Karl Catarata is a Filipino-American author and community organizer living in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) studying for his Bachelor’s of Arts in Political Science with a minor focus in Leadership and Civic Engagement.
Karl was born in North Las Vegas, Nevada and studied at Valley High School’s International Baccalaureate Program, while simultaneously working in local county government. It was in high school when Karl published his first nonfiction book, "Lies We Tell: Applied Knowledge to Deception Detection".
In his time organizing in Nevada, Karl has helped organize key activist events such as the Women’s March Nevada and March For Our Lives, along with a diverse range of separate social justice issues.
After graduating from UNLV, Karl plans on continuing his academic research on grassroots activist movements and on voter mobilization in the United States.
Roberto Coppola is a Las Vegas based gaming executive who has led insights and innovation teams at two of the industry’s largest organizations.
A futurist with a consumer insights background, his widely published work has been featured at gaming conferences around the world. Prior to his decade of experience in gaming, Roberto worked in the entertainment industry in New York and Los Angeles.
Roberto holds a BA in English Literature from The George Washington University and an MBA from the University of Southern California. While at GW, Roberto was also an intern at The White House.
Born and raised in the industrial Midwest, Raymond is a graduate of Indiana University Northwest with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. He has spent a combined eight years in the classroom, both in Nevada and Indiana, covering everything from Head Start to welding and automotive. Raymond has Roberts Syndrome, and is one of approximately one hundred fifty people in the world with this disability. He has run for public office, been a radio show host, representative member of his Leadership class, board member of the transit authority, and chairman of the board of a cannabis non-profit organization. Throughout all this, Raymond has remained a consultant for the last twenty-five years focusing on disability issues, politics, and public transportation.
Todd Fisher is an author, director, and speaker who shares a unique perspective with every audience. Born into Hollywood royalty – son to Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds and brother to Carrie Fisher – he is a veteran of the entertainment industry who has thrived under the media spotlight his entire life.
His 2018 book My Girls: A Lifetime With Carrie and Debbie (Harper Collins) gave a firsthand account of the years he spent as a companion to the pair of iconic women in his life. It also shed light on the personal sides of fame, addiction, and mental illness that followed the family for decades.
Unlike his parents and sister, Todd is best known for his work behind the camera. His lifelong passion for storytelling was apparent early on when he became one of the youngest-ever members of the International Alliance of Theatrical State Employees (IATSE) labor union at the age of fifteen.
He produced and co-starred in the 2017 HBO documentary Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. He has also served as a producer and director on dozens of prominent films and specials. He has also served as President and archivist for Hollywood Motion Picture Museum, long recognized as the world’s most extensive collection of movie memorabilia.
When he’s not working on films, books, or speaking engagements, Todd serves as the CEO of Hollywood Motion Picture Experience (HMPE) Production studio. In addition, he is a pilot, an ordained minister. He is also a competitive golfer and an avid collector of classic film equipment.
In his downtime, Todd enjoys spending time with his wife – award-winning actress and entertainer Catherine Hickland – along with their dozens of animals at the couple’s home in Las Vegas.
Kimberly Galbe is a recent graduate of the UNLV School of Architecture Masters program, where she focused on issues of the contemporary built environment. Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, Kim moved to Las Vegas in 2013 to pursue her undergraduate studies with the aim of one day becoming a licensed practitioner. As part of her academic role, Kimberly has worked as a graduate teaching assistant throughout her two years of graduate school. Her work as part of the UNLV Urban Design Studio has taken Kimberly to various competitions over the last year. In the Spring of 2017, Kim was awarded the Michael Alcorn Scholarship for excellence in communication and graphic representation. In November, she participated in the the 2017 UNLV Grad slam 3MT competition where she was shortlisted as a finalist. Currently, Kimberly works as a Job Captain for Las Vegas based architecture firm Ed Vance & Associates Architecture. In her free time, Kim enjoys singing, spending time with her family, and walking her dog, Nala. In the near future Kim plans to start taking exams to become a licensed architect.
Chairman and CEO, Rival Theory*
Director, Product Management, Google
Chairman, Founder and CEO, Eyefluence, Inc.
Chairman, Founder, and CEO, Livescribe, Inc.
Advisory Board, Luminar*
Advisory Board, Ideator*
Board Member, Gleason Family Foundation*
Advisory Board, Computer Science and Engineering, Washington University, St. Louis*
President, LeapFrog Internet Division
Advisory Board, Earthwatch
Co-Founder and CEO, Explore Technologies, Inc.
Engineering Co-Founder, StrataCom
SW Engineer, ROLM
For more than 30 years, Jim Marggraff has dedicated his energy, vision, and inventiveness to developing standards, applications, technology and products for companies committed to creating innovative solutions, improving learning, and advancing human thought.
In 2018, Jim became CEO of Rival Theory, following four years as Chairman. Rival Theory is creating the world’s first AI relationship network, developing AI Personas of real people, to evoke the best in humanity. Rival Theory’s Personas of world leaders and influencers provide personal interaction with millions of people who would not otherwise be able to access the support, coaching, and guidance of these people. Ultimately, Rival Theory will expand and improve relationships globally, with AIs for all people, to improve human communication, compassion and understanding.
Most recently, in 2016, Jim sold Eyefluence, a company he had founded in 2013, to Google. Eyefluence developed technology that transforms intent into action through your eyes. With Eyefluence technology, a person wearing a head-mounted display (HMD) such as Google Glass, Oculus, or other HMDs, could interact with the display, and control or interact with objects in their world, simply by moving their eyes, with no waiting, no winking, just looking.
Prior to founding Eyefluence, in 2007, Jim founded Livescribe, as the inventor of the world’s first smartpen. Under Jim’s guidance, Livescribe generated over 2 billion media impressions, dozens of awards for its Pulse and Echo platforms, and sales of over two million smartpens in more than 40 countries, to create a global brand for a new product category.
Jim’s idea for a smartpen developed during his 7 years at LeapFrog. Jim had sold his previous company, Explore Technologies, to LeapFrog in 1998, where he helped grow LeapFrog from $31 million to $680 million annual sales in five years. As the inventor of the world-renowned LeapPad Learning System, Jim’s dedication to technology-based learning helped LeapFrog sell over $1 billion of LeapPads and educational content worldwide in less than 5 years. Jim’s voice, as a lead voice-over talent for LeapFrog, greeted users of tens of millions of LeapPads. Jim’s inventions and content have impacted more than 100 million children and adults in reading, math, and language skills, and have sparked and fueled a passion for lifelong learning for people around the globe.
Before LeapFrog, Jim was engaged in inventing technologies and products, co-founding companies, assembling and inspiring teams, and pursuing world-changing ideas. Jim was an engineer on the founding team of StrataCom in 1984 (acquired by Cisco), and co-founded Explore Technologies in 1996 (acquired by LeapFrog), to develop technology to reframe our perception of geography with the world’s first Atlasphere, an interactive globe.
Jim is a prolific speaker, with 2 presentations on the TED main stage, All Things Digital, DEMO, Future in Review, the Milken Global Economic Conference, the Aspen Ideas Festival, Bloomberg TV, JavaOne, Building 43, Dust Or Magic, AdAge’s IDEA Conference, CM Summit, the Director’s Guild of America, The E.G., TTI/Vanguard, Imagine Solutions, Ciudad de las Ideas, Columbia Business School, MIT, Rotary Conferences, and many other local and global events featuring thought-leaders and innovators.
Jim’s entrepreneurialism and innovations have been covered by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Financial Times, The Telegraph, Herald Tribune, SF Chronicle, SJ Mercury News, The Atlantic Monthly, Wired, Time, Fortune, Technology Review, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Business Week, CNet, Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, Gizmodo, Oprah, Good Morning America, The Today Show, Cavuto, QVC, Bloomberg, CNN, FOX, and hundreds of other periodicals, blogs, and broadcast media.
From 1999-2010, products created by Jim received hundreds of awards from around the world, including multiple “Toy of the Year” awards from the Toy Industry of America. In 2004, Jim was recognized by the American Diabetes Association and Father’s Day Council of San Francisco as “Father of the Year”. In 2005, the “Fly Pentop Computer” that Jim created at LeapFrog, won the “Most Innovative Toy of the Year”, “the Most Educational Toy of the Year”, and the overall “Toy of the Year”, an unprecedented number of “TOTY” awards for a single product.
In June 2011, Jim received Ernst & Young’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” award for the Northern California region, and was inducted into the Entrepreneur of the Year “Hall of Fame”. Jim has subsequently become a judge for this program. Also in 2011, Jim’s LeapPad invention was also listed in the “MIT 150” – the top 150 inventions and contributions from MIT graduates.
On a local, community level, Jim is active in his home town of Lafayette, with the Lamorinda Sunrise Rotary Club, and supports the local public school system with technology donations. In 2017, Jim led Rotary International’s adoption of VR with a new concept he called a “VR-a-Thon”. Jim drove the financing, and was Executive Producer of a VR piece, One Small Act, produced in Romania, focused on polio eradication and the elimination of violence as a means of conflict resolution. This piece was experienced by over 3,000 Rotarians simultaneously at Rotary’s Annual World Conference in Atlanta in June 2017, setting a world record for the largest co-located viewing of a VR piece, and will be distributed globally to Rotarians in the world’s first VR-a-Thon in 2018.
As another channel for his passion for innovation and founding, Jim has written a book, How to Raise a Founder with Heart, comprising stories, science and suggestions for “founding” to parents who would like to instill a founder’s mindset, and skills, in their children. His book will be published in 2018.
Jim is also a board member of the Gleason Foundation, supporting former New Orleans Saints football player, Steve Gleason, a person with ALS, in Steve’s fight against the disease and a public inspiration to others with disabilities. Jim joined Steve to speak at the UN in 2013 on the topic of startups addressing disabilities.
Jim received his SB and MS degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT, and holds 34 patents.
A Visiting Lecturer at UNLV’s Greenspun College of Journalism and Media Studies teaching Social Media Strategies and Public Relations, Benjamin Morse moved to Las Vegas at the start of 2018. Born in Boston, Morse attended Connecticut College before relocating to the New York/New Jersey area where a lifelong love of super heroes and the comic book medium led him to a decade working at Marvel Entertainment in various capacities, including Editorial Director of Digital Media. He currently lives in Henderson with his wife, Megan, their 10-month-old daughter, and their puppy, Gypsy.
Corey Padveen is an industry-leading marketing data expert with extensive experience building strategies and working with brands in a variety of industries to execute measurable growth campaigns. He is a partner at t2 Marketing International (t2marketinginternational.com), an award-winning marketing consultancy that has worked with some of the largest brands in the world over its 30-year history.
Corey’s background in economics is focused largely on econometrics – economic statistics – which has allowed him to develop unique, first-of-their-kind approaches to analyzing marketing data and identifying new opportunities for t2’s clients. He has pioneered the concepts of social equity, which has provided a basis for an expansive study on new media measurability, and ResponsiveBranding, a proprietary concept which leverages vast amounts of market data to develop more effective strategies.
The highly in-demand nature of Corey’s expertise has led to him speaking at conferences, summits, and corporate events all over the world. He contributes regularly to a variety of online and print publications, including Search Engine Journal, Social Media Today, Gambling Insider, iGaming Business, and is the primary author for t2’s corporate blog, as well as his personal blog, CoreyPadveen.com. He sits on a number of advisory boards, including the global Ampersand Advisory Board for Gaming, thanks to his Millennial expertise, and is the author of “Marketing to Millennials For Dummies” as part of the For Dummies series for Wiley. He is Google AdWords and Analytics certified and studied Economics at McGill University in Montreal.
On a personal side, Corey loves dogs, tries his best to impress the world with his cooking on Instagram, collects antique and handcrafted shoehorns (of all things), enjoys artisanal, small-batch gins, and like any good Montrealer, is a big fan of the Montreal Canadiens.
Ranita Ray grew up in a boarding school in the foothills of the Himalayas near the India-Nepal border. She is an ethnographer—meaning she spends long amounts of time (think years) in specific communities to make sense of how society operates, and how larger forces shape everyday social worlds. As an ethnographer, Ranita writes about how race and class structures in U.S. American society shape the everyday lives and futures of children and youth. The one question she has grappled with over the last decade is: in the U.S., can people succeed if they really work hard and do everything by the rules (as most U.S. Americans tend to believe)? If we have the grit and desire, can we make it and achieve our goals? After spending three years in an economically marginalized community she calls “Port City,” Ranita published The Making of a Teenage Service Class: Poverty and Mobility in an American City—a book that challenges dominant ideas about poor communities. More specifically, she challenges long held common wisdom that preventing drugs, gangs, violence, and early parenthood is key to breaking the cycle of poverty—instead she offers some novel ways of tackling poverty, and offers policy recommendations that can change economic oppressions entrenched in many U.S. American communities. Ranita hopes the insights from her research will allow us to shed new light on the social reproduction of poverty. Currently, Ranita makes a living as a professor of Sociology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Ranita enjoys reading (anything and everything), movies, and wine.
Karessa Royce is a 22-year-old Las Vegas native. She is currently earning her Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. On October 1, 2017 Karessa was shot at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival. Following being injured in the deadliest mass shooting in modern history, Karessa has developed a passion for public safety and gun violence prevention. She has been vocal about her recovery; aiming to be transparent about the reality of being a gun violence survivor while shedding light on overlooked aspects faced by people in recovery. In the Spring of 2018, she participated in the March for Our Lives demonstration and served on The College of Hospitality’s safety committee board. She enjoys reading, dancing and listening to podcasts. Karessa values spending time with her close-knit family and giving back to her community!
Cynthia Sanford has been the registrar at the Clark County Museum since 2013, where, for the last six months, she has been processing thousands of items left at memorials for the 1 October shooting in Las Vegas. Previous to 2013, she worked as a registrar and collections manager at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. Cynthia has a Master’s degree in Anthropology with a certificate in Museum Studies, and has been working in museums for approximately 20 years.
Radhika Shah is an upcoming junior who attends Green Valley High School in Henderson, Nevada. She has always had a passion for helping children with special needs, as her younger brother Amar has Autism. From working with Best Buddies, Special Olympics, and other organizations within her community, it is evident that Radhika has taken interest in helping those with disabilities. This passion prompted her to start her own non-profit organization RAD, or making a Real Autism Difference. Spreading the message of Autism Awareness is something that she looks forward to continuing. Aside from this, Radhika is a dedicated student who values academic excellence within her school life. She enjoys partaking in Speech and Debate, Model United Nations, and Varsity Tennis. She is also a part-time student at UNLV. In the future, Radhika looks forward to pursuing a career in medicine, specifically with a neuropediatric focus.
At work, Huzaifa Sial creates healthcare solutions using artificial intelligence to curate and create knowledge, and predict health events for better patient outcomes. Huzaifa holds patents in A.I. and design, and is currently completing his Masters in Clinical Informatics from Northwestern University.
Beyond work, Huzaifa spends time creating and appreciating art; and traveling across the country for deep conversations on human behavior, society and global citizenship.
Huzaifa was born in Pakistan, raised in Nepal, grew up in Canada and is currently working in the US. Adapting every few years to various cultures became the inspiration for his natural curiosity to explore different societies and human behaviors. As technology continues to transform and unify, now more than ever we need a path to find our place as a unified humanity. Huzaifa believes that maintaining plurality in thought, expression, and values will become the key to the next stage of human empathy. In time, it may become the deciding fork between the dystopia we fear today, and the utopian world we dream for tomorrow.
In the summer of 2004, Shawn Sturges, graduated from high school, turned eighteen, and lost his sight, the result of Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy. After the loss of his vision, he battled with depression which often separated him from friends and family members.
A life-changing event came in 2015, when he was introduced to rock climbing. Later, he joined the Adaptive Climbing Group competition team. He travelled to Georgia to compete at the 2016 USA Climbing Adaptive Nationals where he placed second in the visually impaired category. This earned him a spot on team USA and the opportunity to compete in the 2016 IFSC World Para Climbing Championships in Paris, France. Although he did not place at World’s he learned a tremendous amount about himself and climbing.
Sturges has had the opportunity to climb throughout the world. He learned skills in crack climbing, aid and trad climbing, repelling, anchor building, and many other climbing techniques to be both a safe and responsible climber. He will continue to hone his skills to reach his future goals to climb both big walls and multipitch climbs around the world.
Tim Toterhi is not your usual CHRO. He’s passionate about slashing bureaucracy, rethinking old thinking, and sneaking away from the herd. As an ICF certified coach and Project Management Professional (PMP) who has worked in the trenches with teams in the Americas, Europe, and Asia he craves fewer forms and more function.
Tim is the author of The Introvert’s Guide to Job Hunting: How To Outshine the Competition and the upcoming book: The HR Guide to Getting and Crushing the Job of Your Dreams. He has been quoted in several leading publications such as Fast Company, Forbes, and the HuffPost as well as profiled in the book Magnificent Leadership.
Dr. Trichas holds a PhD in the field of Human Resources Marketing and Management and, currently, is a professor at the Ministry of Education and Culture of Cyprus and associate lecturer at the Open University of Cyprus. As a scholar, he has conducted a number of studies investigating psychology of communication, and he is considered as a world class expert on attention management, leadership, facial expression analysis, and deception detection. His research is published in top scientific journals such as the Leadership Quarterly. Finally, Dr. Trichas has collaborated with several prestigious universities and organizations such as Stanford University, the Ministry of Education and Culture of Cyprus, and the FBI National Academy Associates Cyprus as professional development consultant and visiting lecturer.
Russ Vaagen has been involved with forests all of his life. He grew up in Northeast Washington, 10 miles from the nearest town. His family has been in the forest business since the 1920’s, making building products from local forests.
His passion for the forests led him to be one of the co-founders of the Northeast Washington Forest Coalition, a group of interested business leaders, community members, and environmentalists in search of a better way for timber operations. This collaborative effort has resulted in some of the most progressive forest management in the world.
Russ was the vice president of his family company, Vaagen Bros Lumber and has since left to start Vaagen Timbers, a value added, eco-friendly producer of mass timber products. In 2018, he also started a media company called Bend & Sway to help tell their story.
Matthew has been working professionally for over 20 years as an actor, clown, comedian, host and theater devisor. He’s appeared as a talking tree, juggled in front of banks and performed to sold out audiences across Australia. He studied theater arts at the University of Utah and is a graduate of the Ringling Bros. Clown College. Upon graduation he toured with “The Greatest Show on Earth” as a clown performing over 1000 front somersaults in two years. After leaving the circus he moved to New York City where he performed in every theater, storefront, club and bar he could find, collaborating with some of the world’s most renowned circus artists, conceptual performance artists, filmmakers, actors, choreographers, cabaret, burlesque and variety entertainers.
Matthew has created and performed original works for Lincoln Center, the Guggenheim museum, AEMI World Clown Festival in China, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Adelaide Fringe Festival, the Rochester Fringe Festival, the Dubai Mall UAE, the Geffen Playhouse, the Getty Villa in Malibu, a private resort compound on the Seychelles Islands and on The Late Show with David Letterman. He’s worked in 49 of the 50 states, throughout the Caribbean, Australia, North America and Europe. He regularly performs in a comedy duo with his wife Heidi. Matthew currently lives in Las Vegas and often appears at Caesars Palace as “The Gazillionaire” in Absinthe. He loves to teach, direct, write, produce, perform, collaborate and is constantly trying to devise new ways to affect and entertain the world through classical theater and circus.
California Indie-Rocker Megan Slankard has independently sold nearly 40,000 copies of her five self-released albums, and she is currently touring extensively across the US, performing brand new songs from her planned 6th independent album release in late 2018. Her most recent release, Running on Machinery, was recorded with the help of Nashville producer Alex Wong (Vienna Teng, Delta Rae), and her preceding album, A Token of the Wreckage, was recorded with help from David Bryson (Counting Crows) and Jerry Becker (Train).
Megan and her songwriting have received national and international recognition: in 2017 she won first place in the Unsigned Only Music Competition (AAA Category) and was a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition, in 2016 she was a semi-finalist in the International Songwriting Competition, and in 2015 she was a two-time "Vox Pop" winner in the Independent Music Awards, a finalist in the USA Songwriting Competition, and a semi-finalist in the UK Songwriting Contest.
Megan's adventures have also included a two-month Guitar Center tour with BOSE to release their brand new S1 Pro sound system, opening for Jamie Cullum at a sold-out show at the renowned San Francisco venue The Fillmore, playing electric guitar on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live as part of the Jeff Campbell Band, singing the National Anthem to a crowd of 45,000 Giants baseball fans on three different occasions, performing duets with Pat Monahan of Train, touring with Dire Straits co-founder David Knopfler throughout Europe, singing on a Glen Keane's animated short Duet, and even participating on two episodes of TLC's reality makeover series, What NOT to Wear.
Celine Ayala is a first generation college student who recently received her Master’s degree in Sociology at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Her master’s work was an ethnography that focused on the ways in which communal relations were formed in Las Vegas through participation in social scenes. Celine spent a little over a year and a half with the Las Vegas Street Car Scene attending car meets, car shows, and street racing events. While in the field, Celine was interested in finding out what actions and interactions make the street car scene a definable phenomenon for both long-time participants and newcomers and, what and how are relationships formed between the individuals in the car scene and the objects/environment of the scene? Her work concludes that the Las Vegas Street Car Scene allows individuals to have a sense of accomplished affiliation that serves as a proxy for communal relations in Las Vegas. Celine has presented this research at various academic conferences and participated in UNLV’s Grad slam 3MT competition where her research presentation won second place. She will be perusing her Ph.D. in Sociology at UNLV where she expects to graduate in the spring of 2022.
Austin McKenna is a current graduate student of the UNLV School of Life Sciences Doctoral program, where he focuses his studies on integrative physiology. Born and raised in Las Vegas, Austin pursued his bachelor’s degree at UNLV with an emphasis in the research sector of biology. For the past three years of graduate school Austin has worked as a graduate teaching assistant. His work with the infamous Fat Flies in Dr. Allen Gibbs’ lab has afforded Austin many public speaking opportunities over the last year. In November, he participated in the 2017 UNLV Grad slam 3MT competition and was awarded 1st place. This spring, Austin competed in the Western Association of Graduate Schools 3MT competition and the Southwest Showdown 3MT competition representing UNLV. Currently, Austin is focusing on his research understanding the evolutionary genomics of obesity. In his free time, Austin enjoys spending time adventuring through the desert with his wife and two dogs. Pending the research timeline, Austin plans to graduate in the next two years.
Beth Wi, originally from South Korea, graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality from UNLV. Upon graduation, she spent five thousand hours in the air as a flight attendant at Cathay Pacific Airways, where she learned the importance of quality service delivery and cultural sensitivity. Last fall of 2017, she began pursuing a dual MBA/MS in Hotel Administration program at UNLV. Following her passion for making an impact in the hospitality industry, the focus of her research is examining the influence of patron and employee relationship on acceptance of robotics in the workforce and how the level of interactions between customers and service providers can help achieve higher level of customer satisfaction. She devotes herself to academic growth and development as a leader who can inspire and empower others.