KEYNOTE - Founder of Timeless
Emma YangKEYNOTE - Founder of Timeless
Fifteen-year-old Emma Yang – hailed as one of 100 extraordinary change-makers and as one of the great writers and thinkers of her generation – is an MIT-Solver, TEDx speaker, 3-time Carnegie Hall performer, and founder of Timeless, a mobile app that empowers Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients to stay engaged and connected to loved ones.
Timeless was selected as the winner of the MIT-Solve Brain Health Challenge and named the Grand Prize Winner of the Women Startup Challenge hosted by Women Who Tech and Google. Most recently, Timeless was the recipient of Bayer Foundations’ Aspirin Social Innovation Award.
A frequent panelist and keynote speaker at national and international forums, Emma recently spoke at the Alibaba Entrepreneurship Fund Jumpstarter Conference in Hong Kong, World Mobile Congress 2019 at Barcelona, Asian American Community Development Conference, TEDxFoggyBottom, Talks at Google, Misk Talk, Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai, and Women Who Code Conference to name a few. Born in Hong Kong, fluent in English, Chinese, and learning Latin and French, Emma’s goal is to speak as many languages as possible.
Cecile Alper-LerouxUltimate Software
Cecile Alper-Leroux is VP of Human Capital Management (HCM) Innovation at Ultimate Software. Since 2010, she has focused on fostering a culture of innovation at Ultimate, resulting in the delivery of advanced, people-centric HCM technology solutions and services. She also has served as Ultimate’s VP of Product Strategy and Product Management, responsible for defining and developing the global vision and strategy for Ultimate’s industry-leading HR, payroll, and talent management solutions.
With more than 20 years’ experience in both national and global markets, Cecile is an internationally sought-out speaker, thought leader, and visionary on HCM trends, hot topics, and global strategies. Her influential work has been featured in numerous publications including Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, HuffPost, HR Magazine, and HRD Canada.
Nicole Denil is GM, Global Channels for Internet of Things (IoT). She has been with Microsoft for 14 years, and has held positions across Latin America, Cloud and Enterprise, OEM,. Prior to IoT, she was the Devices Sales Director for Latin America. She was a pioneer in launching Azure in the Americas for DX and EPG.
Nicole was also the co-founder and VP of Sales and Marketing at Sitemasher, a cloud-based CMS (content management system later acquired by Salesforce). Prior to joining Microsoft, Nicole served Rockwell’s Automation and Software divisions for 10 years. Nicole tallies more than 24 years of experience in high-tech and international business and has an Master’s Degree in International Business.
MDC School of Engineering + Tech
Elodie BillionniereMDC School of Engineering + Tech
Elodie has made significant contributions to address challenges in STEM education and workforce by securing over $1 million in grants for her institution. Her leadership and teamwork skills have contributed in the development of strong industry partnerships to create new programs in emerging technologies that lead into high demand positions. Furthermore, she was crucial in the creation of a Cloud Computing Center at MDC that provides 21st century skills to students and the community in general. Finally, she has had a hugely positive impact on promoting diversity on campus throughout STEMinars and interdisciplinary collaboration with faculties to increase self-efficacy in math and science.
Dr. Billionniere holds a doctoral degree in computer science from Arizona State University, a master's degree in higher and postsecondary education with a concentration in leadership from Arizona State University, and a bachelor's degree in computer science-mathematical sciences from the University of Montana. She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.
Yasmary DiazUltimate Software
Mother (of one amazing toddler!), Stutterer, Problem Solver, Techie, Traveler, Beer Snob, Gamer, Crafty, DreamerYasmary (aka Yaz) made the executive decision to become a programmer at the age of 9 when she deleted Windows 3.1 via DOS (and then deleted UnDelete). She has been working in the IT industry for over 12 years, of which she has worn many hats ranging from Software Engineer, Software Test Engineer, Tech Lead, Architect, Tech Consultant, and People Manager. She is currently leading teams at Ultimate Software focused on nurturing a healthy Tech Community (both internal and external) via culture and tooling. In addition to the day job, Yasmary co-leads Ultimate Software's Women in Tech South Florida group, runs workshops as an #IamRemarkable facilitator, and is a founding member of the #EquityatWork Social Room.She is passionate about nurturing Tech Communities as well as helping women, underrepresented groups, and students in Tech.P.S. Yaz has tried over 1,400+ unique beers (= Beer Snob) and brews her own beer!
Yucef MerhiThe Wolfsonian–FIU
Yucef Merhi is an artist, coder, researcher, and curator based in Miami. He is a pioneer of Digital Art, and is known for exhibiting the first work of art that included a video game console, the Atari 2600. Since 1985, Merhi has produced a wide body of works that engage poetry, facial recognition, AI, VR, and retro video game platforms, towards the formulation of interactive linguistic environments that can be experienced in a variety of ways. He holds a Master's from NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) and has lectured at numerous conferences and universities for the past 25 years.
His career encompasses a world-wide exhibition record in museums, galleries and public spaces of the US, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, England, Holland, Norway, Slovenia, Croatia, Turkey, and Korea. Currently, Mr. Merhi serves as Curator of Digital Collections at The Wolfsonian—Florida International University.
2016-2019 Past Speakers
Karen StolzenbergMagic Leap
Karen Stolzenberg designs experiences for the virtual and the real. An architect by training, Karen works at the intersection of technology, craft and culture. Karen graduated from the University of Minnesota and studied at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Currently, Karen leads UX for Social at Magic Leap where her team creates interactions and interfaces for a spatial communications platform. Her favorite language is Python! Twitter: @kroncorde
University of Miami
Odelia SchwartzUniversity of Miami
Odelia Schwartz is an Associate professor in the Computer Science Department at the University of Miami. Her areas of interest are computational neuroscience, natural scene statistics, and machine learning.
Her research is at the interface of computer science and the brain sciences. She are interested in understanding how neural systems make sense of information in the environment, resulting in complex inferences, perception, and behavior.
Andrea Denadai is the Corporate Communications & Reputation Director for Mastercard Latin America & Caribbean. In this role she is responsible for developing and implementing strategies to enhance Mastercard’s reputation and drive businesses priorities with different audiences through a variety of communications initiatives and channels. That includes being responsible for the implementation of Mastercard’s Girls4Tech program in Latin America and Caribbean region.
Before joining Mastercard’s regional team, she led the Communications department of the company for the Southern Cone. She has also worked for other large corporations such as Telefonica and Banco Itau-Unibanco. She holds a bachelor degree in Journalist and Post- Graduation in Marketing Administration. Originally from Brazil, Andrea speaks Portuguese and Spanish.
Natasha TomchinCoding Artist
Natasha Tomchin is an artist, designer and coder. Born in Belarus and raised in Nebraska, she’s called Miami home for the last 8 inspirational years. Her ‘Digital Dreamscapes’ are surreal manipulations of the natural world that encourage the audience to appreciate the ephemeral and awe-inspiring beauty surrounding them.
Natasha holds a BA from the University of Miami, where she was a member of the Foote Fellow Honors Program and a Singer Scholarship recipient.
Florida International University
Estefani ArroyoFlorida International University
Estefani Arroyo is an Honors student at Florida International University, studying Computer Science. She is very passionate for the field of Software Engineering, specifically in Data Science/Engineering. This past summer she interned at JPMorgan Chase as a Big Data Intern. This coming summer, she will be interning at Microsoft as a Program Manager. She is very involved in the FIU community and has obtained various leadership roles on campus.
As a member of the Google Ignite CS Program at Florida International University, Estefani has worked as a student mentor for elementary school students as a part of her personal initiative towards community service. In this program, she is responsible for teaching children how to code using Scratch. Estefani joined the prestigious Computer Science Honor Society, Upsilon Pi Epsilon (UPE) and has served as a Vice President of Finance. She also represents Women in Computer Science (WICS) as the Vice President for their student organization. In this position, she is responsible for celebrating and promoting women in CS by building a community and support system. And lastly, she is also an Instructor at Code/Art where she teaches students at Young Women’s Preparatory Academy CS principles through programming in HTML and CSS.
Entrepreneur, dancer, choreographer, software engineer, and advocate for women in Computer Science.
In 2009, Miral combined her passions for dance and computer programming to create iLuminate, an entertainment technology company that merges technology and dance to create unique visual experiences for its audiences.
Miral received her degree in computer science from Columbia University while also studying dance at Barnard College. After graduating she worked for Bloomberg as a senior software engineer, then entered the world of mobile application development. The concept for iLuminate emerged while Miral was developing iPhone applications.
iLuminate took audiences by storm when America voted the dance-in-the-dark sensation to one of the top finalist positions on the hit TV show, “America’s Got Talent.” Since then, Miral has catapulted iLuminate into an international phenomenon.
Miral has also programmed iLuminate’s patent-pending technology for Grammy-winning stars such as Christina Aguilera and the Black Eyed Peas. Her technology has been featured in several music awards shows and on popular talk shows such as “Ellen.” In January 2013, iLuminate danced in Washington, DC at the Kids’ Inaugural Concert for First Lady Michelle Obama and military families, sharing the stage with Katy Perry, Usher, and others.
Miral is a highly sought after speaker and advocate for women in computer science. At the personal request of Google founder Larry Page, Miral spoke (alongside Sr. Richard Branson and other renowned speakers) at Google Zeitgeist. Miral also spoke at the 2015 Grace Hopper Conference, a conference focused on women in computing, and recently appeared along with Mindy Kaling and Iconic Pop at Google’s launch event for Made With Code, an initiative aimed at empowering young women with computing skills.
Maria Derchi Russo
Maria Derchi RussoRefresh Miami
Maria joined Refresh Miami in November 2015 and currently serves as its Executive Director. Prior to joining Refresh, Maria led Marketing for a local parking startup and prior to that, she spent seven years running various Marketing programs for online travel site, Travelzoo. In her spare time, Maria runs Women in Miami Tech, a group dedicated to supporting and advancing women in technology roles in South Florida. Maria has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Boston University and a Master of Business Administration from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
Rebekah Monson is co-founder and COO for WhereBy.Us, a platform that helps curious locals get engaged in their cities, starting with email newsletters. Its brands, Miami’s The New Tropic, Seattle’s The Evergrey, Portland’s Bridgeliner and Orlando’s Pulptown engage more than a million curious locals each year. The company was in the 2018 class of Jason Calcanis’s LAUNCH Incubator, and is expanding to new U.S. markets and enhancing its technology platform. Rebekah also co-founded Code for Miami and Hacks/Hackers Miami. She serves on several professional and civic boards aimed at improving journalism, technology, and civic life.
Before starting a company, Rebekah worked in positions across many local newsrooms, including reporter, editor, and design director. She also ran communications at the University of Miami School of Communication, where she also pursued (but didn’t complete) an M.F.A. in Interactive Media. She co-founded Code for Miami, a Code for America brigade of volunteers working to transform civic technology in Miami-Dade County, and Hacks/Hackers Miami, a grassroots organization of journalists, designers and developers who are reinventing media.
Rebekah has presented talks and training on journalism, technology, design and engagement at a variety of conferences, workshops, and events for organizations including Online News Association, National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting (NICAR), Society of Professional Journalists, Society for News Design, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Hacks/Hackers, Institute for Nonprofit News, WordCamp, Maker Faire, Good Government Initiative, Code for America and TEDx. She has been selected as a Google Fellow at Personal Democracy Forum, a participant in the ONA-Poynter Digital Women’s Leadership Academy and an attendee at the White House LGBT Tech and Innovation Summit, among other awards and honors.
Rob Canales II
Rob Canales IIVS/Brooks
Rob is someone who embraces his curiosity for creativity. He is a passionate strategic thinker and curious creative, as well as a casual geek and pop/sport fanatic. Rob aims to inspire others to think big and embrace their creativity and to challenge people to make the things they are passionate about a reality.
Rob is a Creative Strategist with VS/Brooks, a Coral Gables based Communications Agency that describes its approach as a “right brain/left brain alliance.” Rob is also Co-Chair for United Way’s LINC (Lead. Impact. Network. Change.)
Rob earned a BS in Interpersonal and Organizational Communications from the University of Central Florida (UCF), where he was named a First Year Academic Scholar and was also a LEAD Scholar. UCF’s LEAD Scholars Program, is a selective, two-year academic leadership development program whose members are committed to academic excellence and making a difference in the world.
Deb Pang Davis
UM Interactive Media Dept.
Deb Pang DavisUM Interactive Media Dept.
Deb Pang Davis is an MFA candidate (class of 2020) in the Interactive Media Program at the University of Miami, School of Communication. She is also a Graduate Assistant in the School’s UX (User Experience) Lab.
Deb’s background is rooted in editorial art direction and design. She has been an art director and designer for magazines such as National Geographic Traveler and several national and regional newspapers including The Globe and Mail and The Chicago Tribune.
Prior to returning to grad school, she worked with photographers worldwide, designing and consulting for various books and websites. As a design professor at the Newhouse School, she conceived, created, and taught, “Craft Your Image”, a course on the business side of photography for undergraduate and graduate students in the Visual Communications Department. Deb also published a series of articles about marketing and personal branding for independent photographers for the National Press Photographers Association.
Deb graduated with a BFA in Photography from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She is currently from Syracuse, New York but has lived in at least 13 different cities across the U.S.
Dr Monique Ross
FIU School of Computing and Information Sciences
Dr Monique RossFIU School of Computing and Information Sciences
Dr Monique Ross is an Assistant Professor at Florida International University, School of Computing and Information Sciences. Her interests focus on broadening participation in engineering through the exploration of:
1) race, gender, and identity in the engineering workplace.
2) discipline-based education research (with a focus on computer science and computer engineering courses)
In order to inform pedagogical practices that garner interest and retain women and minorities in computer-related engineering fields.
Monique holds a doctoral degree in Engineering Education from Purdue University. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering from Elizabethtown College, a Master’s degree in Computer Science and Software Engineering from Auburn University, eleven years of experience in industry as a software engineer, and three years as a full-time faculty in the departments of computer science and engineering.
Felecia HatcherCode Fever
As an Author, Social Entrepreneur Felecia Hatcher has been honored by the White House as a 2014 Champion of Change for STEM Access & Diversity, Black Enterprise Innovator of the Week and Essence Magazine Tech Master. Hatcher has been featured on the NBC Today Show, The Cooking Channel, and Grio’s 100 African American’s Making History for her wildly successful company Feverish Ice Cream & Gourmet Pops where she serves as the Chief Popsicle. The Miami based gourmet popsicle company Feverish serves clients like Google, Capitol Records, Adidas, 32 Degrees, Vitamin Water, Wholefoods and Forever 21 with custom vegan friendly gourmet pops and private label frozen desserts.
Before launching Feverish, Felecia worked as a marketing manager for Nintendo, Sony, and the NBA. Felecia has presented engaging talks on Embracing Failure at Google London, Entrepreneurship and Managing Investor Relations at SXSW, White House Young America Series, Coca Cola HQ, TEDxMiami and TEDxJamaica. Felecia is also the author of 3 books How to Start a Business on a Ramen Noodle Budget, The C Students Guide to Scholarships and Focused.
Aside from being a successful entrepreneur and author Felecia has dedicated her life to turning kids and young adults from undeserved communities into tech entrepreneurs and exposing them to entrepreneurial opportunities in technology with her programs Code Fever and Black Tech Week initiatives that helps to increase tech entrepreneurship funding and training to underserved Florida communities.