Join us on January 28th at 12pm PT.
Melissa L. Bradley is a co-founder of venture-backed Ureeka, a community where small businesses gain unprecedented access to the expertise needed to grow their business. The Ureeka mission is to democratize economic opportunity by enabling community and by reducing the cost and risk associated with growing a small to medium business (SMB). She is also founder and Managing Partner of 1863 Ventures, a business development program that accelerates New Majority entrepreneurs from high potential to high growth. In this role she created a community of over 10,000 New Majority entrepreneurs in three years. Melissa is a Venture Partner at NextGen Ventures and serves an advisor the New Voices Foundation and New Voices Fund, as well as the Halcyon Fund. She is also a member of the Square & Forbes Small Business Advisory Team, as well as the Target Accelerators Entrepreneurs Advisory Council. Melissa is the former Co-Chair, National Advisory Council for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and was recently named one of The Most Entrepreneurial Women Investors in 2018.
Melissa is a professor at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University where she teaches impact investing, social entrepreneurship, P2P economies and innovation. She recently received The Ideas Worth Teaching Award which celebrates exceptional courses that are preparing future business leaders to tackle society’s largest challenges and create a more inclusive, just, and sustainable version of capitalism. She is also a Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Sidecar Social Finance, a social impact agency that provides impact investing advisory and capital services to individuals, institutions, and social enterprises.
Melissa currently serves as board chair for My Way to Credit (MWTC) and board member for AEO. She is a Founding Advisor to the Dell Center for Entrepreneurs as well as a Senator with the Board of Governors at Georgetown University.
Melissa's educational background includes graduation from Georgetown University in 1989 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from the School of Business, and a Master’s degree in Business Administration in Marketing from American University in 1993.
Diana Williams is an award-winning multi-platform producer. She develops IP and produces creative content for distribution across all storytelling media. Throughout her career she has been at the forefront of working with emerging and established talent to ensure that all voices are included in the entertainment industry.
She produced the critically acclaimed feature film Our Song (directed by Jim McKay, starring Kerry Washington), and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. Other credits include Room 237, the Emmy© award-winning Sylvia Drew Ivie, Student Academy Award©-nominated Another First Step, Industrial Light & Magic: Creating the Impossible, Method to the Madness of Jerry Lewis, and Dear Mom Love Cher. Currently Diana is developing the cross-platform storyworld of The Gatecrashers, Nigerian fantasy Adorned by Chi, and biography of chef/restaurater Adventures in Starry Kitchen.
Diana also has a wide range of experience throughout the entertainment industry. She worked for BET as a production consultant on Let the Church Say Amen (director: Regina King), Gun Hill Road (creator/director: Reggie Rock Bythewood), and Untitled Kenya Barris Project (creator: Kenya Barris). She was the Creative Development and Franchise Producer at Lucasfilm within the team responsible for developing and maintaining narrative cohesion throughout the Star Wars universe. Most recently she was the EVP of Content at Madison Wells.
Diana is the Chairperson of the yet-to-be-announced new board for the Peabody Awards, and is a current member of the DGA and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). She is a graduate of Georgetown University.
Host, Author, Innovation Advocate
Chris Denson, innovation expert, Innovation Crush podcast host, and author of the #1 bestseller, Crushing the Box: 10 Essential Rules for Breaking Essential Rules, delivers keynotes that are informative, engaging and entertaining. He merges his experience advertising and marketing expertise, POV as an innovation expert, and his comedic talent to deliver memorable messages to audiences across industries, at home and abroad. He is also skilled at leading insightful conversations, moderating panels and providing continuity as the MC/host for conferences and workshops.