Dear Friends and Supporters,
Our 2019-2020 Conference & Event Lineup is posted!
A warm hello to the Silicon Flatirons Community. I’m so excited to have this opportunity to address you early in my tenure as the new Executive Director of Silicon Flatirons. Coming on board in the lead-up to our 20th Anniversary Celebration has taught me nothing if not the depth of the Silicon Flatirons legacy and the strength of our relationships with our community.
Starting in January we will kick off anniversary festivities and look back on the many wonderful accomplishments of Silicon Flatirons, from Vint Cerf calling us the “Davos of telecom” to being the birthplace of the term “internet neutrality,” long before it took over media headlines. At Silicon Flatirons we are proud of our story and the impacts we’ve driven, and we can’t wait to show them off. As I look back at these accomplishments, I personally want to say a huge “thanks” to Phil Weiser, Dale Hatfield, and the entire Silicon Flatirons Community. I appreciate your faith in me and will work hard to maintain the legacy entrusted to me.
Looking forward, Silicon Flatirons will continue to act as a center for conversations and debates across the tech policy sphere, bringing in actors from all sectors, backgrounds, and viewpoints. Our 2019- 2020 conference series will launch with an in-depth look at “The Near Future of U.S. Privacy Law,” led by Margot Kaminski, our Privacy Initiative Director. Later this fall, our Spectrum Initiative Directors, Dale Hatfield and Pierre de Vries, will bring folks together to examine the critical issues related to “Saving Our Spectrum: Handling Radio Layer Vulnerabilities in Wireless Systems.” Conferences on rural entrepreneurship, AI, IP and the music industry, and healthcare will all follow. I hope you will mark your calendars for these events and others in the full calendar, which we provide below.
I also want to highlight the many ways we continue to engage with students, who remain the heart of Silicon Flatirons. This past summer we sent 12 students to Washington, D.C., through our DC Summer and Hatfield Scholars programs, and placed 30 students in other positions around Colorado and the United States. We are always looking for new and interesting places for our students to get real-world experience, so if you’re interested in hosting an intern or fellow, or would want to act as a mentor, please do reach out. This year we will continue our commitment to student success with the Silicon Flatirons Writing Competition and Ethics Competition, as well as through our Startup Summer partnership.
Additionally, we are welcoming long-time faculty member Harry Surden into Silicon Flatirons as a new Initiative Director on Artificial Intelligence. We are formalizing the process to pursue new and exciting initiatives in a way that keeps Silicon Flatirons at the forefront of tech policy while ensuring that we grow in a positive and sustainable manner. We’ll also be making progress to formalize other advisory and consulting bodies. I look forward to working with you all throughout that process.
Across all of these programs, I am delighted to highlight that we also are placing new focus on diversity and inclusion. It is my personal belief that conversations and debates are both more interesting and productive when they include a wide range of impacted voices. To that end we will be investing in programs and policies that ensure Silicon Flatirons remains a place that welcomes all perspectives, and we will invite and promote people of all backgrounds, particularly those from traditionally marginalized communities. To accomplish this, we have a responsibility to make Silicon Flatirons a safe space, not in terms of avoiding challenging topics and ideas, but rather a place that promotes respectful engagement even in times of vociferous policy disagreements. As we dig down into this important work, please reach out to me if you would like to discuss the path forward and share your opinions.
As a supporter, you can be a part of all of this and help us continue to ask, “what’s next?” I look forward to connecting with all of you, and I hope that you will always feel free to reach out with your thoughts, suggestions, and concerns (as well as any compliments that you feel we’ve earned!) throughout the year. The Silicon Flatirons mission is more important than ever, and we want you to be a part of our work implementing it.
Amie Stepanovich, Executive Director