2021 keynote speakerS 

Raynah Kamau

Kamau is a native of Kenya and works at Esri as Partner Technical Advisor. She works with strategic partners to help them maximize their investment in GIS. She holds a Bachelors in Geomatic Engineering and GIS from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and a Masters of Science in GIS from the University of Redlands. She is also the co-founder of Black Girls M.A.P.P. – a non-profit organization that has a two-fold mission: 

  1. To celebrate black women in the field of GIS as well as empower other aspiring young women looking to venture into GIS. 
  2. Evangelize GIS by using GIS to visualize social justice causes as well as other community topics. 

Most recently, she alongside her co-founder and a team of volunteers were nominated and won the American Association of Geographers Diversity and Inclusion award for 2021 – this award was to recognize the work that BGMAPP led in mobilizing volunteers to build resources that could be easily distributed and disseminated to the community to educate and empower them to vote.

Lastly, Raynah is also on the racial equity team at esri where she helps apply location intelligence to racial equity and social justice topics. 

Whitney Kotlewski

Whitney is leading Design Operations at Esri, working at the corporate headquarters in Redlands, CA. Her core responsibilities are to support high profile products, for mobile, desktop, and web applications, with designs that embrace UX Principals, User Research, and Design System consistency. Whitney’s most influential work at Esri has been her contributions to Esri’s data visualization application, Insights for ArcGIS, where she led the UX design of the product's V1 interface. Today, Whitney has impacted various new projects at Esri, where she has led redesigns for Field Mobile Applications, Developer doc sites, and UI oversight over Drone to map interfaces. Not only is she a hands-on Design Lead at Esri but is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at Claremont Graduate University, where she hopes to advance her personal research centered around empowering various members of her local community, specifically underrepresented and lower socioeconomic groups by the avenue of advanced technology. Whitney is the visionary and co-founder of Black Girls M.A.P.P.; a community-focused group to empower women of color and marginalized groups in the field of GIS. Her vision through this initiative is to inspire a network of people, using GIS to solve community problems. She is recently the co-award recipient of the 2021 American Association of Geographers Diversity and Inclusion award where she co-led 150+ volunteers in building election GIS information products to empower people to vote.


Karsten Vennemann is a GIS professional with more than 20 years of expertise in GIS and project management. His background is in Geography and Soil Science and he holds a Diploma (Master of Sc.) from the University of Stuttgart, Germany, and a Master's Degree from UC Berkeley. The majority of his work focuses on GIS in the context of natural resources, sustainable development, and social justice. Over the course of his career, his work included positions as Environmental Scientist, GIS Analyst & Programmer, and Project Coordinator. Work tasks included GIS project management, GIS analysis, and cartography, remote sensing, development of web-based information systems, and implementation of spatial databases. He has experience in leading and managing GIS projects (in the academic, business, and non-profit sectors). In 2007 he started his own company, Terra GIS based in Seattle, and in 2017 opened a branch near Heidelberg, Germany. Karsten has worked on a wide variety of international projects in Europe, Africa, and South America, as well as projects in the Pacific Northwest (US). He teaches classes in Open Source GIS and a good portion of this consulting work involves creating and supporting Open Source based Web GIS solutions. Over the last 15 years, Karsten has been a frequent speaker at GIS conferences and has been an active member of the OSGeo Foundation and the Open Source Geospatial community. Link to CV.


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