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 wielding 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.
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.
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’s degree in Hospitality Management at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Karessa is spunky and
vivacious. She is a lover of dancing, helping others believe in themselves, and providing a good laugh. She values time spent with her family and embraces life change(s).
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.
Tim Toterhi is not your usual CHRO. He’s passionate about slashing bureaucracy, rethinking old thinking, and sneaking away from the heard. 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.
Mexico-born mentalist Santiago Michel just moved the needle on the scale of Las Vegas entertainment demographics. The 24-year-old UNLV graduate in Hopitality Management has been headlining his own solo show "Ilusion Mental" (Spanish for "Mental Illusion") at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. But the reason Ilusión Mental is a game-changer is simple and long overdue. It’s the first Spanish-language-only residency in the history of the Strip.
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.
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.
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.