Future Forum 2 – December 5, 2017

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Mark Huang, Director of Economic Development for the City of Providence, addresses the audience at Future Forum 2

What happens

when you bring together twenty successful, forward thinking entrepreneurs, college professors, social activists, technologists, designers, health care change agents, marketers, trainers, oceanographers, and artists

with several of Hope High School’s best and brightest?

Take a look.

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Tino Chow (gray jacket), President of Giant Shoulders Design and Beecher Fritzmeir, (plaid coat and hat) Vice President of Product Development at Alex & Ani, arrive at the Forum to be greeted by Hope Life Skills students Catherine Visono (far right) and Laisha Mendez (with name tag in hand).  Catherine and Laisha welcomed each guest with a friendly greeting and distributed name tags and event brochures.

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Matt Flanagan (left), Vice President of Marketing Strategy at Duffy and Shanley, and Natalie Hogan, Chief of Staff at DataRobot, are welcomed to the Future Forum 2 by Laisha Mendez.

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Brown University Physics professor, Dr James Valles, networks with Rosa Rodrigues (right) and Nayely Furcal prior to the start of Future Forum 2

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George Ortiz (right), Founder of The Elisha Project, networks with aspiring roboticist and AI enthusiast, Walter Jimenez, prior to the start of the Forum.

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Kevin Estrada (right) speaks with Nickolai Pawlenko, a commissioned officer for NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) stationed aboard the ship, Okeanos Explorer.

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Hope Life Skills student, Marianella Galan (standing), opens Future Forum 2 with a welcoming and appreciative greeting to the Forum guests.

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Natalie Hogan, Chief of Staff at Boston based DataRobot, shares her vision of Artificial Intelligence’s (AI) escalating impact on today and tomorrow’s workforce. Natalie not only spoke about the new jobs in an expanding AI influenced job market but also reinforced the importance and value of “social skills“, especially the ability to collaborate in the creative work environments of 21st century companies and organizations.

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Mark Huang spoke about the mission of the Economic Development department he leads in Providence as well as identifying several job opportunities in Providence.  “Wind, Solar and Food” were just a few of emerging industries Mark mentioned.

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Catalina Martinez, regional program manager of NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research at the University of Rhode Island, complemented Mark Huang’s comment about job opportunities in “food” related services. “Aqua farming presents a significant opportunity now and even more so in the future!” Catalina informed the students.

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Nick Pawlenko, an associate of Catalina from the NOAA office, informs students of several high paying, interesting  jobs in oceanography.  How about video production?   You bet!

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George Ortiz, Founder of the Elisha Project, informs students of the optimum mindset for their present and future success. “Fearlessness!  It’s a critical ingredient for lifetime success.  Fearlessness is an attitude.  Fearlessness enable us to push out of our comfort zone to meet new people, learn new skills, realizing ‘I don’t know’ is an ok and normal response, and that the mistakes we make along the way are invaluable lessons that make us stronger and wiser going forward.  Fearlessness!” 

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Arguably, the most interesting part of the Hope Life Skills Future Forums are the breakout sessions among students and guests.  After asking Hope Life Skills students Janita DeJesus (right of Catalina) and Shakira Figueroa (next to Janita) about their present interests,  Catalina Martinez shares the story of her career path to her present opportunity in Oceanography.  Nick Pawlenko, seated across the table from Catalina, speaks about his path to his present position at NOAA.

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Matt Flanagan and Ed Cronan‘s (seated across the table from Matt), collaboration with Hope Life Skills students Keila Otero and Jonasia Brown led to the creation of the Organic Tech Fruit Company. Their Organic Tech Fruit Company is based in the southern part of the United States growing and exporting peaches. The company relies heavily on artificial intelligence for protecting trees from insects and inclement weather, driverless delivery and transportation and data based marketing.  Jonasia, the Vice President of Sales and Marketing of the company and Keila, the Vice President of Supply Chain Management, announced they are now hiring staff for a variety of positions in marketing and sales, analytics, and graphic design. They also are looking for a corporate ‘futurist’. Matt Flanagan and Ed Cronan have a contract with Organic Tech Fruit for their consulting services. How ’bout them peaches!!!!

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Ed Cronan, former guidance counselor at LaSalle Academy and East Providence High School, adds his perspective to the collaboration as Matt, Keila, Vice President of Supply Chain Management and Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Jonasia listen.

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Natalie Hogan collaborates with Ayo Onajide (to Natalie’s right), Johhny Ruiz (to Ayo’s right) and Walter Jimenez on future career opportunities in an age of escalating AI.  Ayo, Johnny and Walter embraced the impact of AI to form their own technology-centric company during this breakout session.

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Marta Aparicio, Case Manager and Refugee Mentor at the Providence Housing Authority and former Adjunct Professor at Miami Dade Community College, sets the agenda for her group’s collaboration about present interests and future career.   Physics Professor at Brown University, Dr. Jim Valles (to Marta’s right),  Marianella Gulan, Mariana Guerrrero Pimentel, and Lisanyis Gonzalez were the rest of this teamHope High School Guidance counselor, Jean Louis Jimps, observed and enriched the collaborationThrough Marta and Dr Valles leadership, the group spoke about creating one business employing the interests and skills of each woman:  Mariana’s interest in dentistry, Lisanyis’s interest in pediatrics, and Marianella’s interest in teaching.  Their yet to be named Health Care business will offer Lisanyis’s pediatric services, Mariana’s dentistry and Marianella’s courses through an affiliation with a nearby college teaching dental and medical courses to aspiring doctors and dentists.

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Narine Lemme, Business Transformation leader and Master Black Belt at Harvard Pilgrim Health (her back to the camera) shares her fascinating and empowering immigration story from the Soviet Union to the United States of America with (left to right) with Ianique Imboque, Oladipupo Ojekunle, Catherine Visono and Soren Ryherd, Co-Founder and President of Working Planet, an internet marketing company located in Providence, Rhode Island.   Soren, who hails from Seattle, Washington, was the 2012 winner of a $300,000 fellowship to launch the Retail Project which launched new, online companies which will eventually open traditional brick and mortar stores in Rhode Island.

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Mark Huang and Pam Pacheco (Signature Printing Account Executive) seated across from Mark in the group) listens to the present interests of Life Skills students Kevin Estrada (to Mark’s right), Yaire Marquina and Eveline Silva.  Hope High School Chief Librarian, Shai Afsai, joined the collaboration on future career opportunities.

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An interesting collaboration, around the table, left to right, starting with Allison Spitznagel (yellow jacket), Owen Johnson, MIT computer science graduate and the Chairman and CEO of  Revival Brewery, Laisha Mendez, Rosa Rodriguez, Francisco Gonsalez, and graphic designer, Nick Decesare.   Their collaboration revealed how a shared interest in criminology could tap into each person’s interests to create one company.  Each student would have unique yet related responsibilities in their company:  Laisha and Rosa’s interest in investigation and law enforcement;  Francisco’s interest in forensics; and Allison’s interest in design.

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George Ortiz asks Nelson Castillo about his interests and goals as Yael Torres (to Nelson’s left)  and Sender Alvardo Ramos listen intently to Nelson’s response during George’s discovery portion of their breakout session.

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Beecher Frtizmeir, Vice President of Product Development at Alex & Ani and Kristine Merz (back to the camera), President of Orange Square, begin a discovery conversation about the students’ current interests.   Yaritza Jimenez (red jacket), Nayely Furcal (next to Yartiza), and Jessicaliz Carrassquillo acknowledge similar interests in various forms of artistic expression.   Next step, turning their shared interest into an entrepreneurial opportunity.

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Nan Quinlan, a professional coaching and training consultant and Tino Chow, President of Giant Shoulders, engage Imani Turner (right of Tino in this photo), , Aimon Foreman and Mohamadou Mbaye about personal interests and future ambitions.

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Following the breakout sessions, the Forum came together for the presentation session.   Pam Pacheco, from Signature Printing, rallied her team of Yaire Marquina, Eveline Silva and Kevin Estrada to share the results of their collaboration.

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Catalina Martinez waits for Durin (standing in the back), Janita DeJesus and Shakira Figeuroa to speak about their conversations during the breakout session.

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Soren Ryherd and Narine Lemme ask Ianique, Oladipupo and Catherine to share their collaboration with the audience.

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Catherine turns to listen to Ianique‘s perspective on their breakout session as Oladipupo awaits to share his.

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Marta Aparicio introduces her collaborators to the Forum audience:   Professor Jim Valles, Mariana and Marianella listen intently.  Where did Lisanyis go?

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After Marta shared the experience of her initial challenges with some of her courses during her freshman year at Georgetown University and the eventual lessons learned about asking professors for help, Professor Jim Valles reinforced Marta‘s lesson.  “If you’re admitted to a college, you belong there.  Colleges wouldn’t accept you if they didn’t believe in you.  Colleges have invested in you and they want you to succeed.   Professors want to help too. I agree with Marta;  get to know your professorsLet them know if you need help in the course.”

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Nick DeCesare introduces Rosa, Francisco and Laisha.

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Rosa speaks about her career aspirations.

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Laisha and Francisco follow Rosa by sharing their future career aspirations. Notice the audience reaction to Francisco’s story.  Francisco added a few humorous anecdotes during his presentation to the audience’s delight.  Way to go, Francisco!

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Ayo, johnny and Walter share the details of their (Internet Technology) IT business. Following the plan, Johnny announced to the audience the team would be soon accepting capital investments in the company.

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Lunch was then served.

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A networking lunch as Ayo, Sender, Nelson and Mariana network with Beecher Fritzmeir from Alex & Ani.

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Initial reviews on lunch was ‘delicious’.

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Matt Flanagan and Catherine network during lunch

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Pam Pacheco speaks with Marianella, Francisco, Oladipupo, Kevin, Yael and Yaire at the other end of the lunch table from Matt Flanagan, Catherine, Keila and Laisha.

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Rosa, Nayely and Lisanyis talk about their experiences at the end of the Forum.


































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