Optimism and pessimism.
One of Adam Grant’s guiding principles is to argue like he's right and listen like he's wrong. Adam rethinks how people lead, work and live. His pioneering research has inspired people to question assumptions about motivation, generosity and creativity. He has been the Wharton School's top-rated professor for seven straight years, his New York Times bestselling books have sold millions of copies, his TED talks have more than 25 million views and his podcast, WorkLife with Adam Grant, has topped charts. He has been recognized by Forbes as one of "The World's Ten Most Influential Business Thinkers," highlighted as a Fortune "40 Under 40" and received distinguished scientific achievement awards from the American Psychological Association and the National Science Foundation. Grant received his BA from Harvard University and his PhD from the University of Michigan. He is a former magician and junior Olympic springboard diver.
CEO, Zoox, an autonomous vehicle company.
The future of computer vision and robotaxis. Before she joined Zoox in 2019, Aicha Evans served as the senior vice president and chief strategy officer at Intel Corporation, driving the company's transformation from PC-centric to a data-centric company. Previously, she ran the company's wireless efforts and oversaw a global team of 7,000 engineers. Evans is a member of the supervisory board of SAP and holds a Bachelor's degree in computer engineering from the George Washington University. Twitter: @zoox
Global Chief Marketing Officer at Netflix
Prior to joining Netflix, Bozoma served as head of global consumer marketing at Apple Music and iTunes, chief brand officer at Uber and CMO at Endeavor. She has been recognized on Forbes 2018 "World's Most Influential CMOs" list, Billboard 2018 "Women in Music Hall of Fame" list and Hollywood Reporter 2018 "Women in Entertainment Power 100" list, featured on the cover of Adweek as "one of the most exciting personalities in advertising" and on lists ranging from Ad Age's "Most Creative People" to Ebony's "100 Powerful Executives" and Black Enterprise's "Most Powerful Women in Business". She was inducted into the American Advertising Federation Hall of Achievement in 2014.
Harvard Business School has used her successful marketing career as a case study in its MBA class, where she has been a guest lecturer. Her philanthropic efforts include representing Pencils of Promise as a Global Ambassador to Ghana and serving on the boards of Girls Who Code and Vital Voices.
How the ocean will save us, specifically sea grass. Carlos M. Duarte researches the effects of climate change on marine ecosystems -- and develops nature-based solutions to mitigate them.
Carlos M. Duarte is working to rebuild the abundance of marine life by 2050. Following his research showing mangroves, seagrasses and salt marshes to be globally relevant carbon sinks, he developed the concept of "blue carbon" as a nature-based solution to climate change. He has conducted research across all continents and oceans, from inland to near-shore and the deep sea, from microbes to whales.
Duarte led the Malaspina 2010 Expedition that sailed the world's oceans to examine the impacts of global change on ocean ecosystems and explore their biodiversity. He has published more than 900 scientific papers and has been ranked as one of the most influential scientists in the world, receiving many international honors and awards for his research.
Entrepreneur, education advocate
Chris Bennett is a Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur and early childhood education advocate who's passionate about harnessing the internet for social good. He is the cofounder and CEO of Wonderschool, an online platform that helps families find local childcare and preschool options -- and supports those who provide care and education. Born out of Bennett's own experience of excellent early childhood education, Wonderschool's mission is to provide high quality early childhood education to every child in the United States.
Recognized by Fast Company as one of the world's most innovative companies, Wonderschool has received fundings from storied VC firms, including Andreessen Horowitz and First Round Capital. Bennett is a graduate from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is originally from Miami, Florida and, when not working, he enjoys traveling and scuba diving. Twitter: @8ennett
Gay Gordon-Byrne fights for your right to repair the consumer goods you buy.
After a 40-year career in enterprise computing, Gay Gordon-Byrne is now an advocate for the right to repair the things we buy. Equipment manufacturers make it difficult for businesses and consumers to repair parts and execute essential patches and fixes for their products. This travesty spurred her to volunteer for a committee seeking to keep the business of repair viable. She now serves as chairman and executive director of the The Repair Association, which pushes for legislative, regulatory and standards changes.
CEO and cofounder, Bitwise Industries
The joy of underdog cities. In 2013, Irma L. Olguin Jr. decided to build a company focused on strengthening the tech industry in Fresno, California, leveraging it as the economic driver to remake the city. In 2019, her company Bitwise Industries secured one of the largest series A rounds of funding ever for a female, Latinx-led company. The company now aims to activate human potential for the technology industry in underdog cities across the United States. As CEO and cofounder, she oversees Bitwise's operations teams, the company's tech-focused training program and software development.
Cellular agriculture ecosystem builder
New proteins in the world (not just meat!). A pioneer of cellular agriculture, Isha Datar is driven by a passion to see transformative technology create a better world. Executive director of New Harvest, a research institute exploring alternatives to industrial livestock production. She created a category for agriculture products produced from cell cultures -- rather than whole plants or animals -- called "cellular agriculture." In 2010, she published "Possibilities for an in-vitro meat production system", beginning her quest to establish the field of cell agriculture. She cofounded Perfect Day Foods (originally Muufri) and Clara Foods in 2014, and established the first endowment for public cell agriculture research.
A Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow who served as a director's fellow at the MIT Media Lab. She holds a bachelor's in cell and molecular biology from the University of Alberta and a master's in biotechnology from the University of Toronto. Twitter: @IshaDatar
The scientific case for optimism. Jamil Zaki is a professor of psychology at Stanford University and the director of the Stanford Social Neuroscience Lab.
Jamil Zaki is fascinated by human connection, what it does for us and how people can learn to connect better. His research demonstrates that qualities such as empathy and kindness are skills that people can build through practice, like they would strengthen a muscle. He and his colleagues think of their work as constructing "empathy gyms," where they can work out their care and understanding.
In addition to his scientific work, Zaki is active in outreach and public communication of science. He has written about the psychology of empathy and kindness for the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal and The New Yorker. In 2019, he published his first book, The War for Kindness, which NPR called a "wide-ranging, practical guide to making the world better."
Behavioral scientist + Corporate strategist, designer
Humor in Business. Jennifer Aaker researches the intersection of technology and human behavior. She's a General Atlantic Professor and Coulter Family Fellow at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a leading expert on how purpose and meaning shape individual choices -- and how technology can positively impact both personal well-being and company growth. Her work has been widely published in leading scientific journals and featured in The Economist, New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic and Science. Once named MBA Professor of the Year, Aaker counts winning a dance-off in the early 1980s among her greatest feats. Naomi Bagdonas is a corporate strategist who has spent her career straddling the worlds of business and improv comedy. Naomi Bagdonas is a lecturer at Stanford's Graduate School of Business, an executive coach for CXOs, politicians and celebrity clients and their leadership teams, and a bestselling author. Twitter: @aaker
Violinist, fiddler, singer, songwriter + Guitarist + Bassist, composer
This trio of amazing musicians has been making music and waves together since 2000. Violinist Jenny Scheinman grew up on a homestead in Northern California and has been performing since she was a teenager. She has worked extensively with some of the most innovative jazz artists in the world such as Bill Frisell, Jason Moran, Brian Blade, Nels Cline and Marc Ribot. She has also toured and recorded with numerous American songwriting legends such as Lucinda Williams, Bruce Cockburn, Rodney Crowell, Lou Reed and Ani Difranco. A guitar polymath, Nels Cline's recording and performing career spans jazz, rock, punk and experimental music. Nels Cline's many accolades include being anointed by Rolling Stone as both one of "20 New Guitar Gods" and one of the top "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time." Tony and Grammy award winner Todd Sickafoose straddles the worlds of folk, indie rock, jazz and chamber music.
www.jennyscheinman.com | www.nelscline.com |
Former CEO, Wikimedia Foundation
Wikipedia, trust and truth. Strategist, technologist and policy expert Katherine Maher is an advocate for free and open societies. She has spent her career at the intersection of technology, human rights, democracy and international development. Most recently, she served as CEO and executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation. Previously, she was advocacy director for the international digital rights organization Access, where she worked on global policy issues related to freedom of expression, access to information and privacy. A fellow at the Truman National Security Project, her writings on human rights, technology and foreign policy have appeared in various publications. She is a member of the Advisory Council of the Open Technology Fund and the board of the Sunlight Foundation. A founding member of the UNICEF Innovation team. She received her bachelor's degree in Middle Eastern and Islamic studies from New York University. Twitter: @krmaher
Director, production designer, architect
"Planet City" and how world building can help us fix today's challenges. Liam Young is a speculative architect, production designer and director who operates in the spaces between design, fiction and futures.
Cofounder of Tomorrows Thoughts Today, an urban futures think tank exploring the local and global implications of new technologies. He is also cofounder of Unknown Fields, a nomadic research studio that travels on expeditions to chronicle emerging conditions as they occur on the ground.
Described by the BBC as "the man designing our futures," Young's visionary films and speculative worlds are both extraordinary images of tomorrow and urgent examinations of the environmental questions facing us today. As a worldbuilder, he visualizes the cities, spaces and props of our imaginary futures for the film and television industry.
Singer, rapper, songwriter, flutist
Twerking! Three-time Grammy-winning superstar Lizzo has become a household name, with more than four billion global streams and a Platinum debut album. "[Lizzo's] sound is relentlessly positive and impossibly catchy: bangers that synthesize pop, rap and R&B, with hooks so sharp it feels like they've been in your brain forever," writes Samantha Irby in TIME, which named the self-described "Bop Star" its Entertainer of the Year in 2019. With the help of anthemic smash hits like the 5x Platinum "Truth Hurts," the 3x Platinum "Good As Hell" and the Platinum "Juice," Lizzo released her debut album, Cuz I Love You, on April 19, 2019, debuting at number six on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart and spending 24 consecutive weeks in the chart's Top 10. After spending seven weeks atop the charts, "Truth Hurts" became the longest running number one by a solo female rap artist in history. Twitter: @lizzo
Tiny TED Talker
Peekaboo can change the world
Physician, immunologist, cancer researcher + Physician, immunologist
BioNtech cofounders on the future of vaccines/mRNA. Uğur Şahin is one of the world's foremost experts on messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) medicines. He initiated the historic development of the first mRNA vaccine for COVID-19. A physician, immunologist and leader in the development of novel approaches to fight cancer and infectious diseases. He has pioneered several breakthroughs enabling the development of mRNA vaccines and other types of immunotherapies. He initiated and oversees "Project Lightspeed," the historic development of the first mRNA vaccine for COVID-19, moving from lab and clinical testing to conditional approval within an unprecedented 11-month period. He also leads BioNTech's research and development of neoantigen specific mRNA cancer vaccines. His team developed RNA vaccine nanoparticle delivery strategies that target tissue-derived dendritic cells body-wide. They became the first to administer an mRNA encapsulated in a nanoparticle delivery system to humans.
Pardis Parker is the creator and star of Comedy Central's "Mideast Minute," a deadpan news satire that showcases his unique (and hilarious) perspective. As a writer whose work has been published by the New Yorker, the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Chicago Sun-Times, Lit Hub and McSweeney's. He is also cocreator of Uncivil, a sitcom for NBC from Universal Television and Hazy Mills Productions. As a performer, Parker is a six-time Canadian Comedy Award nominee, a frequent guest on Comedy Central's @midnight, and a contributing correspondent and writer for CBC's This Hour Has 22 Minutes. He is a stand-up comedian who's headlined comedy clubs and small theaters across Canada, the United States and England and an actor who's appeared on shows for ABC, CBS, CBC, Showcase, Family Channel, Comedy Central and others. As a filmmaker, Parker's short films and music videos have received over 80 awards and distinctions. Twitter: @pardisparker
Biotech entrepreneur, conservation innovator
As cofounder and executive director of Revive & Restore, Ryan Phelan is working to bring biotechnology to conservation. She leverages advanced biotechnology solutions to empower conservation efforts. For three decades, she played a key role as a nonprofit leader in patient-oriented health care and built two innovative health care companies focused on empowering the health care consumer. With cofounder Stewart Brand, Phelan made the case for de-extinction at TEDxDeExtinction in 2013, which helped shift perceptions and attitudes about what's possible in a traditionally conservative field. She also launched the Intended Consequences Initiative, which promotes a rebalancing of the risk-benefit equation for conservation. Twitter: @Ryanphelan6
Drones and AI for restoration. Susan Graham works to restore biodiversity to Earth's natural ecosystems. She serves as CEO of Dendra Systems, a data analytics company that uses AI and drone technology to restore natural ecosystems. She leads a team of ecologists, engineers and computer scientists to assess ecosystems and execute customized restoration plans that support plant, animal and microbial life. With her deep understanding of the biodiversity of complex ecosystems, as well as the incentives that drive global change, Graham has led Dendra to partner with industry-leading companies, such as BHP and Glencore, to comprehensively restore the land they manage. Twitter: @DrSusanMGraham
Activist, author, scholar
Ownership is the best way to create worker power.
Soulful singer Tyrone Davis, Jr. has performed at Carnegie Hall, on Broadway, national tours, television and in regional theaters across the country, including the hit Broadway musical, Waitress.
He delights us singing a special rendition of "I Can See Clearly Now" while playing the piano.
Digital sleight of hand. Zach King runs a film studio in Los Angeles focused on making films that surprise, uplift and spark imagination.
Zach King is on a mission to fill the void of darkness on people's social media feeds. Over the years, his work has garnered an audience of more than 100 million followers, and he has collaborated with artists such as Selena Gomez, Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard and David Blaine.
King uses his platform to teach and inspire the next generation of filmmakers by running monthly film competitions on his YouTube channel, receiving thousands of submissions for each challenge. His goal is to encourage the next generation of storytellers to create more than they consume. King and his wife are foster parents and are passionate about advocating for foster kids. Twitter: @zachking