“I use ‘disruptive’ in both its good and bad connotations. Disruptive scientific and technological progress is not to me inherently good or inherently evil. But its arc is for us to shape. Technology’s progress is furthermore in my judgment unstoppable. But it is quite incorrect that it unfolds inexorably according to its own internal logic and the laws of nature.”
Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis (U.S. Embassy in Cuba)
A 27-year veteran of the U.S. Foreign Service, Jeffrey DeLaurentis served as the first Charge d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba, following the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba. Prior to taking up his Cuba post in August 2014, he was Ambassador/Alternate Representative for Special Political Affairs at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. Previously, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, and as Minister Counselor for Political Affairs and Security Council Coordinator at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. Ambassador DeLaurentis began his Foreign Service career in 1991 as a consular officer in Havana. He retired from the State Department in August 2018 and is currently a Distinguished Resident Fellow in Latin American Studies at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy and a Centennial Fellow at the Walsh School of Foreign Service, both at Georgetown University. He is also a Senior Advisor with the Albright Stonebridge Group, and a Non-resident Visiting Fellow at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Cuba Studies Program at Harvard University. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Academy of Diplomacy, Ambassador DeLaurentis is a graduate of the Georgetown University Walsh School of Foreign Service and Columbia University Graduate School of International and Public Affairs.
Sharda Caro-del-Castillo (General Manager of Airbnb Payments)
Sharda Caro del Castillo, General Manager of Airbnb Payments (Interim) and General Counsel of Airbnb Payments, Inc., leads the Payments team and holds responsibility for the legal and compliance teams working on all financial services products and services. Sharda comes to Airbnb with more than fifteen years of experience in technology and financial services, having previously worked at Silicon Valley Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, PayPal, and Square. Focused on innovation and inclusion, Sharda is proud to have spearheaded Airbnb's entry into Cuba and to have created various new sharing economy focused financial products. Sharda holds a juris doctorate from Case Western Reserve University School of Law, and a bachelor of science degree from Santa Clara University.
Brett Perlmutter (Head of Google Cuba)
Brett Perlmutter founded and leads Google’s efforts in Cuba. In that capacity Perlmutter was the principal negotiator of the first ever Internet-related deal between the U.S. and Cuba. He also spearheaded Google’s first connectivity initiative in the country at Havana’s Museo Orgánico Romerillo, which is the only location in Cuba to offer free, high-speed wifi. Prior to the US amending its policy towards Cuba, Perlmutter led Google’s first-ever visit to the country with executive chairman Eric Schmidt and subsequently headed the effort to offer Google technology in the country which included the launch of Google Chrome, Google Play for Free Apps, Google Analytics, and Google Toolbar. Perlmutter started his career as a consultant in McKinsey & Company’s New York Office, where he advised CEOs and leaders across North and South America, Europe, and Asia in strategy and corporate finance. He has lectured to students and academics in Spanish and English at Brown University, the University of Pennsylvania, the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin, the Harvard Kennedy School, and the University of Manchester. In 2016, Perlmutter was named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 List. A native of Colorado, he received an M.Phil from the University of Cambridge and completed his BA (magna cum laude) from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a Benjamin Franklin Scholar, the president of his class, and the Spoonman– the top honor given to a male student.