Speakers - 2018

2017 Wendy Smith - No Time To Waste: Mental Health Literacy Can Be Taught In Grade School

Consultant, Speaker, Author

Wendy has worked in the nonprofit industry for nearly 30 years, currently as a consultant, speaker and author. She was an early advocate of applying a business perspective to the nonprofit operating model and worked at every level from service provider to executive to board member. She is also a researcher and author in the field of philanthropy. Her best-selling book, "Give a Little: How Your Small Donations Can Transform Our World," was released in 2009 and describes the magnitude and power of affordable giving by everyday Americans. The book's release coincided with the explosion of online donating, and she has since consulted to numerous start-up nonprofits, social entrepreneurs and organizations focused on raising affordable donations from individuals online. Wendy is also involved in the field of mental health as a consumer, caregiver and former board member of her local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Click HERE to watch Wendy's talk.

2017 Kevin Pearce - A Brain Injury Is Like A Fingerprint, No Two Are Alike

Former Pro snowboarder, Recovering Traumatic Brain Injury Survivor

Kevin Pearce, former professional snowboarder, is an inspirational public speaker and co-founder of LoveYourBrain LLC. He is an advocate for the prevention of brain injuries and the promotion of a brain healthy lifestyle. Kevin catapulted onto the professional snowboarding stage in 2005 at age 18, rising above others in his division and quickly becoming the athlete to watch in the ever-evolving sport. In the 2009 Winter X Games, Kevin brought home the Silver Medal for Superpipe, making him a strong contender to win Gold in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. On December 31, 2009, while training for the Olympic trials in Park City, Utah, Kevin suffered a severe traumatic brain injury. Although he was wearing a helmet at the time, the injury left Kevin in critical condition and in a medically induced coma that would change his life forever. Post-accident, Kevin has become a passionate advocate for the prevention of brain injuries and the promotion of a brain healthy lifestyle for all people.Click HERE to watch Kevin's talk.



2017 Gail Tolstoi-Miller - Unconscious Bias: Stereotypical Hiring Practices In Corporate America

Award Winning Entrepreneur, Staffing Strategist, Career Coach, Author

Inspirational. Motivational. And 100%, totally real. CEO Gail Tolstoi-Miller is a Jersey girl turned award-winning career coach, staffing strategist and author. Whether she’s advising executives on their broken hiring processes or setting job candidates straight about their blind spots, Gail doesn’t pull any punches. With over 20 years industry experience and over 15,000 job placements, her insider perspective will shock and surprise you. Gail’s companies include Consultnetworx, which trains companies on hiring best practices and recruitment strategies; and Careernetworx, which provides coaching solutions to candidates looking for a Happy Career and Happy Life (tm). Gail’s first book, Networking Karma, won IndieReader’s 2016 Discover Award for best business book of 2016. Gail is an NYU graduate, with a BA in Sociology. Click HERE to watch Gail's talk.


2017 Jo Becker - Transforming The Lives Of Children

Child Rights Advocate

Jo Becker is a child rights activist with over 20 years of experience working for human rights and social justice. As the children’s rights advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, she has been on the forefront of international efforts to end the use of child soldiers, child labor, and to protect other vulnerable children. She has investigated children’s rights in Burma, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Morocco, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Uganda, and the United States. She is the author of an award-winning book, Campaigning for Justice: Human Rights Advocacy in Practice, and teaches human rights at Columbia University. Click HERE to watch Jo's talk.


2017 Michael Cioni - Ideas That Generate Chain Reactions

President at Light Iron, A Panavision Company

Michael Cioni’s passion for digital cinema has helped shape the constantly changing media ecosystem over the past 15 years. Michael has supervised hundreds of production workflows, constantly advancing camera technology, color science, and creative collaboration. Some of his credits include Hell or High Water, Gone Girl, Mozart in the Jungle, Veep, Sesame Street, and Bill Nye Saves the World. In 2009, Michael founded the post house Light Iron, which was later acquired by the largest cinema rental company in the world, Panavision. Recently, he led the development of Panavision’s most advanced camera, the Millennium DXL, an 8K system met by enthusiastic response from many renowned cinematographers. Click HERE to watch Michael's talk.


2017 Karith Foster - The Art of Defying Stereotypes: Learning To Be True To Your Voice

Diversity Engagement Specialist, Speaker, Humorist, Author

Karith Foster is a humorist, speaker, TV and radio personality, author, wife and mother. She is also a diversity engagement specialist whose application of inversity™ is impacting lives at academic institutions and corporations across America in a time when humor, understanding, acceptance and respect are so desperately needed. For years Karith has left her unique mark on countless stages across America from the world famous Apollo Theatre to the national airwaves as radio show host Don Imus’ former sidekick. She is one of the featured comedians in the 2016 hit documentary about comedy and outrage culture, “Can We Take a Joke?” which has garnered accolades in The Washington Post and TIME Magazine. She can be heard regularly on Sirius/XM Ch. 121 Insight and as co-host on the Fox Business News podcast “Foster and Shapiro.” She most recently founded the Foster Russell Family Foundation whose mission is to inspire free speech, social change and empowerment through education and mentorship. She is an aluma the historical women’s institution Stephens College and Oxford University. Click HERE to watch Karith's talk.