Anthony Foxx is the United States Secretary of Transportation, leading an agency of 55,000 employees overseeing air, maritime and surface transportation with the primary goal of ensuring the United States maintains the safest, most efficient transportation system in the world. Foxx refocused the national dialogue by releasing Beyond Traffic, a report examining America’s infrastructure challenges over the next three decades. Beyond Traffic highlights the importance of giving local governments reliable, long-term funding to plan critical investments in transportation infrastructure. Foxx secured a five-year, bipartisan surface reauthorization bill from Congress in December 2015, and has leveraged the resources to connect communities to economic opportunity while encouraging land use planners, engineers, and decision-makers to revitalize and reconnect underserved communities. He was mayor of Charlotte, N.C., from 2009 to 2013, preceded by two terms on the Charlotte City Council. He was a law clerk for the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, a trial attorney for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and staff counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary. He was a Root-Tilden Scholar at New York University’s School of Law and holds a bachelor’s degree from Davidson College.
Antwi Akom is an urban technologist with an extensive background in collaborative, community-facing technology projects, people powered place-making, designing for the public good, and developing new models of urban innovation in the 21st century that make cities smarter, more equitable, just and sustainable. Akom is a professor at San Francisco State University (SFSU), where he directs the Civic Innovation lab — a joint research lab between the University of California, San Francisco, and SFSU. He is also an affiliate faculty member with UCSF’s Center for Vulnerable Populations (CVP) at San Francisco General Hospital, where he researches and deploys new health information communication technologies that improve health literacy, health care delivery and promote equitable health outcomes for vulnerable populations. Prior to joining UCSF/CVP in 2016, Akom co-founded and launched a series of technology startups in the San Francisco Bay area, including, Streetwyze, which has been recognized by the White House, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Knight News Challenge, and the Institute for Sustainable Economic Educational and Environmental Design (ISEEED.org), an award-winning community-based center for research, teaching and action.
Elisabeth Babcock (Beth) is president and CEO of Economic Mobility Pathways (EMPath), a national nonprofit organization dedicated to creating new pathways to economic independence for low-income individuals and families. EMPath uses its unique action-tank business model to design, build and test new approaches for creating economic mobility and shares them with other organizations and governments. In 2009, EMPath’s applied research led to the development of its brain-science-based Mobility Mentoring® coaching platform. Over 50 organizations, state and government agencies have implemented the model and are working together to continuously improve their outcomes. Babcock is a member of the Gates Foundation’s U.S. Partnership for Mobility from Poverty. She also is an adviser to the World Bank. She holds a master’s degree and Ph.D. in nonprofit strategy from Harvard University and has taught the subject at Harvard, Brandeis University and the New England Conservatory of Music.
Bill Peduto, mayor of the City of Pittsburgh, has worked for 19 years on Pittsburgh City Council as a staffer and councilmember. Peduto wrote the most comprehensive package of government reform legislation in Pittsburgh’s history, strengthening the Ethics Code, creating the city’s first campaign finance limits, establishing lobbyist disclosure and registration, and ending no-bid contracts. He led the city to apply for Act 47 state protection as a strategic response to Pittsburgh’s financial challenges. Peduto has been directly involved in more than $2 billion in transformative redevelopment of the city’s East End. From co-creator and co-chair of the city’s Comprehensive Climate Action Plan to writing the legislation to protect Pittsburgh’s unique green hillsides, Peduto has championed Pittsburgh’s new reputation as a leader in green initiatives. As co-creator of iBurgh, the nation’s first mobile app for local government, he has led the discussion on e-democracy locally and nationally, and has worked with local companies to help them in creating a new industry.
Charles Catlett is founding director of the Urban Center for Computation and Data (UrbanCCD), which brings scientists, artists, architects, technologists, and policymakers together to use computation, data analytics, and embedded systems to pursue insight into the dynamics, design, and resilient operation of cities. He leads the National Science Foundation-funded Array of Things, establishing a network of 500 Argonne-developed intelligent sensor units in Chicago. He is a senior computer scientist at Argonne, a senior fellow at the Computation Institute of the University of Chicago and Argonne, and a senior fellow at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. In previous roles he was chief information officer for Argonne, director of the NSF “TeraGrid” nationally distributed supercomputing facility, designer and director of the I-WIRE regional optical network, and chief technology officer at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. He has worked in internet and supercomputing technologies since 1985. Recognized as one of 25 “Doers, Dreamers & Drivers” of 2016 by Government Technology magazine and one of Chicago’s “Tech 50” technology leaders in 2014 by Crain’s Chicago Business, Catlett is a computer engineering graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
David Rausch is chief of the Knoxville Police Department. He is from Louisville, Ky., and is a graduate of the University of Louisville with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in justice administration. He served in the U.S. Army MP Corps. He is a graduate of the Southern Police Institute Administrative Officers Course, the FBI National Academy, the Police Executive Research Forum Senior Management Institute for Police, the FBI National Executive Institute and the Secret Service Dignitary Protection Seminar. He currently serves on several community boards and foundations in Knoxville. He is the immediate past president of the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police and the 2nd vice chair of the International Association of Chiefs of Police Midsize Agencies Section.
Grace Clark is a 16-year-old international baccalaureate junior at International High School in New Orleans, where she serves as a student ambassador. Clark is a member of The St. Mark’s 4th Baptist Church Youth Department and a student contributor for NOLA.com. She is an active student intern with Operation Spark, an organization that offers free technology training and coding courses to young people in New Orleans. Through Operation Spark, Clark worked with the New Orleans Police Department on a policing data event, and she taught New Orleans Police Chief Michael Harrison to write his first line of code. Through a generous donation from Prince, Clark and members of Operation Spark attended the 2014 Essence Festival to represent inner-city youth in coding and technology. In the summer of 2015, she taught coding to children at Arthur Ashe Elementary. During a White House visit in December 2015, Clark was presented a replica of the Grace Hopper clock, and in January 2016, she was named a White House Champion of Change in the field of technology. Clark wants to become an educator and teach English as a second language and computer programming in New Orleans.
Jessi Hempel is head of editorial for Backchannel. A former senior writer at WIRED, she has written recently about Facebook’s Internet.org, and profiled Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella as well as U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter. Before joining WIRED, she was a senior writer for Fortune, where she penned cover stories on Yahoo! Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and IBM, and co-chaired Fortune’s Aspen tech conference. Earlier in her career, Hempel wrote about design and technology for BusinessWeek.
Joseph Okpaku is vice president of government relations at Lyft. Since joining Lyft in 2013, he has worked on countless legislative and regulatory matters at the federal, state, and municipal levels, including overseeing more than 150 state bills relating to ridesharing that were introduced in 2015. Prior to joining Lyft’s government relations team, Okpaku served as chief of staff for Councilmember Ash Kalra in San Jose, Calif. During his tenure with Councilmember Kalra, he advised on policy matters, including the development and implementation of an innovative land use ordinance limiting the growth of payday lending and an ordinance banning smoking in outdoor dining areas. He also advised on political strategy, oversaw media communications, and coordinated the response to all constituent concerns. A native New Yorker, Okpaku also worked for the Division of Enforcement of the New York Stock Exchange’s Regulation Department for six years and spent four years working as an assistant district attorney in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office under Robert Morgenthau.
Justin Hall has more than 15 years of experience in software and website development, working with and leading teams in a wide array of projects for Fortune 500 companies, startups, nonprofits and small businesses. A native Kentuckian from Elkhorn City, Hall began working in technology shortly after graduating from Pikeville College (now UPike) in 1997. In 2001, he started JD Media in Lexington, Ky., and recently has worked with several top agencies and tech companies in Lexington, Cincinnati and San Francisco. A believer in agile development, source control, open source, quality assurance and high touch, Hall is excited about the opportunities surrounding Bit Source, a startup he leads. As Bit Source president, he has served the startup by providing direction in the following areas: innovative training, technology standards and solutions, business development, leadership and continuing improvements.
In September 2014, President Obama named Megan Smith the United States Chief Technology Officer (CTO) in the Office of Science and Technology Policy. In this role, she serves as an Assistant to the President. As U.S. CTO, Smith focuses on how technology policy, data and innovation can advance the future of our nation.
Megan Smith is an award-winning entrepreneur, engineer, and tech evangelist. She most recently served as a Vice President at Google, first leading New Business Development -- where she managed early-stage partnerships, pilot explorations, and technology licensing across Google’s global engineering and product teams for nine years -- and later serving as a VP in the leadership team at Google[x] -- where she co-created the company’s “SolveForX” innovation community project as well as its “WomenTechmakers” tech-diversity initiative and worked on a range of other projects. During her tenure she led the company’s acquisitions of major platforms such as Google Earth, Google Maps, and Picasa, and also served as GM of Google.org during its engineering transition, adding Google Crisis Response, Google for Nonprofits, and Earth Outreach/Engine, and increased employee engagement.
Megan previously served as CEO of PlanetOut, a leading LGBT online community in the early days of the web, where the team broke through many barriers and partnered closely with AOL, Yahoo!, MSN, and other major web players. Megan was part of designing early smartphone technologies at General Magic and worked on multimedia products at Apple Japan.
Over the years, Megan has contributed to a wide range of engineering projects, including an award-winning bicycle lock, space station construction program, and solar cookstoves. She was a member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) student team that designed, built, and raced a solar car 2000 miles across the Australian outback.
Megan has served on the boards of MIT, MIT Media Lab, MIT Technology Review, and Vital Voices; as a member of the USAID Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid; and as an advisor to the Joan Ganz Cooney Center and the Malala Fund, which she co-founded. She holds a bachelor's and master's degrees in mechanical engineering from MIT, where she completed her master's thesis work at the MIT Media Lab.
Dr. Monica Bharel is commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and is responsible for spearheading the state's response to the opioid crisis, as well as leading implementation of health care cost containment legislation, Chapter 224, reducing health disparities, finding public health solutions for health care reform, finding innovative solutions using data and evidence-based practices, and other health care quality improvement initiatives. Recognized for her dedication to health care for underserved and vulnerable populations, she previously served as chief medical officer for Boston Health Care for the Homeless, the largest nonprofit health care organization for homeless individuals in the country. Bharel has served on the faculty at Harvard University Medical School, Boston University Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. She was previously at Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston Medical Center, and has practiced general internal medicine for 20 years in neighborhood health centers, city hospitals, the Veterans Administration, university hospitals and nonprofit organizations. She received her master’s degree in public health through the Commonwealth Fund/Harvard University Fellowship in Minority Health Policy. She received her medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine and completed her residency and chief residency in internal medicine at Boston City Hospital/Boston Medical Center.
Rayid Ghani is director of the Center for Data Science and Public Policy, and senior fellow at the Computation Institute and the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. Ghani’s work focuses on developing data science-driven solutions to policy and social problems in health, public safety, criminal justice, urban infrastructure, education and economic development, in collaboration with governments and nonprofits. Ghani teaches data science and machine learning to graduate students as well as executives in governments and nonprofits and also runs the Data Science for Social Good Summer Fellowship that brings graduate students from computer science, math/statistics, and social science and policy to work on problems with social impact. Before joining the University of Chicago, Ghani was chief scientist of the Obama 2012 Election Campaign, in which he focused on data, analytics and technology to target and influence voters, donors and volunteers. Previously, Ghani was a research scientist and led the Machine Learning Group at Accenture Labs. Ghani did his graduate work in machine learning at Carnegie Mellon University and is actively involved in organizing data science related conferences and workshops. In his free time, Ghani works with nonprofits to help them with their data, analytics, digital efforts and strategy.
Robin Chase is co-founder and former CEO of Zipcar; Buzzcar, a peer-to-peer car-sharing service in France (now merged with Drivy); and GoLoco, an online ride-sharing community. She is co-founder and a current board member of Veniam, a vehicle communications company building the networking fabric for the Internet of Moving Things. Her recent book is “Peers Inc: How People and Platforms are Inventing the Collaborative Economy and Reinventing Capitalism.” Chase serves or has served on the boards of the World Resources Institute; Tucows; the Massachusetts Department of Transportation; the National Advisory Council for Innovation & Entrepreneurship for the U.S. Department of Commerce; the Intelligent Transportation Systems Program Advisory Committee for the U.S. Department of Transportation; the OECD’s International Transport Forum Advisory Board; the Massachusetts Governor’s Transportation Transition Working Group; and Boston Mayor’s Wireless Task Force. She advises the French National Digital Agency. Chase has been named among Time’s 100 Most Influential People, Fast Company’s Fast 50 Innovators and BusinessWeek’s Top 10 Designers. She graduated from Wellesley College and MIT's Sloan School of Management, was a Harvard University Loeb Fellow, and received an honorary doctorate of design from the Illinois Institute of Technology.