Fairness Matters Forum 2014: Participant Biographies

Luz Gonzalez Fernandez received her bachelor’s degree in 2007 from the University of California, Berkeley, where she majored in International Political Economy. After graduating, Luz worked in the Netherlands as a court monitor at the Special Court of Sierra Leone, for the case against former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor. When she returned, Luz worked as a teacher in Teach for America (TFA), and she was the co-founder of the TFA Bay Area Latino Association. Luz’s work at the ACLU started as a field fellow, a position that entailed educating Latino communities of their rights before police and immigration officials. Luz graduated from University of California, Berkeley – School of Law in 2013 and is currently working to design, develop, and implement marketing strategies and build a global brand for SchoolMint. Luz was selected as one of LPFI’s IDEAL scholars in 2004 and completed the program in 2007

Hector Gonzales attended SMASH: Berkeley from 2010-2012. He is currently a sophomore at the University of California, Berkeley majoring in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Hector is interested in developing novel ways to leverage artificial intelligence to solve common speech problems in diverse communities. Hector expects to earn his bachelor’s in 2017.

Benjamin Todd Jealous is a Partner at Kapor Capital and is the former president and CEO of the NAACP. As the youngest person to lead the NAACP, he increased its operational capacity and programmatic impact by increasing the donor base, membership and positioning the organization to work on issues related to the economy, education, health, environmental and criminal justice. He defended voting rights and led the organization in one of its largest efforts to register and mobilize voters.

Freada Kapor Klein, PhD. Partner, Kapor Capital and Founder Level Playing Field Institute (LPFI), is an entrepreneur, activist and leader in the field of organizational culture and diversity. She founded LPFI to promote innovative approaches to fairness in higher education and workplaces by removing barriers to full participation. With LPFI, she conducted landmark research in 2011, The Tilted Playing Field: Hidden Bias in IT Workplaces and authored Giving Notice: Why the Best and Brightest Leave the Workplace and How You Can Help Them Stay, which details the human and financial cost of corporate leavers.

David Loftesness graduated from UC Berkeley’s EECS department in 1992. Since then, he’s worked in a variety of software engineering and management roles, on systems both large (Amazon’s product search) and small (early “smart phones” like the Nokia 9000). Before joining Twitter, David co-founded Xmarks with Mitch Kapor, through which he was introduced to the work of Freada Kapor Klein and LPFI. David is now a Director of Engineering in Twitter’s Platform Engineering group, focused on building advanced traffic management systems for Twitter’s data centers.

Roberto Ortiz is currently helping lead design across Mobile and Emerging Products at Yahoo. As the son of Puerto Rican immigrants, he grew up in Philadelphia where he developed his entrepreneurial mindset and the confidence to pursue a variety of innovative jobs at tech companies including Lockheed Martin and Google. Roberto is also an emerging leader both inside and outside the tech industry and is the co-founder of ELEO, a leadership conference for aspiring and experienced entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley.

Leilani Reyes attended SMASH located at Stanford from 2011-2013. She is currently a freshman at Stanford University majoring in Computer Science. Leilani is an aspiring software engineer and social entrepreneur with goals to create software to help solve social injustices particularly in public education and communities of minority youth. Leilani expects to earn her bachelor’s in 2018.

Haile Shavers attended SMASH: Berkeley from 2011-2013. She is currently a freshman at the University of California, Berkeley majoring in Computer Science.  Haile enjoys coding and is passionate about exposing underprivileged youth to the joys of Computer Science.  Haile actively works to recruit African American students to Cal and expects to earn her bachelor’s in 2018.

Olatunde Sobomehin commits his life to giving young people opportunities to express themselves. Since graduating from Stanford University in 2003, he has taught public speaking at the college and high school level, coached basketball and currently serves as Deputy Director for the Mural Music & Arts Project, a youth-development organization that educates, empowers and inspires youth through the arts.  In 2002, Olatunde founded Esface, Inc., a company that uses fashion, athletics, community and entertainment to make popular culture positive. Olatunde, and his “Speak Up & Speak Out” teaching staff are excited to help SMASH scholars find confidence, clarity and control of their messages. Olatunde started teaching at SMASH in 2005.

Dr. Jarvis Sulcer joined LPFI in 2007 as Academic Director for the SMASH Program. He assumed the role of Director of Education Programs in 2010 and has been leading the organization since 2012. He received his Ph.D. in Nuclear Science and Engineering at Cornell University in 1998. He was the only African-American male in the United States to receive a Ph.D. in his field of study that year. He graduated from Southern University in 1991 with a B.S. in Physics and a minor in Mathematics. In 2000, Jarvis received the Most Distinguished Dissertation Award from the National Society of Black Physicists at Stanford. Previously, Jarvis worked in Silicon Valley in the semiconductor industry as a Quality & Reliability Engineer at Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Agilent Technologies in wireless communications. He left corporate America in 2003 to found his own company. Jarvis is originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana and is a strong advocate for education. He firmly believes that an understanding of mathematics is essential to pursuing careers in the high tech industry, as well as giving all students a strong academic foundation to pursue whatever career they choose.

Janet Van Huysse is head of diversity and inclusion at Twitter. In this role, Janet focuses on making Twitter a more awesome place to work and one that reflects the vast and varied backgrounds of its users. From 2009-13, she led Twitter’s HR and Recruiting Team. Previously, she led the HR departments at Crackle, an online video venture acquired by Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Spinner.com, an online music service acquired by AOL. Janet holds a bachelor’s degree from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is @janetvh on Twitter.