BIF10 in Review

BIF10 Storytellers

  • CMO,

    Extreme Networks

    Vala Afshar is the CMO for Extreme Networks, responsible for global marketing and customer service and support operations. An award-winning inventor of social technologies and customer services operations, Vala is considered a pioneer in cloud computing, social collaboration, business intelligence, and customer relationship management. Vala is also the author of The Pursuit of Social Business Excellence.

  • Robotocist,

    Beatty Robotics

    Fourteen-year-old Camille Beatty makes robots with her Dad (Robert) and eleven-year-old sister Genevieve. Last year they built two Mars Rover replicas for the New York Hall of Science. While her specialty is machining, she also loves riding horses and playing the piano.

  • President & CEO,

    Neighborhood Centers, Inc.

    Through her more than thirty years of experience, thought leader Angela Blanchard has reached an epiphany: A community should be defined by its strengths, resources, achievements and hopes – not its degree of “brokenness”. As a result of her unwavering and passionate efforts as president and CEO of Neighborhood Centers Inc., Blanchard has extended this community development framework throughout the Houston region to impact over 500,000 people a year.

  • Founder and Creative Director,


    David Bolinsky, former Senior Medical Illustrator at Yale School of Medicine, has spent his career bringing complex scientific concepts to life via digital animation. He founded the first digital medical animation company in 1984 and wowed 2007 TED-goers with "The Inner Life of a Cell." His passion is bringing the power of animation to science education.

  • Marketing Strategist, Speaker,

    Author of 'Reinventing You'

    Dorie Clark, author of Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future, frequently contributes to the Harvard Business Review and Forbes on topics such as leadership, career development, personal productivity, and personal branding. She is also a consultant, a professional speaker, and an adjunct professor of business administration at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

  • Artistic Director and Founder


    Umberto Crenca has been leading a cultural renaissance in Providence, RI through the non-profit community space he co-founded, AS220.

  • Founder & Executive Director

    Future of Fish

    Cheryl works to get change unstuck in the world of fish.

  • Design Insurgent & Chief Unhappiness Officer

    Michael is not a normal person, you should know that. He has spent his career getting things started and resisting pigeon holes. He is a founding leader of Overlap, an intentional community of innovation misfits. He has led several of his own design firms, co-founded several start ups, and spent much of the last few years thinking about design as a form of insurgency.

  • Cartoonist,

    The New Yorker Magazine

    Liza Donnelly is a writer and cartoonist with The New Yorker magazine, where she has been drawing cartoons about culture and politics for more than 30 years.

  • Pilot and Military Officer

    Matt is a pilot and a Colonel in the U.S. military, recently returned from Afghanistan where he served as the Chief of Staff leading 721 teammates in a triple-hatted NATO/US Headquarters joint coalition staff organization charged with rebuilding the Afghan Air Force.

  • CEO, Forward Impact; Innovator in Residence, Center for Creative Leadership Fellow,

    CASE at Duke

    Christopher Gergen is CEO of Forward Impact, whose mission is to unleash the impact potential of next-generation entrepreneurial leaders. This work includes supporting community-based strategies to develop and scale high-impact entrepreneurs including Bull City Forward in Durham, NC; Queen City Forward in Charlotte, NC; Moore Forward in Moore County, NC; and HUB Raleigh, all of which Christopher helped to start.

  • Founder and CEO,


    Eileen Gittins created Blurb to offer an elegant, flexible publishing platform that enables everyone — not just the select few, but the talented many — to create, produce, share, distribute, market, and sell beautiful print and ebooks.

    Eileen loves to leverage technology to provide new ways to do valuable things. As Founder and CEO of Blurb and a lifelong reader who typically has three or four books going at once, Eileen is now at work imagining not just what books can be, but what they should be in the age of everything, all the time.

  • Author, Co-Chairman,

    Deloitte Center for The Edge

    John Hagel III has nearly 30 years’ experience as a management consultant, author, speaker, and entrepreneur, and has helped companies improve their performance by effectively applying information technology to reshape business strategies.

    John currently serves as co-chairman of the Silicon Valley-based Deloitte LLP Center for the Edge, which conducts original research and develops substantive points of view regarding promising emerging business opportunities.

  • President,

    Clal-The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership

    An internationally sought–after speaker, Rabbi Irwin Kula has inspired people worldwide by using Jewish wisdom to speak to all aspects of modern life and relationships. An engaged and thoughtful trader in the global marketplace of ideas, he led a Passover Seder in Bhutan; consulted with government officials in Rwanda; helped build cultural and interfaith bridges in Qatar; and met with leaders as diverse as the Dalai Lama and Queen Noor to discuss compassionate leadership in the 21st century.

  • Author, Illustrator, The Way Things Work

    Born on December 2, 1946, David Macaulay was 11 when his family moved from England to the United States. Not surprisingly, he continued to grow up, and in 1969 received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the Rhode Island School of Design, after spending his fifth year in Rome on the European Honors Program.

  • Co-CEO, Revere Digital; Co-Executive Editor, Re/code; and Co-Executive Producer,

    The Code Conference

    Walt Mossberg was the author and creator of the weekly “Personal Technology” column in the Wall Street Journal, which appeared for 22 years, from 1991 to 2013. Before turning his attention to technology, Walt spent 18 years covering national and international affairs in the Journal’s Washington bureau.

  • Internationally Renowned Interface Designer

    Joy Mountford is an internationally recognized leader in design, particularly human-computer interface, user experience and interaction design. She has built and led world-class design and innovation teams at Apple, Interval and Yahoo. She has designed interfaces for a wide variety of systems including airplane cockpits, computers, the web, consumer electronics, musical instruments, and toys. She is inventor on several key patents in multimedia and human computer interaction.

  • Entrepreneur, speaker, author

    Alexander Osterwalder is an entrepreneur, speaker and business model innovator. Together with Professor Yves Pigneur, he co-authored Business Model Generation, a global bestseller on the topic of business model innovation.

  • Founder


    Rupal Patel is a speech scientist passionate about (re)designing communication technologies. Rupal has created a voice bank with 17,000 donors to enable personalized prosthetic voices.

  • Author,

    'To Sell is Human,' 'Drive,' 'A Whole New Mind'

    Daniel H. Pink is the author of five provocative books — including the long-running New York Times bestsellers, A Whole New Mind and Drive. His latest book, To Sell is Human, is a #1 New York Times business bestseller, a #1 Wall Street Journal business bestseller, and a #1 Washington Post nonfiction bestseller. Dan’s books have been translated into 34 languages and have sold more than 2 million copies worldwide. In 2013, Thinkers 50 named him one of the top 15 business thinkers in the world. He lives in Washington, DC, with his wife and their three children.

  • Founder, President and Executive Director,

    One Heart World-Wide

    Arlene Samen has been a nurse practitioner in maternal fetal medicine for 31 years. In 2004, she left behind her University of Utah clinical practice to dedicate her life to serving pregnant women living in the most vulnerable conditions. In her travels, she learned about the plight of pregnant women and newborns in developing countries and in particular Tibet, where one out of 10 newborns died due to preventable causes. She organized a fact-finding mission to understand the local traditions, religious, and cultural beliefs of women giving birth.

  • Baker Foundation Professor,

    Harvard Business School

    For Len Schlesinger, entrepreneurship is a lifestyle — one that’s integral to the success of every 21st century leader. Formed from three decades of leadership expertise in industry and academia, this belief is a driving force of his work helping students and business professionals alike.

  • Ph.D. candidate at the MIT Media Lab; President and Co-Founder,

    Global Minimum Inc.

    David Moinina Sengeh, born and raised in Sierra Leone, is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the MIT Media Lab. His research in the Biomechatronics Group focuses on the design of comfortable prosthetic sockets and wearable interfaces. This work is at the intersection of medical imaging, material science, human anatomy, computer-aided design, and manufacturing.

  • Author, Advisor and Speaker

    A true master of innovation and transformation, Haydn Shaughnessy has an insightful take on companies that have the ability to move beyond their core competency and redefine corporate strategy.

  • Founder of STORY; Consultancy at Cube Ventures and Entrepreneur

    In December 2011, Rachel Shectman launched STORY, a 2000 sq. ft retail concept in Chelsea. STORY has the point of view of a magazine, changes like a gallery, and sells things like a store.

  • Cancer Survivor, Cancer Researcher,

    and Student

    At the age of 12 Elana Simon was diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer. Not only did she recover, she embarked on a scientific discovery of the cancer that afflicted her, the groundbreaking findings of which were published in Science magazine.

  • Songwriter, Musician, Innovator

    Darden Smith is an Austin-based singer-songwriter who continually redefines what it means to be a musician. With 14 critically acclaimed albums in his 28-year career, Smith is breaking new ground in education, entrepreneurship, and ways to use the craft of songwriting.

  • General Partner,

    Lookout Investment Group LLC

    Thysson joined Crocs, Inc., in 2000 as one of the first employees and original angel investor. He is credited with developing the initial sales and marketing strategy for all Crocs Brand Footwear and implementing the "kiosk model," accounting for more than 50 percent of total footwear sales.

  • Senior Vice President, Chief Technical and Innovation Officer,

    The Coca-Cola Company

    Guy Wollaert is known for his curiosity and propensity to continuously challenge the status quo to create new top-line or bottom-line value. Trained as an architect, Guy has carried the principles of that discipline forward into his corporate career, where he has repeatedly built or transformed businesses to grow and thrive in a changing world.

  • Author, Information Architect

    Richard Saul Wurman won the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award from Cooper-Hewitt, the National Design Museum. This top honor recognizes an individual who has made a long-term contribution to the practice of design.

  • Chairman & Founder,


    Keith Yamashita founded and currently serves as chairman of SYPartners. For the past two decades, Keith has worked alongside CEOs and their leadership teams to define — and then attain — greatness for their institutions. He has worked with leaders at Apple, IBM, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, eBay, Nike, and Gap, among others. He also serves on advisory boards, including the MIT Media Lab Advisory Board. And he often advises start-up companies and leaders of new ventures.

  • Director, Center for Civic Media,

    MIT Media Lab

    Ethan Zuckerman is director of the Center for Civic Media at MIT. He is the author of Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection, in which he shares his perspective on how digital media does and does not give us a rich, nuanced view of the world, and why we need a diversity of perspectives to thrive in a world where the most interesting ideas are the ones that cross borders.


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