Posts in 2019 Speaker
BILL O'FARRELL^^Global Vice President, HubSpot for Startups

William J. (“Bill”) O'Farrell is a 30-year veteran of the start-up world. He most recently co-founded and was CEO of Body Labs, Inc., a computer vision and AI company focused on 3D human body modeling. Body Labs was acquired by Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) in 2017. Formerly, he was co-founder and CEO of such companies as SpeechWorks (NASDAQ:SPWX), acquired by Nuance (NASDAQ:NUAN), OpenAir.com, acquired by Netsuite (NASDAQ:N), and the Company of Science & Art, which created the After Effects product line, acquired by Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE). Bill is also an Adjunct Professor at the Columbia Business School where he teaches “Launch Your Start-up.” Bill received his undergraduate degree from Brown University and a JD from Harvard Law School. Other educational endeavors include a year of graduate work at the University of Nice, France under a Rotary Foundation Scholarship and the New England Clean Energy Council Fellowship.

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GHADA ALMASHAQBEH^^Ph.D. candidate in the Cryptography Lab at Columbia University

Ghada Almashaqbeh is a Ph.D. candidate in the Cryptography Lab at the Computer Science department at Columbia University. Her research interests include theory and applied cryptography, security, and distributed systems. Ghada works on interdisciplinary projects that combine knowledge from various fields toward the design of secure systems and protocols.

Her current projects are related to cryptocurrencies, secure multiparty computation, and basing cryptography on biological assumptions. This includes CacheCash: A cryptocurrency system that provides a distributed content delivery service. This covers a threat modeling framework for cryptocurrencies, a lightweight distributed probabilistic micropayment scheme, and CacheCash, the main system.

Her publications include: “Implementing Support for Pointers to Private Data in a General-Purpose Secure Multi-Party Compiler.” ACM Transactions on Privacy and Security (TOPS), 2018.

“Secure distributed genome analysis for GWAS and sequence comparison computation.” BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, 2015.

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JAKE BRUKHMAN^^Managing Director & CEO at CoinFund

Jake is Managing Director & CEO at CoinFund, a blockchain research company and one of the first private investment vehicle focused on the blockchain space. He has a decade of experience spanning pure and financial technology, quantitative research, technology market research, and blockchain.

Previously, Jake was Partner & CTO at Triton Research, a technical product manager and engineer at Amazon.com, and spent five years as a financial technologist at Highbridge Capital Management and as a quantitative researcher at Kohera. He studied pure mathematics and computer science at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at NYU and the honors program at Rutgers University.

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SHIVANI SIROYA ’07MPH^Founder & CEO of Tala^Click here for her TED talk

Shivani Siroya is the founder and CEO of Tala. Tala’s mission is to expand access to financial products to the emerging middle class globally. Millions of people have received access to credit and other services through Tala’s smartphone app. Tala is currently operating across East Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. Tala is backed by leading venture investors including PayPal, Revolution, IVP, Ribbit Capital, and Lowercase Capital. In 2018, Forbes named Tala as one of the top 50 FinTech companies in the world, and Tala's work has been highlighted by the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, TED, and TechCrunch, among others. Tala is headquartered in Santa Monica with additional offices in Nairobi, Manila, Dar Es Salaam, Mexico City, Mumbai, and Bangalore.

Prior to founding Tala, Shivani held a variety of positions in global health, microfinance, and investment banking, including with the United Nations Population Fund, Health Net, Citigroup and UBS. Shivani is an Aspen Institute Finance Leader Fellow, a WEF Young Global Leader, Senior TED Fellow and Ashoka Fellow. She is also on the board of Stellar.org. She holds a M.P.H from Columbia University and a B.A. from Wesleyan University.

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KATHERINE KATCHER '07CC^Founder & Executive Director of Root & Rebound^Click here for her video

VIDEO: Letters From Inside [Link]

Katherine is the Founder and Executive Director of Root & Rebound.  She received her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. Root & Rebound's mission is to transfer power and information from the policy and legal communities to the people most impacted by our criminal justice system through public education, direct legal services, and policy advocacy, so that the law serves, rather than harms, low income communities and communities of color in the United States. 

Katherine founded Root & Rebound in the Bay Area in 2013, which has grown to an organization with three California offices and national programs--with the vision of increasing access to justice and opportunity to people and communities most impacted by mass incarceration, so that the law serves, rather than harms them. 

Katherine has 10+ years of work in the nonprofit sector, with a broad range of roles and experiences, including teaching adult education ESOL and GED classes, advocating for clients fleeing from violence, and working on behalf of prisoners and clients who are incarcerated. In her time at Berkeley Law, Katherine worked at the Texas Defender Service, the Berkeley Law Death Penalty Clinic, the Prison Law Office, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children in San Francisco, and UnCommon Law. Katherine also co-founded the Post-Conviction Advocacy Project, a Student-Initiated Legal Services Project, in partnership with Uncommon Law, whereby law students represent life-term prisoners in parole hearings. 

Katherine received her B.A. in 2007 in Anthropology from Columbia College at Columbia University, where she focused her research and studies on asylum communities and had a concentration in English Literation,  Katherine is an attorney licensed to practice in the State of California. When not working to further the mission and vision of Root & Rebound, Katherine loves spending time with her husband (also a CC '07 alumnus) and two young children, preferably in the mountains or by the ocean. 

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ALICE BOSLEY^’17 SIPA^Co-Founder & Executive Director of Five One Labs

Five One Labs is a start-up incubator that helps refugees and conflict-affected entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses in the Middle East. Launching first in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, we aim to empower individuals to rebuild their lives and livelihoods and to contribute to the economic growth of their communities.

Five One Labs entrepreneurs are provided with training; mentorship by world class entrepreneurs from the USA and the Middle East; and a community of creative changemakers to share their experiences with.

Our vision is to develop an inclusive network of innovators and entrepreneurs that have the support, skills, and connections to positively change their communities and countries.

Alice is passionate about business approaches to humanitarian challenges. She was an Innovation Specialist with the UN Refugee Agency’s Innovation Unit, using design thinking to solve humanitarian challenges worldwide. She has also worked at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani, and consulted with Mercy Corp’s Social Ventures team. For the past two years, she served as the Design Lead at the Columbia Entrepreneurship Design Studio.

Alice has a Master of International Affairs from Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, where she focused on humanitarian action, economic development, and entrepreneurship. She obtained her BA in international relations from Stanford University.

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DR. COURTNEY D. COGBURN^^Assistant Professor at the Columbia University School of Social Work and faculty of the Columbia Population Research Center

Dr. Courtney D. Cogburn is an assistant professor at the Columbia University School of Social Work and faculty of the Columbia Population Research Center. She employs a transdisciplinary research strategy to improve the characterization and measurement of racism and in examining the role of racism in the production of racial inequities in health. Dr. Cogburn’s work also explores the potential of media and technology in eradicating racism and eliminating racial inequities in health. She is the lead creator of 1000 Cut Journey, an immersive virtual reality experience of racism that premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. Dr. Cogburn completed postdoctoral training at Harvard University in the Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholar Program and at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. She received her Ph.D. in Education and Psychology, and MSW from the University of Michigan and her BA in Psychology from the University of Virginia.

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MARY C. BOYCE^^Dean of Engineering

Mary C. Boyce is Dean of Engineering at The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University in the City of New York and also the Morris A. and Alma Schapiro Professor of Engineering. Dean Boyce has been widely recognized for her scholarly contributions, including election as a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Engineering.

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JOE HERITAGE^‘17SIPA^Design Lead at Columbia Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Design

Joseph Heritage ‘17SIPA is the Design Lead at Columbia Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Design.  He is an agricultural development specialist and human centered designer with over nine years of project design and project management experience. He has worked on agrarian-based social enterprises, agribusiness value-chain development, IDP post-conflict resettlement, entrepreneurship accelerator training, human centered design, sustainable finance, and market access with a regional focus in East Africa and Southeast Asia. He co-founded and managed Freedom Global, a Kenyan social enterprise that employs and educates Internally Displaced Persons working in staple, livestock, and commodity crop value chains, through out-grower schemes with lead firms such as KenChic, providing access to finance through partnerships with Kiva and M-Pesa. He managed a 30-acre farm with over 25+ employees and worked with Amiran, an Israeli ag. tech company to install 10 greenhouses and 5 acres of drip irrigation on his farm. He grew lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pumpkins, peppers, reared pigs and chickens, and sold them to high-value end markets in Nairobi.

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JAMES J. VALENTINI^^Dean of Columbia College

James J. Valentini was appointed Dean of Columbia College and Vice President for Undergraduate Education in September 2011. Affectionately called “Deantini” by Columbia undergraduates, Dean Valentini has been a member of Columbia’s faculty since 1990 and previously served as chair of the Chemistry Department and director of the Chemistry Department’s Undergraduate Studies Program.

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RICHARD WITTEN^'75CC ^Special Advisor to the President of Columbia University

Richard Witten '75CC serves as the Special Advisor to the President of Columbia University, a position he assumed after retiring as the Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University. He is the Founder of Columbia Entrepreneurshipand a member of the Columbia University Medical Center Board of Advisors, where he chairs the Cancer Advisory Council. 

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