Xbox Chief and Microsoft Corporate Vice President
Phil Spencer leads Microsoft Studios and oversees creative teams around the world developing games, entertainment and premium content experiences for Microsoft’s family of devices including Xbox One, Xbox 360, Kinect, Surface, Windows PC and mobile phones. Microsoft Studios has been instrumental in building a community of 76 million Xbox 360 owners and 48 million Xbox LIVE members through blockbuster game franchises such as Halo, Kinect Sports, Fable, Forza Motorsport and industry leading interactive entertainment.
Spencer and team led the development of brand new entertainment offerings including a landmark partnership with the NFL and collaborating with industry luminary Steven Spielberg to bring a new Halo live action TV series to life. A 25-year veteran of Microsoft, Spencer has held a variety of technical roles including development lead for Microsoft’s first CD-ROM-based titles including Encarta, development manager for Microsoft Money, and general manager of Microsoft’s online and offline consumer productivity products including Microsoft Works and Microsoft Picture It!
Founder, Chief Strategy Officer, Docusign
Tom Gonser founded DocuSign in 2003 with the goal of helping individuals and enterprises transact business more efficiently and securely with electronic signatures. Gonser invented the cloud-based electronic signature, and has continually evolved DocuSign’s offering into a full Digital Transaction Management platform that serves all users from consumers to the largest multinational companies around the world. Before starting DocuSign, Gonser was founder, president, and CEO at NetUPDATE, a leading online transaction management system that handled millions of mortgage transactions yearly. Gonser also founded GPSFlight, a specialty GPS Telemetry software and hardware company that developed high-end tracking technology for business and military companies.
groundbreaking cancer researcher, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Dr. Jim Olson discovers and develops promising new drugs for cancer patients, primarily children with brain cancer
He led the creation of an imaging agent derived from scorpion venom that illuminates cancer cells, dubbed “Tumor Paint.” Tumor Paint can identify tumors with as few as 200 cancer cells, allowing surgeons to precisely identify brain tumors. Olson founded Blaze Bioscience, which will soon launch a clinical trial for adult brain cancer patients in the U.S. and Australia.
Building on the success of Tumor Paint, Olson and his colleagues are now developing a new class of drugs called optides, Using naturally occuring molecules from sources such as sea slugs and sunflowers, the team is engineering new compounds that could fight many difficult-to-treat cancers, brain disorders and other diseases.
Naria Santa Lucia
Executive Director, Washington State Opportunity Scholarship
Naria Santa Lucia has extensive experience in leading mission-driven organizations in their quest to raise revenue, increase effective programming, and act strategically to increase outcomes for their clients.
Santa Lucia currently serves as Executive Director of the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship (WSOS), a unique public-private partnership helping to build the next generation of scientists, engineers, mathematicians, health care professionals in Washington state’s high-demand employment fields through scholarships and support for low- and middle-income college students in Washington state. As Executive Director, Santa Lucia is responsible for overall leadership and management of WSOS, including resource development, program design, implementation, and evaluation, and program advocacy.
Co-founder, CEO, Glassdoor
Robert Hohman is co-founder and chief executive officer of Glassdoor, the jobs and recruiting community helping people find jobs and companies they love. Before creating Glassdoor, Hohman was most recently president of Hotwire, a leading discount travel site and division of Expedia, Inc. He was also one of the original team members of Expedia, a company designed to bring greater transparency to the travel industry, and was part of the executive team that took it public in 1999. Hohman started his career at Microsoft and worked as a software developer in a range of areas from Windows 95 to interactive television to online games. Hohman is currently on the board of directors of Glassdoor and OpenTable, an online real-time restaurant-reservation service. He also serves on the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE). Robert holds bachelors and masters degrees in computer science from Stanford University.
Former NASA Astronaut, CEO, Sentinel Mission
Dr. Ed Lu served as a NASA Astronaut for 12 years. He flew the Space Shuttle twice, the Russian Soyuz, and a 6 month tour on the International Space Station. Altogether he logged over 206 days in space and an EVA (spacewalk) totaling 6 hours and 14 minutes. Lu flew as a mission specialist on STS-84 in 1997, as a payload commander and lead spacewalker on STS-106 in 2000, as flight engineer of Soyuz TMA-2, and served as NASA ISS science officer and flight engineer on ISS Expedition-7 in 2003.
Lu has served as a scientific advisor to the White House and NASA on space technology and policy issues. Lu also helped drive energy policy work for Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google. In this role he testified before the US Congress on energy issues, and met with officials on both the Federal and State level to ensure that consumers are granted access to their own home energy use information. In addition, he has testified before both the US Senate and House of Representatives on aerospace issues. He recently served as a commissioner with the Center for Strategic and International Studies Commission on US/China Relations.
Lu co-founded the Sentinel Mission, an organization that identifies and tracks asteroids, with Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart. Lu currently serves as CEO.
Hugo- and Nebula-award winning sci-fi writer.
Nancy Kress is the author of thirty-two books, including twenty-five novels, four collections of short stories, and three books on writing. Her work has won six Nebulas, two Hugos, a Sturgeon, and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. Most recent works are the Nebula-winning YESTERDAY’S KIN (Tachyon, 2014) and the BEST OF NANCY KRESS (Subterranean, September, 2015). In addition to writing, Kress often teaches at various venues around the country and abroad; in 2008 she was the Picador visiting lecturer at the University of Leipzig. Kress lives in Seattle with her husband, writer Jack Skillingstead, and Cosette, the world’s most spoiled toy poodle.
Senior Science Writer, New York Times
John Markoff, senior writer for The New York Times, writes for the paper’s science section.
He began writing about technology in 1976 and joined The Times in 1988. He gained some notoriety several years ago when he stated that he thought blogs might be the CB radio of the 21st century. He still believes that.
In 2013, he was part of the team awarded the Pulitzer Prize 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.”
Dan sold his last company, Sparkbuy, to Google and launched the best-selling board game in Kickstarter history as a side project. He builds homemade drones with his 700lb laser cutter and is an unusually good Werewolf player. He previously served as CEO of Ontela, purchased by Photobucket. Before that, he worked in management roles at RealNetworks and Microsoft.
Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Research
Dr. Peter Lee, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Research, is responsible for Microsoft Research New Experiences and Technologies, or MSR NExT, an organization of world-class researchers, engineers, and designers devoted to creating potentially disruptive technologies for Microsoft and the world. While NExT will continue to advance the field of computing research and produce work with significant scholarly impact, its priority is developing technologies that benefit Microsoft and the world more broadly.
In this role, Lee oversees Microsoft Research Asia, Microsoft Research Technologies, FUSE Labs, and Microsoft Research Special Projects, along with several incubation project teams.
CEO, You Kick Ass
Keri Andrews is the CEO and co-founder of You Kick Ass, a Seattle startup that creates custom 3D-printed action figures based on photographs. The idea began as a business plan for Washington State Universities MBA program, but Andrew quickly made it a reality with close friends and co-founders Douglas Jordan and Alesia Glidewell.
Prior to You Kick Ass, Andrews served as Program Manager for Microsoft and President of Online Agency at Webtronix.
Computer Science Student, University of Washington
Rutha Nuguse is a third year computer science major at the University of Washington Tacoma. While Nuguse was a student at Ballard High School, she was an intern with the Corporate Affairs Department at Microsoft. She attributes her internship at Microsoft as one of the primary reasons for her current interest in pursuing a degree and a career in computer science. Nuguse has been active with many Microsoft programs including TEALS (Technology Education And Literacy in Schools) and BAM (Blacks At Microsoft). Nuguse is the first member of her family to pursue a college degree. She is a role model to her younger siblings, mentoring them and encouraging them to do well in school and go to college.
Nuguse’s family is originally from Erutria and neither of her parents went beyond elementary school. She is one of seven children.
Nuguse never dreamed she could go to college until she became involved with the TEALS program.
This summer, Nuguse is working as an intern at Microsoft.
A Washington State Opportunity Scholarship recipient, Nuguse will be speaking at the GeekWire Summit as part of the Geeks Give Back fundraising effort, supporting low-income students in their efforts to earn degrees in STEM education fields.
Neurobiology Student, University of Washington
Mahdi Ramadan is a neurobiology major at the University of Washington Seattle and a graduate of Kent Meridian High School. Ramadan’s dream is to become a neurosurgeon. Ramadan has spent the last year collaborating on a research project to develop efficient wireless energy technology that one day could power biomedical devices. Ramadan was previously an intern at the center for sensory-motor neural engineering center and is a current recipient of the Mary Gates Research fellowship. In addition to being a Washington State Opportunity Scholar, Ramadan is also a recipient of the John Collins Scholarship, a scholarship awarded to one exceptional student awarded annually to a student whose family lives in government housing in the Pacific Northwest. Ramadan is the first person in his family to attend a four-year university.
A Washington State Opportunity Scholarship recipient, Ramadan will be speaking at the GeekWire Summit as part of the Geeks Give Back fundraising effort, supporting low-income students in their efforts to earn degrees in STEM education fields.
Partner, Second Avenue Partners
Nick Hanauer is one of the most succesful entrepneurs, investors and managers in the Northwest. Hanauer is a co-founder and partner in Seattle-based venture capital firm, Second Avenue Partners. In 2015, he also founded Civic Ventures, a a small group of political troublemakers devoted to ideas, policies, and actions that catalyze significant social change.
Hanauer has managed, founded or financed over 30 companies, creating aggregate market value of tens of billions of dollars. Some notable companies Include Amazon.com, Aquantive Inc., (purchased by Microsoft in 2007 for $6.4 billion), Insitu group (purchased by Boeing for $400 million), Market Leader (purchased by Trulia in 2013 for $350 million). Some other companies include Marchex, Newsvine, Qliance, Seattle Bank and Pacific Coast Feather Company.