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

A creative loudmouth since birth, Anna wanted only one thing: to be the misunderstood bad boy in a boy band. While that particular dream is still a work-in-progress, their life is a musical one no less. A classically trained vocalist and completely un-classically trained songwriter, Anna found a home in the music industry as a music-critic-turned-culture-critic in the alternative music world, claiming bylines on publications like Alternative Press, Substream Magazine and serving as the calendar editor for LA’s Buzzbands.LA for the better part of a decade. Today, Anna records and performs as Staircase Spirits, and can generally be found complaining about parking somewhere in Los Angeles – or on the Smart City Diaries podcast.

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.