Our Panelists

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Khaliya

Khaliya is a humanitarian, public health specialist and leading advocate for mental health, committed to grappling with the far-reaching effects of today’s mental health crisis and promoting radical innovation in a field that has not progressed in step with medical innovation as a whole. It is her belief that lasting peace and prosperity can only be achieved if the fundamental requirements for health, both physical and mental, are made available to those in need. 

An expert in global pandemics with a background in computer science, Khaliya sees mental health as among the most crucial social issues of the coming century. Together with her partner Thomas Ermacora she co-founded Falkora, a not for profit mental health and neurotech initiative to help put cross disciplinary approaches to mental health at the top of the political agenda in the United States and internationally.

In addition to campaigning to expand the definition of mental illness so future funding can catch up with the sprawling scope of the problem, the organization is exploring how new technologies can leapfrog outdated traditional approaches to mental wellbeing. Tech innovations, she believes, could not only reach a wider public of people in need within the U.S. but also bring down the cost of mental welfare tools worldwide, sparking a necessary paradigm shift in mental health care.

Actively involved with numerous social ventures, Khaliya is an Investor in, and head of strategic partnerships for, Guardian Circle, an app that uses the power of crowdsourcing and social networks to keep individuals safe.  Additionally, she is founder of two projects currently under production; “The League of Extraordinary Minds”, a website that celebrates the achievements of exceptional individuals with mental conditions, and “Tell Your Story”, an app that uses storytelling to support rape victims.   She is also on the advisory committee for NeuroLaunch, the leading accelerator for neuroscience apps as well as co-executive producer for “Breadhead,” an explosive documentary about the looming worldwide epidemic of diet-related neurodegenerative disease.

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Lisa Calhoun

Founding partner at Atlanta-based venture capital partnership Valor Ventures, Lisa is a fourth generation entrepreneur and the first woman to launch a venture capital firm in Georgia. At Valor, she created the Startup Runway series to connect minority founders to seed capital. She publishesFemale Entrepreneurs, a popular digital magazine, and is a mentor with Techstars Atlanta.

Before founding Valor, Lisa founded Write2Market, an Atlanta marketing agency recognized by Hubspot as one of the “Top 10 Agencies for Tech Startups” in the U.S. Her work there contributed to over a billion dollars in liquidity events, including Channel Intelligence’s exit to Google, energy monitoring Prenova’s exit to Eccova, and IP protection play Escrow Associates’ exit to NCC. At Write2Market, Lisa was honored as an American Business Association Entrepreneur of the Year and elected president of Atlanta’s Entrepreneur’s Organization.

Before founding Write2Market, Lisa worked as an IT consultant in enterprise development organizations, including UPS headquarters in Atlanta and the Georgia Department of Transportation. Lisa writes a column for Inc. Magazine and is a frequent speaker, including recent speaking opportunities at Venture Summit West, Stanford, the Southeastern Venture Conference, LaunchTN, the Florida Venture Forum, and the Global Women in Leadership Summit in Dubai. Her books including How You Rule the World: A Female Founder’s Survival Guide and The Content Marketing Field Guide. BA – Baylor. MBA – University of Texas at San Antonio.

Chiara Tilesi

Chiara Tilesi

Chiara Tilesi is an Italian film producer with a philanthropic outlook. She is the founder of the nonprofit film production organization “We Do It Together”, whose purpose is to finance, and produce films, documentaries, and other media forms dedicated to the empowerment of women and minorities, by telling their stories. We Do It Together will establish a new cultural paradigm, promoting gender equality in the film industry, and shift the prevailing imbalance until society will embrace and adopt a gender blind approach.

We Do It Together’s first feature presentation will follow the model Chiara implemented in her first feature film “All the Invisible Children”, which was produced in favor of the United Nations’ agencies UNICEF, and World Food Programme. The movie, released in 120 countries, was directed by eight internationally acclaimed directors (Spike Lee, Ridley and Jordan Scott, Emir Kusturica, John Woo, Stefano Veneruso, Katia Lund, Mehdi Charef). She also produced the music video of the movie’s theme song, “Teach me again”, performed by Elisa and Tina Turner.

In her early years poetry was the highlight of her activities. She wrote a book of poetry which earned her the Fiorino D’Oro Award. At the age of eighteen Chiara moved to the United States to attend Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles, California, where she graduated Cum Laude in Liberal Arts. Since then, production became the focus of her activities, and she went on to produce several films, and consulted for several production companies while continuing her charitable work.

Her philanthropic efforts earned her the position of Event Vice Chair of Rock the Kasbah, a nonprofit foundations of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. She is a member of the UNICEF Chinese Children’s Initiative Advisory board, as well as of the board of directors of the nonprofit organization Children Mending Hearts.

Chiara also is the founder of Globunity, a global cultural event and digital media platform whose mission is to inspire creative people in their personal life, and in the cultural evolution of our planet. This venture has earned the Patronages of UNESCO, as well as that of the President, and the Prime Minister of the Italian Republic.

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Laura Turner Seydel

Laura Turner Seydel is an international environmental advocate and eco-living expert dedicated to creating a healthy and sustainable future for our children. Laura is chairperson of the Captain Planet Foundation, which promotes hands-on environmental education projects worldwide. She is a director of and works with the Environmental Working Group to limit the toxic chemicals in food, air, water and consumer products. In 2004, she co-founded and is Board Chair of Mothers and Others for Clean Air, an official program of the American Lung Association Southeastern Region. In 1994, she and her husband co-founded Chattahoochee Riverkeeper. Laura serves on the boards of her family’s foundations: the Turner Foundation, Jane Smith Turner Foundation, the Turner Endangered Species Fund, and Ted’s Montana Grill. She is vice chair of the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund and sits on the national boards of the League of Conservation Voters, Defenders of Wildlife, Waterkeeper Alliance and the Carter Center Board of Councilors; she also serves on the advisory board for the Ray C. Anderson Foundation and board of directors of the Rotary Club of Downtown Atlanta.

Laura is the recipient of numerous humanitarian and environmental awards, including the National Society of High School Scholars World Betterment Award, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Drum Major for Justice Award, the Healthy Child Healthy World’s Mom on a Mission Award, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta’s Legacy Award, the National Garden Club’s Award of Excellence, Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Legacy Honoree and an inductee of the YWCA Academy of Women Achievers.

Laura lives with her husband and her three children in Atlanta. Their home, EcoManor, is the first LEED-certified Gold residence in the southeastern United States.

Our Moderator

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Monica Kaufman Pearson

Monica Kaufman Pearson is the first woman and first minority to anchor the daily evening news in Atlanta, Georgia where she worked for 37 years at the leading station WSB-TV.  She has won over 33 Southern Regional and local Emmy Awards for reporting, anchoring and her Closeups celebrity interview show.

Since retiring in 2012, she’s stayed busy.  She graduated with a Master’s Degree, Magna Cum Laude from the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2014. Until recently, she wrote a column, Monica Matters, for the quarterly magazine, Southern Seasons and taught at Atlanta Metropolitan State College.  She is a much sought after emcee and motivational speaker and hosts a three-hour weekly music and talk show on Sunday on KISS 104.1 FM, an R&B station, as well as does Closeups Interviews for WSBTV.com.

Monica is a native of Louisville, Ky. and a graduate of the University of Louisville. She was a reporter for the Louisville Times newspaper and a reporter and weekend anchor for WHAS TV in Louisville.

Monica won the 2013 Middelthon-Candler Peace Prize and will be inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame in August 2016. She is already a part of the University of Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame, the Georgia Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame and the Atlanta Press Club Hall of Fame, as well as the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. She serves as board member emeritus of  Meals on Wheels Atlanta and chaired the May 2015 Go Red for Women  Luncheon of the America Heart Association and now serves on the Executive Leadership Council.  She also serves on the Board of Jurors for the prestigious Peabody Awards at the University of Georgia and is a 2016 University of Georgia Grady Fellow.  She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., which awarded her the Presidential Vanguard Award in 2016, The Junior League of Atlanta, and Sisters of Promise of Susan G. Komen. She is a breast cancer and liver cancer survivor.

She is married to John E. Pearson, Sr., is the mother of Claire Patrice Deveaux and step-mother of John E. Pearson, II

A Special Announcement By

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Tony Abdel Ghany

Born in France, to an Egyptian fighter pilot and an Algerian Berber mother, Tony Abdel ghany grew up with his grandmother. This strong woman gave him the means to flourish with a multicultural understanding of the world and strong values to make a positive impact on the global community. Today, Tony is a social entrepreneur with a focus on sustainable development through dedicated efforts in empowering youth and women.

Currently Mr. Abdel ghany serves as Executive Director to The James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation where he advocates for promoting young global leadership. The Foundation is a solid platform that supports nonprofit organizations involved in the Arts, Education, and Orphan Care. The foundation is working to launch twenty separate endowment funds in support of various aspects of its Mission. In addition, the foundation has created a Young Global Leadership Initiative to provide ongoing opportunities for select professionals to mentor the next generation of philanthropists in ethics, communications, and nonprofit administration.

In addition, Tony is a member of the United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development’s Working Group on Youth & Gender Equality, as well as a member of the Policy Strategy Group of the “World We Want 2030.” He serves as youth representative to the Global International Association for the advancement of innovative approaches to global challenges based in Austria.

As investor relations at Fourdice Ventures LLC, a boutique investment firm focused on technology, Tony took knowledge from the private sector and utilized it to make lasting and impacting relationships in his non-profit ventures. Having worked extensively in the private sector, he now leverages his knowledge, skills, and experience for the public service – and for the common good of people. Tony holds a B.A. in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Westminster in London. He currently resides in New York City.

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Patrice Bisiot

Celebrity hairstylist, author and keynote speaker Patrice Bisiot is a man with a mission.

A “mind-hair evangelist,” Bisiot wants us to know hair goes deeper than its roots– and the world needs to address this.“Think of your hair as your headline, your logo, your elevator pitch– on one level, it’s how you tell the world who you are,” explains Bisiot. “But on another level,” he continues, “hair can reveal what you haven’t told the world.” And to prove it, Bisiot delights is audiences with his signature “hair readings.” At first, he plays to the audience’s amusement by deadpanning, “I have a powerful gift…” He then brings to the stage a giggling volunteer, and he takes on the mantle of empathetic personal-development presenter. The “a-ha” moment comes, and is sometimes accompanied by tears, as Bisiot “reads” what’s really under her holdover ponytail or else.

Bisiot’s “powerful gift” is more than just a crowd pleaser. “When someone wants to change” he explains, “it’s often because she’s at a crossroads, a life changing event, a major promotion, a career move or in the process of making a major life decision, even if she’s not aware of it yet.” To Bisiot, any new decision is invariably related to something much deeper – and that needs to be respected.

“Too many makeovers are done on just the surface without looking at the person as a whole.” With his characteristic passion, Bisiot warns, “Hair mistake can take years to undo… and years of bad hair days are no joke.”

The message is now global. From Female empowerment organizations to mentoring the millennial, from coaching CEOs to training C-Suite Executives, the list is endless. His new project? Organizing a global Women’s summit, with inauguration held in 2017 at the UN’s headquarter in New York, first of its kind to be in English and French with co-founder of ‘Sommet de la femme’.

Bisiot is based in New York, Miami, and Los Angeles, and is originally from Paris, where hairdressing was developed into an art. He loves to talk about his native city’s rich hair culture that dates back to the French Court, where an elaborately nuanced hair code was used to proclaim one’s social standing. He regards himself as an artist whose favorite medium happens to be hair (he’s also an accomplished oil painter) and now more than ever loves sharing his message to empower the women of the world and make this planet a better place