Sahil Harlalka. Master of Ceremonies

Sahil is a Solutions Architect at Eaton. He is very passionate about change and making a difference, about improving things and making them better than when he found them. In his free time he plays tennis, swims with his ‘H2O Audio’ gear, and enjoys volunteering for non-profit organizations.

Threefifty Duo. Guitarists

Threefifty Duo has been described as “a classical guitar duo with a rock edge,” as guitarists Brett Parnell and Geremy Schulick seamlessly weave their contemporary rock sensibilities into the rich fabric of classical guitar. After years of writing and performing together and with a second album under Threefifty’s belt, the duo’s stylistic tendencies have further expanded, with genre blurred by an intensely personal sound that is rhythmic, infectious, engaging, and at once both new and accessible.

Learn More

Formed in the halls of The Yale School of Music, taught by renowned classical guitarist Benjamin Verdery, and molded by the multi-faceted music scene of their hometown New York City, Threefifty Duo has gone on to play in a diverse array of venues and festivals, from concert halls to rock clubs. Highlights include SXSW, The 92nd Street Y, The New York Guitar Festival, Southpaw, Le Poisson Rouge, Wittenberg University, Elon University, NYC Guitar Society, Connecticut Guitar Society, CMEAS’ Fall UK Tour and Sarajevo’s Dom Armije.

Their self-titled debut album marked the duo as innovators in classical guitar programming, moving effortlessly between the compositions of their classical heroes, contemporary counterparts, and their own creations. While the album captured the verve and enthusiasm of a well-practiced and polished duo, it is Threefifty’s sophomore effort, “Circles,” that presents the listener with a volume of all original compositions and a full emergence of the duo’s distinctive voice, highlighted by Dominic Frasca’s sumptuous production. They have further expanded their palette in recent compositions, with the use of electric guitar, effects pedals and steel-string guitar, while fostering a collaboration with video artist Jennifer Stock.

Threefifty Duo has been featured on WNYC’s “New Sounds” with John Schaefer and Premier Guitar magazine’s website, and has received critical acclaim from Time Out NY, Guitar Edge Magazine, Vintage Guitar Magazine, Classical Guitar News, Minor 7th, Lancashire Life, and the UK’s Classical Guitar Magazine, who wrote of it: “Brilliant! … each track is an attention-grabbing item and throughout there are no low-points. The style is difficult to describe: performing on classical guitars and steel-stringed guitar, Circles is an amalgamation of classical/rock/folk; sometimes romantic, sometimes thrillingly energetic, but at all times spell-binding. Loved every second of it and will play it time and again.”

Threefifty Duo is proud to be part of the D’Addario artist family.

Jennifer Stock. Film Artist

Jennifer Stock’s work bridges sound art, composition, and video art. Using custom-built software, Stock explores invented landscapes by using both visual and sonic abstraction as a way of re-imagining locations, “transform[ing] nearly recognizable figures into dancing geometrical patterns and ghostly apparitions” (Steve Smith, The New York Times). Influenced by sources as diverse as 19th-century landscape art, nature poetry, vintage postcards, opera, and both visionary and outsider architecture, Stock’s work offers a contemporary engagement with environments via manipulation of digital media from the artist’s collection of photographs, videos, and original sound recordings.

Learn More

Stock holds a B.A. in Music and English from Yale, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Music Composition as a Chancellor’s Fellow at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her works have recently been presented in New York City at Merkin Concert Hall, Joe’s Pub, Galapagos Arts Space, White Box Art Gallery, Roulette, Le Poisson Rouge, and on the River to River Festival. In 2011 she received a grant from the Jerome Foundation to research outsider architecture in Europe to use as a basis for future installations. Current projects include live video for the bands Threefifty Duo and Victoire.

Zach Weiner. Founder of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal

Zach Weiner is the creator of the popular comic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. He is also the co-creator of the sketch comedy troupe SMBC Theater, the writer for Captain Stupendous, and he writes a blog on math and physics called The Weinerworks.

Matthew Manos. Social Entrepreneur

Matthew Manos is a 23 year old social entrepreneur who is dedicated to disrupting the way the design industry operates. He is the founder of a verynice design studio, an internationally operating social graphic design enterprise that dedicates over 50% of its efforts toward free design services for non-profit organizations. As of 2011, verynice has also provided over $250,000 worth of pro-bono design and consulting services in 6 continents to 125+ clients thanks to its team of 60+ international volunteers.

Stephen Neely. Artist Lecturer at Carnegie Mellon

Stephen Neely is an Artist Lecturer of Dalcroze Eurhythmics at Carnegie Mellon University residing in Pittsburgh, PA. His research focuses on the physical nature of art—that is, the ways in which our physical presence/bodies are necessary components of the arts, far more integrally than the cerebral aspects of performing, creating, or appreciating. He is a conductor of choirs and orchestras, sings with opera companies, and has travelled the world leading workshops and clinics that focus on the “authentic gesture” that is inherent in all of the arts.

Razi Imam. Innovator, Entrepreneur, & Author

Razi Imam is an accomplished award winning innovator, entrepreneur, and author. He has experience and knowledge of successfully innovating products and services, launching them in competitive markets, and building world-class high-performance teams. He has recently founded 113 Industries that focuses on helping companies shift their innovation strategy from being internally focused to adopting an Open Innovation model. 113 Industries drives the successful commercialization and adoption of discoveries coming out of research universities, federal labs, and research driven enterprises by mid market and Fortune 500 companies looking to introduce new products. In recognition of his entrepreneurial success, Carnegie Science Foundation has presented Razi with their prestigious award honoring innovation in Science and Technology.

Learn More

He has been recently appointed as an adjunct professor at Carnegie Mellon University to teach a course on “Open Innovation” starting January 2012. He is also the founder of Landslide Technologies, a sales process software company recognized as the top 100 private companies by AlwaysOn. Landslide has received wide acclaim from customers, analysts as an innovator in the SaaS industry. Based on his innovative strategies Landslide has been named ‘visionary’ three years in row by the leading analyst firm – The Gartner Group.

Imam’s career spans working in Fortune 500 companies to being part of three successful startups. He has successfully launched and re-launched companies by defining their product and market strategies, repositioning them in the face of economic downturn, defining new product categories, and establishing them as the leader in their space.

Razi is also the author of “Driven” a John Wiley and Sons publication.

Gala Darling. Style Blogger

Gala Darling’s unrelenting devotion to positivity & magic has earned her cult celebrity status & rabid fans all over the globe, from India to Sweden. Described in the New York Times as “a Web-tethered gadabout”, she was recently named one of the 10 most influential style bloggers in the world (Fashionista). She has been described as “a tattooed Miss Manners” (The Bargain Queen), a “downtown Carrie Bradshaw” (Elle) & a “New York City society gal” (Filament). Celebrity stylist & icon Rachel Zoe says Gala & her site are “très chic”. Gala believes in pink lingerie, sequins, stardust & candy-coloured Cadillacs. She believes in making mischief & the triumph of magic over the brute. She believes in short skirts & lip gloss & bringing about the radical self love revolution. She believes life doesn’t have to be serious, that you create your own reality & that beauty is all around us.

Sean Ogle. Founder of Location 180

Sean Ogle is an expert at helping people turn their passions and skill-sets into sustainable businesses that can be run from anywhere on Earth. As the founder of Location 180 he uses the power of his blog to get the message out on the benefits of lifestyle entrepreneurship. He has been featured in Yahoo!, Forbes, and the book The Art of Non-Conformity. When he’s not working from the beaches of Bali or the coffeeshops of Portland he can be found talking his way into high-class establishments where he probably doesn’t belong.

Gil Taran. CEO of iCarnegie

A native of Israel, Gil Taran’s professional accomplishments span many careers: as an entrepreneur, an international business executive, a sought-after global speaker, an award-winning educator and a career army officer.

Learn More

In 2010, he was appointed CEO of iCarnegie, an innovative subsidiary company of Carnegie Mellon University that aims to transform the lives of people by offering educational and workforce development programs at scale to businesses, governments and universities in more than 20 countries. In just under two years, Taran has established new national level projects on three continents, growing the company by 900 percent. Taran is a graduate of Tel Aviv University and of Carnegie Mellon with degrees in English Literature, International Economics, and Information Technology Management.

John Riccitiello. CEO of Electronic Arts

John Riccitiello is CEO of Electronic Arts, the world’s leading developer and publisher of interactive entertainment. John became CEO in 2007 and reorganized the company, re-committing EA to leading the industry in quality and innovation. Today, EA is focused on bringing digital games and services, direct to the consumer on the Internet. EA’s titles slate includes The Sims, Madden NFL Football, FIFA Soccer and most recently the critically acclaimed Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Jay Whitacre. Professor at Carnegie Mellon, Founder & CTO of Aquion Energy

Professor Whitacre spent his early career exploring energy-related topics ranging from fundamental materials function to systems engineering at Caltech and The Jet Propulsion Laboratory. In 2007 he came to Carnegie Mellon, where his work has been focused on studying functional materials systems and performing economic/environmental impact assessment for energy technologies. His early efforts resulted in the conception of a novel sodium-ion based energy storage device based on low cost materials and manufacturing techniques. In 2008 he founded Aquion Energy, a company that has since garnered over $40 M in funding and has grown to over 75 employees. He now serves as the Chief Technology Officer for Aquion as it scales a pilot (and now a full-fledged) manufacturing plant in Pittsburgh.

Learn More

In 2007 he accepted a joint appointment in the Materials Science & Engineering and Engineering and Public Policy departments at Carnegie Mellon, where his work has been focused on studying functional materials systems and performing economic /environmental impact assessment for energy technologies. His early efforts at CMU resulted in the conception of a novel sodium-ion based energy storage device based on low cost materials and manufacturing techniques. In 2008 he founded Aquion Energy, a company that has since garnered over $40 M in funding and has grown to over 70 employees. He has been serving as the Chief Technology Officer for Aquion as it scales a pilot manufacturing plant in Pittsburgh, PA.

Ardon Shorr. Student Speaker Competition Winner

Ardon loves to learn. He graduated from Oberlin College majoring in neuroscience and music theory, then taught fencing in Manhattan. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in biology at Carnegie Mellon.

Check out who spoke in 2011.