VL Innovators Challenge Judges
María Teresa Kumar, Voto Latino
María Teresa Kumar is the President and CEO of Voto Latino and an Emmy-nominated contributor with MSNBC. Under her leadership, Voto Latino has become a key factor in national elections by directly registering over 225,000 new voters and influencing millions more through viral, celebrity-driven campaigns. María Teresa has recently been named a 2014 Young Global Leader by World Economic Forum. In 2013, Elle named her one of the 10 most influential women in Washington, DC and she has also been named by Hispanic Business among the 100 most influential Latinos in America and by PODER Magazine as one of the 20 most influential Latinos under 40. María Teresa serves on the national boards of Planned Parenthood Federation Action Fund and the Latino Leaders Network, and is a Hunt Alternative Fund Prime Mover and a Council on Foreign Relations Term Member. She started her career as a legislative aide for the Democratic Caucus Chair Vic Fazio, and graduated from Harvard’s Kennedy School and the University of California at Davis.
Rosario Dawson, Voto Latino
Voto Latino Co-Founder and Chairwoman Rosario Dawson has garnered praise not only for her numerous leading roles, but for her work with a range of influential organizations. In 2004, Dawson co-founded Voto Latino, a non-partisan organization that empowers Latino Millennials to claim a better future for themselves and their community. Voto Latino, which is celebrating its ten year anniversary this year, is dedicated to bringing new and diverse voices to develop leaders by engaging youth, media, technology and celebrities to promote positive change and has registered over 250,000 voters. Dawson was recently the recipient of a Latino Spirit Award, given to her by Governor Jerry Brown for her contributions to the Latino community and her leadership with Voto Latino.
Connie Yowell, MacArthur Foundation
Connie is the Director of Education for U.S. Programs at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Connie oversees a $150 million program on Digital Media and Learning, one of the first philanthropic efforts in the country to systematically explore the impact of digital media on young people and implications for the future of learning.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Yowell was an Associate Professor at the University of Illinois, publishing scholarly work that examined the complex interplay among young people’s emerging identity, their social context and achievement. Her research integrated the fields of adolescent psychological development and organization change to address the problem of high school dropout among immigrant students in the United States. Yowell briefly served as Policy Analyst in the U.S. Department of Education during the Clinton Administration, and has worked closely with teachers and administrators to develop and implement literacy curricula for Latino youth, and as evaluator and program coordinator for youth development programs in New York City.
Richard Wolffe, MSNBC.com
Richard Wolffe is a New York Times bestselling author, Executive Editor of MSNBC.com, and a political analyst on MSNBC television. He covered the entire length of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign for Newsweek magazine, traveling with the candidate and his inner circle from his announcement through election day, 21 months later.
Wolffe appears frequently on many msnbc shows, including Morning Joe, Politics Nation, and The Last Word. On NBC, he has been a political commentator on Meet The Press and Today.
Daniel Zingale, The California Endowment
Daniel Zingale joined The California Endowment as Senior Vice President of Healthy California in January 2009. Prior to that, he served as chief of staff to Maria Shriver and senior advisor to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Zingale also worked for the previous California Governor Gray Davis as Secretary of the Cabinet and as Chief of Staff to Davis in the Office of the California Controller. He was also the Executive Director of AIDS Action in Washington, D.C. and political director of the Human Rights Campaign. As founding director of the California Department of Managed Health Care, Zingale was the first "HMO czar" in the nation.
Anil Dash, ThinkUp & Activate
Anil Dash is cofounder and CEO of ThinkUp, a new app that offers deeper insights into our social networks. Dash is also cofounder of Activate, the consultancy which defines strategy for the most important companies in technology and media. Described as a "blogging pioneer" by the New Yorker, he has published his blog Dashes.com continuously since 1999, earning recognition as a Webby honoree. In 2013, Time named @anildash one of the best accounts on Twitter, and some of its half million followers agree.
Dash serves on the board of Stack Exchange, the Data & Society Research Institute, and the NY Tech Meetup, the largest technology trade group in the United States. Dash has been a contributing editor and monthly columnist for Wired and he advises startups and non-profits including Medium and DonorsChoose. Dash's digital works have been exhibited in the New Museum of Contemporary Art and he co-created monegraph, the first system to use bitcoin technology to verify digital artworks as originals.
Wilmer Valderrama, Voto Latino
Wilmer Valderrama, best known as Fez on That 70's Show, has produced, directed, written, hosted, and acted in a number of projects. Wilmer was most recently seen in NBC’s Awake, Larry Crowne, The Dryland, From Prada to Nada, and heard as Manny on Disney’s Handy Manny. In the upcoming year, he will be appearing in the films School Dance and To Whom it May Concern. Right now, Wilmer can be seen in the El Rey Network's first original series, Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, where he plays the much feared crime-lord, Carlos Madrigal.
Brandon Hernandez, PG&E
As Director of Local Government Relations for Pacific Gas and Electric Company's Northern California region, Brandon manages relationships with civic and community leaders, and provides strategic direction to help PG&E become the leading utility company in the United States. Brandon spearheaded PG&E's green efforts in San Francisco, including Verde Que te Quiero Verde, which educated the Latino community about the environment and the importance of living green. He's also responsible for bringing solar to prominent San Francisco institutions like the LGBT Center, Project Open Hand, San Francisco Food Bank, and the San Francisco Giant's AT&T Park—the first park in Major League Baseball to go solar! He's been recognized by San Francisco's 7x7 magazine as one of the "Hot 20 Under 40." Brandon also serves as liaison between PG&E and various environmental, LGBT, and Latino organizations.