Vinny Tafuro, Founder & Author
Vinny is a founder of the Institute for Economic Evolution. A polymath and curious by nature, he is a pioneering advocate for the twenty-first-century economy that is disrupting society’s rigid institutions and beliefs. Vinny’s economic and foresight projects explore the societal and economic shifts being catalyzed by human culture as a result of technology, corporate personhood, and evolving human cognition.
An engaging and energetic speaker, Vinny presents on a variety of topics both professionally and through community outreach. He enjoys an active and blended professional, academic, and personal life, selecting challenging projects that offer opportunities for personal and professional growth.
He is the author of Corporate Empathy and Unlocking the Labor Cage.
Melanie Hicks, PhD, Vice President, Education Solutions Group, MGT Consulting
Melanie Hicks has more than 18 years of education and public policy experience. Prior to joining MGT, Melanie served as Assistant Provost for the University of Tampa where she created UT’s first Office of Sponsored Programs, led campus wide faculty initiatives, and served as a member of the master planning and budgeting senior staff committee, responsible for 52 academic department budgets and millions in restricted funds.
Prior to joining UT, she founded InPursuit Consulting and Research Institute offering consulting on strategic planning, organizational development, grant writing/implementation, and advocacy volunteer training in the fields of entrepreneurial and small business, start-ups, and nonprofits.
Melanie also previously served as the Director of Research for the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida (ICUF), and concurrently as the Managing Director of the Florida Independent College Fund (FICF). Melanie began her career in local and state government policy advocacy working on behalf of clients in Miami-Dade and Tallahassee, Florida.
Juhi Kore, International Relations Researcher
Juhi Kore is a speaker, entrepreneur, and researcher who is a strong advocate for many different social, economic, political, and psychological causes. She is also the author of You Got This: How to Win at College, the most comprehensive guide to college success.
Juhi’s work focuses on community building in the impact space and she works with students and entrepreneurs from all over the world to help them pursue their impact journeys.
Juhi recently graduated with her Bachelor’s degree and plans to pursue her graduate education to answer the question “How can we make our cities happier?”.
Amanda Patanow, Strategist
Having grown up in family-owned businesses, Amanda Patanow recognizes the intrinsic value that business can bring to communities. Rather than disavowing profit as evil, she is passionate about helping businesses align profit with purpose so that they can do well while doing good.
Amanda has spent the last 20+ years fearlessly accomplishing the impossible with her combination of creative energy, strategic thinking, and passion for growth. Driven by the belief that she can achieve anything she puts her mind to, she has built startups, turned around failing businesses, and guided organizations through innovative approaches to growth and profitability. Put simply, Amanda specializes in creating value in new and unexpected ways.
A 13th generation Floridian, Amanda is dedicated to serving the Tampa Bay community in which she lives through voter education outreach, pro bono non-profit training, and teaching donation-based yoga classes.
Jamie Klingman, MBA, Serial Entrepreneur & Philanthropist
Jamie Klingman has 19+ years experience in business startup, growth/development, and exit strategies. She has a special interest in social enterprise and is pursuing her Doctorate of Business Administration in Social Impact Management. Jamie currently owns several companies in the real estate, business brokerage, publishing, and multimedia sectors and is always looking for the win-win.
Jamie has been recognized as a Lightning Community Hero, Greater Tampa Realtors Community Service Realtor of the Year, and the Network for Executive Women Woman of the Year. She is Immediate Past Chair to the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, founder of Athletes Who Care 501(c)(3), and is involved in many charitable efforts and boards.
Walter Fernando Balser, Ed.D., University of Denver
Walter Balser is a professor, writer, and creator, intersecting technology, learning and art. Most recently he served as a clinical professor at the University of Denver and founder of the Open Partnership Education Network (learnOPEN.org). Walter’s work is focused on the decentralization of the education space brought by the infusion of private capital in the quest for public good. His ideas intersecting society, learning, and technology have been featured in academic journals and popular outlets including the Huff Post, Wallethub, The Progressive, Diplomatic Courier, Hackernoon, Medium, EFL Magazine, and TedX.