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Final Connection 2017 Speaker Announcements - Connection 2017

Final Connection 2017 Speaker Announcements

By August 29, 2017Speakers

Tickets to Connection 2017 are now sold out! If you have questions, please contact us at emily@manynet.org. | Home Page

Connection 2017 is nearly here!

Launched in 2014, Connection is more than an event – it’s an experience. Connection brings together inspiring speakers, influential leaders, innovative practitioners, and a passionate national audience to explore new insights, the latest advances, and genius developments, all mixed with a sprinkle of grounded wisdom. More than that, it’s an opportunity to reflect in ways we often don’t have time for.

In addition to the 9 speakers already announced, we are honored and excited to present to you with three more thought leaders who will be speaking at Connection 2017: 


Alison Alvarez
CEO + Co-Founder of BlastPoint


Alison Alvarez is the CEO and co-founder of BlastPoint.  She spent years building big data tools for large companies and noticed that there was nothing comparable for smaller organizations without data professionals. She built BlastPoint to address those needs by making data affordable and accessible through the magic of maps.

She has specialized skills for building large systems around geospatial data and has given lectures around the country teaching people how to use these data tools for themselves (see https://github.com/nosila/ for free interactive coding lessons).

She is an NSF Research Fellow, a Jack Kent Cooke Fellow, and a Swartz Entrepreneurial Fellow. She has two master’s degrees from Carnegie Mellon: a 2007 MS from the Language Technologies Institute at the School of Computer Science and a 2016 MBA from the Tepper School of Business. She currently sits on the advisory board of Y-Combinator’s Valor Water where she assists with tech infrastructure and software team building. She has extensive experience building product management infrastructure and leading software teams.

Website |



Grace Franklin
Community Outreach Coordinator for the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights


A young New Orleans native, Grace Franklin-Gross currently serves as the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights, New Orleans’ juvenile public defender. As an adopted only child of a state social worker and single mother, she grew up exposed to the harsh realities many youth face. Her personal journey of being disconnected from school and work and her deep empathy ignite her passion to bridge the communication gaps between young people and those who serve them. She has helped lead many important conversations about youth empowerment and engagement at a local and national level.

Website | 


Vanessa German
Founder of ARThouse and Love Front Porch


Vanessa German is an American sculptor, painter, writer, activist, performer, and poet based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Her sculpture often includes assembled statues of female figures created with their heads/ faces painted black and a wide range of attached objects flowing outward including fabric, keys, found objects, and toy weapons.

Her work is held in numerous permanent collections including the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and has been reviewed by Sculpture and discussed in The New York Times, O, The Oprah Magazine, and on NPR’s All Things Considered. Her art has been featured in a wide range of galleries, museums and traveling exhibits, including the 2012 “African American Art 1950-Present” touring exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution. She was a 2015 recipient of the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Biennial Grant.


Stay tuned for more speaker announcements and be sure to follow MANY on Facebook & Twitter for updates on the Connection 2017 experience!

Tickets to Connection 2017 are now sold out! If you have questions, please contact us at emily@manynet.org.

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