2018 Speakers

  • Meija Jacobs

    Design is Meija’s not-so-secret weapon for creating a better food future. With a background in psychology and advertising, Meija has over two decades of experience helping Fortune 500 companies, start-ups and non-profits design innovative and lasting brands, products and experiences. Her work ranges from designing beverage product platforms that inspire healthy behavior change to building branded experiences and loyalty programs for hotel brands.

    As a leader of IDEO’s Design for Food studio, Meija collaborates with companies, food innovators and restaurateurs to design a positive and sustainable future for food and beverage. Meija also serves on the board of Eat REAL, a non-profit creating transparency into the nutrition and sustainability of foodservice operators.

  • Janet Echelman

    Janet Echelman is an artist who defies categorization. Her work intersects across the boundaries of Sculpture, Architecture, Urban Design and Planning, Material Science, Structural and Aeronautical Engineering, and Computer Science. She creates experiential sculpture at the scale of buildings that transform with wind and light. The art shifts from being an object to look at, to a living environment you can get lost in. ​Using unlikely materials from fishnet to atomized water particles, ​Echelman combines ancient craft with computational design software to create art​works that ​have ​become focal points for urban life on four continents.


    Recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, Harvard Loeb Fellowship, Aspen Institute Henry Crown Fellowship, and Fulbright Lectureship, Echelman was named an Architectural Digest Innovator for “changing the very essence of urban spaces.” Her TED talk “Taking Imagination Seriously” has been translated into 34 languages with more than one million views. Oprah ranked Echelman’s work #1 on her List of 50 Things That Make You Say Wow!, and she recently received the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award in Visual Arts, honoring “the greatest innovators in America today.”


    Echelman’s educational path has been nonlinear. After graduating from Harvard College, she lived in a Balinese village for 5 years, then completed separate graduate programs in Painting and in Psychology. This year she received an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Tufts University.


    Recent permanent commissions works include: 1.8 Renwick at the Smithsonian American Art Museum; Impatient Optimist, a new ionic piece for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation campus in Seattle giving visual from to their mission; Water Sky Garden, a legacy project of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics; Her Secret is Patience for downtown Phoenix; and Every Beating Second for San Francisco International Airport.

  • Tiffany Shlain

    Honored by Newsweek as one of the “Women Shaping the 21st Century,” Tiffany Shlain is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker, author, founder of The Webby Awards, and co-founder of two global initiatives, Character Day and 50/50 Day—unified days of film and discussion about important issues shaping our lives that unite over 100,000 live events.  Character Day explores the science of character and 50/50 Day focuses on gender equity. Selected by the Albert Einstein Foundation as a contributor to Genius: 100 Visions of the Future, Tiffany’s films and work have received over 80 awards and distinctions including premieres at the Sundance Film Festival and being selected by The U.S. State Department to use her films to represent America around the world.  She serves on the Leadership Board of The Center on Media and Child Health at Harvard’s Boston Children’s Hospital, and she is a Henry Crown Fellow of The Aspen Institute.

  • Brett Hagler

    Brett Hagler is CEO and co-founder of New Story, Y Combinator alum, Co-Creator of the Vulcan 3D Home Printer, author, cancer survivor, and a 2016 Forbes 30 Under 30 Entrepreneur. Under his leadership, New Story was recognized as one of Fast Company‘s 2017 “Most Innovative Companies In The World.”