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    me Convention speakers

all speakers at a glance

Get to know the bright minds who will light up the stage at the upcoming me Convention in Stockholm.

A$AP Rocky is a cultural beacon that continues to move past the status quo and lead the pack by continuing to evolve, innovate and disrupt the industry. With several accolades under his belt including being the first black male to ever be named the face of Dior, having his sophomore studio album, At.Long.Last.A$AP go platinum at 1.4M units, a top 5 spot on opening weekend for his starring role in the critically-acclaimed and indie darling film Dope which grossed over $6M USD, and becoming a Creative Director for MTV and Viacom Velocity. Continuing to prove that he’s not just a rapper that follows the status quo, but a creative force to be reckoned with, Rocky has gone on to pursue other successful creative endeavors within the art and fashion, film/tv and lifestyle industries.

Originally from Jacksonville Beach, Florida, Adam Rice has been teaching Vinyasa flow yoga since 1999. A former Junior Olympic athlete, entrepreneur and adventurer, Adam discovered the power that yoga has to restore his balance and reconnect him with his inner strength, so that he could find the peace that was missing in his busy life. Set to powerful soundtracks, Adam's classes are challenging, dynamic, inspiring and FUN! In addition to his teaching, Adam has dedicated his life to helping others, and he believes strongly in sustainability in business for a better planet. He is the founder of Yoga Kids Uganda, a program to integrate yoga into trauma therapy programs for the child soldiers of the Ugandan civil war, and Travel with a Purpose, which takes yoga students to places like India to volunteer in orphanages. He is also the Founder and CEO of eTukTuk GmbH, which distributes the world’s first fully electric sustainable "tuk tuks", and is a Legacy Ambassador for Lululemon Athletica. He is a Senior Teacher at Spirit Yoga Berlin, and offers workshops and retreats around the world.

“The body is the temple of our souls. The physical practice of yoga creates the fire, the heat, that purifies the temple so that our souls have a safe, healthy place to live.”

EU and international Environmental Advisor, Alessandra Fidanza has a background as Architect and Urban Planner, specialized in environmental affairs, with a major focus on climate change and environmental assessment (EIA/SEA), sustainable housing and urban planning. She was member of the UN-Habitat Panel of international experts who worked on the elaboration of the New Urban Agenda, presented in Quito during the HabitatIII Conference in 2016. Currently, she is working as senior Advisor on International Cooperation (Central Asia, Eastern Europe and the Balcans) and multilateral institutions, including banks and finance, and technology transfer. She took part in the past to the activities of UN-ECE Housing Land Management (HLM) in Geneva, and she was the Italian Member of the ECE Expert Network for Energy Efficiency of the UNECE HLM. She practiced as a free-lance architect and planner for more than 12 years, working on physical urban plans and environmental assessments. Former lecturer at the Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning of the Universities of Berlin (Technische Universität) and Rome (La Sapienza), she is a full member of the Italian Institute of Urban Planning (INU), where she founded and led from 2003 to 2013 the Italian National Group on Environmental Assessment, and coordinated (2006-2009) INU's proposal of amendment of the Italian Code of Environment. She is often invited to take part, as speaker, to scientific and cultural events on environmental issues.

Alexander Schlaubitz took up his role as Vice President Marketing at Lufthansa Passenger Airlines in Frankfurt in January 2013. In this position, he is responsible for the airline’s entire marketing activities. Besides advertising and brand management, this includes direct marketing, all digital marketing activities and the publication of the LH Magazines. During his tenure, he has created multiple award winning creative campaigns. Prior to that, Alexander worked at Facebook as Regional Director of the Creative Shop for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). After graduating in business studies from the University of Missouri, USA, Alexander gained his first, professional experience at a number of advertising agencies in the US. In 2001, he became managing director of Leo Burnett in Prague and in 2003 managing director of Change Communications (part of the LOWE group). Three years later, Alexander became marketing director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Intel Corporation in Munich, before moving to the same position at Facebook in 2011.


Alexis Rask brings her 15 years of hands-on experience in business leadership to her coaching, consulting, and advising practice. She works with the three layers that impact company success: CEO, executive team, and broader organizational leaders and managers. Her 1:1 coaching encompasses a mix of executive coaching, communications coaching, storytelling, presence in leadership, adapting to change, and methods for having critical conversations. She works with leadership teams on establishing cultural excellence, devising authentic positioning, and growth strategy. Prior to working with Evolution, Alexis has spent her career as an executive in technology and media organizations between NYC and Silicon Valley – developing teams, building and selling product. While at Google in NYC, she got bit by the entrepreneurial bug and left to join LinkedIn when they were just about 50 engineers and product experts figuring out how to scale. There her role was to found the business unit now known as Marketing Solutions and to launch the team out of NYC. Following that she's worked at several other startups building and scaling monetization models and establishing domestic and international footprints. Today, she advises the CEOs of fast-growth startups such as Percolate, Operator, and ChargeHound. Named to Silicon Valley Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 in 2013, she's gotten to experience the highs and lows of running a business and learn key lessons about what can make or break a company's success. Her approach is refined from personal experience in the C-Suite and from training and in practicum at UC Berkeley's Executive Coaching Institute and the world renowned teachings of Professor Mark Rittenberg. She also holds a Bachelor’s of Science from NYU’s Stern School of Business.

Asking major questions, and the right questions, about technology and its social implications is what digital innovation strategist Alissia Iljaitsch helps her clients do. A co-founder of IQ Gemini and an expert in the fields of virtual reality and digital innovation, she draws on scientific findings from the fields of anthropology, behavioral psychology and cognitive research. And she applies analogous insights to the present and future. How do we make the best use of our creative potential in a digital world? Alissia Iljaitsch will explain.

IQ Gemini
“Roll up your sleeves and start innovating.”

Ambarish Mitra grew up in humble conditions in India. These days he’s running a start-up with more than 300 employees and a company that qualifies him as a unicorn (a valuation of over $1 billion). Ambarish is the CEO and co-founder of Blippar, a disruptive technology company that aims to create the ultimate augmented reality browser by recognizing everything in the physical world. He was named UK Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young (2016), a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum (2017), and surely has been called Slum Dog Millionaire before.

"AI will teach us more about humanity than humans.“

Amber Mac is an internationally-known technology reporter, entrepreneur, and social media personality. She started her career at Razorfish in San Francisco during the dot-com boom and has since been at the forefront of reporting on and participating in digital innovation. Her broadcast roles range from hosting innovation programs on networks such as Bloomberg, TechTV, and SiriusXM. She is also a frequent contributor to Fast Company. She has written a bestselling business book on digital marketing (2010) and most recently wrote an Internet security book (2016). Amber runs her own content marketing company, AmberMac Media, with clients such as Shopify, Intel, and Nintendo. “With few equals,” writes YouTube co-founder Steve Chen, “Amber continues to demonstrate a keen insight towards the continually evolving fabric of the social web.”

AmberMac Media
"In today's digital economy, relentless adaptation is the only winning strategy."

Amber Valletta is one of the original supermodels, sweeping in and taking over in the mid-nineties alongside Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Cindy Crawford and Shalom Harlow. Her 28-year tenure as a fashion icon has also expanded beyond fashion into acting and activism. Amber has graced the covers of countless publications shot by the best photographers in the industry. Most recently, she starred in L’Oréal’s Skin Expert campaign as well as campaigns for Theory, John Galliano, Oliver Peoples, Mango and The Outnet. Amber also found success as an actress and has transitioned seamlessly between modeling and acting over the last 15 years. Her screen credits include a starring role in “Hitch”, “What Lies Beneath”, and “The Spy Next Door”, along with television roles on ABC’s hit show, “Revenge” and TNT’s “Legends”. A Midwestern girl through and through, Amber says she's at her happiest when in nature and has worked hard to protect it. Activism runs in her blood: her mother was once arrested during a protest against a nuclear power plant – and it shows. She co-founded A Squared Films, whose first project, Driving Fashion Forward, featured a series of documentary shorts on the subject of fashion and sustainability. She is also a current ambassador for the Sierra Club, an environmental conservation effort to protect wildlife and curb climate change. Finally, her passion led to the launch of Master & Muse. In partnership with Yoox.com, Master & Muse by Amber Valletta is the premiere online store, offering stylish, cutting-edge fashion, created and produced by some of the most socially responsible designers working today.

Master & Muse
“There is no time like the present to create a future where we all co-exist on a more healthy and peaceful planet.”

Amy leads Instagram Brand Development for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In her role, she works closely with marketeers across brands, agencies and other organizations to help inspire and advise on their Instagram strategies, helping them deliver against their business and campaign objectives. Amy was the 6th member of the Instagram team. During her time at Instagram, Amy has held the role of Head of Business Operations, helping to develop and launch Instagram's advertising platform and has led Market Operations for Instagram's international business expansion. Before working at Instagram, Amy worked at Chrysler in both Product Engineering and Aerodynamic Development, and Business Development at Sephora. She holds a Masters in Engineering from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business. A self-professed health nut, Amy loves all things outdoors (running, hiking, biking) and has, in the past, competed in drag racing, autocross and road racing.


Amy Vernetti is the Director of Leadership Recruiting for the Moonshots at Google. She works closely with the start-up companies at the X Lab including Driverless Vehicles, Balloon Powered Internet, Robotics, Drones and Precision Health Care. Her job is to recruit CEOs and direct reports for the Moonshots as they transition from the Lab into stand-alone entities. Vernetti was previously a Partner in the San Francisco office of True Search, a boutique search firm focusing on investor led companies. She recruited CEOs and direct reports in Digital Media, Software, Clean Technology and Retail and primarily worked with private equity backed and publicly traded companies. Prior to True, Vernetti spent eight years as a Managing Director at Taylor Winfield where she launched the Renewables practice and conducted searches in solar, wind, biofuels and clean engine technology. During 2012, Vernetti joined a team from Apple Retail in the infamous turnaround attempt at JC Penney. Early in her career, Amy pioneered a portfolio approach to Human Capital as employee #20 at Garage.com. Her “War for Talent” keynote address was the basis for the Human Capital section of Guy Kawasaki’s 2005 book The Art of the Start. Vernetti is also an advocate for urban education reform.


Andrea Kahlenberg has been working in "Systemic Change and Leadership" for almost 18 years. Already at the age of 27 she managed large reconstruction projects in Kosovo in the area of humanitarian aid with responsibility for 70 employees. She worked amongst others for Care International, Ford and Mazda and held various leadership positions in the business and HR at RWE (now Innogy) during the last 11 years. She is a trained business coach and systemic consultant with a focus on team and organizational development. During the last 5 years, she and her team developed various interventions and programs for the RWE Board and the Top Management to facilitate RWE/Innogy’s transformation from a large steamer to a speed boat. Recently, she founded the LRN LAB with a focus on digital transformation and the design of agile organizations, for which Andrea is developing interventions and new consulting formats. In addition, the LAB is continuously engaged in many projects on future research aiming to create new learning formats.

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer

Andrew Keen is one of the world’s best known and controversial commentators on the digital revolution. He is the author of three books: Cult of the Amateur, Digital Vertigo and his current international hit The Internet Is Not The Answer which the London Sunday Times acclaimed as a "powerful, frightening read" and the Washington Post called "an enormously useful primer for those of us concerned that online life isn't as shiny as our digital avatars would like us to believe". He is executive director of the Silicon Valley innovation salon FutureCast and a much acclaimed public speaker around the world. In 2015, he was named by GQ magazine in their list of the "100 Most Connected Men”. His next book, How To Fix The Future, will be published worldwide in February 2018.

“Life is but a motion.”

From child prodigy to MBE, Anne-Marie Imafidon is Head Stemette and co-founder of Stemettes, the award-winning social enterprise inspiring the next generation of females into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) roles via a series of prestigious events and opportunities. One of the youngest ever to be awarded a Masters’ degree in Mathematics & Computer Science by the University of Oxford, aged 20, Anne-Marie, unsurprisingly, continued to soar. She was the UK IT Industry & British Computer Society’s Young IT Professional of the Year in 2013, Red Magazine’s ‘Woman to Watch’ 2014, won a Points of Light award from the UK Prime Minister in October 2014 and was named the 8th Most Influential woman in IT in 2016. Also, she has just been named one of the 50 most inspiring women in Europe by Inspiring Fifty. And in recognition of her influence and achievements, Anne-Marie was awarded an MBE in the 2017 New Year’s Honours for services to young women and STEM sectors. As of June 2017, she is now Honorary Fellow at Keble College, Oxford.


Ari is a professional commercializer, international brand builder and marketer, startup company growth advisor, generalist on nanotechnology, Open Innovation, Blue Ocean Strategy, science & technology parks, and high-tech ecosystems. He started on the largest innovation hub campus of Northern Europe, in Otaniemi, Espoo Innovation Garden 14 years ago at the Center of Expertise for micro- and nanotechnologies, worked at Technopolis Ventures incubator, since 2008 as the CEO of Otaniemi Marketing, which merged with Espoo Marketing in 2015 – and now he is the CIO, Chief Innovation Evangelist promoting this area globally. Ari has managed to create a very large network around the world of over 500 CEO’s and other business leaders. Ari is actively engaged in the activities of the cooperation partner Japan Innovation Network JIN, the Technology Councils of North America TECNA and he is in the Innovation Advisory Board for the Central Eastern Europe.

Espoo Innovation Garden
“In everything I do, I want to be part of the solution, not the problem – and I always try and find positive solutions to any problems.”

Since 2008, Arnd Layer is the Competency Leade Social Collaboration in the technical sales team of the IBM Collaboration & Talent Solutions (former IBM Lotus) in the DACH region. In this position, he is consulting clients pondering the adoption of collaboration solutions. Before this, he covered other roles in IBM Lotus technical sales. Before and after IBM’s acquisition of PwC Consulting in 2003, he worked as an IT consultant in large projects. Starting in 1994, he gained IT experience both as service provider and internal IT. Arnd Layer is a Diplom-Ingenieur (BA) in telecommunication engineering - Baden- Württemberg Cooperative State University Stuttgart, 1993. Between 2006 and 2008, Arnd Layer served as a member of the DIN Standards Committee for document formats, NIA34.


Having visited 30+ countries and eaten guinea pig among other treats, Arthur Nobel is all about discovering the unknown. A natural risk-taker, he pushes his boundaries with snowboarding, wakeboarding, and surfing. Arthur didn’t like any job, so he created his own. With Flexpat he aims to change lives by enabling ever more people to work remotely and explore the world, without risk. Previously, Arthur has worked in several VCs, advised a range of startups, as well as did sales for Rocket Internet.

“Enable a world where freedom equals security.”

Arthur Sadoun, 46, is Chairman & CEO of Publicis Groupe, the world's 3rd largest communications group with over 80,000 employees in more than 100 countries. He began his career at 21 after graduating from the European Business School, when he founded his own advertising agency in Chili and later sold to BBDO/ Chili. After completing an MBA at INSEAD in 1997 he joined the TBWA network (Omnicom Group). Appointed Executive Officer of TBWA/Paris in 2000, he became CEO in 2003. In 2006, he was named CEO of Publicis Conseil, the flagship agency of Publicis. He became CEO of the network Publicis France in 2009, then Managing Director (2011) and CEO (2013) of the global network Publicis Worldwide. In 2015 he became CEO of Publicis Communications, Publicis Groupe’s creative hub composed of Leo Burnett, Saatchi & Saatchi, Publicis Worldwide, BBH, MSLGROUP and Prodigious, counting nearly 30,000 employees. On June 1, 2017, Arthur Sadoun succeeded Maurice Lévy as Chairman & CEO of Publicis Groupe, making him the 3rd leader after the founder Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet and Maurice Lévy, who is now Chairman of the Supervisory Board.

Publicis Groupe
“Climb higher” - Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet

Arto V. Nurmikko, a native of Finland, is a L. Herbert Ballou University Professor of Engineering and Physics at Brown. He received his degrees from University of California, Berkeley, with postdoctoral stays at MIT and Hebrew University. Professor Nurmikko conducts research in neuroengineering, brain sciences, nanophotonics and microelectronics, especially for the translation of device research to new technologies in biomedical, life science, and photonics applications. His current interests include development of implantable wireless neural interfaces, nanoscale neural circuit sensors, compact red/green/blue semiconductor lasers, and high resolution acoustic microscopy. Nurmikko has published in several fields (about 400 articles), led many multi-institutional research teams, advised government agencies, universities, and industry, while lecturing worldwide. Professor Nurmikko is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and Fellow of the Optical Society of America. He has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and shared the Brain Prize (in Israel 2013). Nurmikko has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and to the Academy of Letters and Science of Finland.

Brown University
"Why did evolution develop the brain of homo sapiens to build the Ziggurat of Ur, the libraries of Timbuktu, discover black holes – and the internet?"

Bas van de Poel is Head of Playful Research at SPACE10. His work is driven by a deep nostalgia for the future and he knows for a fact that we are living in a simulation. Before joining SPACE10, Bas worked for a wild range of creative studios and clients including Google, Facebook, Nike, Patta, Dekmantel Festival, Anomaly Amsterdam and Wieden+Kennedy London.

"AI is as prejudiced as the people that develop it and the data that’s fed into it.”

Named by WIRED Magazine as one of "12 folk changing the world in 2017" singer-songwriter Beatie Wolfe is at the forefront of pioneering new formats for music, which reunite tangibility, storytelling & ceremony to the album in this digital age. In this vein, Wolfe has created a series of world’s-first designs that bridge the tangible and digital, which include: a 3D vinyl for the iPhone; an intelligent album deck of cards; a Musical Jacket - designed by the tailor who dressed Bowie, Jagger and Hendrix and cut from fabric woven with Wolfe’s music - and most recently the world's first live 360 ̊ AR album stream, broadcast from the quietest room on earth. Beatie Wolfe is the definition of a 21st century artist and perhaps the only musician to have her album's art exhibited in London's V&A Museum, address the VPs of Apple on innovation, and have the American Alzheimer's Association adopt the findings from her Power of Music & Dementia study. Forbes calls Wolfe "an Artist with a capital A", mixing music with art, technology, science and taking it to entirely new dimensions.

"As for my one piece of advice...I'd like to share a Swabian saying my father always quoted, that is: "The eye of the farmer fattens the pig" which means that if it's your baby, your pig, even the act of overseeing will ensure it's growth. No one can watch your pig like you!"

Bettina Korek founded ForYourArt in 2006 as an experiment in creative enterprise. Generative and horizontal, the organization supports artists beyond conventional commercial and institutional frameworks. Guided by tenets of generosity and adaptability, ForYourArt facilitates collaborations that encourage participation.


Britt Wray is a science storyteller working in podcasting, interactive documentary, and writing. She is co-host of the BBC podcast Tomorrow’s World, which explores the future of science and technology. She is currently completing a PhD at the University of Copenhagen, where she has been studying science communication with a focus on synthetic biology. Wray is the creator of a forthcoming interactive documentary series produced by the National Film Board of Canada about personal genomics and gene editing, and is the creator of the interactive audio archive www.aurator.org which features experts' audio diaries about synthetic biology. Wray’s first book, called Rise of the Necrofauna: The Science, Ethics and Risks of De-Extinction is about a new scientific movement that aims to bring extinct species "back to life” as well as help endangered species on the brink (published in October 2017 by Greystone Books in partnership with the David Suzuki Institute). The foreword is written by Dr. George Church, Professor at Harvard University and MIT, who is using gene-editing techniques to create woolly mammoth-elephant hybrids in his lab. Wray's narrative productions have been broadcast on several radio shows for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (Ideas, Spark, Radio 3) and New York Public Radio (Studio 360) as well as the Radiotopia network's Love and Radio. She has been a Visiting Scholar at the NYU Arthur L. Carter Institute for Journalism.

"Socially responsible technology isn’t just ethical technology, it is technology living up to its most fascinating potential."

Brock Pierce is a venture capitalist and entrepreneur with an extensive track record of founding, advising and investing in disruptive businesses. His level of domain knowledge and deep connections in gaming, Blockchain technology and the digital currency space are unparalleled. Mr. Pierce pioneered the market for digital currency in games and has raised more than $200 million for companies he founded. He is the Chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation and Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Blockchain Capital. Blockchain Capital is the first sector-focused venture fund that invests solely in Blockchain technology companies and the Bitcoin ecosystem. The firm has made more than 70 investments in the sector. Blockchain Capital was recently named the most active FinTech Venture Fund by Pitchbook.

Bryan is a Designer and Design Justice Advocate. He is the Founder and Director of Colloqate Design, a nonprofit multidisciplinary design practice dedicated to expanding community access to design and creating spaces of racial, social and cultural equity. Lee most recently served as the Place + Civic Design Director for the Arts Council of New Orleans and prior to that at the 2014 AIA National Firm of the Year, Eskew+Dumez+Ripple (Architecture) in New Orleans. Bryan is the founding organizer of the Design Justice Platform and organized the Design As Protest National day of Action. Additionally, he has led two award winning architecture + design programs for high school students through the Arts Council (local) and the National Organization of Minority Architects (national), respectively. He serves on several boards; most notably as the Design Education Chair National NOMA board and on the National AIA Equity + the Future of Architecture Committee. He was selected as the 2014 NOMA member of the year, 2015 Next City Vanguard Fellow, 2015 International British American Project Fellow. In 2016, Bryan was selected to give a TED Talk and to Keynote at SXSW Eco on Design Justice.

Colloqate Design

On July 20, 1969, Dr. Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong secured their place in history with their Apollo 11 moonwalk, becoming the first two humans to set foot on another world. An estimated 600 million people watched the Apollo 11 landing live on television, for many years a world record. Dr. Buzz Aldrin received his Doctorate in Astronautics from MIT in 1963. He was the first astronaut with a doctorate. The docking and rendezvous techniques he devised for spacecraft became critical to the success of the Gemini and Apollo programs and he pioneered underwater training techniques to simulate spacewalking. His ShareSpace Foundation is focused on STEAM Education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) and in 2015 he launched the Buzz Aldrin Space Institute at Florida Tech to develop his vision of a permanent human settlement on Mars. He has kept at the forefront of developing future technologies and in March of this year released the “Cycling Pathways to Mars” VR experience in partnership and developed by 8i on the TIME LIFE VR App. Since retiring from NASA, Dr. Aldrin calls himself a Global Statesman for Space and has remained a tireless advocate for space exploration. At me Convention he will speak about NEW REALITIES.

„Let's be certain that we've developed a sustainable plan to stay on Mars. No flags and footprints this time.“

As a grandson of farmers in Brazil, Caio Bacci combined his passion for technology and entrepreneurship with his family origins by working as business developer to build Agrosmart, the leading digital agriculture platform for developing countries under tropical agronomic conditions. The company monitors crops to generate data-driven recommendations, allowing farmers and other stakeholders within the agriculture value chain to improve food production. Caio is a global ambassador of Thought for Food, a movement that brings together bold and breakthrough solutions to tackle the world's food and agriculture challenges. Along with Agrosmart he has been pioneering the Digital Agriculture movement in Latin America to create a more sustainable and climate-resilient farming.

"Exploration is finding the things we love and relentlessly pursuing them. Living a passionate and meaningful life is about exploring constantly.”

Carolyn specializes in creating content for live events that aims at fostering collaboration to address our world's most complex challenges. Throughout her career, she has brought together leaders in industry, government, media and the not-for-profit world and helped organizations of all sizes activate events to achieve their goals. Highlights include collaborations with Bloomberg, SXSW, The White House under President Obama, The State Department, IDEO, MIT, Google, HBO, ESPN, Adobe and Canon. She is also a seasoned relationship practitioner with over 15 years of experience in the field. Her ideal projects help groups achieve their financial goals while creating a positive social and environmental impact.

"YLYL: You live your life"

Chelsey Korus’ teaching and movement philosophy comes from her passion for life and the inspiration she finds from nature. 17 years of learning and teaching around the world has led her to design AWAKE with Chelsey Korus — a “total package lifestyle” around SOUL, SPIRIT & ENVIRONMENT — in hopes of helping others become more aware and present in their own lives. Over the course of her career Chelsey has been featured on PopSugar, the Kelly and Michael Show, Elle Magazine, Prevention Magazine, Fitness Magazine, Shape Magazine, Women’s Health, Yoga Journal, GNC’s “Respect Yourself” campaign and YogaGlo. Her current partnerships with Wanderlust, Adidas and Stella McCartney are helping garner more attention toward Chelsey’s AWAKE philosophy.

“Rumi said, ‘The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep.’ The concept of AWAKE is a driving force in my life. These are the practices I’ve designed to help people awaken to their moment, to have tools so they can step into their wholeness.”

Christian “Mio” Loclair is an internationally renowned artist who has made it his mission to break down established ways of thinking. He is a breakdancer who can program code; a programmer who choreographs plays. Loclair virtuously combines information technology and dance to create a surreal duet between man and machine. His choreographies center around the collision of digital aesthetics with the natural, harmonious beauty of human movement, allowing his audiences to witness the creation of a new human identity. Loclair’s stage performance at the me Convention will be based on the topic of NEW CREATION.

Waltz Binaire
"The clash of human needs and mathematical precision is a contemporary reflection of our society."

Christine Gould is the Founder & CEO of the Thought for Food (TFF) Foundation, the world's leading next generation innovation and collaboration platform for food and nutrition security. TFF disrupts the standard innovation and investment framework by incentivizing and funding next generation ideas that are built around values such as radical openness, collaboration and benefits-sharing to achieve maximum impact. To date, TFF has worked with over 8,000 young innovators in 130+ countries, helping to launch startups in areas like synthetic biology, vertical farming, precision agriculture, logistics, new foods and appropriate tech for smallholders. The annual TFF Global Summit brings together interdisciplinary leaders to explore and create ‘what’s next’ in food and agriculture, mashing-up up approaches from science, arts and entrepreneurship. Christine holds a Masters in Science and Technology Policy from Columbia University. She sits on the Boards of Young Professionals in Ag Development and the Association for Vertical Farming, and was selected as a Founding Member of the Ashoka League of Intrapreneurs.

Thought For Food
"If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten!"

Dr. Christoph Birkholz is an entrepreneur based in Zurich, Switzerland. He is co-founder and managing director of Impact Hub Zürich as well as Inyova.com. He has co-founded several spinoffs and initiatives in the Impact Hub network, such as Viaduct Ventures and the Global Impact Hub Fellowship. Christoph also leads Kickstart Accelerator, Europe’s largest multi-corporate tech accelerator by digitalswitzerland and operated by Impact Hub Zürich. He has received a PhD in impact investing from University of St.Gallen, and teaches entrepreneurship, innovation and intrapreneurship at University of St.Gallen, Business School Lausanne and adschool Zürich. He is an alumnus of Witten/Herdecke University and INSEAD, as well as the Global Shapers Community of the World Economic Forum. He is a member of the Sandbox Network and one of the 100 Digital Shapers of Switzerland. Christoph serves on the board of Panter AG, an international technology and engineering company.

Impact Hub Zürich

Christoph Bornschein is one of the founders and Managing Directors of the agency for digital business Torben, Lucie und die gelbe Gefahr, which he co-founded with two business partners in 2008. A native of Berlin, he advises international companies and brands on the strategic use of digital technologies. State agencies and NGOs also seek out Bornschein and the team for their expertise in dealing with digital change. He is the author of numerous technical papers and a sought-after conference and convention speaker. He moreover assists international start-ups in the role of mentor and investor. Before launching TLGG Christoph Bornschein spent two years in online marketing management with Frogster Interactive Pictures AG. He has co-founded various start-ups and lent his support in the area of sales, marketing and PR. Prior to all that, he had time to study law.

"The key to understanding the future: immediacy and overload. You need to immerse yourself in the simultaneity of everything to discover interdependencies and correlations. Observe, filter, evaluate. Reflect, connect, share. Be timely and precise. Therefore please understand that I can not send you my presentation two weeks in advance."

Clare leads the global expansion of what3words, which is the world's first addressing system designed for voice – every 3m x 3m square in the world has been assigned an address made of just three words from the dictionary. These 3 word addresses can be used to route cars or drones, used as an address when ordering online, or simply given as a meeting point for a picnic in the park. what3words is used in 170 countries and is being adopted by governments all around the world as an official addressing system. Its investors include Intel Capital, Aramex and Deutsche Bahn. Clare’s background is in the development and growth of social enterprises, including in impact investing. She is interested in how innovative business models can tackle social and environmental challenges, and sits on the board of various UK social enterprises. She studied for an undergraduate degree in English, with her graduate degree in the Geography Department at the University of Cambridge. Clare also volunteers with the Streetlink project, doing health outreach work with street-based sex workers in London.


Every four months, readers of Colin Wright’s blog “Exile Lifestyle” can vote on where he should travel to next. Wright is a full-time traveler, a globetrotter, a digital nomad. Always at his side: his trusty notebook and his iPhone. During his eight years on the road, he has written around 30 books and created a blog that is now read by over two million people a year. He hosts the weekly podcast “Let’s Know Things” and co-founded the publishing company Asymmetrical Press. Before this, and up until 2009, he headed a brand agency in Los Angeles. Commenting on this period of his life he says: “It’s remarkable to me how good I was at convincing myself that professional success was equal to happiness, and how long I believed it.” At 32 years of age, Colin Wright is member of Generation Y and, as such, a so-called millennial.

“My MacBook doesn’t define me. But it helps me do the things that do define me better. In this way, stuff can be wonderful — we just have to make sure we’re acquiring the right stuff.”

Cristina started her architectural trajectory at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture with the CCTV-TVCC buildings in Beijing, China, worked closely with Rem Koolhaas at the concept for his private house in La Maddalena, Italy, and concluded her experience at the office as project manager in the Sant’Elia social neighborhood re-qualification in Cagliari, Italy. In 2009 Cristina co-founded XCOOP, a think tank that through its flexible and permeable approach, analysis contemporary living and provides creative solutions within a wide range of disciplines. Through XCOOP, Cristina moved deeper into the understanding of dynamics between social circumstances and the built environment. More specifically, the appetite for bettering living conditions is challenging Cristina and XCOOP to generate an Urban Toolbox, which intends to monitor the development of projects to ensure that each and every being involved fulfills his/her expectations. After holding the Hyde Chair of Excellence at the UNLincoln, College of Architecture where she was responsible for a third year Master Program Studio, a second Undergrad Program Studio and a Seminar investigating Rural Communities in the United States, Cristina became Assistant Professor at UofA during the Spring Semester 2017. Currently, Cristina is Tenure-Track / Assistant Professor at Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD where she co-teaches Third Year Master Studio developing a project on circular economy and refugees in collaboration with Baltimore-Rotterdam sister cities. The Studio's outcome will be presented at the IABR (International Architecture Biennial Rotterdam) 2018. Her on-going research at Morgan is on Designing the Countryside and the dichotomy Rural-Urban.

"The world divides into good and bad. The good ones sleep better, but the wicked, awake, have a lot more fun" - Woody Allen

Céline Semaan Vernon is a Lebanese-Canadian designer, activist, teacher and entrepreneur. Two common themes can be found across her diverse work: the power of remixing, collage and juxtaposition in creating new aesthetics and narratives; and the need to humanize and embed our current world with a deep sense of empathy. She founded Slow Factory out of her design consultancy, and it has grown to be world-renowned for high quality silks printed with satellite images from NASA. This physical juxtaposition of old-world luxury with new technology and space exploration delivers a message of meaning and activism, where each collection tells a greater story about human rights and environmental awareness, supporting the work of a partner NGO. Her work with Slow Factory is sold at the MoMA Design Store, Smithsonian CooperHewitt National Design Museum, and the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum among other stores. Her collections have supported the work of the World Wildlife Fund, Unicef and ANERA. Previously Céline has worked as a user experience designer for HUGE inc., General Assembly and Condé Nast among others, and is currently a Director’s Fellow of the MIT Media Lab. She was born in Beirut, grew up in Montreal, studied in Paris and Montreal and is now based in Brooklyn, New York where she runs her studio and company. Her background is in art, tech and information design, and her work is focused on responsible Design, human rights and open data.

Slow Factory
"I believe that fashion creates movement and meaning, and meaning creates action."

Daniel Friis works as a Strategic Technologist at SPACE10, and thrives on all things digital. He has a background in Finance and Accounting, but taught himself to code in order to build startups in the tech-space. Now, he oversees the lab “Do You Speak Human?”, which explores natural interfaces and AI, and prototypes future applications that could positively influence how we interact with our technology and each other.


Danny Shapiro is Senior Director of Automotive at NVIDIA, focusing on artificial intelligence (AI) solutions self-driving cars, trucks and shuttles. The NVIDIA automotive team is engaged with over 225 car and truck makers, tier 1 suppliers, HD mapping companies, sensor companies and startup companies that are all using the company's DRIVE PX hardware and software platform for autonomous vehicle development and deployment. Shapiro serves on the advisory boards of the Los Angeles Auto Show, the Connected Car Council and the NVIDIA Foundation, which focuses on computational solutions for cancer research. He holds a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering and computer science from Princeton University and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. Shapiro lives in Northern California where his home solar system charges his electric, AI self-driving car.


As a Partner and Lead Curator of the Summit Community, David is responsible for seeking out the top business innovators and movement builders throughout the world. David is a company culture maven that curates products and experiences both for the team and attendees at all Summit Events. Summit was initially created as a business conference for entrepreneurs and innovative thinkers across industries to come together to collaborate, throughout the course of a weekend filled with immersive experiences. Over the past nine years, Summit has grown into a global community of thought leaders, as well as a real estate development in Utah; convening around a shared ethos and values. Summit brings a collaborative and interactive form of hospitality to each event it creates, whereby each environment is intentionally designed to challenge attendees – both intellectually and physically. Through a range of programming disciplines, heightened conversations spur a sense of purpose and desire to drive social change. Summit builds communities and places that catalyze entrepreneurship, artistic achievement, and global issues in an effort to make our world a more joyful place.

Summit Powder Mountain
"Make no small plans." - Daniel Burnham

David Silver leads the Self-Driving Car Team at Udacity, where he teaches a nine-month program that trains engineers to work on autonomous vehicles. Prior to Udacity, David was a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company. Before Ford, David worked in engineering and product roles at Candidate Metrics, mSpot, and AOL. He has an MBA from Stanford University, and a BSE in computer science from Princeton University.

"Self-driving cars will change the world in ways we can't even imagine."

Debarun Guha Thakurta is a technology researcher at Frost & Sullivan. He has done his MBA in Information and Systems Management from Jadavpur University and also holds a Bachelor of Technology degree in Computer Science and Engineering from West Bengal University of Technology. An avid technology enthusiast and a high tech consultant, Debarun continually tracks tech development trends, with a foresight to identify strategic opportunities and critical success factors required to achieve growth.

Frost & Sullivan
"When creativity precedes technology, innovation follows."

Dr. Dieter Zetsche has been a member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG since December 16, 1998, and Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG since January 1, 2006. He is also Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars Division. Dr. Zetsche was born in Istanbul, Turkey, on May 5, 1953. After attending school in Frankfurt and obtaining the Abitur (university entrance examination), he studied electrical engineering from 1971 to 1976 at the University of Karlsruhe and graduated as an engineer. He joined the research department of the then Daimler-Benz AG in 1976. Dr. Zetsche completed a doctorate in engineering in 1982 at the University of Paderborn.

Daimler AG

Doug Newcomb has been covering car technology as a journalist for over 25 years and is a recognized expert on the subject of the connected car and mobility. He has been sought out for his opinion by media outlets as USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Boston Herald, Detroit Free Press, Reuters, Agence France Press and others. Doug has appeared on CBS News, CNBC and the Los Angeles affiliates for ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox News to talk about car technology and is a frequent speaker at automotive and consumer-electronics industry events. In 2013 Doug cofounded the Connected Car Conference (C3) at CE Week in New York and co-produced the inaugural Connected Car Expo at the LA Auto Show. In 2014, Doug coproduced successful events under the C3 banner at SXSW, CE Week and in Silicon Valley. In the same year he formed the Connected Car Council, made up of top industry thought leaders, and launched the C3 Report to provide news and analysis to the fast changing car technology and mobility space. He’s also a columnist for PCMag.com’s NextCar, Forbes.com and writes for Wired, Automobile, Popular Mechanics and other outlets.

C3 Group
"Driverless cars are likeable to change everything in a city.“

Born and raised in Kenya, Dr. Auma Obama studied in Germany, obtaining a Masters degree at the University of Heidelberg, completing her doctorate studies at the University of Bayreuth and also graduated from the Berlin Film and Television Academy. She has lived and worked in Germany and the UK before going back to Kenya to work for the humanitarian agency CARE International where she created and coordinated the "Sport for Social Change Network“ before she started her own foundation, Sauti Kuu. Next to her numerous trustee and councilor positions in organizations in both Germany and Kenya, Dr. Auma Obama is also an awarded international Speaker, who has given numerous presentations worldwide on sustainable Socio-economic Growth and Development, with special emphasis on the relationship between the ‘Developed’ and ’Developing’ World. As Founder and Director of the Sauti Kuu Foundation, Dr. Auma Obama and her team seek to give a voice to financially and socially disadvantaged children and youth. Using a Self-Help Model of intervention the Foundation works to unlock their potential and enable them to improve their lives. „It is not enough to help the less fortunate by simply donating money. It is equally important to create opportunities through an enabling environment.“ - Dr. Auma Obama

Sauti Kuu Foundation
"Children need a strong voice for a strong future. You are your future!"

Professor Kelly Snook is a music producer, engineer, and data sonification researcher based in Brighton, UK and Portland, Oregon. She is one of the developers of the mi.mu gloves for gestural control of music and visuals. She currently serves as Professor of Media Arts Technology at the University of Brighton and holds a Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University. She spent two decades as a NASA Research Scientist with a focus on Mars and the moon, before turning her attention to music full-time in 2010 when she joined Imogen Heap as her studio manager and musical assistant.  Her current research project is the development of Concordia, an immersive musical instrument for scientific exploration based on the work of Johannes Kepler, which allows people to experience and play the music of the spheres. She also runs her own recording studio, called "It's Not Rocket Science Studios," in Portland, producing and mixing music by independent musicians.

mi.mu gloves, University of Brighton

A computational and molecular biologist, Dr. Richardson specializes in the design of genomes. She earned her B.S. in Biology at the University of Maryland College Park; with the support of a prestigious DOE Computational Science Graduate Fellowship she earned a Ph.D. in Human Genetics and Molecular Biology from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. As a Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow of Genomics at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory she worked on massive scale synthetic biology projects and the integration of computational genomics with experimental genomics. In 2015, she was named a SynBio LEAP Fellow, based on her “leadership potential and vision for shaping a future in biotechnology.” In 2015 she was also one of five promising young female scientists to receive a postdoctoral fellowship award from L’Oréal USA; she proposed to study CRISPR systems and the construction of genetic toolkits for non-model organisms. As a cofounder of MicroByre she was in 2017 welcomed into the third cohort of Cyclotron Road fellows hosted at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She spends every day thinking about the domestication of non-model bacteria.

​"Think like a cell!"

Dr. Tracy Laabs has over fifteen years combined professional and research experience in multiple life science disciplines including neuroscience, neurotechnology, molecular biology, physiology, human performance, and regenerative medicine. Dr. Laabs has experience in strategic planning, development and management of high risk/high reward multidisciplinary programs as well as the coordination of interdisciplinary teams in the development of neurotechnologies, accelerating learning, enabling threat detection, optimizing human performance and enabling novel therapeutic strategies. Over the course of her career she has provided technical expertise and scientific program management support on neuroscience and neurotechnology programs at the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Defense Sciences and Biological Technologies offices as well as in her current role at the Wyss Center. She holds a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Cambridge (UK) and a BS in Pharmacology and Toxicology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (US).

Wyss Center for Bio and Neuroengineering
"...it is always advisable to perceive clearly our ignorance." - Charles Darwin

Drena Kusari, connects transportation with technology to improve the lives of millions in the southwest. As the general manager for Lyft - Southwest Region, Drena oversees growth strategy, marketing, and operations. Under her leadership, in the last year, Lyft has added over $40 million in economic value in Phoenix and more than quadrupled ridership. Paving the road for females in technology, Drena obtained her MBA at Harvard Business School and has worked in the tech-enabled services and software-as-a-service (SaaS) industries for the past 8 years. Most recently she worked at software company, Infusionsoft. Drena was also a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs and a senior strategy consultant with McKinsey and Company advising Fortune 500 companies on strategy building and initiatives. Drena is a dedicated leader and mentor in the community. She volunteers on multiple boards (Junior Achievement of Arizona, Harvard Business School Club of Arizona) and serves as a mentor for Social Venture Partners. For two years in a row now, Drena has also served as a judge in the March Venture Madness competition. Drena serves as a mentor to young girls interested in STEM and technology careers. Drena is a mentor and advisor at GjirafaLab, one of the leading technology incubators in the Balkans. Drena was recently recognized by the Phoenix Business Journal as a finalist in the Community Hero category of Arizona Top Tech Executive Awards and top 40 Under 40. In her free time she loves to cook with her husband and two daughters and coaches them tennis.

​"Be relentless about testing, iteration and improvement. Make bold moves."

Since July 2013, Elisabetta Caregnato (Milan 1971) works for Fondazione Politecnico di Milano as Senior Project Manager first and now as Head of Institutional Relations, Communication and Press Office and External Relation Office Manager for PoliHub - Startup District & Incubator of Politecnico di Milano. In 2015, she was Event Manager Expo 2015 for EIT Digital, the Knowledge and Innovation Communities of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology. She is member of AREL, Real Estate Ladies Association, of AIDIA the Association of Italian Women Architects and Engineers and of the Trento Node Strategy Committee of EIT Digital. She is in the board of Fondazione Istituto Buon Pastore. After High School in Classical studies, Elisabetta has earned her Degree in Architecture at Polytechnic of Milan in 1997 and in 2000 a Master Degree in Urban Management at Domus Academy (Milano). With a grant of ECC Erasmus Project, she spent two semesters in Urban Regeneration PhD postgraduate course at the School of Land Management and Urban Policy of the South Bank University, London. After her degree, she has continued working and studying for Urban Regeneration and Inner City Areas Revitalisation: with Community Planner Michael Parkes and the King's Cross Railway Lands Group in London; with Ecopolis a Research Institute in Milan; with Polytechnic of Milan - Urban Science Department on several researches. She has won an architectural competition to renovate an under-used industrial site in the centre of Cinisello Balsamo, a town in Greater Milan. She worked as tutor of a Unit in Urban Design at the Polytechnic of Milan - School of Urban and Environmental Planning. For 13 years, she has worked as Head of the Project Manager Team and General Manager Assistant for Milano Metropoli Development Agency, a limited public company with the mission of promoting sustainable economic and social development of Milan Area.

Fondazione Politecnico di Milano

As an early pioneer in the high-throughput synthesis and sequencing of DNA, Dr. Leproust is disrupting the process of gene synthesis to enable the exponential growth of synthetic biology applications in multiple fields including medicine, DNA data storage, agricultural biology, and industrial chemicals. In 2015, she was named one of Foreign Policy’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers for fast-tracking the building blocks of life, and Fast Company named her one of the most creative people in business for synthesizing DNA faster than ever. Prior to Twist Bioscience, she held escalating positions at Agilent Technologies where she architected the successful SureSelect product line that lowered the cost of sequencing and elucidated mechanisms responsible for dozens of Mendelian diseases. She also developed the Oligo Library Synthesis technology, where she initiated and led product and business development activities for the team. Dr. Leproust designed and developed multiple commercial synthesis platforms to streamline microarray manufacturing and fabrication. Prior to Agilent, she worked with Dr. X. Gao at the University of Houston developing DNA and RNA parallel synthesis processes on solid support, a project developed commercially by Xeotron Corporation. Dr. Leproust has published over 30  peer-reviewed papers—many on applications of synthetic DNA, and is the author of numerous patents.  She earned her Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Houston and her M.Sc. in industrial chemistry from the Lyon School of Industrial Chemistry in France.

Twist Bioscience
"I don't get out of bed every day to be average - I get up expecting to be my best self."

Erika received her PhD from Emory University working jointly in the Department of Chemistry and the Emory School of Medicine. After completing her doctorate in 2010, Erika joined Princeton University as a postdoctoral researcher where she married both loves of organic chemistry and biochemistry to study biocatalysis, which is the replacement of synthetic catalysts with enzymes. Erika then joined the Enabling Technologies team at Merck & Co. as a senior research chemist. While at Merck, Erika’s primary responsibility was to replace chemical processes with enzymatic steps for the sustainable manufacture of prescription drugs. Erika’s desire to deliver sustainable solutions to the manufacture of consumer products is what led her to leave Merck and create BuzzBite®. BuzzBite® is an anti-itch gel that utilizes FDA approved actives and a plant-based-protease to stop the itch and irritation associated with bug bites, bee stings, and poison ivy/oak/sumac. This topical gel is 99% natural and safe if ingested making it ideal for children and adults. As the CEO of Curie Co., Erika drives the research and development of enzymes and biocompatible materials to develop sustainable consumer healthcare products. Curie Co.’s mission is to replace petroleum-based chemicals in consumer products with sustainable and renewable alternatives by utilizing biotechnology.

Curie Co.
“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” - Marie Curie

Taking inspiration from his experiences touring the world, Jaehn has created a signature sound that runs through all his tracks and live sets. He has struck a chord with a multi-generational community of music fans who avidly follow him on social media and music channels. Jaehn’s skills are largely self-taught, but built on his classical violin training and his studies at the Point Black Music School. Today, the brand ambassador for Mercedes-Benz thrills audiences around the world with his phenomenal live performances. After traveling and touring, the multi-talented musician seeks relaxation at his home on the Baltic coast. Here he finds the peace and quiet he needs to work on new material. Felix Jaehn embodies the spirit of a new generation of young DJs and musicians who are meeting the radical changes in the music industry with intelligence and insight.

“You only have a chance if you fight for your dreams.”

Fernando Rubio is a freelance architect, urban consultant and lecturer in Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia. Fernando is interested in all aspects of the city and keen on developing architectural solutions to urban scale issues. Presently, he is pursuing his doctoral degree in Architecture at Universidad Nacional de Colombia. He obtained a Master´s degree in Urban Planning from the Fundación Politécnica de Cataluña. Since 2009 he is the co-director of the Studio Design Option Centros Urbanos: U+A Lab where, as part of the research team, he explores “contemporary” Bogotá through different research topics such as consumption, urban borders and hybrid tissues among others. Currently, the Lab is working on territorial inequity and its spatial manifestations in collaboration with other teams from the USA and the Netherlands.

Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogotà

Françoise Baylis, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Bioethics and Philosophy at Dalhousie University, has particular interest and expertise in the ethics of heritable genetic modification. She was an external reviewer for the Institute of Medicine 2016 report “Mitochondrial Replacement Techniques”. She was also a member of the 12-person Organizing Committee for the December 2015 International Summit on Human Gene Editing. Baylis’ research aims to move the limits of mainstream bioethics. She is currently working on developing effective strategies to tackle public policy challenges in Canada and abroad. She believes bioethicists need to take on greater advocacy roles and use their talents and expertise in pursuit of social justice. They need to create welcoming spaces for meaningful deliberation and discussion that engages people whose interests and voices have traditionally been marginalized. As well, they need to find creative ways to make the powerful care. Baylis is an elected fellow of both the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. Her many recent honors include appointments in 2016 to both the Order of Canada and the Order of Nova Scotia.

Dalhousie University
"I don't have the ability to change the world, much as I might like to. Recognizing this, I try to use my talents to 'make the powerful care'. According to Foucault, the powerful are the masses."

To ask Gelong Thubten how he makes a living is to be told: “I don’t have to make a living. When I travel around the world and teach people about Mindfulness, they then pay for my flight tickets, my accommodation and my food. My personal needs are very modest. I wear only my robe, and I never need to go to the hairdresser’s.” It’s this subtle humor that makes the Buddhist monk so instantly likable. Gelong Thubten teaches meditation and mindfulness. He is often invited by well-known companies such as Google and HSBC to teach their employees established meditation techniques. But he also teaches in less illustrious places: in hospitals, schools, prisons and rehabilitation clinics, for example. His goal is - in this world full of constant real-time messaging and 24-hour exposure to media - to help his listeners reduce stress, sharpen their focus and improve their sense of inner harmony. Gelong Thubten has lived as a monk for the past 25 years and is among the world's foremost meditation trainers.

Kagyu Samye Ling
“According to neuroscientific research, people who meditate live healthier, happier, more empathetic lives.”

Glenn Zorpette is executive editor of IEEE Spectrum Magazine, where he oversees seven editors who produce feature articles, blogs, news, and video. Under his supervision, since 2002, IEEE Spectrum has won 99 significant journalism awards. These included, in 2012, a National Magazine Award for General Excellence, the most prestigious award in U.S. magazine publishing. In addition, in 1993 he won a National Magazine Award for Reporting for an article on Iraq's attempt, before the first Gulf war, to build an atomic bomb. He was a finalist for another National Magazine award, in 2007, for an article on electrical reconstruction in Iraq. From 1995 to 2000, he worked at Scientific American magazine, where he was part of a team that won another National Magazine Award, for an issue titled "What You Need To Know About Cancer." He also worked at Red Herring magazine before returning to IEEE Spectrum in June, 2001. During his second tenure at Spectrum, the magazine was a finalist two other times for National Magazine Awards and also won many Neal Awards, for business journalism. Glenn holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Brown University and is a Fellow of the IEEE.

IEEE Spectrum Magazine

Greg de Temmerman is a passionate long-distance runner. And long distance and passion are at the core of the race for fusion energy, the energy of the sun and the stars. Harnessing this power for the benefit of mankind has been a dream for many scientists over the past decades. In Southern France, Greg de Temmerman and a world-spanning team of scientists and engineers have embarked on an unprecedented quest to make this dream become reality: the ITER project.

"This is probably one of the largest scientific and technological challenges human race has to face."

Gunter Roeth joined NVIDIA as a Solution Architect in October 2014 having previously worked at Cray, HP, Sun Microsystems and most recently Bull. He has a Master in geophysics from the Institut de Physique du Globe (IPG) in Paris and has completed a PhD in seismology on the use of neural networks (artificial intelligence) for interpreting geophysical data.

Guy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva, an online graphic design tool. He is a brand ambassador for Mercedes-Benz and an executive fellow of the Haas School of Business (UC Berkeley). He was the chief evangelist of Apple and a trustee of the Wikimedia Foundation. He is also the author of The Art of the Start 2.0, The Art of Social Media, Enchantment, and nine other books. Kawasaki has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College.

“I empower people.”

Hans Ulrich Obrist is Artistic Director of the Serpentine Galleries, London. Prior to this, he was the Curator of the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. Since his first show “World Soup” (The Kitchen Show) in 1991 he has curated more than 300 shows. So far in 2017, Obrist has co-curated at the Serpentine Galleries solo shows for Lucy Raven, Zaha Hadid, John Latham, Arthur Jafa, Grayson Perry as well as a group show with Tania Bruguera, Douglas Gordon, Laure Prouvost and Cally Spooner. In 2014 he curated the Swiss Pavilion at the 14th International Architecture Biennale in Venice, where he presented Lucius Burckhardt and Cedric Price – A stroll through a fun palace; the building was designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron, and the program was developed with artists Liam Gillick, Philippe Parreno, Tino Sehgal and Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster. Obrist's Art of Handwriting project is taking place on Instagram and is a protest against the disappearance of handwriting in the digital age. In 2013, Obrist co-founded with Simon Castets the 89plus, a long-term, international, multi-platform research project, conceived as a mapping of the digitally native generation born in or after 1989. In 2011 Obrist received the CCS Bard Award for Curatorial Excellence, in 2009 he was made Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), and in 2015 he received the International Folkwang Prize for his commitment to the arts. Obrist has lectured internationally at academic and art institutions, and is contributing editor to several magazines and journals. Obrist’s recent publications include Conversations in Mexico, Conversations in Colombia, Ways of Curating, The Age of Earthquakes with Douglas Coupland and Shumon Basar, and Lives of The Artists, Lives of The Architects.

Serpentine Galleries

Harald Becker is the Director Industry Engagement & Research on Microsoft’s Office Envisioning team. He leads business strategy, research & customer engagements for the team and is responsible for creating and executing programs to scale the future vision offerings broadly across the company and partner ecosystem. Harald manages the envisioning research program focused on emerging business and technology trends, and he helps envision scenarios for how leading-edge technologies might be used in real-world settings over the next five to ten years. He is a frequent presenter at Microsoft’s Executive Briefing Center and on conference stages around the world on the topics of innovation and the future of work. Harald consults with Fortune 100 customers on future productivity scenarios and hosts Microsoft’s Global accounts in the Envisioning Center for in-depth discussions on macro trends impacting the way we live and work over the next 5 years. Prior to his role on the Envisioning team, Harald was a Marketing Manager at Microsoft’s New York office, responsible for marketing strategy, planning and campaign execution. Before joining Microsoft in 2003, Harald was a Principal Consultant at a Silicon Valley start-up. He also worked seven years at Sun Microsystems in various marketing and sales operation roles. Harald earned an MBA from the University of San Francisco and a BA in Marketing from Wirtschaftsakademie Hamburg in Germany.

“The future is already here – it's just not evenly distributed." - William Gibson

At age 25, Hartmut Esslinger founded frog design in Germany and expanded the company to the United States in 1982. Together with his partner and wife Patricia Roller he built the company into the world's most prominent and successful strategic design agency. During the last 48 years, Hartmut Esslinger worked with some of the most prestigious global companies and in some cases such as Sony, Apple, Louis Vuitton, SAP, Lufthansa and Microsoft he helped them to convert their technological competences and entrepreneurial desire into emotionally appealing global brands. Hartmut also engages in educating and mentoring young designers: He is a founding professor of the Hochschule fuer Gestaltung (College for Design) in Karlsruhe, Germany and from 2006 to 2011, he was a professor for convergent industrial design at the University for Applied Arts in Vienna, Austria. Since 2011, he is a DeTao professor for strategic design and innovation at Fudan/SIVA University in Shanghai. He also received an honorary doctorate in Fine Arts from the Parson New School of Design, New York (1994) and The Royal Society of Arts in London assigned him as Honorary Royal Designer for Industry (HonRDI) in 2014. Hartmut Esslinger was the first designer to bring human-driven, high-touch design to world of complex hardware and software technology. Business Week – where he also was featured on the cover in 1990 – called him the most influential American industrial designer since the 1930s and the first Superstar of High-Tech Design.

"Form follows emotion."

Mr. Masuda is the Director General of Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Berlin, as well as Chairman of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry to Berlin. Mr. Masuda joined the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) of the Government of Japan in 1987, at which he worked on its start-up initiative along with the small and medium size enterprises policy. Prior to Berlin, Mr. Masuda was assigned to London. He earned the three master degrees from the University of Tokyo in Japan and Heriot-Watt University in the UK both in engineering, and Carnegie-Mellon University in the USA in MBA.

Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Berlin

Architecture, landscape architecture and design form the crucible in which the multiple award-winning Norwegian firm of Snøhetta, named after a 2,286 meter-high mountain of the same name, works. Since 2005 trained architect Jette Cathrin Hopp has been a member of an interdisciplinary team comprising graphic designers, artists, researchers, and others, in addition to architects. As a project director at Snøhetta, Hopp was and is responsible for various, for the most part sustainable, architectural projects, an example of which is Powerhouse One in Trondheim, a building that produces more energy than it consumes.


Jim Richardson has been asking ‘what’s next for museums?’ for the last decade, challenging cultural institutions to reinvent themselves for our rapidly changing world. He leads MuseumNext, a global community of museum leaders, innovators and makers who champion radical change in museums. From Rio de Janeiro to Melbourne, from Cape Town to Singapore and New York to Copenhagen, this passionate community is shaping the future of museums.

“If museums don’t change, they’ll become irrelevant.”

Joel S. Bader, PhD, is a Founder of Neochromosome, Inc. and a pioneer in algorithms and cloud computing for genome-scale synthetic biology. Prior industrial activities include CuraGen Corp. (1995-2003), where Dr. Bader was Director of Bioinformatics and co-invented the Roche/454 Genome Sequencer, the first commercially successful next-generation DNA sequencing technology. Dr. Bader joined Johns Hopkins University in 2003 and is currently Professor of Biomedical Engineering with a secondary appointment in Computer Science, Whiting School of Engineering; Interim Director of the High-Throughput Biology Center, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; and a Member of the Institute for Computational Medicine and the Institute for Genetic Medicine. Dr. Bader’s research areas include synthetic biology, systems biology, and computational biology, with current and previous funding from NSF (CAREER), NIH, DOE, and DARPA. He received his PhD from UC Berkeley with David Chandler and was a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University.

Johns Hopkins University

John Cohn is an IBM Fellow and Chief Scientist for the IBM Watson Internet of Things Division which is headquartered in Munich. John received his BSEE in Electrical Engineering at MIT, and Ph.D. in Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. Before joining the IoT Division, John worked in the area of design automation for high speed integrated circuits. He has authored more than 30 technical papers and has contributed to four books on design automation and has more than 100 patents. In 2005 he was elected a Fellow of the IEEE. John is active in education issues at a local, state and international level. He is so passionate about promoting STEM careers that he spent 59 days living and inventing in an abandoned steel mill as part of Discovery Channel's technical survival show "The Colony". John lives with his family in a restored 19th century schoolhouse in Jonesville Vermont and is eager to share his love of science and technology with anyone who will listen.

​"I'm a passionate nerd. I love talking about my love of science and technology with anyone who will listen."

Josh Emig is the Head of Research & Development for WeWork pursuing a mission to create spaces and technologies that transform how people work and live. Josh was formerly the Director of Digital Practice at Perkins+Will, a global interdisciplinary design firm. From 2009-2012, Josh co-directed Auburn University’s Integrated Design & Construction program, a graduate program blending instruction in design, technology, real-estate, and construction management. Josh has lectured internationally on design, technology, and integrated practice. He earned his Master of Architecture degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.


Josh Rubin is a photographer, interaction designer, entrepreneur and the co-founder and Editor in Chief of COOL HUNTING — a fourteen year old digital publication highlighting innovations in culture, design and technology for a global audience of creative professionals. The Webby Award‑winning online magazine also operates an original content studio, strategic consultancy and experimental retail program called COOL HUNTING Omakase. Josh held design leadership positions at Razorfish and Motorola. He earned a BA in Cognitive Science and Photography from Hampshire College and a Master’s from NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program, where his 1999 graduate thesis focused on modular, scalable, touch-screen interfaces.

Cool Hunting
​“There are no new ideas, just great executions”

Kaan has engineering degrees from Mechatronics and Mathematics from Sabancı University, Istanbul. After working at startups, tech companies and corporates such as Boatbookings.com, PepsiCo, Yandex, Arkony; he founded Hackquarters, a startup accelerator and innovation partner based in Istanbul. Hackquarters finished its first batch with 10 startups. The company also partnered up with Isbank for a vertical accelerator called Workup, which also has 10 startups under management. Hackquarters also worked with companies such as PepsiCo, Nielsen, Alstom, Koç Holdings, Here.com, American Embassy and many more to create startup programs and innovation agendas within or around organizations. He also co-founded Angel Investment network TRIAngels, through which 8 more investments took place. Kaan worked as co-director for Founder Institute, Istanbul chapter. Currently, he leads the role of Red Bull Amaphiko country project coordinator to help social impact startups florish.


Karen Ingram is a creative director, designer, and artist who uses her skill set to promote scientific awareness. She has a keen interest in the field of synthetic biology. As a Synthetic Biology LEAP fellow, she is recognized as an emerging leader. Karen co-authored “Biobuilder: Synthetic Biology in the Lab” (O’Reilly, 2015), a synthetic biology curriculum in which she crafted visual elements and teaching aides. She served as a design track judge at IGEM in 2015. For more than four years, she has co-organized Brooklyn-based science cabaret, The Empiricist League. A long-time planning committee member of SXSW Interactive, Karen focuses on curating topics such as the overlap of science and art, emerging biotechnologies, and their effects on society. Her interest in science communications extends into the realm of education; she is a creative strategy instructor for NYU SHERP’s Entrepreneurial Science Journalism course. A veteran in the world of digital design, advertising and marketing, Ingram has worked at Campfire, McCann Erikson, and UNICEF, to name a few. Her work has appeared in many publications including titles from Die Gestalten (Berlin), Scientific American, and The FWA, where she was named a “Digital Pioneer.” Ingram has written tutorials on digital design for Computer Arts magazine and New Riders publications. She has presented her work globally at Synbiobeta (London), the AIGA (New Orleans), Flash in the Can (Toronto), Biofabricate (New York), Synberc (MIT) and SXSW (Austin, TX).

Karen Ingram & Associates
"Inclusive innovation ecosystems ensure equitable access to emerging technologies."

Karin Fuhry has more than 20 years of experience as a Consulting IT specialist. She began her career at IBM in 1999 as a Subject Matter Expert for the Learning Solutions Portfolio for EMEA, from 2009 on, she covered other roles within the Social Collaboration Unit. Since 2013 she focuses on solutions around finding, developing and maintaining talents – cognitive solutions within the IBM Talent Management Solutions and Watson Talent Portfolio. Karin Fuhry graduated as Dipl.-Betriebswirt (FH) in Business Economics at the Fachhochschule Reutlingen in 1993.


Katherine Maher, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, worked around the world in various capacities, nearly all directly related to advancing fundamental rights and open and free societies. Before joining the Wikimedia Foundation, she was Advocacy Director for the international digital rights organization “Acces” in Washington DC, where she worked on global policy issues related to freedom of expression, access to information, and privacy. Previously, Maher held roles supporting the efforts of citizens and governments around the world to embrace transparency and civic technologies, working with activists and human rights defenders on the use of technology to support democratic reforms and human rights, and designing ICT4D programs (Information and communication technologies for development) in support of community development. Maher is a fellow at the Truman National Security Project, and her writing on human rights, technology, and foreign policy has appeared in various publications.

Wikimedia Foundation
“What I'm really seeing from many outlets is a conversation that they're having with their readers around what do we need to do in order to regain your trust?”

Livity is a youth-led creative network based in London, helping grow brands by earning them a place in youth culture. Katy heads up Livity’s strategy offering and is responsible for the research and strategic output for all of the network’s clients which include Google, Dyson, PlayStation, Netflix, Unilever, Channel 4, the BBC and the UK Government. She has the enviable role of collaborating with young, creative talent and changemakers every day on projects at Livity. Katy has more than 12 years of senior agency experience, which includes positions at Dare where she was on the board as a strategy partner, and head of social media at Wunderman. Her client experience is vast and varied, and includes Levi’s, Land Rover, P&G, Ford, Nokia, Microsoft, Diageo, BMW and Coca-Cola. Following an especially successful 2016 for Livity, Katy played a critical role in the network’s recent rebrand and helping to shape its vision for the next five years.

“Using youth culture as an agent for positive change.”

Kei Shimada is Global Director of Innovation and Business Development at Dentsu's innovation arm focusing on both initiating and leading a group-wide innovation initiative while creating new solutions around wearables, neural technology, locational big data and crisis management infrastructures, going beyond the traditional advertising business to cultivate new business models that generate revenue. Kei is also one of the most sought-after keynote speakers and mentors on mobile, ICT and wearables.


Lea Ashuach is the Director of the Center for Economic and Social Research of Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality. Lea holds an M.A. in Sociology specializing in surveys and public opinion research from Tel Aviv University. For the past 15 years, she has been conducting urban research spanning many topics, including the population of Tel Aviv-Yafo, demographic changes and immigration patterns, businesses and changes in employment over time. Lea oversees the municipality's statistical yearbook and conducts surveys assessing city residents' satisfaction with municipal services (sanitation, education, culture, community centers, social services and more) and with the city itself, their sense of safety and satisfaction with their neighborhood. Most recently, Lea and her team conducted in an-depth survey of the city's thriving startup and technology ecosystem, in an attempt to provide policy-makers with an accurate tool to manage and develop one of the city's most important economic sectors.

Tel Aviv Global

Leen Balcaen is Head of Cities at HERE Technologies, the global leader in mapping and location services that is backed by Audi, BMW, Daimler and Intel. In her role, Leen explores how location cloud technology and real-time data services can help cities become more efficient, and address critical challenges such as congestion, pollution, and increased demands on their infrastructure as populations expand. In North America, and increasingly in Europe and Asia, HERE serves as a vital partner to smart cities and the broader public sector, helping them make decisions that improve the quality of life for citizens. Prior to joining HERE, Leen served in a variety of roles at TomTom. Leen has a Master’s Degree in Geography from the University of Gent.

HERE Technologies

Since 2010, Liz Bacelar has been a global leader at the intersection of fashion, retail + technology. Prior to TheCurrent, she founded Decoded Fashion, the first and the largest global event series connecting Fashion & Technology and a community of 20,000 innovators. The summits in NYC, London, Milan and Tokyo were produced with leading industry partners including the CFDA, BFC, Conde Nast and Pitti. The company was acquired in 2014. With TheCurrent, Bacelar creates growth for brands & retailers by tapping into her extensive network of innovators, her knowledge of the global startup ecosystem and her ability to identify opportunity and creative partnerships.


As the Chief Innovation Officer of WirtschaftsWoche, Léa Steinacker develops strategies, products, and live experiences for the brand in close coordination with the publisher and the newsroom. She is responsible for assessing experimental formats and innovative business models and is a speaker on various digital topics. In her bi-weekly column, she analyzes the interaction between technical innovations, humans, and the economy. Until March 2017, she served in the role of Digital Scout. Prior to joining WirtschaftsWoche, Léa worked for a number of human rights organizations in Bosnia-Hercegovina, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where she coordinated the evaluation of crisis interventions and analyzed extremists’ propaganda activities in social networks. At me Convention she will act as a moderator.


Co-founder and President of Startup Hub Poland Fundation, which advocates innovative Central Eastern European high-tech talents in starting up a global venture in Poland. IP transfer specialist and RnD commercialization analyst. Seed and startup investment manager. CEO in seed-funds supporting early-stage tech-based projects. Maciek holds two MA Degrees of the University of Warsaw (Philosophy, Political Sciences/European Studies). Scholar exhibitioner at the Universität Salzburg. In years 2009-15 a PhD applicant in political philosophy (human dignity concepts in contemporary social life). Academic teacher i.e. at the University of Warsaw where he lectured logic, analytic philosophy, Eastern-Europe regional policy. Fun of futurism and medieval sagas.

Startup Hub Poland Fundation
"For my region to pop up at the least of most vibrant startup ecosystem there is only one way: present ourselves as a one, interconnected hub of high-tech talents. And Warsaw is its capital"

Marie Haga joined the Crop Trust as Executive Director in March 2013. She had previously been member and Deputy Chair of the Crop Trust Executive Board. She also currently serves as Board Chair of the Norwegian Peace Research Institute. Marie Haga has a background from Foreign Service as a career diplomat, from politics and private sector. She has held various positions in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affaires including to the Norwegian Mission to the United Nations in New York and the Embassy in New Delhi. She was politically appointed and held the position as State Secretary/Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affaires 1997-1999. Marie Haga has wide experience from politics and served as a Member of Parliament in Norway from 2001-2009. She was political advisor to the Minister for Development Cooperation from 1997-1998. She was Chairperson of the Centre Party from 2003-2008.

Crop Trust
"The food we eat - day in and day out - is not only important for our personal health but also to the well being or destruction of our planet.”

Mark's passion centers on the belief that people are more than just a resume or profile and that the best organizations will be built by harnessing the skills of people from all walks of life who are empowered to tell their stories and do their best work. Mark previously founded and was CEO of HireVue – the leading provider of AI driven talent assessment and video interviewing, was a board member of RoundPegg, and invests in numerous HR startups. Mark is a contributing writer to Inc and Fortune, was recognized was a member of Inc Magazine's "30 under 30" and LinkedIn's Next Wave Leaders. Mark earned a bachelor's degree in International Business from Westminster College and a master's degree in Finance from the University of Utah. He's married to his teenage sweetheart, has two children and resides near Salt Lake City, Utah.

Professor Mark Post is a medical doctor who has had several appointments as assistant professor at Utrecht University, Harvard University, as associate professor at Dartmouth college, and as full professor at Eindhoven University of Technology and Maastricht University. He currently holds the chair of the Physiology Department at Maastricht University. He is visiting professor at Harvard, University of Modena and faculty at Singularity University. His main research interest is the engineering of tissues for medical applications and for food. The medical applications focus on the construction of blood vessels that can be used as grafts for coronary artery bypass grafting. Tissue engineering for Food has lead to the development of cultured beef from bovine skeletal muscle stem cells in an effort to supplement and perhaps transform the traditional meat production through livestock. Post co-authored 165 papers in leading peer-reviewed scientific journals and received during his career over 50 million dollars in funding and awards from different sources including government, charity and industry. He presented the world’s first hamburger from cultured beef in the August 2013 and is working on improvements and scaling up of production of cultured meat. He received the World Technology Award from AAAS/Times/Forbes for invention with the biggest potential for environmental impact. Three companies have spun-off to work on a meat and a leather application of tissue engineering. Post is CSO and co-founder of these companies.

Maastricht University
"For massive behaviour such as meat eating, it is easier to develop technologies to reduce its impact than to change humans."

Marta Riggins has 13+ years of experience in Marketing, Human Resources and Strategic Partnerships in the Entertainment and Tech industries. She is currently the Global Marketing Director of Creative, Content & Communities within the Talent Solutions Group at LinkedIn. Previously she was the Director of Employee Experience & Marketing at Pandora Music, leading the Employment Brand, Employee Experience, Giving Back and Inclusion Strategies for the company. She is passionate about what she calls “B2E (Business to Employee) Marketing” – developing employer brand strategy, recruiting top talent and fostering an inclusive employee experience. She loves best practice sharing and creating community across the Talent and HR Industry. Marta is a studier of culture, lifestyle, workplace and media trends and is passionate about making the workplace more meaningful and better for all.

​"I am passionate about “B2E” (Business to Employee) Marketing. I love to best practice share, create community and celebrate thought leadership across the TA and HR Industry."

Martin Bryant is Community Editor at Tech North, where he tells the story of technology in the North of England. He uncovers world-class companies, people and initiatives that often fly under the radar of major tech publications. Martin was previously Editor-at-Large at The Next Web and is a regular fixture on technology conference stages in Europe and the USA. He often appears on national and international TV and radio programs to talk about technology. He is actively involved in the technology sector in his home city of Manchester, and is an elected member of trade body Manchester Digital's council.

Tech North
"As all industries are irrevocably changed by tech, the idea of 'hub' cities will become irrelevant. Tech will be everywhere, and everywhere will be tech."

Martin Weber is the CFO of INFARM, a start-up in the Kreuzberg district of Berlin that aims to revolutionize the urban landscape in just a few short years. To help realize its vision, INFARM has researched processes and developed technologies that completely redefine growing food in urban areas. The goal? To introduce mini greenhouses and larger vertical cultivation areas (with tall, transparent shelves) in restaurants, malls and hotels in order to guarantee maximum freshness for the consumer and eliminate food waste due to transportation and other factors.  In his career to date, Martin Weber has made a name for himself, primarily as a start-up coach. He headed operations at Startupbootcamp Tel Aviv as well as Marathon Artists in London. Before starting at INFARM, he worked as a program manager at EuropeanPioneers, an investment-body of the European Commission providing grants to hi-tech startups.

"We are the new farmers and the city is our farm."

Mike Horn has a very clear philosophy when it comes to adventure: Get to know the unknown, see things you could never imagine, do things that have never been done before. The 50-year-old thrill seeker has practiced this philosophy when hiking to the North Pole in the dark, arctic winter at temperatures reaching negative 50 degrees Celsius, swimming nearly 7,000 kilometers from the source of the Amazon to its mouth in the Atlantic, climbing eight-thousanders without oxygen, and circumnavigating the world along the equator – without the aid of a motor vehicle. The German newspaper DIE ZEIT once called him “the Creator’s toughest badass”. But Mike Horn is more than that. Not only is he a hard-working and dedicated extreme athlete who takes risks whose consequences cannot be predicted, he is also a modern explorer, perhaps even the greatest explorer of our time. This is evidenced by his latest expedition, in which he aims to highlight the earth’s environmental problems. It’s called “Pole2Pole” and will see Horn travel around the world. Beginning in Europe, the expedition will take him through Africa, Antarctica, Oceania, Asia, the Arctic, North America, and then back to Europe. It will see him reach both poles in one trip and cover nearly 40,000 kilometers. This is an unprecedented feat; as is so often the case, Horn is set to be the first to achieve it.

“For me, no adventure is difficult as long as I survive.”

Mir Wermuth is working as freelance program manager for several organizations in the Dutch creative Industries. At iMMovator Mir works at several business innovation programs like Growing Games, a nationwide acceleration program aimed at serious game companies, and the scale-up program MediaMatters. Mir is also in charge of Dutch Media Innovators, a consortium of Dutch media companies expanding their business in the USA. At the SXSW17 she has been the curator of the New Dutch Wave programming in the Dutch Takeover House. And because a week has seven days she is also financial manager of designlab Next Nature Network and thesaurier of the Dutch Journalism Fund. Mir is author of NO SELL OUT, her PhD dissertation on European hiphop music. After working as researcher at the University of Amsterdam, she worked for more than ten years as new media consultant at media agencies, after which she set up her own company. She lives in Amsterdam since 1984, so evidence based she can tell you all about the pros and cons of working there.

New Dutch Wave
“The vision of the future is created by you, so by all of us.”

Prof. Dr. Miriam Meckel, PhD, born in 1967, is the publisher of WirtschaftsWoche, Germany’s leading weekly business magazine based in Düsseldorf. From October 2014 to March 2017, she was editor-in-chief of WiWo. Since 2005, she has been a professor for Corporate Communication at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland and managing director of the university’s Institute for Media and Communication Management. Miriam Meckel served as a faculty associate for several years at the “Harvard Berkman Center for Internet & Society” and was a visiting professor at the Singapore Management University. From 2006 to 2007, she hosted the business talk show “Miriam Meckel – Standpunkte” (“Miriam Meckel – Viewpoints”) on the German television news channel n-tv. Prior to this, she served as state secretary in the department of the premier of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia first as government spokeswoman and then as state secretary for Europe, international affairs and media. A recipient of the Cicero Speechwriting Award in the academic category, she has published numerous books and articles. Her autobiographical book “Brief an mein Leben” (“Letter to My Life”) inspired the award-winning film with the same title from 2016. As a passionate advocate of international and transatlantic exchange, she was a member of the “European Asian Young Leaders Forum” of the Herbert Quandt Foundation and was awarded the USA Eisenhower Fellowship and John F. Kennedy Memorial Fellowship from the Center for European Studies at Harvard University. She studied journalism and communications, sinology, political science, and law in Münster (Germany) and Taipei (Taiwan).


Moira Gunn is both a global sci/tech journalist and an academic. She is best known as the host of Tech Nation, BioTech Nation and Tech Nation Health on a number of NPR venues, including the NPR channel on SiriusXM, and a wide distribution nationally and globally. A former NASA computer scientist and engineer, where she worked on global data models and information systems, Gunn started Tech Nation at the beginning of the dot-com boom, and has followed every trend since, speaking directly with the people who drive them. From their first radio interview ever for Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin and an unknown Jeff Bezos from an equally-unknown Amazon to today’s guests ranging from hackers to CEOs, scientists to politicians, social psychologists to professors – everyone is important, everyone is a piece of the puzzle. As an academic, Professor Gunn directs the bioentrepreneurship program at the University of San Francisco, where her research includes the impact of the global business-science media, changing bioethical values, and STEM attitudinal differences in students resulting in their limiting effects. The National Science Board awarded Gunn its “Public Service Award to the Individual” for her contributions to increasing the Public Understanding of Science and Engineering. The first woman to receive a PhD in mechanical engineering from Purdue University, Gunn also earned multiple degrees in computer science and was further awarded an honorary doctorate in science.

Nadya Peek develops infrastructures of fabrication and advanced manufacturing as a postdoctoral researcher in MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms. Her PhD at the MIT Center for Bits is titled "Making Machines that Make: Object-Oriented Hardware Meets Object-Oriented Hardware". She is an Assembler in the Harvard Berkman Klein Center's Assembly on Cybersecurity and plays in the band Construction.

MIT Center for Bits and Atoms
"Makers don't need to learn to be manufacturers, manufacturing needs the agility and speed of makers!"

Natasha Jimenez is an artist, engineer, and designer. Her work focuses on people’s connection to the natural world and each other. In her latest piece, The Last Conservatory, she creates a multi-sensory installation constructed out of foraged wood, moss and fragrant herbs. Music and poetry emanate from inside the trunk of a tree, coercing the audience to physically connect to the soothing properties of nature. Natasha is the co-founder of the humanitarian design agency Outside, where she designs things that promote peace, health, and wellbeing. She has developed projects with various NGOs including IRC, UNHCR, and MercyCorps. Natasha is the lead developer for Translation Cards, an award-winning app that enables field workers to communicate with refugees effectively. At me Convention, Natasha will give a workshop titled “Humanitarian Design Summit” (topic: NEW CREATION) in cooperation with Oliver Blank. In this intense hands-on workshop, you’ll learn how to use design thinking to prevent suffering and save lives.

"By selling my belongings and travelling the world with only a bag on my back I am looking to find a minimal, peaceful, and happy life."

Great Britain’s first state-recognized cyborg. That is something that might appear in Neil Harbisson’s passport, were the authorities to allow such an unwieldy title. An artist who lives in New York and is active on the lecture circuit, he wears an antenna on his head. He had it implanted thirteen years ago. All perfectly normal, in Harbisson’s opinion. “In psychological terms, most of us are already cyborgs anyway. We are no longer capable of living without our smart phones. In 30 years it will be normal for everyone to wear such implants in their bodies.” His antenna enables Harbisson, who suffers from the disorder achromatopsia, to detect both visible and invisible colors, such as infrared. And because he is connected to the Internet, he can also receive videos, music, and telephone calls, among other things. And what does this technology do to the co-founder of the Cyborg Foundation, who uses his art to promote an expanded concept of reality and champion the rights of cyborgs? That he will tell you from the stage.

“When we expand our senses, we expand our knowledge.”

Nick Foster is Head of Industrial Design at X (formerly Google X). X’s mission is “... to invent and launch “moonshot” technologies that could someday make the world a radically better place”. Nick is also a partner at the Near Future Laboratory, pioneering work in the field of Design Fiction. He has been a designer and futurist for 20 years and has worked in advanced design roles for Sony, Nokia and Dyson, amongst others. Nick is a co-author of “TBD Catalog: The Near Future’s Normal Ordinary Everyday”, and launched the zine "TUXSAX - The user experience will be as shitty as expected". His written work has been published in the Alpine Review, Core77, Blueprint, BoingBoing, Wired and Stylus.

X - the moonshot factory
“Every designer is a cultural voyeur — a perpetual sponge for inspiration and a running faucet for ideas.”

Nicole L’Huillier is an interdisciplinary artist, musician and architect based in Boston. She is currently based at the MIT Media Lab as a PhD researcher in the Opera of The Future group. Her work explores spatial experience, perception and the relationship between sound & space. She works at the intersection of art, music, architecture, science and technology in order to build new experiences that reconnect us with our sense of awe and wonder, while modeling and re-shaping human cognition. She is also a drummer, singer and one half of the space pop duo Breaking Forms. L'Huillier is currently creating multi-sensory immersive environments, to open questions about possible futures, redefine how we perceive our world, and most importantly: trigger connection and empathy between human and non-human agents. Her work is based on the idea of sound as a spatial fact, and architecture as a medium not for a purpose but for an effect.

MIT Media Lab
"Sound is a spatial tool and Space is a sonic tool."

Oliver Blank is an English artist and designer, currently at Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google. Blank’s artwork is about intimacy and affection in public, and his design projects focus on the prevention of suffering. Coaxing his audience out of the quotidian, Oliver’s artwork induces unforgettable experiences that instil a shared romance and sense of community. Past installations include composing orchestral music for long forgotten buildings and hosting a phone-line that collects messages for lost loves and forgotten friendships. Oliver’s artwork has appeared across the world in countries including Japan, Mexico, Spain, Finland, and the USA, and venues including Tate Gallery, London's Design Museum, and the Victoria & Albert Museum. At Google.org he has collaborated with Lego, Nokia, HP, Marvel Comics, and many others. Oliver is a regular speaker and workshop leader at SXSW, Oliver is also a member of the advisory board of SXSW Eco, and a Practitioner-in-Residence at Berkeley, University of California. You may also have caught him on the BBC, The New York Times, or CNN. Over the years Oliver has lived in Helsinki, London, Manchester, New Orleans, and San Francisco. At me Convention Oliver will give a workshop titled “Humanitarian Design Summit” (topic: NEW CREATION). In this intense hands-on workshop, you'll learn how to use design thinking to prevent suffering and save lives. “From refugee camps in Europe to hurricanes across the United States, design thinking can make a difference in the most critical situations”, says Oliver Blank.

"My work exists on a spectrum of compassionate action: from design to prevent suffering to art about affection in public."

Oona Horx-Strathern comes from London and has worked for more than 20 years as a trend consultant, speaker and author. As well as writing about building and living in the future she has worked on many studies and reports for the Zukunftsinstitut. As a trend consultant she has worked for international firms such as Unilever, Beiersdorf, Philip Morris and the Deutsche Bank. Her speech customers range from architectural conferences to universities, the building industry and the interior design branch. She divides her time between Germany, London and the Future Evolution House in Vienna which she has built with her husband Matthias Horx. Her passion is architecture and design, city development, socio-demographic change, and the evolving relationship to smart technology. (Photo: Klaus Vyhnalek, klaus@vyhnalek.com)

Zukunftsinstitut Horx
“The real smart city is about connectivity - to people not technology.”

Dr. Patrick Bartos is an international creativity and innovation leader, specializing in successfully creating, building and managing enterprises, institutions and Festivals that focus on innovation, creativity, culture and the creative industries. He is a distinguished and witty key speaker, moderator and conference participant. Patrick is the CEO of the CREATIVE REGION Linz & Upper Austria creative industries development company, which serves as the hub for start-ups and creative businesses, positioning city and region as a creative and innovative location. He is also the Director of the FORUM CREATIVE INDUSTRIES Innovation Festival and the official international representative of Linz – UNESCO City of Media Arts. In 2015 Patrick was nominated for „European Cultural Manager of the year“. In 2017 Linz is one of the Top 5 cities on the European Commissions’ “Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor”.

CREATIVE REGION Linz & Upper Austria
"The development of Linz into the EU’s Top 5 Cultural and Creative Cities is nothing short of astonishing and shows that it can be done."

Patrycja Slawuta, MA, PhD(c) Psych, is a New York based behavioral scientist. After spending 10+ years in academia, Patrycja founded SelfHackathon, a boutique consultancy that uses cutting edge scientific research for business innovation. As an expert on the complexity, nonlinearity and messiness of the human nature, Patrycja lectures globally and works with some of the most exciting and disruptive startups and organizations in the world. In her free time she runs marathons, reads scientific articles and meditates. In that particular order.

"Human mind is the most untapped natural resource in the world"

Paul Austin works to change the cultural conversation about psychedelics through The Third Wave, an online platform exploring the intersection of science, psychedelics, and self-optimization. Part social entrepreneur, part psychedelic advocate, Paul pushes accepted norms to develop new systems in which we live as a global society. For Paul, his early psychedelic experiences were crucial, definitive experiences that inspired him to travel the globe, build an online business, and focus his newfound freedom on creating an online resource to dismantle one of society's biggest taboos: psychedelics. Through his personal 7-month microdosing protocol, Paul experienced the tangible benefits of microdosing LSD, including an acceleration of learning ability, easier access to flow states, and an improved sense of total presence, particularly in relationships. His personal experience with microdosing inspired his push to legitimize psychedelic substances via the topic of microdosing.

The Third Wave
"One of the best ways to reliably induce elevated creative thinking is by microdosing psychedelics."

Paul Boross — aka The Pitch Doctor — specialises in the “art and science” of corporate communication. Drawing on a career that has taken him from primetime TV, music and stand-up comedy to production, development, consultancy and motivational psychology, Boross works regularly with such power players as the BBC, Google and Nestlé, training executives in communication, presentation and pitching. His frontline experience of performance — his credits include a 12-year stint at London’s legendary Comedy Store — coupled with a strong commercial grounding enable him to deliver effective and focused skills to clients from a range of industries, from media to medicine. Paul is a much in demand international keynote speaker and his three bestselling books continue to sit high in the Amazon charts.

"There is an art and science to all communication. In order to prosper you must perfect your pitch.”

Philip Siefer was born in Hamburg in 1982. He holds a Dipl. Ing for Mediatechnology and together with Waldemar Zeiler he founded einhorn products in 2015, creating a media madness about female orgasms. Furthermore both of them are challenging fellow founders to join a pledge for sustainable businesses, reinvesting 50% of their profits, called the Entrepreneur’s Pledge. More than 90 experienced entrepreneurs have already joined the call. He and his Co-Founder Waldemar made their pledge come true in February 2015 with a sustainable Design Condom, breaking records in crowdfunding.

einhorn products
“Pull instead of push!“

Rama has spent over a decade in the technology industry, building teams, defining strategy, leading startups, and launching products. He has worked with teams to change the way we read with Readability, to change journalism with Reuters Next, to changing the music industry with Beatport. He’s always enjoyed the challenge of solving large scale problems in challenging industries. After an inspiring conversation with strangers at an airport, he decided to start SkyHi to fundamentally change how we experience flight booking and ticketing. He is an incredibly curious person by nature, amassing a vast array of hobbies. He is now a DJ, dancer, songwriter, marathon racer, soap maker, baker, chef, and photographer to name a few.

“My personal philosophy is to prioritize my continued self-discovery and acceptance above all other things in my life. As I focus on my own individual growth, I'm able to become a better member of society and contribute more positively to the world as a whole. All of the successes in my life stem from a great curiosity to know more about myself.”

Rana June’s work uses biodata to examine the spectrum of human emotion. From large-scale data analytics to site-specific multimedia installations, her ambitious and innovative work translates physiological data into richly expressive visuals. June’s fascination with visual interpretations of biodata dates to her adolescence, when her father, a physician, taught her to use an electrocardiogram machine. In 2012, she channeled this interest by founding Lightwave, the world’s premier bioanalytics company. Lightwave has been recognized internationally for measuring the energy of large-scale events including Wimbledon and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championships and for bringing emotion tech to blue chip brands including Pepsi, Jaguar, Unilever and 20th Century Fox. Lightwave has analyzed over two billion points of emotion data to date.


Raphael Gielgen has spent most of his professional life working on making the office environment a better place. His curiosity for architecture, technology and social change in the context of working environments is his fuel – always connected to the question of how the global working world is changing and what impact it has on existing business models. Always on a journey to discover how tomorrow’s work place will look, he regularly meets business leaders, architects and designers, a community who can put this knowledge to the service of the society. His work informs Vitra´s approach to improving the quality of offices and public spaces through the power of design by serving the varied Vitra team with the results of his observations and cognitions by trend clusters, market analysis and business cases.

“In the near future the workspace as we once knew it is just a distant memory. We should focus on these future challenges and connect our memory with our perception of tomorrow.”

Rebecca Clyde is the co-founder of Botco.ai, a conversational marketing startup that enables businesses to engage customers with AI-enabled chatbots. With more than 20 years in digital marketing in the technology industry, she is passionate about advancing women in tech. Prior to Botco.ai, Rebecca founded a digital marketing agency, Ideas Collide, now in its 13th year serving global enterprise clients. She was previously a digital strategist at Intel and holds an MBA from Arizona State University. A native Spanish speaker, Rebecca was born in Costa Rica and spent her formative years in Chile, Argentina and Paraguay.


Ricky Pesik has worked in advertising for 23 years before inaugurated as the Vice Chairman (Deputy Head) for the Indonesian Agency for Creative Economy (BEKRAF) on July 2015. While managing the advertising business, Ricky has also been actively involved in developing Citra Pariwara to become the biggest and most prestigious national advertising festival; as Chairman and Co-Chairman for 8 years. He has succeeded in setting a high standard to push Indonesia’s creative works to shine at international competitions. He has also taken the role of Vice Chairman for a reputable forum to discuss the changes and growth within communication landscape; Asia Pacific Media Forum (APMF) in Bali, Indonesia in 2012 and 2014. Throughout his career, Ricky was a Jury member for several international creative festivals and award shows. In 2010 he was appointed as Jury at Spikes Asia. In 2012, he was selected as the first Indonesian to sit as a Jury at Cannes Lions; the biggest world creativity festival. And again, in 2014, Ricky was chosen as the first Indonesian to sit as a Jury in Asia Pacific Effie Awards; a renowned advertising festival focusing in communication effectiveness.

“Embracing diversity for a better future”

Rob Carlson is the Managing Director of Bioeconomy Capital, which invests in startups working at the interface of biology, engineering, and manufacturing. Moreover, he’s the Principal at Biodesic, an engineering, security, and economics consulting firm, and a developer of metrics for technological and economic progress in biotechnology; The Economist deems these “Carlson Curves” as important for biology as Moore’s Law is for semiconductors. Rob is also the originator of the first estimates of global biotech revenues, published in 2016, and the author of Biology is Technology: The Promise, Peril, and New Business of Engineering Life, published in 2010 by Harvard University Press, which received the PROSE award for the Best Engineering and Technology Book of 2010 and was named to Best of 2010 lists by writers at both The Economist and Foreign Policy. Carlson earned a doctorate in Physics from Princeton University in 1997.

“It is much easier to fixate on the threats than to embrace the opportunities.”

Rohan Silva is the co-founder of Second Home, a social enterprise that uses radical architecture to support creativity, entrepreneurship and job creation in cities around the world. Since launching in November 2014, Second Home has created cultural venues and workspaces in London and Lisbon, as well as funding the construction of a new school in Nairobi, as well as opening a critically acclaimed bookshop in Spitalfields. Rohan was previously Senior Policy Adviser to the British Prime Minister, where he worked across all areas of policy, but was particularly passionate about enterprise, innovation and technology. He was responsible for developing key policies to improve the environment for enterprise in the UK. On industrial policy, Rohan created the Government's hugely successful Tech City initiative, and also created the Government's Life Science Strategy in 2011, as well as the follow-up strategy in 2012 focused on genomics and bioinformatics. Rohan is a Senior Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Art, a World Economic Forum ‘Young Global Leader’, and serves on the boards of the Whitechapel Art Gallery and the London Contemporary Music Festival. Rohan has a weekly column in the Evening Standard, and also writes regularly for the Sunday Times and other publications. Rohan has also presented a full-length BBC Panorama documentary on the impact of technology on jobs and income inequality, and also made films for Newsnight, a critically acclaimed documentary for Radio 4, as well as numerous appearances on the Today Programme and other flagship current affairs programs. This autumn, Rohan will be co-presenting a high-profile BBC podcast series with Kamal Ahmed, dedicated to celebrating entrepreneurship across the globe.

Second Home

As General Manager - EMEA for Patagonia, Ryan Gellert oversees all sales, marketing, sustainability and operational initiatives for the brand, throughout the region.  Based at the European Headquarters in Amsterdam, Ryan leads a team who live and breathe the Patagonia mission statement to build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm and use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. An avid climber and backcountry snowboarder, Ryan has climbed and ridden throughout Asia, Europe, North America, Australia, the Middle East and South Africa. Ryan has extensive experience working with direct action environmental groups, serving on the boards of the Access Fund and Protect Our Winters. Prior to joining Patagonia, Ryan spent 15 years at Black Diamond Equipment, where he held a number of roles including Brand President, VP of Supply Chain Management and Managing Director of Black Diamond Asia. Ryan holds a J.D. from the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah; an M.B.A. from Florida Institute of Technology; and a B.S.B.A. in Finance from the University of North Carolina – Charlotte.

“There is no business to be done on a dead planet.”

Ryan McLaughlin is the founder of McL.digital, Germany’s first CreativeShare Consultancy that operates as a global network of agile talent and partners, specializing in digital transformation. This network is made up of a curated group of thinkers and makers from around the globe, co-working through digital tools, to develop ideas, experiences, and the culture, to make those ideas and experiences come to life. Ryan specializes in assisting DAX 30 and Mittelstand organizations with their digital transformation needs, specializing in Retail, Automotive, Finance, Real Estate and CPG. He also holds the role of Global Digital Ambassador for the Strategy Consultancy Roland Berger. Ryan has spent a considerable amount of time in the digital landscape, working with clients such as Nike, Converse, Capital One, Verizon, Walmart, Microsoft, and more. Prior to founding McL.digital, Ryan was Chief Strategy Officer at Tribal DDB in New York, building new digital capabilities such as incubator programs for clients. Before making his way to Tribal DDB, Ryan was Director of Mobile and Social Platforms at R/GA, the Digital Agency of the Decade, where he was charged with digital transformation in the areas of Mobile, Social and Retail. Next to his career in the digital field, he also presides over the Innovation Management Masters program at the Steinbeis School of Management and Innovation, lectures at the “Made in NY” Media Center, New York’s preeminent Incubator in Brooklyn, as well as The Miami Ad School in Miami, New York, Hamburg and Berlin.

"Entrepreneurs learn from the past, to break the present, and shape the future."

Sam founded Chinwag in 1996, the organization supports fast-growing technical businesses expand globally, working with 300+ firms and government trade agencies in the UK, US and Korea. Sam has led over 20 trade delegations showcasing industry verticals including Fintech, AdTech, Creative and Digital Agencies, Robotics and Space & Satellite Applications. He led the team that grew Social Media Week London, a collaborative festival to 280 events across London with 15,000 delegates attending as well as launching Chinwag Psych, the world’s first behavioral economics for business conference. In 2014, he launched Pitch NYC a new event to help later-stage tech firms raise US investment to expand internationally. He is an independent assessor for the Innovate UK, the UK government’s innovation agency and a regular mentor at startup programs including MassChallenge and the Open Data Institute startup program.


Sam Parr is the founder of The Hustle, one of America's fastest growing media companies. Each day over half a million people refer to The Hustle to get the business news they need to start their day. Sam is also the founder of Hustle Con – a one-day startup conference where nearly 3,000 of the best non-technical startup founders tell the stories, tactics, and tips they used to start and grow their startup.

The Hustle
“If you think you can or think you can't, you're probably right.”

Sami Abou Saab is currently the CEO of Speed@BDD, Lebanon’s first ecosystem-backed startup accelerator. He has been occupying this role since July 2015 and during his tenure, he officially launched Speed@BDD and recruited five batches of startups to accelerate. Part of his role, he has been mentoring startups in Lebanon and the MENA region and helped them grow in their early stages. Sami has more than 12 years of experience in technology, both in startups and big tech firms. Prior to Speed@BDD, he worked at Skype and Microsoft Corporation in the US, covering strategy, marketing, and channel modeling. In Silicon Valley, Sami started his own company, MobiLock, which was voted as the best startup in the Berkeley MBA program entrepreneurship class. Sami holds a Bachelor of Engineering from the American University of Beirut and an MBA from Berkeley-Haas and London Business School.


Sarah Cruddas is a British Space Journalist, TV Presenter and Author. She has a BSc in Physics with Astrophysics from the University of Leicester and a Masters in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Westminster. She is the face of space on British television and can be seen covering space on Sky News, as well as other national UK channels, including Channel 5, Channel 4 News and ITV. She also appears on screen on shows on National Geographic and The Discovery Channel as well as various BBC shows such as Coast and Horizons Business. Sarah specializes in space exploration, but has reported on all aspects of science and technology from across the world including from Rwanda, North Korea, Tibet and Eastern Europe. Her reports have featured on BBC Radio’s flagship ‘From Our Own Correspondent’, BBC World Service and across BBC News. She is also an established writer, covering all aspects of space exploration for Discovery, the BBC, New Scientists, The Sunday Times (London), CNN, The Royal Aeronautical Society and a host of other publications. Away from journalism, Sarah works as a communication consultant for startups in science and technology and as a corporate host and presenter for clients ranging from The European Union, to the European Space Agency, Google, Red Bull and Samsung. Sarah is passionate about STEM education and helping to inspire the next generation of space explorers. Her second children’s book is released this September, with a third book series planned for release in 2019.

"Humans were built to go over the hill and explore, space is that next hill."

Sarah is the Community Manager and Resident Tech Concierge at the Office of the Dublin Commissioner for Startups. She is responsible for promoting Dublin as a great startup city and running programs that help startups to scale. She looks after international media, serial entrepreneurs and investors who travel to Dublin, and all events including the 1stFriBrekkie. She manages the 'Dublin Makes Me' campaign that celebrates Dublin as a great city of creativity and innovation.

Startup Dublin

Sarah M. Thornton currently pursues her doctoral degree in mechanical engineering at Stanford University. She obtained her Sc.M. degree in mechanical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2013, where her research focused on developing an adaptive shift control algorithm for automatic transmissions. She received her B.Sc. degree in mechanical engineering from UC Berkeley in 2011. Her current research interests are in the area of ethical decision-making and motion planning under uncertainty for automated vehicles.

Stanford University

Sasha Samochina (sam-ocean-uh) is a Multimedia Specialist at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She joined the team at JPL after working in New York in the fields of video, web development and science communication and in Chicago, where she was a head Media Producer at The Field Museum of Natural History. After dreaming up words, GIFs and short videos for @NASAJPL and @MarsCuriosity, as well as other JPL social media channels, she was inspired to explore the world of 360 video and VR. Sasha edited and produced the first 360 video release on social media for NASA. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in film, video and new media. She’s originally from St. Petersburg, Russia. She loves all things digital, animal, sound-emitting, cosmic and views the world through VR-colored glasses. At me Convention, Sasha will speak on the topic of NEW REALITIES. For everyone who ever dreamed of experiencing outer space, this session has extra appeal.

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
“I create work that allows you to experience unexplored worlds and spaces.”

Dr. Sebastian Schaefer is a passionate entrepreneur, lecturer and well-thought advocate of unconventional wisdom. Prior to founding TechQuartier, Germany's official FinTech Hub in Frankfurt, he was assistant professor in entrepreneurship, and Managing Director of Goethe University's business incubator. Trained as behavioral economist, Sebastian believes in the diversity of human nature and is fascinated by the power of incentives to shape organizational behavior. Sebastian is associated with the Center for Leadership and Behavior in Organizations and the Frankfurt Laboratory of Experimental Economics at Goethe University.

"Tomorrow’s success builds on passion and humbleness today."

Sheryl Sandberg is chief operating officer at Facebook, overseeing the firm's business operations. Prior to Facebook, Sheryl was vice president of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google, chief of staff for the United States Treasury Department under President Clinton, a management consultant with McKinsey & Company, and an economist with the World Bank. Sheryl received a BA summa cum laude from Harvard University and an MBA with highest distinction from Harvard Business School. Sheryl is the co-author of Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy with Wharton professor and bestselling author Adam Grant. She is also the author of the bestsellers Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead and Lean In for Graduates. She is the founder of the Sheryl Sandberg & Dave Goldberg Family Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to build a more equal and resilient world through two key initiatives, LeanIn.Org and OptionB.Org. Sheryl serves on the boards of Facebook, the Walt Disney Company, Women for Women International, ONE, and SurveyMonkey. Sheryl lives in Menlo Park with her son and daughter.


Shining is the founder of ShenzhenWare, a Shenzhen based startup company running the first and the most dynamic community, media and network for hardware innovators in China and all around the world. Shining is a professional community leader, making great commitment to China developer community for more than 18 years. Accumulate rich connections to the developers, designers, architects, project managers, technical leaders of software and hardware.


Simon started Cabin Spacey at the age of 29 right after he finished his studies in Architecture in Berlin. He is driven by challenging the conventions in real estate and shaping the way we will live in the future. Starting to walk down that road as an „Archipreneur“, in the last 18 months he formed the Cabin Crew - an amazing group of people, which is the driving force behind the project. Together they are ready and set to bring a new form of experience living space to live.

Cabin Spacey
"In the future we will all be homeless with a home anywhere."

Sonia Lee is currently in Strategic Management Team at D.CAMP, Banks Foundation for Young Entrepreneurs in Seoul, Korea. She is leading Global Partnerships efforts for entrepreneurs and startups as well as being in charge of several D.CAMP programs. She was one of 20 people selected from the globe and invited by the Austrian government to join Austria Leadership Programs (ALPS) held for one week in Vienna in May 2017. D.CAMP is one of the most effective and important startup hubs in Korea. As one of the largest non-profit organizations in Korea which mission is to support startups and enrich the ecosystem, it was founded by Korea’s 18 major banks and financial institutions in 2012 with USD 450 million. Prior to joining D.CAMP, she has extensive work experiences at Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. and Daewoo Motor Company. At Samsung Electronics, she helped developing a global PR strategy and also focused on overseas sales and marketing of Samsung products. At Daewoo Motor Company, she joined Daewoo’s Italian subsidiary in Rome. She also interned at Starbucks Coffee Company in Seattle, WA, as People’s Resources Team while pursuing her master’s degree at Cornell University. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology at Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea and a Master’s degree in Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA.

D.CAMP, Banks Foundation for Young Entrepreneurs

Sophie Lamparter's most recent initiative is DART 17, a testing lab for interactive projects in San Francisco. Her passion is finding new ideas and talent with a creative approach to technology. She helps them scale their ideas and consults with organizations to challenge the status quo. As Associate Director and Head of Public Programs at swissnex San Francisco, Switzerland’s innovation outpost, she has been building networks and collaborations in design, art, technology and research for the last six years. She has organized and curated interdisciplinary exhibitions and programs in media, digital and data arts, interaction and game design, robotics, VR, AR, architecture and urbanism. Sophie has served in the Ars Electronica jury for STARTS (Science, Technology + Arts), a program by the European Commission, and she spoke at international events like SXSW in Austin, Gray Area in San Francisco and the Lift Conference in Geneva.

“Technology is nothing without interesting content or a creative mind imagining the possibilities.”

Susan Hassler began her publishing career at consumer magazines before focusing on science and technology. Specializing in startups and repositioning efforts, she was an editor at The Sciences magazine, published by the New York Academy of Sciences, and founding editor of the symposium and monograph program at The Neurosciences Institute of Rockefeller University. She was also the founding editor of Nature Biotechnology, a journal published by Macmillan Publishers, and one of the original members of its digital strategy team. She has been included in “Folio 40: The Most Influential People in the Magazine Industry” and was inducted into min magazine’s Editorial and Design Hall of Fame in 2011. A senior member of IEEE, Susan has been an adjunct professor in the science and environmental writing program at New York University’s School of Journalism and an adjunct professor in the department of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Miami School of Medicine. In her current position at IEEE Spectrum, she has been responsible for repositioning the magazine and extending its digital platform strategy. During her editorship, Spectrum has won numerous awards for both its print and online efforts, including three Grand Neal Awards and a National Magazine Award for General Excellence in the Thought Leader category.

IEEE Spectrum Magazine
"Technology in the service of humanity."

A champion for women, Symone D. Sanders is a democratic strategist, communications consultant and CNN Political Commentator who rose to prominence during her tenure as the national press secretary for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. At 25, Symone demonstrated an uncanny command of the issues earning her a place in history as the youngest presidential press secretary on record and a spot on Rolling Stone Magazine's list of 16 young Americans shaping the 2016 election. However, Symone was not new to presidential politics. When she was 16, she introduced former President Bill Clinton at a luncheon in Omaha, Nebraska. Following her remarks, President Clinton said, “Symone spoke so well I really hate to follow her.” President Clinton went on to write about Symone in his book, Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World. Now, Symone draws from her experience on the national stage to provide perceptive analysis on political and social issues. Her lively presentations challenge the conventional wisdom that strong communities are only defined by what we have in common. Instead, she outlines the way our differences contribute to effective social movements.

Taylor is a meditating surfer obsessed with building businesses that make change. His first social enterprise, ‘Change Heroes’, mobilized people in 80 countries to fund and build 400 schools, water projects, libraries, girls scholarships, anti-sex trafficking work, and more for 200,000 people in developing nations. He has lectured at Harvard, Princeton, NYU, Cornell, and the United Nations on the subject of social enterprise: 'How to make money while making profound impact in the world’. Taylor has studied with Zen monks in Japan, explored every continent including Antarctica, surfed the longest wave in the world in Peru, and filmed mini documentaries in Cambodia, the Ecuadorian Amazon, and the jungles of Uganda as an activist for human rights. Most recently, he cofounded Journey: an impact travel company bringing groups of people on international trips to build homes, renovate schools, and aid refugees: transforming both the communities they visit and the travelers they engage.

"Only the man who knows enough is enough will ever have enough" - Lao Tzu

Tedi Asher, PhD, is the Neuroscience Researcher at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) in Salem, MA, USA.  She joined PEM in the spring of 2017 after completing her PhD in Biological and Biomedical Sciences at Harvard Medical School. As the first neuroscientist on staff at an art museum, Asher helps to inform the exhibition design strategy by analyzing emerging neuroscientific findings and proposing recommendations to increase engagement and visitor impact. She has a long-standing interest in deciphering the mechanisms underlying human emotional experience, a pursuit she is actively engaged in at PEM.

Peabody Essex Museum
“Artists and neuroscientists explore many of the same questions about human experience, they just use different sets of tools.”

Tim Leberecht is the author of “Business Romantic” - an international bestseller that was selected as one of the “Forbes Top 10 Creative Leadership Books” and translated into eight languages. His recipe for success? Leberecht reminds us that, while the world of business is increasingly focused on maximization and optimization, we should be concentrating more on the things that make business successful in the first place: on creativity, emotional and social intelligence, and – yes – on business romanticism. Leberecht believes that the only way we can respond to the rise of artificial intelligence is to rediscover a humanist perspective and to focus on the beauty of things and of the creative process. This is why we invited Tim Leberecht to speak at the me Convention. His topic will be NEW LEADERSHIP. Leberecht, 45, is the founder and CEO of “Leberecht & Partners”, a consulting company that helps companies develop their visions and strategies, and assists them with transformations. He was previously Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at NBBJ and, before that, held the same position at Frog Design from 2006 to 2013. He has provided strategic advice to many well-known companies over the course of his career, including Amazon, Disney, GE, Samsung, Microsoft, Starbucks and Siemens. His TED Talks “3 Ways to (Usefully) Lose Control of YOUR Brand” and “4 Ways to Build a Human Company in the Age of Machines” have been viewed by over two million people.

The Business Romantic Society
“To be innovative, you have to waste time.”

Traci Fenton is the Founder and CEO of WorldBlu, which has a vision of seeing one billion people living, leading and working in freedom-centered and democratic organizations worldwide. WorldBlu was founded in 1997 and is the largest global network of companies committed to freedom and democracy in the workplace, with clients in over 80 countries globally representing over $30 billion in annual revenue. Traci was recently recognized by Inc. Magazine as a Top 50 Leadership Thinker, along with other world-class leaders such as Dan Pink, Brene Brown, Simon Sinek, and Marshall Goldsmith. Traci developed the groundbreaking Freedom at Work™ model as well as the Freedom-Centered Leader™ gamification programs and frequently coaches and consults with leaders of companies worldwide working to embrace a more freedom-centered model. Traci also developed the transformational The Power Question™ Process used by thousands of leaders around the world.


Vandana Hart is the creator and host of We Speak Dance, airing on Netflix global in January 2018. The documentary series uses dance as a language to connect across cultures, share real stories and transform lives. The first 5 episodes travel to Bali, Hanoi, Beirut, Paris and Lagos and explore the people, culture and politics of the city through dance. Prior, Vandana was the UN Women Global Coordinator for a 30 country program on Safe Cities for Women and Girls. She trained Alvin Ailey School of dance, studied global affairs at NYU and holds a master from London School of Economics.

We Speak Dance
"Dance is a tool, a weapon for social change, empowerment, even revolution. It's an international language that connects people regardless of nation, ethnicity, class or gender."

Vassilis is the co-founder and CEO of Mobiltron, Inc, a technology startup that is developing WOVER, a powerful artificial intelligence platform that reads sensor data from smartphones and wearables, understands user patterns, detects changes and provides contextually relevant and actionable information. He is one of the co-founders and Chairman of the MIT Enterprise Forum Greece. He consults the Board of the Eugenides Foundation, a non-profit educational organization, on issues related to technology and science and represents them on the Boards of VIORYL, a successful chemical engineering company, and Fasmatech, a startup developing original technology in the field of mass spectroscopy. He holds a dual BS/MS degree in Mechanical Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens (94) and MS degree in Ocean Systems Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (97). He is an active volunteer of the MIT Alumni Association since graduation and served as Chairman of the MIT Club of Greece from Jan 2011 to Jan 2015.

MIT Enterprise Forum Greece

Vonnie Estes’ career has been driven by a passion for technology and sustainability. Currently a consultant, she has held leadership roles at prominent companies including DuPont, Monsanto, and Syngenta along with start-ups and venture funds to identify revolutionary science and bring products to market. She has built a number of agricultural and bio-industrial start-ups with successful exits. Serving on company, advisory, industry, and government boards, Vonnie Estes is a known voice in the industry with frequent publications and speaking engagements. She is an executive who gets things done with a vision to commercialize new technologies creating revolutionary products that are good for people and the planet.

“Bringing new technologies to the market for people and the planet.”

Whurley is the founder and CEO of Honest Dollar: a fintech startup bringing honesty, transparency, and simplicity to the financial services industry.

Honest Dollar

Yonca is the Managing Director of Watt Factory, a new Smart Cit Hub in Ghent with an in-house accelerator programme. Previously she gained experience in both Belgian and international tech hubs, as the Operations Manager of Startups.be. In addition, she leads TEDxGhent and curates the Ghent Startup Digest. As a scifi geek, she loves futurist theories & most recently got obsessed with virtual reality.

Watt Factory
"The skillset of the future needs to be a special blend of curiosity, critical thinking and empathy."

Disclaimer: The views of me Convention speakers do not necessarily reflect the opinions of either Mercedes-Benz and/or SXSW.