020, Opera Grand Rapids produced a virtual production of Derrick Wang’s Scalia/Ginsburg within the first 24 hours of the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, during the pandemic the opera presented a live socially distanced grand opera performance with a livestream to a minor league baseball park for opera patrons. In the 21/22 season, Emilee was the Executive Producer for the world premiere of Stinney: An American Execution (projected to air on PBS in 2023).
Prior to leading Opera Grand Rapids, Emilee was the Executive Director of the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation (CRF) in Charlotte, North Carolina. CRF’s mission is to advocate, educate and protect the Catawba-Wateree River Basin in North and South Carolina and is considered one of the most influential environmental organizations in the American south. CRF’s work leading the litigious efforts to clean up coal ash in the Carolinas has been featured on 60 Minutes, CNN, The Rachel Maddow Show, National Geographic’s From the Ashes, The Washington Post, and The Atlantic.
Emilee is a native of Northern Michigan. She graduated from Vermont Law School in 2011 and received her BA in political science in 2008 from Alma College, which later named her Young Alumni of the Year in 2017. She is a member of the Grand Rapids Rotary Club, a board president of the Torch Conservation Center in Alden, Michigan, and the East Fulton Business Association/Uptown Inc. In 2014, Emilee was recognized by the Traverse City Business News as one of the 40 most influential people under 40 in Northwest Michigan and named one of the top 200 Executives in West Michigan by the Grand Rapids Business Journal in 2019-2022.
Ramona Wright is a President’s Lifetime Volunteer Service Award honoree, the highest civil award bestowed by the President of the United States in recognition of volunteerism. Ramona is a TEDx speaker, author, communication strategist, founder and investor of various entrepreneurial ventures in media and tech. She is a social media marketing trailblazer and former lecturer at her alma mater Loyola Marymount University. She has managed multi-million dollar marketing budgets and led campaigns on behalf of such entities as Brookfield Properties, Eli Lilly, Oxfam America, Qatar Foundation International, Reebok, Sony Music Latin, and the West African Country Sierra Leone. Some of her other accolades include a Telly Award for producing a PSA featuring Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx and Ryan Seacrest. Ramona serves on the board of Disruptive Technologists and was recognized by the Global Good Fund for her philanthropy. Learn more about her at ramonawright.com.
& Chief Strategy Officer
WrightOne Media Group
Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award Honoree
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