Go Cedar Rapids

People evolve and it's important to not stop evolving just because you've reached 'adulthood.'

~J. K. Simmons

newbo evolve features an outstanding lineup of celebrity talent and experts in their fields to lead the festival’s cornerstone programming. 

Maroon 5 - Headlining on Saturday, August 4

Maroon 5, born and bred in Los Angeles, with their catchy hook, soaring vocals, and signature sound, have solidified their position as one of pop music’s most enduring artists. The band captured their first of three Grammy Awards as “Best New Artist” of 2005 and have gone on to sell more than 17 million albums worldwide. Their releases have also gone gold and platinum in over 35 countries.

Maroon 5 won over fans and critics alike with the hybrid rock/R&B sound and hit singles “Misery” and the anthemic “Moves Like Jagger,” “Maps,” “Animals,” “Sugar,” and more recently “Don’t Wanna Know.”

Learn more about Maroon 5 here.

Kelly Clarkson - Headlining on Friday, August 3

Grammy Award-winner Kelly Clarkson recently released her eagerly anticipated eighth studio album Meaning of Life which features the Grammy nominated single “Love So Soft.”

The Texas-born, Nashville-based singer-songwriter first came to fame in 2002 as the winner of American Idol’s inaugural season, and has grown to be one the most popular artists of this or any other era, with over 100 No. 1 Billboard singles and total worldwide sales of more than 25 million albums and 36 million singles like “Thankful,” “Breakaway,” “My December,” “All I Ever Wanted,” and “Stronger.”

Learn more about Kelly Clarkson here.

RADDA RADDA opening for Kelly Clarkson on Friday, August 3

RADDA RADDA is a Rock/Pop/Americana band from Minneapolis, MN, USA. Many years of nonstop writing, touring and musical experimentation with scores of previous, separate projects ultimately brought Mo, Allen, Matt and Grant together in the spring of 2017. RADDA RADDA deliberately kept a low profile in its early days, working rigorously writing, recording, and refining their sonic efforts into an Americana confessional of sorts. Their music spans a bridge between heartbreak and “hell-why-not,” built from howls at the moon, heartfelt lyrics and walls of dirty telecaster twang, all the while maintaining an unmistakable pop sensibility that succeeds in fighting shy of the predictable. Their debut album "life again" is now available!

Marc Scibilia opening for Maroon 5 on Saturday, August 4


Born and raised in Buffalo, New York, a city of perseverance and resilience, it’s no surprise Marc Scibilia fiercely carves out his own path in the music world. Encouraged by his musical family, Scibilia discovered his passion for songwriting at an early age. “I was convinced by the time I was 10 years old that I wanted to make music for the rest of my life” he recalls. One month after graduating high school, against well-intentioned advice, he left home, landed in East Nashville and hasn’t looked back.

After tens of millions of streams on Spotify, national headlining tours, opening spots with Zac Brown Band, James Bay and Gavin DeGraw to name a few, collaborations with international powerhouse DJ and producer Robin Schulz, appearances on the Today Show, MTV EMAs, and songs in national ads and Super Bowl commercials, 2018 finds Marc Scibilia re-exploring his Buffalo roots. Wearing his heart on his sleeve, he's writing a new soundtrack for the Northeast: unapologetically raw and with nothing to prove, think Springsteen singing over Coldplay’s Rush of Blood to the Head.

Local Lineup featuring The Pork Tornadoes - Sunday, August 5

Headlined by The Pork Tornandoes (today’s hits), the lineup currently includes Soul Sherpa (original funk/soul), Adam Keith (country), Four Day Creep (classic rock), Kevin “B.F.” Burt (blues) and Slap N Tickle (80s/hair metal) & more

Adam Berinsky (PHD, MIT Professor)

Adam J. Berinsky is the Mitsui Professor of Political Science at MIT. Berinsky received his PhD. from the University of Michigan. He is a specialist in the fields of political behavior and public opinion with over 20 years of experience in survey design and analysis.  He is the author of In Time of War: Understanding American Public Opinion from World War II to Iraq (University of Chicago Press, 2009) and Silent Voices: Public Opinion and Political Participation in America (Princeton University Press, 2004) and has published articles in many academic journals. He has won several scholarly awards, is the recipient of multiple grants from the National Science Foundation, was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and has been a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow. He is also the founding director of the MIT Political Experiments Research Lab.

Clint Harp (TV Personality, Carpenter) 

Clint Harp can be found regularly on HGTV’s hit show "Fixer Upper" as the dumpster diving, reclaimed wood loving carpenter. Now, together with his wife Kelly and their 3 kids, the Harps spend each day pursuing their dream and blazing the new trail of owning their own company. Harp Design Co. provides quality furniture and home goods to customers all across the U.S. and abroad. 

Up next, Clint will star on the DIY Network series "Wood Work." Along with his wife, Kelly, and the team at Harp Design Co., Clint uses reclaimed lumber to build new furniture out of old wood for clients. Crazy requests with tight deadlines are the norm, but Clint and his team are ready to tackle any “Wood Work” challenge.

Learn more about Clint and Harp Design Co. here.

Candice Huffine (Model, Entreprenuer) 

Body diversity advocate and celebrated plus-size model, Candice Huffine has walked the runway for the likes of Christian Siriano, Prabal Gurung, and Sophie Theallet, and worked with world-renowned photographers like Steven Meisel and Mert & Marcus.
She began her career at the age of 15 after receiving her big break courtesy of a V MAGAZINE “Curves Ahead” editorial feature, followed by the groundbreaking June 2011 cover of VOGUE Italia photographed by Steven Meisel. She’s gone on to be featured in several notable publications including CR FASHION BOOK, VOGUE, W, I-D and GLAMOUR, to name a few. In 2015, Huffine became the first plus-size woman to be featured in the Pirelli Calendar and she most recently appeared on the May 2017 cover of ELLE Magazine.
Huffine gained international attention starring in Lane Bryant’s “I’m No Angel” and “Plus is Equal” campaigns, and will also front the plus-size retail-giant's 2017 lingerie campaign. She joined with Elena Miro on her first capsule collection, #LOVEDBYCANDICE, and recently collaborated on a capsule collection with Toronto-based lingerie brand FORTNIGHT. In October 2017, she launched her own athletic apparel line, DAY/WON.
Off-duty, Huffine is involved with Team For Kids, the New York Roadrunners Charity, and has been very public about her journey getting started with running. In April 2017, she completed the Boston Marathon and her new passion led her to develop Project Start, a social media campaign she began with Women’s Running Magazine that turned into a movement to encourage and motivate women to begin or restart their journey with running. Huffine currently resides in Brooklyn with her husband Matt and dog Jerry Brows.

Alexis Ohanian (Internet Entreprenuer and Investor) 

Alexis was born in Brooklyn, NY but grew up in the suburbs of Baltimore, MD where he slowly realized his desire to play professional football would potentially not pan out. After graduating from UVA, he turned his efforts towards making the world suck less. He cofounded Reddit and Initialized Capital, a seed stage venture fund with over $230M under management; he's the bestselling author of "Without Their Permission;" and an activist for the open internet.

Learn more about Alexis here.

Carson Kressley (TV Personality, Style Expert, Fashion Designer) 

Emmy Award-winning TV personality, style expert, fashion designer and New York Times best-selling author are some of the credits of the multi-talented and unforgettable Carson Kressley. Kressley started his career as an independent stylist and became invaluable to major designers such as Ralph Lauren. A few years later, he took a leap into television and, in 2003, became a breakout star as the fashion savant on Bravo’s "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy."  The show won a primetime Emmy and gained a worldwide following for Carson. 

Aside from his own television shows, Carson has frequently appeared on talk shows as a fashion critic/commentator including "Live with Kelly and Ryan" and "Good Morning America." He is an ongoing judge in the multi-award winning, groundbreaking show "RuPaul’s Drag Race."  Carson also participates in shows like "Celebrity Apprentice" and Jane Lynch’s "Hollywood Game Night" to raise money for his various charities including Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Fund, on which Carson is a board member, and Project Angel Food to name a few. Carson is a New York Times best-selling author with three books to his credit.

Learn more about Carson here.

Adam Rippon (Figure Skater)

Artist. Athlete. Activist. Adam Rippon is a combination of all three. One of the most dramatic figure skaters on the planet, Adam won the hearts of America and the world at the 2018 Winter Olympics. Known for his refreshing candor and wit, his rise to fame on the global stage has provided him with a platform to speak out in support of LGBTQ rights and the freedom to be oneself. His passion and charm have made him an inspiration to young and old alike and he has quickly become a role model and icon to millions.

Recently named to the TIME 100 List of Most Influential People with an introduction written by Cher, Adam was one of just five honorees invited to toast at the star-studded gala. He has been honored by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) with their Visibility Award, has supported the GLAAD Ambassadors Program through an online fundraising campaign, hosted the Trevor Project’s 20th anniversary gala, TrevorLIVE and received the Best of the Best Champion Award from the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC).

In addition to his recent team bronze medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, Adam has garnered nine medals on the international circuit over the last four years, including the 2016 U.S. men’s championship title.

The oldest of six children from Scranton, Pennsylvania, Adam rose through the skating ranks, claiming the world junior title twice before winning the U.S. men’s title in 2016. He was named to his first Olympic team in 2018 at the age of 28. Adam also made the bold decision to come out publicly in October 2015 in an interview with Skating magazine which led him to become the first openly gay athlete to represent the United States in Olympic competition. Following the 2018 Winter Olympics, Adam continued to shine as America’s sweetheart on Dancing With The Stars: Athletes, taking home the coveted Mirrorball Trophy alongside dance partner, Jenna Johnson.

Follow Adam on social media: Twitter: @adaripp and Instagram: adaripp

Christian Siriano (Fashion Designer)

Following his studies in London under Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen, Christian Siriano launched his eponymous collection in 2008. The Christian Siriano collection is shown each season at New York Fashion Week, and presented in New York and Paris to retailers. Known for whimsical and show-stopping design – from fantasy evening gowns and cocktail dresses to tailored sportswear, intricately detailed shoes and accessories – the collection can be found at department stores and specialty boutiques around the globe. In 2012, the first flagship Christian Siriano store opened in New York City, and in 2013 he was inducted as a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA).

Dubbed "the new king of old-school glamour" by Elle and "the next billion-dollar designer" by Yahoo! Style, his designs have appeared on the world's biggest stars and most prestigious red carpets. He counts entertainment's leading ladies as clients.

Learn more about Christian here.

John Waters (Writer, Director)

John Waters was drawn to movies at an early age, particularly exploitation movies with lurid ad campaigns. He began making his own underground films as a teenager. Waters used his native Baltimore as the setting for all his films and his first, an 8-mm short, was "Hag in a Black Leather Jacket" in 1964, starring Mary Vivian Pearce. Waters followed with "Roman Candles," "Pink Flamingos" and more before releasing his biggest hit, "Hairspray" in 1988, starring Ricki Lake. His next feature was "Cry Baby" featuring Johnny Depp followed by more wickedly funny and captivating films. Along with writing and directing, Waters is the author of seven books, a photographer and an actor. 

John Waters’ one man spoken-word lecture entitled “This Filthy World” will be performed at newbo evolve. This “vaudeville” act celebrates the film career and obsessive tastes of the man William Burroughs once called “The Pope of Trash.”  

View the ultimate guide to John Waters here.

Amy Newmark (Author/Editor)

Amy Newmark is the bestselling author, editor-in-chief, and publisher of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series. Since 2008, she has published more than 150 new books, most of them national bestsellers in the U.S. and Canada, more than doubling the number of Chicken Soup for the Soul titles in print today. She is also the author of Simply Happy, a crash course in Chicken Soup for the Soul advice and wis dom that is filled with easy-to-implement, practical tips for enjoying a better life.

Amy is credited with revitalizing the Chicken Soup for the Soul brand, which has been a publishing industry phenomenon since the first book came out in 1993. By compiling inspirational and aspirational true stories curated from ordinary people who have had extraordinary experiences, Amy has kept the twenty-five-year-old Chicken Soup for the Soul brand fresh and relevant.

The Kinsey Sicks (Late Night)

For nearly a quarter-century The Kinsey Sicks have been serving up their "gut-busting parodies and raucous, high-camp shtick” to adventurous audiences around the world. Formed in San Francisco during the dark days of the early AIDS crisis – following, naturally, a Bette Midler concert – the quartet discovered that outrageous drag and glorious, four-part harmony were surprisingly effective antidotes to despair. Now that the era of Trumpism is upon us, they continue to share their hilarious, inspiring, sometimes heartbreaking take on politics, personal secrets, and plain old raunch. Through exciting original songs and truly evil parodies, the Kinseys can be counted on to leave no sacred cow unturned. So come join Rachel, Winnie, Trixie and Trampolina as they lead us in resisting these new dark times with laughter, integrity, and heroically high hair. See them late night at newbo evolve with their latest romp, Things You Shouldn’t Say.

Regina Escalante Bush (Chef, Restauranteur)

Chef Regina joins the newbo evolve lineup direct from Mérida, Yucatán, México! Join her for a soul food session where she'll share stories of her homeland and delight you with a traditional Mexican dish from the Yucatán Peninsula. Regina perfected her culinary skills in the United State and France. The love for her country and especially for her hometown, prompted Regina to return to Mérida in 2013, where she was invited to work with chef Roberto Solís at the renowned restaurant Néctar. In 2014, she opened Merci, of which she is the current head chef. 

Samuel Charles and Phoebe Adolphson (Restauranteurs)

Samuel and Phoebe will be preparing a traditional Czech dish at newbo evolve.  The two began Kitchen Counter LLC in the fall of 2017 as a result of their mutual dream to open a restaurant group in the great state of Iowa. The name was inspired by their time spent growing up in the kitchen and around the dinner table. The Kitchen Counter will serve the best local, sustainable, and humanely raised product they can while providing a thoughtful and comfortable style of hospitality. 

Rodina is the Kitchen Counter’s first endeavor, slated to open in the Czech Village in winter 2018. With combined experience of over 25 years, this restaurant will be a representation of the excellence they can and will provide to the community. Rodina aims to support the small local food system, and everyone who is working towards a better future food landscape. Their food is technique-driven and focuses on local, sustainable, and humane products. In addition to product availability, inspiration is collected from what made Iowa what it is. They pull from Czech and German traditions as well as look toward the existing food community to help define what they believe Iowa cooking really is.

Anthony Green (Chef, Instructor)  

Originally from Kingston, Jamaica, Chef Green started his culinary career in his mother’s kitchen after being told that “if you’re going to eat the way you do, you will learn to cook”. So began a multi-nation hospitality journey that allows Chef Green to bring considerable experience to his culinary endeavors.

Along with an ever-growing passion for food and quality service that developed in line with his professional career, Chef Green also developed an equal passion for teaching and instruction that led him toward starting a Culinary Academy at the Marathon High School, Marathon Cay, FL. It was in this position that Chef earned his first formal instructional recognition as First Year Teacher of the Year.

Relocating to Iowa in 2011, Chef Green joined The Hotel at Kirkwood as their Banquet Chef/Adjunct Instructor where he further refined the quality of volume food service within the AAA Four Diamond-rated full service hotel property that provides valuable practical training experience for hospitality students. After several years in that position Chef Green made the transition to full-time instructor where he continues to instruct a variety of both classroom and kitchen courses. 

Chef Anthony Green aka Tony has developed the belief that the kitchen is the center of community and wants to help people connect further with their food through experiences that they will love! Learn more.

Gretchen J. Berg (Writer/Producer)

Prior to serving as a co-showrunner on Star Trek: Discovery, Gretchen J. Berg served as an executive producer on the CW’s Reign, ABC’s Revenge and Off the Map, as an executive producer and showrunner of ABC’s G.C.B., and as an executive producer and co-showrunner of NBC’s nursing drama Mercy. Berg is a graduate of Northwestern University where she met future collaborator Aaron Harberts. The duo started their television career on the original Beverly Hills, 90210.

Writing and producing stints on Roswell, John Doe, Wonderfalls, and North Shore preceded her and Harbert’s creation of Pepper Dennis, which starred Rebecca Romijn and Josh Hopkins.  Additional credits include Women’s Murder Club, Pushing Daisies, the feature film Valentine and a variety of drama pilots for 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros. Television and ABC Studios.

Berg was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Laura Farmer (Author)

Laura Farmer has spent her career helping early writers develop their voices. She is Writing Studio Director and Director of Fellowships and Scholarships at Cornell College, and for the last six years has worked as a book critic for The Gazette, specializing in international works in translation and books by underrepresented authors. Her novella, Catch, is forthcoming from Nouvella Press, and her short fiction has appeared in a number of literary journals including The North American Review and The Antioch Review. 

Heather Gudenkauf (Author)

Heather Gudenkauf is the Edgar Award nominated, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Weight of Silence, These Things Hidden and Not A Sound

Heather lives in Dubuque, Iowa with her family and a very spoiled German Shorthaired Pointer named Lolo. In her free time Heather enjoys spending time with her family, reading and hiking. She is currently working on her next novel.

Aaron Harberts (Writer/Producer)

Prior to serving as a co-showrunner on Star Trek: Discovery, Aaron Harberts served as an executive producer on the CW’s Reign, ABC’s Revenge and Off the Map, as an executive producer and showrunner of ABC’s G.C.B., and as an executive producer and co-showrunner of NBC’s nursing drama Mercy. Harberts is a graduate of Northwestern University where he met future collaborator Gretchen J. Berg. The duo started their television career on the original Beverly Hills, 90210.

Writing and producing stints on Roswell, John Doe, Wonderfalls, and North Shore preceded his and Berg’s creation of Pepper Dennis, which starred Rebecca Romijn and Josh Hopkins.  Additional credits include Women’s Murder Club, Pushing Daisies, the feature film Valentine and a variety of drama pilots for 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros. Television and ABC Studios.

Harberts was born in Waterloo, Iowa and raised in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. His parents, Steven and Denise Harberts, now make Jefferson, Iowa their home.

Jen Rouse (Author)

Jen Rouse is the Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Cornell College. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry, Poet Lore, Midwestern Gothic, Wicked Alice, Parentheses, Yes Poetry, Crab Fat Magazine, Up the Staircase, Southern Florida Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. She was named a finalist for the Mississippi Review 2018 Prize Issue and was the winner of the 2017 Gulf Stream Summer Contest Issue. Rouse’s chapbook, Acid and Tender, was a finalist for the Charlotte Mew Prize and published in 2016 by Headmistress Press. Riding with Anne Sexton, Rouse’s second book, is forthcoming from Bone & Ink Press in collaboration with dancing girl press. Her plays have been produced by SPT Theatre Company and Theatre Cedar Rapids. Learn more here.

David Taylor II (Author)

David Taylor II is an author, songwriter, producer, educator, playwright, and poet. He writes sci fi, fantasy, children’s literature, and comic books. He is the author of the new children’s favorite, Diary of a Smart Black Kid and is also adding to his Dear God children’s series. His latest novel, Lucifer: Soldiers, Serpents and Sin is an internationally bestselling book. He has created an entire story world called The Realm from that first book and continues to expand it with coloring books, comic books, and audio books. He is a co-composer for the smash hit theater production, Eye of the Storm: The Bayard Rustin Musical, nominated for 3 Black Theater Alliance awards. In 2015 his book Wayward Pines: Survival, from the hit Fox TV show of the same name, broke top 10 in the Amazon best seller list and is currently still in the Top 100 of Kindle Worlds sci fi. He is the writer of the independent comics The Nephilim Wars, The Order of Orali, and the Kryo-Karuto. He is also the founder of Authors At Last™, an online site for Masterclass training for authors.

Douglas Trevor (Author)

Douglas Trevor is the author, most recently, of the short story collection The Book of Wonders, which Kirkus Reviews calls a "well-made, erudite, often witty [book of] short stories from an accomplished veteran of the form." The Book of Wonders also received praise from Joyce Carol Oates and Colm Tóibín. Doug's novel Girls I Know was the recipient of the 2013 Balcones Fiction Prize. His first short story collection, The Thin Tear in the Fabric of Space, won the 2005 Iowa Short Fiction Award and was a finalist for the 2006 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for first fiction. Doug's short fiction has appeared most recently in Ploughshares Solos, The Iowa Review, The Notre Dame Review, The Minnesota Review, and New Letters. He has also had stories in The Paris Review, Glimmer Train, Epoch, Black Warrior Review, The New England Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, and more than a dozen other publications. His stories have been anthologized in—among other places—The O. Henry Prize Stories and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. Doug holds degrees from Princeton and Harvard and is Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Michigan. Currently, he is serving as Director of the Helen Zell Writers' Program.

Cara Briggs Farmer (Artist)

Cara Briggs Farmer is the artist and welder behind Synergy Metalworks. After a first career engineering, building, and designing stage scenery in the Twin Cities, she returned to her home
state in 2008 to make art on her own terms. Since then, she’s been populating public and private spaces with her work. Her public art sculptures can be seen in Marion, Iowa’s Uptown Artway (ArtPlace America recipient), Coe College’s Alumni Garden, forthcoming sculptures for Iowa City, and four sculptures for the Byways of Iowa Public Art Initiative in Manchester, Anamosa, Elkader, and Waukon, Iowa. She is the proud spouse of author, Laura Farmer. See Cara's work on display in several places throughout newbo evolve.

Marianne Carlson (Award-Winning Baker)

Known in her hometown of Jefferson, Iowa, as the “Cinnamon Roll Lady,” Marianne Carlson’s mother taught her to bake at a young age.  With a career as an RN and seven active children, she also enjoyed baking.  

In 2004 Marianne entered the Iowa State Fair Tones Spice Cinnamon roll contest and won 1st place with her frosted cinnamon rolls! The prize was $3,000.00 and it was one of the most exciting days of her life. She had to sit out a year before she could enter the contest again, so she returned in 2006 and won 1st place with her caramel pecan rolls. Marianne was the first person to ever win the contest twice. There were hundreds of rolls being judged in these contests, so it was quite a feat to win. Every year since 2003, Marianne has entered the Iowa State Fair food contests (usually entering at least 60 items) and has won many blue ribbons.

What’s her secret?! She adds mashed potatoes to the dough, which makes them extra moist. Marianne’s not done perfecting her pastries yet, her dream is to attend pastry school in Paris! Get a taste of her award-winning cinnamon rolls on Sunday morning during the Brunch session.

Tahera Rahman (Reporter/Moderator)

Tahera joined the Local 4 News team in the Quad Cities as a producer in May of 2016. Her duties included deciding which stories get put on air, writing scripts and keeping tabs on timing and other decisions during live newscasts. In February of 2018, Tahera moved from making the decisions behind the scenes to telling the stories on the scene, achieving her childhood dream and, in the process, becoming the first woman in hijab to work as an on-air reporter for American television.

Tahera was born and raised in the Chicagoland area. Before joining Local 4 News, she was a producer for a community radio station downtown. She graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a degree in Journalism and International Studies. Tahera also became the first Muslim Editor in Chief of the weekly student paper, the Loyola Phoenix. She also had the opportunity to intern at the Chicago bureau of the CBS Evening News and Al Jazeera English. Besides story ideas, Tahera is always looking for a good brunch spot, hiking adventure or traveling opportunity. Bio by: Danielle Ellis.

Tahera will be moderating and participating in several sessions at newbo evolve.

Marcia Hughes (Moderator for Soul Food)

Marcia Hughes is recognized in the Cedar Rapids area as a singer, an actress, and a communications and volunteer manager. She’ll never be mistaken for a celebrated chef but she’s thrilled to introduce them and help “Soul Food” attendees dig into their stories and recipes.

Marcia has been connecting with the community for more than 30 years through her work in communications, volunteer management, and development. She is a graduate of the Cedar Rapids Leadership for Five Seasons Program and past chair of its Education Day Session. She served on the Iowa Commission for Volunteer Service and has hosted the Governor’s Volunteer Awards since 2002. Marcia is also past president of the Iowa Cultural Corridor Alliance and has served on the boards of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Horizons: A Family Service Alliance, Cedar Rapids Rotary West, Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre, Leaders in Volunteerism, Iowa Children’s Museum, and the Cedar Rapids Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. She is currently a member of the Children’s Theatre Playtime Poppy Board and the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation Scholarship Committee. 

Eric Englemann (Moderator for Alexis Ohanian)

Eric Engelmann founded Geonetric, Inc in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 1999. The company builds advanced web applications for hospitals nationwide. As its CEO, Eric led Geonetric until 2016, and during that time the company was listed on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies in America 7 times, and received national accolades for its aggressive agile-based cultural transformation.

Today, Eric leads the non-profit New Bohemian Innovation Collaborative (NewBoCo), which operates Iowa Startup Accelerator, DeltaV Code School, Corridor Angel Investors, and numerous other programs focused on entrepreneurship, innovation and STEAM education. NewBoCo started with an agile mindset from the beginning, and its team of 17 operates without traditional hierarchy, supervisors or performance reviews, and has been recognized for non-profit excellence and community impact. Eric is Chairman of the Board at Geonetric, Inc, and Board Chairman at Scrum Alliance.

Denise Stapley (Moderator)

Denise Stapley is a married mother of one from Marion, Iowa, winner of Survivor: Philippines (season 25) and the only AASECT Certified Sex Therapist in the state. Self-described as "one stubborn, determined woman," Stapely defeated 17 other castaways in the Philipines after enduring many days of rain, mosquitos, hunger and dehydration to become the oldest female to ever win Survivor. In her work as a sex therapist, Stapley treats clients for a wide range of issues including anxiety, depression, grief and loss, as well as sexual and intimacy concerns. She is an advocate for the LGBTQ community and works with clients to help them embrace their authentic selves.