Professor, University of California at Berkeley
AnnaLee (Anno) Saxenian is a professor in the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley. Her scholarship focuses on regional economies and the conditions under which people, ideas, and geographies combine and connect into hubs of economic activity. She was Dean of the School of Information from 2004-1019, and upon stepping down she received the Berkeley Citation "for distinguished achievement and notable service to the University."
Saxenian’s current research explores the transformation of Silicon Valley from a region that flourished in the 1970s-90s with a decentralized mix of entrepreneurial collaboration and competition, to the post 2004 ecosystem that is dominated by a handful of giant technology platform businesses. She is exploring novel policy approaches that will preserve the region's technological dynamism while addressing the negative consequences of the new business models, including the concentration of economic and political power, the unauthorized use of personal data, and the rise of misinformation and disinformation along with dangerous speech and political polarization.
She has served as a member of the Apple Academic Advisory Board, and Chair of the Advisory Committee for the National Science Foundation Division of Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (NSF-SBE).
She is author of Regional Advantage: Culture and Competition in Silicon Valley and Route 128 (Harvard, 1994) which argues that Silicon Valley’s adaptive capacity derives from it decentralized industrial and social structures that support rapid information exchange and innovation. She is also the author of The New Argonauts: Regional Advantage in a Global Economy (Harvard, 2006), Silicon Valley's New Immigrant Entrepreneurs (Public Policy Institute of California, 1999), and Local and Global Networks of Immigrant Professionals in Silicon Valley (PPIC, 2002) She has published widely in journals of economic geography, regional economic development, and industrial change. She holds a PhD from MIT, a Master's from U.C. Berkeley, and a BA from Williams College.
Somesh Dash is on the investment team at IVP one of the first venture capital firms on Sand Hill Road in Palo Alto, where he focuses on growth investments in enterprise software, consumer and mobile internet, and digital health companies. He was recognized by The New York Times and CB Insights in 2019 as one of the top 100 venture capitalists and by GrowthCap as one of the Top 40 Under 40 Growth Investors in 2019.
Dash led IVP's investments in companies such as SoundCloud, Tanium, and Uber. He actively participated in IVP's investments in Dropbox, Netflix, Shazam, Twitter, and Zynga.
Dash is currently a board member of the Advisory Council at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business (GSB), the US India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) and the Tech Interactive. He is a life member of the Council of Foreign Relations and on the Advisory Board of Malaria No More. He also served on the Tech Advisory Group of UCSF and the Advisory Board for Stanford’s Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society (PACS).
Somesh earned a B.S. in Business Administration from the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley and an M.B.A. from Stanford University.
John Markoff (moderator)
Affiliate, Stanford University’s Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI)
Journalist, The New York Times
John Markoff, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, wrote for The New York Times’ science and technology beat for 28 years, where he was widely regarded as the paper’s star technology reporter. He is currently an affiliate at Stanford University’s Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI). He has been a lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley School of Journalism, and an adjunct faculty member at the Stanford Graduate Program on Journalism. In 2013, Markoff was part of a Pulitzer Prize-winning team for Explanatory Reporting “for its penetrating look into business practices by Apple and other technology companies that illustrates the darker side of a changing global economy for workers and consumers.”
His books include: The High Cost of High Tech (with Lennie Siegel); Cyberpunk: Outlaws and Hackers on the Computer Frontier (with Katie Hafner); Takedown: The Pursuit and Capture of America’s Most Wanted Computer Outlaw (with Tsutomu Shimomura); What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry; and Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots. Markoff grew up in Palo Alto, California, and graduated from Whitman College. He attended the University of Oregon and received a master’s degree in sociology.
Markoff continues to work as a freelance journalist for The Times and other organizations and volunteers at the Computer History Museum.
La Avenida Presentation
Co-Executive Director, School of Arts & Culture at the Mexican Heritage Plaza
Jessica Paz-Cedillos, daughter of immigrant parents, knows firsthand the impact that arts and culture can have to build pride, preserve heritage, and fuel community and economic development. She has dedicated her career to the public sector, working for organizations such as the ACLU and SOMOS Mayfair.
Director of Community Development, School of Arts & Culture at the Mexican Heritage Plaza
Chris Esparza, raised in San Jose, opened the Ajax Lounge, a jazz bar, café, and performing arts space, and works as a creative services resource to numerous outlets.
Reymundo C. Espinoza
MPH, Chief Executive Officer, Gardner Health Services
Reymundo Espinoza, raised Coachella, California, attended Stanford University and has been leading community health centers for over 34 years.
Co-Executive Director, School of Arts & Culture at the Mexican Heritage Plaza
Vanessa Shieh helped to transform the Mexican Heritage Plaza from an underused facility into a trusted community hub and anchor. Shieh is deeply committed to finding the intersection of the local community’s needs and the creative sector’s insights.
City Councilmember, Redwood City
Alicia Aguirre is the former Mayor of Redwood City and She also served as a Trustee and the President of the Redwood City Elementary School Board. She is a professor at Cañada College in the English Institute and the Spanish Departments.
Executive Director, Grail Family Services
Veronica Goei, originally from Chile, has over 25 years of non-profit leadership experience working with children and families from underserved communities. She founded Grail Family Services and is one of the founding members of the Si Se Puede Collective, a group of non-profits working on uplifting the talents of East San José.
Vice President, Silicon Valley Programs, Sobrato Philanthropies
Camille Llanes-Fontanilla was born and raised in east San Jose. She previously served as executive director of SOMOS Mayfair and continues to serve on the Board of Trustees for The Health Trust and SPUR San Jose. She is a founding member of the Si Se Puede Collective.
Raúl Rodríguez, Ph.D.
Interim Chancellor of San Jose – Evergreen Community College District
Raúl Rodríguez, Ph.D. has served as a community college president or chancellor for more than 28 years. He has served on the boards of the National Community College Hispanic Council, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, the Panetta Institute for Public Policy, and the Monterey County Workforce Development Board, among others.
Juan M. Salazar
Director of State and Local Policy at Meta
Juan M. Salazar manages community relations and local policy engagement efforts in the US. Prior to Meta, Juan was a Program Manager for Growth Sector, a workforce development nonprofit focused on connecting underrepresented communities to STEM Careers.
Hon. Susan Ellenberg (moderator)
President, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors
Supervisor Ellenberg serves as President of the Board of Supervisors as well as Chair of the County’s Public Safety and Justice Committee and the Vice Chair of the Finance and Government Operations Committee.
Supervisor Ellenberg is a member of the California State Association of Counties Executive Committee and a board member of FIRST 5 Santa Clara County. Additionally, she is a co-chair of Joint Venture Silicon Valley and on the board of the National Association of Counties' Justice and Public Safety Steering Committee.