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Creative Economy

Cassie Petrey

Co-Founder and Owner, Crowd Surf

Featured on Billboard’s “30 Under 30”


Cassie Petrey co-founder of Crowd Surf, a digital marketing company servicing stars such as Backstreet Boys, Fifth Harmony and Britney Spears. Petrey ran the notorious AOL Backstreet Boys newsletter that had over 10K subscribers and by age 17, worked for Warner Music Group as a College Representative. When Myspace made its debut, Petrey capitalized on this by setting up pages for her projects. This led to her position in Warner Digital Marketing department. By 25 she was featured on Billboard’s “30 Under 30”. Crowd Surf now has a client roster boasting a collective social footprint of approximately 800 million followers. 

Dr Julian Tan

Group Director of Commercial Strategy, Flutter Entertainment Plc

Recognized as a Leader in Sport "40 Under 40" in 2020.

Group Director of Commercial Strategy at Flutter Entertainment. Focused on driving material strategic growth opportunities across the Flutter Group. Previously led Formula 1's digital strategy & transformation as well as esports/virtual racing division. Ex-consultant at The Boston Consulting Group. First Class Oxford University graduate with a PhD in Engineering from Cambridge University as well as business education from Harvard.

Tannya Jajal

Author & Expert Technology Contributor at Forbes

Author of "Thinking Machines: A.I. and the Intelligence Explosion”  

Tannya is A.I. Expert, Tech Evangelist, Futurist,  leader of the Dubai Women in Tech Lean In Circle. Through her work, Tannya encourages leaders to explore the ethical and practical implications of exponential technologies on business, life, and society at large. Tannya is an advocate of radical innovation, the rise of meaningful work, and a proponent of educational reform. She currently works at VMware, a leader in cloud infrastructure and is the Head of Partnerships at Awecademy, an EdTech start-up whose mission is to prepare learners for a post-automation world. Tannya is a technology contributor at Forbes Middle East and an active leader within the MENA Women in Tech Community. 

John M. Eger

Director of the Creative Economy Initiative, San Diego State University

Former Adviser to Presidents Nixon and Ford. 

John M. Eger, the Van Deerlin Endowed Chair of Communications and Public Policy, is also the Inaugural Zahn Professor of Creativity and Innovation. He has served as chair of San Diego Mayor’s “City of the Future” Commission, Chair of California Governor’s first Commission on IT, and the Governor’s Committee of Technology and Education. 

Asha Easton

Immerse UK Lead, KTN

The founder of The XR Diversity Initiative. 


After years of experience working in business development and consulting, Asha has become passionate about immersive technologies. She is a VR producer who is a natural networker in the XR community. Asha is an active member of several VR groups, including Women in Immersive Tech which helps to support women in the industry. 

Supreet Manchanda

Managing Director, Raiven Capital

Supreet is a turnaround leader for private equity funds including a $1.5B global security company.


Supreet and his partners apply deep knowledge and operational mastery to forge risk into strong return. Supreet blends his leadership, corporate development and technology transformation across startups, large companies and turnarounds to create success. As a digital transformation expert, Supreet integrates operational knowledge with a technological acumen and lessons learned over 25 years in Silicon Valley to help fund, guide and mentor companies.

Dorothy Di Stefano

Founder & Director, Molten Immersive Art

She is on a judging panel at the ADC 99th Annual Awards in New York.


Global thought leader, creative strategist and LinkedIn’s Top Voice 2019, Dorothy leads a collective of experiential artists who create large-scale digital immersive experiences. She sits on many cultural committees and is the International Partner for Australia in the Global Startup Leaders Committee of the World Business Angels Investment Forum. 

Rohan Roberts

Director of Innovation & Future Learning, GEMS Education; Director, Dubai Science Festival

World Government Summit’s 1 of 6 individuals embodying the Advanced skills of the Future.

Rohan is an award-winning author, keynote speaker, innovator, EdTech advisor, and educational foresight consultant. He is the director of the Dubai Science Festival.  He is a serial entrepreneur and founder of several global organisations including, Intelligent Optimism, Café Scientifique Dubai and Awecademy. Rohan has been described in the media and by those who know him as a Renaissance Man, a Polymath, and a Multi-potentialite. He takes an interdisciplinary approach to problem-solving and is passionate about promoting Scientific Literacy, Moonshot Thinking, Cosmic Citizenship, Radical Openness, Intelligent Optimism, STEAM, Neuro-Education, & Innovation in pedagogy. He is a host of the Expo 2020 World Majlis. 

Krista Kim
Digital Artist

Contemporary artist and founder of Techism movement since 2014. 


In 2014, Krista Kim founded the Techism movement in her written manifesto, promoting convergence of art and technology. Kim believes that through technological innovation a future digital culture can be achieved and amalgamated with expression of free thought, creating digital humanism. Furthermore, collaborations and dialogues with engineers and technology are imperative in progressing a balanced culture between humans and technology. At its core belief and vision, Technism embodies the creation of a free, humane, and great digital civilization.   Krista Kim’s career is expansive across the Metaverse and traditional art world. Her most notable works includes the groundbreaking Mars House which is the first NFT digital house in the Metaverse that provides a complete meditative experience. Through her works as NFTs, Krista Kim seeks to return the artist to become the oculus of their world as it allows an artist to invest in their own process.

Christian Rouffaer

Head of Unit – VR, International Committee of the Red Cross

Humanitarian wargame producer.

Since 2001, Christian has worked for the ICRC in places such as Afghanistan and Yemen. His work ranged from visiting detainees, delivering food assistance, and promoting International Humanitarian Law. Since 2014, he has overseen the ICRC’s video games project and ICRC's VR department, producing new VR training tools and multiplayer simulations. 

Alfredo Salazar-Caro

Founder, DiMoDA (Digital Museum of Digital Art)

The 1st recipient of the Fellowship for POC Emerging Artists in NYC.

His works are an amalgamation of portraiture, installation/sculpture, documentary, video and VR/AR. He is co-creator and creative director of DiMoDA, a groundbreaking project that functions as a VR institution and exhibition platform dedicated to developing XR Art. His work has been exhibited internationally including Tribeca Film Festival.  

Russ Harding

Executive Producer, Maze Theory

Worked with ‘J.K. Rowling’ on PlayStations ‘Wonderbook: The Book of Spells’ & ‘Book of Potions’.

Russ is Studio Director at Maze Theory & has over 25 years of creating innovative interactive experiences across a variety of genre & audiences, specialising in the use of emerging technologies such as AR & VR. Russ has created some of the most ground-breaking experiences in AR/VR. Having creatively led teams at Sony PlayStation on titles such as the BAFTA nominated EyePet™, award winning Wonderbook™ & PlayStation VR Worlds in supporting the launch of PSVR. Maze Theory is an independent VR studio looking to create evolutionary storytelling experiences with 'Peaky Blinders’ (VR), 'Doctor Who the Edge of Reality' (PC, Console), & 'Engram' (VR) all presently in development. 

Firas Mghames

Managing Director & CEO, FEER McQUEEN & FLAG M GROUP

He’s spent 20+ years helping businesses stand-out and perform better.

As a young, energetic, and creative leader that keeps challenging the status quo and inspiring change, Firas had a vision of joining creatives, writers, filmmakers, animators, engineers, architects, and business consultants under one roof. A decade ago, this vision became a vivid reality with the international hybrid creative agency FEER McQUEEN.  

Matt Brennan

Co-Founder & Managing Director, China Channel

He is a world-renowned tech specialist in the Chinese mobile industry.

Matthew is a speaker and writer focusing on Chinese mobile technology and innovation. In particular he's known for analysis of WeChat, China’s famous super app, and Tencent, China’s largest tech giant. His opinions are regularly featured in global media: The Economist, Wall Street Journal, BBC, The Financial Times, Harvard Political Review. Matthew is also co-host of the China Tech Talk podcast and his book ‘The Story of WeChat’ is due for release later this year.

Jérome de Tychey 

CEO of Cometh and President of Ethereum France

Blockchain tinkerer, builder, researcher and entrepreneur focussed on helping the ecosystem grow.

Jerome runs the blockchain startup Cometh which develops blockchain based videogames and tools to easily access decentralized finance and other blockchain services. He is an associate professor in economics at CNAM university and the president of Ethereum France. He previously played leadership roles at major companies of the industry Ledger and ConsenSys.

Dr Kiuk Gwak

CEO and co-founder of bHaptics Inc.

Co-founded bHaptics Inc.


Dr. Kiuk Gwak is the CEO and co-founder of bHaptics Inc. During his PhD course at KAIST, he researched about brain-computer interfaces and haptics, and started thinking about the forthcoming evolution of human-computer interfaces. In 2015, he established bHaptics Inc. to bring our tactile sensation into human-computer interfaces and allow people to think not only audio and vision but also haptics can be delivered remotely. 

Pierre Barreau

CEO & Co-Founder, AIVA

A computer scientist, award nominated director and composer.

Pierre leads AIVA towards its vision: establishing AIVA as one of the greatest composers of all time, and fuelling the world with personalised music.

Sky Kurtz

Co-founder & CEO of Pure Harvest Smart Farms, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Sky Kurtz is a pioneer in the Agritech sector.

Pure Harvest develops world-leading controlled-environment agriculture technologies to deliver the best quality fresh produce. The Company’s hybrid growing solutions provide precise climate and environmental controls, enabling increased productivity and reduced waste (including water, energy, time, & transport).

Since its inception, the Company has raised $200 million making the Company the most funded startup in the Middle East in 2020, ranked by Forbes Middle East. In March this year, Pure Harvest secured $60 million in growth funding to support regional expansion in a first-of-its-kind structured Sukuk financing solution.

Pure Harvest currently supplies premium quality, sustainably-grown fresh fruits and vegetables to key retailers and HORECA accounts across the UAE and is now expanding across the Gulf Region.

Prior to founding Pure Harvest, Mr. Kurtz Cofounded Vence – a wearable technology solution for animal protein farming that semi-automates rotational grazing, reinventing livestock management. Mr. Kurtz also served as a Senior Executive with Francisco Partners, a $24 billion tech investment firm based in California and an affiliate of Sequoia Capital, a world-leading venture investment firm.  Mr. Kurtz invested in and served on the boards of numerous companies across many sectors, with annual turnover ranging from $25 million to $2 billion dollars.

Hassane “Big Hass” Dennaoui

Radio Host, MIX FM Saudi Arabia

Presenter of Saudi's 1st FM Hip Hop Radio Show - "Laish Hip-Hop".

Hassane Dennaoui , a.k.a. "Big Hass" is the radio host of Saudi Arabia's first & only FM Hip-Hop Radio Show "Laish Hip-Hop". He is also the founder of Re-Volt Blog, Re-Volt Magazine, and The Beat, a series of events aimed to support local artists by having them perform live.

Big Hass believes in music liberation and is a huge supporter of local and regional artists. In 2018, he launched his YouTube show "Buckle Up" which is a series of interviews he conducts on the "go".