Keynote Speakers

Opening Keynote

Monday, October 21 | 9:00 - 10:00 AM

Michael Cushman
Senior Fellow
DaVinci Institute & Director of Consulting

Michael Cushman is a Sr. Fellow and Director of Strategic Futurism Consulting at The DaVinci Institute. He believes the future is coming much faster than people think, but not so fast that we can’t prepare. To avoid becoming dinosaurs in our own lifetime, Michael advocates everyone learn the most important skill of the 21st century, foresight. “We need to see what’s coming and align today’s decisions, plans, and investments with the future, whether planning a career, a business strategy, or a smart city.”

Michael’s business career includes projects in the USA, Europe, and Asia, working in strategy, innovation, and transformation. Michael’s expertise includes winning multiple “Product of the Year” awards, patents for improving the rate and retention of learning, and successfully introducing profitable technology and innovations at over 50 companies, including Fortune 500 companies such as Verizon, BT, Revlon, and Chevron. In his role as an executive, Michael served in leadership positions at several tech startup companies on their way to market success. He is a sought out expert and has appeared as a spokesperson on local and national TV. He often speaks on the power of foresight as a competitive advantage for professionals, businesses, and investors and the future of a variety of industries and technologies.

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Closing Keynote

Wednesday, October 23 | 9:00 - 10:00 AM

Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas, PhD
Science Director
Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley

Emiliana Simon-Thomas is the Science Director at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center. A Berkeley native, she earned her PhD in Psychology studying how emotions and cognitive processes interact to shape thoughts and behavior. During her post-doc, Emiliana studied pro-social emotions like compassion, gratitude, and awe. She then served as Associate Director/Senior Scientist at Stanford's Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE), examining how compassion, both innate and learned, benefits health and well-being. At the GGSC, she oversees the student research fellowship program, runs key initiatives like Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude, and provides an expert scientific voice on the key roles that social connection, mutual support, and belonging play in well-being. She also co-teaches The Science of Happiness, a massive open online course (MOOC) that has enrolled over 600,000 people worldwide, in addition to the Science of Happiness at Work Professional Certificate Series, and advises organizations on how to boost happiness both from a product perspective and by building a climate that supports engagement, trust and agility. Alongside her academic and popular writing, Emiliana recently co-edited the Oxford Handbook of Compassion Science, a transdisciplinary compendium of articles from world-class researchers. Altogether, Emiliana's work leverages cutting edge scientific insights to help people live better lives individually, in relationship with others, within organizations and communities, and society-wide.


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