Sharron McPherson

Sharron McPherson is one of Africa’s leading experts on the impact of technology disruption for emerging market growth and development, future work and the disruption of education. Her passion is to help improve the lives of a billion people in the developing world by helping leaders in emerging markets to harness the power of disruptive technologies to transform the business investment landscape and to create new market opportunities.Sharron is Co-Founder and a Director of the Centre for Disruptive Technologies (CDT) which is based in Johannesburg, South Africa. A former Wall Street investment banker and attorney turned social impact investor and serial entrepreneur, Sharron is an advocate for the disruption of corporate and traditional educational systems that are failing to equip people with the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in the age of disruption. She is the creator of an AI enabled STEM learning platform, SuperSchool, as well as the “Launchpad” school enterprise development initiative which is being adapted by over 8,000 schools in South Africa.Creating a tech-enabled collaborative innovation platform that enables African experts, ideators and disruptors to create a measurably better future is the Center for Disruptive Technology ‘s mission. The experience of participating in Singularity University’s Global Studies Programme in 2011 helped to inform her decision to help launch CDT which in 2015 won awards for innovation and for measurably impacting 1 million Africans by the Tony Elumelu Foundation.Sharron is an advocate for gender smart investing and is a founding director of Africa’s largest women’s investment company, Women in Infrastructure Development & Energy (WINDE), which boasts over 2,000 women owned and operated businesses as its shareholders and has increased women’s participation in some of Africa’s most iconic smart city development projects.She’s a pioneer in systems thinking for inclusive and sustainable development; is one of the creators of NEXUS thinking for smart city development and sits on a number of high level UN Committees on sustainable public private partnerships. She also teaches Project Finance at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business.Sharron was a founding board member of the Graça Machel Trust for Women in Finance. She also sits on the Brains Trust of UnitedSucces (a global network of high impact women entrepreneurs) as well as the Katerva Council for Social Innovation.An accomplished public speaker, moderator and published author with a lifetime interest in building better communities through social investing, Sharron has addressed a wide range of audiences including TED and the World Economic Forum.She earned a Doctorate Degree in Law (Columbia University), an honor degree in Finance from the University of Toulon (La Garde, France) and a B.A. in Economics (College of William & Mary).

Speaking Topic

Space Economy and The Future Earth Economy

In this session, participants will learn about space technologies, the space economy and how scientists, technologists and creative drivers are leveraging space technology to solve grand challenges we face on Earth.Space technologies have grown exponentially over the past decade in terms of launch costs, reusability of component parts, and the capacity to address latency vs. resolution issues. Perhaps even more importantly, multilateral organizations like the UN and the World Bank have funded numerous programs and initiatives in partnership with NASA and the European Space Agency to make access to earth observation data more democratic, paving the way for a multitude of use cases ranging from precision agriculture to human trafficking. This session will focus on industry use cases and how company executives in major industrial sectors are increasingly leveraging the power of space technology to glean insights into every day problems in ways that are unprecedented in the history of humankind.We begin by mapping out the space economy and being briefly introduced to the principal agents and actors in this economy. Next we take a deep dive into space technologies and we spotlight the leading competitors, their differentiators, strategic partnerships and how these players are leveraging exponentially growing tech to provide insight services that are truly game-changing. We then analyze and discuss timely case studies from selected industry applications that will inspire insights into how participants can better leverage earth observation and remote sensing technologies in order to drive resilience in their own ecosystems (and create data driven practices that drive resilience in the communities on Earth in which they operate). We'll conclude with a discussion on the future of advanced data & analytics that we call “Beyond Data”. Perfect for executives looking to amp up their team’s performance, while focusing on the positive impacts their organization can produce


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