Women Leaders in Innovation and Impact for an Inclusive Society: Women’s Economic Forum Awards Announcement
Following on from our announcement and launch at Davos in January this year, the WEF and SMARTlab are honoured to announce the award-winners in global women’s leadership at the United Nations General Assembly 2020!
The Women Economic Forum seeks out women leaders who will inspire the next generation in real world action with positive social impact.
The speakers in this session have achieved phenomenal success in both large and small ways, contributing across disciplines, spheres, countries, cultures and languages to make the achievements and possibilities for women, and for girls to become women leaders, more and more visible.
The session will end with the nomination of new awardees: watch this space. .. .
AGENDA Women Leaders in Innovation
Co-chairs: Professor Lizbeth Goodman, SMARTlab, University College Dublin & Winner WEF Woman of the Decade 2020 & Dr Harbeen Arora, Founder and CEO, WEF Women
Awardees to speak include:
–Dr Mae Jemison, the first African-American astronaut to go into space with NASA
–Mei Lin Fung, Director of the People Centred Internet
–Meera Gandhi, Director of the Giving Back Foundation
–Dr Sara Diamond, President, Ontario College of Art & Design
–Cheryl L’Hirondelle, Expert on Radical Inclusivity, Sonic Survivance & Singer-songwriter/scholar
–Prof Loretta Todd,.Métis Cree Canadian film director, producer, activist, storyteller, and writer.
–Julia Jackson, Founder of Grounded
–Prof Jacki Morie, XPrize
–Ylva Hansdotter, XR Impact
–Dr Nimit Bas
–Prof Fatima Bouabdelli, Moroccan changemaker for North African Women
–Dr Maureen Concannon, World expert on the Sheela na gig
–Tara Baoth Mooney, Inclusive Designer for the Elders
–Dr Sapna Ramnani, FIlm-maker and Disability Rights Advocate
–Alix O’Hara, Founder of Mashblox
–Cassandra Collins, Microsoft
Alix O’HaraConscious Capitalist & Futurist (Australia) Inventor, Founder, CEO of Masbblox
Alix is a young innovator and inspiration to women inventors everywhere. She is a CEO | Conscious Capitalist | Candidate for Kurrajong at Australian Climate Change Justice Party. She believes that if any enterprise is just a scalable, profitable solution to a common problem, then it follows that our most significant global challenges are also our greatest commercial opportunities.
She designs scalable, evidence-based commercial solutions to some of our greatest nutrition-based population health challenges; namely concerning infant obesity intervention, and aged care malnourishment.
Both pivot on methods and insights enabled by her patented, multi-award winning invention and foundation technology Mashblox(R), an elegantly simple but unique self-feeding tool.
Alix has used Mashblox to engage leading experts from four Universities worldwide with her pioneering thesis that ‘How we are taught to eat, and how much, is at least as important to health outcomes as What we eat’. She is currently preparing to undertake a practice-based PhD on this subject, whilst promoting Mashblox for the future of all children’s and families’ health.
Cassandra CollinsPrincipal UX Design Director, Microsoft, USA
Cassandra is a Principal UX Design Director at Microsoft in the Studio Alpha team:an elite Azure initiative that aims to empower and solve complex planet-scale massive data problems using simulation and Artificial Intelligence run in the Cloud and visualized using Game Technology. Specifically, she supports engineering, user research and product teams using a combination of Human-centred design processes, User Experience, and Inclusive Design methodology in developing a unified simulation platform to support multiple projects across a wide cross section of industries such as defense, industrial, space and others.
Cassandra leverages empathy, divergent thinking, agility and creativity at the core to unlock new opportunities, experiences, scenarios to deliver “Serious Gaming” solutions.
Her passion focuses on building connections and awareness between design, cultural insights, human behaviours and technology. Her research interests lies at the crossroads of human need, inclusion, game play, AI and accessibility for all. Specifically, how can AI and game can create personal experiences and break down exclusion by assisting humans to better detect, interact, and adapt to behavioural patterns for people living with or prone to learning disabilities, uniquely autism. By breaking down exclusions and innovating for people with disabilities, we are intentionally and compassionately opening the door and insight for all people and all experiences.
She holds 2 Masters degrees in Fine Arts and 3D Communication Design (User Experience). With over 20 years in designing video game, entertainment and technology, Cassandra believes that building great design solutions and experiences first begin by focusing on and understanding people, their inspirations, human behaviours and interactions.
Cheryl L’HirondelleSonic Survivance (Six Treaty, CREE-Metis, Land now known as Canada)
Cheryl L’Hirondelle (Cree/Halfbreed; German/Polish) is an interdisciplinary artist, singer/songwriter and critical thinker from the land now known as Canada. Her work investigates and articulates the dynamism of a Cree worldview in contemporary time-place incorporating audio, video, VR, olfactory, music and audience/user participation to create immersive environments towards ‘radical inclusion’.
As a songwriter, L’Hirondelle’s focus is on both employing Indigenous languages, song-forms along with deep listening and personal narrative songwriting as methodologies toward survivance.
Cheryl is the recipient of two imagineNATIVE New Media Awards (2005 and 2006), two Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards (2006 and 2007) and is a longstanding member of the OCAD University Indigenous Education Council. She is currently completing a PhD with SMARTlab/UCD, in Ireland, as a recipient of the prestigious Irish Research Council Enterprise Partnership Scholarship
Fatima BouabdelliSafetyNET (Morocco)
Professor Bouabdelli has worked for many years inspiring women at the Université Cadi Ayyad in Marrakech, Morocco. Her academic scholarship has informed the field of women’s contributions to the art, culture and education of North Africa, and her volunteer work spans support for young girls and women from all walks of life, including her inspirational and dedicated support of the Safetynet project in Morocco for the past decade. In 2020 she was selected to join the AERAP group on Women in Science, Technology and Society.
Harbeen AroraFounder and CEO, WEF Women
Thought Leader, Global Icon & Visionary for Women, Businesswoman, Philanthropist, Author, Humanitarian, Spiritual Seeker and Compelling Speaker, Dr. Harbeen Arora manifests multifaceted leadership with strength & simplicity.
She is the Global Chairperson, ALL Ladies League (ALL) & Women Economic Forum (WEF)
Founder President, Women’s Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (WICCI)
Chancellor, Rai University, India
Among Top 100 Most Reputable People on Earth (Reputation Poll 2019), India
Harriet Mayor FulbrightLegendary Leader of the Decade
Professor Fulbright is the second wife, and widow, of United States Senator J. William Fulbright of the Fulbright Foundation. She was the former Executive Director of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities under President Bill Clinton.
She served previously as President of the J. William & Harriet Fulbright College from its foundation In 2006 as a non-profit dedicated to promoting peace through international education and furthering her late husband’s legacy.
Her first overseas experience was at the age of 14, when she travelled to Colombia for a summer study program. She continued her education at Radcliffe College, the women’s college counterpart to Harvard University, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in 1955. In 1975, Fulbright earned her MFA from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Fulbright also served previously as an “unofficial ambassador” for the Fulbright Program and for decades, gave invited speeches at events ranging from university commencements to milestone anniversaries for Fulbright Commissions around the world.
She has previously served on the advisory board of the Alliance for Peacebuilding.
She is also known as a creative practitioner and scholar, and as a key role model to women and to learners and educators worldwide.
As a result of her status as an international figure of peace and education, she has received many awards, honorary degrees and accolades throughout her long and prestigious career including several Honourary PhDs, and most recently, the prestigious Ulysses MEDAL from University College Dublin. The UCD Ulysses Medal is the highest honour that the university can bestow. It was inaugurated in 2005, as part of the university’s sesquicentennial celebrations, to highlight the ‘creative brilliance’ of UCD alumnus James Joyce. It is awarded to individuals whose work has made an outstanding global contribution.
This Award goes to Professor Harriet Mayor Fulbright: a role model, leader, and visionary for the future of global education!
Jacki MorieFounder of ALL these Worlds
Jacquelyn Ford Morie is an artist, scientist and educator working in the areas of immersive worlds, games and social networks. Until 2013 she was a Senior Research Scientist at the Institute for Creative Technologies. In 2013 she started a spin-off company called All These Worlds, to take her work in virtual worlds and avatars to a broader audience.
Morie was formally trained as an artist and medical illustrator but ultimately decided to pursue fine art. Her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art was awarded cum laude by Florida Atlantic University in 1981. She next received a Master’s degree in Fine Art from the University of Florida in 1984, studying with noted photographer Jerry Uelsmann.
She studied computer graphics at the University of Florida, under Professor John Staudhammer and received her Masters in Computer Science from University of Florida in 198. Morie received her PhD from SMARTlab at the University of East London in 2008 in immersive environments.
After graduation, Morie helped develop the Computer Graphic Design and Computer Animation programs at the Ringling College of Art and Design (1988–1989) .
Seeking to create new forms of artwork in the emerging field of virtual reality, Morie accepted a researcher position at the Visual System Lab (VSL) at University of Central Florida in Orlando, FL. The VSL Lab, under the direction of J. Michael Moshell, was part of the Institute for Simulation and Training. During her time here (1990–1994) she worked on virtual reality projects for the State of Florida and the United States Army Research Laboratory.
Together with fellow researcher Mike Goslin, Morie created a VR artwork entitled Virtopia. Virtopia debuted at the 1992 Florida Film Festival, making it the first VR Artwork to be premièred at such a venue. It was shown in a more mature form at the 1993 Florida Film Festival and at SIGGRAPH 1994’s emerging tech venue, The Edge.
From 1994 – 1997 Morie was head of Computer technical and artistic training for Walt Disney Feature Animation (WDFA). She developed a comprehensive year-long apprenticeship for incoming computer graphic animators. She followed this with development of similar programs for the computer graphics effects industry, at VIFX, Blue Sky Studios and Rhythm and Hues Studios.
While working at WDFA, Morie was invited to take part in a 1996 National Research Council workshop entitled Modeling and Simulation: Linking Entertainment and Defense, held at the Beckman Laser Institute in Irvine, CA. This workshop was documented in a National Research Council publication of the same name.
The workshop led to the eventual formation of the Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT) at the University of Southern California in 1999. In 2000, Morie joined the ICT staff as a researcher in Virtual Worlds. 
Her initial work at the ICT focused on the creation of meaningful multi-sensory, virtual environments. Two basic developments in this work included the design and use of an infrasonic floor to produce a subconscious “emotional score” for the virtual experience, and the invention of a scent collar that was patented in 2004. 
Morie’s recent work is focused on extending virtual worlds into the health domain. Her project, Coming Home at the ICT has developed several techniques that provide relation and stress relief for veterans of recent American conflicts. Part of this work resulted in porting ICT’s Virtual Human technologies to the virtual worlds Active Worlds, OpenSimulator and Second Life. This work has been featured in two 2013 documentaries: Dsknectd: We Need to Talk by Internegative Films, and The Mindfulness Movie. She has published and spoken internationally on the topics of games, immersive worlds and avatars.
In 2001 she was named one of the most creative people in America by Richard Saul Wurman in his publication: 1000: Who’s Really Who, Richard Saul Wurman’s 1000 Most Creative Individuals in the USA.
Julia JacksonGROUNDED Climate Summit Leader & Founder of Grounded.org
Julia Jackson is committed to bringing together the brightest minds and leading solutionists to foster greater collaboration, drive mass awareness and scale game-changing solutions to urgently address the climate crisis. In 2018, Julia founded Grounded.org, a philanthropic initiative that convenes scientists, policymakers, investors, executives, activists and front-line organizations to elevate solutions that create systemic change in order to stay below 1.5˚C in global temperature rise and ensure a livable planet. More recently, she has also launched a new digital Climate Academy to spotlight cutting-edge solutions reversing the climate crisis. Julia has dedicated herself to positively impacting our planet’s trajectory and has worked to forge strategic partnerships between leading climate-focused organizations such as One Earth, Sea Legacy, Amazon Frontlines, and many others. She has served as a featured speaker at leading climate events hosted by the United Nations and POLITICO, and has also appeared in top-tier media outlets, including Forbes, The Hill, NPR and The Washington Post. Julia was recently honored by Travel + Leisure as a recipient of the publication’s 2019 Global Vision Award. She is a graduate of Scripps College in California.
Lizbeth GoodmanSMARTlab, University College Dublin & Winner WEF Woman of the Decade 2020
Professor Lizbeth Goodman is Chair of Creative Technology Innovation and Full Professor of Inclusive Design for Engineering and Education at University College Dublin (Ireland), where she directs the Inclusive Design Research Centre of Ireland at UCD (IDRC) within the College of Engineering and Architecture, in collaboration with SMARTlab. She is Programme Director for the Thematic PhD in the College of E&A as UCD’s only fully interdisciplinary PhD.
She has held a Personal Chair in Creative Technology Innovation, with a focus on interdisciplinary practice-based research into the future of Inclusive Interdisciplinary Research and Cross-sectoral Impact, since 2005. She was elected to Chair the Social Sciences Panel of the Royal Irish Academy in 2012. In 2018 she was named Director of the Academy of the Future with XR Impact and the UN IGO for Sustainability. In 2019 she was nominated as President of the WEF Ireland-India Women’s Council to support the European WEF Women’s Leadership Panel with ground-up microenterprise solutions designed inclusively with communities of women in India, after being named Woman of the Decade in Innovation by WEF. In April 2020, she was selected to co-chair the Women in Science and Technology Leadership Group for the Intelligence in Science Forum EU-Africa, providing high level inputs to the European Parliament and European Commission.
Previously, she was Director of Research for Futurelab – Lord David Puttnam’s thinktank for the future of Education in the UK- and served in that capacity on the Prime Minister’s SHINE Panel.
In 2008, Prof Goodman was awarded the two top industry prizes for Best Woman in the Academic and Public Sectors, and Outstanding Woman in Technology by Blackberry Rim and a global industry panel. In 2003 she was honoured in Times Square, NYC with a Lifetime Achievement Award for Volunteer Service to Women and Children for her work with the charity she founded, SafetyNET, and parallel work with Microsoft on the Clubtech Programme, and with the Carl Sagan Discovery Centre and Children’s Health Fund. She is also VP of SpecialEffect: creating multimodal interfaces and eye- gaze systems for children and young people with complex needs and unlimited potential. She was lead advisor on the HOPE Project (Hospital-based Online Persistent Pediatric Environments) with Harvard Med and Johns Hopkins Medical, and directed the TRUST project (healthy noncompetitive gaming for kids in hospital) with the Montefiore Children’s Hospital in New York, the Harlem Children’s Zone, and the KK Hospital for Women and Children in Singapore (with the NTU Gamelab) and the Central Remedial Clinic in Dublin, Ireland.
She is the author and editor of 14 books and many papers and articles, and has hosted TV and online broadcasts for the BBC for many years.
Loretta ToddLeading the Way for Indigenous Women and Indigenous Superheroes, in Film and in Life
Female. Cree. Metis. White. Writes (been to Sundance Writer’s Lab). Directs (many films, lots of festivals). Thinks (essays full of tersely cogent remarks or flamboyantly theoretical analysis). Produces (she understands the labyrinth). Challenges herself and others and makes things happen. And yes, she has many awards and accolades. Known for lyrical, expressionistic imagery combined with strong storytelling skills, Todd tells truths that are haunting, funny and real.
Ms. Todd credits include award-winning documentaries, such as Forgotten Warriors, The People Go On and Hands of History, with the NFB of Canada, digital media work and television. She created, produced and directed Tansi! Nehiyawetan, a Cree children’s series on APTN. And, she created MyCree, a Cree language learning app – and which has over 20,000 downloads. Currently she is in production with Season 3 of Coyote’s Crazy Smart Science, the award-winning children’s series about Indigenous science. Ms. Todd was invited to speak at Kidscreen 2019 on the Indigenous Representation: Getting it Right Panel. And Coyote Science was also invited to MIPJr, on a panel on diversity in Canadian children’s programming.
This fall, Ms. Todd is releasing Monkey Beach, her first feature film based on the iconic Canadian novel by Eden Robinson, And she created Fierce Girls, a webseries and transmedia project for Indigenous girls about Indigenous girl superheroes. She is also in development with a new animated children’s series call Nitanis & Skylar.
Selected Festivals include: Toronto International Film Festival, American Indian Film Festival, Sundance Festival, Yamagata Documentary Festival, the Museum of Modern Art, Hot Docs, Vancouver Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, etc, etc. Other significant honours for her work include the 2018 Women in Film Artistic Innovation Award, Rockefeller Fellowship and participation at the Sundance Scriptwriter’s Lab, Mayor’s Awards for Media Arts (City of Vancouver), as well as numerous film awards, such as Best History Documentary, at the Hot Docs Festival, Special Jury Citation, at Toronto International Film Festival, Best Documentary at the American Indian Festival, as well as awards from the Chicago Film Festival, Taos Talking Film Festival, Yorkton Film Festival – to name a few.
In demand as a writer and lecturer on arts and media, Ms. Todd spoke at the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples at the United Nations, as well as other prestigious institution as the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of the American Indian and numerous conferences on Indigenous language to AI and Immersive technology. Her essays appear in many publications from MIT Press to UBC Press.
Ms. Todd also initiated organizational change within cultural practice in Canada, helping to development media training programs, reviewing policy through various committees and creating the IM4 Lab – a VR/AR Lab in collaboration with Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Recently she was chosen as a Lead Fellow to MIT, through the Indigenous Screen Office.
Mae Jemison Legendary Woman of the Decade: Commander, 100 Year Starship; first African-American Woman to go into Space with NASA (USA)Mae JemisonLegendary Woman of the Decade: Commander, 100 Year Starship; first African-American Woman to go into Space with NASA (USA)
Dr Mae Jemison leads 100 Year Starship (l00YSS), a bold, far reaching nonprofit initiative to assure the capabilities exist for human travel beyond our solar system to another star within the next 100 years. Jemison is building a multi-faceted global community to foster the cultural, scientific, social and technical commitment, support and financial framework to accomplish the l00YSS vision-An Inclusive Audacious Journey (that) Transforms Life Here on Earth and Beyond.
l00YSS programs include: annual public conference- Pathway to the Stars: Footprints on Earth; the Canopus Awards for Excellence in Interstellar Writing; the l00YSS Crucibles-invitation only, transdisciplinary workshops to generate new disciplines to disrupt technological and systemic hurdles; and lO0YSS True Books to engage elementary students. The l00YSS Way Research Institute seeks to generate the radical leaps that accelerate knowledge, technology, design, and thinking not just for space travel, but to enhance life on Earth. Jemison led the team that won the competitive, single awardee seed funding grant in February 2012 from premiere research agency DARPA.
Jemison, the first woman of color in the world to go into space, served six years as a NASA astronaut. Aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour, STS-47 SpacelabJ mission in September 1992, she performed experiments in material science, life sciences and human adaptation to weightlessness.
Jemison started The Jemison Group, Inc. (JG) a technology consulting firm integrating critical socio-cultural issues into the design of engineering and science projects, such as satellite technology for health care delivery and solar dish Stirling engine electricity in developing countries. JG researches and develops stand-alone science and technology companies. BioSentient Corporation, a medical devices and services company focused on improving health and human performance is such a company. An Environmental Studies professor at Dartmouth College, Jemison worked on sustainable development and technology design particularly for the developing world. Before joining NASA she was the Area Peace Corps Medical Officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia and a general practice physician in Los Angeles.
LOOK UP, led by Jemison, focuses people, on a single day worldwide, to weave a global tapestry of what individually see, feel, think, love, fear, offer, need and hope as we look up at the sky. Jemison is Bayer Corporation USA’s national science literacy ambassador. She is a series hosts for National Geographic’s “One Strange Rock” and advisor for its global miniseries MARS.
In 1994 Jemison founded the international science camp The Earth We Share™ (TEWS) for 12-16 years old students from around the world, a program of the non-profit Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence (DJF). From 2011 to 2014, DJF held TEWS-Space Race in collaboration with the Los Angeles Unified School District training hundreds of middles school teachers in experiential science education and over thousands of middle school students. Other foundation programs include Reality Leads Fantasy-Celebrating Women of Colour in Flight that highlighted women in aviation and space from around the world. EXPO Inspire is a hands-on public STEM fair.
Jemison is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine and is on the boards of directors of Kimberly-Clark, the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards and the Texas Medical Center. She was the Founding Chair of the Texas State Product Development and Small Business Incubator Board, Chair the Texas State Biotechnology and Life Sciences Industry Cluster, Chair of the Greater Houston Partnership Disaster Planning and Recovery Task Force and served on the board of Scholastic, Inc. and Valspar Corporation. Jemison is an inductee of the National Women’s Hall of Fame, the National Medical Association Hall of Fame and Texas Science Hall of Fame, International Space Hall of Fame as well as a recipient of the National Organization for Women’s Intrepid Award, the Kilby Science Award and National Association of Corporate Directors’ Directorship 100 most influential people in the boardroom in 2014, Honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and the New York Academy of Sciences among many honors. She was a featured panelist on the CNBC special “The Business of Science” (9/2011) and was one of the teachers on “The Dream School”. Jemison is an author including “Find Where the Wind Goes: Moments from My Life True Books series on space exploration. She was the first real astronaut to appear on Star Trek TV series and is a LEGO figurine in the LEGO Women of NASA kit.
She holds a B.S., Chemical Engineering; Fulfilled requirements A.B., African and Afro-American Studies-Stanford University M.D., Cornell University.
In 2019 she was honoured with the Honourary PhD from University College Dublin.
Maureen Concannon Reviving Knowledge of the Eternal Feminine through the Sacred Female Figures of IrelandMaureen ConcannonReviving Knowledge of the Eternal Feminine through the Sacred Female Figures of Ireland
Reviving Knowledge of the Eternal Feminine through the Sacred Female Figures of Ireland
Meera GandhiSocial Entrepreneurship: The Giving Back Foundation (India/USA)
Gandhi is the founder and CEO of The Giving Back Foundation, a foundation geared towards alleviating illness, poverty and suffering while also addressing education issues which affect women and children around the world. Through her Foundation, Gandhi devotes her life to charity and help for those in need, notably abused and hungry children, widows, the sick, the deaf and blind. She is particularly interested in education as the stepping stone to success. Gandhi has supported charities with strong female leadership programs and workshops, in part because of the role models in her life: Hillary Clinton, Cherie Blair, and Gandhi’s own mother, an Irish woman living in India. These charities include the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women in the United Kingdom and the Eleanor Roosevelt Leadership Center in the United States.
Gandhi is the founder of the Meera Gandhi Giving Back Award. The award is given each year at the Woodstock Film Festival to the director, producer or actor who best delivers a message of social change and who has a strong compassion for philanthropy.
Other charities Gandhi is involved with either directly or through her Foundation include the Happy Home and School for the blind in Mumbai, the Robert F. Kennedy Centre for Justice & Human Rights, the Cambodian Landmine Relief Fund, Centerpoint, Give to Colombia and The American Friends of Prince William and Prince Harry.
Gandhi’s Foundation has also contributed to certain institutions of learning. In 2012, the Foundation funded a high-powered, state-of-the-art telescope, which was installed on the roof of the Harrow School in London
Mei Lin FungChair & Cofounder, people centred-Internet
Mei Lin Fung is Chair & Cofounder, People Centered Internet (2020, taking over from founder Vint Cerf), Chair Impact Network, Chair IEEE IC Social Impact Measurement
Mei Lin Fung is proud to represent and lead the Internet by the People and for the People. She co-founded the People Centered Internet with Vint Cerf so that all people can have access to the opportunities that are made possible when people are connected. She deeply believes that people can connect to thrive. With a passionate founding team, she created the Impact Network in 2017 and works closely with the IEEE Industry Connections Social Impact Measurement which she chairs. She is incorporating the voice of the people and the voice of the community which she believes is vital in any measurement of social impact in order that the outcomes be sustainable. She is the founding Chair of the California Health Medical Reserve Corps as a pioneer in the shift from healthcare of individuals to the health of a community. She specialises in working with people in communities to form learning networks, to visualise and voice and take action to make their dreams come true.
Sapna RamnaniEmpowerment of Artists and Scholars with Disabilities (UK)
Sapna is the first woman with a very significant set of disabilities including Cerebral Palsy, to complete a practice-based PhD on the subject of empowering people with disabilities to speak for themselves. She is a professional documentary film-maker, scholar, activist and author, with a new film and book forthcoming in 2020.
Sara DiamondPresident Emerita, Ontario College of Art & Design & Founder, BNMI
Her awards include CM Order of Canada, Order of Ontario, Honorary Doctorate Simon Fraser University, Digital Pioneer Award GRAND Centre of Excellence, Digifest, Inspiring 50: Advancement of diversity of STEM fields, Government of Netherlands, and Senate of Canada (b. 9 March 1954) is a Canadian artist and technology innovator and served three terms and fifteen years as president of OCAD University, Canada. She is one of Canada’s most longstanding women presidents. She has recently joined the Canadian Centre for the Purpose of the Corporation, an agency that seeks transformations of businesses to support social purpose.
Born in New York City, USA, Diamond was raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where her father was the Executive Director of the Jewish Family and Child Service and her mother a professor at the University of Toronto. Diamond has an undergraduate Honours BA in Communications and History from Simon Fraser University, a master’s degree in Digital Media Theory from the University of the Arts, London and a PhD from SMARTlab at the University of East London. Diamond’s PhD in Computing, Information Technology and Engineering, from the University of East London, England, has a focus on data visualization. She completed the ICD.D (Institute of Corporate Directors Director designation) in 2020.
Diamond was the Artistic Director of Media and Visual Art and Director of Research at the Banff Centre, where she created the Banff New Media Institute (BNMI) in 1995 and led it until 2005. Diamond taught at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, at Capilano College, at the California Institute for the Arts and remains an Adjunct Professor at UCLA and at UCD.
She is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. In 2012 she was made a member of the Order of Ontario. In 2019 she was appointed to the Order of Canada, Canada’s most prestigious honour.
Founded and led the international Banff New Media institute from 1995–2005, establishing research and commercialization summits of artists, designers, scientists and companies, practice based and research workshops, creative co-productions, laboratories and research in new media. Diamond also led Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCAD U) to retain its traditional strengths in art and design, while transforming the university to become a leader in STEAM+D (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math, Medicine and Design), with capacities in digital media, design research and curriculum. She initiated and funding the Digital Futures Initiative and the Digital Media Research and Innovation Institute; supported OCAD U’s unique research in Inclusive Design and design for health. She collaborated with Indigenous colleagues to develop the Indigenous Visual Culture Program, with correlative prioritization of Indigenous knowledge and culture at OCAD U. Her years as president were dedicated to ensuring that there was equitable representation of racialized and diverse students, faculty, staff and leadership, including an Indigenous cluster hire and a Black cluster hire.
At OCAD U, Diamond led three strategic plans with resulting scorecards and metrics, new vision and mission, brand development, related academic, research, capital and digital infrastructure strategies and implementation plans, multi-year forecasts. She revitalized the McCaul Street campus, built a south campus and a presence on Toronto’s waterfront.
Diamond has received extensive research funding for her work in visual analytics. She was co-principal investigator of the Centre for Information Visualization and Data Driven Design; led visualization research in the iCity urban analytics project; and was institutional leader for the BRAIN big data and AI project. She has received funding through Canada’s NSERC (National Science and Engineering Research Council) for ongoing research in cultural analytics and currently holds awards in wearable technologies and health applications and transportation and sustainability. She sat on the board of the National Centre of Excellence GRAND. Diamond continues to write and lecture on the subjects of digital media history, digital media, strategic foresight; mobility and design strategy for peer-reviewed journals and acts as a reviewer and evaluator for IEEE and ACM conferences and journals; SSHRC, CFI and the Canada Research Chair programs.
Diamond is founding Chair of the Mobile Experience Innovation Centre and was co-chair (with RBC) and initiated the Imagination Catalyst a design and technology incubator at OCAD University and OCAD U Co a commercialization vehicle for OCAD University.
Diamond’s work as an artist was shown in exhibitions including at the National Gallery of Canada, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Vancouver Art Gallery. In 1992, Diamond’s work was shown in a retrospective titled Memories Revisited, History Retold, organised by the National Gallery of Canada. During her time as an undergraduate student at Simon Fraser University, Diamond created the Women’s Labour History Project, which, beginning in 1978, collected the oral histories of women who were active in the trade union movement, published resources on the women, toured a photo exhibition, and produced videos of the histories. Diamond’s full artistic and historical archive is now with VIVO and Simon Fraser University Archives.
Diamond has provided many years of service for not for profit boards, most recently Baycrest (brain health and aging) and the Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation. She has developed public policy in public art, mobile access and design and is co-chair of Toronto’s Year of Public Art (ArtWorxTO in 2021) and Nuit Blanche. She was vice-chair of the Council of Ontario Universities until she completed her presidency and served on the research committee of Universities Canada for many years, and on the Executive of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design.
Sara has been an inspiration and mentor to artists, designers, multimedia and technology developers and researchers for decades, and a model leader in the university sector showing a way forward for the Arts in the future of education!
Sinead BurkeTilt the Lens: Inclusive Design for ALL sizes and Abilities (Ireland)
Sinéad Burke is an Irish writer, academic, influencer, activist and broadcaster, popular for her TED talk ‘Why design should include everyone’. She appeared on the cover for The Business of Fashion in May 2018 alongside Kim Kardashian with an interview as part of ‘The Age of Influence’ series. She has been nominated by VIP Style as Most Stylish Woman.
Tara Baoth MooneyDesigning for Agency and Empowerment of Women with Dementia
Tara Baoth Mooney is an artist / designer and also a final year PhD candidate at the University of Wolverhampton where she is exploring textiles and fashion as triggers for memory and narrative for people with Alzheimers- using an empathic design process.
She has also worked for UNIDO on the Better Work in Textiles Bangladesh Project in partnership with Centre for Sustainable Fashion of the London College of Fashion, which develops capacity for creative thinking and entrepreneurial skills around the concepts of sustainability and innovation.
She has developed a line of sustainable fashion garments for the Safetynet project, featured at the Siggraph Cyberfashion show.
She is also a noted performer: known by children worldwide as the voice and character of Shadow in the Mitch Kreigman/ Henson Company’s tv classic series Bear in the Big Blue House; as co-creator of the Irish children’s educational show BB agus Bella for TG4, and in her own right as a singer-songwriter and musician who is the lead of the band Bedlam Suitcase.
Her research and professional practice spans all these art forms, and inspires women to engage in sustainable creative projects for the betterment of our world and care of our elders and Earth.
Ylva HansdotterXR Impact- received by founder/CEO
Ylva is the founder and director of ‘XR impact’, a non-profit organization that leverage Extended Reality technologies like VR and AR to extend human sensory and cognitive experiences with the ambition to inspire positive global action towards the Sustainable Development Goals. She is also a Ph.D. Candidate at SMARTlab (UCD/Mechanical and Materials Engineering) and she focuses her research on the use of positive and immersive storytelling to stimulate prosocial actions.
Ylva helped create the world’s first VR app store while working with HTC Vive in San Francisco, where she also initiated and directed “VR for Impact”, a multi-year program providing grants to VR projects with social impact. Ylva is the board chair of ‘Social Entrepreneurship Forum’, and she serves as a mentor to social entrepreneurs in finding sustainable business models to create thriving social businesses. She is a board member of Good Cause Foundation/GodEl, a utility company run as a social enterprise.
She has a background as a Partner at a global Management Consulting firm (now EY) and she has +20 years’ experience in coaching leaders and teams to realize organizational and personal growth.
Ylva has an interdisciplinary academic background from computer science and behavioural science (University of Stockholm), and management programs from INSEAD and Harvard Business School. She is a strong believer in a future, post-disciplinary, educational system.
In 2019 she joined the effort around the BeEarth Experience to create VR to empower and encourage pro-social action in response to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. In 2020 she joined the AERAP group on Women in Science, Technology and Society for the ISC, with SMARTlab.