Samer Abughannam is Vice President at Persistence Capital Partners, a growth and buyout private equity firm focused on healthcare services and technology. Prior to PCP, Mr. Abughannam was a Senior Manager at the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing, where he also served as an advisor to social entrepreneurs in the center’s accelerator programs. Before MaRS, he wokred for Scotiabank’s Mergers & Acquisitions Investment Banking group, where he advised on investment and sale mandates for corporate and financial clients. Mr. Abughannam started his career as a mechanical engineer with Vale. He serves on the board of the Harvard Business School Club of Toronto, and holds a B.Eng from McGill University and an MBA from Harvard University, both earned with Distinction.
Kirstin Grant is the former Director and Human Resources Leader for Marsh & McLennan Companies (MMC) Corporate Centre. MMC is a publicly-traded, global professional services firm providing advice and solutions in the areas of risk, strategy and human capital. Prior to joining MMC, Ms. Grant held various leadership positions at Mercer, a subsidiary of MMC, including Global Talent Management Business Partner for Mercer’s Retirement, Investment Consulting and Outsourcing businesses, and Head of Talent Management for Europe.
Pankaj Kedia is the director of Disruptive Innovation for the Ultra Mobility Group at Intel Corporation. In this position, he is responsible for nurturing and bringing mobility products and technologies to the marketplace. Over the past 5 years, Mr. Kedia has worked to establish Intel’s presence and momentum in the netbook, tablet, and smartphone categories, leading the launch of the Intel® Atom™ processor, which is the foundation of Intel’s beyond-the-PC growth strategy. Mr. Kedia is a frequent speaker at industry events in the area of mobile, wireless, and Internet and has recently represented Intel at industry gatherings like the Mobile World Congress. He is also one of the primary press spokespersons for Intel and has been quoted in New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Wired, Business Week, and other publications.
Chris is the Founder of Caribou Digital, an organization dedicated to growing digital economies in emerging markets. Previously, Chris served as Managing Director of GSMA Mobile for Development, which works with close to 800 mobile operators to build services that deliver social impact for the poorest people in the world. He developed the department from a small group of 12 people into a world-leading “ICT for Development” team with 75 staff and $70m in funding. Chris has also spent 15 years working in senior roles within the mobile and internet industries, for companies such as the Virgin Group, Three, AOL and T-Mobile. Chris is a Visiting Fellow at the University of California, San Diego and the Digital World Research Centre at the University of Surrey.
Branka Minic is the recent Senior Director of Global Corporate & Government Affairs at ManpowerGroup. Ms. Minic brings 17 years of experience as a director at Manpower, where she specialized in developing public-private partnerships and joint initiatives between the corporate and non-profit sectors. She also serves on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Youth Unemployment, as well as the advisory board of Making Cents International. In addition, Ms. Minic is a Policy Fellow with IZA, the Institute for the Study of Labor, which focuses on the research and analysis of global labor markets.
Richard Steele is a Principal at strategic consulting firm SYPartners. Previously, he headed the New York office of the Bridgespan Group, the non-profit consulting firm started by Bain Inc. At Bridgespan, Mr. Steele’s consulting engagements included strategy development for The United Nations Foundation, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Discovery Channel Global Education Partnership, among other clients. Before Bridgespan, he was a partner in the London and New York offices of Marakon Associates, working in the media, consumer goods, and banking sectors. Mr. Steele has co-authored articles in Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review and Harvard Management Update. His work has been cited in the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and Times of India.
Wayan Vota is the past Senior Mobile Advisor for leading non-profit FHI360. Mr. Vota’s 15-plus years of sector experience include technology solution assessment and design, and the sustainable deployment of ICT interventions around the world for USAID, UNICEF, Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the World Bank, and the government of Jordan. He is also the founder of Technology Salon, an initiative sponsored by mobile network Vodafone and the Rockefeller Foundation, among others. Mr. Vota has addressed the Clinton Global Initiative, the International Telecommunications Union, and the World Summit on Information Society–speaking on sustainable deployment of new technologies in developing countries.
Connie Wong is a past VP of AOL Mobile, where she was responsible for global business development and operations in Asia. Before AOL, Ms. Wong was Vice President of Asia Business Development for Nextel International, Inc., where she helped fund, plan and support the build-out of the first GSM mobile network in China. During her tenure in Hong Kong from 1978 to 2005, Ms. Wong served as Director of Business Development for AT&T International and for Hutchison Telecom International Inc. She also helped recruit and build the original management team for Orange Wireless (known as Hutchison-Max) in India.