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Journey to Forbes 30 under 30: Learning from the honorees

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Join us to network and learn from a panel of Forbes 30 Under 30 honorees! Learn their story and how they made it on the list.

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Disclaimer: This event is not affiliated with Forbes or Forbes Under 30.

Panelists:

1. Kyleigh Russ - Co-founder and COO of Govern for America

Kyleigh is co-founder and COO of Govern for America. Govern for America imagines a world where our most dynamic young leaders see government as an avenue for meaningful change, and our government reflects the values and diversity of our nation. GFA is making this vision a reality through our Govern for America Fellowship where fellows work in government on strategic priorities and innovative projects and bring their skills to bear on the most pressing challenges facing our communities. Over the course of their 2 year placement, our GFA helps train, inspire, and empower recent graduates to dismantle systemic inequities, build more inclusive public systems, and create a more effective government. Whether our Fellows are combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, working to end mass incarceration, or expanding access to high-quality pre-K, our Fellows are showing that government is where we see leadership in action. As co-founder and COO, Kyleigh leads the Fellow recruiting and selection process, managing the internal operations and team, and strategic and government partnerships development. Prior to co-founding GFA, Kyleigh taught at a charter school in Boston where she saw firsthand how policy decisions and government programs can impact underrepresented communities without a voice at the table. She decided to launch GFA to help change the hiring system from one built on connections and networking to one where the most exceptional candidates from all backgrounds and communities get the chance to create the world in which they want to live. She holds an AB in Government from Harvard University and an MPA from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

2. Ouriel Lemmel - CEO at WinIt

Few things are more annoying than getting a parking or traffic ticket. WinIt founder Ouriel Lemmel knows this better than anyone. After incurring multiple tickets, he decided in 2015 to build an app that would make it easier for people to challenge them. WinIt has been downloaded more than half a million times and processed over 700,000 tickets, saving over $10 million worth of tickets on behalf of its users. Without raising a single VC dollar, WinIt has grown to millions in revenue in four years.

3. Vanessa Luna - Co-Founder and Chief Program Officer of ImmSchools

Vanessa Luna is the Co-Founder and Chief Program Officer of ImmSchools, an immigrant led nonprofit that transforms K-12 schools into safe and welcoming spaces for immigrant and undocumented students and families. She immigrated to the U.S. at the age of ten from Peru and grew up undocumented in NY. In 2014, she joined Teach for America as a DACAmented teacher and taught in Los Angeles and New York City, where she witnessed the high need to support the undocumented immigrant community within our schools. In 2019, she was selected as Forbes 30 under 30 in Education and an inaugural TIME 100 Next listmaker for her work and leadership in developing inclusive schools for immigrant families. She is a nationally recognized leader in the intersection of immigration and education, and has been featured in The New York Times, ABC Nightline and Fast Company. Vanessa is inspired by her parents and the immigrant community to fight for educational equity and immigrant justice. She currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.

4. Ahmed Kord - Senior RFIC Design Engineer at Qualcomm

Ahmed Kord received B.S. and M.S. degrees from Cairo University, Giza, Egypt, in 2011 and 2014, respectively, and a Ph.D. degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA, in 2019, all in electrical engineering with highest honors. In December 2019, he was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 in Science for his contributions to the development of magnet-free circulators for future wireless communications.

In the summers of 2015 and 2018, he was with Intel Labs, Hillsboro, OR, USA, as a Research Scientist then with Qualcomm Inc., Boxborough, MA, USA, as an RF Engineer, respectively. From December 2016 to August 2017, he was with Eureka Aerospace Inc., Pasadena, CA, USA, as a part-time consultant. From May 2019 to June 2020, he was with Columbia University, New York, NY, USA, as a Postdoctoral Research Scientist. He is currently with Qualcomm Inc., San Diego, CA, USA, as a Senior RFIC Design Engineer.

Dr. Kord is a coauthor of more than 30 scientific papers published in top-tier journals and conference proceedings. He is also a coinventor of two patents, one of which is licensed to the U.S. startup company, Silicon Audio/RF Circulator, Austin, TX, USA. He is also a recipient of many prestigious academic awards, including the Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship, the IEEE MTT-S Graduate Fellowship, the IEEE AP-S Doctoral Research Award, the Graduate Student Excellence Award, the Graduate Dean’s Fellowship, the Douglas Wilson Fellowship, the Undergraduate Student Excellence Award, and several travel fellowships and first place awards in different student paper, poster, and design competitions.

Outside the realm of exact science, Dr. Kord enjoys reading in philosophy, psychology, politics, and history, listening to music, watching movies, TV shows, and Japanese anime, playing soccer and chess, jogging, hiking, and hanging out with friends.

5. Brendan Gahan - Partner & Chief Social Officer at Mekanism

Brendan Gahan is Partner & Chief Social Officer at independent creative agency Mekanism, leading the agency’s social division.

Gahan has been at the forefront of social & influencer marketing since 2006, developing social campaigns for brands such as Mountain Dew, Unilever, Amazon, 20th Century Fox, and The Olympics. Brendan was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2012 and his agency was recognized as Digiday’s Digital Video Agency of the year in 2017.

Gahan is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur and has recently been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, The Guardian, and Ad Age for his expertise on social media platforms, the rise of dark social and influencer marketing.

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