Guest Speakers @ Spark:


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Featured Speaker:

Jocelyn Wyatt - Ceo @ Ideo.org

Jocelyn is the CEO of IDEO.org, the nonprofit design organization that she cofounded in 2011 after leading IDEO’s social innovation practice. As CEO, Jocelyn spends her time sorting out the vision, strategy, funding, and growth plans for IDEO.org. She heads up partner development with foundations, nonprofits, and social enterprises; builds networks by speaking widely on how design is changing the social sector; and has racked up more frequent flyer miles than she cares to admit. 

Prior to joining IDEO in 2007, Jocelyn worked in Kenya as an Acumen fellow. She also served as VisionSpring’s interim country director in India, where she helped increase the distribution of low-cost reading glasses to the poor. Before that she did training, project management, and business development for Chemonics International, a contractor for USAID. Jocelyn earned a BA in anthropology from Grinnell College and an MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management.

Jocelyn was selected as an Aspen Institute First Movers fellow, was named a Top 100 Global Thinker by Foreign Policy Magazine, was a program advisor to the Clinton Global Initiative, sits on the Grinnell College Alumni Council, and serves as an advisory board member to Marketplace the Druker Institute.


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Featured Speaker:

Dan Honig - Founder @ Happy Valley Meat Company:

Dan Honig started Happy Valley Meat to address the communication breakdown between farmers, buyers, and restaurants. His company, which is a certified B Corp, aggregates meat from over 20 farms to maximize output from each head of cattle. He has partnered with the ASPCA to build animal welfare guidelines all farmers partnered with HVM must follow. Momofuku and Dig Inn are among his 180 restaurant accounts in seven states across the Northeast.


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Featured Speaker:

Sanjli Gidwaney, Co-Director @ Design For Change USA:

As the Director and CEO of DFC USA, Sanjli manages a national team of designers, educators and technologists. She has forged partnerships with the YMCA, IDEO, Harvard, Horizons National along with schools and schools network nationally. Sanjli travels state-to-state fundraising, leading professional development workshops, and speaking at various events. Sanjli has spoken at the National Association of Independent Schools, Yale, Harvard, Ashoka, SXSWEdu and the United Nations International School. She is deeply passionate about helping young people strengthen their agency to do good in the world. She received her Master’s in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, loves hip hop dancing and baking, and lives in Boston with her husband and their two children


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Featured Speaker:

Oscar Romero, Act. Program Director NYCx Co-Labs:

Oscar Romero leads the community-driven innovation efforts of the NYC Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (MOCTO). His work focuses on Digital Equity, Participatory Development and Smart City Public Policy. Before joining MOCTO, Oscar worked for The New School’s Digital Equity Laboratory where he researched how broadband access and privacy protection policies affect vulnerable populations across New York City. Oscar has worked on international cooperation for universities and international development organizations. He has designed experiential learning initiatives for large student communities (100,000+) in the US and Latin America. 

Oscar holds a M.A. in International Affairs from The New School and a B.S. in International Studies from the University of Guadalajara. He is an active member of the Research Network on Autonomous Integration in Latin America and the Caribbean (REDIALC). Currently he is researching the impact on inequality of Smart City Interventions across the US, and is interested in collaborating with development organizations to promote dialogue and research on digital equity, cyber-geopolitics, IT public policy and International Cooperation


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Featured Speaker:

Deborah Chang - Executive Director, #NYCEDU

Deborah’s Overview: I take down systemic barriers to education innovation. I do so by building scalable solutions to systemic problems. Children should not have to be lucky in order to access the opportunities that ought to be theirs by right. Instead, let’s equip children with the support they need to build a better tomorrow for themselves and their communities.

One-liner, describing your work: I support early stage education companies entering the NYC market by consulting on their product, organization design, and business development strategy.

What’s the biggest piece of advice you’d give to those trying to build community?: Find good people, establish common purpose, and do excellent work. Community is but the sum of the micro interactions that come from these three things.


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Featured Speaker:

Sarah Hernholm - Founder, President, @ WIT & SmartCitySaturday

Sarah Hernholm is the Founder/President of WIT - Whatever It Takes (WIT) and Smart City Saturday (SCS). Sarah's focus is on creating platforms for teens to use their voice, launch businesses, and create sustainable impact in their communities.

Sarah champions young entrepreneurs who are committed to innovation and to doing “whatever it takes to make the world a better place.” Prior to launching WIT and SCS, Sarah worked in film/tv, starting in Music Supervising department at Artisan Entertainment and working her way onto her first feature film set, ELF. Sarah credits her strong work ethic to her years on set, and her resilience also to her years on set and launching two businesses.


Featured Speaker:

Alina Zolotareva - AeroFarms, Senior Marketing Manager

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Alina Zolotareva is a marketing, business and product development strategist and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) who has built her career working to solve the most pressing issues affecting our global food system with innovation and technology.  Her current role is Senior Marketing Manager and Product Champion at AeroFarms, a mission-driven company and Certified B Corporation on a mission to grow the best plants possible for the betterment of humanity. AeroFarms has built out the largest indoor vertical farm in the world, based in Newark, NJ, and is one of Fast Company's Most Innovative in 2018 and 2019.  At AeroFarms, Alina leverages her education and background in nutrition science and public health to translate nutrition science to consumers, playing a key role in AeroFarms’ mission to combat food deserts and bring fresh, local, nutritious leafy greens to all communities. In addition to marketing and sales, Alina also leads product development and nutrition, working on the cutting edge of leafy greens innovation in nutrition and flavor science.  She is passionate about the future of food, agriculture and wellness, and leveraging cutting edge technology to build a better planet for all.

Before AeroFarms, Alina worked in business development and marketing for an innovative culinary nutrition and sustainability consulting firm in NYC focused on improving human and environmental health through great tasting and responsibly-sourced food. She was responsible for collaborating with their chefs and nutritionists to develop compelling products and services for leading restaurants and retail/food service operations.  She has also spent time in nutrition and marketing at Unilever and other local food brands. Alina is a graduate of Cornell University and Presidential Research Scholar with a B.S. with Honors in Nutrition Sciences and Dietetics. She is deeply ingrained in the NYC urban farming community, has an urban farming podcast called Seeds and the City, and also runs an experiential events consultancy in NYC called we are SUPERNATURAL.


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Featured Speaker:

Alina Zolotareva - AeroFarms, Senior Marketing Manage

Jennifer Kang is a current 3rd year attending the University of Virginia. A LearnServe alumna and now intern, Jennifer enjoys exploring the multifaceted ways of approaching social entrepreneurship and innovation. As a Hackathon Event Coordinator Intern, she collaborates with the LearnServe team and students to coordinate Hackathon events. These events function to introduce social entrepreneurship to students through interactive activities that enable them to brainstorm solutions for social issues. Outside of LearnServe, Jennifer collaborates with Charlottesville community organizers to create workshops and events to facilitate conversation and awareness of social issues, such as immigration.