Vala Afshar Chief Digital Evangelist, Salesforce.com
Vala Afshar is an award-winning inventor, author, weekly podcaster and columnist, and keynote speaker covering the future of buisnesss and work, leadership and innovation. As Chief Digital Evangelist at Salesforce, Vala collaborates with C-suite executives, industry analysts and thought leaders from around the world on opportunities for digital change.
With over 640,000 followers on Twitter, Afshar is named as a top influencer to senior executives on social media. Afshar’s Twitter account was viewed and shared over one billion times in 2021.
Afshar contributes weekly articles to ZDNET and other publications - published over 250 articles in 2020-2021. Afshar has interviewed over 850 guests on his weekly video show DisrupTV, where he speaks with the top business executives covering the topics of leadership, business, technology and innovation disruptive trends. The show is projected to have over 2 million viewers in 2022.
Afshar spent 13 years leading up to his current role, as a Salesforce customer, in roles of Vice President of engineering, Chief Customer Officer responsible for global customer services and Chief Marketing Officer. Afshar wrote the book ‘The Pursuit of Social Business Excellence’ which tells the story of how his company used Salesforce CRM to build a successful and growing business.
Closing Keynote Speaker
Rakia Finley Founder and Managing Partner of Copper & Vine Studio
Rakia Finley is a change agent committed to diversity, innovation, and equity. She is an award-winning full-stack developer, keynote speaker, entrepreneur, tech investor, Women in Tech Initiative Leader, Digital Architect, and advisor.
Rakia is the Founder and Managing Partner of Copper & Vine Studio, a strategic business development advisory and product development agency working with Fortune 500 brands, International non-profits, and high-growth startups. She was named FemTech's 2016 & 2017 Powerful Woman Programmer and is one of the highest-earning African-American females in the software industry and North America's first black female owner of a private software and product development firm. Rakia has advised and invested in over 300 startups and is best known for her work with the Obama Administration on their "Girls in STEM" initiative.
Rakia achieved her Master's Degree in Business Administration from Howard University in 2009. She graduated from Hampton University in 2006 with a Sociology Education Analysis Degree. Rakia also holds a Certificate in Marketing from American University and an Associate, Non-Profit Management training from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
By the age of nineteen, Rakia was the founder of PinStripe Consulting, a database development firm. After delivering over 500 custom database solutions to nonprofits, she launched Surge Assembly, a full-service software development firm focused on enhancing company revenues. Her determination for better software led her to build a custom AI solution for Starwood Hotels in 2006, making them one of the first leading hotels with virtual booking and room management.
In 2015, Rakia Co-Founded FIN Digital, a full-service firm, building artificial intelligence and hardware applications for founders and organizations.
She has also emerged as an entrepreneur's dream come true, designing products for founders that average over $27 million in an acquisition.
In 2018 Rakia founded Copper & Vine Studio, Co., a creative solutions corporation in the business of re-imagining to blend Rakia's passions: inventing award-winning technologies, making companies that scale, and building brands that produce results. Rakia is the founder of seven companies, including Copper & Vine Studio, By Grace Retreats, Artern, The Ideation Garden, StepFWD, FIN Digital, and Mrch. She remains actively engaged as a leader in all of those organizations today.
Rakia has also worked as an Advisory Board member, Business Consultant, Development Consultant, Senior Technology Consultant, Policy Training Specialist, and Development Associate for organizations all over the globe.