Omar Allam is a medical student at the University of Connecticut. He has received multiple regional awards, and research grants for his work in chemistry. His drive for discovery and scholarship has taken him all over the globe, including research labs at Fudan University in Shanghai, China, the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and refugee camps in Greece. Currently, he is co-leading multiple initiatives including a social media publishing startup, a pro-bono mentoring program, and a platform to enhance communication between the scientific community and the general public.
Nereah Aluoch is a budding entrepreneur, registered nurse, and freelance journalist in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Empowering and advocating for minorities is at the heart of everything she does. Currently, she is working on a footwear line that provides stylish and affordable options for individuals who have suffered from a stroke, post-polio syndrome, or other illnesses that cause weakness in the feet. When she isn’t on the clock, she enjoys swing dancing, chasing scenic views, chips masala, and volunteering in her community.
Kim Arrington comes from a Southern family of tobacco farmers, coal miners, teachers, community organizers, artists, and business owners spanning from Virginia to the Carolinas. As a performing artist and entrepreneur, she has produced a poetry book, released two soul-jazz albums, written-directed over 35 student-theater productions, and performed across the United States and Europe. In 2004, Kim launched a business to teach STEM, language arts, history, and social justice to Pre-K–12 students through creative writing, theatre, music, and visual arts. In 2018, Kim launched Teaching Artist Boot Camp, to coach creatives on how to maximize their income, while impacting their community.
Lizette Avineri is a New York based fashion designer. In 2011, she graduated from Parsons The New School of Design. She held internships at Proenza Schouler and Derek Lam. Lizette designed womenswear for J. Mendel, and Alice & Olivia. Her designs have been worn by many women including, Malala Yousafzai, Gwen Stefani, and Janelle Monae. Her love of art, relaxation, and travel inspired her to develop her own brand. The Lizette Avineri brand is bold and cool home-dressing that edgy women can comfortably wear at home, but not feel embarrassed to wear out in public.
Amy Bacharach is a government policy researcher by day and budding entrepreneur by night. After having her first child while running for – and then serving in – elected office, she created parentinginpolitics.com. The website is a resource for moms and dads who balance parenting with public service. After many years of dreaming, Amy is now jumping into unknown territory and learning how to launch a new apparel brand for curvy women. Starting with no knowledge of apparel design, manufacturing, or distribution, she is enjoying the learning process and is excited to expand her knowledge of the industry.
AUSTIN BRYAN SANCHEZ
Austin Bryan Sanchez is a filmmaker from Orlando, Florida who has shot and produced short films and advertisements for over ten years. Before starting his research into interface theory and virtual reality, Austin studied cinematic language and computer science. He is working toward becoming a director of photography on major feature films and likes to write and produce short scripts in his free time. Austin currently runs Headshot Heaven, a home photography studio next to Disney Springs. His favorite magazine is American Cinematographer and he has a passion for sushi, tiny houses, and short films.
Katie Burton is an experienced digital marketing strategist based in the Bay Area. She received a B.A. in Mass Communications from Kansas State University and has worked in both marketing and public relations. When she isn’t glued to her screen, she spends time hiking with her dog, practicing Spanish, supporting other female entrepreneurs, or learning about her next travel destination.
Angelisa Candler is a filmmaker based in San Francisco. She began her filmmaking career at a young age with the Bay Area Video Coalition, then became a video instructor at the Ninth Street Independent Film Center's youth program, TILT. She assisted on feature-length documentaries such as Room to Breathe and Losing Sight of Shore prior to receiving her Bachelors in Film and Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She is currently attending Hackbright Academy, an all-women’s software engineering bootcamp. Angelisa hopes to build tools for video sharing and innovation.
Ellen Cassidy is the founder of Elemental Prep, a new LSAT prep company with a fundamentally fresh approach to test prep. Ellen founded Elemental because she wants to make her students better readers and critical thinkers. She turned down Harvard Law School to write The Loophole in LSAT Logical Reasoning, the lovechild of a logic textbook and a Buzzfeed article. She's never regretted her decision for one second because she lives for her students, and she would otherwise be silent-screaming into her complimentary corporate law laptop sleeve right now.
LaTonya Davis is an entrepreneur and 19-month breast cancer survivor who lost both her mother and only sister to the disease. As a former collegiate sprinter, LaTonya approached cancer as an opponent who was strong and intimidating – but beatable. As a corporate marketer, she managed luxury brands including Moët & Chandon, Hennessy, and Absolut. The willpower to win races, a love of storytelling, and an unerring creative eye have prepared her for her favorite brand management role to date, a new podcast called The Breast Talk Ever, a platform offering the collective voices of survivors. LaTonya – now raising Jayden, her sister's only child – resides in Miami Beach.
ALEXANDRA DEL GAUDIO
Alexandra Del Gaudio is a holistic health practitioner with over 14 years of experience as a certified yoga instructor, body worker, and raw food chef. After giving birth to a child with special needs, she was led on a deeply spiritual path, devoting her life to healing her daughter and igniting her passion for wellness and social justice. Alexandra is committed to making wellness and health accessible to all people regardless of physical ability, body size, race, gender identity, age, or socio-economic status. She founded The Wild Plum, the first yoga studio and wellness center in the city of San Fernando. Alexandra continues to fulfill her mission of bridging the health disparity gap by offering yoga in Spanish, yoga for special needs, and yoga scholarships.
Dewan Farhana is a physician turned entrepreneur. She tapped into her creative side to build Decor+Design, a platform that connects interior designers and professional home organizers to clients on any budget. Decor+Design focuses on easy discovery, engaged design communities, and transparent pricing. She believes technology and startups have evened the playing field for women to pursue their entrepreneurial ambitions and contribute to the tech ecospace. Dewan has previously won awards in design, poetry, history, research, and teaching. She has conducted research at Rutgers and Yale Universities, and presented her work at national symposia.
Viviana Franco is founder and Executive Director of From Lot to Spot, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating equitable access to parks and food gardens in low-income, communities of color. Since 2008, she has helped garner over $20 million in funding for more than 20 greenspace projects in underserved neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles County. Viviana was recently appointed to serve on the Lower Los Angeles River working group and previously served as a Planning Commissioner for the City of Hawthorne. Viviana earned her M.A. in Urban Planning and B.A. in History from UCLA.
Chef Nelson German is a Dominican-American who was born and bred in Washington Heights, New York. One part African American soul, one part fiery Latino and all New York attitude, Nelson has trained countless hours in NYC kitchens and has spent over a decade creating his destiny through culinary travels, burns, cuts, andgetting yelled at by the chef. Nelson’s passion and drive have propelled him through the hardships of the restaurant industry to finally reach his dream: his fist chef-driven eatery, alaMar.
SAMAN GHANI KHAN
Saman Ghani Khan is a multimedia journalist from Karachi, Pakistan who believes that two of the strongest tools people have are empathy and communication. She’s the Chief of Content at VCast Online – a media startup that tells stories about entrepreneurship and the business community in Pakistan. Wary of the accelerated spread of misinformation, Saman advocates for responsible fact-checking everywhere she works, and hopes to launch a sustainable fact-checking platform in Pakistan. She also teaches journalism at the Institute of Business Administration in Karachi. Saman holds a Master's in Journalism from Stanford University and a Bachelor's from Mount Holyoke College.
Mercedes Gibson is a host, life coach, and economic-equity strategist for the City of Oakland, in partnership with The Greenlining Institute. For the last 4 years, she was the manager of Hack the Hood's Small Business Program, which trains young people of color to build free websites for small businesses. Mercedes also founded 40% Coaching, a startup aimed at supporting black women leaders. Often black women have had to work very hard to achieve leadership positions, while keeping their vulnerabilities under wraps. By approaching happiness as an equality issue, Mercedes hopes that 40% Coaching can improve the lives of communities whose leadership is often overlooked.
Alana Glass is an attorney and sports entrepreneur. Alana is passionate about transforming professional sports into a landscape where women are respected and recognized for their athleticism. As the founder of I Want To Be An Owner, Alana amplifies the voices of women in sports while chronicling her own journey toward professional sports ownership. This dream originated when she competed on the University of Minnesota women’s basketball team. Alana is also a nationally-recognized contributor to Forbes.com, SportsMoney, and Women@Forbes. Notably, she co-authored Forbes’ 2018 list of The Most Powerful Women in International Sports.
Brenda Horton is the CEO and co-founder of ProPlanr Inc., a planning and collaboration task management platform. Currently in private beta testing, ProPlanr is a productivity application that helps teams get things done. Prior to launching ProPlanr Inc., Brenda was the president of Hware LLC, a business and technology training company. She has also been an award-winning executive in business development, sales, and customer success across different industries. In 2017, Brenda was nominated by the National Association of Women Business Owners Sacramento Valley Chapter for Outstanding Woman Leader. She is a graduate of the Founder Institute.
Nyarre Hudson is a sophomore Legal Communications major and French minor at Howard University. She is from Atlanta, Georgia, by way of New Orleans, Louisiana. At Howard, she is a part of Her Campus at Howard University, and is also a brand ambassador for Curls at Howard University. In her free time, you can find her volunteering and thinking up new non-profit ideas to better the lives of minority children. Nyarre aspires to create a career that combines her love of people, marketing, philanthropy, law, and all things fashion. She also loves browsing through a good sale.
Noelle Johnson is the founder of My Interview Buddy, an interview preparation company that promotes stronger interviews on both sides of the table. My Interview Buddy provides resources and training to companies that helps them hire more efficiently. It also helps candidates, particularly women, address their interview challenges and empowers them to interview more confidently. Noelle has more than 10 years of experience in operations and is the "swiss army knife" across industries.
Shiloh Johnson is the founder and CEO of FitTrain, a mobile application that helps fitness-minded individuals find local health coaches and create custom workout sessions and group classes. After earning a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, spending ten years working in tax accounting, and going through a rough divorce, Shiloh made the aggressive pivot to her mobile app startup. She has three fantastic teenagers who teach her patience and love in the most authentic and bluntly honest way. Her other strengths lie somewhere between creative cook and eternal optimist.
Amr Kahhaleh grew up in Damascus, Syria and moved to the U.S. to study Computer Engineering at UC San Diego. During a summer trip to Damascus, Amr met Omar Al Sakkah, who became one of his closest friends. Together, they co-founded a ridehailing app called LiBeiroot. Their mission is to give Syrians access to the rest of the world by providing transportation and shipping services between Damascus and Beirut. He works full-time as a software engineer at Apple in Cupertino – and when he’s not there, you will find him running the technology, design, and marketing teams at LiBeiroot.
Ceara Kirkpatrick is a recent graduate of the University of Missouri where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in both Strategic Communications and Spanish. Ceara blended her passions ofr photography and writing into All You Can Edit, an email newsletter where subscribers receive photo, video, and editing tutorials, as well as free editing presets. Ceara’s goal is to promote community over competition and to help others grow their photography skills. When she’s not creating content for All You Can Edit, she’s running her photography and videography business, as well as thinking of her next big idea.
Trisha Kothari is the CEO and co-founder of Unit21, a human-powered API that helps companies with their anti-money laundering and fraud operations. Its goal is to offload the burden of risk operations, so that companies can focus on growing their business, and not their ops teams. By helping teams with compliance and fraud operations, Unit21 hopes to fight crime more intelligently. Trisha previously worked at Affirm for 4 years, where she was an early engineer and project manager. She studied Computer Science at the University of Pennsylvania.
Adeseye Lawal-Solarin is a London-based social entrepreneur. He is the co-founder and CEO of Young & Giving, an early-stage startup that utilizes artificial intelligence to connect millennials with mentors. He draws insights from his upbringing in a single-parent, low-income household in North London and past experiences as an active gang member involved in knife crime. Adeseye is on a mission to utilize AI to connect every young person on the planet with a mentor. He holds a M.S. in Management from Durham University and a degree in Economics from the University of Leicester.
Myisha Lewis-Reed is the CEO and owner of Creative Ink Business Solutions. Starting out as a branch administrator for Edward Jones, Myisha continued to hone her skills with other well-known brands, including Coca-Cola. She launched a mobile notary public business specializing in real estate transactions in Oakland, California. Expanding her notary business into a new areas, Myisha served as a consultant for the Peralta Community College system in Oakland, California. Myisha is a certified credit counselor through Credit Smart, a licensed insurance agent, and consults as a construction and project manager.
Crystal Matson believes entrepreneurship is a necessary and impactful tool in creating equity and breaking cycles of poverty. To that end, she serves as the President of the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce – working to strengthen Oakland’s black business community. Crystal is also a transactional attorney for the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District where she counsels staff on legal questions and drafts and negotiates contracts. Crystal received her B.A. from Spelman College and her J.D. from Golden Gate University School of Law.
Vincent Martinez grew up in East Los Angeles and graduated with a B.A. in Economics from UCLA. He worked nearly a decade in the technology industry as a financial and marketing analyst. After working both at established companies and a startup, Vincent is leveraging his skills and entrepreneurial spirit to develop his own mobile application startup that provides on-demand cosmetology services to clients in major metropolitan areas. Vincent’s business aims to place an emphasis on providing efficient and affordable lifestyle solutions for busy parents, students, and working professionals.
Christa May is a designer and artist in the early stages of founding her social e-commerce mobile art platform, WhiteWalls. Originally from Oklahoma, she now lives in New York. With a decade of experience in design and problem solving, she quickly identified the limitations for creators, purveyors, and collectors in the art market. WhiteWalls gives artists sovereignty over their representation and connects them with aspiring collectors. This is critical for underrepresented identities, voices, and brush strokes in the industry. Christa hopes her entrepreneurial instinct and fervor for art will help her chisel out a place for progress in a conservative market.
Chi Nguyen is from Seattle, Washington. She graduated with a Business Management degree from the Marriott School of Management and took a job at a large investment banking firm. After working in several corporate jobs across multiple industries, she discovered her true passion for technology and design. This realization lead her to leave a great corporate job and focus solely on her own business adventure, TAYTA. TAYTA works with Vietnamese artisans to create three-dimensional, foldable replicas of architectural landmarks based on the ancient Japanese art of paper cutting called kirigami.
Sacha-Rose Phillips is the co-founder and Creative Director of beryl + blossom, a sustainable home decor and interior design startup based in her home parish of Trelawny, Jamaica. The company crafts its earth-friendly products with high-quality hemp sourced from small, independent Jamaican farmers. She is an alum of Carleton College and is currently completing her graduate studies at the School of Environment and Sustainability and the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Angel Poon is a product manager, marketing guru, and data analyst. She also studies acupuncture and Chinese medicine to learn the art of living a balanced, healthy life. Angel is the co-founder of CSPA, Computer Science Proficiency Assessment, a startup that aims to shine a light on highly competent software engineers who might have otherwise been overlooked. She is also the co-founder and CEO of AsiaBin, a tongue-diagnosis mobile application that helps people identify what health signs they should watch out for and how to live a more balanced life. Angel has a B.A. in Business Economics from UCLA.
Josh Romero-Reyes is a supply chain manager at Target with plans to launch restaurant concepts focused on experience-based food occasions. Josh has a passion for the food industry and believes in using social entrepreneurship to lift the communities where businesses operate. Josh studied the food industry at Arizona State University and holds an MBA from Northwest Christian University.
Lizia Santos is a journalist and founder of City Catt, a travel app that makes planning easier. After becoming a mother of three, Lizia faced the reality that trip-planning comes with too many details, and she didn't enjoy the time and stress it involved. That's when she realized that planning trips was always much easier when she had a local friend to consult. City Catt was born out of her desire to connect cautious travelers, like her, with friendly, knowledgeable locals. Users can easily access reliable information, take a shortcut to travel-planning, and create more authentic local experiences.
Rashima Sonson is an Oakland-based designer and the founder of SONSON, an e-commerce luxury bow tie brand. The bow ties are made of African wax fabric, lamb leather, pearls, and Swarovski stones. The brand has been featured on Fashion Bomb Daily, The Knot, San Francisco Chronicle, and Shoppeblack.com to name a few. Before starting her brand, Rashima worked for Gap Inc., leading product quality initiatives. Rashima holds a B.S. in Textile Science, Fashion Design & Merchandising and an MBA. When she is not designing, Rashima enjoys vacationing in exotic places and visiting her home in St. Croix.
Tippy Tippens is the founder and Chief Eternal Optimist of Goods that Matter, an eco-friendly home goods company that gives back to social and environmental causes. Goods that Matter is the first B-Corp in Louisiana and has donated $31,000 to date. Tippy is a social entrepreneur, designer, and consultant who is passionate about building sustainable and equitable growth and fighting climate change. Included in the 2013 GOOD 100, Tippy was named as one of 100 people helping to push the world forward. She holds a Master's degree in Industrial Design from Pratt Institute and a B.F.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Maya Tobias is a serial entrepreneur based in Berkeley, California. She is currently working on a new company called Partnerhood that makes it easier for couples to share household and childcare responsibilities. Previously, Maya co-founded Localwise, a venture-backed startup focused on transforming local hiring through the power or trusted relationships. Prior to that, she lived in Hong Kong where she co-founded Green Monday, a social startup that promotes a sustainable, plant-based diet and now operates in 23 countries. Maya received her B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis, and her MBA from UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, where she co-founded the Haas Impact Investing Network.
Tracy Youngston is a nurse practitioner and the founder of Transformed, Elevated, and Achieved (T.E.A.) Academy. T.E.A. Academy is a mentoring and empowerment program for girls ages 12–17. Tracy is also a coach, speaker, and trainer for personal and professional development. She speaks to nursing students about the struggles and stressors of nursing school and provides them the tools and skills necessary to become purpose-driven nurses.