BIF2017 Storytellers. Stay tuned for new additions.

  • Innovating Air Travel With A Marketplace Model

    Bill Herp is a serial entrepreneur who is currently founder and CEO of Linear Air, a company on a mission to revolutionize private air travel by making affordable air taxi service a reality. Linear Air is one of three uniquely different startups Herp has founded during his career.
  • Designing Better Health And Wellness For Young People

    Chris McCarthy is the VP of Strategy & Innovation at HopeLab, working to deepen the organization's impact on the health and wellness of young people through innovation and design. McCarthy is also the Executive Director and Founder of the Innovation Learning Network, a membership network made up of organizations with the common goal to make healthcare better through good design.

    In his previous role at Kaiser Permanente’s Innovation Consultancy, McCarthy tackled safer medication administration for patients, more robust shift changes for nurses, exploring the social space of elders, and the care experience of transgender people. McCarthy's work has been featured in the book Pursuing the Triple Aim: Seven Innovators Show the Way to Better Care, Better Health, and Lower Costs by Maureen Bisognano and Charles Kenney. As an author, he collaborated with Lyle Berkowitz, MD, on Innovation with Information Technologies in Healthcare, and with Lisa Schilling on Spreading Improvement Across Your Health Care Organization.

  • Helping People And Corporations Move Into The New World Of Work

    Sophie Wade is an authority on the wide-ranging Future of Work issues that impact companies and workers’ new demands, such as digital transformation, managing distributed workers, workplace flexibility, intergenerational communication, new career paradigms, and attracting, engaging, and retaining talent. She is the author of Embracing Progress: Next Steps For The Future Of Work.

  • Creativity And Innovation At The Intersection Of Music And Data

    Philip Sheppard is a composer, producer, virtuoso cellist, inventor, public speaker, philanthropist, professor at the Royal Academy of Music, and a creative innovator who has worked with some of the biggest names in music, tech, sport and film. He pioneered the use of electronics in conjunction with classical music in his performances to audiences around the world.

    Sheppard used his unique approach to the creative process to create Compose Yourself, a game that enables children to build their own symphonic works using a computer algorithm and an innovative deck of cards. Compose Yourself has been the subject of a front-page feature in the Wall Street Journal, and has also been recently featured by Time Magazine for Kids and Newsday.

  • 'Design Empathy' Creates Well-Being In Workplaces

    Office design expert A.J. Paron-Wildes is the National Architectural & Design Manager for Allsteel, a commercial furniture manufacturer. She has blended her skills as a designer and with her experience of raising a son with autism to create groundbreaking design work for individuals with autism.

    Joining Paron-Wildes at BIF2017 will be her son, Devin Wildes, an accomplished artist who struggles with severe autism. Wildes works in multiple mediums, including sculpture, videography, jewelry making, screen printing, and painting in multiple mediums.

  • Empowering Congenital Heart Disease Patients To Lead Full, Productive Lives

    Dr. Ami Bhatt is director of the Adult Congenital Heart Disease program at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. She leads a small team that specializes in multidisciplinary, lifelong care and empowerment of teens and adults with Congenital Heart Disease. Dr. Bhatt's team addresses valve problems, heart failure, multidisciplinary surgery, arrhythmia, pregnancy, transition, telemedicine, and wellness programs.

    Dr. Bhatt has developed a robust multidisciplinary curriculum at Mass General to provide ACHD education to cardiovascular fellows in the Boston area. She is dedicated to patient advocacy groups, including the American Heart Association and the Adult Congenital Heart Association, and empowering individuals with congenital heart disease to lead full and productive lives.


  • Connecting Creatives And Innovators To Mentor Students

    Yarrow Kraner is a director at Virgin Produced, an Aspen Institute Fellow, photographer, and founder of HATCH. A nonprofit, global thought-leader network, the goal of HATCH is to unite creative catalysts to "HATCH a Better World," through mentorship in creativity and innovation. HATCH cross-pollinates leaders in film, music, design, technology, and numerous innovative industries, and has connected more than 500 mentors with more than 5000 students.

    Previously, Kraner founded and ran, which WIRED magazine called “one of the pioneer social networking communities.” grew virally to more than 1.5 million subscribers worldwide. The community's was to empower youths aged 12 to 24 to achieve their potential. Its foundation worked with national charities and children’s hospitals, and launched an inner-city stay-in-school program, before being sold to Fox Studios in 2004.

    In 2015 Kraner was named one of top 100 Creatives by Origin magazine. His ideas and work have been recognized internationally, and he has directed projects for Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America, Warner Brothers, Levi’s, DirecTV, KEEN Footwear, Columbia Records, De Leon Tequila, T-Mobile, Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, several universities, tech startups, and more.

  • Breathing New Life Into Marginalized Communities

    Social entrepreneur Mark Brand has successfully created 11 businesses in his home of Vancouver. His company MB Incorporated encompasses growth, sustainability, and fluidity in all its projects, undertakings, and partnerships. Brand and his teams at MB Incorporated breathe new life into marginalized and isolated communities through food, training, and meaningful employment. Brand challenges perspectives by constantly striving to improve the lives of others, while providing opportunities for growth and social change through emerging technologies, alternate currencies, and best practices.

    Brand has been recruited to speak, mentor, and mediate on the topics of social inclusion, community collaboration, and food security everywhere from TED talks to correctional facilities. He brings the lens of community to government organizations, nonprofit boards, and business advisory committees. Through his social impact efforts and love for our neighborhoods, Brand proves that you can be successful in business while contributing to your community in a long-term, meaningful way.

  • Former Football Player And Cancer Survivor Now Helps Patients And Families

    Founded by former New England Patriots offensive guard Joe Andruzzi and his wife Jen in 2008, the Joe Andruzzi Foundation grew out of Andruzzi’s own successful battle with cancer and the couple’s ongoing work with young cancer patients.

    Andruzzi's football career ended in 2007 when he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Burkitt’s lymphoma. He is now cancer free, but a new passion grew from his own cancer experience: helping other patients and their families. After witnessing firsthand the stress cancer can cause, the Andruzzis created a foundation to help cancer patients and their families meet life’s day-to-day challenges.

  • Rethinking The Way We Monetize Our Talents

    Dorie Clark is a marketing strategy consultant, professional speaker, and frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and others. Recognized as a branding expert by the Associated Press and Fortune, she is the author of Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future and Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea & Build a Following Around It, and the forthcoming Entrepreneurial You.

  • Can Theater Enable Community Transformation?

    Curt Columbus became Trinity Repertory Company’s fifth artistic director in January 2006, and under his direction the company has deepened its commitment to education. Columbus has strengthened the connection between Trinity’s education programs and its other unique feature, its resident acting company. Many Trinity company actors are passionate teachers, at the heart of Trinity's education programs.

  • The Principles And Practices Of Nonviolence Can Stop The Cycle Of Violence

    Teny Gross recently started the Institute for Nonviolence in Chicago, inspired by his work with the Boston Ceasefire framework and with Providence’s Institute for the Study & Practice of Nonviolence, which he launched and ran for 15 years. Gross’s foremost emphasis is on kindness and a determination that violence is a form of negative relationship, that it is rarely random, and therefore, can be transformed by positive relationships.

  • Giving Citizens A Voice In The Public Sector Through Technology

    Dustin Haisler is Chief Innovation Officer for e.Republic. In addition to shaping e.Republic's products, services, and future direction, he leads e.Republic Labs, a market connector created as an ecosystem to educate, accelerate, and ultimately scale technology innovation within the public sector.

  • Hard-Won Insights Gained Through Adversity

    Bob Cancalosi is one of 10 executives at GE Crotonville who is responsible for the company’s $1 billion annual investment in leadership development for its global employees and strategic customers. He currently leads GE’s Customer Leadership Education team at Crotonville.

    A 29-year GE veteran, Cancalosi has been a cultural transformation leader at GE Healthcare, where he led in building a culture of boundary-less collaboration. He has also led a Leadership Simplification effort at GE Corporate.

  • Drawing To Explain The 'How' And The 'Why'

    David Macaulay is perhaps best known for his award-winning international bestseller The Way Things Work. This highly accessible, visual guide to the workings of machines was dubbed “a superb achievement” by the New York Times. A new, almost completely updated version, The New Way Things Work, was released in 2016, with all new sections on the technology that most impacts our everyday lives today.

  • How 'Rebels And Heretics' Bring Value To Organizations

    Carmen Medina, co-author of Rebels At Work, spent 32 years as a 'heretic' at the Central Intelligence Agency. Medina believes that "heretics, mavericks, and rebels" at work provide organizations with the important early warning system they so desperately need.

    Since retiring from CIA in 2010, Medina has continued to write and speak about Rebels At Work, as well as analysis and strategic warning, the emergence of new global norms in the 21st century, the future culture of work, and cognitive diversity. She also blogs at

  • Leading The Challenge To Bring More STEM Teachers To Schools

    Talia Milgrom-Elcott is Executive Director and Co-Founder of 100Kin10, an unprecedented movement to train and retain 100,000 excellent STEM teachers by 2021. With 100Kin10, Milgrom-Elcott is building a new type of collective-impact effort, with more than 250 leading organizations from across sectors coming together to collaborate, learn from one another, and together tackle challenges that none could successfully address on its own.

    Milgrom-Elcott's work was called out as “the most important effort” in STEM teacher preparation by the New York Times in 2013, was celebrated onstage by President Clinton as his favorite commitment to come out of CGI America, and was applauded by President Obama in a personalized video address to the 100Kin10 network in 2014. In 2015, she was called a “leading STEM communicator” by the White House.

  • Mentoring Both Startups And Students In Innovation And Strategy

    For more than 25 years, Deb Mills-Scofield has helped companies create and implement actionable, adaptable, measurable, and profitable innovation-based strategies. She works with "startups and upstarts" — small, medium, and big global companies in the service, manufacturing, and high-tech sectors.

    She also mentors Brown University students in the Entrepreneurship Program, the Women's Launch Pad Program, the Social Innovation Fellowship, the Brown/RISD STEAM Initiative, and several student startups.

  • Helping Non-Geeks Understand The Rise Of Technology

    Veteran tech journalist Walt Mossberg announced in spring 2017 that he would be retiring within the year, after reinventing himself "five or six times" since starting his journalism career in 1970. At BIF2017 he will be interviewed by Richard Saul Wurman, author of UnderstandingUnderstanding.

  • We Need Tools And Skills To Innovate More Effectively

    Alexander Osterwalder is an entrepreneur, speaker and business model innovator. Together with Professor Yves Pigneur, he co-authored Business Model Generation, a global bestseller on the topic of business model innovation.

  • Intentionally Designing Patient And Caregiver Roles As Jobs

    For Len Schlesinger, entrepreneurship is a lifestyle — one that’s integral to the success of every 21st century leader. Formed from three decades of leadership expertise in industry and academia, this belief is a driving force of his work helping students and business professionals alike.

  • Music And Art Can Teach Us Creativity, Improvisation, And Complexity

    Carl Størmer's professional life has included both business and music. He has been an entrepreneur and held senior marketing, strategy, and management roles with a variety of businesses including IBM. He has been a professional jazz musician for many years, and has recorded five CDs.

    Størmer combined music and business in founding JazzCode, a consultancy that uses live musical improvisation to demonstrate collaboration, innovation, and creativity for professionals at organizations such as IBM, Kraft, Oracle, KPMG, Insead, Novartis, the London Business School, and others. In 2009, he co-authored the Harvard Business School case “Miles Davis: Kind of Blue” with Professor Robert D. Austin. Størmer holds bachelor's and master's degrees in music, as well as an MBA.

  • Creating New Ways to Bring Conversations About Diversity Into Schools

    Taliq Tillman is a junior at the Met High School in Providence, where he is driven by curiosity and his passion for learning. He is also an actor, photographer, and activist who strongly believes that empathy is his most powerful tool. He is currently an intern at Trinity Repertory Company's Education Department, where he assists in teaching classes, facilitating conversations, and planning curriculum. He is also a contributing writer for EdSurge.

  • It’s Time To Innovate The Public Sector

    Alan Webber co-founded Fast Company magazine with Bill Taylor and served as its editor until the publication was sold in 2000. Since moving to New Mexico in 2003, Webber has been active in New Mexico politics. In 2014, he ran for the Democratic nomination for Governor of New Mexico, finishing second in a field of five.

  • Combining Acting And Community Activism

    Joe Wilson, Jr. has been a member of the Trinity Repertory Company for 11 seasons. He has also appeared in productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and throughout the country.

    In his time at Trinity, Wilson has made significant contributions to the Providence community. He received the 2014 Volunteer of the Year Award from the Manton Avenue Project in Providence's Olneyville neighborhood, for recognition of his contributions as a guest artist, teacher, and board member.

  • Finding The Quest In The Question

    Described by Fortune magazine as an "intellectual hedonist" with a "hummingbird mind," architect and designer Richard Saul Wurman seeks ways to make the complex clear. His latest book, UnderstandingUnderstanding (to be published June 2017), is a book of examples and stories that give permission to embrace one's personal path to understanding. At BIF2017, Wurman will interview veteran tech journalist Walt Mossberg, who is retiring this year.