All times Eastern

We hope you'll join us for this inspiring and insightful lineup of speakers. More speakers will be announced soon!

2021 General Sessions

Tristan  Harris

Tristan Harris

Wednesday, February 24, 5-6 PM
Hard Questions: Solving the Social Dilemma with Our Youth
Called the “closest thing Silicon Valley has to a conscience” by The Atlantic, Tristan Harris spent three years as a Google design ethicist developing a framework for how technology should ethically steer the thoughts and actions of billions of people from screens. He is now co-founder and president of the Center for Humane Technology, whose mission is to reverse “human downgrading” and re-align technology with humanity. Additionally, he is co-host of the Center for Humane Technology's Your Undivided Attention podcast with co-founder Aza Raskin.

Rolling Stone named Harris one of “25 People Shaping the World”, and he was named in Fortune’s 40 under 40 of 2018 for his work on reforming technology. In 2016, he left Google to work on reforming the attention economy with the nonprofit initiative Time Well Spent, which called out the industry’s “race to the bottom of the brain stem” to capture attention and proposed design solutions. In January 2018, Mark Zuckerberg embraced “time well spent” as a design goal for Facebook, and in May 2018, Apple and Google each launched digital well-being initiatives and screen time features now shipping on iOS and Android phones.

Harris has spent more than a decade studying the influences that hijack human thinking and action. From his childhood as a magician to his work in the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab where he studied persuasive technology, he became concerned about the need for ethical and humane technology.

His work on the attention economy started in 2013, when he created a slide deck within Google that went viral, warning about the technology industry's arms race to capture human attention and the moral responsibility companies have for the ways they restructure society.

Harris’s work has been featured on TED, The Atlantic, 60 Minutes, The New York Times, The Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, and many more. He has briefed heads of state, technology company CEOs, and members of Congress about the attention economy. 
Before Google, Harris was co-founder and CEO of Apture, which Google acquired in 2011. Apture enabled millions of users to get instant, on-the-fly explanations across a vast publisher network. Harris holds several patents from his work at Apple, Wikia, Apture, and Google. He graduated from Stanford University with a degree in computer science, focused on human computer interaction, while dabbling in behavioral economics, social psychology, behavior change, and habit formation in professor BJ Fogg’s Stanford Persuasive Technology lab.

Sponsored by ATOMS Placement Services 

Heidi Grant

Heidi Grant

Thursday, February 25, 12:00-1:00 PM ET
Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity (VUCA): Building Trust and Getting Support
Heidi Grant is a social psychologist who researches, writes, and speaks about the science of motivation. She is the director of research and development for learning, EY Americas, and associate director of the Motivation Science Center at Columbia University. She is also the author of the bestselling books Reinforcements: How to Get People to Help You, No One Understands You and What To Do About It, Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals, Nine Things Successful People Do Differently, Focus: Use Different Ways of Seeing The World for Success and Influence (co-written with E. Tory Higgins), and The 8 Motivational Challenges. Grant has worked with and delivered keynotes for Microsoft, HP, IBM, Kaiser Permanente, Medtronic, CVS, Adobe, Blackrock, and more. Her TED talk from June 2019 on getting the support you need has more than 2 million views.
Grant is also a contributor to the Harvard Business Review, 99u, Fast Company, WSJ.com, Forbes, The Huffington Post, and Psychology Today. She has appeared on national television more than a dozen times, including frequent appearances on CBS This Morning.
In addition to her work as author and co-editor of the highly regarded academic book The Psychology of Goals, she has authored papers in her field’s most prestigious journals, including the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, European Journal of Social Psychology, and Judgment and Decision Making. She has received numerous grants from the National Science Foundation for her research on goals and achievement.
Grant is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, and the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, and was recently elected to the highly selective Society for Experimental Social Psychology. She received her Ph.D. in social psychology from Columbia University, working with Carol Dweck (author of Mindset).

Sponsored by A.W.G. Dewar
Suneel Gupta

Suneel Gupta

Thursday, February 25, 4:30–5:30 PM ET
Backable: How to Convince People to Take a Chance on You and Your Idea
Suneel Gupta is an expert at accelerating growth and innovation. In less than two years, he helped grow Groupon from a tiny startup into a multibillion-dollar company. Since then, he founded and serves as the CEO of RISE, which is tackling the obesity epidemic through personalized mobile technology. His company has raised funding from Greylock Partners and Google.

Gupta is an expert on lean product development, and he was handpicked by entrepreneur Eric Ries to be the closing keynote speaker at the Lean Startup conference in 2011. He has been heralded as one of the most inspiring product speakers in the country by leaders at Deloitte and Walgreens. He has guest-lectured and worked with universities around the world, including Stanford, Harvard, and Yale.

Also a lawyer and filmmaker, Gupta started his career working as a White House speechwriter. In the media world, he blogged for MTV and produced with his brother, Dr. Sanjay Gupta (CNN), The Kahani Movement, an interactive film project about the first generation of Indian-Americans that debuted at SXSW. He also worked for the president of Sony Pictures Television when the studio was investing in new creative concepts like Breaking Bad.

Gupta has always moved quickly. In less than six years, he earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan, an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and a J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law.
Jason Reynolds

Jason Reynolds

Friday, February 26, 12-1 PM ET
Jason Reynolds is a New York Times bestselling author who writes novels and poetry for young adult and middle-grade audiences. His most recent book, Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks, was a National Book Award finalist and was named one of the best books of 2019 by NPR, The New York Times, School Library Journal, and more. Look Both Ways is composed of interconnected stories, each centering on a different student from the same school, and tells what happens after the dismissal bell rings, brilliantly reminding readers to look at our surroundings more closely and notice all the things that connect us to our communities.
Born in Washington, DC, and raised in Maryland, Reynolds first found inspiration in rap and began writing poetry when he was nine years old. He went on to publish several poetry collections before publishing his first novel, When I Was the Greatest, which won the Corretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent. He has since written numerous award-winning novels, including All American Boys, the Track series, Patina, Sunny, For Everyone, Miles Morales-Spiderman, and As Brave As You, which won the Kirkus Prize, an NAACP Image Award, and the Schneider Family Book Award. He is also the author of Long Way Down, a novel in verse that was named a Newberry Honor book, a Printz Honor Book, and best young adult work by the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Awards.
Reynolds’ book, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, written in collaboration with author and historian Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, is a gripping, fast-paced, and energizing narrative that illuminates the many insidious forms of racist ideas and give readers the tools to identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their own lives. Based on Kendi’s National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning, Reynolds has reimagined this groundbreaking work for young adults and provides an accessible book that helps young readers understand race and society.

Photo by James J. Reddington
Nikole Hannah-Jones

Nikole Hannah-Jones

Friday, February 26, 4:30-5:30 PM ET
Nikole Hannah-Jones is a MacArthur Genius for “reshaping national conversations around education reform.” This is but one honor in a growing list: She is the creator of The New York Times Magazine’s “The 1619 Project,” about the history and lasting legacy of American slavery, for which her powerful introductory essay was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for commentary. She's also won a Peabody, two George Polk awards, and the National Magazine Awards three times.
Hannah-Jones covers racial injustice for The New York Times Magazine, and has spent years chronicling the way official policy has created—and maintains—racial segregation in housing and schools. Her deeply personal reports on the Black experience in America offer a compelling case for greater equity. Hannah-Jones is the creator and lead writer of The New York Times’ major multimedia initiative “The 1619 Project.” Named for the year the first enslaved Africans arrived in America, the project features an ongoing series of essays and art on the relationship between slavery and everything from social infrastructure and segregation to music and sugar—all by Black American authors, activists, journalists, and more. Hannah-Jones wrote the project’s introductory essay, “Our Democracy’s Founding Ideals Were False When They Were Written. Black Americans Have Fought to Make Them True.” Random House has also announced it will be adapting the project into a graphic novel and four publications for young readers, while also releasing an extended version of the original publication, including more essays, fiction, and poetry.
Hannah-Jones has written extensively on the history of racism, school resegregation, and the disarray of hundreds of desegregation orders, as well as the decades-long failure of the federal government to enforce the landmark 1968 Fair Housing Act. She is currently writing a book on school segregation called The Problem We All Live With, to be published on the One World imprint of Penguin/Random House. Her piece “Worlds Apart” in The New York Times Magazine won the National Magazine Award for “journalism that illuminates issues of national importance” as well as the Hillman Prize for Magazine Journalism. In 2016, she was awarded a Peabody Award and George Polk Award for radio reporting for her This American Life story “The Problem We All Live With.” She was named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists, and was also named to 2019’s The Root 100 as well as Essence’s Woke 100. Her reporting has also won Deadline Club Awards, Online Journalism Awards, the Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service, the Fred M. Hechinger Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting, and the Emerson College President’s Award for Civic Leadership. In February 2020, she was profiled by Essence as part of its Black History Month series, celebrating “the accomplishments made by those in the past, as well as those paving the way for the future.”
Hannah-Jones co-founded the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting with the goal of increasing the number of reporters and editors of color. She holds a master of arts in mass communication from the University of North Carolina and earned her BA in history and African-American studies from the University of Notre Dame.

2021 Featured Workshops

Emily Oster

Emily Oster

Friday, February 26, 1:15–2:00 PM ET
Decisions and Data in the Time of COVID-19
The pandemic has presented everyone—especially families—with decisions they never expected to have to make, including whether to see grandparents, attend in-person school and other activities, shift work schedules, and more.  The key to making the best decisions with the information available  is to understand the facts and data, and to have a process that helps make the right choices. We'll talk through a decision-making approach to choices that have to be made during the pandemic, and then talk in particular about data on in-person schooling and how it has evolved over the fall and winter.
Emily Oster is a professor of economics at Brown University.  She holds a doctorate in economics from Harvard University. 

Oster’s academic work focuses on health economics, development economics, and statistical methods. In addition to her academic work, Oster has written two bestselling books on data-driven parenting, Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong and What You Really Need to Know and Cribsheet: A Data-Driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting, from Birth to Preschool. Oster’s work has been featured in The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, CNBC, NPR, Slate, and more. Oster is currently working on the national COVID-19 School Response Dashboard, which she developed with Qualtrics.

Photo by Dana Smith