2020 HD Summit speakers
Here are the phenomenal speakers who joined us last year. Check back soon to see the 2021 lineup!
Flynn Coleman is a writer, international human rights attorney, public speaker, professor, and social innovator. She has worked with the United Nations, the United States federal government, and international corporations and human rights organizations around the world. Flynn has written extensively on issues of global citizenship, the future of work and purpose, emerging technologies, political reconciliation, war crimes, genocide, human and civil rights, humanitarian issues, innovation and design for social impact, and improving access to justice and education.
She is the author of the new book, A Human Algorithm (October 2019), a groundbreaking narrative on the urgency of ethically designed AI and a guidebook to reimagining life in the era of intelligent technology.
She holds a BSFS from Georgetown University, a JD from UC Berkeley School of Law, and an LLM from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She has also studied at La Sorbonne, the University of Cambridge, Trinity College Dublin, La Universidad de Chile, Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar, Senegal, and Université de Genève.
A native of Los Angeles, Flynn has lived in France, Switzerland, England, Ireland, Italy, Hong Kong, Fiji, Cambodia, Senegal, the Netherlands, and Chile. She currently calls New York home. She speaks five languages, and her wanderings have taken her from rebuilding homes and schools in New Orleans and Fiji, to distributing gifts to children in Haiti and school supplies in Guatemala and Ethiopia, to teaching How to Make a Difference in a Mongolian yurt in the English countryside, to huffing up Mount Kilimanjaro with her dad, to zodiac boating in Alaska with her mom.
Danny Meyer is the CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group and the founder of Shake Shack. Union Square Hospitality Group comprises some of New York’s most beloved restaurants, including Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, The Modern, and more.
Danny, his restaurants and chefs have earned an unprecedented 28 James Beard Awards, and Danny’s recent personal achievements include the Julia Child Award (2017) and his inclusion on the TIME 100 list of the Most Influential People in the World (2015). Danny’s first business book, Setting the Table (HarperCollins, 2006), a New York Times bestseller, examines the power of hospitality in restaurants, business and life. An active national leader in the fight against hunger, Danny serves on the board of Share Our Strength and has long supported hunger relief initiatives including City Harvest and God’s Love We Deliver.
Chris Temple and Zach Ingrasci
From living in a tent in a Syrian refugee camp to working as radish farmers and surviving on $1 a day in Guatemala, Chris Temple and Zach Ingrasci are award-winning humanitarians, activists, and filmmakers. On-stage, they demystify some of the world’s most complex situations, leaving audiences feeling more connected and empowered to make a difference.
As co-founders of Optimist, Chris and Zach have received widespread acclaim as bold storytellers and compassionate leaders of social justice — honored with the 2016 Muslim Public Affairs Council Annual Media Award, and recognized alongside Bill Gates and Angelina Jolie as two of the top 100 visionary leaders of 2015 by YPO’s Real Leaders Magazine. They have been called upon to share their expertise at TEDx, the United Nations, and the World Humanitarian Summit, and have been featured on CBS This Morning, as well as in major publications including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic and Variety.
Chris and Zach began their journey in college, when they produced, directed, and starred in their first film, Living on One Dollar. The film was #1 on iTunes for documentaries, featured on the homepage banner of Netflix, and called “A Must Watch” by Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus.
Their second feature documentary, Salam Neighbor, provides an intimate look into the lives of Syrian refugees, through their lens as the first filmmakers ever given a tent and registered inside of a refugee camp. Among its accolades, the film has been endorsed by Queen Rania of Jordan and was accepted into the 2016 American Film Showcase by the U.S. State Department. Both films have been globally distributed by Netflix and Amazon.
For the last 10 years, they’ve continued to film and do research with the same community of Peña Blanca, Guatemala. The stories are truly a unique lens into life in extreme poverty and will be incorporated into a new feature documentary releasing in 2020. Chris and Zach’s advocacy work reaches beyond filmmaking. In 2017, they collaborated with the UN Refugee Agency and Google to create Searching for Syria, an immersive online hub that answers the world’s top searched questions about Syria. The project was featured on the homepage of Google and reached over 5 million people in the first two weeks.
Equal parts filmmaker and humanitarian, Chris and Zach have been on the front lines fighting for human rights, and have raised over 90 million dollars to directly empower disenfranchised communities through microfinance, education, and refugee resettlement.
Noah Wilson-Rich, Ph.D. is a behavioral ecologist and author of The Bee: A Natural History published by Princeton University Press. Noah is the co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of The Best Bees Company, a beekeeping service that installs and maintains honey beehives for corporate rooftops and grounds nationwide, as well as ‘beekeeper to the stars’ including Whoopi Goldberg and Giselle Bundchen and partnerships with MIT, Harvard, TED, National Geographic, and NASA.
He is inspired by community gardens and underutilized spaces in cities around the world.
As an academic scientist, Noah has held various adjunct faculty appointments in biology, including at Tufts University, Northeastern University, and Simmons College. His research focuses on what’s saving bees, rather than what’s solely on what’s killing them. Each client beehive is a bio-indicator for environmental health, acting as active data sources for NASA’s ongoing studies relating to pollinator populations and climate change, Harvard’s studies of pesticides in the environment, and National Geographic’s reporting of pollinator habitat.
Using a custom-built digital platform to collect bee health data at scale, The Best Bees Company makes an out-sized impact on the larger mission to save the bees and helps clients understand the quantifiable impact they have on the environment by opening their rooftops to pollinators. Noah has been featured in Wall Street Journal, LA Times, Fox News, Fortune, and Business Insider, and his two TEDx talks have over 2 million views.
Bruce is a recognized expert in lodging market intelligence and development trends, with in-depth knowledge of global markets and brands. Since 1995 he has collaborated with most of LE’s global client base and has helped them develop sales strategies and market penetration programs necessary for their success.
Bruce identifies new construction and product replacement opportunities for vendors looking to increase their product distribution in the lodging industry and improve their market share, and new construction and potential brand conversion opportunities for franchise companies looking to accelerate their brand growth.
Bruce is a featured speaker on global real estate trends at several industry conferences worldwide, including the Annual Lodging Conference in Phoenix, AZ, the International Hotel Investment Forum in Berlin, Germany, and the NYU Investment Conference in New York. In the past year alone he has appeared as an industry expert on six different development and real estate panels, in four different regions of the world. In addition, he has served on the Allied Member Executive Committee within the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) and is a member of America’s Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS) committee where he plays a role in the selection of the “Development Project of the Year” award singling out the most outstanding achievement in hotel construction and design in the country.