Keynote Speaker: Rahaf Harfoush
Rahaf Harfoush is a Digital Innovation & Foresight Strategist who has a deep passion for exploring how technology affects the way we communicate, work, and play. She is co-founder of Red Thread Inc, a consulting agency that provides clients with out-of-the-box thinking to tackle strategic challenges. Formerly, she was the Associate Director of the Technology Pioneer Programme at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, where she researched and identified start-ups using technology to improve the state of the world. She was responsible for managing the Web & IT category of the programme and integrating the companies in her portfolio into the Forum’s global network, various initiatives, and regional events such as the Annual Davos Meeting in Switzerland and the Annual Meeting of New Champions in China.
Harfoush is a Global Ambassador for the Sandbox Network, a community of exceptional entrepreneurs under the age of 30. She is on the Board of Directors of Taking IT Global, a non- profit that enables the world’s largest community of youth to create positive changes in their cities. She is also on the Advisory Board of OneLeap.to, a site that helps connect young people to business leaders.
In August 2008, she joined Barack Obama’s New Media Team at the Chicago headquarters as a full-time volunteer during the Presidential election campaign. In 2009, she published a book about her experiences titled Yes We Did! An Insider’s Look at How Social Media Built the Obama Brand. She is also the co-author of New York Times bestseller The Decoded Company: Know Your Talent Better Than You Know Your Customers, which explores how big data can increase employee success and satisfaction, and encourage corporate growth. She is currently working on her third book, entitled ArchiTechs: How to Live, Work & Govern in a HyperConnected World.
Moderator: Dr. Seema Yasmin
Dr. Seema Yasmin is a medical doctor, epidemiologist and journalist. She is a staff writer at The Dallas Morning News, a professor of public health at The University of Texas at Dallas and a CNN medical analyst. Yasmin served as a disease detective in the Epidemic Intelligence Service at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She investigated epidemics in maximum-security prisons, American Indian reservations and healthcare facilities. Yasmin trained in medicine at the University of Cambridge in England and in journalism at the University of Toronto.
Dual Keynote: Gabriella Draney Zielke
Gabriella Draney Zielke is Co-founder and CEO of Tech Wildcatters, a Top 10 seed accelerator for technology startups. She recently co-founded and is also a Partner in Health Wildcatters, a healthcare based seed accelerator. Also a part of the Wildcatters family is the international startup exchange GlobeStart. Prior to TW she was with HP Growth Partners, an early stage venture fund in Dallas, where she served on the Board of CelAccess. She co-founded an aircraft scheduling software company in 1998 that ended in a profitable exit. She went on to work for Morgan Stanley in private wealth management. True to her entrepreneurial roots, she left to follow her passion for nutrition by opening a specialty foods retail store, and simultaneously spent three years consulting with numerous Dallas-based startups on strategic planning, finance and fund raising. Gabriella received her MBA in Strategy & Entrepreneurship from Southern Methodist University as a Cox Distinguished Merit Scholar, during which she interned for Silver Creek Ventures. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of North Texas with a BBA in Finance.
Panelist: Chad Houser
Chad Houser often describes Café Momentum as “taking kids out of jail and teaching them to play with knives and fire.” But levity aside, it’s this charisma and passion to teach life, social and employment skills to Dallas’ most at-risk youth that makes Houser a hit with everyone from philanthropists and dinner-goers to the young men participating in the program. After 17 years as a chef, Chad sold his partnership of Parigi Restaurant to devote his full attention to the role of Executive Director of Café Momentum in 2012. In the community, Chad has previously served as President of the board of directors for Dallas Farmers Market Friends and is the current Vice Chair of the El Centro Exes Association (Houser received his culinary training at El Centro). Chad has received multiple nominations from D Magazine for “Best Up-And-Coming Chef” (2010) and “Best Chef” (2011 and 2012). In 2011, he received the Edible Dallas/Fort Worth “Local Hero – Chef” award. Most recently, Chad has been named to the “Top 50 Under 40” by the Social Enterprise Alliance, an “Urban Innovator to Watch” by the New Cities Foundation, as one of “30 Most Interesting People in the Metro Area” by the Dallas Observer, and one of Good Magazine’s “Good 100,” individuals at the cutting edge of creative impact across the globe.
Panelist: Trey Bowles
Trey Bowles is a serial entrepreneur, social capitalist, and educator. Trey co-founded the Dallas Entrepreneur Center (DEC), a central location for entrepreneurs to learn how to start, build and grow businesses through training, education, mentorship, promotion, and capital investment. As Co-Founder and CEO, Trey leads strategy, vision, and drives the overall planning and development efforts for the DEC. Trey oversees the day-to-day operations of the DEC, including management of all areas of the business. Trey also works closely with the DEC staff to engage executives, mentors and other valuable experts within the Dallas community and across the country to maintain a strong and robust resource offering for DEC startups/members).
In addition to his work with the DEC, Trey works closely with the Startup America Partnership, a non-profit organization started by Steve Case and the Kauffman Foundation, leading a team of entrepreneurial experts across the state to help high growth startups find greater success through Startup Texas. Trey also helped launch the Arts Entrepreneurship Department in the Meadows School of Arts at Southern Methodist University and currently serves as an Adjunct Professor on staff teaching Social Entrepreneurship and an Accelerate Your Startup Class where each team is given actual investment to help make their business viable. Bowles also co-founded the Mayor’s Star Council with Mayor Mike Rawlings of Dallas to find a culturally diverse and civically minded group of emerging leaders who want to embrace and engage the City of Dallas as opposed to inheriting the city in 20 years. Trey was also recently recognized as one of the “Top 40 Under 40 Business Professionals” in Dallas according to the Dallas Business Journal.
Trey has spent his career starting and building companies in both the for-profit and non-profit space with an expertise in strategy, operations, and marketing. Bowles has held key leadership roles in the industries of music, entertainment, and disruptive technology including running the popular peer-to-peer file-sharing site, Morpheus. He most recently led the turn around and sale of Big Jump Media Inc. to Salem Communications (NASDAQ: SALM) in 2010.
Trey lives in Dallas with his wife and two children and is committed to helping build a collaborative ecosystem at the intersection of technology, entrepreneurship and education within the DFW Metroplex.