Keynote Speakers

Oscar Salazar Gaitan

Entrepreneur, Investor and Founding Chief Technology Officer, Uber

Oscar Salazar Gaitan is a seasoned entrepreneur, senior executive and investor in numerous successful technology firms. Oscar was one of the early architects and the founding CTO of Uber. Through Uber, he was instrumental in helping to redesign the architecture of on-demand transportation worldwide. Oscar provides his telecommunications and engineering expertise in the design and architecture of innovative products and systems to make positive impact in people’s lives. As founder and CEO of Citivox (2010-2013), Oscar helped create technology to enable non-governmental organizations and individuals to monitor and report electoral fraud, crime and infrastructure problems that needed attention in Mexico. In 2013, Oscar co-founded Pager Inc., a telemedicine company that connects patients with high quality care providers through innovative technology applications. Oscar has recently launched Ogon LLC, an advisory company through which he provides strategic, technical and marketing advice to entities such as Rubicon Global Inc., ALEX AND ANI, Sontra Cargo and many others, both in the U.S. and internationally. Oscar sits on the board of many companies and NGOs. He is greatly committed to support philanthropic endeavors on education, fight against extreme poverty and gender equality throughout the world. Oscar holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Telematics  from the University of Colima, Mexico, a Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering  from the University of Calgary, Canada, and a Ph.D. in Telecommunications  from Paristech, France.

Rana el Kaliouby

Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Affectiva

Rana el Kaliouby, Ph.D. is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Affectiva, the pioneer in emotion artificial intelligence, the next frontier of artificial intelligence. She led the development of the company’s award-winning, emotion recognition technology. This is built on a science platform that uses deep learning and the world’s largest emotion data repository of 5.2 million faces analyzed from 75 countries, amounting to more than 50 billion emotion data points. Prior to founding Affectiva, as a research scientist at MIT Media Lab, Rana spearheaded the applications of emotion technology in a variety of fields, including mental health and autism research. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including The New Yorker, Wired, Forbes, Fast Company, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, CNN, CBS, TIME Magazine, Fortune and Reddit. A TED speaker, she was recognized by Entrepreneur as one of the “7 Most Powerful Women To Watch In 2014,” inducted into the “Women in Engineering” Hall of Fame, a recipient of the 2012 Technology Review’s “Top 35 Innovators Under 35” Award, listed on Ad Age’s “40 under 40” and recipient of Smithsonian magazine’s 2015 American Ingenuity Award for Technology. Rana is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree and Master of Science in Computer Science from the American University in Cairo and a Ph.D. from the Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge.

Alexis Ohanian

Entrepreneur, Investor and Co-founder, Reddit

Alexis Ohanian is an entrepreneur and investor in Brooklyn, New York, best known as the co-founder of Reddit, a platform for online communities to share links and have discussions. While he learned his earliest lessons in leadership and web design from his high school Quake 2 clan and Everquest guild, Alexis continued his official studies at the University of Virginia, where he met his future co-founder Steve Huffman during freshman year.

Alexis and Steve’s original plan was to build an infrastructure that would allow people to order food from their cell phones. Though the idea was rejected, Alexis and Steve were invited to join the first class of Y Combinator, on the condition that they’d come up with a new concept. The next idea they pitched to Graham would become Sixteen months after he graduated, Reddit was acquired by Condé Nast. Alexis continued to manage product and business at Reddit until leaving in 2010 to volunteer in Armenia for He returned to Reddit in 2014 as Executive Chair and, in 2015, moved to San Francisco to work at Reddit full time alongside co-founder Steve Huffman. Since their return, Reddit’s numbers continue to rise. With over 200 million unique visitors a month, it is one the 10 biggest U.S. websites.

In early November 2011, Alexis joined the fight against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), becoming one of the public faces for the movement, which ultimately thwarted both bills in a display of citizen power never seen before by lawmakers. He continues to fight for internet freedom working on projects like the Declaration of Internet Freedom, Internet Defense League, and the Internet 2012 Campaign Bus Tour.

He uses his experiences to mentor and advise the young startups in his portfolio and recent YC graduates. Today he’s a part-partner at Y Combinator and is back at Reddit as Executive Chair. He’s a regular contributor on Bloomberg TV and is especially proud of his bucket-list achievement—appearing on The Colbert Report. Alexis has spoken at universities including MIT, Yale, Carnegie Mellon, Penn, NYU, Columbia, UCLA, the University of Michigan, the University of Edinburgh and the University of Virginia, to name a few. He has lectured at conferences like TED, the Clinton Global Initiative, SXSW and ROFLCON, has spoken to companies such as Google, BBDO, and Betaworks, and has been hired for talks at Johnson & Johnson, Hyatt, Kraft, and Palantir.


World-Renowned, Award-Winning Photographer, The New Yorker and Master Storyteller

After working for British Vogue for several years, Platon was invited to NYC to work for the late John Kennedy Jr. and his political magazine, George. Shooting portraits for a range of international publications including Rolling Stone, The New York Times magazine, Vanity Fair, Esquire, GQ and The Sunday Times magazine, Platon developed a special relationship with TIME magazine, producing over 25 covers. In 2007, he photographed Russian Premier Vladimir Putin for TIME magazine's “Person of the Year” cover. This image was awarded first prize at the World Press Photo Contest. In 2008, he signed a multi-year contract with The New Yorker. As the staff photographer, he has produced a series of large-scale photo essays, two of which won ASME Awards in 2009 and 2010. Platon’s New Yorker portfolios have focused on many themes, including the U.S. military, portraits of world leaders and the civil rights movement. The following year, Platon teamed up with the Human Rights Watch to help it celebrate those who fight for equality and justice in countries suppressed by political forces. These projects have highlighted human rights defenders from Burma as well as the leaders of the Egyptian revolution. Following his coverage of Burma, Platon photographed Aung San Suu Kyi for the cover of TIME—days after her release from house arrest. In 2011, Platon was honored with a “Peabody Award” for collaboration on the topic of Russia’s Civil Society with The New Yorker magazine and Human Rights Watch. The publication of Platon’s first monograph Platon's Republic coincided with international exhibitions in London at the ex-Saatchi Gallery as well as the Milk Gallery in New York. His second book, “Power”—a collection of portraits of over 100 world leaders—was published in 2011 by Chronicle and includes portraits of Barack Obama, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, Hugo Chavez, Tony Blair, Robert Mugabe and Muammar Qaddafi. His most recent book, “Service,” focuses on the effects of war on soldiers and their families. Public speaking now plays a major role in Platon’s career as communicator and storyteller and is represented by the Washington Speakers Bureau. He has been invited to be a keynote speaker on leadership at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Chanel, Nike, Yale University, Oxford University, Wharton University, the National Portrait Gallery in London and International Center of Photography in NY. He has also appeared on a range of television media including Charlie Rose (PBS), Morning Joe (MSNBC), Fareed Zakaria’s GPS (CNN) and the BBC World News. Platon’s work has been exhibited in galleries and museums both domestically and abroad. He has exhibited in New York at the Matthew Marks Gallery and the Howard Greenberg Gallery, as well as internationally at the Colette Gallery in Paris, France. The New York Historical Society has exhibited a solo show of Platon’s civil rights photographs, which remain as part of the museum’s permanent collection. Other permanent collections holding Platon’s photography include The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts in Tampa, Florida, The Westlicht Museum for Photography in Vienna, Austria, and the Scotland National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh. Platon is a member of the Global Leadership Council for the World Economic Forum.

Serena Williams

Tennis Champion and Entrepreneur

Serena Williams exemplifies courage, beauty, power and style. Currently ranked no. 1 in the world, Serena has overcome insurmountable odds to win 23 career Grand Slams. Her remarkable tennis achievements, combined with her off-court success in film, television, fashion and philanthropy, make her one of the most recognizable global icons in the world. Serena has won the most Grand Slam singles titles in history, with her most recent win at the 2017 Australian Open. In 2015, Serena achieved the “Serena Slam” by winning four grand slams—Wimbledon, French Open, Australian Open, 2014 US Open —and was honored by Sports Illustrated as their “Sportsperson of the Year.” Named a “Fashion Trendsetter” by Vogue, Serena used her passion to create her HSN Signature Statement collection and in 2016 alone, Serena was featured on the covers of Self, Glamour, WSJ Magazine and Fader. Serena, a dedicated philanthropist, continues to work with the Serena Williams Fund, Williams Sister Fund, UNICEF and Helping Hands Jamaica Foundation.