startGNV AMA: Diversity in the Innovation Ecosystem

startGNV AMA: Diversity in the Innovation Ecosystem

25feb6:00 pm7:00 pmstartGNV AMA: Diversity in the Innovation EcosystemJoin startGNV for a live 'Ask Me Anything' (AMA) session where local leaders discuss diversity in the innovation ecosystem.

Event Details

Wanda Eugene, Ph.D., Director of the Collaboratory for Women Innovators at UF Innovate

Wanda Eugene, Ph.D. is constantly seeking out new ways to leverage technology to engage underserved communities. She is the Director of the Collaboratory for Women Innovators and the creator of the Entrepreneur Diversity in Information Technology (EDIT), a free pre-incubator program that works with underserved minorities to launch tech-based businesses. 

In parallel with this work, she serves as a Research Assistant Scientist in the University of Florida Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering, Computer & Information Science & Engineering Department, where she explores how cultural, societal, and personal surroundings affect the appropriation of computational artifacts and ideas of how they can serve as a resource for the design of new technologies. 

In addition, she serves as a principal at DEEP Designs LLC, where she specializes in cultivating technology with vulnerable populations and integrates the strategic direction of the organization. Dr. Eugene holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science, a Master’s in Industrial Engineering and a Master’s in Interdisciplinary Studies specializing in Instructional Technology and African American Studies and a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering.

Nigel Davis, CEO of Grapevine Campus

Nigel Davis is a South Florida native, and a graduate of the University of Florida where he received his Bachelors in Computer Science Engineering. 

Nigel currently works as a software engineer at Microsoft, where he aids in the development of enterprise software for a global customer base. 

He also serves as the CEO of Grapevine Campus, a technology startup with the mission of empowering underrepresented college students to feel a sense of community and belonging on their campus. 

Alyssa Brown, Vice President of Public Policy at the Greater Gainesville Chamber of Commerce

Alyssa Brown is a public relations and government relations executive with more than 17 years of experience in public and nonprofit settings. As Vice President of Public Policy at the Greater Gainesville Chamber of Commerce, she serves as a registered lobbyist at the federal, state and local levels, and leads the Public Policy team in being a proactive, collaborative and regional partner that advances research, policies and initiatives that support economic opportunity, business success and community progress. 

Key focal areas in Alyssa’s career include state- and local-level public affairs in the areas of business, energy, talent/workforce and dental health. Prior to joining the Chamber team in 2014, Alyssa lived and worked in Tallahassee, serving most recently as the Communications Manager for CareerSource Florida, the state’s business-led workforce policy board. She also served the Florida Legislature as the Communications Director for the Florida Energy Commission in 2007 and 2008. Alyssa currently serves as a member of the U.S. Chamber’s Transportation Committee and the Advisory Committee of the Alachua County Metropolitan Transportation Planning Committee. 

She also serves on the Board of Directors of Colorful Talks, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides education and resources to help parents talk to their children about race. Before moving to Gainesville, Alyssa was an engaged member of Capital Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association, served as a member of the District Advisory Committee of the Leon County School Board, and served on the Board of Directors of the Florida Society of Association Executives (then the Tallahassee Society of Association Executives). 

Alyssa is a graduate of Florida State University. Alyssa is married to her best friend and a mother to two beautiful daughters and a spoiled Bichon Frise. She loves to paint furniture and pictures in her (precious little) spare time. She also loves to travel, especially to visit her family in her hometown of Boston, MA. 

Ale Nunez, Talent Specialist for Organizational Development and Engagement/ Chair of the Committee for Diversity and Inclusion at Infotech

Alejandra Nunez serves as a Talent Specialist for Infotech. In this role she leads the design and development of solutions that support change management, drive performance and organizational effectiveness, and enhance employee engagement, helping to cultivate the people-centric and inclusive culture that has been present since the company’s founding.

Entering its 40th year, Infotech consists of two core businesses. Infotech Systems provides software solutions that advance and automate construction while Infotech Consulting provides expert statistical and econometric litigation consulting services. With a diverse workforce, and collaborative, inclusive environment, Infotech is a thriving, Gainesville-born pioneer of innovation, committed to its family of employees, customers, and community.

Alejandra is also an accomplished researcher and practitioner with a passion for elevating the voices of those often silenced, placing focus on diversity and inclusion efforts in the fields of economic insecurities, education, health disparities, health psychology, and dis(ability). 

As a proud member of the Gator Nation, Alejandra earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology with a minor in French and is currently completing her Master of Science in Management with an interest towards organizational consulting. In her spare time she enjoys reading, painting, giving back to her community, and is hoping to earn her pilot’s license this fall.

Keira Simmonds, startGNV Moderator


(Thursday) 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm(GMT-05:00)


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