Elevating Impact Speakers 2019

Meet a selection of Elevating Impact Summit speakers

Dr. Almodovar, who hails from the town of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, is a Neurosurgeon, Inventor and entrepreneur. He splits his time between his practice in neurosurgical oncology and R&D for ErgoSuture, a multifunctional suturing platform for open, minimally invasive & robot-assisted surgeries. Dr. Almodovar’s creativity, passion and resilience has led to an expansive patent portfolio. He is an AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassador, helping to showcase the human face of inventors in order to inspire, inform and influence thought leaders and global community.

Gwen Conner is an explorer, a coach, and a smart risk-taker, that guides clinical teams as they discover new paths to improve health and the human life experience. Over 25+ years at Providence Health & Services in Oregon, Gwen has facilitated development of an individual health insurance product, established new joint venture partnerships, and manages a multi-million dollar innovation fund. Gwen’s nationally recognized work as director of Providence’s first business accelerator, was profiled at the 2016 Mayo Clinic Transform Conference.

As Executive Director of The Lemelson Foundation, Dr. Carol Dahl inspires and enables the next generation of inventors and invention-based enterprises. The Foundation promotes economic growth and addresses critical challenges in the U.S. and in developing countries by focusing on Impact Inventing, and creation of products and businesses that are financially self-sustaining. Previously, Dahl worked for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the University of Pittsburgh. She received a bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa and master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Wisconsin.


Keynote speaker Fagan Harris

Fagan Harris is spreading a model for cities to recruit and support social innovation leaders, growing the pipeline of leaders reflective of the communities they work in, and transforming inequitable systems within the city. A lifelong changemaker, Harris staffed the White House Council for Community Solutions, served as a Director at The Aspen Institute, and has been recognized by Chronicle of Philanthropy, Forbes, Ashoka, Echoing Green, and others as a leading social entrepreneur.

Chairman, President and co-founder of 4YouandMe, Dr. Friend is a visiting Professor of Connected Medicine at Oxford University and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sage Bionetworks where he was co-founder and President. He previously has held positions at Apple Inc., was Senior Vice President at Merck, and Co Inc., founded and led Rosetta Inpharmatics, and was an Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School.

He explores fundamental issues around how to make individual symptom predictions and how to return agency to individuals so they might navigate their own paths between health and disease.  

Angela Jackson is co-founder and managing director of the Portland Seed Fund and oversees the award-winning Portland State University Business Accelerator. Earlier, Ms. Jackson was a founding investor in Oregon Angel Fund, President of the Portland chapter of Keiretsu Forum, a Principal at Emergent Fund, and served as Chair of Angel Oregon, a premier angel investment competition. She was named a 2018 Tech Champion of the Year by Technology Association of Oregon and a Woman of Influence in 2015 by Portland Business Journal.

Violinist-looper and vocalist Joe Kye uses digital effects and looping to weave diverse textures, catchy melodies, and rich, sweet vocals. Born in Korea and raised in Seattle, Joe Kye draws upon his migrant upbringing as he blends indie-rock, jazz, classical, pop, and world folk. He creates a unique sound that has the power to bring an audience together and empower listeners: “A single violinist...one mesmerizing symphony” (Sacramento Bee).

Daniela Papi-Thornton rethinks the role of entrepreneurs in pattern-shifting social innovation. She addresses “heropreneurship,” and presents a systems-oriented framework to teach, fund, and incentivize social entrepreneurs. Throughout her work at Oxford, Yale, Watson Institute, and more, Daniela compiles tools and articulates perspectives that will help educators, parents, artists, policy leaders, and budding change makers reposition themselves to help better equip the social change leaders of the future.

Corey is a strategist, anthropologist, and imagination professional. As Principal at Intangible, he works with clients large and small to help them envision and enact human-centered innovation and nurture a vital organizational culture. Corey is also a fellow of Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination, where he runs innovation workshops and develops and teaches courses on prototyping and ideation.

Abigail Sarmac has twenty years of experience in philanthropy and sustainable development in developing countries. As a philanthropic advisor, Abigail helps develop and implement grantmaking strategies to catalyze local social innovation ecosystems and triple-bottom line companies in emerging economies. Prior, Abby worked with The Lemelson Foundation, and established and cultivated global multi-stakeholder networks to open up dialogue between civil society and multilateral agencies, such as the United Nations, to positively influence global policy for sustainable development and the conservation of nature.

Vivek Shandas is a Professor of Urban Studies and Planning and the Research Director for the Institute for Sustainable Solutions at Portland State University. Dr.Shandas' research aims to address policy relevant questions by examining the feedbacks among urban form, governance systems, and human health and well being. A specific focus is on the capacity of cities and their institutions -- including the social, infrastructure, and ecological systems -- to adapt to the acute pressures of climate change. Dr.Shandas serves as Chair of the City of Portland's Urban Forestry Commission, and is a Principal at CAPA Strategies, LLC, a global consulting group that helps communities prepare for climate-induced disruptions.

Jodi Stonehouse is a producer, director, broadcaster, organizer, and reconciliation advisor. She is of Cree and Mohawk descent from the Michel First Nation, and through her work with the University of Alberta, ACIMOWIN, and more, Jodi celebrates Aboriginal people and their success stories, as well as their trials and tribulations, to demonstrate the complexity of indigeneity and the 21st Century.