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…as well as a poet, a food writer, the chef of a nonprofit food truck, a global security advisor, and a Google executive. The epic snow-melt is underway in Providence (yay!), and that means it’s the time of the year when we get serious about recruiting storytellers for the BIF Summit! We’ve made a significant start so far. Please welcome our first storytellers:

Rick Benjamin, a poet, essayist, and teacher, currently serves as poet laureate of Rhode Island. He teaches or has taught at Brown University, the Rhode Island School of Design, the MFA Program in Interdisciplinary Arts at Goddard College, in many schools, and in community &assisted living centers. He also serves as a Fellow at New Urban Arts — an after-school arts mentoring program for Providence high school students. His poems and essays have been published in PRØOFWatershed, the Providence JournalTongue,, The Writer’s CircleAmerican Poets in the 21st Century: The New PoeticsUrthona: An International Buddhist Journal of the ArtsPoem, Home: An Anthology of Ars Poetica, and La Petite Zine.

Joshua Davis, co-founder of Epic magazine and contributing editor for Wired, loves an adventure, arm-wrestling, bullfighting, sumo, sauna, and backward running. His book Spare Parts: Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, And The Battle For The American Dream, has been made into a movie that will be released this year. His documentary, “The Beast Within,” about his attempt to become the lightweight arm-wrestling champion of the world, won Best Documentary at the 2003 Telluride Mountain Film Festival.

Chris Emdin, an Associate Professor in the Mathematics, Science, and Technology department at Columbia University’s Teachers College, prepares teachers for STEM classrooms, conducts research in urban science education, and coordinates both the Science Genius B.A.T.T.L.E.S. and the #HipHopEd social media movement. The Science Genius B.A.T.T.L.E.S. are focused on bringing attention to transforming teaching, learning, and engagement in science by using hip-hop culture to create science competitions among youth in New York City public schools. The #HipHopEd movement focuses on engaging the public in conversations about the intersections of hip-hop and education.

Marc Goodman, global security adviser, and futurist, focuses on the disruptive impact of advancing technologies on security, business, and international affairs. Marc founded the Future Crimes Institute to inspire and educate others on the security and risk implications of newly emerging technologies. Marc also serves as the Global Security Advisor and Chair for Policy and Law at Silicon Valley’s Singularity University. His new book Future Crimes: Everyone Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable, and What We Can Do About Itexposes the alarming ways criminals, corporations, and even countries are using new and emerging technologies against us. Marc received an MPA from Harvard University and an MS in Information Systems Management from the London School of Economics.

Simon Majumdar, food and travel writer, is best known for his frequent appearances on The Food Network and for his best-selling books, Eat My Globe and Eating for Britain. His recurring role as a judge on “Cutthroat Kitchen,” “Iron Chef America,” and “The Next Iron Chef” has earned him the title of Food Network’s “toughest critic.” Simon’s latest book Fed, White and Blue documents his trek across the United States to find out what it really means to become an American, using what he knows best: food. Simon was a storyteller at BIF8; see a video of his talk here.

Andrew McLean, ski mountaineer, has been pursuing steep skiing challenges in remote locations for more than two decades. As a ski mountaineer, he climbs peaks before skiing down them, and his trips often involve spending weeks or months camped in cold, snowy locations.  A veteran of 20 expeditions and hundreds of first descents, Powder magazine voted McLean as “One of the Greatest Skiers of Our Time.”  He also designs mountain climbing equipment and uses many of his own inventions while skiing.  He is also the author of The Chuting Gallery – A Guide to Steep Skiing in the Wasatch Mountains, which was the first skiing guidebook devoted to steep-ski mountaineering.

Ivy Ross, head of Glass at GoogleX, works to answer two rather simple-sounding questions. Can technology be something that frees us up and keeps us in the moment, rather than taking us out of it? Can it help us look up and out at the world around us, and the people who share it with us? Previously, Ivy Ross was Chief Marketing Officer of, as well as EVP of Marketing for the Gap brand, and Creative Catalyst for all brands within Gap, Inc. Ivy also has held senior creative and product design positions at Disney Stores North America, Mattel, Calvin Klein, Coach, Liz Claiborne, Swatch Watch, and Avon. She was one of nine executives selected by Fast Company to represent the new face of leadership and selected by Businessweek as one of the 25 most innovative global business leaders working within a corporation. Ivy was a storyteller at BIF2; see a video of her talk here.

Julius Searight, Founder and Director, Food4Good, lived in 13 different foster homes before moving into his adoptive home at the age of three, an experience that left him gravitating toward community service. A 2013 graduate of Johnson & Wales University, in 2012 he won Startup Weekend and in 2014 he won the Johnson & Wales University Shark Fest pitch competition, the Get Started RI pitch competition by Cox Business and Inc. magazine, the Johnson & Wales Outstanding Young Alumni Award, and was a contestant on the Food Network’s “Great Food Truck Race 2014.” An AmeriCorps alumni, he is now a local chef fighting to end hunger in his own community one plate at a time with his nonprofit, Food4Good, a mobile food truck that serves paying customers during the day and turns into a mobile soup kitchen at night.

Connect. Inspire. Transform. Register #BIF2018