Featured Speakers

 

Sue Desmond-Hellman

Former CEO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

With a medical, scientific, and philanthropic career that spans more than 30 years, Dr. Sue Desmond-Hellmann has devoted her life to improving the human condition through innovation. Most recently, she was the CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, leading the organization’s vision for a world where every person has the opportunity to live a healthy, productive life.

An innovator and leader in life sciences, Dr. Desmond-Hellmann’s diverse training as an oncologist, scientist, and business executive leads to her endless curiosity about the world and her desire to change it for the better. 

As CEO of the Gates Foundation for more than five years, Dr. Desmond-Hellmann led the organization’s 1,500 employees in its efforts to reduce inequity and combat infectious diseases around the world. Among many achievements, she oversaw the creation of the Gates Medical Research Institute – the world’s first nonprofit biotech organization – as well as the launch of the Economic Mobility and Opportunity investment strategy in the U.S. Reflecting on Dr. Desmond-Hellmann’s tenure, Melinda Gates said, "Sue brought an incredible set of attributes to the foundation: scientific expertise, tested leadership skills, a passion for building a strong internal culture, and, above all, a dedication to the mission of making the world a healthier, more equal place." She is continuing her work with the Foundation as a senior advisor and board member of the Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute.

Immediately prior to joining the foundation, Dr. Desmond-Hellmann was the first female and ninth overall chancellor of the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF), overseeing all aspects of the university and medical center's strategy and operations. She had previously completed her oncologist clinical training at UCSF in the 1980’s, both in the Bay Area and in Uganda, to work on the emerging HIV/AIDS epidemic and cancer. Dr. Desmond-Hellmann credits this as a turning point in her career – sparking her desire to make a difference.

Before UCSF, Dr. Desmond-Hellmann spent 14 years at biotech firm Genentech, where she served as president of product development. She led the development of a number of breakthrough medicines, including two of the first gene-targeted therapies for cancer, Avastin and Herceptin. Her time at Genentech put her at the forefront of the precision medicine revolution, championing the public health approach to save lives by bringing the right interventions, to the right populations, at the right time. For her groundbreaking work, Forbes named Dr. Desmond-Hellmann one of the world's seven most "powerful innovators," calling her "a hero to legions of cancer patients."

Among numerous accolades and awards, Dr. Desmond-Hellmann has been listed among Fortune’s "top 50 most powerful women in business," named to the NonProfit Times’ ‘Power and Influence Top 50’ list, inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and elected to the Institute of Medicine. Previously a member of the board of directors at both Facebook and Procter & Gamble, she now serves on the board of directors at Pfizer, is an advisor at GV (formerly Google Ventures), and remains an adjunct professor at UCSF.

Sue Desmond Hellman

 

Travis Mills

U.S. Amy Staff Sergeant (retired) and Founder of the Travis Mills Foundation for Veterans

On April 10, 2012, United States Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills of the 82nd Airborne was critically injured on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan by an IED (improvised explosive device).  As a result of the blast Travis suffered the loss of both arms and both legs. He is one of only five quadruple amputees from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Enduring a grueling rehabilitation program, Travis committed himself not only to recovery, but to fatherhood and to giving back to the veteran community any way he could.

In September 2013, Travis and his wife Kelsey founded the Travis Mills Foundation, a nonprofit organization formed to benefit and assist post 9/11 veterans who have been injured in active duty or as a result of their service to our nation. 

Critical to the foundation’s mission is for the veteran’s family to be included, not just the vet.  Through the foundation, the veteran and their family receive an all-inclusive, all-expenses paid, barrier-free vacation to Maine where they spend time with Travis and his family, and participate in adaptive activities, bond with other veteran families, and enjoy much-needed rest and relaxation in Maine’s great outdoors.

Travis’s story has been featured extensively on local and national news including The Ellen DeGeneres Show, NBC, CBS, Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, CNN and countless other outlets.

Travis Mills

 

Amy Webb

Futurist, Founder & CEO of The Future Today Institute

As organizations look to navigate today’s disruption while preparing for the complexities of the future, world-renowned quantitative futurist and tech leader Amy Webb provides the strategic foresight and forecasting that is crucial to businesses adapting and positioning themselves for sustained success in this era of unprecedented transformation. Believing that the global challenges faced by business and society are interconnected across disciplines, Webb possesses expert-level knowledge of the industries critical to keeping the world moving and draws from her work and research to share insights on emerging trends and technologies that will revolutionize the ways we work and live. 

Webb leads an extraordinary exploration into the emerging trends and technologies that will turn industries on their heads and reshape every aspect of our lives — from synthetic biology and metaverses to artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and more. Thought-provoking and visibly enthusiastic about the possibilities that lie ahead for businesses, Webb prepares organizations for what’s next in and outside of their fields, and shares actionable strategies for thinking like a futurist, getting out ahead of disruption, managing the present while innovating for the future, and enhancing purpose-driven decision-making.

In her work with the Future Today Institute, Webb is a trusted advisor to the world’s most admired companies, three-star admirals and generals, and the senior leadership of central banks and intergovernmental organizations. She has pioneered a data-driven, technology-led foresight methodology that has been implemented by hundreds of organizations to power their growth. Webb is a professor of strategic foresight at New York University’s Stern School of Business, where she developed and teaches future-focused MBA-level courses, and is also a visiting fellow at Oxford University’s Säid School of Business. She has been recognized by Poets & Quants as “one of the most impactful business professors in the world.” Webb’s influence can be felt in policy, government, and even the entertainment industry. She collaborates closely with Hollywood’s leading writers and producers to ensure the most accurate depiction of science, technology, and the future in blockbuster films and widely recognized TV shows and commercials. Prior to founding the Future Today Institute in 2005, Webb began her career as a journalist, first covering technology and economics for The Wall Street Journal while based in Hong Kong and later relocating to Tokyo to report on emerging technologies for Newsweek.

A powerful voice on all things tech- and future-related, Webb is the author of several bestselling books, including the critically acclaimed The Genesis Machine, which examines the future of synthetic biology — which she predicts will be the most important technology of our lifetime. She has provided thought leadership as a columnist on the future and big data for Slate and a contributing editor and tech columnist for Inc, and her insights into the future are featured frequently in today’s top publications, including the Harvard Business Review, New York Times, Wired, Fortune, and several others. In addition to being elected a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Webb serves as a Steward and Steering Committee member of the World Economic Forum’s Future of Media, Entertainment, and Sport Board, as well as its Global Futures Council. She is also a member of the Bretton Woods Committee, a fellow in the United States-Japan Leadership Program and a Foresight Fellow in the U.S. Government Accountability Office Center for Strategic Foresight. Previously, she served as a visiting Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, as well as a U.S. Department of State delegate for the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission, where she worked on the future of technology, media, and international diplomacy.

A visionary with extraordinary insight into what the future of business and society might look like, Webb is a winner of the Thinkers50 RADAR Award, and has been named to the BBC 100 Women list and the Thinkers50 Radar list of influential management thinkers shaping the future of how organizations are managed and led.

Amy Webb