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Inspire Speakers Series Presents: Michael Slaby and Debra Lam, with Guest Emcee Andrew Butcher

April 9, 2015 @ 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm EDT

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inspire speaker seriesAs we strive to create the most livable places for all, how do we go about engaging our communities? How do we understand differing needs and ensure that our process is open and inclusive? Join us to hear perspectives from Michael Slaby, Debra Lam, and Andrew Butcher about how we can all reimagine engagement.


Michael Slaby uses technology and social media to help humanity solve the world’s greatest challenges.  His work with the United Nations, U.S. State Department, F*ck Cancer, Bright Pink, I Am That Girl, Livestrong, Citizen Effect, and Jumo have made him a highly coveted consultant. In 2012, for example, when the Obama campaign began gearing up for re-election, one of the first calls went to Michael Slaby.

As deputy digital director and chief technology officer for Barack Obama’s first election campaign in 2008, Michael leveraged the Internet and social media to raise funds and organize volunteers in ways that had never been seen before, resulting in a historic election victory. He became chief integration and innovation officer for the 2012 Obama for America campaign, leading to a successful re-election and triggering a revolution in the way politicians, organizations, and brands use social media to engage their audiences.

Michael is currently managing partner of Timshel, a new company working to help solve social, civic, and humanitarian problems via better technology, engagement capabilities development, and creative capital. He was previously a fellow at Shorenstein Center at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, was named to Crain’s Chicago 40 Under 40 list in 2011 and its Tech 50 list in 2013.

Michael’s experience provides the perfect backdrop to advance the conversation on how Pittsburgh engages its citizens to shape our region’s future. How can we inspire a diverse and inclusive movement to transform our region into a thriving place from the ground up?

Debra LamDebra Lam is chief innovation & performance officer for the City of Pittsburgh and oversees all technology, sustainability, performance, and innovation functions of city government. Prior to joining Mayor Bill Peduto’s executive team, Debra worked as a project manager and policy consultant at Arup, a global consulting and design firm. With over a decade of experience, her projects have included strategy work with the World Bank, APEC, and the C40 cities. She has spoken and published numerous articles on sustainable development, climate change, and urban resilience and was among the 35 high achievers awarded a place on Management Today’s “35 Women Under 35″ list and a finalist for Women of the Future, Science and Technology.

Debra is a Pittsburgh native and recently returned to her hometown after living and working in New York, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom. She is a graduate of North Hills Senior High School, graduated cum laude from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and earned a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley.

After successful stints across the globe, Debra is excited to help transform Pittsburgh into an innovative, world-class city.  Her work in the Office of Innovation & Performance seeks to make city government not only more efficient, but more open, transparent, and responsive to the needs of its residents. Her perspective will help frame our conversation, demonstrating more engaged city planning: a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Andrew Butcher is our guest emcee for this lecture. As co-founder and CEO of GTECH Strategies – Growth Through Energy and Community Health – he is recognized both locally and nationally as a leader in the field of social innovation. A committed practitioner of creative social and environmental responsibility, Andrew has installed solar panels in South America, deconstructed buildings in his native Colorado, and farmed brownfields in Pittsburgh. He holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy Management from Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College, has presented at numerous institutions and conferences, and has been honored at the White House. In 2008, Andrew was awarded a prestigious international Echoing Green Fellowship for social entrepreneurs.


Online registration closes at 1:00 p.m. on April 9. General admission is available when doors open at 5:00 p.m. Is this event out of your price range? We want this incredibly inspiring evening to be accessible to everyone in our community. If you find the $20 rate to be prohibitive, please email Andrew Ellsworth to discuss your options.

We’d like to thank our Inspire Speakers Series Co-Presenting Partners:

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Thanks also to our Inspire Speakers Series Media Partners:










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April 9, 2015
5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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Janel Everly


Elsie H. Hillman Auditorium at the Kaufmann Center
1825 Centre Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15219 United States
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