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Mark it down: Can’t-miss sessions at Synapse

Veronica Brezina



The main stage and floor of the 2022 Synapse Summit at Amalie Arena. Photo: Veronica Brezina.

Next week, hundreds of innovators and renowned entrepreneurs will gather at Amalie Arena for the annual Synapse Summit.

The marquee event on Feb. 14 will host breakout sessions focusing on the latest emerging tech trends featuring leaders in blockchain, web3, cybersecurity, space tourism, and health and wellness. It is is expected to attract over 6,000 attendees.

The full agenda can be accessed here.

These are some of the heavy hitters and sessions featured in the one-day summit:

Steve Case 

The co-founder and former CEO of America Online (AOL) will headline the overall annual Synapse Summit.

Steve Case, co-founder of AOL, at Station House in St. Petersburg during the Rise of the Rest tour in 2019. File photo.

In addition to his role at AOL, Case is also known for starting Revolution, a Washington D.C.- based investment firm. In 2019, Case led the Revolution Fund’s Rise of the Rest tour in Florida, which highlights some of the most innovative tech startups.

He will be at the arena’s center stage on the ground floor from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m., sharing his experiences and thoughts on the local tech ecosystem.

Lillian Roberts, CEO and founder of Xendoo, a cloud-based SaaS platform for bookkeeping and accounting, will moderate the panel discussion.

Case will be joined by Ken Hall, principal of DeepWork Capital.


Cathie Wood and Joe Hamilton 

In a virtual fireside chat, ARK Invest CEO and CIO Cathie Wood and St. Pete Catalyst’s Joe Hamilton, who’s also head of network at Cityverse, will discuss “why innovation drives the future, and how communities that don’t innovate risk getting left behind.” 

ARK’s Cathie Wood (left) and Joe Hamilton, publisher of the St. Pete Catalyst and head of network at Cityverse. Wood is an investor in Cityverse. File photo.

The “Why Innovation Wins in the End” session will take place on the center stage from 4 – 4:30 p.m.

ARK Invest is an investment management firm founded in 2014. ARK’s investment strategies focus on disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence, energy storage, robotics, DNA sequencing and blockchain technology.

Wood is an investor in Cityverse, a soon-to-launch platform for cities powered by Catalyst news. 


Ally Love 

Ally Love, world-famous Peloton instructor and the founder of Love Squad, will be another keynote speaker.

Ally Love, an instructor at Peloton and CEO of Love Squad. Facebook image.

The Miami native will discuss her journey to becoming an instructor for the cycling company in 2016 and her experience of founding Love Squad, a community that empowers women to unlock their greatest career-building skillsets and goals.

Brian Kornfield, CEO of Synapse, along with Synapse’s chief strategy officer Lauren Prager and Laura DiBella, president and CEO Enterprise Florida Inc., will also speak during the panel discussion on the center stage from 10 – 11 a.m.


Pitch competition 

Ten finalists vying for a $150,000 grand prize will pitch to investors Feb. 13.

Hosted by Silicon Valley Bank, executives from capital investment firms DeepWork Capital, Las Olas Venture Capital and Tesseract Ventures Fund will provide live feedback to the individuals.

The top three selected finalists will be invited to present the following day at the Synapse Summit, on the center stage at 3:30 p.m.


Notable breakout sessions

There’s a plethora of breakout sessions that will include speakers from local organizations and ventures as well as nationally-known entrepreneurs.

One of the many notable sessions will be the Executive Leadership: Practice Wisdom from Proven Leaders panel, which will feature Tampa General Hospital CEO and President John Couris, Slide Insurance CEO and founder Bruce Lucas, Michael Tschanz, an engineer with the Walt Disney Company, and Bob Dixon, president and senior leadership coach at 5 Eagles Leadership, who will moderate the panel.

From 11 – 11:45 a.m. at Stage 6, the executives will talk about how to cultivate a culture of trust and transparency, as well as leveraging innovation to navigate certain challenges.

Other breakout sessions will also include familiar Tampa Bay leaders such as Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, JP DuBuque, CEO and president of the St. Petersburg Area Economic Development Corporation, Ken Evans with the Tampa Bay Innovation Center, a technologist with the Tampa Bay Rays and executives from the University of South Florida, among others.


RELATED: Robots and drones: Meet the exhibitors of the 2022 Synapse Summit

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