Featured Speaker: Paul Graham
Paul Graham is a programmer, writer/essayist, and investor. In 1995, he co-founded Viaweb, the first software as a service (SaaS) company. Viaweb was acquired by Yahoo in 1998 where it became Yahoo Store. In 2001 he started publishing essays on paulgraham.com, which in 2015 got 34 million page views. In 2005 he and Jessica Livingston, Robert Morris, and Trevor Blackwell started Y Combinator, the first of a new type of startup incubator. Since 2005, Y Combinator has funded more than 1,000 startups including Dropbox, Airbnb, Stripe, and Reddit.
Ruchi Sanghvi was the Vice President of Operations at Dropbox, where she was responsible for product, recruiting, marketing, communications, and other functions. She came to Dropbox through its acquisition of Cove, a collaboration software company she founded in 2011. Prior to that Ruchi was the first female engineer at Facebook, and was instrumental in implementing the first versions of key features such as News Feed. She then led product management for Facebook Platform, Facebook Connect and Privacy. Ruchi holds a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical computer engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.
Luis Von Ahn
Luis von Ahn is an entrepreneur and computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University considered one of the pioneers of crowdsourcing. Luis is currently the co-founder and CEO of Duolingo, a language learning platform created to bring free language education to the world. With over 100 million users, it is now the most popular language learning platform and the most downloaded app in the Education category on both iTunes and Google Play, worldwide.
Clara is a partner and founding member at Revolution Ventures, where she focuses on identifying, investing in, and helping to build innovative and impactful early-stage companies. She began working with Revolution in 2010 and joined full-time as a member of the investment team in 2012, when she helped open Revolution's San Francisco office. Clara serves on the board at Busbud, Framebridge, and PolicyGenius. She helped lead fundraising efforts for both Revolution Growth’s and Revolution Ventures' first institutional funds, closing on $450M and $200M, respectively.
Charlie is an entrepreneur/software engineer and investor based in Palo Alto, CA. He is working on Exponent, a React native development tool.
In 2009 Charlie co-founded Quora with Adam D’Angelo and stayed at Quora until 2012. In 2011, Charlie was named among the “Top 30 under 30 Entrepreneurs” by Inc.com, cited as one of the “Smartest People in Technology” by Fortune magazine, and named an “Innovation Agent of 2011” by Fast Company magazine.Read more
Charlie was a manager at Facebook and led the development of Facebook Connect and Facebook Platform. He also worked as an engineer at Amazon.
Charlie is a frequent speaker on business and technology issues. He gave a keynote address at CrowdConf 2011 in San Francisco and was a featured speaker at Web 2.0 Summit, Stanford Medicine 2.0, Disrupt NYC and the MIT Startup Bootcamp.
Charlie is a graduate of Harvard College with an A.B. in Computer Science. Charlie is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Shadyside Academy and attended the “Andrew’s Leap” summer program for talented students with Professor Steve Rudich at Carnegie Mellon University during high school.
Bill Generett is the inaugural President and CEO of Urban Innovation21, a regional public-private economic development partnership that links successful innovation economy clusters with the needs and assets of inner city communities to produce local, living and sustainable economies. Urban Innovation21 was one of the first US based nonprofit organizations to work under the "Inclusive Innovation" model. Under Bill’s leadership Urban Innovation21 has been recognized nationally for its work to connect underserved communities and their residents to the greater Pittsburgh region’s most successful innovation ecosystems.Read more
Sonja Finn is the Chef and Owner of Dinette and Consulting Chef for The Carnegie Museum of Art and Natural History and The Andy Warhol Museum.
Sonja began her career at 18 as a prep cook at Baum Vivant in Pittsburgh. She moved to New York, earning degrees from Columbia University (B.A. 2001) and the Culinary Institute of America (A.O.S. 2003). Sonja then continued her training in restaurants including James Beard Foundation award winners Magnolia Grill in Durham and Zuni Cafe in San Francisco.
Since opening Dinette is 2008, Sonja has twice been a semi-finalist for the James Beard Foundation’s “Rising Star Chef of the Year” (2009 and 2010), was number 10 of Mother Nature Network’s “40 Chef’s Under 40,” one of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s “Young Pittsburgher to Watch in 2009,” and twice a regional nominee for Food and Wine’s “Peoples’ Best New Chef” (2011 and 2012).
Tom Murphy, ULI Canizaro/Klingbeil Families Chair for Urban Development, has been a senior resident fellow at the Urban Land Institute since 2006. A former mayor of Pittsburgh, his extensive experience in urban revitalization—what drives investment, what ensures long-lasting commitment—has been a key addition to the senior resident fellows’ areas of expertise. In 2011 he wrote Building on Innovation, a ULI report discussing the economic impact universities and hospitals have on local economies and providing detailed strategies to shape a successful 21st-century city based on a private/public/university partnership.
Mr. Charlie Batch is a former NFL quarterback turned tech entrepreneur, media personality/color analyst, community advocate and professional speaker.
Mr. Batch’s NFL career spanned 15 years and two Super Bowl victories. In retirement, he continues to be a respected strategist in the NFL, providing game-day commentary for Steelers broadcasts and several national media outlets, and serving as Senior Captain for The Trust, an initiative that Mr. Batch helped negotiate in 2014 with NFL team owners.
Since 1999, his Best of the Batch Foundation has worked to create communities where all kids and families are equipped with the tools they need to build their own best futures. In addition to his own foundation, Mr. Batch serves on multiple boards including the United Way of Allegheny County, the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society, the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, and Pittsburgh Musical Theater.
He is a recipient of numerous awards including the 2015 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Western Pennsylvania & West Virginia, and the 2013 Byron “Whizzer” White NFL Man of the Year Award.
Claire Hosteny is a partner in East End Development Partners, LP (EEDP). EEDP is focused on developing complex real estate projects in Pittsburgh’s urban core. Founded in January 2014, EEDP’s is the developer and owner of Ace Hotel Pittsburgh. A $25 million project, it relied on a complex financing structure and utilized New Markets Tax Credits, Historic Tax Credits, private equity, and several innovative debt vehicles. Prior to co-founding EEDP, Claire was General Counsel for ELDI Real Estate.
ELDI Real Estate is a for profit development company owned by East Liberty Development Inc. (ELDI). There, Claire worked on development projects including low income housing tax credit development, multi-family acquisition and reposition, substantial rehab of single family residences (50+ homes), and vacant lot development. Claire was responsible for overseeing legal agreements and transaction documentation for a broad range of commercial and residential real estate projects. Additionally, she helped to implement some of ELDI Real Estate’s more creative approaches to urban redevelopment utilizing partnerships with a broad range of developers.
At the URA of Pittsburgh, Claire managed the redevelopment process for URA owned real estate, select Board of Education real estate and high profile city properties. She was responsible for evaluating potential land acquisitions and sales of land with respect to economic development impacts, legal challenges, market conditions, financial feasibility, planning issues, neighborhood concerns, and design issues.
Claire has a background in economic development and has worked on projects ranging in size from micro economic development in South Central Los Angeles to consulting for the World Economic Forum in Davos. Claire obtained her JD from the University of Pittsburgh. At Pitt, she was the associate editor for the Pittsburgh Tax Review and completed the Community and Economic Development Clinic. She obtained her Masters of Science from the London School of Economics and Political Science with honors. She has a BA from Georgetown University where she was a Baker Scholar. Claire completed a year of volunteer service through the Americorps VISTA program. Claire is married to Joe Hosteny and they have two sons: Joseph (7) and Lucas (5). They have lived in Shadyside for the past decade. She is a graduate of Shady Side Academy.
Chef Bill Fuller can find inspiration in a stranger's shopping list, Thai street food, or a barbeque on the Yucatan Peninsula, and this synergy is reflected in his approach to his position as big Burrito's Corporate Chef.
“My teachers were hippies and beatniks,” he explains, and credits Jack Kerouac and Bob Dylan as vital early influences. Leaving his hometown of Falls Creek, PA at 17 to hitchhike America, Bill settled in Washington D.C. He worked as a line cook under Jeffery Bubin at the Occidental Restaurant while studying Chemistry at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. Upon graduation, he entered the Ph.D. program at University of California at Berkeley to study Synthetic Bio-Inorganic Chemistry.
After two years in the program, realizing his truer passion lay in standing at a stove and not a blackboard, Bill returned to Pennsylvania and the incredible possibilities in the nascent Pittsburgh food scene. Joining the young team launching big Burrito Restaurant Group, Bill grew with the company as they developed Mad Mex into a regional chain and developed five other successful restaurant concepts and a catering company. In his position, he directs the food operations of big Burrito Restaurant Group, including menu planning and development, chef development, and food procurement.
As a leader in the Pittsburgh restaurant community and food scene, Bill has driven mutually beneficial relationships between producers and growers and the businesses that buy their products. As the advisor and first (only) customer of Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance, a Southwest Pennsylvania Farm Cooperative, Bill supported them as advisor while they developed their business model. With sales now well over $1 million annually, Penn’s Corner has developed into a stable, reliable source of local food of which big Burrito still supports as their largest customer. Bill maintains long-standing relationships with many area farmers and producers while regularly developing new local food resources.
Bill supports the local community though the big Burrito Benefit Dinner Series. He is also active with the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, the Pittsburgh Marathon, the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, and other wellness- and local food-related non-profits. In addition, Bill’s enthusiasm for Grow Pittsburgh’s mission to teach children to eat wholesome, fresh food inspires him to be an active participant in their Edible Schoolyard and Chef in the Garden programs.
Since 2007, Audrey Russo has served the technology business sector for southwestern PA as President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Technology Council, the oldest (1983) and largest technology trade association in North America. In this role, Russo facilitates strong interaction across all sectors of the regional economy. With a background in information technology, operations and finance, Russo previously worked for large multi-national Fortune 500 companies (Alcoa, Reynolds Metals), as well as at MAYA Design, and in an adjunct faculty and project role at Virginia Commonwealth University.Read more
Russo loves the complexity of Pittsburgh’s physical, literal and metaphorical terrain and believes the city will succeed and grow through technology innovation and commercialized disruptions across every platform and experience. Pittsburgh’s technology roots are essential and imperative in achieving competitive, diverse and vibrant economies.
Russo earned her Bachelor of Science from Ohio State University. She also has a Master’s in Public Administration from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Public Affairs.
Russo is a previous Board Chair for the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, as well as serving as a board member of the following organizations; Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, Regional Industrial Development Corporation (RIDC), Jewish Community Center (JCC) of Greater Pittsburgh, CityLab, Highmark Business Advisory Board, and the Power of 32. Russo also co-hosts TechVibe Radio every Friday at 7pm on KDKA 1020 AM or FM 93.7 HD2 to explore technology companies and entrepreneurial issues. She also serves as the President of the newly formed nonprofit Fortyx80 which serves to ensure that Pittsburgh’s vitality will be sustained through education for entrepreneurs, education for the next generation of the economy and development of newer collisions of innovation.
John M. Wallace Jr. is the principal investigator on the University of Pittsburgh Center on Race and Social Problems’ Comm-Univer-City of Pittsburgh Project, an integrated program of research, teaching, and service designed to investigate and ameliorate social problems that disproportionately impact economically disadvantaged children, families, and communities. This program includes the Homewood Children's Village. His recent research examines comprehensive community revitalization initiatives, racial and ethnic disparities in social and economic well-being, the impact of crime on clergy and congregations, and adolescent problem behaviors including violence and substance abuse.Read more
Wallace earned his PhD and master’s degree in sociology from the University of Michigan and his BA in sociology from the University of Chicago.
Most recently, Wallace has been awarded a three year grant from the National Institute on Health (National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities). The grant, Healthy Living, Healthy Learning, Healthy Lives (HL3) Project equitably engages community and academic partners in an effort to investigate, ameliorate and ultimately eliminate, disparities in children’s health, with a particular focus on asthma, its correlates, consequences and co-morbidities. The project aims to strengthen and expand the health focus of an existing community-based participatory research (CBPR) partnership; to use the HL3 CBPR partnership to plan and implement a multi-level (individual, family, school, neighborhood, policy) community assessment; and to use the results of the community assessment to plan a multi-level pilot CBPR intervention.
His work has appeared in numerous professional journals, books and monographs. In addition to being a professor and a father, he pastors a church in Pittsburgh’s Homewood-Brushton neighborhood.
Andrew W. Moore, PhD, a distinguished computer scientist with expertise in machine learning and robotics, became dean of the Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science in August 2014. He had previously served as a professor of computer science and robotics before taking a leave of absence to become founding director of Google's Pittsburgh engineering office in 2006.Read more
Moore's research interests broadly encompass the field of "big data"--applying statistical methods and mathematical formulas to massive quantities of information, ranging from Web searches to astronomy to medical records, in order to identify patterns and extract meaning from that information. His past research has also included improving the ability of robots and other automated systems to sense the world around them and respond appropriately.
Tracy Certo is founder and publisher of NEXTpittsburgh, the online magazine about the people driving change in our region and the innovative things happening in Pittsburgh. NEXT launched in 2014 and is attracting 200,000 visitors monthly. Prior to starting NEXT, she led Pop City for nearly eight years as editor and publisher. She was also editor of AIA Pittsburgh’s Columns Magazines and was a freelance writer and marketing consultant for 15 years. She worked for Katz Radio in Los Angeles following her early career in media sales in Pittsburgh.Read more
Tracy is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and a grad of Leadership Pittsburgh; she serves on the board of VisitPITTSBURGH, Society for Contemporary Craft and was a member of the Transatlantic Cities Network representing Pittsburgh in the German Marshall Fund. In June, 2010 she traveled to Essen, Germany and Turin, Italy on an ideas exchange trip with the GMF.
She has led or participated in seven international Habitat for Humanity trips, including Chile, Mozambique and Thailand. She was named a Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scouts of Western PA for her work in the arts in Pittsburgh and is a member of CEOs for Cities, a national network of urban enthusiasts. She is a passionate advocate for healthy, vibrant and sustainable cities, especially Pittsburgh.
Don founded Jazz (formerly The Resumator) in 2009, and established the company as a leader in SMB-focused, SaaS recruiting solutions. A graphic designer turned software engineer, entrepreneur, startup evangelist, writer and speaker, Don is the influential leader and innovator for Jazz’s product organization and widely regarded as a thought leader in the recruiting software industry. A graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology, Don has been been profiled in The New York Times, was a Regional Finalist for the 2012 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Competition and Business Insider named him as one of the 25 Most Influential African-Americans in Technology. Don lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and is (of course) a Steelers fan.
Marlee S. Myers represents publicly traded and emerging companies in US and international transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, initial and follow-on public offerings, venture capital and debt financings, and strategic alliances. She advises on general corporate matters, including securities compliance and corporate governance. In addition, she serves as counsel to family offices. Founding partner of Morgan Lewis's Pittsburgh office, Marlee has been listed in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business every year since 2003.Read more
Marlee serves on the board of trustees of the University of Pittsburgh and the board of directors of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, one of the largest healthcare providers in the country. She also serves on the boards of directors of the Pittsburgh Technology Council and the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, which she co-founded.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recognized Marlee as one of the city’s top 50 business leaders, and she was twice selected as an ATHENA Award finalist by the Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce. She was honored as one of Pennsylvania's Top 50 Women in Business by former Governor Tom Ridge; received a Pittsburgh Business Times Business Women First Award (2009 and 2016); and was named by the National Diversity Council as one of the “Most Powerful and Influential Women of Pennsylvania.”
Jim Russell is a Research Fellow at the Center for Population Dynamics at Cleveland State University’s Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs. As a geographer, he studies the relationship between migration and economic development. Jim has analyzed how migration impacts economic development in San Antonio, Cleveland, Youngstown, and Pittsburgh.Read more
A regular writer for Pacific Standard, Jim blogs about his work. Prior to joining the magazine, he published new ideas about Rust Belt brain drain at his own website, Burgh Diaspora. Born in Erie, Pennsylvania, he and his extended family scattered across the country during the economic downturn of the 1970s. This personal migration serves as inspiration for his research.
As a geography graduate student at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Jim learned about globalization, geopolitics, migration, and international human rights law. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Vermont, majoring in geography and minoring in Russian studies.