#BIF2019: Storyteller Lineup

additional storytellers to be added
Dr. Ami Bhatt

Dr. Ami Bhatt is the Director of the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program at Mass General Hospital and a national thought leader in the adoption of telemedicine and mobile health technologies to enable community health for both caregivers and patients. Ami believes that personalized care can be delivered to individuals in the community and that concierge medicine is possible for everyone.

Check out Ami’s #BIF2017 story

Joe Wilson, Jr.

Joe Wilson, Jr. is a member of the Acting Company at Trinity Rep in Providence and leads the theater’s Center for Activism and Performance. Joe is passionate about ensuring that theater is of, by, and for the community. For five years, he’s been tackling community challenges through Trinity Rep’s America Too program, this year in collaboration with BIF to present America Too: It’s Our Health which kicks off #BIF2019. 

Check out Joe in Performance Art for Social Change.

Yolanda Wisher

Poet, singer, and educator, Yolanda Wisher masterfully alchemizes the beauty of people and place into poetry, connectivity, and story. Yolanda was named Philadelphia’s third-ever poet laureate and is the Curator of Spoken Word at the Philadelphia Contemporary Museum. Yolanda and Philadelphia Contemporary collaborated with BIF this year to host an inspiring story sharing workshop, Story Cure, to engage the community in West Philadelphia.

Listen to the voices of Story Cure here.


Aithan Shapira

Aithan Shapira is an accomplished artist. His paintings, prints and constructions are always permeated by multiple perspectives and characterized by their layers of contradictions. Aithan makes everyone around him comfortable to think in new and different ways. He believes we can all learn to think and act like artists. Aithan is the first artist to become a faculty member and Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Business where he is developing pioneering pedagogy and experiential workshops for creating enduring cultures with increased capacity for transformation. Aithan will share his personal story and lead us in a co-creation session, Fractals of Wellbeing at BIF2019 Wellbeing.


Richie Etwaru

Richie Etwaru believes the most important ingredient for change is courage. Courage not mistaken with risk but consistent with the bravery required to embark upon something never attempted. As founder and CEO of Hu-manity.co, Richie’s current passion is establishing the 31st Human Right. He believes that everyone has the right to legal ownership of their inherent human data as property. He is driven to reshape the world by creating a new human-centered data economy. 

Listen to Richie on the Business Model Sandbox Podcast

Cory Pesaturo

Cory Pesaturo is obsessed with small worlds and can talk all day about weather events with particular passion for snow storms. He also goes deep in the small world of Formula 1 Racing. Cory is best known for being at the forefront of the small accordion world, pushing the boundaries on multiple fronts of what is possible with the accordion. He’s the only musician to ever win the trio of World Championships on Acoustic, Digital & Jazz Accordion, and the only accordion graduate of the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. In 2017, Cory became a Guinness World Record Holder breaking the Marathon Accordion Record, playing for over 32 hours.

Rabbi Irwin Kula

Rabbi Irwin Kula applies the science and art of disruptive innovation to organized religion. He thinks and works at the intersection of innovation, religion, and human flourishing. Irwin has been named by Fast Company and PBS as one of the leaders shaping the American spiritual landscape. He inspires everyone around him to live with greater passion, purpose, and creativity. Among the people he has worked with are the Dalai Lama and Queen Noor! No one is better qualified to share a story of spirituality and wellbeing at BIF2019. 

Listen to Irwin Kula’s BIF9 story here

Mary Judd

Mary Judd is the Co-Founder and Program Director of SongwritingWith: Soldiers, pairing service members with professional songwriters to craft songs about personal combat experience and what is often a challenging return back home. Mary believes that collaborative songwriting transforms lives by helping service members rediscover their creativity and to successfully reconnect with family, friends and communities. Mary has studied positive psychology with leading researchers around the world and has been a facilitator at the United Nations on happiness and wellbeing.   

Valarie Tutson

Valarie Tutson has worked as a professional storyteller and cultural artist for the past 20 years. As Executive Director and Founding Member of Rhode Island Black Storytellers, Tutson helps give a voice to a traditionally underserved population. Tutson was recentently recognized for her service to the state, receiving the 2019 Rhode Island Pell Award for Excellence in the Arts. Valarie is collaborating with Trinity Rep and BIF on America Too: It’s Our Health enabling our community to share and map their personal health and wellbeing journeys.

Quentin Robinson

Sharing his incredible love and talent for dance, movement artist Quentin Robinson, aka SpecialFX, is working to break down cultural barriers through movement across the globe. A Marine Corps veteran having served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, Robinson shows us how we can impact and connect people in schools, workplaces, and refugee settlements through live interaction. Get ready to move with Quentin! 

Click here to view Quentin’s incredible performance at #BIF2018


Jeff Leitner

Jeff Leitner is an amazing social innovator, researcher, author and teacher. He’s a fellow at New America in Washington D.C., author of See Think Solve: A Simple Way to Tackle Tough Problems and founder of Insight Labs and co-founder of the award-winning UX for Good. Jeff will bring his passion for the societal influence of unwritten rules to help us catalyze a new wellbeing future. He will lead us in a fast-paced and inspiring co-creation session to explore the current unwritten rules of wellbeing and help us to imagine new unwritten rules that will provide us with an actionable foundation to co-create a new wellbeing future together.

Mark Brand

Mark Brand inspires everyone around him to reimagine what it really means to catalyze social change and impact. He shares a bold, brutally honest portrayal of hunger, homelessness and addiction in our communities with a call to action that is contagious. Mark’s innovative token-based meal program rallies local communities to work together to provide those in need with dignified, quality meals and job opportunities. In addition to sharing his story at #BIF2019 Mark will also put on his chef’s hat and team up with Amos House, a local non-profit social services agency, to plan and serve an inspiring dinner to summit participants.      

 See Mark Brand’s #BIF2018 Summit story here



Tori Drew

Tori Drew is BIF’s own Chief Operating Officer. Anyone who knows Tori and our work at BIF knows that none of the magic happens without her. She has learned more over the years about enabling transformational change than all of our entire BIF community combined! Tori is also a mom and has a personal passion for our current Personalized Medicine by Design (PMxD) initiative and she is leading BIF’s exciting effort to prototype our personalized wellbeing model in maternal health with an initial focus on improving outcomes for women on Medicaid. 

Darden Smith

No stranger to the BIF stage, Darden Smith is a singer-songwriter whose 32-year career has produced 15 critically acclaimed albums. Smith also founded SongwritingWith: Soldiers,  a nonprofit that offers a unique path to helping soldiers and their families cope with the aftermath of combat. Darden believes that we can all be songwriters and that art heals. Darden, together with Mary Judd, will prove it by leading us in a BIF2019 co-creation session.   

Listen to Darden’s BIF2016 story here

Ivelyse Andino

Ivelyse Andino is an Afro-Latina health equity innovator born and raised in The Bronx and the founder and CEO of the first Latina-owned Benefit Corp in NYC, Radical Health. Ivelyse combines her expertise in healthcare and a passion as a community organizer to directly and intimately confront the systemic disparities that exist in our existing healthcare system. Ivelyse is committed to transforming healthcare by facilitating health literacy, self-advocacy and forging a relationship between meaningful face-to-face conversations with cutting-edge technology.

Alexander Tsiaras

Alexander Tsiaras, Founder and CEO of StoryMD, is a technology innovator, whose roots are based in his art and science photojournalism background. Tsiaras has developed cutting edge scientific imaging software that enables him to scan and record the human body at every stage. His images simply and compellingly make health and wellbeing understandable. Alexander believes in little data leading to little personal stories to help each of us improve our own health and wellbeing. 

See Alexander’s BIF9 story here



Philip Sheppard

Philip Sheppard is a composer, producer, virtuoso cellist, inventor, public speaker, philanthropist, professor at the Royal Academy of Music and a creative innovator who has worked with some of the biggest names in music, tech, sport and film. Philip has composed more than 60 film, gaming, television and theatrical scores. Philip believes that we can all be composers and is starting a new company, Life Score, an endlessly original platform to personalize music composition. 

Listen to Phil’s BIF2017 story here


Jeffrey Sparr

Jeff Sparr discovered that painting dramatically improved the symptoms of his Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), providing a creative outlet and a personal sense of peace of mind. This discovery changed the course of Jeff’s life. Jeff realized if art helped him it might help others. Jeff founded PeaceLove Studios in 2009 – a growing movement to create peace of mind for others through expressive arts and to end the global stigma attached to mental health and wellbeing. 

Check out Jeff’s BIF8 summit story

Samantha Ramirez-Herrera

Samantha Ramirez-Herrera is an entrepreneur, filmmaker, creative director, writer, mother, feminist, and civil rights activist.  She was 7 when she and her family moved from Mexico to the U.S., seeking a better life. As an undocumented immigrant, Sam grew up in the shadows, working hard to get ahead while fearing the possibility of discovery and deportation. After high school, she waited tables to make ends meet before becoming a DREAMer. Sam is an inspiring storyteller and founder of OffThaRecord (OTR), a network of creative multicultural millennials who use their talents and technology to tell raw, uncensored and authentic stories to uplift marginalized communities.



Josh Goldberg

Josh was named the Executive Director of the Boulder Crest Institute for Posttraumatic Growth in January 2018. In this role, Josh is responsible for leading the development and delivery of training, technology, research and evaluation, and social and policy changes solutions based on the science of Posttraumatic Growth. This includes efforts to scale Boulder Crest’s breakthrough Warrior PATHH and Family PATHH programs. In 2017, Josh was named as one of 60 Presidential Leadership Scholars.


Michael Hawley

Michael Hawley is an educator, computer scientist, musician and photographer who serves as impresario of EG. Educated at Yale and MIT, he held industrial positions at Bell Labs, IRCAM in Paris, Lucasfilm in San Rafael, and NeXT in Palo Alto. For many years, Michael was the Alex Dreyfoos Professor of Media Technology at MIT. He plays the piano (won the Van Cliburn amateur competition in 2002) and has a passion for photography (produced a notable photographic book on Bhutan).



*Let us know if you are interested in participating in-person at #BIF2019: Wellbeing, or remotely.

 *With only 150 spots available for the in-person convening at BIF they will go quickly!

*We will notify you if your application is accepted.

*There is no fee to attend the gathering, but participants must pay their own travel and lodging.