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UVA Alumni Returning to Cville for Tom Tom

by Tom Tom Staff

UVA Connection

Tom Tom 2018 will welcome over 200 speakers to Charlottesville, VA, including a number of notable University of Virginia alumni.

University if Virginia’s presence is Charlottesville is undeniable, and arguably essential to the ebb and flow of life in the city. As a Founding Partner, UVA has had a positive influence and impact on the birth and growth of Tom Tom Founders Festival. In helping oversee, helm, and cohost programs, we have seen success in our partnership endeavors. Each year, we are pleased to have given a platform and stage to some of the distinguished alumni who have become incredible innovators since graduating from UVA.

This year is no exception.

Below you’ll find a number of UVA alumni who, in some cases, are returning to Charlottesville for the first time since they were last seen here in a cap and gown. They will be joining an all-star lineup of amazing innovators, including several current UVA faculty and figures.

The diverse group is made up of impressive individuals who have spearheaded their campaigns and careers with courage and conviction in order to see their dreams realized and better the world, one step at a time.

UVA Alumni Speakers & Presenters

Katie Appel Duda

Katie Appel Duda, Director of Government Innovation, Bloomberg Philanthropies

  1. 2018 Mayors Challenge” // 2:00-3:10pm, Thursday (4/12), The Paramount Ballroom

Ross Baird, Co-Founder and President, Village Capital

  1. How Ready for Funding Are You?” // 10:30-11:40am, Thursday (4/12), Vault Virginia

  2. Fighting Inequality with Finance” // 2:00-3:10pm, Thursday (4/12), Jefferson Theater

Brett Bohl, Managing Director, Techstars Farm to Fork Accelerator

  1. Fueling the Next Wage: Food Incubators” // 10:30-11:40am, Friday (4/13), Vault Virginia

  2. “Growth Hacking” // 3:30-4:40pm, Friday (4/13), Second Street Gallery

Mark Brzezinski, Managing Director, Makena Capital Management, former

Steve Huffman


  1. Host: “Founding Stories” // 9:00-5:00pm, Friday (4/13), The Paramount Theater

Steve Gibson, CFO, The Washington Post

  1. The Future of Journalism” // 2:00-3:10pm, Friday (4/13), Vault Virginia

Steve Huffman, Cofounder and CEO, Reddit

  1. American Evolution Innovators Cup” // 6:00-8:00pm, Thursday (4/12), Jefferson Theater

  2. “Students and Startups” // 12:00-1:40pm, Friday (4/13), Brasserie Saison

  3. Vision: From Success to Scale” // 2:00-3:10pm, Friday (4/13), The Paramount Theater

Peter Jackson, Portfolio Director, IDEO San Francisco

Manning Brothers

  1. Fighting Inequality with Finance” // 2:00-3:10pm, Thursday (4/12), Jefferson Theater

  2. Designing Products with Purpose” // 3:30-4:40pm, Thursday (4/12), Vault Virginia

  3. UX for Public Service” // 2:00-3:10pm, Friday (4/13), Vault Virginia

Melody Koh, Venture Partner, NextView Ventures

  1. Data and Trends for Ecosystem Developers” // 3:30-4:40pm, Thursday (4/12), Vault Virginia

Bryan and Bradford Manning, Cofounders Two Blind Brothers

Leland Melvin

  1. Grit: Overcoming Adversity” // 9:00-10:10am, Friday (4/13), The Paramount Theater

Leland Melvin, NASA Astronaut and Dallas Cowboy

  1. Grit: Overcoming Adversity” // 9:00-10:10am, Friday (4/13), The Paramount Theater

  2. STEAM Ahead: Inclusive Innovation” // 12:00-1:40pm, Friday (4/13), Zocalo

Karen Seminara, CFO, Nickelodeon

  1. The Edge of Entertainment” // 3:30-4:40pm, Friday (4/13), Vault Virginia

They aren’t the only ones joining us at Tom Tom Founders Festival this year, either! The list extends to: Bryan Myers (COO of [solidcore]), speaking at “Growth Hacking,” Jerry Nemorin (Founder and CEO of LendStreet), speaking at “Fighting Inequality with Finance,” Atima Omara (founder and President of Omara Strategy Group), speaking at “Sex in Public: Gender and Political Office,” Chaitenya Razdan (Founder of care+wear), speaking at “Designing Health,” Alice Handy (Founder of Investure), speaking at “Founding While Female,” Joshua Anton (Founder of X-Mode), speaking at “Growth Hacking,” Stephen Coughlin (CEO of Fluence, A Siemens and AES Company), speaking at “The Future of Energy Storage,” Evan Behrle (Special Advisory for Opioid Policy, Baltimore City Health), speaking at “Addressing the Opioid Crisis,” and Brett Gibson (Founder of NextVentures)!

UVA Sponsored Events

  1. Youth Summit // 9:00am-12:00pm, Wednesday (4/11), The Paramount Theater: This student-planned and student-led ticketed Summit experience brings together ambitious high school students, inspirational educators, and civic leaders from across Virginia. Heart from youth-driven speakers and participate in high-level challenges that reflect entrepreneurial problem-solving. Mentoring is provided by both Tom Tom and student-founded ReinventED Lab, with UVA. 

  2. The Presidency at a Crossroads” // 6:00pm-7:30pm, Wednesday, (4/11),

 The Paramount Theater: Explore the history and future of the American presidency with preeminent experts from both sides of the aisle. In two panels, influential political leaders, journalists, and scholars will delve into the role of the presidency on the global stage, followed by an assessment on the current administration; presentation by UVA’s Miller Center

  1. Crowdfunded Pitch Night” // 7:00pm-9:00pm, Wednesday (4/11), The Jefferson Theater: Ten local entrepreneurs pitch to a live audience willing to pledge funds to their favorite contestant in a 3-minute chance to share their vision and inspire the crowd to action. Rewards include workshops and mentorships with CIC and UVA’s i.Lab.

  2. An Evening with John Cleese” // 8:00pm-9:30pm, Wednesday (4/11), The Paramount Theater: In a special engagement with UVA’s Division of Perceptual Studies (DOPS), meet the man behind Monty Python in a once-in-a-lifetime evening. John Cleese, known for his comical performances and stellar stand-up incorporating physical comedy, is bringing his perception and shticks to Tom Tom with thanks to DOPS. 

  3. Our Towns: A 100,000 Mile Journey Into the Heart of America” // 9:00am-10:10am, Thursday (4/12), The Jefferson Theater: Having spent three years criss-crossing America’s small cities by single engine plane, two of the nation’s leading journalists offer a unique, revelatory portrait of the civic and economic renewal they discovered taking place beyond the headlines.

  4. Freelancing: A Survival Guide to the Future of Work” // 2:00pm-3:10pm, Thursday (4/12), Welcome Gallery: What does the gig economy mean for workers, entrepreneurs, and YOU? An era of ultimate freedom or the collapse of the social contract? How does it look different for white collar workers versus trades professionals? For women versus men? Learn how to stay afloat in a sea of unpredictability.

6:30pm, Thursday (4/12), The Paramount Theater: Legendary actor, writer and comedian John Cleese, friend and supporter of the research being done at UVA’s Division of Perceptual Studies, will be moderating a 90 minute discussion of the scope of the research being done at the UVA Division of Perceptual Studies. All proceeds go to UVA’s DOPS.

  1. The Founders Who Aren’t: Inclusion in Entrepreneurship” // 10;30am-11:40am, Friday (4/13), Second Street Gallery: Beyond lamenting these statistics, what can each of us do to level the playing field and unlock the enormous potential of overlooked innovators? This session is a safe, candid opportunity to discuss practical strategies for overcoming bias and founding a more equitable future.

Want to see the exhaustive list of UVA-centric events, including those that are sponsored and partnered? Head over to our Interactive Schedule (or download the app!), and filter by category or simply search for “UVA” – and you’ll see the dozens of events they are steering with us!

Get Involved

If you haven’t secured your Badge, now is the time to do it! We have hundreds of amazing events throughout the entire week that you can get instant access too with a badge. It’s the best deal for you, and for your wallet! Make the most of your Tom Tom experience with other civic leaders, entrepreneurs, and members of your community.

Unable to stay the whole week? Check out the individually ticketed events! There are plenty of community-based classes, workshops, residencies, luncheons, and more to register for.

Just want to have fun? We’ve got that, too! Have the Best.Weekend.Ever. with Tom Tom at our Block Parties, mixers, and shows – for free!

Remember, it doesn’t matter how many events you attend – but what you take away from the experience, and how much you give and get involved. Your investment will transform into a better future for yourself and your community. It all starts with you.

And, in many cases, UVA.

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