How New York Trains Workers For a World of A.I. – with Karen Bhatia

Karen Bhatia

Karen BhatiaWith all the promise & fret of automation, artificial intelligence, and robotics —

Karen Bhatia, Vice President of New York City’s Economic Development Corporation, joins the pod to discuss how to leverage private dollars & public curricula to train workers for the jobs of tomorrow, today.


Karen Bhatia is an innovative strategist and vision-led leader at the intersection of technology and entrepreneurship. Over 13 years of experience helping businesses start and scale. Integrate big vision with specific plans to execute. Lead strategy to identify market opportunities, develop business framework and prototype innovative products. Expertise analyzing challenges from business, legal, and policy perspectives.

Currently lead Creative & Applied Tech strategies at the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) to support emerging tech and inclusive entrepreneurship in the city. This includes developing NYC’s blockchain strategy, launching the first publicly-funded VR/AR Lab in the country, spearheading the City’s strategy for ethical development of AI & leveraging big data, and growing advanced manufacturing in fashion.

* Co-founder & President Emeritus, Stanford Startups NY
* Western Queens Tech Council, appointment
* Advisory Board, Tech Day
* Executive Committee, Springboard Enterprise Business of Blockchain
* Advisory Board, Rutgers University Big Data Program
* Advisory Board, rLab, NYC VR/AR Lab
* Advisory Board, German Tech Accelerator
* Advisory Board, NYC Media Lab
* Advisory Board, Made in NY Media Center
* Advisory Board, Jamaica FEASTS (culinary incubator)

How the City of L.A. Resists Anti-Immigration Policies in the Era of Trump

Dr. Linda Lopez

Dr. Linda LopezDealing with changing Federal policy in immigration affairs departments in major US cities…

Dr. Linda Lopez, Chief of Immigrant Affairs to LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, joins the pod to discuss how Cities can still connect immigrants to the promise of the American dream at the local level, even while the Administration attempts to water that dream down at the national level. Recorded on location at the 2018 Concordia Summit in New York.

Linda currently serves in a senior leadership role with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti focused on policy guidance impacting underserved communities in Los Angeles in areas of immigration, public safety, and community building.

Previous leadership roles include University of Southern California, American Political Science Association and National Science Foundation. Established track record in developing innovative projects and successful implementation with diverse set of stakeholders. She regularly consults with non-profits, and other municipalities on policy design and implementation. She has also worked with the UN, UNICEF, and Red Cross on humanitarian relief at the local level.

Media: Linda has extensive experience speaking at international and domestic conferences on topics focused on education and access, technology and services, migration and security, and innovative public private partnerships with the philanthropic and private sector. Sampling of speaking engagements and panels include: Smart Cities New York (2018), Concordia (2017),Rockefeller Foundation 100 Resiliency Athens Network on Refugee Populations (2016), German Marshall Fund Strategic Planning Conference(2017),Truman Security Project (2018) Pacific Council on International Policy (2018), Open Society Foundation (2018) panel on how global cities are integrating immigrants and refugees, Atlantic Live Dialogues (May 2018)

#GivingTuesday & Lyft: Are Tech Companies Leading the Way on Social Impact?


LyftLyft’s Head of Social Impact, Mike Masserman, joins the pod to talk about how a tech company can still invest in social good — even in an era of heightened government scrutiny across some of the world’s largest technology corporations.

Mike Masserman is currently the Head of Global Policy & Social Impact at Lyft, where he works on initiatives related to civic engagement, autonomous vehicles, opening global markets, and smart cities.  Michael was previously the Senior Director for Federal & International Government Relations where he built out Lyft’s Federal and Policy Partnerships teams. Prior to Lyft, Michael held a number of senior positions in the Obama Administration, and worked in various capacities on Obama’s 2008 campaign.  He began his career practicing international corporate law at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in New York, and then at King Wood & Mallesons in Sydney, Australia. He received his B.A. with distinction from the University of Michigan, his J.D. cum laude from University of California, Hastings College of the Law, and is a National Security Fellow with the Truman National Security Project.

The Unsung Heroes of The West Wing

Presidential speechwriters, Pentagon advisors, and the staff who help confirm Supreme Court justices don’t often grace the front pages of newspapers or tabloids. But in their book The West Wingers, 18 former White House staff detail how their own personal stories helped shape the work of the nation. Editor Gautam Raghavan, and contributing writers Aneesh Raman & Stephanie Valencia, join host Vikrum Aiyer.

Automation and the Future of Work in America

New forms of work, through apps like Uber, and new forms of automation — are sparking both new opportunities and considerable angst among American workers.

CEO & Co-Founder of The Workers Lab, Dr. Carmen Rojas, joins the pod to discuss how to build a 21st century set of organizing principles around preparing and protecting workers, while balancing the innovations that are fueling this century’s growth.

Dr. Carmen Rojas is the Co-Founder and CEO of The Workers Lab, an innovation lab that invests in entrepreneurs, community organizers, and government leaders to create replicable and revenue generating solutions that improve conditions for low-wage workers. For more than 20 years, Carmen has worked with foundations, financial institutions, and non-profits to improve the lives of working people across the United States.

Prior to building The Workers Lab, Carmen was the Acting Director of Collective Impact at Living Cities. She supported 22 of the largest foundations and financial institutions in the world to invest in improving economic opportunity for low-income people by supporting projects in the fields of economic and workforce development, energy efficiency, and asset building. From 2008 to 2011, Carmen was the Director of Strategic Programs at the Mitchell Kapor Foundation, where she oversaw the foundation’s Green Access and Civic Engagement programs. Alongside her work at the foundation, Carmen also taught in the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of California at Berkeley. Prior to this, Carmen was the Coordinator of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency’s Taskforce on African American Out-Migration to address African American displacement from the city. 

Carmen currently sits on the boards of the Marguerite Casey Foundation, Neighborhood Funders Group, General Service Foundation, JOLT, Certification Associates, and on the Advisory Boards of Fund Good Jobs and Floodgate Academy.

Carmen holds a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley and was a Fulbright Scholar in 2007.

What’s the Matter with Florida? Comparing the 2000 and 2018 Election Recounts

Bush v. Gore Florida recount attorney, and veteran campaign operative, Todd Elmer joins the pod to describe what the chaos inside an election recount looks like, while reflecting on the opportunity America has to protect the voices of voters in Georgia, Arizona, and Florida.

Todd Elmer has built a 20 year career at the intersection of politics, law, communications, and artificial intelligence policy. Most recently, he served as part of the DNC’s national Deployment Project, which sent seasoned political veterans to support targeted Congressional races in the 2018 midterm elections and help win back the House of Representatives to Democratic control.  That recent service traced back to his experience in the 2000 presidential campaign of Al Gore, where he worked at the campaign headquarters and was then deployed to serve as a Democratic attorney in the 2000 Florida recount.
In addition, he has served as White House advance staff for President Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden at official events throughout the United States and around the world.  He spent several years in the administration of President Barack Obama, where he was appointed to be the Chief Communications Officer of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), directing all internal, external, and crisis communications, as well as social media and business engagement efforts, for the 13,000 person federal intellectual property agency.
Prior to joining the Obama administration, he directed communications and public affairs initiatives for artificial intelligence pioneer H5. Mr. Elmer’s public affairs and policy work with H5 supported the company’s efforts to effectively replicate and automate expert human relevance assessments through a precise combination of patented artificial intelligence technologies and a proprietary professional services process.
Prior to joining H5, Mr. Elmer designed corporate communications and public affairs strategies for a wide variety of Fortune 500 corporations and national political organizations. He also practiced law within the public and private sectors, as an international trade attorney at the U.S. Department of Commerce and in the Washington, D.C. office of Kaye Scholer.  
Mr. Elmer holds a Juris Doctor, with distinction, from Emory University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude, from Furman University.

Banning Gender: How America is Attempting to Rewrite Definitions of Sex

The first openly transgender staffer to The White House, Raffi FreedmanGurspan, outlines how Americans can stand up to a White House plan to rewrite definitions of sex in this country, and undercut protections for millions of non-gender conforming citizens.

Raffi Freedman-Gurspan is the Director of External Relations at the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), where she oversees public education and field organizing operations. She was both a Senior Associate Director for Public Engagement, where she served as the primary liaison to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, and Outreach and Recruitment Director for Presidential Personnel at the White House from 2015-2017. Raffi was the first openly transgender staffer to work at the White House. She also currently sits on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council as an appointee named by President Barack Obama.

5 Issues to Watch as a result of Tuesday’s elections


As the nation turned out to the ballot box in record numbers for the November midterm elections…

…the world watched in awe as Americans were pitted against each other with threats of migrant caravans and the loss of healthcare.

But what does the make-up of the new Congress (and the promise of newly minted elected officials) actually mean for Immigration? Privacy? Infrastructure? Or American civility?

What the City of Chicago is Doing to Re-Claim the American Dream

Chicago, immigrants, and American identity…

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has stood up to anyone who tries to point at a finger at an immigrant in Chicago and imply that they’re not welcome in this country. Seemi Choudry, the Director of the Office of New Americans, is the muscle behind that backbone and has built new sources to help anyone afraid of losing their American identity, keep it, and reimagine the promise of this country.

How the Republican Party Courts College Campuses

Ahead of the November 6th elections, executive director of the College Republican National Committee (CRNC) Ted Dooley  joins Vikrum Aiyer. on location at the Concordia Annual Summit in New York City, to discuss how the GOP engages college campuses across the country to  be an “R” in the age of Trump.

Ted Dooley is the Executive Director of the College Republican National Committee. Prior to that, he served as the organization’s National Co-Chairman, Regional Vice-Chairman, and was a three-term State Chairman for the Massachusetts Alliance of College Republicans.

Aside from his work with College Republicans, Ted most recently worked as Vice President of Merrimack Potomac + Charles, a full-service strategic communications firm based in Boston and Concord, NH where he oversaw a broad range of strategic communications campaigns across the region. Ted began his political career managing and consulting for local and state Republican campaigns in Massachusetts. During the 2016 cycle, Ted served as a digital media advisor to New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu’s campaign.

Ted has been quoted in The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, Politico, CNN, ABC Nightly News, Fusion, Univision and other outlets for his insights on millennial politics and the Republican party.