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The Power of Disability and Diversity in Entrepreneurship, Fundraising and Team Building

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Diego Mariscal
2Gether-International, CEO/Founder

Diego Mariscal is disabled and proud! He is also very passionate and strategic about the relationship between disability advocacy, entrepreneurship, and sustainable impact.
At the age of 18, Diego started “Limitless Prepa Tec” a disability education program for students in Monterrey Mexico. In four years, the program expanded to seven high schools across the country, reaching more than 3,000 students nationwide. To this day, Limitless continues to be one of the largest youth-led programs in Monterrey Mexico, working to educate students about disabilities. In 2015, Diego founded 2Gether-International, a non-for-profit startup that supports entrepreneurs with disabilities and moves us closer to a world where disability is recognized and valued as an asset for business and entrepreneurship. In his role as CEO and Chief Disabled Officer, Diego has collaborated with multinational organizations such as the U.S. Department of State, the Organization of American States, the Inter-American Development Bank and corporate companies like Blackboard and McKinsey to help them better understand disability as an asset for performance.Diego has been internationally recognized for his work, most noticeably by the Waldzell Institute in Vienna as an Architect of the Future and by the British Council as a Global Changemaker. In 2014, he was also a Youth in International Development and Affairs Fellow for the U.S. International Council on Disabilities. In 2016, Diego was invited to the first United Nations World Humanitarian Summit held in Istanbul. In 2017, Diego became the first entrepreneur with a disability, from the US delegation, to participate in the Global Entrepreneurship Summit held in Hyderabad, India. Diego has also been an honorary guest and spokesperson of the US Embassy of Panama and the US Consulate in Cd Juarez Mexico. In 2017, Diego also received the Global Leadership in Equitable Development Award from the World Trade Credit & Risk Summit in Washington, DC.Born with Cerebral Palsy in New Orleans but raised in Monterrey, Mexico, Diego also represented Nuevo Leon in the Mexican National Paralympics from 2004-2009.

Sarah Millar
City Light Capital, Principal

Sarah is a Principal at City Light Capital, a VC firm that invests early in impactful companies with a focus on education, safety and care, and the environment. Sarah runs City Light's "City Spark" fund, a seed-stage vehicle investing in 25+ companies per year with mission-driven founders. She also leads the fund's impact measurement and management efforts. She is passionate about supporting companies that show demonstrated impact through their core products or services.

Vanessa Gill
Social Cipher, Inc., CEO + Co-Founder

It's Vanessa Castañeda Gill's mission to use her passions for art, science, and stories to help people. Vanessa is the CEO and Co-Founder of Social Cipher, a game-based social emotional learning platform for neurodiverse youth, and holds a B.A. in Neuroscience from Claremont McKenna College. She founded Social Cipher based on her experiences growing up on the Autism Spectrum–she was diagnosed with Autism and ADHD at 14 years old. Having overcome the mental health and social challenges that many other autistic youth face today, she has first-hand experience and understanding of Social Cipher’s players.

In addition to her personal experiences, Vanessa possesses skills in research and experimental design, having  previously published her neuroscience research in a peer-reviewed publication. She has hosted  dozens of workshops and speaking engagements for global conferences and events, and has been recognized as a Forbes 30 Under 30 and a Facebook Global Gaming Citizen.

Vanessa has also graduated from prestigious accelerators such as the AT&T Aspire Accelerator and the Camelback Ventures Education Fellowship. Outside of her work with Social Cipher, Vanessa serves as one of the first autistic individuals on the boards of the Inland Empire Autism Society and the Madison House Autism Foundation.

Kunho Kim
CEO, Door Labs

Kunho Kim founded one of the first blockchain conferences at Harvard and MIT. Since then, he has been deeply involved in blockchain industry. Moreover, as a wheelchair user, he has been actively involved with projects that works to better wheelchair accessibility. He published a 400-page wheelchair accessible travel guidebook, created Seoul city's first wheelchair-accessible subway map, and won several awards for his wheelchair travel video series. At Door Labs, he is devoted to merge these two passions: blockchain and inclusion/diversity. He is now creating the world's first inclusive metaverse where people with all abilities are represented. Door labs recently created the world's first wheelchair/disability-related NFT collectibles and worked with Korea Paralympic Committee to create the world's first Paralympics NFTs.

The Office of Disability Employment Policy, reports that people with disabilities are almost twice as likely to pursue entrepreneurship compared to the non-disabled population.

During this session, we will discuss how disability and diversity are an asset when thinking about innovative strategies to building a business, securing investors, and building creative teams. Our expert panelists will share their own journeys, explore challenges they faced, share fundraising strategies, and detail their own work in bringing the discussion of disability and diversion to the front of the startup ecosystem.

Join us in envisioning a world where disability and diversity are synonymous with innovation and creativity.