Empower 2021 keynote address with Mike Froman and Gaby Greene Sulzberger

Sept. 8, 2021

Empower 2021 keynote address with Mike Froman and Gaby Greene Sulzberger

The Empower 2021 Conference explores the path to entrepreneurial success and positive societal impact for academic-driven innovations by Black faculty, graduate students, postdocs and other founders in deep tech and social sciences. 

This year, the keynote will highlight how the academic entrepreneurial community can help lead positive change and societal impact. Discussing how to expand access to domain expertise and close the gap in funding for Black academic entrepreneurs during a fireside chat, these speakers will provide ideas for a path forward:

  • Mike Froman is the Vice Chairman and President of Strategic Growth for Mastercard. At Mastercard, he is responsible for expanding strategic partnerships, launching new business opportunities, and planning company-wide initiatives that address major societal and economic issues. Prior to Mastercard, Froman served as the U.S. Trade Representative, former President Barack Obama’s principal advisor and negotiator on international trade and investment issues.
  • Gaby Greene Sulzberger is a Senior Strategic Advisor to Two Sigma Impact. Before joining Two Sigma, Sulzberger was a General Partner of Fontis Partners, a private equity fund based in Pasadena. In addition to her financial background, Sulzberger has served as a member of the board of directors for many public and private companies, including but not limited to, Whole Foods, Mastercard, and Brixmor Property Group. She also champions service by leading governance and mission-related investment committees for the boards of Sesame Street Workshop and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 


The conference will close with a discussion between Dr. George T. French, Jr., President of Clark Atlanta University and Prof. Rod Priestley, Vice Dean for Innovation at Princeton University. Dr. French is the fifth president of Clark Atlanta University, the largest United Negro College Fund member institution in the country and the largest private Historically Black College or University within the state of Georgia. Prior to his appointment at CAU, he served as president of Miles College for 14 years. Priestley is the Pomeroy and Betty Perry Smith Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering and has founded three spinouts based on his research. 

The annual Empower conference explores the path to entrepreneurial success and positive societal impact for academic-driven innovations by underrepresented faculty, graduate students, postdocs and other founders. With over 18 speakers confirmed, Empower 2021 will set forth actions to address access and funding challenges for Black academic startup founders.

This national conference for academic entrepreneurship will also feature a startup pitch competition (with a grand prize of $100,000 cash, plus in-kind services), fireside chats and panel discussions with experts such as National Medal of Technology and Innovation recipient Joseph DeSimone, leading venture capital investors Jennifer Gill RobertsIta Ekpoudom, and many more.

Admission to Empower 2021 is free. Register now at empower.princeton.edu and network with fellow attendees on the conference platform.