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Nancy Abrams Dreier '86, P'12,'15
Director, West Coast Engagement and Cornell Silicon Valley (CSV)
Cornell University


Christina DePalma '10

Associate Director, West Coast Engagement and Cornell Silicon Valley (CSV)

Cornell University


Stephanie Van Overberghe '15
Administrative Assistant, Cornell Silicon Valley (CSV)

Tuesday, March 7, 2017, 12:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

12:30 p.m.

CSV17 Registration and Doors Open

1:00 p.m.

CSV17 Welcome

1:10 p.m.

Keynote Conversation: Reverse-engineering the brain for intelligent machines


Jeff Hawkins '79, P '12, Co-Founder of Numenta
Subutai Ahmad '86, P '14, Vice President of Research at Numenta


Jeff and Subutai are on a mission to reverse-engineer the brain. In this session, they will discuss how they are tackling this scientific challenge, the progress they are making, and why brain theory is necessary to create truly intelligent machines.

1:40 p.m.

Faculty-led Panel: Where will our cars take us?

Mark Campbell, John A. Mellowes '60 Professor and the S. C. Thomas Sze Director of the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Cornell
Nidhi Kalra '02, Senior Information Scientist at RAND Corporation
Aaron Nathan '06, Founder & CEO at Point One Navigation
Ankit Patel MBA '12, Senior Product Manager at NVIDIA


Advancements in autonomous driving have exploded during the past 10 years, leading to a race in technology innovation, demonstrations, and novel applications. How will this area continue to evolve, and what are the future impacts, both good and bad? A panel from academia and industry will discuss this evolution, the role of Cornell and of industry, and the future of where our cars will take us.

2:25 p.m.

Alumni-led Conversation: Technology to Table


John Balen '82, MBA '86, P '18, P '20, General Partner at Canaan Partners
Chef Michael Mina, Chef & Founder of Mina Group


CSV Advisor John Balen will lead a conversation with Chef Michael Mina, sharing insights into his empire of culinary establishments and the role that technology plays.

2:50 p.m.


3:20 p.m.

Faculty-led Panel: Genetics—it's personal!


Charles “Chip” Aquadro, Charles A. Alexander Professor of Biological Sciences in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Cornell, and Director of the Cornell Center for Comparative and Population Genomics
Anna Faaborg '03, Research and Disease Community Manager at 23andMe
Julie Granka '08, Manager, Personalized Genomics at AncestryDNA
Andrew Smolik '09, Product Manager at 23andMe


DNA is all about you—your evolution, ancestral immigration, and genetic profile. Our panelists are dedicated to using DNA for groundbreaking medical research, mapping ancestry and immigration patterns, and engaging students by making the study of genetics personal. This panel will explore the ethics and policies surrounding genetics along with some of the business models and educational applications that are in use today.

4:00 p.m.

Alumni Presentation: Making the impossible look easy and the easy look impossible [This talk will not be streamed]

Shaun Stewart '02, Director at Waymo, the self-driving technology company that graduated from Alphabet’s X

Business leaders often focus on applying innovation to growing businesses, neglecting the seemingly simple yet frequently challenging task of building, managing, and leading effective teams. Shaun will look at the keys to building, leading, and managing teams for scale.

4:30 p.m.

Faculty-led Panel: The impact of research on innovative design


Mardelle McCuskey Shepley, Professor in the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis and Associate Director of the Institute for Healthy Futures at Cornell
Rosie Adams MS ’08, Director, Operation Planning & Design at Stanford Health Care
Zig Wu MS ’11, Senior Program Manager, Space Management at Stanford Health Care


Have you noticed a change in the design of your physician’s office or the updated look and feel of a hospital? It’s likely that Professor Shepley’s research and the tools that our panelists use have played a role in bringing about these changes. The panel will discuss the impact of academic research on space management and design and the importance of data analytics for space planning. Panelists will share thoughts on the implications of using technology for health care space and design programs and what technology can’t replace—consensus-building, decision-making skills, and the human connection.

5:00 p.m.

Alumni Presentation: Crafting the first mile of product experience

Scott Belsky '02, Founder of Behance; Venture Partner at Benchmark Capital

As leaders become immersed in their products and businesses, they become more focused on the customers they have and less on those they don’t. If you aspire to engage millions of people, you must defy the tendency to prioritize features for your best customers at the expense of the “first mile” of product experience for every customer. In this session, Scott explores the psychology of customers during their initial use of a new product or service and the common obstacles and strategies a team must employ to successfully scale a product—and business—over time.

5:30 p.m.


6:00 p.m.

Alumni Keynote: My life in business and philanthropy



Sanford I. Weill '55, P '81, GP '13, Chairman Emeritus of Citigroup, CEO of Casa Rosa Ventures, philanthropist


Sandy, one of the most respected and influential people in business over the last five decades, will talk about his career in the financial industry, which culminated in helping build and lead Citigroup. He will also talk about the approach he and Joan, his wife of 61 years, have taken towards their global philanthropy—including transformational gifts to Cornell University and Weill Cornell Medicine, among many other institutions and organizations—and about the role Cornell has played in shaping his life’s story.

6:30 p.m.

Special Introduction by Ann Bowers '59, Chair of the Cornell Silicon Valley Advisors

University Spotlight: Michael I. Kotlikoff, Provost, Cornell University


Provost Kotlikoff will offer remarks about the university's academic priorities.

7:15 p.m.

Walk-About Reception and Networking

9:00 p.m.

CSV17 Concludes