An active, outgoing child, Becky’s entrepreneurial spirit revealed itself early, but was tempered by low self-esteem as a result of undiagnosed Attention Deficit Disorder.
The little girl who, at the age of 5, went by herself through her neighborhood, collecting money door-to-door for UNICEF because she wanted to, had difficulty following in class and taking tests. She was assessed by her teachers with poor comprehension, and by that, Becky interpreted it as “you’re not smart enough.” For much of her life, she believed it. Yet it never kept her from working hard.
CEO, Building Impact
Bridget Akinc is the CEO of Building Impact, a nonprofit organization that harnesses the power of volunteering to address complex social issues. Akinc joined Building Impact in 2017, after teaching entrepreneurial marketing at MIT and Boston College, where she co-created a new minor for Managing for Social Impact. Akinc earned an undergraduate degree in education policy at Princeton University in 1998, and a graduate degree from the MIT Sloan School of Management in 2013.
Founder, Turtle River Montessori
Bubli Dandiya was born and raised in India where she received a Master's degree in English. Soon after she got married, she moved to Zambia with her husband who is a physician and found a job teaching English at the University of Lusaka. Their next stop was the UK. In her words, "My husband has always had the travel bug and I followed him happily wherever his work took him." Germany was their next stop. His ultimate dream was to practice medicine in the U.S. By 1981 they set up home in N.Y. where she had her first brush with Montessori and fell in love with it. She promptly found a job at a Montessori school where she worked for 3 years. Subsequently, she took the training herself.
CeCe Espeut is a Professional Protographer and Author & Advocate for the Civil Rights Restoration of Former Inmates.
She has spent the past five years speaking in prisons and at drug rehab centers such as the Susan B. Anthony Recovery Center and House of Hope on clemency and recidivism. As a former inmate who was granted clemency in 2012 by Florida Governor Rick Scott and who is in the process of applying for a Presidential Pardon, she speaks from a place of intense passion and personal experience concerning these issues.
Founder, Media Maven
Christina Nicholson is a former TV reporter and anchor who has worked in markets from New York City to Miami. She is still telling stories, but instead of doing it for a newscast, she's doing it to help businesses grow. With her business, Media Maven, she helps entrepreneurs reach thousands, even millions, of their ideal customers or clients in minutes instead of months through the power of media without spending big bucks on advertising.
You can still see her in front of the camera as a host on Lifetime TV, in national commercials, on WPTV for her monthly segment, Steals and Deals, and read her work online in Inc. Magazine. Christina also has a local lifestyle and family blog, Christina All Day. She lives in South Florida with her husband and two young children.
Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer at Abaka Health
Dave Markert is a leader, innovator, entrepreneur, engineer and former combat aviator. He is currently a Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer at Abaka – a digital health startup. Previously Markert served as the Director of Business Development and as a Program Manager at Progeny Systems Corporation. There he led a diverse and disruptive series of efforts for the US DOD including alternatives to GPS, an advanced Tactical Aircraft Mission Planning system, Long Endurance Drone Development, a shock hardened Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) for the Navy ‘Railgun’ Projectile, and an Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (UUV) for covert submarine launch.
A former Naval Flight Officer, Markert was an instructor at TOPGUN, the Navy's Fighter Weapons School. He has flown the F-14A, B and D, the F-16, A-4 and other combat aircraft. He retired from the Navy as a Commander. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, the US Naval War College and MIT’s Sloan School of Management.
President, Ra Power Pro
Geoff Haynes is a serial entrepreneur and President of Ra Power Pro, an award-winning U.S. portable solar company specializing in non-traditional commercial uses for solar.
Geoff began his career in the marketing department of BMW of North America, working on the highly regarded “Ultimate Driving Machine Campaign”. He loved the challenge, but was driven to become his own boss. Soon there after, Geoff joined the first of what would be a string of successful start-up ventures spanning the next 30 years.
Geoff earned an MBA from the McLaren School of Business, University of San Francisco and resides in South Florida.
Director of Sustainability, Sloan School of Management, MIT
Jason Jay is a Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management and Director of the Sustainability Initiative at MIT Sloan. His research focuses on how people navigate the tensions between personal, business, and social goals in sustainability efforts. His first book is Breaking Through Gridlock: The Power of Conversation in a Polarized World and he has published articles in the Academy of Management Journal and California Management Review. He teaches courses on strategy, innovation, and leadership for sustainable business at MIT, and engages students and alumni in hands-on projects with leading companies and organizations. Prior to MIT, Jason was a management consultant for Dialogos International, where he consulted on leadership development and organizational change for major international corporations and NGO's including BP and the World Bank. Jason holds a Ph.D. in Organization Studies from the MIT Sloan School of Management, and an AB and M.Ed from Harvard University.
CEO, National Aquarium
As president and CEO of the National Aquarium, John leads a team of 600 full-time and part-time employees and 1,000 volunteers in pursuing the Aquarium’s mission to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures. The Aquarium welcomes 1.3 million guests annually at its campus on Baltimore’s famous Inner Harbor, and touches millions more through its engaging guest experiences, valuable educational programs and meaningful conservation initiatives.
Prior to this, John spent 16 years in leadership positions at U.S. aquariums, including CEO of the Florida Aquarium in Tampa, and vice president of marketing and development for Monterey Bay Aquarium. While in college, John began his career as a diver and aquarist, experiences that he credits with giving him great appreciation for the work of everyone on the Aquarium team. John holds a degree in strategic management from Dominican University of California.
CEO, Velan Ventures
Karthik along with his brother Guha Bala co-founded Vicarious Visions in 1991 while both were in high school. VV has since grown to become an industry-leading game developer, helping to shape popular culture around the world. In 2005 Vicarious Visions was acquired by Activision|Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI). Over the years, VV has developed multiple billion dollar franchises including Skylanders & Guitar Hero as well as garnering critical acclaim include the prestigious BAFTA award, Nickelodeon Parent’s Choice, and numerous Game of the Year awards.
Karthik holds degrees in Computer Science and Psychology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Dr. Lena Dobson attended University of Missouri-St. Louis for her B.A. and graduated Summa Cum Laude. She earned her PhD in clinical psychology with an emphasis on neuropsychological assessment from Nova Southeastern University (APA-accredited). While completing her Ph.D., Dr. Dobson was the Primary Investigator for a 6-year longitudinal research study focused on neuropsychological measures and sports concussion in professional sports.
Florida Bar Board Certified Labor & Employment Lawyer
Ms. Sigman received her B.A. in English from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1989, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and then graduated ranked #1 in her graduating class from Stetson University College of Law in 1992, summa cum laude. She has been practicing Employment Law in the same law firm for 25 years. She is “AV” rated by Martindale Hubbell and a member of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA).
Ph.D. Candidate, MIT
Raichelle Aniceto is a Doctoral Candidate in Space Systems Engineering in the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. She completed her Bachelor of Science (2016) and Master of Science (2017) Degrees in Aerospace Engineering at MIT.
She is a member of the MIT Space Telecommunications, Astronomy, and Radiation Laboratory (STAR Lab), led by Dr. Kerri Cahoy. Her research is focused on optical (laser) communications, space radiation, and satellite engineering. Her Ph.D. research on the development of optical communications systems is sponsored by Facebook Connectivity Lab.
Society of Sloan Fellows Professor of Applied Economics, Sloan, MIT
Roberto Rigobon is the Society of Sloan Fellows Professor of Applied Economics at the Sloan School of Management, MIT, a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a member of the Census Bureau’s Scientific Advisory Committee, and a visiting professor at IESA.
Roberto joined the business school in 1997 and has won three times the "Teacher of the year" award and three times the "Excellence in Teaching" award at MIT. He got his Ph.D. in economics from MIT in 1997, an MBA from IESA (Venezuela) in 1991, and his BS in Electrical Engineer from Universidad Simon Bolivar (Venezuela) in 1984. He is married with three kids.
Founder at Koka Dental Clinic and Career Design in Dentistry
Sreenivas Koka is a dentist specialist in prosthodontics - that field of dentistry that focuses on replacing missing teeth using dental implants and different kinds of dental prostheses. He has a CV filled with a constellation of academic and clinical accomplishments that are carefully selected and extolled here to make him look good: He graduated from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry at the age of 22; he also has an MS in Prosthodontics (Michigan), a PhD in Medical Sciences (Nebraska) and an MBA from MIT's Sloan School of Management. He is currently the interim Chair of Restorative Dentistry at UCLA and a Clinical Professor in Advanced Prosthodontics at Loma Linda University. In previous years, he has been the Chairman of Dental Specialties and Professor of Dentistry at the world famous Mayo Clinic, the President of the Academy of Prosthodontics, and has published over 100 scientific manuscripts and book chapters.
Director, STRYKE Percussion
Description: STRYKE is a high energy Percussion Ensemble. Featuring the best talents of South Florida in the pageantry arts. They will capture our imagination with their fast-moving music, theatrical performance, and synchronized marching performance.