People to Watch

Harris Kalofonos
4 min readMar 22, 2021

Stories to know

Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash

Over the past year I dedicated time to learn more about people I am inspired by and what they do. Here is what I found!

Tara Fortier

In April of 2006, I was at Yale. This was my first memory of Tara amazing me with a suspension one leg tango dance move during a performance at one of the campus halls. Fast forward 15 years, here work today on using lasers to extract timing signals from atomic clocks and facilitate comparisons between different types of atomic clocks as a means to test our current models of physics is beyond amazing. Tara is also a scientific member of the White House/NSF Q-12 partnership and on the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s Inter-Agency Working Group to develop the National Quantum Workforce Plan. Beyond physics, Tara is committed to creating opportunities for women and underrepresented minorities in STEM. She currently serves on the executive board for the NIST Women in STEM group and is the chair of the CLEO conference’s taskforce for Diversity and Inclusion.

Scott Galloway

I first heard about Scott while driving home one day from work on the radio. He was talking about how education is so expensive and serves so little these days. I was captivated as I saw everything he would say and had not thought to form my thoughts into words. As I got home that day, I looked him up; NYU professor, serial entrepreneur, a branding guru, book writer, and the list goes on. I ordered his book on post-corona that day. Once I got it, I went cover to cover in three days. It was that good. I read more of his books, and some months later, I join one of his online courses on branding through a new company he founded called; Section4. I feel I could keep writing forever, but I will let you discover what I discovered as I started to engage in all he is involved in. p.s Section4 just raised $30M in series A. Look him up.

Stacy Cason

Kerry Plemmons, a great business mind and professor at Denver University business school, introduced us some years ago. Stacy has one of those stories that one day will be in a book. Stacy started as a nurse but soon followed her true calling as a successful businesswoman and entrepreneur. After bringing to life successful real estate development deals, she now works on solving pain problems. Her company — called Planetarie — is setting the bar for delivering quality CBDa products as scale.

Makis Asimakopoulos

Back in the day when I worked for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, I only knew that he was the CEO of the Athens 2004 organizing committee. Years later, and after I moved to the US, I would learn more about him. Notably, sometime after the 2004 Olympic Games, he took over the Athens Marathon with a low number of participants, around 800. Makis grew the Marathon to over 50,000 participants, making it one of the world’s most significant running events. Over the years, we have stayed in touch, he is always eager to learn and available to talk and share his wisdom on sports matters.

Bob Gemignani

Donna Nelson, who works for the mayor’s office at Olympic City USA, always connects me with great minds like Bod. Here is what I found out. Bod is a passionate advocate of solving problems in education. Bod focuses on connecting the lost dots caused by disconnection and fragmentation between industry and students being educated and trained in the K-12 system. Using collective impact principles around workforce development, Bod and his team focus on creating meaningful and productive talent pipeline solutions for industry partners and the developing K-12 workforce. By creating quality connection points between rapidly changing occupational demands and the talent within the education system, he is revolutionizing our thought process around K-12 workforce placement strategies. Above all his work helps students connect with their future now.

Suman Kanuganti

When I first heard I would work with Suman’s team on a video messaging project, I knew very little about AI. I thought it was all about robots and algorithms. What I discovered was a surprise. It is all about the people behind the scenes. Suman is the co-founder of an AI company called personal ai. His concept is simple; capture, store, control, and utilize all your memories to augment your potential. During the seed funding round, the idea and company attracted $3M for notable VC in the AI space. Suman comes to us from India. After college, he started a company called Aira to help the visually impaired find direction via smart glasses and a dedicated team. A true visionary of our times, his work on AI can become the keystone for solving some of humanity’s most significant challenges in the years to come.

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Harris Kalofonos

Managing Director — Goodvoice Group | Connecting the dots of past & present experiences