Speakers in 2021
Shankar is currently working at Insight Investment Management Limited (Insight) as Head of Farmland Investments. He has nearly three decades of corporate and institutional investment experience with specific emphasis on the global food and agribusiness sector. Prior to joining Insight in 2015, Shankar was the head of Strategic Investments at Olam International Limited in Singapore, where he led approximately US$4bn worth of investments in the global food and agriculture sector. His experience includes developing investment strategies and overseeing all elements of investment management with alignment of sustainability and value creation.
John is Co-Founder and CEO of Toonstar which is an animation tech startup that makes snackable + interactive content and experiences for mobile audiences and partners with diverse + emerging creators to bring their stories to life.
Prior to launching Toonstar, he spent almost fifteen years developing franchise properties and driving innovation at Warner Bros. and DreamWorks where he held roles in marketing, business development, digital content creation and tech commercialization.
John is also a self-confessed media junkie and child of Saturday morning cartoons who’s on a mission to blend creativity + tech to transform the way stories are produced, shared and experienced.
As Vice President of International Programs, Kriss oversees Population Media Center (PMC)’s field offices, with responsibilities ranging from selecting and training administrative and creative teams to monitoring research results. Kriss has trained writers and producers for over 50 TV or radio programs and has authored numerous chapters and articles. She has over 30 years of experience in health development and communications. She holds a BA from Stanford University, a Master of Public Health from the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and a Ph.D. from the University of Cape Town.
Esther is a Managing Director at State Street Global Advisors. She works as a Portfolio Manager in Active Equities and co-manages the Global Select Equity portfolio.
Esther joined SSGA in July 2016 through its acquisition of GE Asset Management. She joined GEAM in London in 1996 as a Senior International Fixed Income Analyst and moved to International Equities in 2001. Analyst assignments included covering Emerging Markets and the Food, Beverages and Tobacco Sector ex-US. She also managed a focused Europe portfolio from 2006 to 2012. Esther started her career at Credit Lyonnais Capital Markets in 1988, becoming a Senior Economist for the firm and working out of their Paris Headquarters.
Esther has a BA Honours in Economics from Leicester University and an M. Phil in Economics from Cambridge University. She earned the Chartered Financial Analyst designation in 2000 and is a member of the CFA Institute.
Colinne S. Bartel
Colinne S. Bartel is the owner of Truffle Time, a subsidiary of AC Innovation GmbH. AC Innovation serves as a marketing and business development catalyst for entrepreneurs. As chief project manager, Ms. Bartel was responsible for capital expenditures and acquisition integration for an Advent International portfolio company that executed one of the fastest growing telecommunications buy & build projects in Europe.
After finalizing her MBA and a research trip in East Africa in 2002, Colinne joined McKinsey & Company. Ms. Bartel holds a B.A. in Political Science from University of California, Los Angeles, an M.A. in International Relations from the Claremont Graduate School and a dual MBA in Strategy and Finance from The Peter F. Drucker School of Management and the EDHEC Business School. Her passions are sports, the arts and cultural exchange.
Dr. Julia Bistrova
Dr. Julia Bistrova, CFA, is head of financial analysis and research centre at Herens Quality Asset Management AG. Julia manages development of analytical tools focusing on in-depth corporate financial and ESG analysis, aiming to enhance alpha of equity portfolios.
Julia is also senior researcher and associated Professor at Riga Technical University, author of scientific publications on the corporate governance, on equity investments, and earnings plausibility. Julia received her Doctoral degree in Economic Sciences from Riga Technical university in 2014 and CFA certificate in 2016.
Sona Blessing is an independent finance researcher and author of „Alternative Alternatives: Risk, Returns and Investment Strategy“ – Wiley Finance, Feb. 2011.
She is a contributing author, in German, on real assets for „Alternative Investments: Analyse und Due Diligence” – NZZ Libro Dec. 2013; and has been a previewer of CAIA textbook chapters on real assets.
Sona currently moderates educational finance podcasts, Insights. Prior to, she moderated Opalesque Radio. She also served as the platform’s Director of Research and is accredited with solely conceiving, launching and authoring A SQUARE (Alternative Alternatives), its then research portal.
Sona has served as a guest lecturer on ‘Alternative Alternatives’ at the Zurich School of Management and Law (zhaw), and gained experience at Swiss banks in the roles of a hedge fund research strategist and a global market strategist.She serves, in a voluntary capacity, as a member of the Global Advisory Council, 100 Women in Finance; whilst continuing in her role as the organisation’s ambassador in Switzerland.
Dr. Ronald Crutcher
President University of Richmond
During this time of intense polarization, Ronald Crutcher’s life as a Black leader successfully bridging America’s cultural divides offers a compelling story with important lessons for today’s thinkers. Born to two parents who never graduated high school, Dr. Crutcher grew up to become a leader at the highest levels of academia and the arts. As a child musician, he met with Coretta Scott King. As an adult educator, he sat at Maya Angelou’s holiday table.
But it is Dr. Crutcher’s success as a Black intellectual navigating highly charged social issues that makes his story both unforgettable and urgently important. Whether navigating cancel culture at the University of Richmond, where he serves as President in the heart of the former Confederacy, or teaching Northeast liberals the true meaning of functional diversity, Dr. Crutcher offers lessons on life and leadership that none of us can afford to ignore.
Michael Dobbs was born and educated in Britain, but is now a U.S. citizen. He was a long-time reporter for The Washington Post, covering the collapse of communism as a foreign correspondent. He has taught at leading American universities, including Princeton, the University of Michigan, and Georgetown, and is currently on the staff of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. His previous books include the best-selling One Minute to Midnight on the Cuban missile crisis, which was part of an acclaimed “Cold War trilogy.” He lives outside Washington D.C.
Teni joined the FAIRR Initiative in March 2020 and has oversight of the UK and Northern European investment community. She is responsible for raising awareness of FAIRR’s efforts with a focus on educating investors of the potential risks and rewards in the global protein industry as it relates to their investment universe.
Teni further expands FAIRR’s client servicing capabilities and financial markets knowledge – prior to joining the Initiative, she worked in private wealth management as an Executive Director at Hassium Asset Management and in institutional asset management as a Vice President on the Pan-European Equities desks at both Lehman Brothers and ING Group.
Teni holds a BSc Hons in Economics & Accounting from the University of Bristol and is IMC qualified as well as a CFA Charterholder.
Johnny El Hachem
Mr. El Hachem joined Edmond de Rothschild Group in 2002 where he initiated and developed resilient investment strategies with a forward-looking approach. As current CEO of Edmond de Rothschild Private Equity, he has led the development of Edmond de Rothschild Private Equity into a leading Private Equity firm. With about 2.7 billion CHF under management in 2020, Edmond de Rothschild Private Equity has accompanied over 170 global companies and entrepreneurs. It offers a diversified portfolio of 13 differentiating strategies across a variety of geographical zones and sectors:
o Direct mid-market minority and majority buyout deals in Europe and the US
o Real estate – hospitality, value-added strategies, Soil remediation and sustainable urban development – in Europe
o Transport and social infrastructure
o Agro-industry in Latin America and Africa
o Energy transition in Europe
o SMEs in Africa
o Growth Technology in Europe and the US
Mr. El Hachem holds a master degree in Financial Engineering from ESSEC business School (France), and a Bachelor of Science in Banking & Finance and Political Science from the Lebanese American University. Mr. El Hachem intervenes regularly in international seminars as a speaker on topics related to private equity and impact investments.
Art Historian and Provenance Researcher
Lauren Farrington is a Provenance Researcher and Art Historian with global experience, currently working at the Art Loss Register in London [as a Recovery and Restitution Specialist]. Before moving to London, Lauren worked at the Städel Museum and Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt, Germany [in Education].
Jason Grode started his animation career as a producer on the hit show FUTURAMA and worked on several productions before starting his independent talent and management agency. Over the years, he has helped to facilitate hundreds of deals and today represents a wide variety of animation professionals, from writers, directors to producers and artists.
His network has deep roots in the US entertainment industry and around the globe. He tracks trends, identifies needs, helps with negotiations, and keeps an overall track of projects in production.
Jimmy Hayward gained early directorial prominence as a commercial director. He was one of the original animators of the pioneering computer-animated television series “Reboot” in the nascent years of CG animation.
Pixar Animation quickly recruited him to work on the groundbreaking film “Toy Story” (1995). Jimmy continued working with Pixar for over a decade, during which time he animated on such beloved films as “Toy Story 2“, “A Bug’s Life”, “Monsters, Inc.” and “Finding Nemo”.
Following his years at Pixar, Jimmy joined 20th Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios as a writer and sequence director on the hit film “Robots“. His feature animation directorial debut “Horton Hears A Who!” was a huge success, earning nearly $300 million worldwide. He returned to feature directing and added screenwriter to his credits with “Free Birds”, an animated comedy produced by Reel FX and distributed by Relativity, which also turned out to be a wide success international box-office of $110 million.
With 25 years of involvement in feature film animation, Jimmy is currently preparing „Echo Location“, an animated feature with a strong environmental message, among other projects.
Dr. Jackson Janes
Jackson Janes is senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund and president emeritus of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at the Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC, where he has been affiliated since 1989.
Dr. Janes has been engaged in German-American affairs in numerous capacities over many years. He has studied and taught in German universities in Freiburg, Giessen, and Tübingen. He was the director of the German-American Institute in Tübingen (1977-1980) and then directed the European office of The German Marshall Fund of the United States in Bonn (1980-1985). Before joining AICGS, he served as director of Program Development at the University Center for International Studies at the University of Pittsburgh (1986-1988). He was also chair of the German Speaking Areas in Europe Program at the Foreign Service Institute in Washington, DC, from 1999-2000 and president of the International Association for the Study of German Politics from 2005-2010.
Dr. Janes is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and the Atlantic Council of the United States. He serves on the advisory boards of the Berlin office of the American Jewish Committee, Beirat der Zeitschrift für Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik (ZfAS), the Robert Bosch Foundation Alumni Association, and the American Bundestag Intern Network (ABIN) in Washington, DC. He is a member of the board of the German American Fulbright Commission and serves on the Selection Committee for the Bundeskanzler Fellowships for the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. He is a member of the Cosmos Club in Washington DC.
Dr. Janes has lectured throughout Europe and the United States and has published extensively on issues dealing with Germany, German-American relations, and transatlantic affairs. In addition to regular commentary given to European and American news radio, he has appeared on CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, PBS, CBC, and is a frequent commentator on German television. Dr. Janes is listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in Education.
In 2005, Dr. Janes was awarded the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, Germany’s highest civilian award.
Dr. Barry L. Jenkins
Dr. Jenkins holds a doctorate in medicine from Harvard University, where he became interested in computational models of human vision, leading to his interest in computer graphics, and how a 2D image is constructed from a known 3D representation.
Dr. Jenkins developed 3D geometry processing and translation software that has been licensed to entertainment and industrial clients including Lucas Arts, Blur Studios, and Northrop Grumman. Subsequently, Barry developed the conceptual and technical framework underlying the GPEG visibility event protocol and has implemented the core components of the GPEG encoder in C/C++.
Dr. Jenkins has been awarded 11 patents related to the GPEG technology, assigned to Instant Interactive.
Steffen Jost is a Program Director at the Alfred Landecker Foundation and before that was head of the education department at the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial, where he played a key role in promoting the digital development of the educational programs. He has been involved in historical education and remembrance culture for over a decade and has published on a broad variety of topics. In addition to his main interest in digital forms of commemoration and education, he has long been concerned with the history of the persecution of Sinti and Roma under National Socialism and the possibilities of conveying this story. He is a historian, studied in Marburg and Madrid and also worked at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and the Max Mannheimer Study Center in Dachau.
Never Again? Series
David has been named one of the world’s most compassionate entrepreneurs by Salt magazine. He is the recipient of the United Nations Lighthouse award for Planetary Health, recipient of the Paris Climate Conference Sustainia community award, recipient of the Earnst and Young Lifetime Achievement award, is the Past President of the Vancouver Chapter of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), and named the Entrepreneur Organizations, Global Citizen.
David is the founder and CEO of The Plastic Bank, an internationally recognized solution to ocean plastic. The Plastic Bank is a global network of micro recycling markets that empower the poor to transcend poverty by cleaning the environment. The Plastic Bank is an eco-system that provides an opportunity for the world to collect and trade plastic waste as a currency. Global partners include IBM, Shell Energy, SC Johnson, Aldi, Henkel and more.
UCLA’s first Chief Sustainability Officer, Nurit Katz is working to foster partnerships among academic, research, and operational departments to facilitate creating a world-class living laboratory for sustainability at UCLA. Nurit has also served as Executive Officer for UCLA Facilities Management for five years and is an Instructor for UCLA Extension’s Sustainability Certificate Program. Nurit holds an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management, a Masters in Public Policy from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, and a BA in Environmental Education from Humboldt State University.
Rebecca Keeble’s two-decade career has taken her from indigenous communities to international conventions. She has travelled across the region to set up companion animal support programmes, develop conservation strategies for marine animals and advocate for endangered species at every level of government.
Because of her wide-ranging expertise, Rebecca has advised the Australian Government on a host of conservation issues. As a member of the Australian delegation, she has advocated for animals in a variety of international forums, including CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), CMS (Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals) and UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change).
Today, Rebecca oversees all of IFAW’s programmes in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. Most recently, this included IFAW’s disaster response and animal rescue work during the Australian bushfires and the rehabilitation and recovery work in the aftermath. Rebecca has also led our efforts to promote animal welfare and protect animal habitats. In particular, she has focused on reducing the demand for products made from ivory and rhino horn, as well as protecting whales by reducing the risk of ship strikes.
Serge Krancenblum is the co-founder of IQ-EQ and now chairs the Supervisory Board of the Group.
Serge is an international entrepreneur who has created and managed a number of successful companies over the course of his career. He also sits as an Independent Director on the boards of several real estate and private equity funds, and is also a Director of a few private companies.
Serge represents the industry as Chairman of three professional associations: Luxembourg Alternative Assets Administrators Association (L3A), Investment Facilitation Forum and Luxembourg Association of Family Offices (LAFO). He is also a member of the Luxembourg High Committee of the Financial Sector.
In 2018, Serge was voted as the European Personality of the Year at the Funds Europe Awards.
Solveig Langeland is managing director of Stuttgart-based film sales company Sola Media, which specializes in family entertainment and animation since 2004; bringing some of the most beloved children and family films to a global marketplace, and specializing in high-quality animated features for the big screen.
Sola Media’s passionate and experienced team is based in Stuttgart and Munich. We devote a lot of individual attention to our films, developing customized strategies and presenting them prominently at markets and festivals. In cooperation with our distributors, we coordinate release and marketing strategies on a pan-European and global level, often operating in long-term partnerships. In 2019, Sola Media was honored for its accomplishments and won the prestigious „Distributor of the Year“ Award at Cartoon Movie in Bordeaux.
Additionally acting as an Executive Producer on titles like DREAMBUILDERS, CAPTAIN SABRETOOTH and THE ELFKINS, Sola Media prides itself to provide a 360° service for its collaborators as a Boutique Agency with a strong setup in film and script development, advice on character design and visuals, financing, matchmaking, marketing and after-sales services.
In 2020, Sola Media was acquired by Koch Media, an Embracer Group company, with strategic business areas in film, interactive and online entertainment. In times of rapid digital change and economic challenges, Koch Media and Sola Media are well-positioned, combining synergy effects and bringing together the world of new technologies and the classical film business. Sola Media remains independent, headed by industry veterans Solveig Langeland & Moritz Peters as Managing Directors.
Dr. Hendrik Leber
Studied Business Administration in Saarbrücken Germany), St. Gallen (Switzerland), Syracuse and Berkeley (USA). Before founding ACATIS in 1994, he worked for Bankhaus Metzler from 1989 to 1994 and for the management consultancy McKinsey from 1984 to 1989.
Dr. Leber is the speaker of the management board and portfolio manager.
Andrew is an award winning director and co-owner at Lucan – an animation studio based in Cape Town. He’s worked in animation for ten years, servicing the advertising industry both locally and abroad. Andrew’s work tends to be narrative with layered, lush, visuals that incorporate various animation styles. He has helmed many successful advertising campaigns and has turned his sights to long form storytelling & development.
Heiko Nemmert has over 20 years of experience in the media industry. He co-managed several studios in past years and helped produce TV programs and films for international audiences, the German public-service television broadcasters, and the RTL Group. He gained valuable knowledge in the online sector during his early career days, producing content for Coca Cola, Kellogg’s, and Motorola.
In the past five years, Heiko Nemmert, with four partners, founded the international entertainment studio Baby Giant Hollyberg. As its CEO, he is also responsible for overseeing the studio’s foreign affairs and co-managing its North-American business. On the content side,
Heiko is used to guide the process in all production stages, from development to financing, managing productions, and handling distribution. As a speaker, panelist, and consultant, he helps audiences understand markets, financing, the power of storytelling, and current and future media technologies.
William “Bill” Noonan is the Business Development Director at Choose New Jersey, New Jersey’s leading nonprofit economic development organization.
Bill manages a team of business development officers and oversees the Technology, Financial Services, Film & Television, and Gaming sectors to identify growth opportunities, nurture client relationships and develop strategies to promote interest in New Jersey as an ideal business location.
Bill has deep connections within New Jersey’s technology ecosystem including the Jersey City/Hoboken startup community. Prior to joining Choose New Jersey, Bill served as the Senior Director of SPHERE Technology Solutions – an IT company specializing in cybersecurity – responsible for marketing, sales and business development.
Bill’s extensive experience in the financial services industry includes leadership roles at HSBC Bank, TASC, Gevity and NeoVision Hypersystems, Inc.
Paulina is a young, inspiring entrepreneur with a strong vision to change the educational system for children to go beyond ABC and 123 and focus on the whole child. She holds a MSc. in International Business from Copenhagen Business School.
Only at the age of 22 she was named Sweden’s Top 10 Most Innovative Entrepreneurs, and just recently, Paulina was awarded by the Swedish King for her work with Peppy Pals and her value-based leadership skills.
Paulina is also a member of Six Seconds Advisory Board, one of the largest EQ-organization in the world working for children’s wellbeing.
Katie Packer Beeson is Founding Partner at Burning Glass Consulting, a first of its kind, all-female consulting firm, which does public relations, political consulting and issue management with an emphasis on messaging to women. Katie has worked on political campaigns across the country since 1990 and has managed campaigns at every level from state legislature and Governor to U.S. Senate and Presidential. In 2012, she was the Deputy Campaign Manager of Governor Mitt Romney’s Presidential Campaign.
Katie’s experience also includes working in the Michigan State Senate and in the administration of Michigan Governor John Engler as Chief of Staff to the Lt. Governor. She served in the administration of President George W. Bush as Senior Advisor to U.S. Secretary of Energy Spence Abraham. She also worked on Capitol Hill as an aide to then U.S. Senator Spence Abraham (R-MI). In 2008 Katie started the Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI) an organization dedicated to grassroots education and mobilization on workplace fairness issues. WFI succeeded in mobilizing opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act (card check). WFI continues to be a leading voice in opposing Big Labor’s antibusiness agenda in workplace matters.
Katie was an Adjunct Professor at George Washington University’s Graduate School for Political Management, located in Washington, DC and was a 2017 Spring Fellow at the Georgetown University Institute of Politics and Public Service. Prior to stepping away from partisan politics, Katie spent several years as an MSNBC political commentator and prior to that could frequently be seen and heard offering political commentary on National Public Radio, CNN and Fox News. In addition, she also published a weekly column for U.S. News and World Report from 2014-2017.
Serge started working at the Kigali Genocide Memorial as a volunteer in 2006. Since 2012, Serge has worked as Head Guide, a role in which he receives local and international visitors and organises training sessions for the guiding team. Serge has travelled to the UK and Denmark to carry out speaking tours on Rwanda’s recovery process as well as to share his genocide experience as a way of teaching others about genocide prevention participate and contributed in various forums. Serge is a graduate of Kigali Independent University with a degree in Social Sciences and International Relations.
Never Again? Series
Dr. Andreas Rickert
Dr. Andreas M. Rickert is a molecular biologist who cannot be pigeonholed easily: Engagement Manager at McKinsey, Senior Specialist at the World Bank, Director at the Bertelsmann Foundation – and founder and CEO of PHINEO gAG. He has an international orientation through studies at Davis, among others, a doctorate at Stanford, as well as living and working in Bahrain, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Switzerland and the USA.
Leadership experience in large companies and organizations, successfully building a start-up as well as holding seats in various advisory and supervisory boards of corporates and non-profits complete his diverse activity spectrum bridging gaps between different worlds.
Driven by a deep desire to add significant value to society, he founded PHINEO in 2010. The success of his work is based on a strong network with decision makers in economy, civil society and politics.
Johanna did her bachelor at McGill and her master at LSE. She started her career at Mulberry in marketing and then worked in real estate before turning to technology. She is now living in Geneva and working in her family office SGFC. They are a Single Family Office based in Nyon (Vaud, Switzerland) originally from pharmaceuticals that now invest in private equity, real estate and financial markets with a passion for hedge funds, especially systematic quantitative ones.
William N. Ryerson is Founder and President of Population Media Center (PMC) (www.populationmedia.org), an organization that strives to improve the health and wellbeing of people around the world through the use of entertainment-education strategies. He also serves as Chair of The Population Institute in Washington, DC (www.populationinstitute.org), which works in partnership with Population Media Center. PMC creates long-running serialized dramas on radio and television, in which characters evolve into role models for the audience resulting in positive behavior change. The emphasis of the organization’s work is to educate people about the benefits of small families, encourage the use of effective family planning methods, elevate women’s status, prevent exploitation of children, promote avoidance of HIV infection, and promote environmentally sustainable behaviors.
Mr. Ryerson has a half-century history of working in the field of reproductive health, including three decades of experience adapting the Sabido methodology of social change communications to various cultural settings worldwide.
Ryerson received a B.A. in Biology (Magna Cum Laude) from Amherst College and an M.Phil. in Biology from Yale University (with specialization in Ecology and Evolution). He served as Director of the Population Institute’s Youth and Student Division, Development Director of Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania, Associate Director of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and Executive Vice President of Population Communications International before founding Population Media Center in 1998.
Dr. Leon Schumacher
University of Missouri, College of Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources
Leon Schumacher has degrees in Agricultural Education with emphasis areas in Vocational Education and Agricultural Mechanization. He has conducted research and taught at the University of Missouri since 1987. Schumacher’s research has focused on energy conservation and the use of alternative fuels for diesel engines. Since 1992 he has researched the use of a biodegradable, non-toxic, cleaner burning fuel for diesel engines- biodiesel. Operationally, it performs similar to low-sulfur diesel (LSD) in terms of power, torque, and fuel economy. His research more recently is focused on precision agriculture, internet of things for agriculture and digital control systems for agriculture. Schumacher has taught courses that focus on pesticide application equipment, agricultural machinery, grain/material handling, electrical systems, and internal combustion engines.
Jay Tucker is a marketer, educator, and technology leader with over 20 years of experience in the technology, academic and entertainment sectors. At UCLA’s Center for Management of Enterprise in Media, Entertainment and Sports (MEMES), Jay is responsible for the Center’s vision, thought leadership, educational offerings and major events – including the annual PULSE conference. In this role, Jay has forged powerful partnerships with Hollywood studios, technology innovators, and executives from the sports and music industries in order to identify the trends and opportunities that will shape the industry. Most recently, Jay has launched a partnership with Real Madrid University (created by Real Madrid C.F. and Universidad Europea de Madrid) to deliver jointly produced educational programs for senior executives and rising leaders.
Jay has also worked to connect underserved communities to career pathways in technology and entertainment. He advises a number of non-profit organizations focused on skills and leadership development, and launched a partnership with Howard University that provides fellowships for students interested in participating in the MEMES Summer Institutes – a series of courses focused on the business of entertainment. Jay is also passionate about helping executives and entrepreneurs embrace disruption, drive innovation, and build powerful solutions. He founded Silicon Beach @ USC, a two-day event featuring a venture competition and a conference focused on innovation, investment, and new ventures related to technology and digital content. He also serves as an advisor to Versus Systems and The Hollywood Post and actively supports the Silicon Beach community in Southern California.
Dr. Louise Tumchewics
Dr. Louise Tumchewics is a senior Research Fellow at the British Army’s Centre for Historical Analysis and Conflict Research (CHACR). She received her PhD in War Studies from King’s College London; her research focuses on technology and the future of conflict. Louise’s forthcoming book on urban warfare will be published by Lynne Rienner Publishers later this year.
Based in Tauranga, Peter Withers is an independent strategist, executive coach, business lecturer and business / community mentor.
His current activities include strategy facilitation, governance and management coaching, teaching strategy and international business in the Massey University Executive MBA programme, and executive education consulting. In addition, he provides coaching input for the Fonterra Governance Development Programme and community mentoring for Tauranga non-profits. He is a trustee of two Tauranga non-profit organisations.
As a strategy facilitator, he has worked internationally with a wide range of business, tertiary education, and non-profit entities including Latino business groups in California and Māori enterprise in New Zealand. This experience includes facilitation for international trade, broadcasting, conservation tourism, SME development, private banking, low decile healthcare, community trust, executive education, food production, and business development projects. His expertise in facilitation and strategic thinking follows 20 years of trade policy negotiation and trade promotion experience as a New Zealand diplomat. His international postings included Washington, D.C., Athens, Ankara, and as New Zealand’s first regional trade director for North & South America, based in Los Angeles.
Peter has taught applied strategy and international business at the UCLA Anderson Graduate School, Pepperdine University Graziadio Graduate School (as Associate Dean), the Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management and La Verne University in California, Tec de Monterrey in Mexico, and programmes in Singapore as well as Toi Ohomai, Massey University and the University of Auckland in New Zealand.
He is a former Chair of the Executive MBA Council, a global organisation involving 240 leading business schools worldwide, is a longtime advocate of applied learning in executive education, and pioneered leadership coaching in New Zealand MBA programmes.
Peter Withers graduated M.A. Hons from the University of Canterbury and completed the Advanced Executive Leadership programme at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University, USA. He holds a certificate in Coaching, Leadership & Change from Case Western University, USA and is a member of the N.Z. Institute of Directors.
Sylvia Wisniwski is a Managing Director at Finance in Motion, one of the world’s leading impact asset managers with around EUR 2.4 billion in assets under advisory/management. At Finance in Motion, Sylvia oversees the company’s initiatives for conservation, sustainable agriculture and natural resource management. Her expertise in conceptualizing and structuring blended finance funds has proven instrumental in the creation of the eco.business Fund for Latin America and its expansion to Sub-Saharan Africa. She has close to 30 years of experience in impact investing in over 40 countries and started her career at the German International Cooperation (GIZ) working on agri-finance projects across the globe, after which she worked as a consultant for multilateral development banks and held various management positions at consulting companies and asset managers. Sylvia holds both an M.A. in Political Science and Sociology and an MBA from Tübingen University as well as an M.A. in International Studies from the University of Miami, Florida.