About the Hosts

Join entrepreneur hosts Anna Acosta, and her mother, Deborah Acosta – women from two culturally, economically and emotionally disparate generations, as they weave a “Smart City” roadmap that educates the audience through illuminating, challenging conversation with diverse experts, creating a safe space for innovators around the world – all in the pursuit of the fundamental question: What is a Smart City?

Anna Acosta

Against the backdrop of being born and raised in Oakland, California, Anna’s lifelong passion for writing and music is fused with the keen insights and sensibilities of a social justice warrior. Her writing and interviews explore and reveal the negative impacts of “privilege” in music — and in life – and are featured in a variety of publications (print and web), including: Huffington Post Live, Buzzbands LA, Substream Magazine, Alternative Press Magazine and ChorusFM. Anna is a graduate of the Los Angeles Musician’s Institute and a published recording artist who is currently writing a new album with her band, Staircase Spirits. With Smart City Diaries, Anna is ready to explore the challenges of privilege and digital transformation with her counterparts throughout the globe. Her guilty pleasure? Online gaming, which she mastered in her teens to instill humility in her older brother, Alex. Anna currently lives, works and plays in Los Angeles along with her cat, Toasted Marshmallow.

Deborah Acosta

Shaped by her decades of experience as a woman, mother, immigrant, finance and economic development professional, community leader, feminist, government innovator, smart city ecosystem trailblazer and public speaker, Deborah Acosta is uniquely positioned to lead the exploration of how local and global Smart City ambitions are impacting the way that people in cities live, work and play. Deborah served as the City of San Leandro’s first Chief Innovation Officer until April 2018. During her five years as CIO, Deborah successfully guided the City through a digital transformation, a City now recognized globally as a small-city leader in Smart City technologies.

Since giving birth to her first child, Alex, in 1988, Deborah has worked to understand how things are connected within a community and to “outside” stakeholders, including government, business, non-profits. Technology, innovation, collaboration, art, community engagement and transparency are key elements of a Smart City development approach. This ecosystem approach to smart city development – everything is connected – reminds us that digital transformation impacts human beings where they live, work and play. Deborah’s appealing curiosity and high-spirited speaking style will engage her audience, connecting across the globe with smart people in smart cities – living, working and playing.