Conference speakers you won’t want to miss at this years SXSW

Trent Thompson

There is not one category of content at South by Southwest that doesn’t induce sensory overload. Like any other part of the festival, SXSW’s speaker conference is enough to make any attendee feel like they may miss all the high points. Fret not, for The Daily Texan has a list of the speakers you won’t want to miss across SXSW this year. 


Nonny de la Peña (Austin Convention Center room 18ABCD, March 13, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.)

Commonly known as the “Godmother of VR,” Nonny de la Peña is the founder of the Emblematic Group and New America Fellow, two media companies trying to immerse their audiences through state-of-the-art augmented reality and virtual reality and by broadening news stories to be more inclusive. In her presentation, Peña will relate what she’s learned from pushing boundaries in technology and storytelling. She also plans to unveil Emblematic’s new project, “Reach,” a VR platform that allows anyone to author their own stories in VR.


Melinda Gates (Austin Convention Center ballroom D, March 11, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.)

Philanthropist Melinda Gates devotes her life to promoting more justice in society and to empowering women and young girls, exercising this passion through philanthropic mediums such as the “Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation” and “Pivotal Ventures.” Gates will challenge the gender exclusivity and unequal nature of the American workplace along with Joanna Coles, chief content officer of Hearst Magazines, and Stacy Brown-Philpot, CEO of TaskRabbit. 


Ta-Nehisi Coates and Jeffrey Goldberg (Austin Convention Center ballroom D, March 10, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.)

Ta-Nehisi Coates, a politics and social issue writer for The Atlantic and the current scribe of the “Black Panther” comics, has sparked national discussion about race and racism in America. Discussing how his life experiences have shaped his work with The Atlantic’s editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg, Coates will dig into the heart of racism in America through the mediums of modern politics, pop culture and comic books. 


Michael Dell and Dr. Clay Johnston(Austin Convention Center ballroom D, March 10, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.)

The U.S. faces many challenges with its current health care system. Global business leader and philanthropist Michael Dell wishes to face these challenges head on by creating new ways for health institutions to help people. Dell will join Dr. Clay Johnson, inaugural Dean of Dell Medical School, in a conversation about the health projects he supports through the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. With 30+ years of experience in the tech industry under his belt, Dell wants to share his ideas on how to fix the issues hurting our nation’s healthcare system with the power of technology. 


Susan Wojcicki and Nicholas Thompson (Austin Convention ballroom D, March 13, 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.)

The entertainment industry is always changing in this endless age of digital upheaval. YouTube has had a pretty big hand in this internet entertainment growth. CEO of YouTube Susan Wojcicki will join Wired editor-in-chief Nicholas Thompson in a discussion about how this flow of content is changing the face of the creator economy and the media landscape around the globe. 


Westworld showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy with cast (Austin Convention Center ballroom D, March 10, 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.)

HBO’s hit show “Westworld” presents a virtual reality in which humanity has created the means to live out its most lawless fantasies freely. Cast members Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, James Marsden and Jeffrey Wright will join showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy to share a behind-the-scenes look into the show thus far and preview the upcoming second season.