Russlynn Ali is the CEO of the XQ Institute. She believes that education is the cornerstone to self-reliance. It’s why she served as assistant secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education from 2009 to 2012, acting as Secretary Arne Duncan’s lead advisor on equity and civil rights, and leading over 600 attorneys as they revitalized civil rights enforcement in education. It’s why, prior to her work in the Obama Administration, Russlynn served as vice president of the Education Trust in Washington, D.C. and founded and ran Education Trust-West, in Oakland.
It’s why, today, Russlynn has served as Emerson Collectives’ thought leader and ambassador on educational quality. As Managing Director at Emerson, she has shaped investments in and partnerships with other organizations to advance educational equity in the U.S.
And, it’s why Russlynn founded and serves as a board member and CEO of XQ Institute, a collaboration dedicated to rethinking school in America. XQ Institute’s mission is to develop new learning opportunities for young people that open up the possibilities of the wider world. It’s first initiative, XQ: The Super School Project, is an open call to America’s students, teachers, administrators, civic leaders, businesses, entrepreneurs, artists and designers to meet the challenge of preparing our students for the future by designing the next American high school. All of Russlynn’s work reflects her previous experience as a teacher, attorney, liaison for the president of the Children’s Defense Fund, assistant director of policy and research at the Broad Foundation, and chief of staff to the president of the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Board of Education.
Russlynn is also a frequent speaker on issues related to civil rights and educational equity. She received her J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law and her bachelor’s degree from American University. She also attended Spelman College.
Talia Frenkel is the Founder of L., a B Corp that creates award-winning personal care products. Talia began her career as a photojournalist working for the Red Cross and United Nations. Her coverage of the effects of HIV/AIDS on women and girls inspired her to take action. Talia was struck by the fact that countless lives are lost to a disease that can be prevented by something that can be bought in any western convenience store. The fact that condoms are not available to all was a fact Talia couldn't live with. L.'s first product is condoms, which are currently distributed online and in CVS, Whole Foods and Target stores.
For every product L. sells, one is donated to a developing country. Today L. works with a network of over 2,800 female entrepreneurs in Sub Saharan Africa and has distributed over 2 million health products. This spring they will also be launching a line of 100% organic feminine care products.
Ooshma Garg is the visionary founder and CEO of Gobble. She founded her first company as a junior at Stanford University in 2008, an online student recruiting platform called Anapata. Garg was President of Stanford Women in Business, organizing career advancement workshops and opportunities for the 400+ female student members of the organization. Her experience with Stanford Women in Business inspired her to start Anapata, which Garg sold in 2010, the same year she was named one of Inc. Magazine’s Top 30 Under 30 Entrepreneurs.
Garg’s own struggle to eat healthily while building her previous ventures led her on a mission to create the easiest way for busy people to cook healthy home-cooked meals, resulting in her now breakout company, Gobble. With a degree in BioMechanical Engineering, Garg thinks differently about food and applies a data-driven approach to understanding consumer taste preferences and becoming the modern family’s default solution to cook dinner. Gobble is now preparing and shipping their unique 10-minute dinner kits to families across California, Washington, Colorado, Oregon, and Nevada. The company has received over $12M in funding from Silicon Valley veterans including Trinity Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz, along with founders and executives from PayPal, LinkedIn, Google and Facebook.
Katelyn Gleason is the founder and CEO of Eligible, Inc. She began her startup career as the first employee of drchrono EHR, working on sales, support and product development. She is a two-time Y Combinator alum, was named to Forbes' 30 under 30 and has been recognized as one of Fast Company's Top Creative People.
Kathryn Minshew is the CEO & Founder of The Muse, a career platform used by 50+ million millennials and digital/technical candidates to advance in their careers and apply to great companies. A WSJ and Harvard Business Review contributor, Kathryn has spoken at MIT and Harvard and appeared on TODAY and CNN. Kathryn has been named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30, Inc.’s 35 Under 35 and SmartCEO's Future50. A Duke alum, Kathryn worked in Rwanda with the Clinton Health Access Initiative before founding The Muse, and was previously at McKinsey & Company.
Laurene Powell Jobs
Laurene Powell Jobs is founder and chair of Emerson Collective, an organization that supports social entrepreneurs who are committed to the ideal that everyone ought to have the chance to live to their full potential.
Most of the work of Emerson Collective is anchored around ways to open doors to opportunity – focus areas include improving our nation’s schools, advocating for common sense immigration reform, and collaborating with partners who are innovating ways to create durable avenues for social and economic mobility.
Powell Jobs shapes the vision of Emerson Collective, reviews impact, amplifies the momentum of its partners, and sets the operational direction of the organization.
Many of the priorities championed by Emerson Collective are formed by the work of College Track, a program Powell Jobs founded in 1997 to prepare disadvantaged high school students for success in college. Today Powell Jobs is president of College Track’s board of directors, which now works with more than 2,000 students from Oakland, San Francisco, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Aurora, Colorado. More than 90 percent of College Track high school graduates go on to college (many of them are first generation students), and the program’s college graduation rate is more than double to that of low-income students.
In addition to her work with Emerson Collective and College Track, she serves on the boards of directors of NewSchools Venture Fund, Teach for All, OZY Media, Conservation International and Stanford University. She also is a member of the Chairman’s advisory board of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Powell Jobs holds a BA and a BSE from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Earlier in her career, she spent several years working in investment banking and later co-founded a natural foods company in California.
Aarthi Ramamurthy is the founder and CEO of Lumoid, a Y Combinator-backed startup that provides a try-before-you-buy service for consumer electronics, including wearables and drones. Aarthi hails from Chennai, India and has a Masters in software engineering. She was recruited by Microsoft as one of their youngest product managers. Prior to founding Lumoid, she built products such as Xbox LIVE and worked at Netflix on the video streaming software.
Reshma Shetty co-founded synthetic biology Ginkgo Bioworks, Inc. in 2008. Spun out of MIT, Ginkgo’s mission is to make biology easier to engineer. Started in a Cambridge, MA apartment, Reshma has helped to grow the company to 60 people and raised $50M in financing. In Spring 2015, Ginkgo launched Bioworks1, its 18,000 square foot facility for design, fabrication and testing of custom designed microbes. Ginkgo is concurrently engineering more than 20 organisms to spec for customers.
Reshma has been active in the field of synthetic biology for 10+ years and co-organized SB1.0, the first international conference in synthetic biology in 2004. In 2005, Reshma and colleagues founded OpenWetWare.org, a wiki for the free sharing of information among biological and biological engineering researchers. In 2006, she was an advisor to the international Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) competition where she was best known for engineering bacteria to smell like bananas and mint. In 2008, Forbes magazine named Reshma one of Eight People Inventing the Future and in 2011, Fast Company named her one of 100 Most Creative People in Business. In 2014, Ginkgo became the first biotech company to participate in Y Combinator.
Reshma Shetty has a B.S. degree in Computer Science from the University of Utah and a Ph.D. in Biological Engineering from MIT. As a graduate student, Reshma’s research was supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, the Whitaker Graduate Fellowship in Biological Engineering and the Andrew and Edna Viterbi Fellowship in Computational Biology. As an undergraduate, Reshma was supported by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, the Beckman Undergraduate Research Fellowship, the Pfizer Undergraduate Research Fellowship and the University of Utah Presidential Scholarship.
Urska Srsen is the co-founder and Chief Product Officer of Bellabeat, a Silicon Valley company which is designing the future of healthcare. Bellabeat team is behind the LEAF health tracking jewelry for women - one of the best mobile products of 2015 according to Digital Trends. Urska is the detail obsessed eye behind Bellabeat’s products and brand strategy which have been recognized as some of the most innovative products launched in the digital health market.
After attending Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana and the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki she worked and exhibited her work as a sculptor until the age of 23 when she founded Bellabeat together with her partner Sandro Mur, after they have worked on a remote patient monitoring system for prenatal care.
Urska was chosen by Forbes as the ambassador of the Technology field for their first European 30 under 30 list, launched in January 2016. She was also one of the speakers at Y Combinator Startup School, Pioneers and Slush, appeared on the ABC News, Fox News, WSJ, Forbes, Silicon Valley Business Journal, Refinery29 and many others.
Bellabeat was part of the Winter 14 batch at Y Combinator and employs 60 people in their offices in San Francisco, Shenzhen, China and Zagreb, Croatia.
Selina joined SurveyMonkey in October 2009. As President and Chief Technology Officer, Selina oversees growth, marketing, business intelligence, product, engineering, and SurveyMonkey’s self-serve business. Previously Selina was Senior Vice President of Product and Technology at Ticketmaster’s Europe division, where she managed the 200-person Product, Technology and Operations team. Prior to that, Selina was Vice President of Online Product and Technology at Entertainment Publications, where she led the company’s online sales and technology initiatives. In 1997 Selina founded Evite.com, an online invitation service that lets users organize an offline event online, and which currently sends over three million invitations per month. As VP of Engineering for Evite.com, she led the company’s development and operations and played a key role in setting the strategic direction with the board of directors. In 2001, Evite.com was sold to Ticketmaster. Selina holds a BS degree in Computer Science from Stanford University.
Liz Wessel is the Co-Founder and CEO at WayUp, the largest marketplace exclusively for US college students to get jobs and internships. Founded in July 2014, WayUp is a 35-person startup in NYC, and was named by CNN as one of the 30 most innovative companies changing the world in 2015. WayUp has raised $9.1M in VC backing in its first year from funds including General Catalyst, Index Ventures, Y Combinator, BoxGroup, and more. Prior to founding WayUp, Liz worked at Google as a Product Marketing Manager in California and then in India. Liz recently was named to the "Forbes 30 Under 30" list for 2016.