SHE TECH MIAMI 2016 SPEAKERS
Dr. Alicia Abella
AVP, Cloud Technologies and Services Research Organization - With 20 years of research experience, Dr. Abella has held positions that allow her to demonstrate her skills in a broad research spectrum which have unfolded into her organization’s current responsibilities which include research in cloud computing, software-defined storage, human-computer interaction, mobile services, and Internet of Things.
In 2013, Dr. Abella received Columbia University’s Medal of Excellence, an award given each year to an alumnus or alumna, under 45 years of age, whose record in scholarship, public service, or professional life is outstanding. This is the first time since 1929 --when the award was first given-- that Columbia has awarded the medal to an engineer. In 2011, she was selected by President Obama to be on his Presidential Advisory Commission for Educational Excellence for Hispanics. Also in 2011, she was inducted into the prestigious WITI (Women in Technology International) Hall of Fame.
Felecia Hatcher is a White House Award winning entrepreneur, badass business rainmaker, bestselling author, globally sought-after speaker, media darling, mother, and Founder of Code Fever and BlackTechWeek. Breathe. She is also the rather awesome former Chief Popsicle at Feverish Pops, a gourmet ice pop boutique and manufacturing brand with a Fortune 500 client roster that would make your head spin.
For the past decade, Felecia has dedicated her life to inspiring a new generation of leaders, through her conversational talks on Entrepreneurship, Tech Innovation, Funding and Personal Branding. As the founder of Code Fever and Black Tech Week, Felecia Hatcher is on a mission to rid our communities of innovation deserts by working with community leaders and government to create inclusive and diverse startup ecosystems. Felecia has spearheaded the inclusive innovaton and startup movement within the Miami Startup ecosystem focused on getting marginalized groups to become major players in the innovation economy.
Marielle Pellegrino graduated with high honors in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Florida in 2015. She is currently in her first year of her doctorate program at the University of Colorado at Boulder where she studies Aerospace Engineering, specifically focused in Astrodynamics. Her research is in understanding how orbital debris (or space junk) moves in order to better track it or actually move the debris itself.
When Marielle isn’t studying how orbital debris moves, she spends her time spreading her love of science through her blog Miss Aerospace. Through her blog she shares recent news and events in space science. Her posts range from giving an intimate look at NASA through special events she has attended like State of NASA to a question and answer forum where all ages and all types of backgrounds can get quick and easy answers to their curiosities about space.
Erin is a 5th year mechanical engineering major at the University of Florida and the CEO and founder of Sci Chic. Sci Chic uses technologies like plastic and metal 3D printing to make science and engineering inspired jewelry. Erin's goal is to use technology to spark conversations and interest in the STEAM fields and show how creative they can be. Erin has interned in industry at John Deere, Solar Turbines, Keysight Technologies and Bracken Engineering working everywhere from the manufacturing floor to in the field with farmers.
In her free time she is involved with the Society of Women Engineers, loves sewing, making things and exploring the outdoors.
Ariel’s career began at just eight years old, when she enrolled in DesignLab Miami to learn the skills and techniques necessary to become an aspiring fashion designer. She had the chance to meet Stella McCartney during an event in her grandfather’s home for Art Basel 2012. Her passion soon became a business as she launched her namesake fashion brand, Swedroe by Ariel. Over the course of five years, she has showcased her technology-inspired designs at E-Merge Americas as one of their Six Designers of Innovative Fashion. Aimed at empowering children and young girls to explore their talent, Ariel has been an invited speaker at CODella and has given a one-day sewing workshop at her studio for the Pearl Girlz. Ariel’s confidence and larger-than-life attitude have assisted her in pursuing her passion for fashion as she launches her Resort Wear Collection.
Joyce L. Davis, M.A. has been a dedicated teacher and mentor for more than 15 years having taught in middle schools in both Maryland and Florida. She has served on several boards of education at the secondary and tertiary levels and has participated in numerous advocacy programs that promote excellence and self-development among adolescents.
As the Founder and Executive Director of Pearl Girlz, LLC, Joyce has a clearly defined mission to "Celebrate the Unique Pearl in Every Girl" by providing female bullying prevention workshops and health self-esteem building seminars in her 10-week Pearl Girlz Education & Empowerment Program located in North Miami Beach. The curriculum is designed to educate and empower elementary, middle and high school girls with the necessary tools to be successful in life, to appreciate their total beauty and to be proud of their own unique identity.
Joyce is originally from Maryland where she attended the University of Maryland at College Park and earned her bachelor's honors degree. She also studied at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland where she received her master's degree in Leadership and Teaching with a concentration in English. Demonstrating excellence and dedication within her profession, Joyce has been recognized as National Speaker for the past three years at the National Girl Bullying and School Discipline Conference held in Las Vegas, Chicago and Atlanta. Ms. Davis currently serves as the Vice President of the Ancient Spanish Monastery Foundation and on the Board of Directors for the Greater North Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce.
Cristy is a National Board Certified Teacher of Computer Science, with over 14 years of experience teaching computer science at the high school level and over 5 years of experience teaching at Florida International University (FIU). Cristy graduated with a computer science degree from FIU and worked as a computer programmer/analyst for Florida Power and Light Company for 15 years.
Cristy has a 19 year old son who is studying Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Florida. Cristy likes to travel, garden and enjoy time with friends. It is her goal to help promote computer science to the elementary school age children of Miami, Florida, until it becomes part of their core curriculum!
Isabelle Wheeler, CFA, founder of Wheeler Consulting, LLC, and partner in Confidas Group LLC, has been a leader in International Private Banking for more than 30 years. She has been involved in every aspect of wealth management at some of the most well-known financial institutions, primarily in the areas of investment advisory and marketing. She was named one of the Top 30 Most Influential Private Bankers by Terrapin in 2013, 2014 and 2016, and was recognized as one of the Women Leaders by Negocios magazine in 2014.
Isabelle received a BA with Distinction from the University of Virginia, with a major concentration in Latin American Studies. She received the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, and currently holds FINRA licenses 4, 7 and 24. Most importantly, Isabelle has been a Girl Scout troop leader for 12 years, guiding dozens of girls through many badges, journeys and higher award projects. Her passion is financial literacy, and she has developed a number of educational programs to help individuals of all ages learn about finance and investing.
maria pia celestino
Pia is the Creative Director of digital and branding agency Crea7ive. With clients such as Wendy's, Disney, Kraft, Armani Casa and Dreamworks, Pia's work has been featured on Inc. Magazine and Forbes) among others. In 2012, she co-launched EyeTalker, a pair of glasses with wearable tech to help the visually impaired “hear” printed text on any media. Pia gave a TEDx talk on it in 2013. She has a degree in Communications and Business from Florida International University and is passionate about innovation, technology, social entrepreneurship and sustainability.
Paula is Co-founder and Account Director of Crea7ive.com, an award-winning branding and digital agency. With clients such as Wendy's, Disney, Kraft, Armani Casa and Dreamworks, Paula's work has been featured on Entrepreneur Magazine, Forbes among others. In 2013 she founded Kloset Karma APP, a fashion marketplace mobile app, winner of the 2014 Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge and 2014 TECH Cocktail's Hottest Startup in Miami. She's also a Startup Weekend community leader in Miami.
Betty Davis joined the Local 10 weather team in the fall of 2011. If she looks familiar, perhaps you remember her from The Weather Channel. Betty spent nearly five years on the national scene working as an on-camera meteorologist for the network. Before departing, she was co-host of "Weekend View," The Weather Channel's highest-rated program.
Betty has worked in several television markets, including Macon, Ga., Charleston, S.C., and Raleigh/Durham, N.C. While in the Tarheel State, she braved crippling ice storms and traveled to the Carolina and Gulf coasts to file reports on hurricane preparedness. She has done just about every job related to television, from rolling teleprompter to "ripping scripts." Early in her career, she even spent time as a writer for CNN Headline News.
Betty has worked with some of the best and brightest in the business, including severe weather expert Dr. Greg Forbes. Forbes was on the development team of the Enhanced Fujita Scale -- the scale that rates tornadoes. From severe thunderstorms to land-falling hurricanes, Betty has extensive experience covering major weather events. She holds the CBM seal from the American Meteorological Society and a seal of approval from the National Weather Association. Betty is a magna cum laude graduate of Atlanta's Spelman College. She holds a B.A. in English. Also, she holds a B.S. in Geoscience from Mississippi State University.
Elizabeth King is the VP, Digital Solutions Community & Ecosystem for Gerber Technology, LLC. Elizabeth joined Gerber in 2008 and through her leadership has executed global growth strategies in various roles. She is currently responsible for technology partnerships to grow the software ecosystem and community through events, relationships with academia and online communities.
Elizabeth earned a Bachelor's of Arts degree in Fashion Design from the University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, TX.
In addition to her career in the fashion and technology fields she has held a faculty position educating the next generation by sharing her expertise. Some of her previous roles included Adjunct faculty at El Centro Community College, Director of technical services for Haggar Clothing Co., Director of product development for Galey & Lord, Pre-production manager for Initiatives, Inc., and Product development supervisor of Eddie Haggar Ltd., in addition to other freelance business consulting, technical design and pattern design positions over the past two decades.
Based in Dallas, TX, she has co-hosted Gerber's ideation software conference for the past 8 years and attended as a client prior to joining Gerber. She is the mother of 1, stepmother of 2 and proud grandmother of 5. All the grandchildren are under 6 years old, so this is a fun and exciting time both professionally and personally.
Lizette Mendoza, one of six females in a class of 32 students, graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Science. Involved in a full-time dual enrollment program, College Academy (CA), her final two years of high school, she graduated with a high school diploma and Associate of Arts Degree at age 18, and completed her academic career at the age of 21. She first discovered her interest programming from her father, and in Computer Science when she enrolled in her first programming course at CA at age 16.
In addition to programming, Lizette also has a passion for teaching. Wishing she had learned about programming at a younger age, she enjoyed the opportunity to spend her summer of 2016 as the Lead Instructor at the CODeLLA summer camp, sharing with young girls, ages 8 to 12, the fundamental computer programming concepts in a fun, interactive way! She also got to help girls learn how to program their own computer games with the new skills they acquired.
Danit Peleg, 28, is a Fashion Designer based in Tel Aviv, Israel. In 2015, for her graduate collection at fashion school, Danit was the first to design and 3D print an entire ready-to-wear fashion collection - printed entirely at home. Her collection and the potential that printing clothes could have on the fashion industry has captivated the attention of millions globally. For the Rio 2016 Paralympics Opening Ceremony, Danit used her 3D printing technique to design and print a dress for Amy Purdy, a double-leg amputee who performed a samba solo. Danit graduated from world-renowned Israeli Fashion School, Shenkar.
Aurora Cosio is a high school student at Carrollton School of the Sacred heart in Coconut Grove, “Rory" as she is known is a co-founder of Codella, the first immersive coding and technology entrepreneurship camp for young Latina girls in the US ages 9-13 from families below the poverty level. Rory has helped spearhead the growth of CODeLLA into a year-round coding academy that teaches STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts,and ,math) as well as computer literacy and tech entrepreneurship. She is taking computer science courses during high school and plans to continue these courses throughout college and take her place in the tech job market after finishing college. Rory was a 2015 ABC Summer of Creativity Grant winner.
Rory is also a member of the National Junior Honor Society and an active participant in Carrollton’s annual Medical Student’s in Action (“MSA”) mission to the Dominican Republic. For the last two years Rory has served as a Spanish translator for MSA and has spearheaded a campaign to build houses for MSA's neediest patients. An avid soccer player she was recently awarded her school’s junior varsity soccer team’s MVP (most valuable player) award. Some of her academic interests include computer programming and coding. Aside from school and sports she is a dedicated photographer and her work was recently showcased at the Museum of Coral Gables’ Capture the Gables exhibit.
Eva joined CareCloud in 2010 just one year after the company was founded. As a Senior Software Engineer, she prides herself in creating modern, intuitive and easy to use software enabling healthcare organizations to achieve operational excellence while enhancing the patient experience. Using cutting edge technology alongside CareCloud’s team of talented engineers to build healthcare cloud computing solutions is an adventure she continues to find very rewarding to this day.
Born and raised in Peru, with a passion for mathematics, applied sciences, and more importantly, problem-solving, led Eva to study Computer Engineering at Pontifical Catholic University of Peru and Florida Atlantic University, where she graduated Cum Laude with a B.S. in Computer Science. In her free time, she enjoys traveling the world, running and cooking.
Angie Cohen is the Founder and Creative Director of DesignLab Miami. Since she opened the studio in 2010, her primarily responsible has been for the creative vision its educational programs as well as for the retail products it produces. Angie is a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and spent many years working for some of the country’s leading design houses including Calvin Klein and J.G. Hook.
Angie is passionate about teaching and believes in cultivating young, creative minds which was her main motivation for opening the studio. DesignLab has successfully created new and innovative sewing, fashion, and design over the years for both children and adults. The studio’s recent projects involve fusing fashion and new technology (3D printing, laser cutting, “smart” fabrics, etc.). This exciting process allows a new generation of young designers to express their unique ideas in ways never before imagined. This type of forward thinking plays directly into Angie’s personal mantra of “ANYTHING is possible”!
Krista Theodore is an IT Security Engineer for the University of Miami’s Information Security Office. As an IT Security Engineer, she is responsible for developing security strategies and consulting on best practices to maintain the confidentiality, integrity and availability of university data. Her specific areas of expertise are cybersecurity awareness and education, regulatory compliance, and risk management. She holds several security certifications such as Certified Security Compliance Specialist and Payment Card Industry Professional.
Krista received concurrent Bachelor of Science degrees from The Pennsylvania State University in Information Sciences and Technology: Integration and Application, and Security and Risk Analysis: Information and Cyber Security. She is currently pursuing her Master of Science in Information Systems and Business Analytics at Florida International University. In addition, Krista serves as board member for ITWomen and is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Project Semicolon, and the Digital Immigrants Project.
Denise Mendez is an Electrical Engineer working for Magic Leap as a SW Police Officer. She worked at Motorola and helped ship and manufacture millions of phones travelling to China and Brazil to build their testing systems. She speaks a English, Spanish, a little Portuguese and enough Chinese to find out where the bathroom is ask that there be no Octopus in with her dinner.
Along with being an Engineer, Denise loves ceramics and glass and plays with alchemy in her kilns to create colorful metallic glass surfaces for ceramics. She helps run a ceramics studio where they teach classes and provide a playground for local artists to throw, build, and sculpt clay. Most recently she has been inspired by the maker phenomenon that companies like AdaFruit (own by an amazing girl engineer) are creating. Denise is using AdaFruit's wearable micro processors and sensors and is sewing into her clothing and programming them to do her bidding.
Yolanda Valencia is the Science and Engineering Department Chair of Gulliver Academy Middle School a nationally recognized PLTW Model School. Yolanda is a certified PLTW Master teacher in all PLTW Gateway units and has trained teachers throughout the country on how to implement PLTW’s innovative curriculum. Over the summer, Yolanda conducts an engineering camp that over the course of a one month period this past June, served one hundred students and taught them robotics, computer programming, principles of engineering and designing for 3D printing. She designed an "all-girls" engineering course that has become very popular at the middle school and continues to find ways of making engineering both accessible and fun for her students. Her teaching style is to inspire and motivate her students to continue their studies in STEM fields. She runs a project-based class allowing students to problem-solve as engineers do in the real world.
Mari Santana, Founder of Mari Santana & Associates, a strategic communications consulting firm, was named one of the “25 Most Powerful Women in the United States” by “People en Español” magazine in 2012. She is an Emmy nominated and multiple award- winning professional in strategic communications, marketing, journalism and public relations. She was a pioneer in supporting and initiating digital influencer relationships with the Disney Parks & major media networks.
She is a well-recognized publicist/media influencer in the general market, US Hispanic, Latin America and Puerto Rico. Mari is constantly traveling as a mentor and speaking coach & inspirational leader, to top digital and online influencers, preparing them to sharpen their skills as exceptional spokespeople. She is an expert in developing key messaging in order to influence, persuade and & sell a product, talent or idea to media or any other global company. For more than 15 years, she helped develop, plan and execute the successful PR campaigns of over 100 products launches for Disney Destinations, Disney Parks, Disney Cruise Lines, Adventures by Disney, ESPN Wide World of Sports rebranding & The Disney Store.
In her role as a Spokesperson & Public Relations Manager at Disney Destinations, Mari travelled extensively to all the news rooms of Disney’s top markets. She was responsible for developing and handling relationships with key media and digital influencers on behalf of Disney. Mari also co-produced countless national morning show’s live television coverage, as well as pre-taped prime time specials. She is a pioneer in engaging bloggers to support many Disney promotions and launches. During her news anchoring career, at Telemundo New York and at WPIX Channel 11 in Metro New York, Mari received a proclamation by the City of New York for her journalism work, focusing on the advancement of immigrants, women and children. She also received a proclamation by the New York City Council for her work on inspiring women to succeed.
Martha C. Chang is the Principal at Ponce de Leon Middle School. Ponce de Leon Middle is an International Baccalaureate Magnet Middle Years Programme in Coral Gables, Florida. Ponce Middle has been recognized as a School of Distinction from the Magnet Schools of America, for four of the last five years. Previously, she was the Associate Provost at Miami Edison Senior High. She has also been assistant principal at several other schools, and she got her start in the school system as a mathematics teacher.
Ms. Chang has a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education with a concentration in Mathematics from Indiana University, a Master in Science in Mathematics Education from Florida State University, and earned an Educational Specialist in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University.Her personal accomplishments include 2011 Assistant Principal of the Year for Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Regional Center V Finalist for the Francisco R. Walker Teacher of the Year, American Values Award from the United Way for Community Service, and a Silver Knight Honorable Mention in Music. Martha was born in Derby, Connecticut, and currently resides in Miami, Florida. She has an amazing daughter, Julienne Niemyski; she is a senior at the New World School of Arts.
Veronica Fernandez was born in Havana, Cuba to a family influenced by the arts. She moved to Miami at an early age, finding in her new town the comfort and the identity she needed to feel at home. As a college student, Veronica was actively involved in the community and graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications – Journalism. Her career in the media industry is her passion as her personality is a great match to her profession. She has worked as a news reporter/anchor and producer at a local broadcast station and for two Emmy Award winning projects at Spanish Broadcasting Systems. Veronica currently works as a Scheduling Consultant with Channel Originations Operations at DIRECTV Latin America where she daily generates schedules for channel OnDIRECTV broadcasted throughout Latin America.
Fiolina was born in Georgetown Guyana where she lived for 8 years before migrating to Jamaica where she lived for 9 years and then migrated to the USA. Fiolina believes that anything can be accomplished through passion, determination and hard work. Her passion for education and youth development is channeled through her involvement with non-profit programs like the National Society of Black Engineers, the Information Technology (IT) Women Organization, St. Hugh’s Alumni association of South Florida and the Parent, Teacher Students Organization of Somerset Academy.
Fiolina attend the University of Miami where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering, a Masters of Science degree in Industrial Engineering and a Masters of Business Administration in Management. She also has an Associate’s degree in Engineering from Queensborough Community College. She is a certified Project Management Professional and Six Sigma Black Belt. Her passion for education is, however, second to her love for family, her parents and three sisters, husband Robert, sons Jayden, Nyah-Zane and Joziah and daughter Ajah.
I studied all my primary and high school in the same place, my beloved Colegio the America, and got an accounting degree. Then in college, I got my bachelor degree in Business Administration, in Universidad Catolica del Ecuador and then.. My MBA in Universidad San Francisco de Quito. In the MBA, I was the youngest student in the class. I decided to continue my studies as soon as I finished college, even before I got my diploma..
I started working in DIRECTV in 2009, in the marketing department in Ecuador after more than 8 years of experience working in advertising agency. My passion is marketing, advertising and entertainment, so when I got the opportunity to work in DIRECTV. I was flattered. I won a long selection process between 20 people, where experience was a very important fact (I started with my first job at 17 years old).
After 2 years working in DIRECTV in Ecuador, I received the opportunity to move to Miami to work in the ad sales department. I came here with my husband 5 years ago. I enjoy my life and my work every day. I work selling advertisement spaces for global brands as Coca – Cola, Nike, Adidas, KIA and had participated in many global sports events as Olympic Games, Soccer World Cup, etc. I travel a lot visiting my clients and attending events across all South America and Mexico.
During my two years in Ecuador, I got three advertising prizes, some of the best of the industry called “el Ojo de Iberoamerica” and “ Condor de Oro”. Those prizes were the result of great team work with more than 10 people in my media agency.
Claudia Garcia was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. She moved to Miami at the age of 20 and, following her dad’s steps in the Television industry, she graduated from Barry University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Broadcasting Communications. She has worked at companies such as Telemundo and Sony Pictures Entertainment and started her path in DIRECTV Latin America (now part of the AT&T Family) almost 4 years ago in which she started as a Media Coordinator for the Channel Origination Operations.
Claudia is now the Programming Lead Coordinator for the ONDTV Channel broadcasted throughout Latin America in which she is in charge of making the material request to providers and making decisions on content strategy by the hands of her Programming Manager and the ONDTV General Manager. One of her dearest achievements includes co-founding the Corporate Responsibility Team in the Miami DIRECTV office.