Meet Our Guests
Mr. Danny BoyleAcademy Award Winning Director
Danny Boyle is a stage and film director, screenwriter, and producer from Radcliffe, Manchester. Danny’s Opening Ceremony for the London 2012 Olympic Games wowed critics and audiences across the world. In 2009 Danny won eight Academy Awards including Best Director and Best Picture for Slumdog Millionaire. Additionally, Danny has directed the feature films Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, The Beach, 28 Days Later, Millions, Sunshine, 127 Hours, Steve Jobs, and Yesterday. He has also directed work in theatre, including 2011’s Frankenstein at the Royal National Theatre. He is currently working on an FX television series based on the autobiography of Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones.
Ms. Anita DongreFashion Designer
Anita Dongre has been at the forefront of Indian fashion for more than 20 years, having created one of the most successful fashion houses in India which today employs over 2,500 people directly and provides indirect work to thousands more. Launched in 1995, the House of Anita Dongre has a portfolio with brands such as AND, Global Desi, Anita Dongre Bridal Couture, and Anita Dongre Grassroot. Internationally, her designs have been worn and appreciated by noteworthy women such as Kate Middleton, Hillary Clinton, Queen Mathilde of Belgium, and Sophie Trudeau.
Ms. Vanessa GermanPoet, Sculptor
Vanessa German is a visual and performance artist based in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Homewood. Homewood is the community that is the driving force behind German’s powerful performance work, and whose cast-off relics form the language of her sculptures. German explores the power of art and love as a transformative force in the dynamic cultural ecosystem of communities and neighborhoods. She is the founder of Love Front Porch and the ARThouse, a community arts initiative for the children of Homewood. Vanessa is offering her 15 minutes for a conversation on creativity and love.
Ms. Elizabeth GrimaldiExecutive Director of Fleisher Art Memorial
Elizabeth Grimaldi, a graduate of Bryn Mawr College, has been a leader in Philadelphia’s cultural nonprofits for over a decade. From 2009-2013, she was Executive Director of Village of Arts & Humanities, a Philadelphia arts organization. Here, she co-founded the youth-driven arts and culture publication called CRED magazine and helped launch PhillyEarth, a center for environmental education. Currently, Grimaldi is the Executive Director of the Fleisher Art Memorial, America’s oldest community art school. For over 120 years, Fleisher Art Memorial has served the Southeast Philadelphia community by providing affordable arts education across various media.
Mr. Al GuryPennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Chair
Al Gury is an educator, artist, and author of three books and numerous articles. He is the Chair of the Painting Department at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia (PAFA). Deeply committed to art education, he teaches many college courses on painting drawing and art history. He is also the Director of the After School Studio Arts Program at PAFA, an outreach that provides free high-quality art education to hundreds of underserved inner-city high school students in Philadelphia.
Ms. Kate JohnsonPresident of Microsoft US
Kate Johnson is the President of Microsoft US, a $45B subsidiary including all of Microsoft’s solutions, services, and support revenues across the public and private sector in the U.S. Focused on driving transformation within Microsoft’s largest commercial organization, Kate leads a 10,000-person field team to pursue Microsoft’s mission to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more. Kate is a business and technology industry veteran of more than 20 years, holding senior roles at GE, Oracle, and Red Hat. Kate has an MBA from Wharton and a Bachelor of Science degree from Lehigh University.
Mr. Karambir Singh KangArea Director of USA for Indian Hotels Company Ltd
Karambir Singh Kang is the Area Director - USA for Indian Hotels Company Ltd. His responsibility includes oversight of The Pierre in NYC, Taj Campton Place in San Francisco, and Taj Boston in Boston. Previously, Kang was Vice President – General Manager of the iconic Taj Mahal Palace, the company’s flagship in Mumbai. He held this role when the hotel suffered a terror attack on Nov. 26, 2008. Karambir was awarded the Uttam Jeevan Raksha Padak, a national award for bravery, and The Mother Teresa International Award in 2016.
Mr. Aamir KhanActor, Director, and Producer
Aamir Khan is a world-renowned Bollywood actor, director, and producer. Khan’s many notable films include Lagaan (2001), which was nominated for an Academy Award, Rang de Basanti (2006), 3 Idiots (2009), and PK (2014). His film Dangal (2016), in which he was a lead actor and producer, was the highest-grossing movie in Bollywood history. Khan has been awarded the Padma Shri in 2003 and the Padma Bhushan in 2010, both being two of the Indian government’s highest civilian awards. Khan has also been honored as National Treasure of India by the Government of China in 2017.
Mr. Raghava KKMultidisciplinary Artist
Raghava KK’s work traverses traditional forms of painting, installation, and performance, while his practice embraces new media to express post-human contemporary realities. His painting exhibitions, Incoherent Scraps of Gluttony, Brooklyn Bound R Train, and That’s All Folks!, disrupt the limits of the Social and the Perceptual Self through the friction between found digital elements, instead of asserting identity. Raghava was inducted into the National Geographic Society in 2013 as an Explorer for pushing the boundaries of scientific exploration through art.
Ms. Anjolie Ela MenonContemporary Artist
Anjolie Ela Menon is among India’s iconic contemporary artists. Menon has held 55 solo exhibitions including a retrospective at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai. Her work hangs in major museums and private collections globally. Three books and several films have been made on her life and work. The Asian Art Museum San Francisco accessioned her seminal work titled Yatra. She was awarded the Chevalier des Arts et des Letteres by the French Government, the prestigious Padma Shri by the government of India, and the Life Time Achievement Award of the Delhi Government in recognition for her contribution to Indian art.
Mr. Tulio MilmanJournalist
Tulio Milman is the Opinion Editor and a Columnist with RBS Media Group, one of the largest media companies in Brazil. He covered the Olympic Games in Barcelona, Beijing, and London, and the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio. Milman studied Leadership at Machon Lemadrichei Chul in Israel, where he lived and worked for a year, and earned specializations in Human Resources from the Business School Barcelona (EAE) and Marketing from the School of Higher Education in Advertising and Marketing (ESPM) in Brazil.
Mr. Nitin RakeshCEO of Mphasis
Nitin Rakesh, a distinguished leader in the IT services industry, joined Mphasis as its Chief Executive Officer in January 2017. Under his leadership, Mphasis set a record of the highest deal wins in the company’s history, the stock price rose by 2.5x in two years, and revenues from digital projects increased substantially. Before joining Mphasis, Rakesh was the Chief Executive Officer of Syntel (a NASDAQ listed IT services company). He is a founding member of Plaksha University, a new model of engineering education and research through collective philanthropy to transform higher education in India.
Mrs. Joanne RogersPianist and Philanthropist
Joanne Rogers is an accomplished pianist who has played more than 300 concerts over 36 years with her college classmate Jeannine Morrison. She has also maintained the legacy of her late husband, Fred Rogers, by inheriting his body of work and production company. She continues to advocate for the values her husband taught in his TV show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. She sat for multiple interviews for the 2018 documentary about Mr. Rogers. She was also involved in the film A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019), starring Tom Hanks.
Mr. Senaka SenanayakeContemporary Artist
Senaka Senanayake is a Sri Lankan artist who attained fame early in life as a prodigy for his works of art. He had his first International one-man exhibition at the age of ten, in New York. His work, characterized by its brilliantly colored scenes of lush, overlapping jungle fauna and vegetation, has earned him a reputation as one of Sri Lanka's most appreciated artists. He later studied art and architecture at Yale University. Senanayake has more than 100 solo shows to his credit, and numerous group shows across the globe.
Dr. Shashi TharoorBest-selling Author and Politician
Dr. Shashi Tharoor, a third-term Member of Parliament for Thiruvananthapuram, India, is the best-selling author of 21 books, both fiction and non-fiction, besides being a former Under Secretary-General of the United Nations and a former Minister of State for Human Resource Development and for External Affairs in the Government of India. Dr. Tharoor also chairs the Indian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Information Technology. He has won numerous awards, including the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and the Crossword Lifetime Achievement Award.
Mr. Amish TripathiBest-Selling Author
Amish is a diplomat, author and columnist. He took over as the Director of The Nehru Centre in London in October 2019. Amish was listed among the 50 most powerful Indians by India Today magazine in 2019. Forbes India has regularly ranked Amish among the top 100 most influential celebrities in India. In 2014, Amish was also selected as an Eisenhower Fellow. Amish published his first book in 2010 and has written eight books to date. His books have sold 5.5 million copies.
Mr. Navin ValraniCEO of Arcadia Schools
Navin Valrani was born in Mumbai and raised in Dubai. He went on to graduate with honors from the Wharton School and then backed it up with an MBA at London Business School and an MS Ed. at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of Al Shirawi Group, the diversified Dubai-based conglomerate. He is also the CEO of Arcadia Education, the group’s education initiative, and the school operator of the innovative Arcadia Schools.
Colonel Terry VirtsCommander of the International Space Station and Space Shuttle Pilot
Colonel Terry Virts served in the U.S. Air Force as a fighter pilot, test pilot, and NASA astronaut and is a graduate of the US Air Force Academy, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and Harvard Business School. On February 8, 2010, he made his first spaceflight as the pilot of the space shuttle Endeavour during mission STS-130. Virt’s next launch was on board the Russian Soyuz TMA-15M on November 23, 2014. In March of the following year, he assumed command of the International Space Station (ISS) as Commander of Expedition 43.
Dr. Jerry WindWharton School Marketing Professor
Dr. Jerry (Yoram) Wind joined Wharton in 1967 with a doctorate from Stanford and took an emeritus status in July 2017. He is currently the Lauder Professor Emeritus and Professor of Marketing. He founded the SEI Center for Advanced Studies in Management and ran it for three decades. Wind has published more than 300 articles and 25 books and received four major marketing awards. He was inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame in 2017. In addition, Wind is a trustee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Curtis Institute of Music.
Ms. Dilbur ParakhChairperson & Trustee of Aseema Charitable Trust
Dilbur started her career as a lawyer in Mumbai. She championed the cause of women’s rights and went on to work with the Union for Civil Liberty, Thailand. Thereafter she worked with the International Commission of Jurists in Geneva as their Legal Officer for Asia and the Pacific. The fact that prevalent laws did not filter down to society’s most vulnerable deeply disturbed her. Determined to bridge this gap, she co-founded Aseema in 1995. Today Aseema provides high quality, value-based education to 4,400 children in Mumbai and in a remote village in Maharashtra, India.
Ms. Christine BiancheriaPresident, Director of Friends of Aseema
Christine is president of Friends of Aseema, a U.S. nonprofit supporting Aseema. She is an attorney and first met Dilbur Parakh in 1993 during an international human rights fellowship in Switzerland at the International Commission of Jurists. Christine engaged in civil and public-interest litigation for more than 20 years. She was a governor’s appointee to the Uniform Law Commission. Christine loves writing, traveling, and learning languages. She is working on Hindi. She is a dog lover and has a collection of more than 1,500 board games from all over the world.
Ms. Grace ChoFounder & CEO of Artrepreneur
Grace Cho has 25+ years of experience in global development of startups to mature businesses, consumer, and commercial finance across multiple industries including media, digital, aviation, industrials, retail, and consumer credit. Most recently, Grace was Operating Partner at Advent International. Prior to that, she was Nielsen’s COO and EVP Global Development for Global Entertainment & Automotive and held c-level roles at the largest GE Capital units with revenues of more than $25B, spanning 30+ countries. Grace structured first-ever global partnerships with CNBC, Universal Studios, The Weather Channel, MSNBC, NBC Sports, Wall Street on Demand, Standard & Poor’s, Wharton, Zagat, Thomson Reuters, and other content providers. Grace is also an artist painter.