Election Results 2020: What could go wrong, and how do we know if it did?

Election Results 2020: What could go wrong, and how do we know if it did?

Tuesday, October 13th, 2020 @ 5:30pm PST (1.5 hours)

Meeting details will be provided upon registration. Program is complimentary.



An election like no other: social media, “fake news,” Russian meddling, cyber hacking, defunding the Post Office, unprecedented vote by mail, outdated election equipment, a global pandemic, growing civil unrest and a divided country with 50 unique sets of election law.

Will technology solve the challenges this election faces, or will it exacerbate the risk and uncertainty? On October 13th, tune in to hear from Thomas Hicks, US Elections Assistance Commissioner, Lori Contorer, election security expert and founder of leading election innovation company Everyone Counts, and Shannon Bond, Tech Correspondent at NPR, as they share their insights, analysis and what to look for when polls open and the results begin to come in…


Commissioner Thomas Hicks

Thomas Hicks was nominated by President Barack H. Obama and confirmed by unanimous consent of the United States Senate on December 16, 2014 to serve on the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC). He has served as chairman of the commission for two terms.

Commissioner Hicks has focused his efforts on voter access. Under his leadership, the EAC developed a pocket-sized voter card that serves as a guide on voting rights for voters with disabilities. The card is provided in both Braille and large print. The EAC has worked with advocacy groups and election officials to distribute the card.

In addition, Mr. Hicks has addressed the difficulties overseas voters have when requesting and returning their ballots, such as dealing with foreign IP addresses and issues with timely ballot delivery. He worked with key states to set up a help desk. Now, overseas voters receive an email response directing them to the help desk to obtain their ballots.

He serves as the designated federal officer for the Board of Advisors.

Mr. Hicks is a frequent speaker at conferences in the United States and overseas on issues such as voter access and cybersecurity.

Prior to his appointment with EAC, Commissioner Hicks served as a senior elections counsel and minority elections counsel on the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on House Administration, a position he held from 2003 to 2014. In this role, Mr. Hicks was responsible for issues relating to campaign finance, election reform, contested elections and oversight of both the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and the Federal Election Commission. His primary responsibility was advising and providing guidance to the committee members and caucus on election issues. Mr. Hicks has talked with Americans in every state about their voting experiences. In addition, he has worked with state and local election officials across America to address critical election concerns.

Prior to joining the U.S. House of Representatives, Mr. Hicks served as a senior lobbyist and policy analyst from 2001 to 2003 for Common Cause, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that empowers citizens to make their voices heard in the political process and to hold their elected leaders accountable to the public interest. Mr. Hicks has enjoyed working with state and local election officials, civil rights organizations and all other stakeholders to improve the voting process.

Mr. Hicks served from 1993 to 2001 in the Clinton administration as a special assistant and legislative assistant in the Office of Congressional Relations for the Office of Personnel Management. He served as agency liaison to the United State Congress and the president’s administration on matters regarding federal personnel policies and regulations.

Mr. Hicks received his J.D. from the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law and his B.A. in Government from Clark University (Worcester, MA). He also studied at the University of London (London, England) and law at the University of Adelaide (Adelaide, Australia).




Lori Contorer is an accomplished global technology company founder, CEO, board Chair, and nonprofit leader; and a finance, digital transformation and leadership expert. As founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Everyone Counts, Inc. for more than a decade, Lori Steele Contorer pioneered the use of modern technology in government and private elections globally, bringing state of the art security and accessibility to voting for states in the US, countries around the globe and private organizations including the Oscars and the Emmys. Her visionary leadership in business, innovation and elections has been recognized with myriad awards, including Fortune Magazine’s Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs.

CEO of Thriving Blue Dot, Lori inspires and helps drive effective organizational growth and industry transformation through board leadership and governance, consultancy and public speaking.

A cancer survivor and enthusiastic outdoor adventurer, Lori is a certified sailboat pilot and former heli-skier who recently completed the Tour de Mont Blanc, a three-country, 170 km mountain hike including 30 km of ascent. An Ohio native and long-time San Diegan, she travels internationally frequently, but treasures every moment at home in La Jolla cooking with her husband, laughing with family and friends, singing, and thinking hard about the best ways to help solve some of the enormous challenges facing humanity today.


Shannon Bond, Tech Correspondent, NPR

Shannon Bond is a business correspondent at NPR, covering technology and how Silicon Valley’s biggest companies are transforming how we live, work and communicate.

Bond joined NPR in September 2019. She previously spent 11 years as a reporter and editor at the Financial Times in New York and San Francisco. At the FT, she covered subjects ranging from the media, beverage and tobacco industries to the Occupy Wall Street protests, student debt, New York City politics and emerging markets. She also co-hosted the FT’s award-winning podcast, Alphachat, about business and economics.

Bond has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School and a bachelor’s degree in psychology and religion from Columbia University. She grew up in Washington, D.C., but is enjoying life as a transplant to the West Coast.


Visit Our Website to stay updated on future programs.


We look forward to connecting with you,

The Chapter Executive Committee & Advisory Board
MIT Enterprise Forum-San Diego Chapter

The Future of Rapid Disinfection, Pandemic & Beyond


The Future of Rapid Disinfection, Pandemic & Beyond

Wednesday, September 30th, 2020 @ 5:30pm PST (1.5 hours)



The majority of the discussion about “a new normal” from the pandemic has been dominated by the race for a vaccine and the availability of cost-effective, high volume, rapid testing.  A less discussed dimension is the development of novel technologies for disinfection, both of static object and surface cleansing, but also about commercial air purification applications.

Join the MIT Enterprise Forum of San Diego as we host an exciting virtual discussion on September 30th with RESONŌ’s founder and CEO, Hao Hu, and COO, Kaha Aznaurashvili. RESONŌ is a start-up tackling this challenge working at the convergence of virology and physics.

In initial studies, RESONŌ’s foundational technology has been shown superior to ultra-violet light purification methods and others presently used and can be applied not only to the COVID-19 and future pandemic challenges, but seasonal viruses as well.

Topics certain to be discussed:

  • How the technology uniquely attacks and neutralizes viral pathogens
  • How broad are the company’s Intellectual Property claims and its IP protection strategy
  • Regulatory approvals necessary and challenges encountered
  • Various product strategies evaluated and the ultimate business model chosen

And, if we are fortunate, RESONŌ may share some of its latest experimental data (for those who are into that) that help bolster their claim to deliver the most effective, safest, and fastest methods to disinfect air and surfaces.

The MIT Enterprise Forum of San Diego is excited to host this timely, powerful, and intriguing discussion.  Please join us on September 30th at 5:30pm PST. Meeting info provided upon registration.



Hao Hu, Founder and CEO of RESONŌ

Hao Hu is the founder and CEO of RESONŌ with 15+ years of experience in technology development and operations. Previously, he was the Head of Operations at Jersey Microwave SATCOM, consultant with Boston Consulting Group and engineer at the Boeing Company. He has lead team across multiple disciplines including product development, manufacturing/ops and business development. As a member of the executive team at Jersey Microwave, Hao helped the company achieve market leading position in satellite communication market and led the company through a period of sustained high growth.

Hao holds a BS in Material Science and a ME in Supply Chain Management from MIT.


Kaha Aznaurashvili, COO of RESONŌ

Kaha is the co-founder and COO of RESONŌ. He brings to the team 10+ years of experience in starting, scaling up and expanding technology businesses in both B2B and B2C segment. He is currently focused on developing a scalable solution that meets customer needs utilizing RESONŌ’s patent pending technology.

Kaha’s previous roles include principle at The Boston Consulting Group, and a co-founder of two successfully exited companies (in supply-chain services and e-commerce fields). Most recently, Kaha worked on the expansion of Bolt OU, a European ride-haling and food-delivery company. Kaha holds BA in business administration and MBA from Kellogg School of Management.



Ben Anger, Partner at Knobbe Martens

Chapter Executive Committee, MIT Enterprise Forum San Diego

Ben Anger is a partner at the law firm Knobbe Martens where he has been practicing intellectual property law since joining the firm in 2009. His law practice focuses primarily on IP litigation, including patent disputes involving medical device technologies, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology. Ben has been named a “San Diego Rising Star” by Super Lawyers and has been named to San Diego Business Journal’s “Best of the Bar” list.

In 2019, Ben joined the Chapter Executive Committee for the MIT Enterprise Forum San Diego. He earned his law degree from the College of William and Mary and his undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Utah.  Ben and his wife Denise live in the San Diego neighborhood of Rancho Bernardo with their four children. *They are hopeful that RESONŌ’s technology can help get their kids back to school very soon.



Visit Our Website to stay updated on future programs.

We look forward to connecting with you,

The Chapter Executive Committee & Advisory Board
MIT Enterprise Forum-San Diego Chapter



Virtual Happy Hour!

Robot arm holding wine glass


Wednesday, September 9th, 2020 @ 5:30pm PST (1 hour)

Join us for a virtual happy hour to meet the Chapter Executive Committee, hear about our exciting Fall program lineup, and review the new format for delivering this timely and relevant content. Unfortunately, the drinks are virtual as well, at least for now.

Registration is complimentary. Be sure to complete this registration form to receive meeting details along with a surprise from The French Gourmet. You won’t want to miss it!

We look forward to connecting with you,

The Chapter Executive Committee & Advisory Board
MIT Enterprise Forum-San Diego Chapter

The Esports Series – Introduction to the Industry

The Esports Series – Introduction to the Industry

Wednesday, October 28th, 2020 @ 5:30pm PST (1.5 hours)

Meeting details provided upon registration. Program is complimentary.


E-sports and Gaming have emerged to a $100B industry. During this event, you will meet some of the players in the industry and learn about the E-sports eco-system, specifically Games and the enabling technology, the industry participants and their roles, the economic underpinnings of the industry and, finally, the impact of the COVID pandemic on E-Sports growth.



Hector Rosario

Visionary… Gamer… Esports Team Owner…Event Owner…Developer

Hector Rosario grew up in South Florida playing Football, Soccer and Basketball as well as being a gamer.  After deciding a career as a professional athlete in traditional sports was a no-go, Hector started focusing on his passion for gaming and today is considered by some to be one of the godfathers of what is now eSports.  As first a professional DOTA 2 player (this was before gamers were called athletes), Hector not only organized some of the original leagues and competed in events, but found he had a talent for building teams and developing players, many of whom are still competing today.

In 2012, Hector retired from professional gaming and took advantage of his experience and vision for what esports was becoming, to launch his first company, FlipSid3 Tactics.  FlipSid3 Tactics (FT) is a professional esports organization with currently over 20 Championships Titles across 4 divisions.   Besides being Founder and CEO, Hector began coaching his young players across these divisions as well as produced some of the first professional gaming events in the US, Brazil and India.

Over the following three years, as the esports industry experienced exponential growth and the competition for solid players for teams skyrocketed. Hector recognized the need for tools and programs that could gather data and stats and provide analytics to help recruit those top players to his team.  This led to the launch of his second company, Stats Helix, which today is a tech company using data to enhance player performances and subsequent gaming experiences.  Today Stats Helix is the go to for most major esports events as well as is the data and analytics platform used by Twitch, the streaming channel exclusive to the esports industry.

Having changed the esports industry with his “moneyball” approach to player development and having created the interactivity for digital broadcasting, Hector is moving on to his next venture, Ascent Sports.  Ascent Sports is positioned to be the industry standard for stats and analytics, digital streaming enhancements and game data expertise.  While the big data companies have game data, they do not have the expertise on how to customize and use the data to improve player performance, the player and viewer experience and improve and optimize game development.


M.Cole Jones

Executive Chairman of GameBRKZ and Managing Partner at RIISE Ventures

Cole is Executive Chairman of GameBRKZ and Managing Partner at RIISE Ventures headquartered in Atlanta, GA. An avid esports & sport tech enthusiast and investor, he’s a recognized thought leader in corporate innovation, startup culture and the collaborative economy.

GameBRKZ is a collaborative agency crafting the narrative of “Gaming As A Lifestyle.” We provide pathways for brands, institutions and influencers to break into the industry building community, visibility and brand equity.

RIISE Ventures is a firm reimagining innovation in sports, gaming and media through advising our partners, clients and corporate brands on how to stimulate ideas, attract and retain talent and invest capital into companies and communities we believe in. Partners represent a diverse group from across various disciplines such as investment/finance, real estate, technology, corporate innovation, health care, sports and entertainment and economic development.

Cole’s other endeavors include Co-Founder & Producer of Esports Week, Esports Summit, a Venture Partner at NextGen Ventures, and a mentor and investor to several startups. His previous innovation firm covello created experiences, built products and delivered ideation for enterprises, brands and high growth companies The company has built technology platforms for companies like AT&T valued at $30M+ to providing services with other conglomerates such as Delta Air Lines, Harman International and Chick-fil-A to Snapchat (Snap Inc.) and global non-profits like American Cancer Society.


Lisa Freedman

As a business and event professional with more than 25 years’ experience, Lisa has worked in a variety of roles at the local, national and international levels. From launching and revamping businesses to running for profit and not for profit organizations to working major events such as Olympic Games, NFL Super Bowls, Surf Championships, Award Shows, Film Festivals, and Fashion Shows, she has a broad level of experience. Her skills include facility design, construction and operations; business development and strategic planning; financial forecasting, budget management and resource allocation; staff, volunteers and contractor leadership as well as marketing, branding and sales.

Lisa has been calling San Diego home since 2004, and when she moved to the region she committed to establishing and growing the Sports and Active Lifestyle Industry. Whether it is creating new events, bringing in existing events and working with early stage, mid-level and mature businesses to establish themselves and direct deal flow within the industry, Lisa loves to help people and organizations succeed.

Most recently, Lisa recognized the exponential growth of the esports and gaming industry particularly as she observed the more public, wide scale adoption of esports and gaming among traditional sports athletes as they play to clear their heads prior to or relax after playing their sport. As she has immersed herself in the industry, she has been fortunate to work with and learn from a number of industry experts and rainmakers strengthening her interest and passion for this vertical. In January, she was able to take her traditional sports and event production skills into the esports and gaming world when she was recruited to help produce the Call of Duty League launch. She is looking forward to continuing to learn from her mentors and to produce competitions and events in the future.



Visit Our Website to stay updated on future programs.


We look forward to connecting with you,

The Chapter Executive Committee & Advisory Board
MIT Enterprise Forum-San Diego Chapter

General Atomics and the Path to Fusion Energy

fusion energy burst

General Atomics and the Path to Fusion Energy 


  1. Powers the sun and other stars in our Universe
  2. Clean, safe source of carbon-free electricity
  3. Hydrogen fuel is cheap, renewable, and abundant
  4. Attracting billions of investment dollars
  5. At a critical juncture in the U.S.

On Wednesday, February 19, we are honored to get firsthand understanding of the past, present, and future of fusion energy from San Diego’s 60-year old celebrity in the field – General Atomics (GA).

GA’s Director of Business Development Zabrina Johal will discuss the rich history of nuclear energy and GA’s role in developing the most prolific nuclear fission reactor program in the world. She will also talk about GA’s six decades of research in fusion energy. We will learn how GA is supporting the drive toward practical fusion-powered electricity by providing the “heart” of the ground-breaking ITER experiment and operating the largest magnetic fusion research facility in the U.S. – right here in San Diego.

This is a unique opportunity to talk with Ms. Johal. Please join us!

Wednesday, February 19
5:30pm – 8:30pm
@Knobbe Martens
12790 El Camino Real, San Diego, CA 92130



5:30: Registration, Networking, food and drinks
6:30: Program
7:30: Audience Q & A
8:00: Program Concludes, Networking, Coffee & Dessert until 8:30


Zabrina Johal photoZabrina Johal
Director of Business Development, General Atomics

Zabrina Johal has nearly two decades of experience in nuclear energy management, development, and communications. She began her career as a Nuclear Engineering Officer in the U.S. Navy, where she led female integration activities on the USS Paul Hamilton and served as the Tomahawk Strike Warfare officer in Operation Enduring Freedom. She also served aboard the USS Carl Vinson during Operation Iraqi Freedom and managed safe operations of the nuclear reactor core and associated systems. She is a certified nuclear engineer by the Naval Reactors division of the Department of the Navy and Department of Energy.

After leaving the Navy, Ms. Johal joined General Atomics in San Diego, where she has been for the past 13 years and is currently Director of Business Development for the Energy Group. Ms. Johal is responsible for overseeing efforts in business planning, capture, and proposal development, as well as marketing, strategic communications, and media outreach.

Ms. Johal is a recognized expert in business models and financial analysis for commercialization of high-technology solutions, and she is regularly called upon to provide high-level presentations to internal stakeholders and external customers. She holds Master’s degrees in Business Administration and Commercial Real Estate from the University of San Diego, a Master’s in Engineering Management from Old Dominion University, and a B.S. in Biology and Chemistry from Santa Clara University.