With general sessions every day of Convention, our keynote speakers inspire, educate and engage participants. Check out our 2020 Keynote Speakers below.
Sunday, March 15
President and CEO, National AfterSchool Association
Gina Warner is president and CEO of the National AfterSchool Association (NAA). Gina began her afterschool career as a teen in 4-H programs in rural Alabama, and has continued to work at the intersection of education, youth development, public policy, and nonprofit leadership throughout her career. She relies on her experience as a classroom teacher, an attorney, a U.S. Senate staffer, and a citywide out-of-school time leader to guide her work. As the leader of NAA, Gina works to meet the needs of both emerging and experienced afterschool professionals through enhanced training and development, increased communication, outreach and membership engagement.
Monday, March 16
Activist, Author, Host Pod Save the People
DeRay McKesson is a civil rights activist focused primarily on issues of innovation, equity and justice. Born and raised in Baltimore, he graduated from Bowdoin College and holds honorary doctorates from The New School and the Maryland Institute College of Art.
DeRay has advocated for issues related to children, youth and families since he was a teen. As a leading voice in the Black Lives Matter Movement and a co-founder of Campaign Zero, DeRay has worked to connect individuals with knowledge and tools, and provide citizens and policy makers with commonsense policies that ensure equity. He has been praised by President Obama for his work as a community organizer, has advised officials at all levels of government and internationally and continues to provide capacity to activists, organizers and influencers to make an impact.
Spurred by the death of Mike Brown and the subsequent protests in Ferguson, Missouri, and beyond, DeRay has become a key player in the work to confront the systems and structures that have led to mass incarceration and police killings of black and other minority populations. He is also the host of the award-winning weekly podcast Pod Save The People, which creates space for conversation about the most important issues of the week related to justice, equity and identity.
DeRay frequently appears on national media outlets including The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, NPR, MSNBC, CNN, among many others. He has also been featured on the cover of The Advocate, Adweek and Attitude Magazine and has been highlighted in a range of publications including Vogue, Vanity Fair, Interview Magazine, VICE, The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun. He is a board member of Rock The Vote, was named one of the World’s Greatest Leaders by Fortune Magazine in 2015, one of the 30 Most Influential People On The Internet by Time Magazine in 2016.
DeRay is the author of On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope.
Tuesday, March 17
Founder, because I said I would
Alex Sheen is the founder of because I said I would, a social movement and nonprofit dedicated to bettering humanity through promises made and kept. Sparked by the loss of his father, Alex and his organization send “promise cards” to anyone anywhere in the world at no cost. Alex is someone who truly honors commitment. He once walked over 240 miles across the entire state of Ohio in 10 days to fulfill a promise. In just two years, because I said I would has sent over 9.81 million promise cards to over 153 different countries. The promises written on these cards have made headlines around the world. His charitable projects and awareness campaigns have been featured on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, CNN, The Today Show, NPR, The Los Angeles Times and many other programs.
Wednesday, March 18
Political Leader, Non-Profit CEO, Entrepreneur and Author; First Black Woman to be a Gubernatorial Nominee of a Major Party in the U.S.
Political leader, nonprofit CEO, author and serial entrepreneur Stacey Abrams made history and captured the nation's attention as the first Black woman to become the gubernatorial nominee for a major party in any state, going on to win more votes than any other Democrat in Georgia's history. After eleven years in the Georgia House of Representatives, seven as Minority Leader, Abrams became the 2018 Democratic nominee for Governor of Georgia in what was one of the most-watched and closest elections of the year. After witnessing the election’s mismanagement by the Secretary of State’s office, Abrams launched Fair Fight to ensure free and fair elections.
Sought-out to speak everywhere from TED, where her talk has racked up over a million views and counting, to college campuses, to the Commonwealth Club, Abrams is a powerful and passionate speaker heralded for her candid insights on politics, leadership, entrepreneurship, social justice, and being a true force for change. As TIME wrote of her, "people tend to remember the first time they heard Stacey Abrams speak, and it’s easy to see why."
Abrams' New York Times bestselling book Lead from the Outside: How to Build Your Future and Make Real Change, is a personal and empowering blueprint for outsiders who seek to become the ones in charge. From her experiences launching a company, to starting a day care center for homeless teen moms, to running a successful political campaign, Abrams illuminates that finding what you want to fight for is as critical as knowing how to turn thought into action.
Dedicated to civic engagement, Abrams has founded multiple organizations devoted to voting rights, training and hiring young people of color, and tackling social issues at both the state and national levels. A recipient of Harvard's Institute of Politics’ John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award, Abrams has also been named a "Public Official of the Year" by Governing Magazine.
See Stacey’s TED Talk here: https://www.ted.com/talks/stacey_abrams_3_questions_to_ask_yourself_about_everything_you_do?language=en