APTE 2020 Keynote Speakers

Stayed tuned for the announcement of our 2020 keynote speakers! We are so excited to welcome incredible individuals from around the world. Follow APTE on social media for the most up-to-date announcements. We can’t wait to see you at the APTE Summit in February!

APTE 2019 Keynote Speakers


Hannah Davis, BANGS Shoes

Hannah Davis is the Founder & CEO of BANGS Shoes. Davis founded BANGS at 24 years old to sell adventure-inspired footwear & help people start businesses around the world. Over the past six years she has streamlined her company's operations and sales to 100% online, enabling her company to invest in over 1700 entrepreneurs in 70 countries. BANGS Shoes marketing is driven solely by organic social media fueled by 3,0000 highly passionate Ambassadors. In March 2017 Hannah moved herself and her virtual operations to Austin, Texas.

Hannah can be best reached via her Instagram @hannahcdavis.


Coney Pulla, Rice Love

Coney Pulla is a Co-founder of Rice Love, a company that donates 25 kilos of rice for every product sold to families in India who are facing temporary job loss or illness. They empower the global community by purchasing locally sourced rice and donating it back to individuals in need.

Coney grew up in a family from one of the lowest caste in India. As a co-founder, he has broken free from the limitations of traditional mindsets. He is inspiring men, women, and youth in India to chart their own futures. He is proud of his brothers and sisters and his country. Coney is eager to help reduce poverty and increase prosperity in his country and around the world. Coney lives in India with his Japanese wife and two kids.


Prashant Mehta, Conscious Step

Prashant Mehta is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Conscious Step, a social enterprise that produces fair-trade, organic, vegan socks.  Prashant started Conscious Step in 2013 as a way to “stand up in style for social justice.”  Conscious Step has paired with numerous nonprofit organizations, such as Water.org, Action Against Hunger, and Oceana in order to face the world's most challenging problems. Each purchase supports causes that range from animal rescue to disaster relief to breast cancer prevention.  Their goal is to give an "ordinary purchase, extraordinary purpose."

APTE 2018 Keynote Speakers 


Claire Baker, LivelyHoods

LivelyHoods works to create jobs for talented youths and women in urban slums throughout Kenya. They focus on unemployment, health and the environment through a sales network approach. By offering training and employment, they allow disadvantaged youths and women to work their way out of poverty by selling and delivering clean energy products to those who need it most. 

Claire leads fundraising, communications, and partnerships, and works closely with the operations team in project planning and monitoring. Since graduating from Durham University in England with a degree in Modern Languages, Claire has worked in the non-profit and social business sector in France, Spain and Tanzania, and has taught English in rural communities in Mexico. She worked for two years in operations and communications management to promote disability rights for Jaccede.com, an award-winning not-for-profit in Paris, and was part of a growing social business focused on access to solar energy in East Africa.


Andrea Sreshta, LuminAID

1.6 billion people around the world lack proper access to electricity. Many of these people are forced to rely upon dangerous, toxic, and expensive kerosene lanterns as their primary source of light. LuminAID works to sustainably distribute lights to individuals who will greatly benefit from a safe, rechargeable light source. 

LuminAid has been featured on the Today Show, Shark Tank (receiving offers from all the sharks) and has been the recipient of many awards including Pitch for Good and adventurers for change. 

Andrea is a co-founder of LuminAID.  Andrea previously worked in and studied design and architecture with an emphasis in project management. She has an MBA from the The University of Chicago Booth School of Business. And she earned a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a Master’s in Architecture from Columbia University prior to attending Booth. She is originally from Houston, Texas.


Alexandria Lafci, New Story

New Story is a non-profit working to create a world where no human being has to live in survival mode. By working with local partners, they determine what each communities needs the most, then utilizes sustainable solutions to achieve progress.  Since 2015, they have created 1,300+ homes for families around the world. 

Alexandria is the Head of Operations and Co-Founder of New Story – an innovative nonprofit that transforms slums into sustainable communities around the world.

Alexandria has a decade of work, academic, and volunteer experience in domestic and international development. She taught in inner city D.C., led financial capacity building efforts in rural Central America, and briefed African heads of state on poverty alleviation through land reform, and was recently named to the 2016 Forbes 30 Under 30 list.


Randy Welsch, Jibu

Jibu works to provide lasting access to affordable drinking water for everyone by building a network of locally-owned franchise businesses in East Africa and beyond. 

Randy has launched, led and managed a wide variety of complex charitable, corporate, and entrepreneurial enterprises successfully. The breadth of his experience ranges from co-founding Master Solutions, an innovative software/system engineering company that developed advanced space-based solutions to helping lead AFMIN, a charitable organization making significant impact training leaders in Africa. Randy is a TONIIC member and part of the Mission Investors Exchange (MIE). He co-founded Jibu in July, 2012.


Rachel Sumekh, Swipe Out Hunger 

Swipe Out Hunger helps students throughout the nation donate extra meal swipes to local non-profits and food pantries & help provide food to fellow students and community members in need.

Rachel Sumekh is the Founder & CEO of Swipe Out Hunger. The organization is a leading force in addressing hunger amongst college students. Her work has been recognized by The Obama White House, The New York Times and landed her on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. 

Before launching Swipe Out Hunger full time, Rachel followed her millennial urge to change the world and served those facing poverty as a case manager in Chicago. In her spare time, she enjoys advising early stage social entrepreneurs, engaging in LA civic life and jogging around Echo Park Lake. Rachel serves on the boards of L.A. Kitchen and IKAR. She is a proud graduate of UCLA and says she is challenging the status quo of what it means to be a Typical Persian Girl.


APTE 2017 Speakers 

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Mohammed Ashour, Aspire

Mohammed is the co-founder and CEO of Aspire, a company that develops some of the most advanced insect farming technology in the world. Aspire targets markets that utilize insects for applications in nutrition, biomedicine and agrochemicals with a vision to alleviate global food insecurity.

Aspire was launched in 2013 after Mohammed led a team of five students from McGill University to win the prestigious $1 million Hult Prize presented by President Bill Clinton. Mohammed has been featured in the New York Times, Financial Times, the Economist, Bloomberg Business week and Fortune publications and is a frequent speaker at global conferences including the Clinton Global Initiative. In 2015, he was recognized as a “Top MBA Impact Maker” by McGill University and in 2016, inducted to the renowned Forbes 30 under 30 list.

Catherine Mahugu, Soko

Catherine Mahugu is a seasoned techpreneur, changemaker, keynote speaker, youth empowerment enthusiast and a strong advocate of gender equality and equity. Catherine has an extensive background and experience in strategic planning, operations leadership, and management. She is a certified Global trade specialist through the International Trade Centre.

At Soko, she has effectively overseen the end to end operational execution and delivery of products to over 450 international retailers, several large brands such as Nordstrom, Fossil, QVC, TJMaxx, Edun, Anthropologie and global e-commerce consumers. By driving and supporting the technology innovation at Soko, she has contributed to transforming the traditional global supply chain and changing the fashion industry for good. She was recently featured in Forbes Magazine -June Issue '15 and Jan issue '16 as one of the top 30 under 30 (2015 & 2016 ). 

Dr. Anil K Gupta, Honey Bee Network

Dr. Anil K Gupta is a profess­­or at the Centre for Management in Agriculture, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. He is also the founder of Honey Bee Network. Honey Bee Network is a crucible of like-minded individuals, innovators, farmers, scholars, academicians, policy makers, entrepreneurs and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The Network Similarly to how a honey bee accumulates pollen, the Network accumulates knowledge accessible to those in all walks of life.

Maria Yuan, IssueVoter

Maria Yuan is the Founder and CEO of IssueVoter – Nonpartisan, End-to-End Civic Engagement for Everyone. IssueVoter gives busy Americans the ability to voice their opinions to Congress before laws pass on issues they care about, and track whether elected officials are truly representing them, helping voters make informed decisions at election time. Maria’s professional experience spans strategy, politics, recruiting, social enterprise, investment banking, and corporate development.

Sharad Sagar, Dexterity Global

Sharad Sagar is Founder and CEO at Dexterity Global—an innovative social enterprise powering the next generation of leaders through educational opportunities. Sharad is internationally awarded social entrepreneur recognized for innovations in democratizing education and building sustainable impact enterprises. Quoted globally by influential leaders, corporates, universities, newspapers and media houses. Included in The Rockefeller Foundation Centennial List of “100 Next Century Innovators” and the “Forbes 30 Under 30” (2016). 

Kelley Griesmer, The Columbus Foundation

Kelley collaborates with each department at the Foundation to enhance the success of its community-wide philanthropic efforts and create new opportunities for growth and social impact. She also assists in providing customized philanthropic services to donors and their families. Prior to joining the Foundation, Kelley was one of the founding team members at Pelotonia, a grassroots bike tour that has raised more than $100 million for cancer research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.


APTE 2016 Speakers

Buddy Teaster, Soles4Souls

Buddy Teaster is the President and CEO of Soles4Souls – a global non-profit social enterprise that collects new and used shoes and redistributes them through direct donations to people in need and through micro-enterprise partners. Soles4souls has donated over 22 million pairs of shoes to people in over 127 countries. Buddy’s energy and enthusiasm for work spills over to his passion for running. Having run his first marathon in 1994, Buddy enjoys trail and long distance running and has since finished numerous ultra-marathons (50K +) including almost a dozen 100-mile runs. 

Laura Weiss, GoBox

Laura Weiss is the founder of GoBox - an innovative sustainable business designed to reduce the waste associated with Portland's fabulous food carts. Laura has 25 years experience in the non-profit and government sectors working in environmental management, including waste management, renewable resources/materials, water quality, toxics and energy as well as an MBA in Sustainable Business.

Logan Pugh, ReWork

Logan is the Search Director of ReWork - a mission-driven search and professional development firm connecting exceptional people with organizations making social, environmental, and cultural progress. Logan grew up in Appalachia and holds a Masters of Public Policy from the University of Virginia. Prior to working with ReWork, Logan was the Executive Director of Virginia’s most prestigious internship program.

Paula Haines, Freedom A La Cart

Paula Haines is the President Freedom A La Carte’s Board of Directors. Freedom a la Carte, a non-profit social enterprise that empowers adult survivors of human trafficking to live an independent life gained through personal and economic self-sufficiency. Freedom a la Care seeks to accomplish their mission by helping to facilitate the “Path to Freedom” through personal restoration and workforce readiness.

Shivang Dave, PlenOptika

Dr. Shivang Dave, a bioengineer and nanotechnologist, has been passionately been involved with global health and is a founding member of PlenOptika – an MIT based startup devoted to providing quality eye care for all. Dr. Dave has co-developed commercial strategies to numerous technologies, including drug-eluting intraocular lenses to reduce post-surgery infection burden in developing countries such as India and has won multiple entrepreneurship and innovation awards for his work.


APTE 2015 Speakers


Joe DeLoss, Hot Chicken Takeover

Joe, who also founded FreshBox, now serves as Founder and Head Fryer at Hot Chicken Takeover. HTC provides second-chance employment and skills training while teaching adventurous Columbus residents a thing or two about spicy chicken.  


Jim Ziolkowski, BuildOn

After working in corporate finance at GE, Jim founded BuildOn with the mission of breaking the cycle of poverty, illiteracy, and low expectations through education both at home and abroad.

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Bita Diomande, MIT fellow

Bita Diomande is a 2nd year MBA student and Legatum Fellow at MIT Sloan. She is an entrepreneur with a focus on social enterprise and online platforms. Her current start-up is an jobs platform for job seekers in the Ivorian market, with a focus on recruiting African diaspora. As an Ivorian-American, Bita has always been very passionate about economic development in low-income countries. Prior to coming to Sloan, she founded Sarafina, a U.S.-based e-commerce fashion company that sourced merchandise from small-scale artisans in Africa and Asia.

Previously, Bita worked in international development implementing public health projects in Cote d’Ivoire, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and Ethiopia. Though she believes strongly in the international development and public health fields, she came to realize that her interest was more in directly providing job opportunities in low-income countries.


Christian Nicolas Desrosiers, Qorax Energy

Christian Nicolas is a Chicano entrepreneur and co-founder of Qorax Energy, a pioneer renewable energy product distribution company that works in Somalia. 


Quijano Flores, NextDrop

Quijano co-founded NextDrop Inc. which provides citizens alerts about water supply--when it's on, when it's not, and when there's a delay--for those living in urban India. He became interested in creating products to increase access to clean drinking water when he met his NextDrop partners while attending UC Berkley. 

Quijano loves building small teams around interesting problems and is an avid rock climber and cyclist. 

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Jennifer Jin, MIT fellow

Jennifer began her career at Google in Silicon Valley, managing the development of Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google AdWords into international interfaces and local content. In 2010, she worked as a Kiva Fellow with Kenyan microfinance institutions. Over the next two years, she helped re-open Ashoka’s East Africa office and launched Youth Venture East Africa, a program that encourages youth to use entrepreneurial thinking to solve problems in their communities.  Most recently, Jennifer led business development for D-Rev which develops radically affordable medical devices for patients living on less than $4 a day.


Demetri Patitsas

Demetri Patitsas is a social entrepreneur who operates out of 7 countries throughout the world in various venture startups, charities, and organizations including Exela Ventures LLC and St. Paul's Fellowship of Labor. His organizations support local entrepreneurs and provide educational opportunities for collaboration and partnership between them and US universities.



+ more announcements soon

APTE 2014 Speakers


Veronica D'Souza, Ruby Cup 

Veronica co-founded Ruby Cup the mission of breaking the 'bloody taboo' for young girls in Kenya. Ruby Cup specializes in serving the Base of the Pyramid with healthy, high-quality, and long-lasting menstrual cups so Kenyan girls can live happier, safer, more involved lives. 


Marika Shioiri Clark, MASS Design + SOSHL Studio

As a grad student at MIT Marika Clark, helped found MASS Design and build one of Africa's most consciously designed hospitals. Afterwards, she moved to Cleveland and started SOSHL Studio, a design firm dedicated to social impact through architecture.    

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Neil Bellefeuille, The Paradigm Project

Neil co-founded The Paradigm Project which works to create sustainable social, economic, and environmental value within developing countries. The Paradigm Project sells locally-produced, safe stoves to the base of the pyramid while employing sales people, repair people, and trainers to provide income for locals and their families.  

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Lindsay Stradley, Sanergy

Lindsay co-founded Sanergy which designs and builds low-cost toilet units, dubbed Fresh Life Toilets, and then sells them to local entrepreneurs in Kenyan slums who then become franchise partners.