SXSW Interactive 2012 speakers

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Adam Bosworth

CTO & Co-Founder, Keas

Built Quattro, Access, first Ajax engine in 96 for IE, XML, Google Calendar, Spreadsheets, and Google Health along with other overly technical endeavors. Started 3 companies, Analytica, Crossgain, and Keas. Decided to make a difference to the world in a positive way 10 years ago by focusing on improving the world's health. Busy writing code at Keas right now to do just that.

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Adam Russell

Co-founder, wallFour

I co-founded the crowd game design company wallFour in 2011 with John Sear, setting out on a mission to create playful experiences for live crowds. We are presenting a Film + Interactive convergence session about this whole area, and our feature-length work Renga is also being screened at the film festival. My early background is in philosophy and machine intelligence, which led me to the videogames industry as an AI specialist with particular interests in improvisational characters. I had a great time working on the original XBox version of "Fable" at Lionhead Studios, and still find myself bumping into ex-Lionhead folks wherever I go! While maintaining an international speaking profile within the games industry, I spent some recent years in teaching. It was my experience on Frank Boyd's NESTA funded “Crossover Labs” media innovation project in 2009 that led me to collaborations beyond the games industry and paved the way towards what would become wallFour.

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Adam Saltsman

Co-founder, Semi Secret Software

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Allan Leinwand

CTO - Infrstructure, Zynga

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Amish Patel

Design Producer, Xbox/Microsoft

Over the last couple years I have been working at Microsoft, first as a Program Manager for the Windows 7/8 Touch experience and recently as a Design Producer for the XBOX Design team. I work toward understanding the implications of how natural user interfaces and interaction languages need to be designed to accommodate the growing trend of devices and systems designed for the range natural input modalities.
Currently I focus on understanding the world of XBOX centered interactive languages and its implication for more modern user interface design.

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Andrew Hsu

CEO and Founder, Airy Labs

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Anne Richards

Creative Director, No Crusts Interactive

Anne is a writer, producer, and game designer with over a decade of experience developing and producing children’s properties in all media. She specializes in educational children’s content, combining rigorous integrated curricula with great entertainment value. Prior to joining No Crusts Interactive as a game designer and writer, she was the Director of Development for Wainscott Studios (headed by multiple Emmy award-winner Mitchell Kriegman), where she developed many high-profile preschool series, including Bear in the Big Blue House and The Book of Pooh for Disney Channel and It’s a Big Big World for PBS KIDS. She has also worked extensively as a creative and production consultant for companies including Discovery Kids, MGM, BBC, The Kids Block, Classic Media, and many others. Anne now brings her work in film and television to bear on interactive projects, ensuring that story and character are married to educational content and usability to create both the most accessible and the most entertaining games possible.

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Ari Levy

Technology Reporter, Bloomberg News

Ari Levy
Technology Reporter
Bloomberg News As a technology reporter at Bloomberg, Ari Levy has covered networking, Internet and mobility while following deals and dealmakers in private equity and venture capital. He joined Bloomberg in 2003 as a stock market reporter in New York and moved to San Francisco in 2006 to write about Silicon Valley. He is also a regular contributor to Bloomberg Businessweek magazine. Ari has a master's degree in business journalism from Baruch College in New York.

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Ashley York

Co-founder & Producer, Take Action Games

ASHLEY YORK is a mediamaker whose research interests include journalism, socially conscious media and digital activism. She has worked on Academy Award® nominated teams and served as a producer on documentary projects that have premiered at international film festivals as well as on A&E, IFC, HBO, Discovery International and the Sundance Channel. Most recently, she produced two documentary films, which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, including Becoming Chaz, about Chaz Bono’s gender transition and Billy Luther’s GRAB, about the Laguna Pueblo tribe in New Mexico. Ashley has worked with award-winning documentary filmmakers, including Mark Jonathan Harris, Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato, Judith Helfand and Kirby Dick. Ashley was a panelist on the topic of “interactive documentaries” at the 2010 SXSW Interactive Festival and 2009 Sheffield International Documentary Film Festival. She was a filmmaker in residence at the Working Film’s Content + Intent Documentary Institute at MASS MoCA as well as an artist in residence at theBay Area Video Coalition's Producer's Institute for New Media Technologies. She has worked as a field and casting producer for the Emmy Award Winning Series "Intervention" and is also a part time lecturer for the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, where she teaches workshops in multimedia authoring to students in the departments of gender studies and critical studies. Ashley is also a co-founding member of the Los Angeles-based design collective, Take Action Games, which consists of a core group of award-winning producers, designers and creative directors and their work explores and embraces the intersection of activism, documentary, cinema, art and games. Our members are on the forefront of games and media for social awareness and advocacy and our work has received international acclaim for expanding the expressive power of games to engage an audience outside of casual and non-gamers. Take Action Games’ latest project was produced for a division of the United Nations and our other projects have garnered the Governor’s Award at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Emmys, won the Games For Change 2006 Audience Award, the 2007 Beacon Award from the Cable Television Public Affairs Association in the New Media Category, and the 2007 Canadian BANFF World Television Award for Best Internet Only Production. Their work has been incorporated into curricula for middle school, high school, after school programs, and college, and presented to members of Congress in Capitol Hill during the National Online Town Hall Meeting on Darfur. Articles about TAG have been featured in major media outlets such as BBC World, ABC, National Public Radio, The New York Times, The Washington Post and TIME Magazine.

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Asi Burak

Co-President, Games for Change

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Ben Sawyer

Pres, Digitalmill

Ben Sawyer is the co-founder of Digitalmill, a games consulting firm based in Portland, Maine. Since beginning his career in game development over ten years ago, Sawyer has pioneered major initiatives in the field of serious games and has become a nationally recognized leader within the games community. For the past seven years, Sawyer has dedicated his professional life to discovering new ways to expand the use of games beyond entertainment. In 2002, he co-founded the Serious Games Initiative, a project of the U.S. Government's Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The following year, Sawyer organized the first-ever Serious Games Summit – a conference which now attracts 300-500 attendees annually, who meet to share best practices in the development of serious games. The Serious Games Initiative continues to serve as one of the leading organizations in the field of serious games. In 2004, Sawyer also co-founded the Games for Health project, an initiative which has built the primary social and professional networks of the health games industry. Through on-line resources and regular regional and national events, Games for Health connects health professionals, researchers, and game developers in order to advance the development of health games and game technologies. The Games for Health project receives major funding from the Pioneer Portfolio, an initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. As a game developer, Sawyer has worked on over one dozen major serious game projects. In 2000, Sawyer began producing the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's university simulation game, "Virtual U," which was an award finalist at that year’s Independent Games Festival. Sawyer has also served as a designer, producer, advisor, and/or manager on projects for Cisco, DARPA, ONR, Leimandt Foundation, Cadbury, USAID, Lockheed Martin, and several other Fortune 500 organizations. An avid and sought-after speaker, Sawyer presents at numerous conferences and events each year. Prior to founding Digitalmill, Sawyer was a technical book author, writing about emerging consumer technologies and game development. His written work has been recognized by both Game Developer Magazine and the Independent Publishing Association. A lifelong gamer, Sawyer often draws his professional inspiration from his extensive personal knowledge of games - including those developed since the original Pong. Prior to pursuing his professional career, Sawyer graduated from the Bronx High School of Science and studied at Baruch College. He currently resides in Freeport, Maine with his wife Olivia and their two sons (and future gamers), ages 7 and 5

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Brad Graeber

CEO, Powerhouse Animation Studios

Brad Graeber is the CEO and co-founder of Powerhouse Animation Studios, Inc, a traditional animation studio in Austin, TX. Powerhouse is a service based studio that produces content for film, television, and video games. Powerhouse celebrated its 10th Anniversary in 2011, and employs 35+ animators and artists. Some of the better known projects Powerhouse has worked on include Disney’s Epic Mickey, shorts for Kevin Smith’s Clerks, Sony’s DC Universe online and animated versions of syndicated comic strips such as Dilbert, Pearls Before Swine, Bloom County, and Over the Hedge for Ringtales. Powerhouse has worked on projects for companies including Sony, Electronic Arts, Disney, Microsoft, Miramax and many more. Brad was born in Austin, and went to graduate school at the Visualization Sciences program at Texas A&M University. Brad serves on the board of the Texas Motion Picture Alliance. He hosts a monthly figure drawing class called Naked Lunch which is tailored for artists in animation and games. In 2011, Brad co-founded Artists Against Cancer, a non-profit company dedicated to helping artists with their fight against cancer.

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Brandon Schmittling

Creative Director, Cluster Media

***Updated - Brandin is leading the panel "Surviving the Night: An International ARG Tell All". For more info, visit http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/idea... Brandon is a DC resident and works as UX Designer & Engineer for Free Range Studios. He has worked as an interactive and print designer for Verdeo, WebFirst, Hirshorn Zuckerman Design Group, and as a consultant for more than a decade with his company, Cluster Media. When not pursuing his love of experimental cocktails, Brandon teaches at Boston University's Center for Digital Imaging Arts and organizes events like SurviveDC and Park(ing) Day. Brandon finds inspiration in the Happenings of the 1970's, the Ant Farm Collective, the Flaming Lips parking lot experiments, and other unsolicited acts of spontaneous public creativity.

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Carla Fisher

President & Founder, No Crusts Interactive

Carla Engelbrecht Fisher is a game designer with a research obsession and the founder of No Crusts Interactive. Having spent more than a decade making children’s digital goods, she’s designed, produced, researched, and consulted on a wide variety of commercial and educational products, from Web to mobile to gaming consoles. Prior to starting No Crusts Interactive, she worked for Sesame Workshop, PBS KIDS, and Highlights for Children. Carla speaks internationally about developing children’s games at industry and academic events as well as private workshops. She is a doctoral candidate at Teachers College, Columbia University, where she studies technology and its relationship with human cognition and development, particularly as it applies to children and games. In February 2012, she successfully defended her dissertation, entitled “Adolescents, Video Games, and the Displacement Effect” and will be awarded the doctorate of education in May 2012. Additionally, Carla holds a master's degree in media studies from the New School University and has, on occasion, been known to twist balloon animals and hats.

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Chris Burke

Creator/Dir, This Spartan Life

Director Chris Burke graduated from NYU Film School and went on to work on-set with directors such Robert Altman and Lucio Fulci. Working as a composer, he has scored six independent feature films and had three CDs and several digital releases of original music. In the 1990s, Chris started Bong + Dern, Inc., creating interactive audio projects for Bjork, MTV and others. In late 2004 Chris created This Spartan Life. A talk show in “game space”, This Spartan Life uses Xbox Live and the videogame Halo as its backdrop and has been lauded for its brilliant combination of traditional filmmaking with the creative, interactive possibilities of videogame technology. Guests have included Malcolm McLaren, McKenzie Wark, game designer Katie Salen, the rock band OK Go, Kurt Andersen and many others. This Spartan Life has attracted the attention of countless mainstream media outlets, including Wired Magazine, who likened it to "a mash-up of The Charlie Rose Show and Doom," The BBC, Reuters, Stuff Magazine, and BusinessWeek, and won Best Machinima Series at the 2005 and 2008 Machinima Festivals. This Spartan Life has also created exclusive online content for Spike TV’s Videogame Awards, and as well as a spin-off series for Halo Waypoint on XBox Live.

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Chris Dewolfe


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Cindy Au

Community Dir, Kickstarter

Cindy is Community Director at Kickstarter, the world's largest funding platform for creative projects. She enjoys working closely with users, and spends much of her time building relationships within the Games and Comics communities. She has previously worked as a writer and editor for a variety of startups and media organizations covering topics in games, comics, and geek culture. She holds a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she taught literature and media studies. She currently resides in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

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Cindy Poremba

Game Design, Kokoromi

CINDY POREMBA, is a digital media researcher, creator and curator, interested in the intersection between creation practices and technology-- specifically how meaning is read through digital technologies. Her research explores documentary in videogames and digital media, art and independent videogames (particularly the new arcade movement), emerging artistic/cultural practice related to photography, videogames and robotic technologies, and research-creation methodology in interactive art and design. Cindy is a former faculty member in Simon Fraser University’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT), and has published work in journals such as Eludamos and Games & Culture, as well as edited collections. She also organizes non-traditional exhibitions and arcade events as an independent curator and member of the Kokoromi game art collective. Cindy is currently a Postdoctoral Research fellow at the Georgia Institute for Technology. She is also co-curator for the Gaîté Lyrique’s 2012 summer exhibition.

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Darryl Eaton

Dir of Prod Mgmt, RightScale

Darryl Eaton is the head of Product Management at RightScale where he oversees new and existing product lines, interfaces with customers across the IT spectrum, and helps set RightScale’s vision for the future of cloud computing management.
Prior to joining RightScale, Darryl headed up Product Management at PlayFirst, Inc., a leading casual games company. He was also a Product Manager at Yahoo!, where he conceived of and shipped Yahoo! Web Messenger (http://web.im/), now a main feature in Yahoo! Mail. Darryl held a previous career as a Software Architect at multiple successful startups (WiredPlanet acquired by Listen.com, Enuvis acquired by SiRF), At these startups, Darryl often acted as the lead systems administrator, solidifying his own ‘DevOps’ mentality early on – a mentality that is now a pervasive contributor to the success of cloud computing. Darryl holds a BS in Computer Science from Yale University, and an MBA from Berkeley. In his spare time, he enjoys cycling, rock climbing, and spending time outdoors with his family.

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David Conover

Instructor, Game Dev, Pflugerville ISD

I’m a high school teacher with a calm, cool, and collected attitude. My work is important to me because it allows me to be curious, abstract, inventive, confident, and creative. Recently one of my students won a national award for game design and I had a chance to speak at the Austin Chamber of Commerce's 6 Ideas that Changed the World. Now my career is in overdrive. I am fortunate to work with a supportive school district (PISD), as well as to work with some great companies, such as AMD, Game Salad and Get Your Learn On (GYLO) and others.

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David Glowacki

Scientist, University of Bristol

David Glowacki, originally from Milwaukee, is a 30-year old theoretical scientist based in the UK. His research straddles the boundary where theoretical physics meets chemistry – where the delocalized quantum world meets the multidimensional classical world. Research on this quantum-classical frontier sheds light on a range of microscopic physical phenomena relevant to the atmosphere, nanomaterials, biophysics, synthetic chemistry, and astrophysics. Glowacki has published a number of peer-review papers that span a range of subjects, including scientific instrument development, optics, spectroscopy, computer programming, environmental science, classical and quantum dynamics, biochemistry, religion, power politics, and cultural theory. Over the last 3 years, he has given over 20 contributed and invited talks in both academic and non-academic settings. In addition to his scientific credentials, Glowacki is an author, philosopher, and inventor with a number of cross-disciplinary and creative pursuits. He received an MA in cultural theory as a Fulbright finalist in the UK. His recently finished novel, "The Fist of a Bum Called god," has been described as “Vonnegut meets Borges meets Bukowski meets Foucault”. He is also a part-time resident at the Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol. Motivated by his desire to convey to others the beauty and subtlety of the microscopic world, he has developed a fusion of quantum mechanics with 3d imaging and modern dance as part of an EPSRC funded grant for the ‘Danceroom Spectroscopy” project (aka dS). In collaboration with modern dancers, a musicians, and artists, dS made a fantastically successful debut at the Bristol Arnolfini, which is the UK’s largest modern art museum outside of London.

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Eiji Araki

SVP, Social Games, GREE International

Eiji Araki joined GREE in August 2005 during its start-up stage. Eiji led the development of PC based social networking services, mobile social networking services, several social game titles and Smartphone services as VP of Product. Eiji developed "Clinoppe" and "Haconiwa" which are the most successful mobile social games in Japan, played by over 10 million users. Currently he is SVP of Product, overseeing all product-related activities within GREE International – GREE’s first subsidiary located in San Francisco, CA

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Erica Berger

New Products & Writer, Berger Works LLC/The Economist

I'm an NYC based writer and digital product manager who's active in the tech, social good, environmental, and independent music spaces. I nerd out around international relations, resource management (natural and cultural), and on how technology is constantly changing our world. By day, I'm at The Economist hustling new digital products and writing. By night, I edit NewBandDaily for my indie music fix, play the drums and keys, and work on a web app that just might change the way we think about spending money for good. I'm a StartingBloc fellow, and moved to NYC in 2009 after extended adventures in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Europe. I love writing, food, yoga, travel, music, languages, talking about clean tech, and the outdoors too.

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Erin Edgerton

Dir, New Media, Office of National Drug Control Policy

Erin Edgerton is Senior Director for Health Communication and Marketing at Danya, Intl. Before joining Danya in January of 2012, she served as the Director of New Media and Strategic Communication at the White House Office of Drug Policy. During her time at the White House, she also worked for the Office of Digital Strategy on the government's response to the H1N1 epidemic, the website and new media strategy for the First Lady's Let's Move! initiative, and other public health priorities. Erin also previously served as Senior Social Media Strategist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where she developed the Agency's first centralized social media strategy.

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Gabe Zichermann

CEO, Gamification Co

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George Miranda

Online Infrastructure R&D Mgr, Electronic Arts

George Miranda manages the Online Infrastructure R&D group at Electronic Arts in Austin. He is a self-professed automation junkie and lives to program himself out of a job. He believes that automating workflows and codifying best practices are the key tenets to success in "cloud" environments. He is convinced that the IaaS wave of the future will consist primarily of savvy engineers who can think abstractly while they simultaneously drill down deep into the minutia of technical hands-on implementation to accomplish tasks in generic ways that, paradoxically, also encompass marginal special use cases. He studied Mechanical Engineering at UCLA and is happy to dive into deeply philosophical discussions about the future of IT professionals and bleeding-edge technologies.

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George Weiner

CTO, dosomething.org

As DoSomething.org’s CTO, George manages all online and mobile communication systems for DoSomething.org. Under his leadership, the organization has become an innovator in social media, mobile technologies and cause. During his 4.5 years at DoSomething.org, he oversaw the complete overhaul of the site (cms, architecture, skin, etc) in 2008, landing a People’s Choice Webby Award in the Youth in 2009 and nomination in 2010. Originally from Brooklyn, George holds a BA in from the University of Pennsylvania which included classes at the Wharton School. George also completed a Nano (Executive) MBA with Seth Godin. In addition to his work at DoSomething.org, George has done consulting for various not-for-profits and companies to guide their online strategy and site development.
He is a frequent speaker on not-for-profit tech issues at forums including the Blog World Expo, Net Impact, Google Grants Conference, NTEN, The Good Pitch SF, U.N. Youth Summit, NonProfit Coordinating Committee NY, National Conference on Volunteering and Service, and as a guest lecturer at NYU and NYIT. George is also a featured contributor for the Huffington Post Impact section (HuffingtonPost.com/george-weiner).

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Gregory Trefry

Co-founder, Gigantic Mechanic

Greg Trefry has wide array of experience designing games. He has designed everything from web-based MMOs to hit casual games to alternate reality games. Prior to starting Gigantic Mechanic, Greg was the Creative Director at Gamestar Mechanic, a web-based massively multiplayer game for tweens. Before that he was a Senior Game Designer at Gamelab where he created and led design on the hit franchise Jojo's Fashion Show. Greg doesn't limit his design interests to video games. Greg created and served as director of the Come Out & Play Festival, a three day festival of street games that brings designers and players from around the world to New York City every summer. He co-designed the Webby-nominated Case of the Coveted Bottle ARG. Before working in games Greg was a Vice-President at LPC/Reuters where he managed a suite of financial information web products. Greg has been invited to speak at conferences around the world about location-based and social games. He also teaches about designing games and ARGs at New York Univeristy's prestigious Interactive Telecommunications Program and Parsons The New School for Design. Greg has written an entire book on casual game design and how to create game mechanics and experiences that engage wide audiences of players. The book, Casual Game Design: Designing Play for the Gamer in All of Us was published by Morgan Kaufmann in 2010.

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Heather Sorensen

President, Plugged In PR

Heather Sorensen is the Founder and President of Plugged In PR®. Heather has represented emerging startups to global industry leaders across numerous technology categories, launching dozens of products and services. Able to consistently deliver strong media results across national business, online and trade publications, Heather excels at corporate positioning, competitive analysis, social media strategy and designing high-impact PR campaigns. Heather works on the iOS, Android and Barnes & Noble Nook game, "Bag It!" from Hidden Variable which is one of Entertainment Weekly's top 10 Apps of 2011 and USA Today's top iPad Apps. She has secured national attention for Future's Nintendo Power magazine 20th Anniversary celebration, the launch of World of Warcraft: The Magazine as well as hundreds of business and technology articles for JAJAH, a consumer and business VOIP service. Key consumer and gaming coverage was garnered for multiple gaming clients including: four of Capcom’s games including Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition on the 3DS, Hidden Variable's award-winning mobile game, Bag It!, Crave Games Sing4 and the Wii-compatible game/peripheral Cyberbike from Bigben Interactive. Through agency partnerships, she has represented Pandora, Best Buy, Slim Devices (purchased by Logitech), Webroot, Mozy, Palo Alto Software, Red Robot, Glitch from Tiny Speck and others. Through the end of 2005, Heather represented software and hardware products at Sony Computer Entertainment America and served as broadcast spokesperson for the global announcement of PlayStation 3. She launched more than two-dozen games including the SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs franchise, The Getaway: Black Monday, EyeToy: AntiGrav, the first and only EyeToy-controlled 3D character based game, providing a level of physical immersion unprecedented in video games. She also worked on Rise to Honor starring Jet Li, Amplitude from Harmonix and managed the reviews program for the entertainment device, PlayStation Portable (PSP).

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Heather Staker

Sr Research Fellow, Education, Innosight Institute

Heather Staker is a Senior Research Fellow for the Education Practice at Innosight Institute, a nonprofit think tank devoted to applying the theories of disruptive innovation to problems in the social sector. She is the author of numerous publications, including “The rise of K-12 blended learning: Profiles of emerging models,” which Innosight Institute published May 2011. Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning listed it as one of the 11 most valuable reports for online learning policymakers and practitioners in 2011. Staker is a frequent keynote speaker and panelist at education innovation conferences throughout the country and testifies regularly before state policymakers, including in Arizona, California, Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania. Scholastic’s blog named her one of 5 people to watch in education in 2012. Prior to joining Innosight Institute, Staker served under Governor Pete Wilson’s administration as a member of the California State Board of Education. She was also a strategy consultant for McKinsey & Company, a sales manager for Procter & Gamble, and the co-founder and CFO of Karaeiga, LLC, now Yoostar Entertainment. Staker graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College, with a concentration in Government. She received an MBA, with distinction, from Harvard Business School. She is the mother of four elementary school students.