2019 Plenaries

Opening Plenary | Lunch Plenary | Breakfast Plenary | Closing Plenary


Sunday, May 5, 2019

9:00AM – 10:15AM (PT)


Joining Hands, Virtually and Personally

We are excited to announce the YTH Live 2019 opening plenary program on Sunday, May 5, 2019 (9am-10:30am PT). This is a special conference year for YTH and our community, as we have a major announcement to make that will lead to the expansion of YTH’s youth-centered health design work, both in the US and globally.

Join the opening plenary to learn about YTH’s merger with ETR, hear AI and digital privacy experts discuss the implications of our information in the digital age and hear spoken word from youth leaders on gun violence and its devastating effect on young people.  We will continue to live our value of ensuring youth voices and leadership are at the forefront of this year’s conference, as we have each and every year.

YTH Live is a true youth-centered event where young people lead, moderate, and facilitate the sessions. Our conference allows attendees to experience how innovation, technology and new media are creating health impact for and with youth and get a first glance at cutting-edge technologies and research across healthcare, ranging from prevention and management, analytics, and more.

Part I:

Scaling Impact – YTH-ETR Merger Announcement

ETR, a leading health education organization is joining forces with YTH, a pioneering Oakland-based organization that designs innovative solutions for youth health and wellness through technology and new media. The YTH team, programming, and mission is now a fully integrated part of the ETR family, sharing a strong commitment to advancing health equity.
ETR has over 35 years of experience providing science-based products and service to promote sexual and reproductive health, address HIV/AIDS disparities, support legal and illegal drug use education, and promotion of equity and inclusion in STEM fields. YTH has over 17 years of experience and refining technology solutions designed to advance the health of youth and young adults.

At this session, these two leaders will lay out their vision for bringing two high impact organizations and teams to scale the impact of health equity innovative programming. Through value and mission alignment, the two organizations have become one in a strategic move to maximize their reach and depth.

Ivan Garcia, Youth Advisory Board Member When we say we center youth voices at the YTH Live conference, we mean it. Up to 25% of attendees and speakers are young people. We always feature a young member of our Youth Advisory Board as the face and voice of the event in the role of emcee. This year, we are proud to announce that person is Ivan Garcia. To say that Ivan is a leader in his community would be an understatement. As an activist, he played a large role in planning and executing the history-making March for Our Lives rally in Oakland. As an advocate, he serves on the Oakland Youth Advisory Commission, giving young people a voice in local government while he continues to be a Sophomore at Head Royce in Oakland.


Vignetta Charles, PhD, Chief Executive Officer at ETR Prior to her appointment as CEO, Dr. Charles was Chief Science Officer at ETR–focused on unifying and translating ETR’s science-based approaches to training and research. Her research emphasis is on behavioral health related to the intersection of HIV/AIDS, sexual health, and mental health.


Bhupendra Sheoran, MD, MBA, VP of Global Development and Managing Director of YTH Initiative at ETR. Dr. Sheoran brings over 24 years of experience working in healthcare in a variety of roles including research, strategic planning, innovation and design thinking. He has worked in Asia, Africa, US and Latin America with diverse communities to design, implement and evaluate pioneering initiatives using new media and technology.

Part II:

Spoken Word – Gun Violence and Youth

There is a crisis of gun violence in this country and it is disproportionately affecting our youth;   most American school children have been alive for at least six of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in American history. Experience the power of spoken word in honoring those impacted by this epidemic and a building youth movement that’s changing the status quo.

Julia Heilrayne, Artist Julia Heilrayne is a junior at the Academy for Global Studies at Austin High School in Austin, Texas. She aspires to be a pediatric nurse in acute care and is a gun violence prevention and gun control activist. She serves at the co-president and founder of the Student Empowerment Association, a soon-to-be nonprofit, which works to help non-voting age youth find their voice in politics. When not leading the charge to change policy around gun violence, Julia also likes to eat mac and cheese.

Part III:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Justice with a Youth Lens

Youth are the present and future of this world and as they prepare to navigate an increasingly digitized world, how will AI impact and influence our collective humanity?

JACOB WARD, Journalist and Television Correspondent Jacob Ward is technology correspondent for NBC News, where he reports on-air for Nightly News with Lester Holt, MSNBC, and The TODAY Show. The former editor-in-chief of Popular Science magazine, Ward was Al Jazeera’s science and technology correspondent from 2013 to 2018, and has hosted investigative documentaries for Discovery, National Geographic, and PBS. As a writer, Ward has contributed to The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Wired, and many other publications. His ten-episode Audible podcast, Complicated, discusses humanity’s most difficult problems, and he’s the host of an upcoming four-hour public television series, “Hacking Your Mind,” about human decision making and irrationality. Ward is a 2018-2019 Berggruen Fellow at Stanford University’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, where he’s writing Black Box: AI, Bias, and the Fight to Amplify Humanity, due for publication by Hachette Book Group in 2020. The book explores how artificial intelligence will amplify good and bad human instincts.


Sunday, May 5, 2019

12:00PM – 1:15PM (PT)


Youth Solutions to Mental Health

Sponsored by Facebook for Education

Today’s adolescents are experiencing mental health challenges at rates higher than previous generations. Half of all mental health problems begin among youth before the age of 14 (HHS), and the young people YTH serve intimately know this to be true. Yet we also know that the best solutions to the problems faced by youth come from youth, so we posed the question to a 77 high school students: How might we use technology to create an innovative solution for improving the mental health of young people?

Since January of this year, YTH has partnered with De Anza High School’s Technology Academy to conduct a series of workshops to facilitate a mental health innovation challenge among students. The students were trained on youth-centered health design and conducted intensive design sprints in their communities. The design sprints resulted in the teams developing and building prototypes to address the mental health needs of youth. In April, all participants presented their prototypes to a series of judges, and five teams were selected to come to YTH Live to showcase their prototypes. This plenary will showcase the work of those five teams through a rapid, “Shark Tank”-esque pitch session. Students will be judged again by a group of pre-selected judges, and the winning team will take home $1,000.

If you’re passionate about youth-led innovation, youth-centered design, and working in collaboration with young people to address today’s most pressing problems, join us for lunch and watch these great young minds at work!


Laiah Idelson, YTH | an ETR initiative Laiah Idelson has worked in the US and abroad in the areas of mobile health, health education, and youth empowerment. As the Strategic Partnerships and Innovation Lead, Laiah supports new business development and provides leadership for the YTH’s innovative digital health programming. Prior to YTH, Laiah worked at the Center for Interfaith Action, FHI 360, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs on a variety of health behavior change programs in sub-Saharan Africa related to family planning, maternal health, HIV, and malaria. She has also worked at the Alameda County Public Health Department leading health equity projects and communications, and has served as a public health consultant for Glow, a US-based mobile application designed to help women track and understand their fertility. She received her MSPH from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.


Erica Webb/De Anza High School

Students from De Anza High School 26 Juniors and Seniors from De Anza High School will be competing for the grand prize in this innovation challenge. Student prototypes are titled: Virtual Relaxation, Happ-E Pets, AMY, Open Ear, Wellness Whale, and Power Up. These groups were selected to present from a group of 17 teams through a competitive judging process of technology, design, and mental health professionals.

Anja Dinhopl, Facebook Anja Dinhopl’s research at Facebook focuses on understanding children, teens, and families and their relationship to digital technologies. Prior to Facebook, she received her Ph.D. from the University of Queensland for her studies on how young people integrate video and photo-taking during leisure experiences.


Monday, May 6, 2019

9:00AM – 10:15AM (PT)


Part I:

Global Youth Led Innovation

This panel will feature youth from around the world who are using technology to drive change in their communities. In this conversation, you’ll meet youth leaders using technology to organize, advocate, and change health behaviors. From gun violence to youth-friendly sexual health care, this panel offers a truly global perspective of issues facing young people around the world and unique ways technology is being used to address them.


Shawn Reilly, Youth Advisory Board Member A member of YTH’s Youth Advisory Board, Shawn Reilly recently graduated from Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor of Science in Human and Organizational Development, and is currently a master’s student at Vanderbilt in the Learning and Design program at Peabody College. As an undergraduate, Reilly was instrumental in a successful campaign to gain gender inclusive housing to support transgender and gender expansive students on campus. They formerly served as the Vanderbilt Office of LGBTQI Life’s first student spring break program coordinator, and for two years as a senior mentor with the Oasis Center’s Just Us program. Reilly is involved with a number of local organizations, and serves as the Student Engagement and Leadership Chair of GLSEN Tennessee, youth advisory board member of Healthy and Free Tennessee, and as a member of the TN Department of Health Transgender Task Force.


Zoë Benjamin, Bay Area Student Activists Zoë Benjamin is a senior at the French American International High School. She is the co-president of Bay Area Student Activists (BAStA), a group aiming to promote civic engagement and advocacy for legislation regarding issues affecting young people. They have had two lobby days in which they brought over 200 students from the Bay Area to Sacramento in order to talk with their legislators about common sense gun reform, and why this is such an important issues to the youth of the Bay Area. Outside of BAStA she is heavily involved in registering/pre-registering high schoolers in her area to vote, tutoring students through 826 Valencia, playing lacrosse, and working as a camp counselor in the summer. She will be a freshman at the University of Chicago in the fall and plans on majoring in sociology.

Jake Cohen, Students Against Sexual Harassment and Assault Jake Cohen, a 16-year-old queer and Jewish sophomore at Tamalpais High School in the north bay, has been an activist since age 12. After he helped create a diversity alliance for marginalized students at his middle school, he has gone on to do work on issues surrounding gun violence prevention, queer and Jewish causes, voter registration, youth inclusion in media, civil rights, and immigration reform. In addition to also being a 2019 Common Sense Media teen council member, Jake is the founder and co-Director of The SASHA (Students Against Sexual Harassment & Assault) Initiative which is a youth-led activist organization dedicated to ensuring that young people and members of marginalized communities are at the forefront of the social, educational, and political fight to eradicate sexual violence in The United States.

Willy Mutabazi, Youth Influencer Willy is a Rwandan youth influencer and innovator. After spending much of his childhood living on the streets, Willy was connected to a filmmaker who featured Willy in a documentary about youth and dance. That experience inspired Willy to create his own documentary, titled Kigali Street Kids, which brought him international notoriety. Today, Willy is a jack of all trades: he’s a model, actor, and youth influencer in Kigali; he works with a variety of NGOs supporting youth health in Rwanda; he is the owner of a tour company; an IT professional; and also supports the work of the nonprofit organization that supported him during childhood, Enfants de Dieu.

Ankita Rawat, RiseUp Fellow Ankita is co-founder of Beyond Eye organisation and a comprehensive sexuality education trainer. She is a leader in youth SRH and rights, honored as a 120 under 40 Family Planning Leader in 2016. She was awarded as Youth Champions Initiative fellowship with the Public Health Institute’s RiseUp program and Packard Foundation, ran a project with youth leaders on SRHR with a focus on their access to Youth Friendly SRH services by using digital storytelling tool.


Part II:


For decades, the term gender equality has focused on the equal treatment of men and women. Now in the year 2019, all genders are starting to come into focus. Although the trans community is slowly being viewed in a new light in pop culture thanks to small screen breakthroughs, in the tech world trans people are not nearly as visible. There are many powerful stories and models in the transgender community of successful leadership in the tech/social/innovation space. This panel aims to amplify these stories. The moderated panel will apply a transgender-spectrum community lens to technology to have true trans-centered digital solutions and include community voices throughout the tech field. With a focus on personal stories and how to navigate historically exclusionary spaces, the panelists will talk about their experiences and lend insight to working towards an inclusive tech world where our transgender community members are providing leadership and direction to digital solutions that honor the lived experiences of the community.


Aryah Lester (she/her/hers) Aryah Lester, a nationally-awarded author, speaker, and educator, is a transgender woman of color from New York living in Washington DC. Aryah is an Advisory Board member of Unity Coalition (UC|CU), and is also board member for the Florida Chapter of STARR — the nation’s first transgender organization, which was founded by Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson. Aryah founded Trans-Miami while sustaining the work of her organization, the National Alliance of Transgender Advocates and Leaders (NATAL). She speaks with universities as a guest lecturer, and is a consultant with government agencies such as the Department of Justice and Homeland Security. Aryah has received many awards and her work is featured in numerous national articles; recently, and has worked at NMAC. Aryah has received many awards and her work is featured in numerous national articles; recently, she was inducted into the national Trans100 list. She currently serves as the Deputy Director of Transgender Strategy Center.


Charity Rose (they/them) Charity Rose is a trans non-binary individual with a passion for providing wellness and care for those who would otherwise be unable to attain. With 8 years of non-profit management experience, they were looking to grow professionally in a space where they could be seen and understood. They work at the Gender Confirmation Center of San Francisco which has been a perfect combination of finding safety for themself and being able to extend it to others in the community. Charity manages a variety of trans health improvement projects in addition to coordinating gender education conferences. They are honored to have the privilege to extend their knowledge of trans healthcare and wellness in order to shed light upon issues affecting the community today. At YTH, Charity has been instrumental in the design and development of the TransCONNECT and They2ze programs. Originally a flat lander, they moved to California for the mountains and ocean. In their free time they can be found trail running in the East Bay Parks, admiring other people’s dogs, and reading.

Nicole Sgarlato (she/her) Nicole Sgarlato is a disabled transgender woman from the San Francisco Bay Area. She was born with a birth defect known as PFFD (Proximal Femoral Focal Deficiency) but has never let it stop her – Eventually competing at three separate US National Paralympic Championships from 2006 to 2008. Later in life she came to terms with her gender identity and made the decision to transition to living as an open transgender woman. She currently works at Lyft Headquarters as a Coordinator where she is an activist for increased support around the disabled and transgender community. Recently Nicole was featured by the Human Rights Campaign for her efforts around workplace inclusion.

Danielle Ehsanipour (they/them) Danielle Ehsanipour is a Special Projects Manager at The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ young people. They managed the development of Trevor’s new unified digital infrastructure for its crisis services, TrevorLifeline, TrevorChat, and TrevorText, which connects counselors with young people through one fully integrated platform. Danielle’s background is in education and strategic planning, and they are interested in how technology can facilitate connection and empower communities to transform mental, physical, and social well-being.


Monday, May 6, 2019

4:15PM – 5:30PM (PT)


Local-Global Youth-Centered Innovative Philanthropy: A Funders Panel

Your mother may have told you not to ask about money, but we know that funds are the fuel behind our innovation. In this panel, you’ll hear from some of the leading funders in youth-centered innovation, design, and programming. This panel gives funders the chance to showcase their strategies for trailblazing programming from foundations, development agencies, and corporate philanthropy. We’ll ask them about their strategies, what they’re excited about, and give you the chance to ask some of your most burning philanthropy questions.

This plenary will feature three separate conversations: one with foundations and development organizations, one with corporate funding teams, and one with all funders together. This dynamic conversation with some of philanthropy’s heaviest hitters will close out YTH Live 2019 and set the state for youth-centered programming in 2020 and beyond.


Vignetta Charles, PhD, Chief Executive Officer at ETR Prior to her appointment as CEO, Dr. Charles was Chief Science Officer at ETR–focused on unifying and translating ETR’s science-based approaches to training and research. Her research emphasis is on behavioral health related to the intersection of HIV/AIDS, sexual health, and mental health.


Tammi Flemming PhD, Annie E. Casey Foundation Dr. Tammi Fleming is a Senior Associate at the Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore, Maryland. Tammi manages the Foundation’s investments in reproductive health, pregnancy prevention and parenting support strategies. Prior to her role at the Foundation, Tammi directed the Plain Talk National Replication Center at Public Health Management Corporation in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania. Tammi is an expert leader with more than 25 years of experience in program development, design and implementation. Tammi has received numerous awards for her work as a community organizer and program design specialist. Tammi possesses an extensive training and facilitation background. Dr. Fleming holds a dual concentration degree in Maternal Child Health and Health Education and Communication from Tulane University and a doctorate in Public Health from Walden University.

Colleen Gregerson, Battery Powered Colleen Gregerson, is passionate about innovating in philanthropy to unlock tremendous talent and generosity toward the most important issues of our time. She is the founding Executive Director for Battery Powered, an innovative, collective philanthropic model that is activating the generosity of the Battery community to find and fund people and projects with a serious chance of making society stronger. Before that, she led the Maverick Collective, guiding a community of philanthropists’ talents and treasure toward ending extreme poverty. She also led the Business Development department at Population Services International (PSI), where she developed and executed a strategy that raised over $1.9 billion for global health initiatives during the four years of her leadership. She earned her masters degree in international development from American University while working in program management at the International Foundation for Election Systems. She sits on the board of YTH, an Oakland-based organization that is advancing the health of youth and young adults through technology.

Amy Iftekhar MPH, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation Amy joined the Foundation in 2006. She is a Program Associate working on the Sub-Saharan Africa and Global Youth subprogram. Amy holds a Master’s degree in public health from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and a B.A. in sociology from University of California, Santa Cruz. Prior to joining the Foundation, Amy worked with both nonprofit and for-profit organizations, including a county public health program focused on maternal and child health. Amy has lived and traveled extensively in Europe, South America, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Kaleigh McDaniels, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Kaleigh MacDaniels is an Associate Program Officer on the Family Planning team at The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She manages the team’s portfolio of investments in Indonesia, supports new product introduction, and supports the foundation’s relationship with the United Nations Population Fund. Prior to joining the foundation, Kaleigh worked with Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands, an affiliate of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Oregon and a master’s degree is public administration from Seattle University.

Meghan Nesbit, Twilio.org Meghan Nesbit is the Director of Nonprofit Market Development at Twilio.org, working with mission-driven organizations to increase their impact through communications technology. Meghan’s background spans nonprofits, corporate philanthropy, and tech start-ups with repeated success applying market-driven solutions to bring more robust technology to the global nonprofit sector. Meghan’s most important education has come from her colleagues, clients, and partners during her time at Twilio, Change.org, Salesforce.org, and Kickstart International.

Adam Rosenzweig MA, Okta for Good As program manager for nonprofit success, Adam Rosenzweig is an advocate for nonprofits within Okta and an evangelist for Okta in nonprofit communities around the world. Prior to Okta, Adam spent ten years working with various social impact organizations and is particularly passionate about educational equity and data privacy. He’s a graduate of Pitzer College, the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and is currently enrolled in the UC Berkeley-Haas Graduate School of Business MBA for Executives program.

Darwin Thompson, Gilead Sciences Darwin Thompson currently serves as the Senior Manager for Corporate Giving where he manages Gilead’s domestic HIV grant making Darwin has more than 10 years of experience working with community-based organizations providing social and support services for marginalized populations. Prior to Gilead, he served as executive director for a community nonprofit organization in Atlanta, Georgia focused on HIV prevention for Black Gay Men, where he provided financial and programmatic oversight as well as developed new strategic partnerships and successful programs. He is also trained in several CDC behavioral interventions including Mpowerment, dUP, Couples HIV Counseling and Testing, and Many Men Many Voices (3MV). Prior to his work in Atlanta, Darwin was Dean of Students for DC Public Schools and managed corporate partnerships for a nonprofit specializing in housing and healthcare for homeless populations.

Darwin is a proud graduate of Morehouse College where he earned a BA in Sociology and is also a graduate of the Satcher Community Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine. When he is not working he spends his time refereeing women’s college basketball.

Emily White, Salesforce.org Emily White is Director of Philanthropy Partnerships at Salesforce.org where she drives engagement strategy through focused partnerships and delivers meaningful support to disaster-affected communities.

Before joining Salesforce.org, she led signature programs in education, workforce development, environmental sustainability and emergency preparedness for the Pacific Gas and Electric Company Foundation. She served as the Regional Director for Community Engagement at the American Red Cross Northern California Coastal Region where she oversaw disaster preparedness initiatives to build safer, more resilient communities for more than 2 million Californians.

Emily has a passion for preparing youth for 21st century careers by removing barriers to learning and increasing access to opportunities. She served as Program Director for the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship after spending more than 2 years as a Small Business Educator with Peace Corps Nicaragua.

Originally from Nashville, Emily moved to New York at 17 and self-funded her degree from Barnard College of Columbia University (with the help of a lot of scholarships and part-time jobs!). Today she lives in Berkeley with her husband and daughter, and the three of them are avid urban explorers, foodies and tot park enthusiasts.

Linda Sussman, USAID Linda Sussman is a senior research advisor at USAID in the Bureau of Global Health (GH), Office of Population and Reproductive Health (PRH). Her primary focus is on social and behavioral science implementation research related to family planning and reproductive health, with a focus on youth, gender, scale-up, and integration of family planning with multi-sectoral efforts. Linda has led the USAID management team for community-level research projects that develop, test, and scale-up social norm interventions. She earned a masters degree in education from Boston College and received her doctorate in public health from the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health.

ZonaSegura ZonaSegura is a trauma-informed youth-centered innovative mobile solution to address teen dating violence in Honduras. Learn more about ZonaSegura on our program page.