From futurists to entrepreneurs, last year's eclectic mix of speakers expanded our horizons and broadened our perspectives.
Xenia Tchoumi – Digital Influencer
Xenia Tchoumi is a digital fashion entrepreneur with a degree in economics. Through her speaking engagements, including a UN speech and two TEDx talks on women’s empowerment and how to overcome prejudice through the internet, she has highlighted the importance of advocacy for women’s rights. Xenia has seven million followers on social media. The Londoner is one of the leading digital influencers in Europe and USA, and constantly works with numerous fashion brands. She's also a writer and a digital branding consultant.
Dr. Luka Müller-Studer – Blockchain Legal Expert
Dr. Luka Müller-Studer, is co-founder of MME in Zug. He has been at the forefront of the blockchain revolution, helping numerous start-ups build their legal foundations in Switzerland. Currently he is working on creating a universal denotation system for cryptocurrencies to help lawmakers around the world make informed and accurate legislation regarding the future of Blockchain based technologies and financial instruments.
Mel Wells – Bestselling Author, Forbes Under 30, Eating Psychology Coach
Mel Wells is Hay House's youngest published author, and wrote the Bestselling Book 'The Goddess Revolution: Make Peace With Food, Love Your Body and Reclaim Your Life', hailed by OK magazine, 'the new body bible for women'. She is the UK's leading Eating Psychology Coach, helping women to dig deep to the bottom of what they are really hungry for, beneath our cravings or any emotional or dysfunctional patterns surrounding food and weight, so they can radically transform not just their habits, but their lives. Mel works with women via her online programs and on her hugely popular retreats in Bali twice a year. Her second book, 'Hungry For More', will be released worldwide in April 2018.
Mel has been featured in Forbes Under 30, Women's Health, Cosmopolitan, and has been voted No. 1 Young Female Entrepreneur to Watch in the UK by About Time Magazine. She is a huge TED fan, and is beyond excited to be making her TEDx debut in Switzerland this year.
Bejay Mulenga – Founder of Supa Academy
Bejay Mulenga is an award winning entrepreneur aged 21, who just recently won an award from Her Majesty the Queen for Enterprise Promotion and became the youngest person to do so in the process.
He founded Supa Tuck at 14 years old, a franchise of student run tuck shops in schools, which taught students how to run and operate their own tuck shops in school whilst studying for their GCSE Business studies as a form of work based training. Over four years years, Supa Tuck had grown to over 100 schools and 5,000 students. Aged 18, Bejay decided to remodel and evolve Supa Tuck into Supa Academy as as response to wanting to go more direct to young people outside of school and in the early years of their careers across the UK with solutions to their problems. Supa Academy is a training provider for humans that make, hack, do and sell. Focusing on human acceleration - delivering cross-sector, practice-based learning experiences -
providing unparalleled access and enterprise opportunity. Clients and corporate backers of Supa
Academy have included brands such as Facebook, Barclays, River Island, Pepsi Max and EE.
Away from Supa brand Bejay has consulted on for Google, Nike, UBER and Disney both direct
and with larger media agencies. Talent scouted for Syco Music, managed musicians and influencers.
Contracted as an Investment Advisor for a large VC firm.
Jacques Pitteloud – Former Swiss Ambassador
Jacques Pitteloud was born 1962 in Zürich. He holds a PhD in Law from the University of Zürich and a Postgraduate in Security Policy from ITC Geneva. He is currently the Director General of the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He has held various jobs in the Swiss Civil Service for the past 30 years, notably as an Intelligence Coordinator for the Federal Council, as an Ambassador for Security Policy and Disarmament and as a Swiss Ambassador to Kenya. Jacques Pitteloud is married with one daughter.
Valentine Thomas – Globetrotting Spearfisher
Valentine is a trained lawyer in Canada and worked in finance in London for 6 years. Freediving Instructor with PADI, professional traveller, accomplished chef, advocate of sustainable eating, she quit her well-paid job in London to travel the world to fish and hunt with locals in order to eat the best food, caught by herself, looking at her deepest fears in the eyes.
Brendan Alper – Founder of Hater
Brendan Alper is Founder and CEO of Hater, a hybrid between a dating app and a social network that connects people based on their mutual dislikes. Hater went viral internationally when it launched in February 2017. Prior to founding Hater, Brendan spent six years as an operational risk manager at Goldman Sachs and Nomura. He originally quit finance to become a comedy writer, which is where the idea for Hater originated from. Alper graduated from Brown University in 2009, where he studied mathematical economics. He resides in Brooklyn, New York, where Hater is also based.
Hosam Katan – Syrian War Journalist
Hosam Katan (born in Aleppo 1994) started working as a photojournalist for Aleppo Media Center from October 2012. Between 2013 and 2015, he covered the conflict in Aleppo as a freelance photographer for Reuters as well. His pictures have been published in numerous international magazines. He is currently studying photojournalism at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Hannover. Hosam has received eight international awards for photography, including the grand prize at the IAFOR Documentary Photography Award 2015 and the PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris 2017. With his in-depth experience, Hosam aims to give you a unique perspective on the conflict in Syria. Sharing his story with you, he will open up a wide spectrum of conflicting and contrasting emotions and experiences of what life has been like for people in their hometown of Eastern Aleppo since the beginning of war.
Loulou Van Ravensteijn – Business Consultant in Data Science & AI
Loulou Van Ravensteijn is a versatile entrepreneur who has worked in startup businesses related to artificial intelligence, big data, bioinformatics, air quality improvements and various sustainable processes. The diversity of her work stems from her lifelong passion for impactful technologies of the future, which has taken her from bachelor degrees in political science and future planet studies to masters degrees in urban environmental management and in business administration. Loulou is dedicated to rigorously exploring the best application of innovation for improving living conditions. Her aim in the matter is to function as a bridge between technological experts and the general public.
Rosanne and Madeline Stuart – First Globally Successful Down Syndrome Model & Her Mother
Rosanne Stuart is one determined fighter. She’s had to be – ever since her only child Madeline was born 21 years ago with Down syndrome, she has faced prejudice and many battles to raise her daughter to be the best version of herself. Now Madeline is the world’s only successful professional model with Down syndrome, running for several brands at different occasions such as New York Fashion Week.
Mark Adams – Vice President and Head of Innovation at VICE
Mark Adams is Vice President and Head of Innovation at VICE, which has come from humble beginnings as a print magazine to digitally transform into a 5 billion dollar youth media empire. Mark's sessions are a raw, honest and often humorous look at the state of modern marketing. Mark argues passionately that we need to rediscover authentic brand strategy if we are to cut through and grow market share with the elusive millennial audience.
Victor Morgan – Winner: Bring Your Voice!
Victor is a student who spent his exchange semester in Brazil. During his backpacking trip he joined two dentists who installed dental prostheses for people in need. This project is called “Sonrisas sin Fronteras” (Smiles without Borders). While two dentists took care of the teeth, Victor drew homeless people he met on the road and collected their stories. His dream is to draw a 1000 goats for the people and set a world record. As a winner of the “Bring Your Voice” contest he hopes to see all of you on the 2nd of December and share his amazing experience.
Christopher Mbanefo – Founder & CEO YASAVA
Christopher Mbanefo is an entrepreneur, aerospace engineer and professional pilot, but prefers to describe himself as a humble seeker of wisdom and peace.
Having specialized and worked on various programs in advanced aerodynamics and flight testing, he started creating innovative business models in aviation as well as being one of the pioneers in renewable energy solutions in Africa. While his Swiss company YASAVA, is currently disrupting the aviation industry with innovative cabin designs and seating technologies, Christopher is developing radical new approaches and business models for sustainable human activities with the power to contribute to the reversal of climate change.
Jessica Graf – Passionate Social Innovator
Jessica is passionate about social innovation, and how it could change the world for the better. A ferrywoman between those who care about doing good and those who care about doing well, she goes and unearths new ways to solve old social and environmental problems, and gathers more people and resources to spread them wider and faster. What she came to realize over the years is that – while the innovations exist, and they do change people’s lives, they spread nowhere as fast as they could or should. And the root cause for this does not lie in the lack of money or interest… it lies in human psychology and how we relate to each other. During her talk, she will show how the biggest bottleneck lies perhaps within us, making it both simple and challenging to solve.
Pete Blackshaw - VP of Digital & Social Media Nestlé
Pete Blackshaw is the Vice President of Digital and Social Media at Nestlé, S.A. based in Switzerland. In addition to helping shape digital strategy for Nescafe, Kit Kat, Purina, and hundreds of other Nestle brands, Pete oversees Nestle’s industry-recognized Digital Acceleration Team (DAT) as well as the Silicon Valley Innovation Outpost (SVIO). He is author of a book by Doubleday entitled “Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3000: Running a Business in Today’s Consumer-Driven World,” and periodically authors columns in Advertising Age centered around the book’s themes. Pete founded PlanetFeedback.com, one of the web’s first consumer-feedback portals, and co-founded the Word-of-Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA). He recently served as Chairman of the Board of the National Council of Better Business Bureaus and in that capacity sat on the National Advertising Review Council. He’s a 2015 Mediapost “Online All Star” Winner, a 2014 inductee of the World of Mouth Marketing Hall of Fame, and a 2010 Grand Prize winner of the “Great Minds” award from the Advertising Research Foundation.