SXSW Conference Announces Keynote Jessica Shortall, Buzz Aldrin, Cory Booker, and More

So many more reasons to attend SXSW with the latest additions to the 2017 SXSW Conference Programming lineup. Today, we’re pleased to announce more than 25 new and exciting Featured Speakers from Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin to Senator Cory Booker, and Veep actress Julia-Louis Dreyfus to pop singer and songwriter Kesha. These speakers build on an already impressive 2017 lineup, highlighting the cross-collaboration SXSW is best known for—speakers at the forefront of technology, film and television, music, government, and health sciences.

Gain access to all this exciting, new programming and more during the 2017 SXSW Conference & Festivals from March 10-19 in Austin, TX. Register to attend by this Friday, February 10 to save $100 off the walk-up rate.

Already have your badge? Download the SXSW GO app and use the online schedule to build your own personal schedule for SXSW 2017. And don’t forget, new for 2017, SXSW is expanding badge access for all registrants. Attendees will still receive primary entry to programming associated with their badge type, but can now enjoy secondary access to most other SXSW events, including Keynotes and Featured Speaker sessions.

So...who’s coming? Browse the newest programming additions to the 2017 SXSW Conference below. And stay tuned for more announcements about programming, awards, and more in the coming weeks.

Keynote Jessica Shortall

Jessica Shortall (Social Impact) - Jessica is the Managing Director of Texas Competes, a coalition of more than 1,200 Texas companies making the data-driven case for Texas to be welcoming to LGBTQ people. This business-oriented voice has become a national model.

Featured Speakers Additions

Buzz Aldrin with Jeff Kluger (Entertainment Influencers) - Buzz Aldrin is an American engineer and former astronaut known for his historic Apollo 11 moonwalk with colleague Neil Armstrong. Since retiring from NASA and the U.S. Air Force, Aldrin has remained a tireless advocate for human space exploration. Jeffrey Kluger is the Editor at Large for Time magazine and, principally covering science and social issues.

Sen. Cory Booker (Government) - New Jersey Senator and former Newark Mayor Cory Booker has established himself as an innovative and bipartisan problem-solver committed to developing collaborative solutions that address some of our most complex challenges. Booker will be the opening speaker at SXSW 2017.

John Cena (Sports) - John Cena is a WWE Superstar, 16-time World Champion, actor and television host. Cena devotes much of his time working on behalf of numerous charitable causes. He is Make-A-Wish’s most requested wish granter of all time and the only celebrity to grant 500 wishes.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Anna Chlumsky, Tony Hale, Matt Walsh, Timothy Simons, Reid Scott, Gary Cole, Sam Richardson, and David Mandel (Entertainment Influencers) - Join Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the cast of Veep for an intimate and behind the scenes look at the award winning show. Veep will return to HBO for a sixth season.

Andrew Coy and Sonya M. Pryor-Jones (Tech Industry) - Andrew Coy served in President Obama’s White House, Office of Science and Technology Policy as Senior Advisor for Making. Sonya M. Pryor-Jones is the Chief Implementation Officer for The Fab Foundation and manages signature projects with Chevron, DARPA and GE.

Nick Denton and Jeff Goodby (Journalism) - Nick Denton is the founder and former proprietor of the Gawker Media Group, one of the most freewheeling and provocative sites on the web that was shuttered after a legal campaign funded by one of the tech billionaires it covered — and provoked. Jeff Goodby is a writer, artist, director and the co-founder of award-winning advertising agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners.

Amy Farley (Food) - Senior editor Amy Farley oversees Fast Company’s front-of-book Next section, covering innovation and creativity in business. Before joining Fast Company, she was the news editor and columnist at Travel + Leisure. Farley and The Kitchen founder Kimbal Musk will discuss how startups are changing the way we experience food.

Tim Ferriss and Cheryl Strayed (Journalism) - Tim Ferriss is an early-stage technology investor/advisor and the author of four #1 New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers. Cheryl Strayed is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling memoir Wild and the New York Times bestsellers Tiny Beautiful Things and Brave Enough.

Mick Fleetwood (Music Influencers) - Mick Fleetwood is a founding member and the drummer for Fleetwood Mac, one of the most successful and enduring bands of the last fifty years. Formed in 1967, their debut hit at #4 in the UK charts bringing overnight success. Fleetwood's latest endeavor is his forthcoming book Love That Burns - A Chronicle of Fleetwood Mac (Genesis Publications).

Sammy Hagar (Music Influencers) - For the last four decades, Sammy Hagar has been one of rock music’s most dynamic and prolific artists. From breaking into the industry with the seminal hard rock band Montrose, to a multiplatinum solo career. Hagar has also become a dedicated philanthropist, a two-time New York Times best-selling author and auspicious entrepreneur.

Brad Jakeman (Workplace) - Brad Jakeman is president of PepsiCo Global Beverage Group. Jakeman leads global category strategy, brand building, design, advertising, marketing, innovation and branded content for PepsiCo’s global portfolio of beverages. He will be joining the Elephant on Madison Avenue featured session.

Bryan Johnson, Adam Cheyer, Reshma Shetty, and Nancy Giordano (Intelligent Future) - American entrepreneur and venture capitalist Bryan Johnson is founder and CEO of Kernel and OS Fund. Adam Cheyer is co-Founder and VP Engineering at Viv Labs and was co-founder and vice president of engineering of Siri Inc. Reshma Shetty co-founded synthetic biology Ginkgo Bioworks Inc. Nancy Giordano is a strategic futurist with a drive to help enterprise organizations and visionary leaders transform to meet the escalating expectations ahead and build more relevant, sustainable solutions for us all.

Kesha and Amy Emmerich (Social Impact) - Kesha took the world by storm with the release of her debut album Animal in 2010. Kesha has had eight consecutive Top 10 hits, including four #1 singles. Kesha has branched out into TV, philanthropy, film, and fashion becoming a global cultural icon. Amy Emmerich is the chief content officer at Refinery29, the leading digital lifestyle media company for women.

Brian Knappenberger, Julie Bush, Michael Farrell, and Walter Parkes (Entertainment Influencers) - Brian Knappenberger is an award-winning filmmaker and director of NOBODY SPEAK: Trials of the Free Press. Julie Bush is a screenwriter and host of the podcast Threat Surface. Michael Farrell is an editor at The Christian Science Monitor. Walter F. Parkes is an American film producer, screenwriter, and former studio head.

Loic Le Meur, Lili Cheng, Eugenia Kuyda and Stan Chudnovsky (Brands & Marketing) - Loic Le Meur co-founded LeWeb, one of the largest European tech events. Lili Cheng is a Distinguished Engineer and General Manager in Microsoft Artificial Intelligence and Research. Eugenia Kuyda is co-founder and CEO at Luka. Stan Chudnovsky is Head of Product for Messaging at Facebook.

Mike Luciano, Phil Matarese, and Jen Roskind (Making Film & Episodics) - Mike Luciano and Phil Matarese are the creators, and Jen Roskind is the co-executive producer, of the HBO animated show Animals alongside the Duplass Brothers. The inaugural two episodes premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival followed by a full season debut on HBO in 2016. Season two premieres on HBO beginning March 17.

Krist Novoselic (Music Influencers) - A member of the groundbreaking rock band Nirvana, Krist Novoselic and his bandmates changed the course of music history with their much-acclaimed album Nevermind. Novoselic went on to become one of rock’s most politically-minded musicians and an influential part of the Northwest political scene. He serves as Board chair for FairVote, a non-profit that seeks to make democracy fair.

Bob Odenkirk (Entertainment Influencers) - Bob Odenkirk is an Emmy® Award-winning comedy writer, producer, actor and New York Times bestselling author. In 2015, Odenkirk reprised the character he originated on the hit drama Breaking Bad, playing the title role in AMC’s Better Call Saul, which has earned him two Critics’ Choice TV Awards and nominations for an Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG Award.

Frank Oz and Leonard Maltin (Entertainment Influencers) - Oz is a four-time Emmy winner and he’s performed with The Muppets and on the Star Wars films. He’s also directed over a dozen films including Little Shop of Horrors, and The Score. Leonard Maltin is one of the world’s most respected film critics and historians. He is best known for his widely-used reference work Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide and its companion volume Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide.

Sean Rad, Sarah Kate Ellis, Nick Adams, and Zackary Drucker (Social Impact) - Sean Rad is the founder and chairman of Tinder. Sarah Kate Ellis is the president and CEO of GLAAD, the world’s leading LGBTQ media advocacy organization. Nick Adams is the director of GLAAD’s Transgender Media Program. Zackary Drucker is an independent artist, activist, and producer of the TV series Transparent.

Cecile Richards and David Karp (Social Impact) - Cecile Richards is president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund. David Karp is the founder and CEO of Tumblr, a platform home to more than 300 million creators, and also a board member of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Sam Catlin, and Garth Ennis (Film & TV Industry) - Seth Rogen is an actor, writer, producer and director known for his work on Sausage Party and Preacher. Evan Goldberg is a Canadian director, screenwriter and executive producer on Preacher. Sam Catlin is the showrunner, executive producer and writer of Preacher. Garth Ennis has been writing comics for 25 years and is the co-executive producer for Preacher.

Kerry Rupp (Startup Village) - Kerry Rupp is a General Partner at True Wealth Ventures, a new early-stage venture capital fund investing in women-led businesses in the sustainable consumer and consumer health sectors. Rupp will join Professor Bob Metcalfe and University of Texas at Austin President Greg Fenves in a discussion about evolving startups at the university level.

Chris Sacca (Startup Village) - Chris Sacca is the founder and chairman of Lowercase Capital, reported to be one of the most successful venture funds in history. These days, you can catch him as a Shark on Shark Tank doing everything he can to make Mark Cuban and Kevin O'Leary miserable.

Bruce Sterling (Tech Industry) - Bruce Sterling is an author, journalist, editor and critic who is best known for 10 science fiction novels, in addition to his short stories, book reviews, design criticism, opinion columns and book introductions. His most recent publication is a collection of Italian fantascienza stories, Utopia Pirata: I Racconti Di Bruno Argento (2016).

Jake Tapper (Government) - CNN anchor and chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper joined the network in 2013. He is the host of The Lead with Jake Tapper and the network's Sunday morning show, State of the Union. Jake Tapper will interview General Paul J. Selva who is the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Elliot Tebele, Jessica Tebele, James Ohliger, and Mick Purzycki (Tech Industry) - Elliot Tebele (@fuckjerry), Jessica Tebele (@beigecardigan), James Ohliger (@krispyshorts), and Mick Purzycki (@jerrynews) are heading to SXSW to lead a moderated discussion on the business of social, the future of how we’ll consume media, and what they’ve learned along the way. Move over cash, content is the new king.

Cindy Wilson (Music Influencers) - Cindy Wilson is a singer, and is one of the lead vocalists, songwriter and a founding member of new wave rock band The B-52s. Her new solo project is as far from The B-52s as one can possibly imagine. Wilson swoons and whispers over swirls of subtle psychedelia, Quincy Jones-era strings, and pulsing synths.

Explore the full list of previously announced Keynotes and Featured Speakers, as well as the full list of Conference programming on the online schedule.


Photos courtesy of the speakers. Teaser image of 2017 SXSW Keynote, Jessica Shortall - Photo by Sara Montour.

By Megan Collyer