Featured Speakers

Looking for mind-expanding presentations by industry leaders? SXSW Conference Featured Speakers bring together some of the biggest and brightest names of our time.


Browse Featured Speakers Schedule


Featured Speakers

2017 SXSW Featured Speaker, Melanie Lynskey – Photo by Errich Petersen

About Featured Speakers

 

SXSW Conference speakers come from all over the globe. When you attend the many workshops, conversations, and panels at the event, expect to hear from technology industry experts, filmmakers, artists, music supervisors, actors, publicists, legends, journalists, and much, much more.

Across the various themes and trends at SXSW, Featured Speakers present a snapshot of the most transformative ideas shaping our future. Browse 2018 Featured Speakers below and stay tuned to SXSW News for 2018 programming announcements throughout the season.

For more big-name speakers at SXSW, also browse the Keynotes page.

2018 Featured Speaker Lineup

 

Featured Speaker sessions bring together some of the biggest and brightest names of our time for mind-expanding presentations. These high-profile sessions present the key leaders and top trends impacting the SXSW community. Learn more about our 2018 lineup of confirmed speakers below.

60 MINUTES: TV’s Most Successful Newscast Featured Session (News & Journalism) – Hear the stories and the backstories about the original television news magazine that’s been the favorite of Americans for generations. What keeps 60 Minutes ticking on in its record 50th season? Find out in a frank, humorous, and insightful interview with its Executive Producer Jeff Fager conducted by 60 Minutes’s own Lara Logan.
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Luvvie Ajayi (Social Impact) – Luvvie Ajayi, the New York Times best-selling author of I’M JUDGING YOU: The Do-Better Manual, is a speaker and digital strategist who thrives at the intersection of comedy, technology and activism. A fourteen-year blogging veteran, she is the voice behind Awesomely Luvvie, a widely-respected humor blog that covers everything pop culture – from TV, movies, and technology to travel, race, and life’s random adventures.
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Christiane Amanpour (News & Journalism) – Christiane Amanpour is CNN’s chief international correspondent and anchor of the network’s award-winning, flagship global affairs program Amanpour. She is based in the network’s London bureau. Amanpour’s fearless and uncompromising approach has made her popular with audiences, and a force to be reckoned with by global influencers.
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José Andrés and Dana Cowin (Food) – Named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People and “Outstanding Chef” by the James Beard Foundation, José Andrés is an internationally-recognized culinary innovator, author, educator, television personality, humanitarian, and chef/owner of ThinkFoodGroup. Dana Cowin has been a tastemaker, talent scout, and innovator in media for the past 30 years. Her scope spans magazines, digital, social, books, restaurants, TV, video, radio, and events, as an influencer with wide reach in the food world. José Andrés and Dana Cowin will join Andrew Zimmern in conversation.
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Dave Asprey (Health & Wellness) – Dave Asprey is the founder and CEO of Bulletproof 360, a high-performance coffee and food company, and creator of the widely popular Bulletproof Coffee. He is a two-time New York Times bestselling author, host of the Webby award-winning podcast Bulletproof Radio, and has been featured on the Today Show, Fox News, Nightline, CNN, and dozens more.
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Olivier Assayas and Richard Linklater (Making Film & Episodics) – Olivier Assayas is a French author, screenwriter, and director. He’s written and directed notable films such as Demonlover, Something in the Air, and 2016’s psychological thriller Personal Shopper starring Kristen Stewart. Richard Linklater is an award-winning filmmaker best known for such visionary works such as Slacker, the Before Trilogy with Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke, Boyhood, and many others. Linklater also serves as the Artistic Director for the Austin Film Society, which he founded in 1985 to showcase films from around the world that were not typically shown in Austin.
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W. Kamau Bell (Social Impact) – W. Kamau Bell is a sociopolitical comedian based in The People’s Republic of Berkeley, Calif. Bell is the host of the Emmy Award-winning CNN Original Series United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell. The series also received an Emmy and a Television Critics Association Award nomination in its first season. The third season of United Shades will premiere in 2018 on CNN.
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Brian Behlendorf (Startup & Tech Sectors) – Brian Behlendorf is the Executive Director of Hyperledger, an open source blockchain project at the Linux Foundation. Behlendorf was a primary developer of the Apache Web server, the most popular web server software on the Internet, and a founding member of the Apache Software Foundation. He has also served on the board of the Mozilla Foundation since 2003 and the Electronic Frontier Foundation since 2013. Behlendorf was the founding CTO of CollabNet and CTO of the World Economic Forum. Most recently, Behlendorf was a managing director at Mithril Capital Management LLC, a global technology investment firm.
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Joe Berlinger, Deborah S. Esquenazi, Tamron Hall, and Ryan White (Making Film & Episodics) – There is no denying our national fascination for true crime content, and the appetite for these stories continues to grow, among audiences and filmmakers alike. A stellar lineup of documentary filmmakers discuss what drew them to these emotional stories and highlight some of the unique challenges they face when crafting deeply personal narratives about life and death, innocence or guilt. With a life potentially hanging in the balance, non-fiction storytellers are keenly aware of how they represent their subjects – but how do they balance that with their responsibility to victims? What burden does a filmmaker willingly take on when developing relationships with individuals whose lives or livelihood are on the line? Is there a cost that comes from exposing the cracks in our justice system?
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Amber Venz Box (Startup & Tech Sectors) – Amber Venz Box is the President and Co-Founder of rewardStyle and LIKEtoKNOW.it. A digital style influencer herself, Amber Venz Box conceptualized and launched rewardStyle at the age of 23 as a solution to monetize her fashion blog, venzedits.com. Box has worked on all sides of the fashion industry: as a shop girl, an editorial stylist, a fit model, a retail buyer, and a jewelry designer. Her intimate understanding of the fashion industry, along with first-hand experience as an influencer, has helped to fuel rewardStyle’s global success.
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Business on the Blockchain Featured Session (Intelligent Future) – Cryptocurrencies, distributed applications, and blockchain technology have all grabbed the public spotlight recently, but they sometimes seem to be evolving in separate silos. If we are to achieve an integrated Internet of Value that serves everyone, can we — should we — strive to bring them together? And what exactly does “enterprise blockchain” mean, anyway? Join Brian Behlendorf (Executive Director, Hyperledger) and Amber Baldet (Blockchain Lead, JPMorgan and Financial Industry Chair, Enterprise Ethereum Alliance) as they discuss what business might look like in a blockchain-enabled future and how the choices we make today — some incredibly technical, some undeniably human — are shaping the next generation of e-commerce.
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Sandy Carter (Startup & Tech Sectors) – Sandy Carter is an Amazon Web Services VP focused on Enterprise Workloads and helping companies with innovation. A leading pioneer in the digital business revolution, Sandy was a driving force of Innovation at IBM for the last decade. She is an extreme innovator and bestselling author with her 5th book Extreme Innovation, built on her research with Carnegie Mellon.
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The Chi Featured Session (Entertainment Influencers) – Showtime’s The Chi is a relevant, timely, and distinctive coming-of-age story that follows six interrelated characters linked by coincidence but bonded by the need for connection and redemption that takes place in Chicago’s South Side. Join executive producer Common; creator, writer, and executive producer Lena Waithe; and actors Jacob Latimore and Jason Mitchell for a conversation about the upcoming drama.
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Alex Chung (Brands & Marketing) – Alex Chung is the founder and CEO of GIPHY, the people who bring you all the GIFs. Before founding Giphy, he was a Hacker in Residence at Betaworks and directed media technology for companies such as MTV, Viacom, and Comcast, managed research for Paul Allen’s R&D lab, and started his career as a hardware engineer at Intel.
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Jocelyn Conn, Akash Goyal, Ramin Hedayati, Matt Negrin, and Roy Wood Jr. (Featured Session | News & Journalism) – Jocelyn Conn is the Senior Coordinating Producer for The Daily Show. Akash Goyal is the Vice President of Multiplatform Content Strategy at Comedy Central. Ramin Hedayati is the Supervising Producer and oversees Digital Expansion at The Daily Show. Matt Negrin works on The Daily Show‘s Digital Expansion team and social media channels. Join Comedy Central’s VP of multi-platform content strategy, The Daily Show’s producers and correspondent Roy Wood Jr., for an in-depth discussion about the daily conversation that happens between the show and its audience on social media.
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Katie Couric (News & Journalism) – Katie Couric is an award-winning journalist, cancer advocate, and New York Times best-selling author. Couric’s documentaries include: Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric, for National Geographic; Under the Gun, which aired on EPIX; and Fed Up, available on Netflix. Following the success of Gender Revolution, Couric is partnering with National Geographic on a six part documentary series airing in Spring 2018 that takes a deep dive into the revolutionary changes and major social issues of our time. She hosts an eponymous podcast on the Stitcher network with Brian Goldsmith, featuring conversations with boldfaced names in politics, media, and popular culture.
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Ana Marie Cox and Bree Newsome (Social Impact) – Ana Marie Cox is a political columnist and culture critic. She conducts the “Talk” interviews featured in The New York Times Magazine. She also hosts With Friends Like These, a podcast from Crooked Media. Bree Newsome is a community organizer and activist who removed the Confederate battle flag from the South Carolina State House. Newsome rallies the spirit with her impassioned message about racial equality and illustrates how, with courage, zeal and the support of others, ordinary people can make an extraordinary difference.
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Mark Cuban (Startup & Tech Sectors) – Mark Cuban is an American businessman, investor, author, television personality, and philanthropist. Cuban is the owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, chairman and CEO of AXS tv, one of ABC’s “Sharks” on the hit show Shark Tank, and an investor in an ever-growing portfolio of businesses.
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Eddy Cue with Dylan Byers (Startup & Tech Sectors) – Eddy Cue is Apple’s Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services. Eddy oversees Apple’s industry-leading content stores including the iTunes Store and Apple Music, as well as Apple Pay, Maps, Search Ads, Apple’s innovative iCloud services, and Apple’s productivity and creativity apps. Cue also leads the newly created team responsible for developing all aspects of Apple’s worldwide video programming. Cue’s team has an excellent track record of building and strengthening online services to meet and exceed the high expectations of Apple’s customers. Dylan Byers is a Senior Reporter at CNN and the author of Pacific, a new venture on the business, culture, and politics of innovation that launches this March.
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From CBGB to the World: A Downtown Diaspora Featured Session (Music Culture & Stories) – Was it the sizzle or the steak — the fashions or the music, the images or the sounds — that made a tiny dive bar’s influence expand and persist in such an outsized way, even today? Was the abrupt shift in rock music styles in the late seventies and early eighties merely an idea whose time had come? Or was it, instead, individual, unique creative efforts — by members of the likes of Television, Talking Heads, Patti Smith, and the Ramones — that made all the difference? Featuring: Chris Frantz, Julia Gorton, Richard Lloyd, Chris Stamey, and Tina Weymouth.
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Kim Deal and Steve Albini (Music Culture & Stories) – Kim Deal is a songwriter and musician, known for her work as the bassist of the alternative rock band The Pixies and the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist for The Breeders. Breaking out with 1990’s Pod and 1993’s Platinum-selling Last Splash, The Breeders defined the American rock underground and helped pave the way for grunge and alternative to explode into the mainstream. Renowned studio engineer Steve Albini has recorded legendary rock albums from The Breeders, Nirvana, PJ Harvey, The Jesus Lizard, The Stooges, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, and hundreds more. Albini owns and runs his analog studio, Electrical Audio, in Chicago and performs with his band, noise-rock icons Shellac, now in their 25th year.
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Michael Dell and Clay Johnston (Health) – Michael Dell is chairman and CEO of Dell Technologies, a unique family of businesses encompassing Dell, Dell EMC, Pivotal, RSA, SecureWorks, Virtustream and VMware. Dell Technologies is an innovator and technology leader providing the essential infrastructure for organizations to build their digital future, transform IT and protect their most important information. Dell is also the founder and board member of the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, the private family foundation which provided lead donor funding to build the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin. Clay Johnston is the inaugural Dean of the Dell Medical School. His ambitious vision includes building a world-class medical school by creating a vital, inclusive health ecosystem that supports new and innovative models of education and health care delivery – all with a focus on improving health and making Austin a model healthy city. He is also a neurologist, specializing in stroke care and research.
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Peter Diamandis (Startup & Tech Sectors) – Dr. Peter H. Diamandis is an international pioneer in the fields of innovation, incentive competitions, and commercial space. In 2014, he was named one of “The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” by Fortune Magazine. In the field of innovation, Diamandis is Founder and Executive Chairman of the XPRIZE Foundation, best known for its $10 million Ansari XPRIZE for private space flight. Diamandis is also the co-founder and Vice-Chairman of Human Longevity Inc. (HLI), a genomics and cell therapy-based diagnostic and therapeutic company focused on extending the healthy human lifespan.
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Lena Dunham in conversation with Samantha Barry (Entertainment Influencers) – Lena Dunham is an actor, writer, director, producer, and philanthropist. Dunham starred in and served as executive producer, writer, and director for HBO’s hit series Girls, which wrapped after six critically acclaimed seasons last spring. She has been nominated for eight Emmy Awards and has won two Golden Globes, including Best Actress for her work on Girls. In addition to continuing her involvement with “Lenny,” Lena has a number of film, theater and literary projects in the works for late 2018 and 2019. Samantha Barry is the editor-in-chief of Glamour, one of the biggest and most celebrated women’s media brands in America today, reaching one out of every eight American women. Barry oversees all content development, production, and consumer experiences for Glamour’s digital, social, video, and print platforms.
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Elvis Presley: The Searcher Featured Session (Music Culture & Stories) – Priscilla Presley (Executive Producer), David Porter (legendary Memphis music writer and producer) Thom Zimny (Director), Jon Landau (Producer), and moderator John Jackson (SVP A&R, Sony Music) will discuss the three-hour, two-film presentation of Elvis Presley as the musical artist which will premiere on HBO on April 14, 2018. These films take the audience on a comprehensive creative journey from his childhood through the final 1976 Jungle Room recording sessions.
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Jeff Fager (News & Journalism) – Jeff Fager is the Executive Producer of 60 Minutes, now entering its 50th season, the most-watched news program in America.
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The Female Voices of Film Twitter Featured Session (Film & TV Industry) – Fresh from the publication of her new book (Backwards & In Heels) chronicling the past, present, and future of women in the film industry, Fandango correspondent and author Alicia Malone will moderate on the importance of the female voice in film commentary and social media. Joining Malone will be some of today’s best and brightest female film pundits including Amy Nicholson (Variety, The Canon) and Monica Castillo (New York Times) who will provide advice for both aspiring journalists and filmmakers seeking to break into this industry to tell their stories on the big screen.
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Audrey Gelman (Workplace) – Audrey Gelman is co-founder and CEO of The Wing, a company that builds co-working and community spaces for women. Prior to founding The Wing, Gelman worked in politics and public affairs in New York and Washington D.C.
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Daniel Glass (Music Industry) – Daniel Glass is Founder/President of Glassnote Entertainment Group, a full service independent music company that began in 2007. Glassnote Entertainment Group includes Glassnote Records, Insieme Music Publishing, Present Artist Management, and Resolved Records.
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Ira Glass (News & Journalism) – Ira Glass is the host and creator of the radio program and podcast This American Life. The show is heard each week by over 2.2 million listeners on more than 500 public radio stations in the United States, Australia and Canada, with another 2.5 million listening to the podcast. Under Glass’s editorial direction, This American Life has won the highest honors for broadcasting and journalistic excellence, including five Peabody awards.
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Joséphine Goube (Social Impact) – Joséphine Goube is a hacktivist for migrants and refugees’ social inclusion. As CEO of Techfugees, a non-profit coordinating the tech community to respond to the refugee & migrant challenge in 25 countries over the world, Goube promotes the use of mobile and new digital technologies to empower the displaced and provide them access to information, healthcare, and education. Goube will serve as the Opening Speaker of SXSW 2018 on Friday, March 9.
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Shakey Graves with Bodie Johnson, Janelle Browning and Keith Levy (Music Industry) – In this session, musician Shakey Graves (Alejandro Rose-Garcia) and his team will share insights into their personal journey within the music industry and the steps made to build career longevity. Hear directly from an artist and the team that provides support: managers, tour managers, agents, label reps, publicists, and all the components that create success.
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Kirsten Green (Startup & Tech Sectors) – Kirsten Green used a unique and unconventional blend of professional history and acquired investment experience to launch San Francisco-based Forerunner Ventures in 2010, where she currently serves as Founder and Managing Director. Noticing that emerging purchasing processes were linear and ripe for improvement, Green developed a pacesetter mentality and analytical eye to remain ahead of experience-driven retail trends and identify compelling brand platforms and visionary entrepreneurs.
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Kristina Halvorson (Brands & Marketing) – Kristina Halvorson is the CEO and founder of Brain Traffic, a content strategy consultancy; the founder of Confab Events, a content strategy conference series; and the author of Content Strategy for the Web. Halvorson is an expert in creating content strategies that fuel exceptional customer experience.
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Dan Harris (Workplace) – Dan Harris is the co-anchor of ABC’s Nightline and the weekend editions of Good Morning America. Harris wrote a book about his journey into meditation, 10% Happier, which became #1 on the New York Times best-seller list. His success led to his creation of a meditation app and the 10% Happier podcast.
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Ethan Hawke (Entertainment Influencers) – Ethan Hawke is a Tony- and four-time Academy Award-nominated actor and writer, whose diverse career as a novelist, actor, director, and screenwriter spans more than three decades. Blaze is his most recent foray into directing, which he also wrote and produced with his production company Under the Influence Productions. His other directing credits include Chelsea Walls, The Hottest State, and the critically acclaimed documentary Seymour: An Introduction. His upcoming work includes Paul Schrader’s timely political and environmental thriller First Reformed. After the film screened at the 2017 Venice, Telluride, and Toronto Film Festivals it was acquired by A24 and will release it in 2018.
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Whitney Wolfe Herd (Startup & Tech Sectors) – As Founder and CEO of Bumble, Whitney Wolfe Herd helms one of the fastest-growing social networks in the world. In 3 years, her strategic vision has led to Bumble’s growth of nearly 26 million users worldwide and has singlehandedly disrupted the way people connect on- and offline. Wolfe Herd’s mission for Bumble was simple: create a female-first platform grounded in positive behavior, which would strive to fix the broken system surrounding antiquated gender norms when it comes to connecting. In 2016, Bumble launched Bumble BFF as a friend-finding feature, and launched Bumble Bizz in 2017, which connects users for professional networking.
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Kim Jackson and Alex Winter with Logan Hill (Film & TV Industry) – Blockchain is a buzzword across industries as diverse as finance, insurance, and green energy, but what is it really, and how will it impact our world? Join journalist Logan Hill in a conversation with filmmaker Alex Winter and producer Kim Jackson, the team behind the upcoming blockchain documentary from SingularDTV and Futurism Studios, as they explore what blockchain and decentralization actually is, who are the innovators building real world applications for this technology, and how it will affect our everyday lives in the years to come.
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This Is Us Featured Session (Entertainment Influencers) – Everyone has a family. And every family has a story. This Is Us chronicles the Pearson family across the decades: from Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) as young parents in the 1980s to their 37-year-old kids Kevin (Justin Hartley), Kate (Chrissy Metz), and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) searching for love and fulfillment in the present day. Join cast Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Sterling K. Brown, Chrissy Metz, and Justin Hartley for an inside look at the Emmy Award-winning drama.
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Tristan Harris (Design) – Tristan Harris was previously a Design Ethicist at Google and left to lead Time Well Spent, a non-profit movement to align technology with our humanity. Time Well Spent aims to transform the race for attention by revealing how technology steers two billion people’s thoughts and choices, and by demonstrating how new incentives and design practices can transform our technology environment to align with our best interests. Harris has spent a decade researching what influences our minds, drawing on insights from sleight.
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Hugh Herr, Aimee Mullins, and Professor Hans Georg Näder (Intelligent Future) – Time Magazine coined Dr. Hugh Herr the ‘Leader of the Bionic Age’ because of his revolutionary work in the emerging field of Biomechatronics – technology that marries human physiology with electromechanics. Athlete and model Aimee Mullins became the first amputee in history to compete in the NCAA and was the first person ever to be outfitted with woven carbon fiber sprinting prostheses. She then went on to set World Records in the 100 meter, the 200 meter, and the long jump and has since built a career in film and television. Hans Georg Näder heads the world’s largest prosthetic and orthotic manufacturers dedicated to help people regain their mobility. A third-generation family-owned business, Ottobock and has worked with the Paralympics since 1988, producing hockey sledges and custom prosthetics for skiers, snowboarders, and sprinters.
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Ryan Holiday (News & Journalism) – Ryan Holiday is the best-selling author of Trust Me, I’m Lying; The Obstacle Is the Way; Ego Is the Enemy; and other books about marketing, culture, and the human condition. His upcoming book Conspiracy will be released on March 6, 2018.
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Steve Huffman with Christine Lagorio-Chafkin (Startup & Tech Sectors) – Steve Huffman is CEO and co-founder of Reddit, a social news site and the home of conversation online. At 22, Steve co-founded Reddit with college roommate, Alexis Ohanian. Christine Lagorio-Chafkin is the senior writer at Inc. whose work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and more.
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Walter Isaacson (Startup & Tech Sectors) – Walter Isaacson, University Professor of History at Tulane, has been CEO of the Aspen Institute, chairman of CNN, and editor of Time Magazine. He is the author of Leonardo da Vinci, Steve Jobs, Einstein: His Life and Universe; Benjamin Franklin: An American Life; and Kissinger: A Biography. Isaacson is also the coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made.
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Bozoma Saint John (Brands & Marketing) – Bozoma “Boz” Saint John is the Chief Brand Officer for Uber. Over the course of her career, Boz has earned a formidable reputation as a trailblazing marketing and advertising executive. Most recently, Boz was the Head of Global Consumer Marketing for Apple Music and iTunes. In the role, she spearheaded campaigns geared towards growing consumer brand recognition, loyalty, and equity around the world.
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Rian Johnson and Ram Bergman (Entertainment Influencers) – Rian Johnson is a director, writer and musician, among other things. His first feature film Brick was released in 2005 which received great critical and audience acclaim. Johnson has written and directed features Brothers Bloom and Looper. Having just released Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi, Johnson is already writing his next independent feature. Producer Ram Bergman has fostered a successful partnership with Johnson, working together on four films over the last 15 years. Their collaborations include Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Johnson’s time-travel thriller Looper, as well as his earlier works The Brothers Bloom and Brick.
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Dean Kamen (Startup & Tech Sectors) – Dean Kamen is the founder of DEKA Research & Development and FIRST® and has contributed to society through his prolific inventions and innovative contributions. Kamen’s newest mission, as Chairman and Executive Director of the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI), is ushering in a new era of regenerative medicine and creating a manufacturing industry for human tissue and organs that will benefit the health of millions.
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Guy Kawasaki and Symone Sanders (Government) – Guy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva, an online graphic design tool. He is a brand ambassador for Mercedes-Benz and an executive fellow of the Haas School of Business (UC Berkeley). Symone D. Sanders is a strategist who rose to prominence during her tenure as the national press secretary for U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign.
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Ezra Klein (Government) – Ezra Klein is the editor-at-large and co-founder of Vox, the news brand from Vox Media known for explaining the news and going deeper into the stories that define the world today. Klein focuses on writing, reporting, and podcasting, and offers creative guidance to Vox’s Emmy-nominated video programming.
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Karlie Kloss, Guy Raz and Eric Liedtke (Social Impact) – It takes open eyes to see what we can change for the better and curiosity to dig deep. It takes creativity to turn ideas into action, and just a single voice to speak. We live in a world where the brands we love can help solve the issues we care about, and where one person’s story, shared at scale, can inspire a movement. Via this conversation with Guy Raz, discover how learning to code inspired supermodel and entrepreneur Karlie Kloss to launch a nonprofit that empowers girls to learn to code and becomes leaders in tech, and how adidas Head of Global Brands Eric Liedtke channeled the power of sport as a connector to change the industry so we can protect our oceans and world around us. Forward-facing and driven to create a better tomorrow, make your next move to be in it for good.
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Savan Kotecha (Music Industry) – Savan Kotecha is a Golden Globe and Grammy nominated songwriter. Kotecha has been the recipient of 9 BMI Awards, and 15 ASCAP awards. His songs have achieved number-one status all over the world with artists such as The Weeknd, Ariana Grande, One Direction, Usher, Maroon 5, Katy Perry, Ellie Goulding, and many more.
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John Krafcik (Intelligent Future) – John Krafcik is the CEO of Waymo, the self-driving technology company with a mission to make it safe and easy to move people and things around. Under John’s leadership, Google’s self-driving car project became Waymo, an independent Alphabet Inc. company. Since then Waymo has test-driven the world’s first fleet of self-driving vehicles on public roads without a driver at the wheel, completed 4 million autonomous miles, and struck up partnerships with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Lyft, Avis, and more. In 2018, Waymo will launch an autonomous ride-hailing network to the public, beginning in Phoenix, Arizona.
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Ray Kurzweil (Intelligent Future) – Ray Kurzweil is one of the world’s leading inventors, thinkers, futurists, and AI visionaries with a thirty-year track record of accurate predictions. Called “the restless genius” by The Wall Street Journal and “the ultimate thinking machine” by Forbes magazine, he was selected as one of the top entrepreneurs by Inc. Magazine, which described him as the “rightful heir to Thomas Edison.” PBS has selected him as one of the “sixteen revolutionaries who made America.”
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Spike Lee (Entertainment Influencers) – Oscar winner Spike Lee is a director, writer, actor, producer, author and NYU Grad Film tenured professor whose body of work continues to grow. Recent projects include Lee’s filming of the play Pass Over, currently premiering at Sundance. He also directed the hit Netflix series She’s Gotta Have It, which will be returning for a second season, and has just finished principal photography on his latest project, Black Klansmen. Lee has directed and produced over 30 films since his first feature film, the independently produced She’s Gotta Have It. Lee continues to produce cinematic works of art that display his skill and ability to showcase outspoken and provocative socio-political critiques that challenge cultural assumptions about race, class, and gender identity.
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Dr. Fei-Fei Li with Joanne Chen (Intelligent Future) – Dr. Fei-Fei Li is the Chief Scientist of Google Cloud, AI/ML. Li continues to hold her position at Stanford University as an Associate Professor in the Computer Science Department, and as the Director of the Stanford AI Lab and the Stanford Vision Lab. Joanne Chen is a partner at Foundation Capital where she works with passionate entrepreneurs who leverage data assets to disrupt business functions.
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Yiying Lu (Design) – Yiying Lu was born in Shanghai China, Educated in Sydney Australia & London UK, now based in San Francisco Silicon Valley as a Creative Director. She is an award-winning artist and designer with more than 10 years of experience in the creative realm. Lu was named a “Top 10 Emerging Leader in Innovation” in the Microsoft Next 100 series.
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Joseph Lubin with Laura Shin (Intelligent Future) – Joseph Lubin is co-founder of blockchain platform Ethereum, a decentralized application platform incorporating a virtual machine that executes peer-to-peer contracts paid for via micro-payments of the cryptocurrency ether. Laura Shin is a Forbes senior editor managing crypto and blockchain technology coverage. Shin is also the host of the Unchained: Big Ideas From The Worlds Of Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Podcast.
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Chelsea Manning with Sally Singer (Social Impact) – Chelsea E. Manning is a technologist and network security expert whose actions have shown the power of individuals to change the world through bravery, conscience, and determination. She speaks on the social, technological and economic ramifications of Artificial Intelligence, and on the practical applications of machine learning. She is a vocal advocate for government transparency and queer and transgender rights as @xychelsea on Twitter and through her op-ed columns for The Guardian and The New York Times. Sally Singer is the Creative Digital Director of Vogue. In this post, which she has held since 2012, she oversees all content and creative direction for Vogue.com, social media platforms and partnerships, as well as original video production.
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David Marcus (Intelligent Future) – David Marcus is the Vice President of Messaging Products at Facebook responsible for Messenger, which is used by hundreds of millions of people around the world daily. Marcus joined Facebook in 2014 from PayPal where he spent the previous two years as the company’s President and previously as Vice President of Mobile, leading its mobile products and business.
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Dylan Marron (Social Impact) – Dylan Marron is a writer, performer, and videomaker whose work blends social activism and entertainment. He voices Carlos on Welcome to Night Vale and created Every Single Word, a video series that edits down popular films to only feature the words spoken by people of color. Dylan creates, hosts, and produces interview shows like Sitting in Bathrooms with Trans People and Shutting Down Bullsht*, as well as his signature Unboxing series. In his critically-acclaimed podcast Conversations with People Who Hate Me, Marron calls up folks who have said negative or hateful things about him on the internet.
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Tatiana Maslany (Entertainment Influencers) – Tatiana Maslany is an Emmy Award-winning actress who has garnered numerous accolades for her film and television roles. In 2010 she received the Sundance Breakout Actress Award, in 2014 she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and in 2015 she received her first Emmy Award nomination, going on to win the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 2016. This past year brought Maslany to the large and small screen, with a starring role opposite Jake Gyllenhaal in the film Stronger based on a memoir by a Boston Marathon bombing survivor and the 5th and final season of BBC America’s Orphan Black.
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Bruce Mau (Design) – Bruce Mau is a brilliantly creative optimist whose love of thorny problems led him to create a methodology for whole system transformation. Twenty-five years in the business of design gave Mau the practical, holistic insights for going into the design of business with his Massive Change Network five years ago. In doing so he laid the foundation for the new discipline of enterprise design, successfully applying his design thinking methodology to economic, cultural, governmental, environmental and social change.
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Loic Le Meur, Adam Cheyer, Daphne Koller, and Nell Watson (Intelligent Future) – This group of extraordinary leaders and AI experts will discuss and debate the burning questions around AI. Do we need to fear the rapid progress in AI? Does AI replace humans or augment us, and is now the right time to be worrying about ethics, or is it still too early? They’ll examine where AI is being practically applied in industry now, along with the “unexpected” applications. Looking to get into the mix? Hear how to start an AI company and why it is a good idea. What’s next? Learn how biology and medicine are a big AI frontier and more.
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Ted Leo and Money Mark with Molly Neuman (Music Industry) – The challenges and opportunities in the music business are well documented and discussed. Who are the real leaders taking risks and forging new models of business and careers? How can we have a healthier ecosystem for all? Artists are on the front lines with their fans and community making the case for their careers and offering new ways of running their businesses to positive effect for us all.
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Matthew Libatique and Snehal Patel (Making Film & Episodics) – Matthew Libatique is a cinematographer best known for his work on Black Swan, Iron Man, The Fountain, Mother!, and Requiem for a Dream. Libatique was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography for his work on Black Swan, for which he won his second Independent Spirit Award. Snehal Patel is a filmmaker, technologist, and instructor with over twenty years of experience filming video and film.
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Miguel McKelvey (Workplace) – Miguel McKelvey is the Co-founder and Chief Culture Officer of WeWork, a platform for creators that helps people make a life, not just a living. McKelvey oversees diverse initiatives across the company, ensuring that WeWork’s foundational values are infused into all aspects of the company’s culture, design, products, and operations.
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Tim O’Reilly (Startup & Tech Sectors) – Tim O’Reilly is the founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media, Inc. O’Reilly Media delivers online learning, publishes books, runs conferences, urges companies to create more value than they capture, and tries to change the world by spreading and amplifying the knowledge of innovators.
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Daniel H. Pink (Workplace) – Daniel H. Pink is the author of several books about management, work and behavioral science, including The New York Times bestsellers Drive, To Sell is Human, and A Whole New Mind. His books have won multiple awards and have been translated into 35 languages.
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Steven Pinker (Intelligent Future) – Steven Pinker is an experimental psychologist and one of the world’s foremost writers on language, mind, and human nature. Currently the Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, Pinker has also taught at Stanford and MIT. His upcoming book is entitled Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress.
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Bob Richards (Intelligent Future) – Bob Richards is a space entrepreneur and futurist. He is a Co-Founder of the International Space University, Singularity University, SEDS, the Space Generation Foundation, and Moon Express, Inc., a space transportation and lunar resources company located at Cape Canaveral, where he currently serves as President and CEO.
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Alex Rodriguez with Mark Hoffman (Sports) – Former New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez, one of the greatest players in the history of the game, reflects on his storied career — the highs and the lows — and how he’s leveraging what he’s learned to mentor a new generation of sports stars on his new CNBC primetime series, Back in the Game. CNBC Chairman Mark
Hoffman will moderate the conversation.
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Megan Smith (Intelligent Future) – Megan Smith is an award-winning entrepreneur, engineer, and tech evangelist. As the third U.S. Chief Technology Officer, Smith helped the President and federal teams harness the power of technology, data, and innovation to advance the future of our nation and the world. Smith has recently co-founded a company, shift7, focusing on tech-forward networked innovation for impact and economic inclusion. Smith joins the session “Democratizing AI for Individuals & Organizations” with Dr. Fei-Fei Li and Joanne Chen.
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Brian Solis (Brands & Marketing) – Brian Solis is Principal Analyst and Futurist at Altimeter, the digital analyst group at Prophet and has been called one of the greatest digital analysts of our time by CMOs and CEOs of top brands. Additionally, Solis is an award-winning author of seven best-selling books including X: The Experience When Business Meets Design, What’s the Future of Business (WTF), and The End of Business as Usual.
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Roy Spence (Workplace) – Roy Spence is the chairman and co-founder of the advertising agency GSD&M and author of the books The Amazing Faith of Texas and It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For: Why Every Extraordinary Business Is Driven By Purpose. Spence is also Co-Founder and CEO of The Purpose Institute which helps organizations and leaders discover and fulfill their purpose.
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Bruce Sterling (Startup & Tech Sectors) – Bruce Sterling, author, journalist, editor, and critic, was born in 1954. Best known for his ten science fiction novels, he also writes short stories, book reviews, design criticism, opinion columns, and introductions for books ranging from Ernst Juenger to Jules Verne. His most recent book, Utopia pirata – I racconti di Bruno Argento, is a collection of Italian fantascienza stories.
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Kara Swisher (News & Journalism) – Kara Swisher is the executive editor of Recode, the business and technology brand from Vox Media; host of the Recode Decode podcast, a bi-weekly interview series with the most influential business leaders; and co-executive producer of the Code Conference, a premier series that hosts hard-hitting interviews with the media and tech industry’s leading players. Swisher was also the 2017 SXSW Hall of Fame inductee. Kara Swisher will join a conversation with CNN chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour.
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Bernard J. Tyson (Health & Wellness) – Bernard J. Tyson is the chairman and CEO of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Hospitals — known as Kaiser Permanente, one of America’s leading integrated health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Under Tyson’s leadership, Kaiser Permanente continues to focus on providing affordable, accessible, high-quality health care and improving the health of its members and communities.
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Keith Urban (Music Culture & Stories) – Keith Urban is a premier songwriter, vocalist, musician and virtuoso guitarist. Over the course of his career, Urban has earned four Grammy Awards, ten Country Music Association Awards, eleven Academy of Country Music Awards, a People’s Choice and an American Music Award. His eighth studio album, RIPCORD, produced four #1 songs, bringing Urban’s total of #1s to twenty-two. Having achieved platinum status in 2016, one of only two country artists to hit that mark, Urban extends his historic streak (9) of platinum or multi-platinum albums.
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Ingrid Vanderveldt (Startup & Tech Sectors) – Ingrid Vanderveldt is the Chairman and CEO of Empowering a Billion Women by 2020 (EBW2020). Previously, she was the first Entrepreneur-in-Residence (“EIR”) for Dell Inc. where she oversaw entrepreneurial initiatives worldwide helping to build a $250 million business segment and founded the $125M Dell Innovators Credit Fund, Dell Founders Club, and the Dell Center for Entrepreneurs during her 3-year term.
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Gary Vaynerchuk (Startup & Tech Sectors) – Gary Vaynerchuk is an entrepreneur, four-time New York Times best-selling author and CEO of VaynerMedia. Vaynerchuk is also a prolific angel investor and co-founded VaynerRSE, a $25M investment fund. Currently, he hosts two shows on his YouTube channel, #AskGaryVee and #DailyVee.
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Alisa Vitti (Health & Wellness) – Vitti is the founder of FLOliving.com, a virtual health center that supports women’s hormonal and reproductive health and the creator of MyFloTracker.com, the first biohacking menstrual app that uses functional medicine and phase-based recommendations to make your period better over time.
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Cleo Wade (Social Impact) – Cleo Wade, an outspoken artist, speaker, poet, and the author of a forthcoming book, is an inspiring voice in today’s world for gender and race equality. She creates motivating messages, blending simplicity with positivity, femininity and arresting honesty. Her poems, accessible yet empowering, speak to a greater future for all women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community, preaching love, acceptance, justice, and peace.
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Amy Webb (Startup & Tech Sectors) – Amy Webb is an author, futurist and Founder of the Future Today Institute, a strategic foresight and futures forecasting company that advises the world’s leading businesses and governments. Forbes named Amy one of the world’s preeminent thinkers on the future impacts of technology.
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Elaine Welteroth (News & Journalism) – As editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue, Welteroth leads Teen Vogue‘s editorial vision, while also expanding the brand’s presence through new consumer experiences and products. Welteroth is largely responsible for the expansion of Teen Vogue‘s coverage to include a wide range of feminist, social-justice, and political topics, alongside fashion, beauty, and entertainment news.
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Westworld Featured Session (Entertainment Influencers) – The HBO drama series Westworld is a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the evolution of sin. Join showrunners and creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy along with cast (TBA) for an inside look at the award-winning show, which will return for its second season this spring.
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Wendy Williams (Music Culture & Stories) – Wendy Williams is a media mogul, actress, comedian, entrepreneur, designer, and New York Times best-selling author, who is best known for her long-running Daytime Emmy® nominated talk show, The Wendy Williams Show. Prior to achieving success in daytime television, Williams built a devoted fan base throughout a successful 23-year career in radio, with, The Wendy Williams Experience, being a top-rated daily radio show. Williams will discuss female empowerment in the entertainment and music industries.
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Susan Wojcicki with Nicholas Thompson (Startup & Tech Sectors) – Susan Wojcicki is CEO of YouTube, the world’s most popular digital video platform used by a billion people across the globe to access information, share video, and shape culture. She oversees YouTube’s content and business operations, engineering, and product development. Nicholas Thompson is the editor-in-chief of WIRED. Thompson previously served as editor of NewYorker.com and senior editor at WIRED.
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Lawrence Wright (Government) – Lawrence Wright is a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of nine previous books of nonfiction including In the New World, Remembering Satan, The Looming Tower, Going Clear, Thirteen Days in September, and The Terror Years, and one novel, God’s Favorite. His books have received many prizes and honors, including a Pulitzer Prize for The Looming Tower. His latest book, God Save Texas: A Journey into the Soul of the Lone Star State, will be released in Spring 2018.
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Young Guru (Music Industry) – The Wall Street Journal calls Young Guru “the most influential man in hip-hop you’ve never heard of.” Often referred to as “The Sound of New York,” legendary audio engineer, Gimel “Young Guru” Keaton is most known for his work behind the boards with Jay Z. Guru’s ability to communicate complex technical terms, not only to artists but students, creatives, and business professionals alike, has led to his reputation as the foremost leader bridging the gap between hip-hop and the tech community. He works tirelessly to help music and brands intersect in fruitful ways in his role as Chief Music Strategist at the advertising agency The Marketing Arm. Through his love for technology and innovation, Guru co-founded Era of the Engineer – a social enterprise designed to shed light where culture and technology intersect.
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Andrew Zimmern (Food) – A four-time James Beard Award-winning TV personality, chef, writer, and teacher, Andrew Zimmern is regarded as one of the most versatile and knowledgeable personalities in the food world. As the creator, executive producer, and host of the Bizarre Foods franchise on Travel Channel and Andrew Zimmern’s Driven by Food, he has explored cultures in more than 170 countries, promoting impactful ways to think about, create, and live with food.
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Rachel Zoe and Hillary Kerr (Style) – Rachel Zoe is a distinguished designer, editor, author, and entrepreneur, renowned for her effortless take on glamour. As a designer, Zoe makes her exceptional taste and expertise accessible to the fashion-savvy as Creative Director of the Rachel Zoe Collection. Hillary Kerr is the co-founder and Chief Ideation Officer of Clique a media, marketing, and consumer brands company recently named to Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies list for 2017.
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