Posts in 2019 Speaker
ELANA BERKOWITZ^^Founder of EB Collective

Elana is the founder of EB Collective, a consulting firm through which she works with clients including WeWork, Eric Schmidt's family office, and National Geographic. She also serves as innovator-in-residence for CARE, one of the world's largest humanitarian organizations and co-founded a startup that built the first ever voter registration chatbot which has since been acquired. 

She's a former Obama Administration technology policy official and McKinsey technology, media, telecom consultant across 10 countries.

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COOPER PICKETT^'10CC^Co-Founder, CEO Longneck and Thunderfoot

A partner of Columbia Entrepreneurship at the Columbia Startup Lab and a 2010 graduate of Columbia University (CC’10), Cooper oversees a growing international team at Longneck and Thunderfoot that works around the clock to get clients results. He has extensive leadership and team-building experience from his time as the CMO of a real estate startup. He excels as a marketer and strategist — qualities he refined and developed as the founder of e-commerce businesses in the sports and subscription spaces. With the founding of L&T, Cooper brings these strategies and insights to companies worldwide. He participates in Princeton University’s Employer in Residence program, serves on the Columbia Startup Lab’s leadership committee, and speaks on industry panels about entrepreneurship, marketing, and startups. On occasion, he teaches web marketing at General Assembly.

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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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SHIVANI SIROYA^’07MPH^Founder & CEO of Tala

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 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

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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