Arabian Prince

Arabian Prince – A songwriter, rapper, producer, DJ and technologist, Arabian is best known for pioneering west coast electro music and being a founding member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted rap group N.W.A. His passion for technology led to him create a 3D animation and special effects studio in the 90’s working with companies like Saban Entertainment and Fox; including 100+ video game titles for Fox interactive and Vivendi Universal. As a consultant, Arabian has advised many companies on bridging the gap between technology and the youth, while bringing new product innovations to market. He is currently working with his tech partners to bring Open Labs to communities across the country to support Diversity, Women in tech, Veterans and anyone else who wants to explore the future of technology. He is currently serving as the President of the LAFTC, Los Angeles First Tech Challenge Robotics Competition which has 160 schools under his belt.

Cassie Betts

Cassie Betts is CEO/Founder of the fashion-tech company District2.Co out of Silicon Beach. District2, is a virtual garment district that helps the apparel manufacturing industry reinvent and redefine the global supply chain in such a way that will empower “the little guy”, while simultaneously striving to reduce carbon footprint impact and increase sustainable practices. It is a B2B platform that connects designers with factories.

She is also the Director of Tech Learning for Black Women in Tech. She was a homeless teen who worked her way up the Apparel Industry’s corporate ladder to a six figure salary. District2.Co was founded in 2013, has won awards and accolades, and is revenue generating with a valuation of $3M. Cassie learned to code at age 9, but went into the apparel industry where there is very little coding applied. She started a youth initiative in South Central called MISLA or Made In South LA, to introduce at-risk youth to entrepreneurialism, coding and digital literacy. MISLA has now evolved to an Urban Economic Accelerator. Operating with an “Each One Teach One” approach, underrepresented minorities are trained in web development and software engineering while volunteering with local non-profits to train youth to code.

Cassie is currently taking advanced coding courses at Code District in order to empower herself as a tech CEO and teach youth to code. She is a single mother of two, who in her spare time enjoys hiking, boxing and teaching her boys to be

Brent Bushnell

Brent Bushnell is the CEO and co-founder of Two Bit Circus, a Los Angeles-based experiential entertainment company. The interdisciplinary team strives to create immersive, social fun and is currently building a network of micro-amusement parks featuring free-roaming VR, robot bartenders, an interactive supper club and more. Previously they launched STEAM Carnival, a traveling showcase of high-tech entertainment and student STEAM workshops. They’ve captured action sports content in 360 videos for brands like the NFL, NBA, Indy and the Olympics for use in VR activations at the Super Bowl, All-Star games and in retail. The company regularly serves as immersive entertainment partners for brands and location-based facilities.

Previously, Brent was the on-camera inventor for the ABC TV show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. He was a founding member of Syyn Labs, a creative collective creating stunts for brands like Google and Disney and helped OK Go build the Rube Goldberg machine for their viral This Too Shall Pass music video that garnered 50+ million views on YouTube. Brent is board president of the Two Bit Circus Foundation, a 501(c)(3), that deploys STEAM-based programs to inspire students about invention and operates annual STEAM Carnivals bringing the excitement of STEM & STEAM to communities around the world. He’s a Sir Edmund Hillary Fellow and enjoys mentoring teens in entrepreneurship via programs such as NFTE. He’s a supporter of Clowns Without Borders and publishes on Twitter @brentbushnell.

Christopher Lyons

Chris Lyons is currently leading the Cultural Leadership Fund at Andreessen Horowitz. His goal within the CLF is to connect the greatest cultural leaders in the world to the best new technology companies, and enable more young African Americans to enter the technology industry.

Chris has had a significant amount of experience in both the venture capital and entrepreneurial ecosystem. He was previously Chief of Staff at Andreessen Horowitz, founder of restaurant technology startup PictureMenu, and also worked with Jermaine Dupri at SoSo Def as a music producer and engineer. Chris is a Kauffman Fellow graduate (Class 19), advisor to New Story Charity, The Black Economic Alliance, and member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated.

Kendra Bracken-Ferguson

Now the Chief Digital Officer of Braintrust CAA-GBG, the largest brand management agency in the world with 24 offices in over 20 countries, Kendra leads a global team of digital marketing experts and social media natives. The BrainTrust, the social media agency that Kendra founded in 2016, joined CAA-GBG which is a joint venture between Global Brands Group Holding Limited (“Global Brands”), and Creative Artists Agency (“CAA”).

Prior to BrainTrust gaining notoriety and success, Kendra saw an opening in the market for digital, social and influencer marketing, and she co-founded Digital Brand Architects. Now in its sixth year, DBA grew quickly from an idea at a kitchen table into the go-to firm for influencer management. Working ahead of trends and predicting opportunities, Carpe diem is not just a saying to Kendra – it is a way of life.

Austin Clements

Austin Clements is a venture capitalist with TenOneTen Ventures, a seed stage fund base in LA. Prior to TenOneTen, Austin worked at Sony Pictures, licensing film and TV content to emerging video platforms. He began his career in investment management working with AllianceBernstein and has since held roles evaluating early stage tech investments at Creative Artists Agency, Digital Entertainment Ventures, and NY Angels.

Austin is also committed to encouraging underrepresented minorities to pursue careers in tech and entrepreneurship. He is an active volunteer in various local youth entrepreneurship programs. Austin received his MBA from NYU Stern with a specialization in Media, Entertainment, and Technology and his BA from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA.

Anthony Mays

Anthony is a software engineer at Google. Raised in Compton as a foster kid after suffering physical and sexual abuse, he taught himself how to program computers at age 8 and started his career as an INROADS intern.

Perhaps best known for the short BuzzFeed documentary about his journey from Compton to Google, he is a frequent public speaker at schools and other student organizations. He was awarded the 2016 INROADS Trendsetter Award for his work promoting diversity in tech.

Anthony graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. His GPA was horrible, so don’t ask.

Barney Santos

More information coming soon.

Kasha Stewart

Kasha Stewart’s been killin’ it in the digital world for over a decade as a leader in product, content distribution, CMS development and UX. A former visual artist, she brings her unique POV and an eye for design to everything she does, from taking mobile and OTT platforms to the next level of first-class user experience to inspiring major #fashionistagoals in the office.

Currently the Senior Director of Product Management for Beachbody on Demand, Kasha is the kind of manager who makes building, organizing and growing a product team look effortless. Although a lifelong iOS devotee, after successfully launching the native Android and Amazon Fire TV apps for Beachbody’s pioneering fitness streaming platform, Kasha now considers herself “platform agnostic”.

Kasha also provided strategic guidance for FOX and ABC, specializing in platform development and sponsored campaigns for their respective television networks. When she’s not working, Kasha is living that LA life, as an avid practitioner of yoga, lover of vegan tacos and pursuer of the perfect gel manicure.

Eric Garcetti

Eric Garcetti is a fourth-generation Angeleno and the 42nd Mayor of Los Angeles. Born and raised in the San Fernando Valley — the son of public servants and the grandson and great-grandson of immigrants from Mexico and Eastern Europe — Mayor Garcetti’s life has been shaped by a deep commitment to the core values of justice, dignity, and equality for all people.

These ideals have fueled the Mayor’s relentless drive to fulfill our common obligation: to give children and families of every race, faith, background, and income the chance to get a good education, live on safe streets, earn a decent wage, breathe clean air and drink clean water, receive affordable medical and child care, and build a future of their own choosing.

Angelenos are experiencing the remarkable results of his vision and leadership: the Mayor led and won a campaign to pass the boldest local infrastructure initiative in American history, funding a once-in-a-generation expansion of public transportation. He launched the L.A. College Promise, the most ambitious higher education access program in the nation — serving more than 4,000 students, many of whom are overcoming poverty and are the first in their families to pursue the dream of higher education. He is confronting a homelessness crisis by leading an unprecedented regional alliance committed to getting people off the streets and ending chronic homelessness. He put more money in workers’ pockets by raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and cut business taxes to help drive a historic economic recovery that has created a record number of jobs in legacy industries like entertainment and aerospace. And in 2018, he formed a historic partnership with the philanthropic sector to refurbish nearly 350 athletic courts across the city — to support his plan for universal sports and fitness programs that are both free and local for all children in Los Angeles.

The Mayor’s leadership is making an extraordinary impact on the national and international stages: he rallied more than 400 mayors in cities across America to adopt the Paris Climate agreement after the Trump Administration pulled out of the pact. He led the first National Day of Action on Immigration, and has put unprecedented local resources toward providing Dreamers and others with legal aid to fight deportation. He signed America’s strongest earthquake retrofit law to protect thousands of people’s lives from natural disaster. And he successfully led the bid to bring the 2028 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games to the United States for the first time in more than 30 years. He has lived and worked in Europe, Asia, and Africa, and was the first Mayor in the United States to appoint a Deputy Mayor for International Affairs to coordinate trade policy and attract new opportunities for global investment.

While Mayor Garcetti has taken on these enormous challenges, he has also reimagined how city government delivers the most basic services. Since July 2013, L.A. has paved 10,754 miles of road; cut the average pothole repair time by half; implemented a $1.4 billion plan to repair every sidewalk in every community, and greatly expanded the number of trees in neighborhoods across the city. He created Clean Streets L.A. — a block-by-block assessment of 9,100 miles of streets that identifies neighborhoods with the most needs, and prioritizes delivery of resources. Under his leadership, L.A. has been rated the nation’s best-run city by the Bloomberg What Works Cities initiative and become the number-one solar energy city in America.

The Mayor’s government service began on the L.A. City Council, where he spent four terms as Council President before being elected Mayor in 2013 and winning re-election in 2017 by the widest margin in the history of Los Angeles.

Beyond his time at City Hall, Mayor Garcetti has served his country as an intelligence officer in the United States Navy Reserve, and taught at the University of Southern California and Occidental College.

The Mayor received his B.A. and M.A. from Columbia University, and studied as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, and later at the London School of Economics. He is also a jazz pianist and photographer.

He and his wife, First Lady Amy Elaine Wakeland, are the proud parents of a daughter, Maya, and have been foster parents for more than a decade.

Mark Ridley

Since he was overwhelmingly elected in 2008, and reelected in 2012 and 2016 to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Mark Ridley-Thomas has distinguished himself as an effective leader for more than two million Second District residents. He is a board member of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission and LA Care, the nation’s largest publicly operated health plan.

Prior to his election to the Board of Supervisors, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas served the 26th District in the California State Senate, where he chaired the Senate’s Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development. While in the Senate, he served as Chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus in 2008 and led the Caucus in unprecedented levels of cooperation and collaboration with counterparts in the Latino and Asian-Pacific Islander Legislative Caucuses.

Mark Ridley-Thomas was first elected to public office in 1991 and served with distinction on the Los Angeles City Council for nearly a dozen years, departing as Council President pro Tempore. He later served two terms in the California State Assembly, where he chaired the Jobs, Economic Development, and Economy Committee and served the Assembly Democratic Caucus. His legislative work addressed a broad range of issues with implications for economic and workforce development, health care, public safety, education, budget accountability, consumer protection and civic participation.

He is widely regarded as the foremost advocate of neighborhood participation in government decision-making by virtue of his founding of the Empowerment Congress, arguably the region’s most successful 26-year initiative in neighborhood-based civic engagement. Ridley-Thomas’ political career was preceded by a decade of service as the executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Los Angeles (1981-1991).

The Supervisor graduated from Manual Arts High School (Class of 1972) and then earned BA and MA degrees along with secondary and adult education credentials from Immaculate Heart College. Supervisor Ridley-Thomas went on to receive his Ph.D. in Social Ethics from the University of Southern California focusing on Social Criticism and Social Change.

He is married to Avis Ridley-Thomas, Co-Founder and Director of the Institute for Non-Violence in Los Angeles. They are the proud parents of Sinclair and Sebastian, both Morehouse Men. Sinclair earned an MBA degree at USC’s Marshall School of Business, works in the investment banking industry, and resides in San Francisco with his wife Shaunicie, an attorney, and 1-year old son Duke Flynn. Sebastian formerly represented California’s Fifty-forth Assembly District (12/05/13-12/31/17). He will now turn his attention to political empowerment, millennial civic engagement, and training a new generation of leaders throughout the state of California as Chief Strategist for the African American Voter Registration, Education, and Participation Project beginning in March of this year.

Jay Tucker
coming soon

Jonathan Schieber

coming soon

About Plug IN South LA

Plug In brings together entrepreneurs, founders, VCs, innovators and emerging talent for conversations and networking focused on creating a community and hub for innovation in South LA. Come join our kick off Tech Summit & Digital Media program in our movement to identify and accelerate the beautiful in tech and digital media.

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