Founder and COO, Titan Bioplastics & Titan Hemp
Amy Ansel had over two decades of IT program management experience at Microsoft before becoming an entrepreneur working to create a fresh and new program with a purpose. She moved her attention to the industrial hemp industry, where she could employ her passion for sustainability. She has mapped her skills and systems over the budding agricultural industry with her partner, Tanya Hart, creating various pillars serving a global agenda in sustainable economies. Amy enjoys trying new things, disruptive technologies/bio-innovation, playing cards and solving puzzles. A native of the West Coast, Amy resides outside of Seattle and enjoys spending time with 3 kids, 1 husband and 4 pets.
Seattle 2019 Civic Poet
Anastacia-Reneé is a writer, performance artist, and workshop facilitator who has been described as a queer super-shero of color. She is the 2018-2019 Seattle Civic Poet, the 2015-2017 Poet-in-Residence at Hugo House and the recipient of the 2017 Artist of the Year Award. She is the author of five books and her cross-genre writing has appeared in: Women of Resistance; Poems for a New Feminism. Sinister Wisdom; Black Lesbians—We Are the Revolution and many more. She has received writing fellowships from Cave Canem, Hedgebrook, VONA, Artist Trust and Jack Straw, as well as a writing residency from Ragdale and Mineral School. She grabs time to write whenever possible which as the mother of two children and a teacher of three programs, is usually between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. “When poetry takes center stage, tension-filled spaces become safe literary hubs where community members can gather to share and celebrate the plethora of local, historical, and contemporary voices” says Anastacia-Reneé.
Head of AI & Research at Aira
Anirudh Koul’s interest in computers started as a child. Growing up in India, he was programming computers at a young age, and by high school, he was captivated by patterns in data—a key component of artificial intelligence. He moved to the United States to study at Carnegie Mellon and, after stints at Yahoo and Microsoft, is now an AI researcher with multiple patents. Driven by his desire to help a family member, he joined a hackathon at Microsoft and led the development of an app that is now helping hundreds of millions of people with disabilities. It puts the gift of sight in their hands.
barry johnson is a multidisciplinary artist whose work, which ranges from painting to filmmaking to installations, has appeared in more than 70 shows around the world. He is also a children’s book author and illustrator, and in his free time, he volunteers teaching art to all ages. He is known for continually shifting the nature of his work. A self-taught artist, he grew up in Kansas and, after graduating with a Business Marketing degree, relocated to Seattle. johnson left the tech world to become a full-time artist and has been making art for six years. Currently, he is working on opening a new show featuring temporary murals and has just finished writing a film that will begin shooting the summer of 2019. He is the recipient of an Edwin T. Pratt Scholarship for 2018-2019.
MD, Researcher, Lab Director
Chuck Murry is a physician-scientist at the University of Washington, where he founded and currently directs the Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine. Heart failure—now the number one cause of death worldwide—is the motivation behind Murry’s specialized research into innovative treatments. Murry believes that it's not enough to help a patient plagued with a chronic disease merely to survive. Instead, through his pioneering work, he seeks to harness the potential of human stem cells to eliminate heart disease from the body. While Murry feels that, even after his 31 years in the field, there is still a great deal of work to accomplish, achieving this vision is much closer today.
Design Director, Parkourvisions
Colin MacDonald sees a playground sprouting from the handrails and staircases of the urban landscape. Colin works as a parkour park designer for Parkour Visions, with completed indoor and outdoor projects across the US and Canada. A decade of practicing and teaching parkour has left him with a unique perspective on the importance of challenge and play, as well as a passion for the design and shape of the cityscape. He believes we can design spaces that enable and encourage climbing, jumping, and balancing – without losing functionality or getting ourselves sued. Making a space play-able is all about creating adjacency and connections between objects, while using graphics and visuals to invite people to try something new. “I want moments of play, of physical exploration, to leap out at you and grab five minutes of your day, like a partner pulling you onto the dance floor.”
Singer, Songwriter, Dancer
Deseo Carmin plays a sultry fusion of Latin, Jazz-Funk with the spice of flamenco. Stella Rossi leads the Seattle-based band whose members pull influences from their native countries of Paraguay, Russia, Chile, and the United States into their interpretations of Latin American favorites and original compositions. Their music has already transcended borders playing on radio and television in Paraguay and Chile. Stella was a nominated artist for "Composer of the Year" at this year’s Univision Latin Music Awards. The group was also nominated for an award in the 2011 New Music Seminar, Artists on the Verge (AOV) project. The project draws from millions of potential artists throughout the U.S.
Violinist, vocalist and composer
Born in Korea and raised in Seattle, violinist-looper & vocalist Joe Kye has drawn rave reviews and “discharging world[s] of emotion” and delivering ‘divine messages’ with his lush string loops, sweet vocals, and eclectic style.” Drawing upon his immigrant upbringing, he blends indie-rock, jazz, classical, pop, and Korean folk to create a unique sound. With his innovative use of digital effects and looping, Kye's songs weave together diverse textures, catchy melodies, and rich, sweet vocals to groove and uplift listeners. He studied at Yale and left his high school educator careerto pursue music full-time. He has performed across the US, opening for Yo-Yo Ma, comedian Hari Kondabalu, rapper Warren G, and Senator Bernie Sanders. Kye is currently touring his new album, Migrants. Featured on NPR, BBC World News, PRI’s The World, and LA’s Music Friday Live, the new record has been praised as “lovely and nimble” and “delightfully unique.”
Artist, professor, and transgender activist
Jono Vaughan is an artist, teacher, and transgender activist. In 2011 Vaughan began to openly make work as a trans woman and began a number of ongoing bodies of work including Project 42, The Ornamental Self, and Safety in Numbers. She holds a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York and an MFA from the University of South Florida. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including the exhibitions MOTHA and Chris E. Vargas Present: Trans Hirstory in 99 Objects at the Henry Art Gallery and We the People at the Minnesota Museum of American Art. She received Seattle Art Museum's 2017 Betty Bowen Award and exhibited Jono Vaughan: Project 42 at the museum. Her work has been featured in The Advocate, Surface Design Journal, City Arts Journal, Tampa Bay Times, and New American Paintings. Vaughan is currently an Assistant Professor of Art at Bellevue College in WA.
Scientist, musician, climate educator
Judy Twedt is a fifth-generation Washingtonian who pursued a PhD in atmospheric sciences at the UW to better understand the physics of global climate change. Three years into her research after the reversal of US participation in the Paris Climate Accord, she designed a new PhD program to develop novel ways to increase comprehension of our changing climate — by listening to the vital signs of the planet. She uses climate data to create climate soundtracks with three-dimensional, spatialized sound fields. These soundtracks explore tensions between the time-scales of human experience and that of climate change. She mixes art and science to promote public reckoning with our changing climate and its associated risks. She has received an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship; the University of Washington's Husky 100 and Husky Green Awards for her work in sustainability and science communication. She enjoys swimming in the Puget Sound, making pies and addressing big multi-disciplinary problems.
Director Of Operations at Wick & Mortar
Kirk Grogan is a marketing and sales strategist in Seattle. He had considered a career in international intelligence after growing up with a father who worked on spy satellites for the Defense Department. At Texas Tech, he added a minor in Arabic to his international business major to boost his appeal to intelligence agencies, even studied at the American University in Dubai. But a year spent abroad changed his perspective. When he saw how people in different countries receive drastically different news and information, he began to see parallels in his world of data marketing. He now consults with Fortune 100 companies. He coaches and leads marketing teams to develop conversion testing methods and teaches them how to engage with potential customers in an organic environment. He has developed multiple unique strategies currently implemented across the business world to help brands connect and build loyalty with consumers.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in King County, WA
Sam Dinning is a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney working in the Juvenile Division. Sam is part of a team encouraging new approaches to criminal justice by promoting restorative practices that are primarily rehabilitative rather than punitive. Sam has tried cases including armed robbery, child molestation, and first-degree assault, while also leading efforts to implement office policies that encourage prosecutors to consider the real-world circumstances of both offenders and victims. “I work daily with the impact of community violence and the vulnerability that comes with it. Victims, of course, feel it most acutely, but offenders are just as immersed in the environment of insecurity. Understanding this insecurity is fundamental to the story of almost every kid that comes before the court.” Sam is a graduate of Bowdoin College, the Kennedy School of Government, and Harvard Law School. He plays ultimate frisbee, enjoys hiking, and is an unapologetic Boston sports fan.
Founder Gender Equity Now (GEN)
Sara Sanford founded Gender Equity Now (GEN) to bring gender balance to the U.S. workplace. She is the architect behind the GEN Certification, the first gold standard for gender parity in U.S. businesses. Guided by the maxim, “You get the behavior you measure,” Sara believes we now have the data-driven tools for all businesses to be equity-centered if they choose to be. Before starting GEN, Sara worked in the financial services industry, where she identified opportunities to address gender disparities as a force multiplier for growth. As a Masters graduate of the University of Washington Evans School of Public Policy, Sara focused on private-public partnerships and impact evaluation in the international development sector. She has since used her experience and skills to collaborate with Local and International Foundations in the areas of education, cultural competence, sustainability, and global health.