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by Tanya Watts and Suzanne Pickett 

Culture Shifting Summit Miami Nov 16–18th, 2023

We recently had the pleasure of attending the Culture Shifting Summit held in Miami, Florida to represent our Regenerative Placemaking projects in Florida, and support Tony Cho, CEO & Founder of Cho Ventures and Future of Cities (aka Tanya’s boss and our fearless leader!) He was an esteemed guest asked to speak on one of the expert panels.

We were afforded this opportunity as part of Tanya’s current role as Director of Neighborhood Affairs for the Phoenix Arts and Innovation District (PHX-JAX), a neighborhood revitalization project in Jacksonville, Florida — and PHX-JAX’s partnership with Suzanne Pickett, President of the Historic Eastside Community Development Corporation (HECDC). These community partnerships are crucial to work collaboratively to create sustainable change through Regenerative Placemaking efforts.

Tony Cho, Suzanne Pickett & Tanya Watts attending Culture Shifting Summit Miami

During Tony’s panel, he shared his goal to impact the lives of 1 billion people through innovations in the built environment, namely real estate, which accounts for 45% of CO2 emissions. He discussed “climate change gentrification and inequality around how we currently build and develop communities,” and how this needs to be done more inclusively.

Through the Phoenix Arts and Innovation District in Jacksonville, Future of Cities is currently creating a prototype and urban laboratory for how we create equity in underserved communities in the real estate space through regenerative placemaking to co-design and invest in co-creating equitable communities of the future.

Tony Cho Founder & CEO of Cho Ventures & Future of Cities speaking on the “Future of Real Estate” panel which included “Future of Sports” and “Future of Healthcare,” at the Culture Shifting Summit on November 17th, 2023 in Miami

The Culture Shifting Summit is an annual invite-only series of deal-making events that takes place in Silicon Valley, New York, Miami and London.

These are the only events of their kind in the United States that unite over 400 accomplished Black & Latino tech executives, entrepreneurs, investors, innovators and social impact leaders in order to enable deals, collaborations and wealth creation.

Each Culture Shifting Summit event has a different format: Silicon Valley is the largest gathering of Black leaders in tech, innovation and social impact to narrow the inequality gap in entrepreneurship, on corporate boards, in venture capital, in tech and in the c-suite. New York is the largest gathering of Black and Latino Venture Capitalists to narrow the inequality gap in this sector. 

Miami and London are hybrids of the two. The event covered three full days of engaging, informative and collaborative offerings.

On Thursday we started off by attending “The House of Health & Wellness”, a gathering of hand selected innovators, investors, executives and entrepreneurs interested in addressing as well as sharing best practices on novel healthcare solutions for underserved communities. A gathering of innovators, such as Juan Pablo Cappello, Co-Founder & CEO at Nue Life Health, a next-generation mental wellness company committed to providing holistic therapy programs in the comfort of patients’ homes. Their mission is to address the root cause of the suffering of our patients by leveraging emerging digital and medicinal technologies to achieve extraordinary patient outcomes.

Women Investors Panel

We also heard from Jasmine Moore, PharmD. Manager, Medical Affairs & Research, Pack Health, A Quest Diagnostics Company. She presented findings from a study, entitled “The Impact of Goal Setting in a Digital Health Coaching Program for Participants with Type 2 Diabetes”. This study was developed to investigate digital health coaching (DHC) as a feasible support intervention for individuals with type 2 diabetes.

Next we attended “The House of Scale’’. This 3 hour workshop sponsored by Comcast NBC Universal, LIFT Labs and AWS, hosted entrepreneurs, investors and subject matter experts to help entrepreneurs sustain and scale their business. Topics covered getting money from venture and angel investors, money management, supplier diversity, international business development, as well as leveraging tech as a sales lead generator and more.

Future of… Panel: Sports, Healthcare & Real Estate

During this segment we experienced the phenomenon known as Tamara Loehr, Co-Founder & Growth Advisor, Beusail Academy & Concertina. Tamara Loehr is an Australian entrepreneur and businesswoman who is known for her work in helping small businesses scale. She has a “Buy and Build” strategy where she invests in businesses and helps them grow using her expertise in digital marketing and her commitment to ethical business practices.

Loehr is a strong advocate for wellness and ethical business. She believes in “doing good while doing business” and promotes a balance of health, wealth, and relationships. She has written a book called “Balance is B.S.” where she shares how she balances her personal life with her entrepreneurial journey. In her teachings, Loehr often emphasizes the importance of digital marketing, ethical selling, and creating a strong brand. She also focuses on the importance of creating a sustainable business model that can adapt to changes in the market.

Next Michael Davis, Founding Partner of Olive Tree Ridge spoke about alternative financing instruments including stand alone, blended and special situations. Followed by a fascinating presentation given by York Eggleston, Managing Partner, Slingshot Technologies, LLC, where he has spent the last 20 years building a company that commercializes intellectual property!

Tanya Watts speaking at a different conference during that same week, Utopian Hours Miami: The First US Edition of the City-Making Festival. Tanya joined her colleagues and fellow community leaders to speak on the Regenerative Placemaking Panel.

We rounded out the first day with a private dinner by invitation only. The Tech & Society event was a private gathering, held at the Future of Cities Climate + Innovation Hub in Little Haiti, of leaders to address racial inequality, systemic change and explore the role athletes and entertainers have in this work.

The Tech & Society Dinner hosted at the Future of Cities Climate + Innovation Hub 

The goal of this event is to engage some of the nation’s top leaders to collaborate on solutions and transfer knowledge of what’s working and what else needs to be done.

We heard from X. Eyee, Founder, Malo Santo, an AI consulting firm on a mission to ensure AI helps more people than it harms. Her passion on this topic was strong, believing if technologies and AI can be used for wars and destruction it should also be able to solve humanity’s crises and create equality. Her background is unique: a high school drop out, served the Army in Afghanistan, was Microsoft’s first Blockchain Ambassador, and now is working with Google.

Malo Santo empowers companies to build AI that scales — across geographies, cultures, and within communities. The topic of skin tone recognition in AI is a significant one in the field of technology. AI and machine learning technologies are increasingly being used in a variety of applications, including facial recognition, beauty filters, and health diagnostics. 

However, these technologies have often been criticized for their lack of accuracy and bias when it comes to recognizing and accurately representing diverse skin tones. This is largely due to the lack of diversity in the datasets used to train these AI models.

If the datasets are predominantly composed of lighter-skinned individuals, the AI will be less accurate when it comes to recognizing and processing images of darker-skinned individuals. To address this issue, researchers and companies are working to develop more inclusive AI models by using more diverse datasets. They are also working on improving the algorithms used by these models to ensure they are less biased and more accurate.

A Private Dinner at Future of Cities Climate + Innovation HUB

The evening was filled with great company, good energy and shared vulnerability to have difficult yet necessary conversations.

The following day we attended a fireside chat entitled Capitalism in the Culture that discussed strategies on how capital can be deployed to have a positive impact in Black communities. This panel included Cedric Nash, “Your Millionaire Mentor”, serial entrepreneur and investor Interviewer: Leyonna Barba, Managing Director JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking and Jaime Montalvan, Vice President — Middle Market Banking at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Then it was time for the Future of…..Panel! which covered future trends in healthcare, sports and real estate. David Garcia, SVP & Managing Director at Hawks Ventures (Sports) described how sports teams are launching venture and private equity funds to invest in along with acquiring tech enabled solutions.

Future of …. (Sports, Real Estate, Health) Panel with: David Garcia, SVP & Managing Director at Hawks Ventures (Sports); Tony Cho, CEO & Founder of Cho Ventures & Future of Cities (Real Estate); Kahina Van Dyke, Operating Partner, Advent International (Health); Nicole Walker, Venture Advisor & Board Member, Venture Forward.

Overall, it was an amazing event with amazing people and some pretty impressive titles and resources to boot.

But for us the biggest take away was the camaraderie, open and free exchange of ideas and information, and engagement in the difficult but necessary conversations. The information, advice and lessons learned shared by all of the presenters and panelists was truly priceless! We hope to continue this productive partnership with Culture Shifting Summit Miami, and certainly will attend next year.

Tanya Watts speaking alongside Emily Moody, Francois Alexandre, Tony Cho and Alexandra J Tohme during Utopian Hours

Tony with Kwasi Asare media visionary legend and CEO of Feedia, Co-Founder Esaiyo, Executive Board at Fast Company
The Jacksonville female leaders! Emily Moody, Suzanne Pickett + Tanya Watts

Tony Cho, Tanya Watts & Suzanne Pickett