Jack Andraka is a Maryland high school student who at age 15 created a novel paper sensor that detects pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancer in 5 minutes for as little as 3 cents. He conducted his research at Johns Hopkins University and is the winner of the Gordon E. Moore award at Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award and was Mrs. Obama’s guest at the State of the Union Address. He was named a Champion of Change by President Obama for his work to break down scientific journal paywalls.
He has spoken at TED Long Beach, over 16 TEDx events including the House of Parliament, is the youngest speaker at the Royal Society of Medicine and has been featured on 60 Minutes, World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer, NPR Marketplace, Popular Science, BBC, and Al Jazeera as well as in award winning documentaries including “You Don’t know Jack” by Morgan Spurlock. Jack is currently working at the Georgetown Lombardi Cancer Center on nanorobots and improvements on his sensor. He also has worked extensively on environmental issues and has developed an ultra-inexpensive water filter for developing nations made from recycled plastic water bottles. Jack also speaks about open access, STEM education and universal Internet availability.
He is also on the national junior wildwater kayaking team, has won awards at multiple national and international math competitions.
Ronald D. Rotunda, former assistant majority counsel for the Watergate Committee, has co-authored the most widely used course book on legal ethics, a six-volume Treatise on Constitutional Law, over a dozen other books, and more than 400 articles. His works, translated into French, German, Romanian, Czech, Russian, Japanese, and Korean, have been cited more than 2000 times by state and federal courts. In 1993, he was the Constitutional Law Adviser to the Supreme National Council of Cambodia and consulted with various new democracies in Eastern Europe on their proposed constitutions and judicial codes. He was a Fulbright Professor in Venezuela and Italy, Visiting Scholar, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, and visiting lecturer at the Institute of the Institut für Recht und Ökonomik, Hamburg. He has been ranked as the eleventh most cited of all law faculty in the United States.
Janet EvansJanet is widely considered the greatest female distance swimmer in history holding unbroken swimming records for twenty years. Janet competed in three Olympic Games with her debut at the age of seventeen where she won three Gold Medals.The early success was a wonderful surprise which kicked off a celebrated career. It also set expectations for the future. The societal pressures of winning and exceeding previous goals was strong, but Janet retired a decorated Olympian with four Gold Medals and one Silver Medal. In 2012, at the age of forty, Janet made a comeback and reached her goal of competing in the Olympic Trials twenty three years after her first Olympic Games. Janet still swims every day for fun and enjoys life in California with her husband and two children.
Hailed by The Huffington Post as “a budding musical genius,”13-year-old American pianist Umi Garrett is gaining acclaim from all over the world for her exquisite musicality, emotional and mature sound, flawless technique and virtuosity, and gracious stage presence filled with poise and charm. Of her performance of Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Winnipeg Symphony in November 2013, the Winnipeg Free Press wrote “In addition to displaying bravura technique, the young soloist also possesses an extraordinary musicality.”Umi’s performance with the Pasadena Symphony Orchestra was praised by the Crescenta Valley Weekly: “Garrett is the real thing.”Recently, Umi was granted a prestigious title of the Young Steinway Artist, an honor only awarded to today’s most acclaimed young artists.
Among her honors are First Prize at the 13th Osaka International Music Competition in Japan, the Chopin International Competition Chopin Plus in Budapest, Hungary, and the Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition in New York in 2012. She was also the Grand Prix winner of the Chopin International Competition in Hartford, Connecticut in 2010, and was subsequently invited to perform at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall in New York. In 2013, Umi received the Most Promising Award at the 17th Hamamatsu International Piano Academy in Hamamatsu, Japan.
Gregory Washington, an engineer educator extraordinaire is innovatively educating the next generation of engineers. As Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Dean for the Henry Samueli School of Engineering at the University of California Irvine, Professor Washington initiated and helped design an experiential learning platform for engineering students beginning at the first year where they are exposed to real world projects and entrepreneurship.
He is an international researcher and global educator most recently instructing an international class of students at Peking University in Beijing China introducing them to the next generation of intelligent materials and systems. Professor Washington is a renowned speaker on the subjects of STEM and the concept of innovating educational experiences for today’s student. He is a master at eloquently explaining to his audiences the concept of global grand challenges in a way that inspires students, parents and educators to take notice and provokes them to action.
Recognized by Digital Media Wire as one of the “25 Executives to Watch in Digital Media,” Nanea Reeves brings over 15 years of experience in the online service and digital distribution arena. She has been directly involved in creating many innovative products, platforms and consumer destinations for multiple industries including video game publishing, ecommerce, entertainment and social/mobile applications.
Nanea joined textPlus as President and COO in January of 2014 with the specific goal of working together with the TextPlus team to change how people communicate through their mobile devices. One of the top mobile messaging applications in the US, TextPlus has an audience of 65MM registered users in North America and is beginning the process of launching its service worldwide.
Prior to joining TextPlus, Nanea was the COO at Machinima as well as Chief Product and Technology Officer. Machinima is one of the world’s largest online video networks focused on the gamer lifestyle with recent investments from Warner Bros and Google. Reeves was directly responsible for managing the Machinima Partner Program that doubled in size and profitability during her tenure. Reeves also oversaw development of Machinima’s new digital distribution platform and its very successful Xbox launch.
Previously, Nanea was the Chief Product & Strategy Officer for Gaikai, the cloud gaming services platform Company specializing in the delivery of streamed video games. Gaikai was purchased in 2012 by Sony Computer Entertainment for $380MM to become part of the Playstation Network. Nanea was directly responsible for Gaikai’s product roadmap that included deployments to YouTube, Facebook and Wal-Mart as well as the overarching strategic direction of the company that helped to secure $30MM in Series C funding from Benchmark Capital, Intel Capital, NEA, Rustic Canyon, and Qualcomm Ventures.
Jim FowlerJim Fowler is a zoologist who is known for his work on “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” and presenting animals to audiences for over 40 years. He was a regular on Johnny Carson, the Today Show, received many awards and recognition from scientific institutions including the Lindbergh Award, National Wildlife Federation, the prestigous Explorer’s Club of which he became the Honorary President and then the Honorary Chairman.In 1957 he traveled to Africa and lived with a group of Kalahari Bushmen while he live trapped lions for a documentary film. He was then able to follow his passion by conducting the first studies in the wild jungles of the Amazon of the largest eagle in the world, a monkey eater called the Harpy Eagle. Following an appearance with his Harpy on the Today Show, Marlin Perkins asked him to bring his eagle and other animals to Chicago to do the first Wild Kingdom episode.In 1969 he conducted the first studies of the habits and movement of the Andean Condor in Peru, brought back a big male condor with which he lectured around the country.Jim‘s wife is a notable wildlife artist and his son Mark is a documentary film producer. His daughter, Carrie is a wildlife presenter and mother of 2.Among other things, Jim‘s passion is developing “Ecological Wildlife Parks” that compete with shopping malls for peoples time by combining Education and adventure to reconnect families and children with the world of nature.Jim says that he is just getting started!
Chris is Senior Vice President of Cisco’s Internet of Everything. This major growth initiative focuses on the next wave of connectivity that links objects, devices, and sensors over an intelligent network that estimated to have a $19T economic impact by 2020. Also General Manager for Cisco’s Industry leading Sports and Entertainment Solutions Group successfully working with premier sporting venues improving the fan experience and business for many of the leading venues globally including Real Madrid, Manchester City, Dallas Cowboys, Sydney Cricket Ground and more.
Chris has been with Cisco for 18 years. He previously served as Vice President of Global Sales for the Emerging Technologies, Cisco’s internal start-up unit, Worldwide Sales for Linksys consumer, Chief of Staff of the Cisco Globalization Center based in Bangalore, India, and the U.S. Western Area, where he earned Cisco’s Top Sales VP/GM award.
Prior to joining Cisco, he held executive roles at companies in the United States and Europe, including two successful start-ups.
White holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Kingston University. Currently he is on the advisory board of the Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine.
A passionate global change agent that believes in the power of diversity, teamwork, collaboration and the leverage of technology to impact and improve the way we work, live, play and learn. He lives in southern California with his wife Trish of 23 years, their daughter Elle 12 and son Alec 15.
On screen, Erin Gray redefined America’s public’s image of the ideal woman as Colonel Deering on the TV series “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century,” and “Silver Spoons”. Her career began as a supermodel working for Seventeen, Glamour & Sports Illustrated magazine, then went on to become the original L’Oreal “I’m Worth It! spokesperson. In the1990’s Erin founded Heroes for Hire, a personal appearance agency dedicated to matching celebrities to events where they can inspire, motivate and entertain. Erin brings her experience and talent to motivational speaking, presenting on behalf of Fortune 500 companies, the Los Angeles Police Department and Domestic Violence organizations, among others. As a passionate supporter of the Ancient Arts of Chi Kung and Tai Chi, Erin has been teaching for over twenty years in Los Angeles, and throughout the country. Erin is the recipient of eleven community service awards, and was the recipient of the 2002 Woman of the Year Award presented by the Los Angeles Commission for Women.
Kevin Surace has been at the forefront of technology and the environment for 30 years. Kevin is currently founder of several companies and CEO of Appvance, which helps improve the performance of websites and apps. Kevin also led Serious Energy for 9 years, driving energy saving technology into buildings. His company retrofit some 70,000 projects for improved comfort and energy savings including the Empire State Building (over 5,000 windows) and the NY Stock Exchange.
He has been featured in every major publication including BusinessWeek, Time, Fortune, Forbes and CNN as well as keynoted hundreds of gatherings from INC 5000 to TED to the halls of congress. He has been recognized by dozens of organizations for outstanding leadership including Entrepreneur of the Year by Inc. Magazine, listed as one of the top 15 innovators of this decade by CNBC, awarded Tech Pioneer by World Economic Forum – Davos, nominated as Innovator of the Year by PlanetForward and inducted into the Innovation Hall of Fame (RIT). Kevin was involved in the development of the first smart data phone (AirCommunicator), the first intelligent Voice User Interface (Portico), invented soundproof drywall, and has been awarded 24 US patents. He received his BS in Engineering Technology from Rochester Institute of Technology.
Charis E. Kubrin, Professor of Criminology, Law and Society at the University of California, Irvine researches and teaches about crime and justice. In addition to publishing five books and dozens of journal articles, she is a frequent media contributor whose writing has been featured in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Forbes, CNN.com, Seattle Post Intelligencer, OC Register, and American Banker.
She has received many awards including the Ruth Shonle Cavan Young Scholar Award from the American Society of Criminology, a national award given to recognize “outstanding scholarly contributions to the discipline of criminology.”
Alex is the senior vice president of strategic initiatives at Illumina, the world’s largest DNA sequencing company. His responsibilities include nation-scale population DNA sequencing projects and the development of software for new sequencing applications. Previously Alex led the team that built BaseSpace, a computing cloud system that processes, stores and interprets genomic data streaming up from Illumina sequencing instruments worldwide.
Previously Alex was CEO of Helixis, a molecular diagnostic startup he co-founded with Nobel Laureate David Baltimore; the company was acquired by Illumina in 2010. He was also the co-founder and CEO of Luxtera, a leading supercomputer chip company. Alex began his career in chip research at AT&T Bell Labs.
Alex has been awarded over 30 patents covering a range of inventions including the camera and fingerprint technologies widely used in smart phones. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Adelaide, Australia, and an MBA from Columbia University in New York.
Simone Reyes was the breakout star of Oxygen’s reality TV show “Running Russell Simmons” and became an overnight hero in the animal rights community. She has been entertainment mogul Russell Simmons right hand woman since high school and has often been affectionately referred to as the “Boss” by Simmons himself. Simone boldly shed her clothes for PETA’s “Rather Go Naked” demonstrations and Stray Cat Alliance and has used her voice in countless media outlets to speak out in support of animal liberation. She is a well known speaker on animal rights at events such as The Seed in NYC, WorldFest and the upcoming National Animal Rights Conference along side the founding leaders in the animal rights movement. Simone is a 20+ year vegan and has been a grassroots animal rights activist for most of her adult life. Recently PETA ‘s Animal Rahat Sanctuary in India was officially given a new name “Simone’s Place” in honor of Simone’s tireless dedication to the animal rights cause.
Last year she traveled to Taiji, Japan as a Sea Shepherd Cove Guardian to report on and document the atrocities of the dolphin drives. She shared her experiences there in various media outlets including HLN/Jane Velez Mitchell’s show. She, along with Russell Simmons penned an open letter to Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and President Obama urging them to consider attaching the plight of the dolphins who migrate through Japan to the passing of the Trans Pacific Partnership- this letter was signed by dozens of celebrities including Cher, Oliver Stone, Charlize Theron, Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon, Cameron Diaz, Reverend Jesse Jackson and countless others. She has also been honored by Mercy For Animals for the work she has done to put the plight of farm animals in the public’s consciousness. She has been has been featured in print and online at Star Magazine, OK magazine, Inked Magazine, Our Hen House, peta.com , Supreme Master TV , Veg News Magazine, Vegetarian Times and countless other publications/blogs and has appeared on television shows/movies including Extra, Entertainment Tonight, Dogs In The City, MTV News, Sky vs. Sky, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The L Word, The L Word Special, The Wendy Williams Show, and most recently Simone played herself on HBO’s”Enlightened”. She is a regular contributor to websites Global Grind, Hello Giggles and One Green Planet. Simone uses her voice to inspire, motivate, mobilize and guide people who care about the treatment of animals but don’t know where to begin to create real change for them. She lives in Los Angels with her senior rescued blind Japanese Chin, Hubbell Yoda who is her best friend
Eric Chen is a current freshman at Harvard College. He began performing research at the age of 15, and his work focuses on combining computer models and biological assays to speed up the discovery of new anti-influenza drugs. For this work he was honored as the grand prize winner of the Google Science Fair, the top individual winner of the Siemens Competition, a Davidson Fellow, and the Intel Science Talent Search 2014 first place winner. He is also a member of the US Physics Olympiad Team, one of the top twenty high school physics students in the US.
Eric also leads outreach efforts to get younger students interested and involved in the sciences through hands-on experience, and for his community service he has been honored as a Coca-Cola Scholar.
A.G. Kawamura is the former Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (2003-2010). He is co-chair of Solutions From the Land, a non-profit project that is facilitating sustainable collaborations for 21st century ag systems. He currently serves on several boards and committees including: The Ag Advisory Committee for the AGree Initiative, a national and global effort to address food and ag policy for the future; the Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources (BANR), a policy arm of the National Academy of Sciences’ Natural Resource Council; Ag Advisory Committee for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs; Trustee for the Council on Agriculture, Science and Technology (CAST); American Farmland Trust; The 25x’25 Alliance, a national alliance of renewable energy stakeholders. He is a former chair and current board member of Western Growers Association. He participates on the Southern CA Water Committee, CA Water ReUse Board and is a founding member of the Delta Vision Foundation.
As a progressive, 3rd generation conventional and certified organic farmer, AG has a lifetime of experience working within the shrinking rural and urban boundaries of So. Calif. He has worked collaboratively for over 30 years with local food banks toward the elimination of hunger in OC through pioneering urban ag strategies. Through their company, Orange County Produce, LLC, he and his brother Matt are engaged in building an exciting, interactive 21st century 100 acre agricultural showcase at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, CA.
At the age of four, Johnny Schillereff got his first skateboard and a lifetime passion was discovered. Escaping the turbulence and dysfunction of a troubled childhood, Johnny began to find solace in world of skateboarding and its subcultures. Ironically, the path that most people frowned upon and attempted to detour him from was the very path that saved him. The few things that kept him grounded were his passions for the outdoors, art, and the skateboard under his feet. In pursuit of these disparate passions Johnny merged this unlikely marriage of our urban culture and the natural environment – and Element was born.
Element was created out of a passion and an unwavering dedication to making a positive difference. The brand continues to grow while honoring its deepest roots of skateboarding and the lifestyle that surrounds it. From team riders and advocates to product, Element embodies the unbounded potential of creativity and imagination. Today Element, identified by the iconic tree logo Johnny created, is now sold in more than 100 countries and has developed into a lifestyle brand spanning skateboards, accessories and apparel for men and women. Johnny’s entrepreneurial spirit and vast achievements have made him an industry maverick and pioneer that continues to shine today.Photo credit: Pete Williams / Highsnobiety
Richard has dedicated himself to creating new paradigms in Public Speaking, Politics, and God
Public Speaking: Called “The Master of Charisma” by The Sunday Times, Richard quit his law practice to coach Presidents, Prime Ministers, Senators, Governors, CEOs, Royalty and celebrities in 44 countries. Author, “Words That Shook The World: 100 Years of Unforgettable Speeches and Events”, and “The 5 Communication Secrets”
Politics: Studied Political Science in The US and UK, ran for Congress in 1992, advises countless political leaders, hosted “Hollywood CLOUT”, a live “Hollywood Meets Politics” talk show on Air America Radio for 3 years, blogs for The Huffington Post, created the non-partisan, celebrity driven “Choose YOUR America” campaign and “The 2014 Midterm Election ‘Answer-Thon’” to increase political engagement in America.
“God”: Masters Program in Spiritual Psychology, hosted “The Whole Life Radio Network”, a live radio show on spirituality and authored “E=MC2 and The New Definition of God”, a children’s book.
Judy Estrin is CEO of JLABS, LLC (formerly known as Packet Design Management Company, LLC) and author of Closing the Innovation Gap, published in 2008. From January 2012 until March 2013 she also served as Executive Chairman of EventLive, Inc. and then as CEO from March 2013 until its acquisition by Yahoo in December 2013.
Prior to cofounding Packet Design, in May 2000, Estrin was chief technology officer for Cisco Systems. Beginning in 1981 Estrin cofounded three other successful technology companies: Bridge Communications, Network Computing Devices, and Precept Software. In 1998 Cisco Systems acquired Precept, and she became Cisco’s chief technology officer until April 2000.
Estrin has been named three times to Fortune Magazine’s list of 50 most powerful women in American business. She served on the boards of directors of The Walt Disney Company from 1998 until 2014, FedEx Corporation from 1989 through 2010, Sun Microsystems from 1995 through 2003 and Rockwell Corporation from 1994 through 1998. In addition, she sits on the advisory council of Stanford’s School of Engineering. She holds a B.S. degree in math and computer science from UCLA, and an M.S. in electrical engineering from Stanford University
Dan Miller is Managing Director of The Roda Group, a Berkeley venture capital group he co-founded that is focused on cleantech. Dan is a former board member of biofuel manufacturer Solazyme, and he was previously the president of Ask Jeeves, Inc., both former Roda Group affiliate companies. Dan co-founded TCSI corporation, which became a leading provider of telecommunications software. Before that, he designed communication satellite payloads at Hughes Aircraft (now Boeing) Space & Communications. He received his BS degree from Cornell and his MS from Stanford. Dan is a leading advocate on the need to take urgent action to address climate change.
Shira Lazar is the Host and Executive Producer of the Emmy nominated live interactive daily show show and 24/7 news hub, “What’s Trending”. She is also the Host and Creator of the talk show of YouTube, “Partners Project”, interviewing the biggest YouTube stars. Named one of Fast Company’s 2011 Most Influential Women in Technology and Huffington Post’s “Women in Tech to follow on Twitter” , Shira has been the face of the biggest live-streams on the web including, The Oscars and The Grammys among many others. Lazar is a Webby Awards Honoree and 2 time IAWTV Winner For Best Web Series Live Host.
A digital trailblazer, she speaks at conferences around the world, is a regular contributor on The Huffington Post and appears frequently on networks like Bloomberg TV, CNN and Fox News Channel discussing Internet culture and digital trends. You can read Shira’s weekly posts covering the intersection of business and social media on Entrepreneur.com.
Poet Ali is a unique artist, thinker, speaker and advocate for many causes. His work regularly incorporates a blend of musical and cultural elements and carries within it strong themes of self discovery, humanity, and inspiration. Poet’s voice and poetry make up one half of the i-tunes release: “A Shaman is Born…” whose single “Make a Wish” took first place in the Muhammad Ali Center’s international competition advocating the icon’s 6 principles of: Giving, Respect, Dedication, Conviction, Confidence, and Spirituality.
As a multi-lingual Rap Artist he has shared the stage with acts like: One Republic, Christina Milian, The Dream, Mos Def, Talib Kwali, Colbie Caillat, and Run D.M.C. He has toured global stages in Italy, Spain, the U.K., the Middle East, and the Caribbean.
As an actor, he co-starred in the foreign film, “I am Neda” (a short-film dedicated to Neda Agha Soltan, who quickly became the face of Iran’s green movement after being shot while protesting the 2009 Iranian elections). The film was shown at the Cannes Film Festival and Poet played the role of Neda’s brother.
Poet’s eclectic upbringing has led him down many roads creating career opportunities as: Dancer/choreographer, Contributing Writer, DJ, Percussionist, Actor, Teacher, Entrepreneur, Performer, and Motivational Speaker. As a motivational speaker he has been invited to share his talents at multiple national and international educational conferences including: the HOBY World Leadership Conference, Louisville celebration of Compassion, and the Rachel’s Challenge Annual Educational Summit.
Poet owns a Studio in Long Beach, California where he creates and regularly works with artists, producers, speakers, and writers in the greater Los Angeles Area. Currently, he is on tour reaching out to the youth through his music, empowerment and activism.
Find out more at: www.poetali.com, twitter.com/poetaliofficial, facebook.com/poetaliofficial.
Dr. Shamini Jain is a psychologist, scientist, and social entrepreneur. She is the Founder and Director of the Consciousness and Healing Initiative, a collaborative effort that links scientists, practitioners, entrepreneurs, and educators to facilitate healing through an understanding of consciousness and consciousness-based practices. Dr. Jain is also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UC San Diego, where she is also Chair of the Center for Integrative Medicine’s Research Committee.
Dr. Jain conducts research in integrative medicine and psychoneuroimmunology. Her published, NIH-funded research in biofield healing, a form of integrative medicine, has been featured in TIME magazine and CNN. Dr. Jain has received several awards from scientific organizations for her work. Dr. Jain obtained her B.A. in Neuroscience and Behavior from Columbia University, and her Ph.D. degree from the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology. She conducted her clinical residency at the La Jolla VA Hospital/UCSD, and her post-doctoral fellowship at UCLA’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control Research. Dr. Jain’s extramurally-funded research has included examining biofield-based approaches for cancer-related fatigue and PTSD, the development of systems-biology based models for understanding and tracking resilience, examining the effects of a comprehensive supportive care clinic on survival and quality of life in cancer patients, and the impact of gratitude on psychoneuroendocrine function in heart failure patients.
Richard is a physicist and Director of the Solar Decathlon the Department of Energy and enjoys working with young architects and engineers because he believes they have the most responsibility for the way energy is used. As individuals, all of us are responsible for the energy we use in and around our homes.
We all make personal choices. Do you walk, ride a bike, or drive a car? Do you purchase green power? Do you leave lights on? How about the airport or a community building? If energy is being wasted, who is responsible? Richard started a competition for universities called the Solar Decathlon. The challenge is to design houses of the future – sustainable homes powered by the sun. Thousands of students have given 2.4 million tours of innovative homes in the past few years, a great way to help reach a tipping point. But reaching that point depends on a world of choices.
Oliver Sicat is the CEO of Ednovate, a personalized learning charter management organization founded in partnership with USC that is redesigning the American High School experience.
Before relocating to Southern California, Oliver served as Chief Portfolio Officer within the Chicago Public Schools (CPS). As an executive cabinet member, he improved student achievement results for 403,000 students attending 675 schools.
Oliver has also been a successful teacher, non-profit founder and charter school principal. In 2006, Oliver was named Teacher of the Year in the Boston Public Schools, and his non-profit, Emagine, was nationally recognized for its work preparing first-generation college students for college. He moved to Chicago to build a school for the Noble Network of Charter Schools, and under his leadership, it became the #1 non-selective school in Chicago in 2011 and remains #1 today.
Oliver graduated from the University of Southern California and received his Masters degree from Harvard University.
Jenna Connolly was born and raised in southern California. She currently resides in Arizona where she is a Web programmer and creator of various mobile apps. In addition, she founded and manages Dyslexic Like Me, an organization that provides resources and information for dyslexic individuals.
Jenna Connolly’s primary passion is helping people with dyslexia. After struggling for years in school, Jenna was diagnosed with dyslexia. With this knowledge that she learned differently, she was able to develop a successful learning plan that ultimately led to her graduation from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Drawing from her personal challenges, Jenna founded Dyslexic Like Me, an organization that provides resources for dyslexic individuals and for people that want to learn more about dyslexia. Dyslexic Like Me provides information and links to tools, learning aids, and organizations that specialize in helping individuals with dyslexia.
Dyslexic Like Me is different from other dyslexic organizations because Jenna provides the unique perspective of experiencing dyslexia firsthand. Doctors and researchers can tell you about dyslexia, including the causes, the symptoms, and can provide suggested treatment, but rarely have they experienced dyslexia themselves. Experiencing the pain and frustration of learning differently from others creates an authentic and credible bond with those that share the same learning disability.
Her other interests include reading classic literature, volunteering for animal causes, swimming and surfing.
Rick Reiff is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, four-time Golden Mike winner and Emmy nominee.
He is co-host with Elizabeth Espinosa of “Studio SoCaL” on Los Angeles’ PBS flagship, PBS SoCaL. He previously produced and hosted the station’s “SoCaL Insider with Rick Reiff” for 10 seasons.
He is editor at large and former editor of the Orange County Business Journal and wrote its popular “OC Insider” column for 15 years.
He was a staff writer with Forbes magazine and a reporter at the Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal, where he was the lead reporter on a team that won a 1987 Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of Goodyear’s takeover battle.
“SoCaL Insider with Rick Reiff”won the Golden Mike for Best News Public Affairs Program in Southern California, Division B, in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Reiff is a Chicago native and graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
Ronald’s depth of education and experience expands across many philosophies and borders. He is currently on the teaching faculty of the ZfU International Business School in Zurich, Switzerland. For the last 30 years, Ronald has taught transformational workshops and served as an executive coach and mentor for business professionals and executive teams in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Working with companies, he helped individuals tap into their inherent potential, save time and energy, activated their creativity, and created new ways for solving problems. Earlier in his career, as a Fulbright Teaching Fellow, Ronald traveled to Indonesia and studied the mythic traditions of that culture. He then earned his Ph.D. in psychology, which served as a context for bringing together his interests in business, psychology, and cultural anthropology. Currently, he is the president of the 501(c)(3) non-profit, The Foundation for the Advancement of the Human Spirit, and continues his work of training, teaching and lecturing through his home office in Southern California. www.rwjue.com
Chumash ceremonial leader and Dolphin Dancer Mati Waiya, a lifelong resident of Ventura county, created the Wishtoyo Foundation and Chumash Discovery Village, a non-profit organization, in 1997.
Mati Waiya is a respected Spiritual Elder who believes that in the modern world we have a shared responsibility to ensure that our collective actions bring remedy to the ills of past and can provide healing, hope and a practical action for future generations by respecting and learning from ancestral knowledge.
Mr. Waiya addresses cultural resource laws protecting sensitive archaeological sites as well as endangered species and natural resources. He is involved with Chumash cultural preservation and educational programs teaching the Chumash values and environmental preservation. Waiya appears in full regalia to present programs for schools, public events, government functions and grassroots foundations; over the last two decades he has presented programs to thousands of school children, sharing his knowledge about Chumash sustainable life ways and environmental responsibility.
Mati Waiya is the first Native American to be named a Keeper in the international Waterkeeper Alliance. Wishtoyo’s Ventura Coastkeeper program is one of nearly 200 Keeper organizations that operate globally under the Waterkeeper Alliance, created and headed by Robert Kennedy, Jr.
Mr. Waiya’s belief is that education is the primary tool for a future healthy, sustainable environment, awakening a passion for our natural surroundings in young people today to be passed on for generations to come.
Tim is one of the country’s top athlete entrepreneurs and social innovators. Honored by the White House as a Champion For Change and named one of America’s Top 50 Philanthropists, Tim leverages his unique background as an Olympic Silver Medalist and Teach for America alum to impact lives across the country.
From elementary school in East Harlem, NY, Tim’s modest beginnings ingrained both a relentless work ethic and passion to catalyze social change. Tim is the founder of Fencing In The Schools, a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching life skills to students across America using the sport of fencing.
Tim has spoken at the United Nations, The White House and at countless Fortune 500 companies. He taught President Obama to fence on the White House lawn and he is an author, a Huffington Post blogger, an experienced television host, and he has executive produced numerous live and televised events.
Lisa T.D. Nguyen
Lisa graduated from a Bachelor of Law and Master of Laws from the University of Sydney. She has worked extensively on issues relating to refugee protection. From 2007 to 2009, she was the Executive Director of VOICE and worked on overseeing the resettlement of nearly 300 stateless Vietnamese in the Philippines to Canada. In 2010, Lisa founded and became the Executive Director of Senhoa Foundation, a non-profit social enterprise that supports vulnerable persons and survivors of human trafficking in Cambodia.
For her community service work, she was awarded the Order of Australia Association Medal for Community Services and Young Vietnamese Australian of the Year. She also received the Inspiration Awards 2012. Most recently, Lisa represented Senhoa as it received the Crystal of Hope Award before former President Bill Clinton, Sir Elton John, Hilary Swank and 40,000 people in a lavish ceremony in Vienna, Austria.
Outside of her work with Senhoa, Lisa is also an emcee for Asia Entertainment, Inc., and producer and host of her own television show called Life+Style on SBTN, available through DirecTV and Comcast.
David is an artist, designer and educator at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory with a passion to develop experiences that celebrate the wonders of science, technology and the human condition. David works in the areas of concept formulation, creative strategy, and art.
For the past six years David followed his dream job of leading NASA’s Imagine Mars Project where he challenged students to work with scientists and engineers to imagine and design a community on the planet Mars, then express their ideas through the arts. This challenge offered an almost endless series of open-ended problems that called forth skills of creativity, ingenuity and leadership (among many others).
David is a longtime promoter of education in the arts and through the arts and is currently a part of the Arts & STEM Collaborative for 21st Century Learning, working to promote the inclusion of the arts into science, technology, engineering, and math education.
In 1992 Sheron Wray visited New York from her native city of London and upon her return JazzXchange was born; a vision to reunite dance and music was its mission. After an introduction to Wynton Marsalis and collaboration with his septet in 2003, it became clear that to fully realize JazzXchange it would be necessary to bring it to America. After tours, sponsorships, residencies and successful collaborations, six years on Sheron joined UC Irvine’s dance faculty. Here she initiated The Ghana Project affirming the epic memory of Africa within jazz. In 2010 seventeen UCI students visited Ghana in West Africa, and in 2013 Sheron and five graduates came together to realize a new international vision of JazzXchange.