Speakers and Panelists

Welcome address

Photograph of Vikram JandhyalaVikram Jandhyala

Vice President for Innovation Strategy, University of Washington

Vikram Jandhyala is vice president for innovation strategy at the University of Washington, executive director of CoMotion and co–executive director of the Global Innovation Exchange (GIX). He is a professor and former chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering, as well as an adjunct professor at the Information School.

After spending two years in the design automation industry at Ansoft Corporation (acquired by Ansys), he joined the University of Washington in 2000 in Electrical Engineering. His research has been funded by DARPA, semiconductor industries, national labs, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation. He has received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award and awards from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the UW and NASA.

Jandhyala’s current interests are in the science and art of innovation, entrepreneurial and design thinking, educational innovation, social and organizational networks, and computational and data science. He serves on the advisory board of the UW Foster School of Business’ Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship and on the advisory board of Partners for Our Children.

Jandhyala received his B.Tech. in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, in 1989, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1995 and 1998, respectively.


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Keynote address

Photograph of Harry ShumHarry Shum

Executive Vice President, Artificial Intelligence and Research Group, Microsoft

Harry Shum is executive vice president of Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Research Group. He is responsible for driving the company’s overall AI strategy and forward-looking research and development efforts spanning infrastructure, services, apps and agents. He oversees AI-focused product groups — the Information Platform Group, Bing and Cortana product groups — and the Ambient Computing and Robotics teams.

He also leads Microsoft Research, one of the world’s premier computer science research organizations, and its integration with engineering teams across the company.

Previously, Shum served as the corporate vice president responsible for Bing search product development. Prior to that, he oversaw research activities at Microsoft Research Asia and the lab’s collaborations with universities in the Asia Pacific region, and he was responsible for the Internet Services Research Center. He was one of the founding members of Microsoft Research China (later renamed Microsoft Research Asia).

Shum is an IEEE Fellow and an ACM Fellow for his contributions to computer vision and computer graphics. He received his Ph.D. in robotics from the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. In 2017, he was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering.


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Innovation panel: Sustainability

Photograph of Vik SahneyVik Sahney

Outdoor Adventurer and Head of Sustainability, REI

Vik Sahney is an outdoor adventurer and the head of sustainability at REI Co-op, the nation’s largest consumer cooperative, with more than 16 million members and $2.5 billion in revenue.

Previously, Sahney led overall co-op strategy. Prior to REI, he was an associate principal in McKinsey & Company’s Seattle office, where he spent eight years consulting for global industrial clients in China, Australia and the U.K.

Sahney’s outdoor adventures include high-altitude mountaineering: In 2011, he became one of about 350 people and the first Indian American to complete the seven summits, summiting the tallest peak on each continent. He serves in leadership roles at the Mountaineers and on the board of directors for the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust and the American Alpine Club. Sahney lives in Seattle with his wife and two daughters.

He holds multiple degrees in engineering and business from the University of Michigan and MIT.


Photograph of Daniel T. SchwartzDaniel T. Schwartz

Director, Clean Energy Institute, University of Washington

Daniel T. Schwartz is the director of the University of Washington’s Clean Energy Institute (CEI), a research unit focused on advancing next-generation solar energy and battery materials and devices, as well as their integration with systems and the grid. He is also the Boeing-Sutter Professor of Chemical Engineering.

Schwartz is a fellow of the Electrochemical Society and holds awards from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy and others. He served on the Technical Advisory Board for the state’s energy strategy and is a current board member of the CleanTech Alliance.

His research explores transport and reaction in electrochemical systems, including the performance of complex electrodes used in energy storage and conversion.


Photograph of Nicole SmithNicole Smith

Customer Sustainability Program Director, Coca-Cola North America

Nicole Smith is a sustainability director focusing on customer collaborations for Coca-Cola North America. She joined Coca-Cola Refreshments in 2012, working with 80 manufacturing facilities to lead energy and water efficiency training and initiatives, as well as recycling programs. In 2015, she transitioned to Coca-Cola North America, where she partners with customer teams to collaborate on sustainability projects.

Prior to joining Coca-Cola, Smith created and ran an environmental division for six years at Design & Source Productions, a boutique product and packaging design firm in New York City.

While living in New York, she was active in the Sustainable Packaging Coalition and the Coalition for Resource Recovery, and she was a staff member at GreenHomeNYC. She also served on the board and as president of the University of Florida Alumni Association for New York City. She currently serves on the board of the Southeast Recycling Development Council (SERDC).

Smith graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor of design in architecture.


Photograph of Hanson HoseinHanson Hosein, Moderator

Director, Communication Leadership Program, University of Washington

Hanson Hosein is the director of the Communication Leadership master’s program at the University of Washington and the president of HRH Media Group.

A pioneer of multimedia storytelling, Hosein has worked as an Emmy and Overseas Press Club Award–winning journalist for NBC News, a solo TV war correspondent for MSNBC and CBC, and a documentary film director whose work has been streamed and broadcast worldwide.

While at the UW, Hosein has been recognized as one of Seattle’s most influential people as he engages publicly with our region’s leaders on-camera and onstage. This work is captured in a permanent exhibit on innovation that he produced for the Museum of History & Industry; his book, “Storyteller Uprising: Trust and Persuasion in the Digital Age”; and through various global gatherings. Hosein keynotes regularly and convenes conversations for major tech companies.

He has law degrees from McGill University and the University of Paris, as well as a master’s in journalism from Columbia University.


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Innovation panel: Future of computing

Photograph of Maya CakmakMaya Cakmak

Assistant Professor of Computer Science & Engineering, University of Washington

Maya Cakmak is an assistant professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Washington, where she directs the Human-Centered Robotics Lab.

Cakmak’s research interests lie in human-robot interaction, end-user programming and assistive robotics. Her work aims to develop robots that can be programmed to do useful tasks and controlled by a diverse group of users with unique needs and preferences. Cakmak’s work has been published in leading robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) journals and conferences, demonstrated live in various venues and featured in numerous media outlets. Tools developed by Cakmak and her students are currently being used by robotics companies such as Savioke and Fetch Robotics.

Cakmak received her Ph.D. in robotics from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2012, then completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at Willow Garage, at the time one of the most influential robotics companies in the world. She received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2016.


Photograph of Oren EtzioniOren Etzioni

CEO, Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence

Oren Etzioni is the chief executive officer of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence. The goal of his research is to solve fundamental problems in AI, particularly the automatic learning of knowledge from text.

He has been a professor in the University of Washington’s Department of Computer Science & Engineering since 1991 and has received numerous awards, including GeekWire’s Hire of the Year (2014), Seattle’s Geek of the Year (2013), the Robert S. Engelmore Memorial Lecture Award (2007), the IJCAI Distinguished Paper Award (2005), an AAAI Fellowship (2003) and a National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award (1993). He is also the founder or cofounder of several companies, including Farecast (sold to Microsoft in 2008) and Decide (sold to eBay in 2013), and the author of more than 100 technical papers that have garnered over 25,000 citations.

Etzioni received his B.A. from Harvard University in 1986 and his Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University in 1991.


Photograph of Beth KolkoBeth Kolko

Professor of Human Centered Design & Engineering, University of Washington

Beth Kolko is an academic turned entrepreneur who has been at the forefront of multiple technology-driven cultural shifts. She was one of the first academic researchers involved in the early days of the Internet, when she studied text-based virtual worlds, early messaging platforms and social networks, digital games and technology for international development. She helped kickstart the academic makerspace movement with her Hackademia project at the University of Washington, she built the first SMS-based transportation apps and early digital health tools for emerging markets, and she has pioneered work on non-expert innovation influenced by the maker and hacker communities worldwide.

In addition to her role as professor of Human Centered Design & Engineering at the UW, since 2015 she has been leading the Y Combinator–backed Shift Labs to create medical devices that improve health care delivery in emerging markets. Shift Labs combines excellence in engineering and human centered design to create new kinds of products that outperform traditional devices in austere regions.

Her most delightful surprise has been discovering that great design contributes to health care equity worldwide: Shift Labs customers span the globe from Kentucky to Zimbabwe.


Photograph of Amit MitalAmit Mital

Founder and CEO, KRNL Labs

Amit Mital is a senior executive in the technology industry and a recognized leader in disruptive innovation. He is currently the founder and CEO of Kernel Labs, an incubator that is creating startups in the machine learning, virtual reality (VR) and cyber security domains.

Previously he served as executive vice president, general manager and chief technology officer (CTO) at Symantec Corporation, the worldwide leader in cyber security. As CTO, Mital was responsible for driving the company’s technology strategy with a focus on accelerating innovation, product development and R&D. He was also the executive vice president and general manager of the emerging endpoints business.

Mital joined Symantec after 20 years with Microsoft, most recently as the corporate vice president of the Startup Business Group, where he was responsible for managing strategic product development, along with identifying and executing new innovation opportunities. At Microsoft, Mital also held a number of product and business leadership roles and shipped more than 35 products. He holds 43 patents.

Mital holds an M.S. in engineering from the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College.


Photograph of Ed LazowskaEd Lazowska, Moderator

Bill & Melinda Gates Chair, Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, University of Washington

Ed Lazowska holds the Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington.

His research and teaching concern the design, implementation and analysis of high-performance computing and communication systems and, more recently, the techniques and technologies of data-intensive discovery. He also has been active in public policy issues ranging from STEM education to federal strategies for research and innovation.

Lazowska is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He serves as a board member or technical advisor for a number of high-tech companies, venture firms and technology-oriented civic organizations. A longtime advocate for increasing participation in the field, he serves on the Executive Advisory Council of the National Center for Women & Information Technology and on the National Research Council’s Committee on Women in Science, Engineering and Medicine.

From 2008 to 2017, he served as the founding director of the University of Washington’s eScience Institute, where he continues as a senior data science fellow.


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Innovation panel: Health

Photograph of Steve DavisSteve Davis

President and CEO, PATH

Steve Davis, president and CEO of PATH, combines extensive experience as a technology business leader, global health advocate and social innovator to accelerate great ideas and bring lifesaving solutions to scale.

Prior to joining PATH in 2012, he served as director of social innovation at McKinsey & Company, CEO of Corbis and interim director of Infectious Disease Research Institute, and he practiced law at K&L Gates. Earlier, he worked extensively on refugee programs and policies, as well as Chinese politics and law.

Davis is a lecturer on social innovation at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He also serves on the boards of InterAction and Challenge Seattle, and he sits on several advisory groups, including as a trustee of the World Economic Forum’s Global Health Challenge, on the stakeholder advisory panel for the global insurance and asset management firm AXA, and on the advisory board for Medtronic Labs. He has also served as chair of several notable organizations in the Seattle area.

Steve earned his B.A. from Princeton University, his M.A. in Chinese studies from the University of Washington and his law degree from Columbia University. He also studied at Beijing University.


Photograph of Mike HiltonMike Hilton

Chief Product Officer, Accolade

As chief product officer, Mike Hilton is responsible for Accolade’s product, technology and analytics efforts.

Prior to Accolade, Hilton was a cofounder of Concur, a pioneer in the cloud computing and travel and expense management space, and he remained there for the company’s entire 21-year history (prior to its acquisition by SAP in 2014). At Concur, he served in various product and technology leadership roles, most recently as chief product officer.

Before cofounding Concur, Hilton helped launch the sales force automation space as part of the team that created Act! at Contact Software/Symantec. He began his career at Apple, where he led the development efforts for MacWrite Pro, at the time the leading word processor for the Macintosh.


Photograph of Christopher J.L. MurrayChristopher J.L. Murray

Director, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington

Christopher J.L. Murray is a professor of global health at the University of Washington and the director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). A physician and health economist, he has focused his career on improving health for everyone worldwide by improving health evidence. His work has led to the development of a range of new methods and empirical studies to strengthen health measurement, analyze the performance of public health and medical care systems, and assess the cost effectiveness of health technologies.

Murray is a founder of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) approach, a systematic effort to quantify the comparative magnitude of health loss due to diseases, injuries and demographic risk factors over time. He led the collaborative of almost 500 researchers from 50 countries that produced the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries and Risk Factors Study 2010 (GBD 2010). He has also authored or edited 15 books, many book chapters and more than 300 journal articles in internationally peer-reviewed publications.

Murray holds bachelor of arts and science degrees from Harvard University, a D.Phil. in international health economics from Oxford University and a medical degree from Harvard Medical School.


Photograph of Jean EnersenJean Enersen, Moderator

Retired Anchor, KING 5 News

Jean Enersen is an Emmy Award–winning retired KING 5 television anchor who built a reputation as the most popular, respected and trusted news anchor in the northwest. An industry leader, Enersen was the first female anchor in the Seattle market and one of the first female anchors in the country.

During her career, Enersen interviewed several presidents of the United States and coanchored NBC’s “Today Show.” She traveled to Africa with the Gates Foundation to examine global health issues; broadcast live from the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, from the Kosovo War, and from Russia and Japan; and was the first local U.S. TV reporter working in China after normalization of U.S.-China relations. Enersen was also coanchor of “Asia Now,” a weekly Asian news program produced by KCTS and seen in 13 Asian countries and 75 U.S. markets.

In addition to her anchor duties, Enersen has focused on events and charitable work that include medicine, health, wellness, children and families.

Enersen graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in political science, an M.A. in political science and an M.A. in broadcasting and film. She also holds honorary doctorates from Whitman College and Seattle University.


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