John Maeda is an American executive spearheading a new convergence across the design and technology industries. He currently advises dozens of technology businesses as a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers -- a world-leading venture capital firm in Silicon Valley. An internationally recognized speaker and author, Maeda’s books include The Laws of Simplicity, Creative Code, and Redesigning Leadership. He has appeared as a speaker all over the world, from Davos to Beijing to São Paulo to New York, and his talks for TED.com have received cumulative views of over 2 million to date.

Maeda was the 16th President of Rhode Island School of Design where as chief executive he brought technology industry partnerships, lean operations management, and a relentless focus on diversity to help the institution regain its former leading position in the new economy. During his presidency, he received Tribeca Film Festival’s Disruptive Innovation Award for catalyzing the national movement to transform STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) into STEAM by adding art as a priority area. Maeda was also the recipient of the White House’s National Design Award, the Blouin Foundation’s Creative Leadership Award, the AIGA Medal, the Raymond Loewy Foundation Prize, the Mainichi Design Prize, the Tokyo Type Director’s Club Prize, and induction into the Art Director’s Club Hall of Fame. Maeda’s early work for print and the computer was accessioned into the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, and his contemporary art has been showcased in solo exhibitions in Paris, Los Angeles, Tokyo, London, San Francisco, and NYC.

Maeda holds degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT, an MBA from Arizona State University, and a PhD from University of Tsukuba in Japan. He can be found on Twitter discussing technology, business and design at @johnmaeda, one of TIME Magazine’s 140 Best Twitter Feeds.

Hailed by Rolling Stone as “a genre unto herself,” composer and guitarist Kaki King is a true iconoclast. Over the past 10 years the Brooklyn-based artist has released 8 extraordinarily diverse and distinctive albums (from which B-sides & Rarities has been largely culled), performed with such icons as Foo Fighters, Timbaland, and The Mountain Goats, contributed to a variety of film and TV soundtracks including Golden Globe-nominated work on Sean Penn’s “Into The Wild” and “August Rush”, and played to an increasingly fervent following of music lovers on innumerable world tours.

In addition to her own solo work, Kaki frequently collaborates with NYC-based string quartet ETHEL. In 2014 she performed a Carnegie Hall premiere of a classical piece commissioned by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang. And she has recently been commissioned to create an evening of new music with composer John King for the Ecstatic Music Festival.

 

Lauded by such music greats as Prince, Patti LaBelle, Bill Withers, Smokey Robinson, and Stevie Wonder, Ledisi is a singer’s singer. She proudly calls herself a R&B artist, but continues to step outside the genre-defining boxes set forth by the music industry. Since she first came onto the R&B scene in 2000, Ledisi has been wowing fans and earning critical acclaim, receiving nine Grammy nominations to date.

 

But Ledisi is much more than a singer- she is an advocate for the arts- an educator, author, entrepreneur, philanthropist, songwriter, producer, and innovator. Ledisi has performed at the White House for the President and Mrs. Obama no fewer than nine times, earning her a place in the pantheon of the best soul singers of her generation. 

 

She first began performing publicly at age eight with the New Orleans Symphony Orchestra. She studied classical music and jazz at New Orleans Center for Creative Arts | Riverfront (NOCAA), which is Louisiana’s premier arts training center for high school students and also a 2006 recipient of the Public Leadership in the Arts Award for Excellence in Arts Programs for Youth.

She was nominated for a Shellie Award in 1990 for her performance in a production of The Wiz and performed in an extended run with the San Francisco cabaret troupe, Beach Blanket Babylon. She studied opera and piano for five years at University of California Berkeley in its Young Musicians Program. She portrayed legendary gospel singer Mahalia Jackson in the Oscar-nominated Martin Luther King, Jr. 2014 biopic film, Selma.

Throughout her career, she has never forgotten her New Orleans roots or the opportunity to give back to support its re-emergence after Hurricane Katrina.

Ledisi currently serves as an ambassador for the San Francisco Chapter of The Recording Academy and has participated in Grammys on the Hill. Earlier this year, Ledisi joined Kerry Washington, Hill Harper, and John Legend as a recipient of The Artist Advocacy Award presented by The United States Conference of Mayors and Americans for the Arts.