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Nazareth University brings top technology minds together at Responsible AI Summit

Published April 03, 2024

Nazareth University brought some of technology’s top minds together for Responsible AI: What’s Next in AI Leadership and Innovation on April 3 at Nazareth. The day-long summit was part of Nazareth’s centennial celebration and was sponsored by Nazareth’s Institute for Responsible Technology and School of Business and Leadership. Through presentations and panel discussions, this event explored the forefront of artificial intelligence advancements while emphasizing how ethical leadership and product innovation need to be a part of its evolution.The post-summit reception was sponsored by Turing. 

“At Nazareth, we took on the exciting challenge of hosting the Responsible AI Summit because we believe in the power of AI to change the world for the better — when it’s guided by a strong ethical compass,” said Jeff Allan, director of Nazareth’s Institute for Responsible Technology. “The event was a fantastic success, sparking lively discussions and fresh ideas that drove home how crucial our role is in making sure the future of AI is as human-centered as it is innovative.”

After a welcome from Allan and Nazareth University President Beth Paul, actor and director Justin Sargent spoke to the crowd about how people in the entertainment industry are directly impacted by generative artificial intelligence. He focused on the personal and professional ramifications of AI in the arts, the intersection of technology and human artistry, and the practical challenges faced by creatives in the wake of AI advancements.Sargent starred on Broadway (Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark as Peter Parker, Rock of Ages as Drew, Bonnie and Clyde) and in TV and film (Jesus Christ Superstar: Live on NBC,Law & Order: SVU,Mr. Robot, Delocated, Royal Pains, Stormchaser, Big Exit, Apple Pie, and more). He has performed alongside music legends such as John Legend, Alice Cooper, Sara Bareilles, David Byrne, Dee Snider, REO Speedwagon, and Air Supply. He has also toured the country singing everything from Queen to Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Former TechStars chief operating officer and venture capitalist Scott Ford spoke about generative AI’s role in innovation, including the ways AI can accelerate the development of new products and services, its role in creative processes, and the implications for intellectual property rights. Ford is cofounder and CEO of GoZigzag, an AI-powered global innovation platform that empowers entrepreneurs to build and launch quickly. He teaches entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Travis Steffen, an Inc. 500 CEO and best-selling author, discussed strategies leaders can employ to effectively integrate generative AI into their organizations. Steffen is an eight-time successful startup founder and Silicon Valley strategist. He is a growth mentor for Silicon Valley’s top accelerator programs and has been featured in Forbes, Fast Company, Money, Fortune, Business Insider, and other top business publications.

How AI is changing HR and recruitment was the focus of Sandip Parekh, vice president and head of practices and delivery at Turing, the world's first AI-powered tech services company. He talked about AI’s role in talent acquisition, the automation of routine tasks, and how AI can support diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Sandip is a digital transformation leader with additional VP experience leading professional services organizations such as Dataguise, Guide-Rails, and Capgemini.

Butler/Till President/CEO Kim Jones addressed how AI is revolutionizing productivity.Jones spoke about the use of AI in campaign optimization and shared insights on personalized marketing and predictive analytics for customer behavior. Jones brings decades of experience in both B2B and B2C marketing across many industries, including insurance, consumer products, healthcare and health systems, financial services, energy, and retail. Since joining Butler/Till 15+ years ago, she has played an instrumental role in the company’s growth. Butler/Till has reached impressive milestones, including becoming a certified B Corporation, transitioning to a 100% employee-owned company, opening an office in New York City, and earning recognition as a “Top Workplace” for 15 consecutive years. She has contributed to work that has won industry accolades, including multiple Effie, Addy, and Pinnacle Awards.

Kevin Graham ’10, ’12G, the director of Break Through Tech AI at UCLA, spoke of the critical importance of diversity in the AI field. The Break Through Tech AI Program helps underrepresented groups in technology gain the skills needed to get jobs in the fastest-growing areas of tech: data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. He previously partnered with Apple, Inc. to design and co-lead an iOS App Design and Development internship program through his work to research, develop, and implement practices aimed at eliminating disparities for students of color, first-generation, and low-income students. Graham started his educational journey in Rochester, earning a bachelor’s and a master’s degree at Nazareth.

Nazareth’s Institute of Responsible Technology Director Jeffrey Allan brought together the experts from the day's focus sessions to discuss the interdisciplinary impacts of AI. This conversation spanned the integration of AI across business domains, highlighting collaborative approaches to AI-driven transformation. Allan is a prominent leader in AI innovation and education. With a career spanning Silicon Valley startups to strategic roles at Fortune 500 companies, Allan has made significant contributions to AI strategy and global business management. His work at Nazareth includes academic programs, research initiatives, and institute-industry partnerships that emphasize responsible AI development. Allan's academic and professional endeavors, including international speaking engagements and a forthcoming book, underscore his growing influence in the AI field.

Undergraduate students have multiple ways to study artificial intelligence and ethics at Nazareth University. Learn more: AI Meets Ethics at Nazareth

About Nazareth University's Centennial Celebration: A Century of Uniting Education and Action

During the year leading up to and following the 100th anniversary of Nazareth’s founding on September 24, 1924, Nazareth is marking its Centennial Celebration under the theme of A Century of Uniting Education and Action

Nazareth’s Centennial Celebration is a time to celebrate and remember what Nazareth University has been, what it is now, and what it will continue to be as a University place of learning, born in a time of social revolution and action inside and outside of the classroom, with a commitment to continuing Nazareth’s tradition of transformative education through action for social justice, preparing and inspiring students who will be courageous changemakers in their life's work.

More: Celebrating our Centennial


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Julie Long | Senior News & PR Officer | | (585) 389-2456 | (585) 781-8186 (cell)

Nazareth University is an inclusive community of inspired learners, educators, and changemakers who for nearly 100 years have been driven by a bold commitment to action, empathy, equity, and leading innovation for the common good. Impact experiences are at the heart of a Nazareth education, preparing each student to discover within themselves the potential to cultivate positive change in their life's work, in any career field, and in a world that is constantly evolving and infinitely interconnected.

Our broad academic offerings present a range of study options typical of larger universities, yet achieved in our supportive campus culture. Nearly 2,100 undergrad and 600 graduate students enroll in degree and certificate programs and engage in collaborative, transformative learning experiences, preparing for the professions and society of today and tomorrow. In a learning community that purposefully integrates liberal arts and professional programs, Nazareth University graduates are able to launch a lifetime of impactful leadership in communities and workplaces near and far.

Nazareth University's School of Business and Leadership Associate Dean Joe Porter talks with Former TechStars chief operating officer and venture capitalist Scott Ford.