Sponsored by
In Partnership with


Greg Stanton

Since taking office in 2012, Mayor Greg Stanton has worked tirelessly to build a modern economy that works for every Phoenix family.  By boosting trade with Mexico, investing in the biosciences, and lifting up local small business, Stanton is leading the way to create an innovation based, export economy built to last, and is passionate about growing the local tech ecosystem in the Valley.

Stanton attended Marquette University on the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, and earned a law degree from the University of Michigan. Before he was elected mayor in 2011, Stanton served nine years on the City Council and as Arizona’s Deputy Attorney General. He and his wife, Nicole, who is a prominent local attorney, are both working parents of two young children.​

Lawdan Shojaee

Lawdan Shojaee is used to breaking boundaries. As the CEO of Axosoft, she has become one of the few women in the Phoenix Valley to head a tech company. She has a doctorate in Physical Therapy, and over 800 hours logged at the controls of a single-engine plane. She is passionate about paving the way for women in the tech, which is why her company created the viral campaign #itwasneveradress. Lawdan also believes strongly in equipping the next generation with the skills they need to be successful in life; meaning a curriculum of programming, confidence building, and entrepreneurship!

Lauren McBurnett (Miss Gilbert 2015)

Early in her childhood, Lauren was diagnosed as dyslexic and struggled daily with reading and writing. She persisted through her learning-disorder, was homeschooled, and graduated with her BSE in Civil Engineering at 18 & MS in Environmental Engineering at 20. Lauren fell in love with how STEM changes people’s lives while building houses for the homeless in Mexico. Desiring to empower other women to become leaders in STEM, Lauren joined the Miss America Organization and placed as 3rd runner up to Miss Arizona 2014. Lauren is currently pursuing her dream of becoming a teacher as a Civil Engineering PhD student.

Kaitlin Vortherms (Miss Phoenix 2015)

Kaitlin chose engineering because she wanted to design, build and change the world around her but never felt like she fit in. Kaitlin’s misfit experiences & international travels became the fuel for her passion as a STEM advocate, education & industry reformer. She graduated with her BSE in Civil Engineering in 2014 and is currently pursuing her PhD in Sustainable Engineering. She has embraced entrepreneurship and her experience as Miss Phoenix 2015 as a way to conquer her fears, build confidence and find a voice for change.

Tania Katan

Tania Katan is an award-winning author and performer who believes in storytelling at all costs! Katan has performed her stories at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, NPR, Comedy Central Stage, TEDx, and more. Her work has been written about in Huffington Post, TIME, BuzzFeed, GLAMOUR, New York Times, and others. Formerly a Curator of Literary and Performing Arts at SMoCA, Katan made the audacious leap into technology and is currently instigating the #itwasneveradress campaign at Axosoft, because every rock star company needs a punk!

David Dodge

David Dodge is a veteran video game developer, game designer, and software architect having worked for nearly a decade at Sega of America, Cyclone Studios, and 3DO, and having designed and launched Tutorware, a business management software for tutoring and test prep companies. In 2014, David founded CodaKid, a computer science and game design academy focused exclusively on courses for children from the age of 6-14.

Hilary Weber

Hilary Weber is passionate about mission-driven companies and their leaders, especially in the early/innovative stages of business growth, with a particular focus on women leaders, technology and healthcare. She founded her boutique consulting company, Opportu, in 2012. Her mission is to enable company leaders and teams to create high-impact enterprises that develop and sustain strong cultures and long-term innovation. Hilary is a Berkeley-Haas MBA, seasoned business leader, leadership consultant, experienced professional coach and healthcare veteran. She is also a venture advisor and Board member at SkyDeck (U.C. Berkeley’s accelerator). She has presented at national conferences and has written many print and online articles. She is currently working on her first book.

Evan Clark

Evan is an organizational leader and entrepreneur with experience founding, managing, and governing organizations dedicated to changing the world. Recently he served as Director of Outreach for the James Woods for Congress campaign and Chair of the national Secular Student Alliance Board of Directors. Currently he is exploring how to use technology to make buying a home stress free and how to use radical experiences to inspire large scale action for complex social issues.

Melissa Medvin

Melissa Medvin is the Associate Director of Arizona Regional Office of the Anti-Defamation League, and has developed and delivered anti-bias education, including Holocaust curriculum, throughout the state of Arizona. Through the ADL, Melissa has created, organized, implemented and evaluated premier events and educational programs for students, teachers, administration, and community partners. Her No Place For Hate project, which addressed issues of bullying, racism and hatred in Valley schools, was one of the finalists for Shine On.

Sara Breeding

Sara Breeding is a Summa Cum Laude graduate from Arizona State University, trained in Marketing at the W.P. Carey School of Business and Design Studies Management at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. She has united her passions to bring a creative spirit and analytical mindset to all her marketing projects. Her attention to detail has brought her great success in managing small, medium, and Fortune 500 client accounts and relationships. Today, she is the Marketing Unicorn at Axosoft where she co-created the #ItWasNeverADress campaign and works on everything from content strategy to search engine optimization to social media management.

Hilary Harp

Trained in sculpture at Parsons School of Design (BFA), Tyler School of Art (MFA), and at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Hilary Harp creates sculptures, installations and media projects which explore new hybrid forms, and challenge categories, particularly categories of high and low, male and female, technology and craft. Harp has exhibited her work widely nationally and internationally since 1995. Since 2003 she has collaborated with Suzie Silver on a range of projects. Their videos have screened at over one hundred festivals on four continents and are distributed by the Video Data Bank. Harp’s awards include a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, a Heinz Creative Heights Grant, and an Arizona Commission on the Arts Project Grant.  She has been awarded residencies at The Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown, RI, Kohler Center for Arts/Industry in Sheboygan, WI and Djerassi Resident Artist Program in Woodside, CA.  Recent projects have begun to integrate interactivity and data-visualization in sound-sculptures. Harp is an Associate Professor of sculpture at Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ.