Home » Speakers
CEO & Co-Founder, Cityflag
San Antonio, TX
Alberto is the CEO and co-founder of Cityflag, a civic technology company that developed the first social network for 311 services. His initiative to civically engage Millennials through the use of technology won him the VotoLatino Innovators Challenge and led him to receive a MacArthur Foundation Grant. In 2016, he was awarded the Rare Magazine 40 Under 40 National Award for his work as a social entrepreneur. Alberto currently serves as a contributing writer on Latino politics and smart cities for the World Economic Forum, NPR Latino USA and Forbes Mexico. Alberto’s involvement in technology and public policy was recognized by the Aspen Institute Latinos & Society, where he serves as a Salinas Scholar focusing on Latino Millennial political engagement. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Government from the University of Texas at Austin and an Executive Education Certificate from the Harvard Kennedy School.
Software Engineer, Google
New York, NY
Molly Alter is a Software Engineer at Google, working on Cloud IoT Core. Before joining Google, Molly worked as a Data Scientist at Oscar Insurance, a start-up tech-driven healthcare company which provides individual insurance on the ACA marketplace. She started her career in nonprofit education policy research, working as a Technical Research Assistant at MDRC and as the Data Manager at The Research Alliance for New York City Schools. Molly holds a BA in Economics from Barnard College and a MS in Computer Science from New York University.
UX Designer, Google
New York, NY
Irene Alvarado is a UX designer and creative coder based in NYC. Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, she recently graduated from Carnegie Mellon with a master degree in Human Computer Interaction and joined the Google Creative Lab for a one-year Fiver residency. Previously she’s worked as a UX engineer at an open-source mapping startup and as a writer for a technology think tank. She is into bouldering, creative coding, maps, and volumetric filming.
Operations Manager, Netsync Network
With over 30 years of experience in the technology sector, Diana currently serves as Operations Manager for Netsync Network. Diana was named “Technology Woman of the Year” from South Texas College and serves on the college’s IT Advisory Committee. She is also involved in the development of the Texas Education Agency Long Range Plan for Technology. Over her career, Diana has been the project coordinator for technology in grants totaling over $50 million.
She received her B.A. in Business Administration in Management Information Systems from the University of Texas at Austin and later earned her M.Ed. in Educational Technology from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
Principal Business Analyst, San Diego Gas & Electric / Sempra Energy
San Diego, CA
Louise is a versatile finance professional with experience in corporate development, mergers & acquisitions, international accounting standards, treasury management and strategic planning with experience in energy, utility and international transportation businesses. She has a proven track record of working to optimize the capital structure of a Fortune 500 company and successfully building out the company’s businesses through strategic acquisitions that maximize synergies and drive business growth. She earned a BA in Economics from New York University and holds a MBA from Babson College, Olin School of Business.
Natalie Campos Goodman
Senior Sustainability Consultant, AECOM
Co-Founder, Green Money Search
Natalie is a graduate of Texas A&M University’s College of Architecture. She began her career at Johnson Space Center and went on to live and work all over the world, serving several industries. Regardless of location or industry, Natalie’s focus was always sustainability. This led Natalie to co-found Green Money Search; a young startup that reduces the cost going green. She currently serves as Senior Sustainability Consultant for AECOM, a Fortune 500 company. She is originally from San Antonio, TX.
Account Manager, LinkedIn
New York, NY
Eric began his career working in media agencies, which are tasked with helping marketers to plan and invest their advertising budgets. Eventually he focused on social media advertising, which opened up a lot of relationships with marketers at social platforms. He has been working at LinkedIn for the past 3 years, helping clients get the most out of their marketing investments on the LinkedIn platform.
Chelsea connects people, ideas and organizations with the intent of making a positive impact. Creating alignment between public and private sector with tech as an enabler can address some of the world’s largest challenges at a local level. Digi.City Founder, Smart Cities Connect Editor-at- Large, Impact Hub Austin Co-Founder, Texans for Economic Progress Senior Advisor, Eisenhower Fellow. She holds a BS in Advertising and a MS in Advertising.
Research Curator, Centre Georges Pompidou
Ilaria is a contemporary art historian with an interest in socially and politically engaged artistic practices, colonial history, and migration. As a non-profit professional, Ilaria focuses on the nexus between curatorship, education, public engagement and access, and cultural inclusivity. Prior to her appointment as Research Curator for the Centre Georges Pompidou’s new biennial platform, “Cosmopolis,” she served as Exhibitions and Programs Director at the Center for Italian Modern Art in New York; Assistant Curator of the 2016 Marrakech Biennale; Samuel H. Kress Interpretive Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; and Art History Researcher to Her Majesty Queen Noor Al Hussein of Jordan. She pursued her professional training at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Abu Dhabi Project, Creative Time, MoMA, and Gagosian Gallery, among other institutions. She received her BA in Art History and a MA in Art History and Curatorial Studies from the University of Rome La Sapienza.
Veronica De La Garza
Director of State and Local Government Relations, UTRGV
Rio Grande Valley, TX
Veronica E. De La Garza serves as Director of State and Local Government Relations for The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV). Ms. De La Garza has over 18 years of experience in the political, government and nonprofit sector. With a history of public service, Ms. De La Garza has served as Public Affairs Director for VIDA (Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement), No Kid Hungry Regional Coordinator for Baylor University’s Texas Hunger Initiative, Youth Civic Engagement & US Election Speaker for the U.S. State Department, Director of LATINA Style Inc. /LATINA Style Magazine, Executive Director of Youth Vote Coalition and Summer Training Academy Director for the Center for Environmental Citizenship. Her leadership awarded her the title of a 2016 nominated change-maker for The United States of Women Summit in DC, an Embassy of Spain US Hispanic Leaders Program designee and the WIN Young Women of Achievement Award. She received her MPA and BA in Political Science from The University of Texas-Pan American. She also holds a postgraduate certificate in International Law and Politics from La Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid, Spain and an Executive Certificate in Public and Nonprofit Management from Georgetown University Public Policy Institute.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, National Cancer Institute
Melissa holds a BS in Chemistry, a certificate in Chinese studies, a MSc in chemistry, and a
PhD in human pathology with a focus in viral immunity. She is currently working on her post doctoral training at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The study of viruses has been her passion. Throughout her academic career, she pursued opportunities that allowed her to study virus sensing by the immune system and viral subversion of cell factors to achieve infectious replication. She currently studies the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) at the NCI. Melissa aims to transition to a career as an independent researcher and run her own laboratory in order to study emerging viral infections and positively contribute to public health.
Technical Advisor, Early Stage Innovation
San Jose, CA
Claudia Galván has led global product development at Oracle, Adobe, and Microsoft reaching billions of people around the world. In the last few years, she has focused on providing strategic and technical expertise to start-ups in Silicon Valley to launch products internationally. Claudia is also an award-winning community organizer. She has lived in three countries, traveled extensively, is an avid reader and outdoor enthusiast. Claudia is also the proud mom of a college student. Claudia holds a BSc in Computer Science, a BSc in Program and Project Management and is currently an EDD Candidate. She is originally from Mexico City.
Marissa Garcia Fuentes
Sales Strategy & Operations Lead of Global Partnerships, Google
New York, NY
A native of Laredo, TX, Marissa Garcia Fuentes is a StratOps lead for the Global Partnerships Google team in New York. She is responsible for structuring and executing on strategic initiatives in support of the sell-side business leads for Canada and Latin America. She brings six years of sales and business development experience in international markets to this role. She holds an undergraduate degree in Economics from Columbia University and a MBA from London Business School.
Jose Alberto Gómez, Ph.D.
COO and Co-Founder, Cityflag
San Antonio, TX
Dr. Gomez is an international expert on Information and Communication Technologies, Innovation and Digital Communication. He teaches Innovation Technology in Communication and is a member of the Communication Faculty Board at the Master’s Program of the University Autonomous of Tamaulipas, Member of the Research Group: Regional Development and Sustainability and Director of the Communication for Development Research Department. Currently, he holds a Guest Scholar position at the University of Texas in San Antonio collaborating with the Center for Civic Engagement on a project to reduce the Digital Divide and empower communities through the use of digital technologies in San Antonio.
Owner, Dip It
Ms. Gonzalez is the founder of Dip It, a Mission-based food brand. Ms. Gonzalez is a two-time Ruby Red Ventures winner and was awarded a second place winner in H-E-B’s Primo Picks: Quest for Texas Best Award. In 2017 Ms. Gonzalez was named “Supplier of the Year” by H-E-B’s Supplier Diversity program and was awarded the Small Business Award by the State of Texas.
She is also an Emmy award winner with a successful career in radio and television. She began her career as the Promotions Director for Radio Unica, the largest Spanish station in the United States. In the area of television, Ms. Gonzalez was a producer for Telemundo and later for Univision. When she relocated to the Valley she held the position of the news Director for Telemundo in McAllen. She is currently the host of KRGV Channel 5 weekend news.
Stephanie Gitkin Hawk
Owner, Cobalt Digital Marketing
Rio Grande Valley, TX
Stephanie Gitkin Hawk is the owner of the rapidly growing RGV based Cobalt Digital Marketing. An MBA executive with over 25 years experience in business development, international marketing, manufacturing, and retail, Stephanie helps businesses compete online. Her diverse experience and global perspective help translate business goals into digital marketing tactics that accomplish tangible and measurable results.
Associate Director, Social Finance
Hanna Jamal is an Associate Director at Social Finance, a nonprofit that manages public-private partnerships to improve outcomes for communities in need. Prior to joining Social Finance, Hanna co-founded a co-working space for social entrepreneurs in East Austin and spent five years supporting global education programs in developing countries. Hanna holds an undergraduate degree in Anthropology from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and an MBA from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas in Austin.
Erika Janis Morgan
Account Strategy Director, Praytell
San Francisco, CA
Erika attended St. Joseph’s Academy in Brownsville, Texas and received a BA in Communication at Trinity University. She currently works at Praytell, a creative agency that specializes in PR and Social Media. With PR as her focus, Erica works with consumer and tech clients such as Tito’s, Amino, and TransferWise. Prior to her position at Praytell, she worked at other PR agencies where she focused on B2B PR with clients like Dell, Salesforce and Zendesk.
School Programs Coordinator, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York, NY
Megan leads The Met’s School Partnerships program, which involves collaboration between NYC teachers, students, school administrators, parents, and The Met’s teaching artists on multi-session investigations of the museum’s collection. Megan received her BA in Psychology from the University of Portland. She also holds an MA in Museum Studies from NYU, and is pursuing an MS in Neuroscience and Education at Columbia University Teachers College. She hopes to understand the impact of the arts at the neural and behavioral level of human cognition and development, and to better advocate for arts education in schools.
Creative Director, Google
New York, NY
As a Creative Director at Google on the Zoo team, Maria works with top brands and agency partners to craft engaging experiences for large scale advertising programs across Google technologies and platforms. This spans user experience, visual design, tech innovations, motion and video, and social engagement strategy. Maria is passionate about finding creative solutions through design thinking, technology innovation, and storytelling. In addition to being a creative director, her skills include hands-on graphic design and expert presentation design. Born in Argentina and raised in California, Maria is bilingual and seeks diversity in her life and work. She loves big cities and the great outdoors and has lived in New York, Portland, Quito, Buenos Aires, Tahoe, and Los Angeles. She received a BA in graphic design, and minor in Business Management from the Portland State University in Oregon.
User Experience Researcher, Facebook
Menlo Park, CA
Karen started her career as a Museum Educator. In that role she created and facilitated lifelong learning experiences in museums, parks, and the broader city environment. She completed a Masters in Museum Education from Bank Street College of Education. She then went on to evaluate programs in and outside of school settings, in addition to various other jobs. She now works as a User Experience Researcher at Facebook. Karen earned an Interdisciplinary degree from Evergreen State College and a MA in Museum Education from Bank Street. She is originally from Austin, TX.
Co-Founder, The Knife Glider
Jennifer Shipp is the inspiration behind the new kitchen invention The Knife Glider. She is the inventor, co-owner, and public face for The Knife Glider. Jennifer is also co- owner of Brilliant Elegance Professional Window Cleaning. Jennifer is a three-time Ruby Red Ventures Winner for her respective businesses and specializes in pitching the Knife Glider to people from all around the world. Jennifer was the 2015 “InnovateHER” Top 10 National Finalist and Regional Business Challenge Winner. She was chosen to go to Washington D.C. to professionally pitch the Knife Glider proudly representing her region along with 9 other women on live television. Jennifer appeared on Good Morning America where she was chosen to pitch the Knife Glider to HSN shopping queen Joy Mangano. Jennifer later appeared in 2016 on HSN where she was featured twice selling the Knife Glider on their American Dreams Segment on Monday nights. Her company was named Innovation Company of the Year by the Small Business Association. Jennifer is a Mission High School graduate. She received a BS in Public Relations and Advertising with a minor in Family Science from Bringham Young University. She is a mother of two children and enjoys coaching other inventors and entrepreneurs.
Operations Manager, Collective Retreats
Daniella Sloane graduated from Dartmouth College. She is currently transitioning from General Manager to Operations Manager at a company called Collective Retreats–an experiential hospitality start-up that specializes in creating unique travel experiences that move away from the traditional hotel set-up. Currently Collective Retreats specializes in luxury camping retreats in areas such as Montana, Colorado, and even Hill Country, Texas! Her role focuses on delivering this promise to her guests while keeping a close eye on logistics, purchasing, budgets, and collaboration with various partners.
Eleanor Soo-ah Hyun
Curator, The British Museum
Eleanor Soo-ah Hyun, is Curator of the Korean Collections at the British Museum. She is a PhD Candidate at the University of Chicago writing a dissertation on 18th-century Korean and Chinese art. She received a B.A. in Art History and M.A in East Asian Languages and Cultures from Columbia University. She has been the recipient of the IIE Fulbright Fellowship to the Republic of Korea and the Fulbright-Hays Fellowship to Republics of Korea and China. In 2013-2014, she was a Jane and Morgan Whitney Fellow at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Non-Profit Relationship Manager, LinkedIn
New York, NY
Alysse hails from Boston, MA, and attended Tufts University, where she doubled majored in Biology and Public Health. She now works at LinkedIn as a Non-profit Relationship manager, helping the company’s social-impact focused customers to achieve their talent acquisition and branding goals so they can grow their organizations and thus affect a larger impact on the communities they serve. In her free time, she enjoys dancing, modeling, reading, and singing.
Facilities Manager, Fashion/Textiles
Making Center, Parsons School of Design
New York, NY
Maya Valladares is an artist and educator whose work uses traditional handwork techniques with social practice engagement. Situated within an anthropological understanding of textiles as objects that carry embedded information, her work engages with themes of labor, exchange, knowledge transmission, and language. She currently works at Parsons School of Design, where she manages the school’s Fashion and Textiles Making Center. Prior to that, she worked in the Met Museum’s Education Department to realize public programs for all ages that engage with practices of making. She holds a BFA in Design and a MA in Cultural Anthropology.
Technology Manager, U.S. Department of Energy
Adria Wilson earned her Ph.D. in Chemistry from Duke University, developing model nanoparticle catalysts with applications for renewable energy technologies. After graduation she was selected as an AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow and worked in U.S. Senator Bernie Sander’s office on energy and environment policy issues. She is now a Technology Manager at the Department of Energy (DOE), where she develops programs and manages applied research and development projects that advance fuel cell technologies. Adria’s passion is fighting climate change by increasing the availability and accessibility of renewable energy technologies, and when she has free time, she’s either teaching indoor cycling, painting, or watching the Great British Bakeoff with her fiancé and two dogs.