Friday, April 13, 9am – 5pm | The Paramount Theater



Every Founder has a story to tell. Hear from entrepreneurs and leaders who have harnessed grit, creativity, vision, and purpose to build extraordinary ventures, revolutionize industries and enrich our world. These inspirational keynotes are followed by discussion and audience questions.




Vision: From success to scale

Most founders dream of exponential growth, but what does scale really mean? What preserves a company’s mission, culture, and reputation when a product or community grows to thousands, and even millions, of customers? Hear how these entrepreneurs grew their ventures to that point, and what happened when they got there.

Steve Huffman, Reddit

As Cofounder and CEO of Reddit, Huffman launched the “front page of the internet” and fourth most visited site in the U.S. after graduating from UVa. Huffman then proceeded to co-found the popular online travel company Hipmunk, before returning to Reddit, where he has grown the platform’s community to over 330 million monthly users.

Jigar Shah, SunEdison and Generate Capital

If one individual can be credited with launching the clean energy industry in North America, it is Jigar Shah, founder of SunEdison which, at its peak, possessed over $10 billion in energy assets. Having fought climate change alongside the likes of Richard Branson, Shah is now focused on financing the next generation of power.

Success to Scale: Succeeding in a Competitive Industry

Nancy Twine, Briogeo

By the time Nancy Twine reached her 30th birthday, she had left a successful career as an executive at Goldman Sachs, launched her own plant-powered beauty line, and become the youngest African-American woman to launch a line for Sephora.


Shan-Lyn Ma, Zola

Shan-Lyn Ma makes fairy tales come to life at Zola, the fastest-growing wedding planning and registry company in NY. Through compassion and resilience, the founder is harnessing mobile platforms for easier access, and overhauling the market strategy for “the Big Day.”

GRIT: The Strength to Overcome Adversity

What is the one superpower that heroes in sports, business, and social impact all have in common? Grit. Learn how these incredible individuals have found the power to endure through setbacks and transform misfortune into strength.

Bradford & Bryan Manning, Two Blind Brothers

Diagnosed as children with an illness that would blind them, Bryan and Bradford are determined to inspire others with disability, launching a business to fund a cure for future generations.

Leland Melvin

A Dallas Cowboy and NASA astronaut, Melvin has achieved what few aspire to in a lifetime – and has overcome more than most, from an injury that left him temporarily deaf to a sexual assault in childhood. Learn where he has found the resilience to do the impossible.

Creativity: Building Outside the Box

Truly big ideas, the kind that change communities and expand our horizons – where do they come from? In a world of accelerating disruption, meet three entrepreneurs who are breaking the mold and building the unprecedented.

Vince Kadlubek, Meow Wolf

With the support of legendary storyteller George R. R. Martin, Kadlubek’s immersive art creation Meow Wolf reinvents the art museum as an experience that is part Burning Man, part mystery novel, and something entirely new.

Billie Whitehouse, WearableX

Whitehouse is putting the Internet of Things into the clothes on your back, enhancing the performance of everyone from NFL athletes to long-distance couples.

Purpose: Founding for Impact

Are tech and business healing our world or exploiting it? These founders have found a way to combine the scale and ingenuity of private enterprise with social good. Learn how they have built strategies that recognize the two as mutually reinforcing.

Manoj Sinha, Husk Power

With plans to provide affordable, renewable and reliable power to over one million people in rural areas of India and Africa by 2022, UVa Darden grad Manoj Sinha defines social entrepreneurship.

Zac Bookman, OpenGov

Seeing public servants struggle against outdated technology, Zac and his cofounder developed a set of tools to empower more open and effective government. Today over 1,800 public agencies in 48 states use his products.

Renee Diresta, Haven

Diresta is part of the founding team of a logistics tech startup and an active VC, focused on hardware, IoT, and logistics. In her free time, she works towards creating a more effective intersection of tech and politics, recently co-founding Center for Humane Technology with an unprecedented alliance of tech insiders and CEOs, as well as advising Congress on peer-to-peer disinformation and fighting anti-vaccination propaganda. She also wrote the book “The Hardware Startup: Building Your Product, Business, and Brand” (O’Reilly).


Emceed by:

Mark Brzezinski and Natalia Brzezinski

The event will be emceed by the charming and dynamic husband and wife duo Mark Brzezinski (Former Swedish Ambassador) and Natalia Brzezinski (CEO, Symposium Stockholm) who share a passion for how ideas and innovation can create global change.


The Founding Stories Keynotes are included in all Summit Badges.
This series of talks is also available as a separate $50 ticket.

8AM | Coffee & Networking

9AM – 12PM | Keynote Sessions

12PM – 2PM | Luncheon: Honoring the Black Experience in the Public Realm

12PM – 2PM | Founders Luncheons (ticketed separately)

2PM – 5PM | Keynote Sessions