San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
- Can mass shooters be stopped?
- The neuroscience of human behavior
- Hacking for mental wellness
- Predicting crime through mathematical modeling
- Human flourishing
- The mind of a perpetrator
- Health Heroes - An on-demand emotional health and well-being service for students
- Gun By Guns - Crowdsourced gun buybacks
- Guns Dont Matter/Guns Matter - An experiment in empathy
- Street Mom - An app for deploying non-emergency mental crisis response teams
Joseph Subbiondo, "Higher Education's Role in Beloved Community"
George Gascón, District Attorney of the City and County of San Francisco
District Attorney Gascón was elected on an agenda to transform the criminal justice system and make San Francisco the safest large city in America. His approach to public safety and reform is based on the need to hold people accountable without breaking the wallets of California taxpayers. Throughout his thirty year career in law enforcement, he has successfully lowered crime in all his positions by taking a surgical approach to crime and offenders, seeking the right amount of intervention to change behavior and improve public safety.
He was co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of Runa, Inc, acquired by Staples in Sep 2013. Earlier, he founded Prio Inc. and served as its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer from early 1996 until Prio's merger with InfoSpace, and was subsequently as Chief Operating Officer and Board member of InfoSpace. Prior to this, he was part of the founding team and served as the Head of Worldwide Marketing, Business Development, Engineering and other functions at VeriFone and took it through its IPO (NYSE, $3B). Mr. Narasimhan was earlier the the Founding CEO of Wipro Infotech (NYSE, $ 28B) . He has been a Director on the Board of several companies in the US and India, primarily in the high tech and investment banking areas. He is an angel investor and an LP in leading VC firms in Silicon Valley. He is on the Board of Trustees for CIIS, the Board of the India Community Center (ICC) and other non-profit organizations. He holds an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management and a Bachelors Degree in Physics from Madras Christian College.
John Weiss, "Indirect Therapy - Hacking for Mental Health"
John Weiss is Director of the Bayview BOOM, a non-profit technology youth mentoring organization in a disadvantaged, violence-prone community in San Francisco, Bayview Hunters Point. John’s tech mentoring work integrates his formal education in Child Development, Psychology, Behavioral Biology, and Public Mental Health at the University of Massachusetts and Hampshire College, and personal encounters with mental illness. John grew up with a screwdriver in one hand, and a drumstick in the other. As a teen, he disassembled alarm clocks to find out how they work, and taught himself computer programming. His mentoring work is based on the idea that emotional wellness is created by healthy social relationships, and that violence can be prevented by cultivating problem-solving behaviors.
Dr. Denise Boston, "University and Community-based Collaboration: Partners in Community"
Dr. Denise Boston uses evidence-based art therapy to help children overcome trauma and socioeconomic disadvantage. EXA therapy supports social and emotional learning by enabling children to acquire the knowledge and skills they need to recognize and manage their emotions, demonstrate caring and concern for others, establish positive and cooperative relationships, make responsible decisions, and constructively handle challenging situations. Considerable research suggests that children’s participation in expressive arts therapy activities including dance, music, drama, writing, and artistic play positively correlates with higher academic performance and self-esteem, lessened incidence of dangerous and inappropriate behaviors, and more effective posttraumatic recovery.
Dr. Francis Kong MD, "The Journey Outside the Classroom"
Francis will talk about “The Journey Outside the Classroom”, covering the importance of one’s own life, the legacy you hope to leave behind, and three key values – Pride in your work, knowing your passion, and giving back and helping others.
After graduating from UC Berkeley, earning his MS at the University of San Francisco, and moonlighting as a video game reviewer and designer, Francis attended the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland.
Francis served as a lead healthcare technology and business consultant to operations such as Christus Health’s Strategic Planning Sector and Kaiser Permanente’s Innovation Center. In 2012, he founded the talent recruiting company, Edge Interns, which recruits motivated, focused, and team-oriented students in the areas of healthcare, business, and technology. Partnering with companies such as Salesforce and Health 2.0, he furthers the mission of helping students take pride in their work, find their passions, and help others along their life journey.
Dr. Frank Echenhofer, "Speculation about Future Self-Regulation Technologies"
Dr. Stephen Racunas, “Compassion Technology”
Rebecca Elliot, "Conquering Conflict"
A San Francisco native, Rebecca spent 15 years with 3M Company, Electronic Products Division, known for its technology innovation. During her tenure, she focused primarily on product development and new business development. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from California State University, Chico, and a master’s degree in Consciousness Studies from John F. Kennedy University, combining strong business acumen with an understanding of human psychological constructs.
She is interested in the intersection of technology with psychology, ecology, and consciousness, in service of uncovering solutions to today’s social and economic challenges. Rebecca is the founder of Earth Beauty Consciousness, a framework, a way of being, and a way of relating to the Earth through the dimension of Beauty, developed in response to the degradation of the natural world. She has presented her work to universities, and public and private organizations. She is published as a contributing author to the books Rebearths: Conversations with a World Ensouled; Storied Lives: Discovering and Deepening Your Personal Myth; and quoted as a subject-matter expert in Spit That Out: The Overly Informed Parent’s Guide to Raising Children in the Age of Environmental Guilt. She has also served as a documentary film story consultant, contributed blog articles, and given radio interviews on environmental awareness topics. Rebecca is the current Board Chair for the non-profit Earth Medicine Alliance. She provides executive coaching and consulting services through Elliott Coaching for both business development, and personal growth and development.
Jessica Berlinski, "If..." Social & Emotional Learning
Jessica Berlinski is Chief Learning Officer and Co-founder of If You Can, a San Francisco and London based company dedicated to building Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) skills in youth via a game platform. She joins Electronic Arts founder Trip Hawkins in creating the first scalable, entertaining digital tool to build emotional intelligence, address bullying and to promote the safe, supportive climates where skills like empathy, perseverance and responsible decision-making can thrive.
Berlinski last served as Managing Director of GameDesk, a national non-profit focused on educational transformation through play and making. She led business development, strategic partnerships, fundraising, and marketing, and was a key force behind GameDesk’s award of AT&T’s largest programmatic educational grant in history. Through her work at GameDesk, and as an invited member of the White House’s Academic Consortium on Games for Impact, she worked to promote social change through serious games.
Berlinski currently serves on the Sandy Hook Promise’s Tech Committee, dedicated to identifying and supporting new technologies to promote safe school climate, advances in mental health, and gun control. Prior to her non-profit work, she spent seven years as a Talent and Literary Manager in Los Angeles, CA.
Kristen Berman, “Behavioral Economics Approach to Pushing Through Policy Changes”
Kristen founded Irrational Labs (irrationallabs.org) with Dan Ariely to help companies understand and leverage behavioral economics – how and why people make the decisions they do. She works with clients such as Google, Intuit, Netflix, Lyft as well as disruptive startups to design and implement behavioral economics solutions to their urgent problems.
She personally experienced the need for behavior sciences in product development and marketing while designing household-name products at Intuit and Lytro and had huge success applying academic insights on human behavior to her own work. She’s built product management and marketing systems for small businesses and consumers, in domestic and international markets, for mobile and web, working on front and back end systems.
The core thread throughout this all is a deep passion for understanding why people behave the way they do and then building solutions that make their lives better.
When & Where
The Highground Hackers is a group of civic minded developers, technology executives, entrepreneurs, and investors working to connect engineering talent with non-technical experts in different fields of public concern.
Our mission is to ameliorate specific public issues by developing and deploying technology-based solutions, each built to address different facets of a target problem.
The goal is to facilitate and nurture the development of products and to deliver them quickly and efficiently into the hands of those that need them.
We do this by organizing uniquely structured Hackathons that bring together the brightest of engineering minds and experts in the target field of public concern. We nurture selected technologies and teams to deliver finished products by connecting engineers, products, investors and users within an incubation ecosystem.