Featured Speakers & Panelists

Anima Anandkumar

Principal Data Scientist, Amazon Web Services

Anima Anandkumar is a principal scientist at Amazon Web Services. Anandkumar is currently on leave from UC Irvine, where she is an associate professor. Her research interests are in the areas of large-scale machine learning, nonconvex optimization and high-dimensional statistics. In particular, she has been spearheading the development and analysis of tensor algorithms.

Previously, she was a postdoctoral researcher at MIT and a visiting researcher at Microsoft Research New England. Anandkumar is the recipient of several awards, including the Alfred. P. Sloan fellowship, the Microsoft faculty fellowship, the Google research award, the ARO and AFOSR Young Investigator awards, the NSF CAREER Award, the Early Career Excellence in Research Award at UCI, the Best Thesis Award from the ACM SIGMETRICS society, the IBM Fran Allen Ph.D. fellowship and several best paper awards. She has been featured in a number of forums, such as the Quora ML session, Huffington Post, Forbes and O’Reilly Media. Anima holds a B.Tech. in electrical engineering from IIT Madras and a Ph.D. from Cornell University.

Learn more...
Daniel Cheng ('15)

Senior Product Manager, Sengled

Daniel Cheng has over 10 years of experience in the tech industry and is passionate about all things smart home and IoT. Cheng is currently the senior product marketing manager at Sengled, a world leader in smart home technology with a broad portfolio of innovative award-winning products. Sengled is reinventing the way people think about the smart home by embedding consumer electronics into the ubiquitous light bulb. Cheng runs the product marketing unit, with responsibilities that include market research, product definition, business development and launching products. Previously, he managed several product lines at Semtech and Microchip, with annual revenues exceeding hundreds of million dollars.

Cheng graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.S. in electrical engineering and computer science in 2006 and received his MBA from UCLA School of Management in 2015.

Learn more...
Dyan Decker ('02)

Partner, U.S. Forensic Technology Leader, PwC

Dyan Decker is a forensic services partner in PwC’s New York practice and leads the U.S. forensic technology practice within PwC. She relocated from the Los Angeles office in 2013 bringing almost 20 years of technology, accounting and business experience to her clients. Her specialties include the analysis of large, complex data sets for investigative, regulatory, compliance and litigation support engagements.

Decker’s engagements have included providing forensic accounting, asset search, electronic discovery and financial advisory services to a court-appointed receiver/trustee in a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme. Her testimony as a fact witness in the criminal trial of the lead defendant aided in the eventual prosecution of the defendant. Decker has successfully assisted a large financial institution in its defense of a class action lawsuit related to overdraft fees. She has also consulted with enterprises investigating cyber crime-related concerns, including advanced persistent threats and data breaches.

Learn more...
Brian Gamido ('08)

Head of Business, Deepgram

Brian Gamido has a proven track record of success as a tech entrepreneur, management consultant and engineer. Gamido is currently the head of business at Deepgram, a venture-backed startup leveraging machine learning and deep neural networks to index and make searchable, the world's speech audio data.

Gamido also co-founded Yardbook, a venture-backed SaaS company delivering solutions for the $800 billion home services industry. Prior to being a tech entrepreneur, Gamido was a senior leader at Deloitte Consulting’s strategy and operations practice. While at Deloitte, he led engagement teams on multimillion-dollar projects and advised Fortune 500 technology clients on customer strategy and customer operations.

Gamido graduated with honors from UC Berkeley with a B.A. degree in computer science and graduated with honors from the UCLA Anderson School of Management with an MBA.

Learn more...
Harnish Jani

Lead Strategic Designer and Venture Architect, BCG Digital Ventures

Harnish Jani is a lead strategic designer and venture architect at BCG Digital Ventures, a corporate investment and incubation firm headquartered in Manhattan Beach. BCGDV invents, builds and invests in startups with the world’s most influential companies. Jani works at the global crossroads of design, business, culture and technology to passionately help organizations innovate and commercialize holistic user experience solutions and services across transmedia platforms in verticals like industrial goods, IoT, health care, FinTech and more.

Prior to BCGDV, Jani served as the director of design strategy and research at RKS, a multiple award-winning innovation and design consultancy, where he led programs for Fortune 500 firms, startups and nonprofits across 20+ countries. His eclectic experiences as a designer, strategist, researcher and teaching professional have helped deliver bottom-line successes, commercialized industry-first disruptions and rendered award-winning designs for a global roster of clients, namely, Intel, Unilever, Dell, Samsung, Panasonic, Amgen, SC Johnson, Hamilton Medical, Life Technologies, National Institutes of Health, KOR Water, LoanGifting and FreshRealm. He holds a master of industrial design from North Carolina State University with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from University of Mumbai.

Learn more...
Michael Leyva ('14)

Product Manager, New Markets, Epson

Michael Leyva is a marketing professional with experience in product management, account development and market research. As product manager of new markets at Epson, he takes creative approaches to solve problems, build strong customer relationships and deliver results that exceed expectations. He earned his B.S. in business administration from the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School and his MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Learn more...
Mayank Mehta

Professor of Physics and Astronomy and Neurobiology, UCLA

Mayank Mehta is a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Department of Neurobiology at UCLA. His research has been published in such academic journals as the Journal of Neuroscience, The Neuroscientist and Biological Cybernetics. He earned his Ph.D. in quantum field theory from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and his B.A. in physics and mathematics and a master's degree in nuclear physics from Bombay University.

Learn more...
Ramin Ramezani

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Computer Science, UCLA

Dr. Ramin Ramezani is an adjunct assistant professor of computer science and a research scientist at the Center for Smart Health at UCLA. He is also managing technical director at Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) within David Geffen School of Medicine.

Ramezani was formerly the chief technologist in the big data and analytical unit within the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial College London, where he still holds an honorary association. Prior to that, he was a member of computational creativity group in the Department of Computing at Imperial College, where he finished his Ph.D. with a dissertation titled “An Artificial Intelligence Framework for Investigative Reasoning.” The research entailed automatic reformulation of AI problems and combined reasoning.

His research is focused on employing various engineering techniques to tackle problems that arise in the medical domain, primarily personal health and early disease detection tendencies.

Learn more...
Sami Ramly

VR Product and Program Lead, Wevr

Sami Ramly is the VR product and program lead at Wevr, the leading L.A.-based virtual reality startup specializing in the production and distribution of high-quality award-winning VR experiences. Wevr’s VR productions have received praise from festivals and awards ceremonies like Sundance, Tribeca and Proto Awards, including for theBlu, Gnomes & Goblins, directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man, The Jungle Book, The Avengers), Finding your True Self with Deepak Chopra, Waves with Reggie Watts, Sports Illustrated and several other best-in-class VR titles.

Ramly is currently leading the product efforts for Transport, Wevr’s VR network for VR creatives and their audiences, and a consumer software service enabling distribution and monetization of premium content in homes and venues around the world. Previously, he worked in product on 3-D printing and 3-D scanning at Microsoft, where he shipped Microsoft’s first 3-D scan app for Windows 10. Ramly also held several other roles in engineering, business and product management at Silicon Valley startups and accelerators, including StartX. Ramly currently sits on the advisory board of Rabbit Hole VR, Stanford’s VR/AR maker community, which was featured in Business Insider as a place where “the next big thing in VR could come.”

Learn more...
Neil Sahota

Worldwide Business Development Leader and Master Inventor, IBM Watson Group

Neil Sahota is an IBM master inventor and worldwide business development leader in the IBM Watson Group. With over 15 years of experience in business, he works with Global Fortune 500 clients and high-growth business partners to ideate next-generation products/solutions powered by Watson. Sahota’s responsibilities include identifying target markets, developing business cases and creating the market launch strategy. Prior to this role, he was a thought leader consultant and practice leader in IBM Global Business Services, where he was responsible for the sales and delivery of complex consulting engagements spanning business strategy, new product development, revenue optimization, process improvement and business and system integration.

Sahota’s work experience spans multiple industries, including health care, life sciences, retail, travel and transportation, energy and utilities, automotive, telecommunications, media/communication, and government. Moreover, he is one of the few IBMers selected for IBM’s Corporate Service Corps leadership program, which pairs leaders with NGOs to perform community-driven economic development projects. For his assignment, Sahota lived and worked in Ningbo, China, where he partnered with Chinese corporate CEOs to create a leadership development program.

Sahota is also an active volunteer in IBM’s academic initiative program, which creates partnership opportunities between the IBM and the country’s top universities. He also serves as a business mentor for IBM’s Extreme Blue program, an incubator for new product ideas. With Sahota’s guidance, IBM developed new products and services in the areas of business analytics, smarter health care, smarter energy, mobile channel development and social media solutions.

Learn more...
Ravi Sawhney

Founder & CEO, RKS Design

Ravi Sawhney is an author, entrepreneur, speaker and lecturer. He has spent 40 years at the forefront of product and technology innovation. He has grown his industrial design consultancy, RKS Design, into a global leader in the fields of strategy, innovation and design. While leading RKS, Sawhney has incubated and run several businesses that have helped generate more than 250 patents and over 200 design awards on behalf of RKS’s diverse list of international clients. His work has been featured on the cover of Business Week’s best product design issue, published as case studies by Harvard Business Press, and taught globally.

Sawhney’s book Predictable Magic describes a powerful methodology called psycho-aesthetics (P/A), which turns consumer insight into attention-grabbing product designs that make a deep, emotional connection with consumers. Sawhney designs and innovates for startup companies like KOR Water and some of the largest, well-known brands, including Pepsi, Sharp and Unilever. In each case, his repeatable, scalable and universal tool has guided his RKS team to connect with the audiences it serves. Design is no longer just about winning awards and creating great portfolios — RKS has helped improve the quality of people’s lives and provide levels of self-esteem that can only be created through insights into the “self.”

Learn more...


John Blevins

Assistant Adjunct Professor; Incoming Faculty Director, Easton Technology Management Center

J.B. has worked in the technology industry for over twenty years, specializing in emerging technologies & strategy development. He is a Managing Partner at the venture capital firm Navigation Pointe, investing in early-stage technology/media companies. His clients have been in the technology, telecommunications, media/entertainment, financial services, energy, CPG, public sector, healthcare, manufacturing, and automotive verticals. He has expertise in strategy development and corporate management. He has had a variety of roles working in venture capital, M&A, corporate strategy, cloud computing, social media, mobility, unified communications, database/business intelligence and electronic data interchange (EDI). He teaches graduate courses in emerging technologies at UCLA Anderson School of Management as well as involvement in the University’s startup community. J.B.’s career includes 25 years at Deloitte (5 years), Microsoft (12 years), Oracle (4 years) and Shell Oil (4 years), based in Houston, Dallas, New York, Miami, London and Los Angeles. His extensive domestic and international business experience offers clients the knowledge required in today’s global marketplace. J.B. has an Engineering Bachelor of Science with heavy concentration in Speech Communications from the University of Alabama, as well as a Masters of Business Administration from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) Anderson School of Management where he served as class vice-president. Mr. Blevins is an avid adventure traveler and has visited all 7 continents. He is an amateur photographer and enjoys urban biking, hiking, snowboarding, sailing, surfing, and all water sports.

Learn more...
Tom Burdakin ('18)


Kavika Dilawari ('17)

Lead Product Marketing Manager Intern, AT&T

Vandana Mangal

Executive Director, Easton Technology Management Center, UCLA Anderson School of Management

Dr. Vandana Mangal is executive director of the Easton Technology Management Center and the research director for business and information technologies at UCLA Anderson School of Management. She taught the course Big Data as Emerging Technologies and Markets at UCLA Anderson. She is on the board of the IS Associates. Mangal spoke about big data and participated in a Q&A on “Concept to Code” with a Silicon Beach startup on the City of Santa Monica’s YouTube channel.

Mangal has been instrumental in launching the Easton Technology Leadership Program and growing it into the Easton Technology Management Center, now with more than 515 students and $11 million in funding. She has published three books and served as the guest editor of a special issue of the Journal of Engineering Management and Economics titled “Technology, Operations and Strategy in Innovation and Entrepreneurship.” She frequently serves as judge for case and venture competitions and has chaired panels including at the Digital Entertainment World Conference, California Clean Conference, the India Conference and the Women’s Business Conference.

Before joining UCLA, Mangal worked at Intel and AE Business Solutions Consulting and taught at the University of Wisconsin, Madison’s School of Business. Her Ph.D. is from the Heinz School at Carnegie Mellon University; her undergraduate degree is in electrical engineering from PEC University of Technology.

Learn more...
Guillaume Roels

Associate Professor of Decisions, Operations and Technology Management, and Faculty Director, Easton Technology Management Center, UCLA Anderson School of Management

Guillaume Roels is an associate professor at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. His research interests are supply chain management and operations management in knowledge-based services.

Roels has characterized the worst-case performance of supply chains with limited demand information and uncoordinated decision-making. His findings have led to the development of principles for making robust supply chain decisions such as contracting, capacity investment, capacity allocation and pricing. In addition, he has studied how to improve productivity in knowledge-based services by properly designing incentive mechanisms or improving time management. His research has been published in journals such as Management Science, Operations Research, Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, and Production and Operations Management, and has led to several awards.

At UCLA, Roels teaches the core course on operations management for the MBA and Executive MBA programs, executive courses on revenue management and entrepreneurship, and a doctoral course on inventory theory. He was presented with numerous teaching awards, both student-voted and faculty-selected.

He is the current faculty director of the Easton Technology Management Center. He was named one of Poets and Quants’ 2015 Best 40 Business School Professors under 40.

Learn more...