2021-2022 Speakers

“A series of up-close and personal speaking experiences with eminent leaders, thinkers, and innovators of our time in an open and unbiased forum.”

 
 
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Dr. Lisa Genova
Neuroscientist & New York Times Bestselling Author

Lisa Genova graduated valedictorian, summa cum laude from Bates College with a degree in Biopsychology and has a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Harvard University. Acclaimed as the Oliver Sacks of fiction and the Michael Crichton of brain science, she is the New York Times bestselling author of Still Alice, Left Neglected, Love Anthony, Inside the O’Briens and Every Note Played. Her first nonfiction book, REMEMBER: The Science of Memory and the Art of Forgetting, was released March 23, 2021 and became an instant New York Times bestseller.

Lisa's extensively researched fiction focuses on people living with neurological diseases and disorders, people who tend to be ignored, feared, or misunderstood, portrayed within a narrative that is accessible to the general public. Through fiction, she is dedicated to describing with passion and accuracy the journeys of those affected by brain diseases and conditions, thereby educating, demystifying, destigmatizing, and inspiring support for care and scientific research. She has written novels about Alzheimer's disease, traumatic brain injury, autism, Huntington's disease, and ALS...(See Full Bio).

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Thomas Friedman
Foreign Affairs Columnist, The New York Times

Bestselling author of The World is Flat and New York Times foreign affairs columnist Tom Friedman is renowned for his direct reporting and accessible analysis of complex issues shaping the world. According to Foreign Policy magazine, “Friedman doesn't just report on events; he helps shape them.” Winner of three Pulitzer Prizes, he has covered the monumental stories from around the globe for The New York Times since 1981. Vanity Fair called him “the country’s best newspaper columnist.”

With clear and compelling language, Friedman discusses the opportunities and challenges that profound “accelerations,” including technology and connectivity, pose for society as well as for individuals, businesses, and governments. He also explores solutions — on a local and global level — to ensure the future of work, skills, income, and prosperity...(See Full Bio)

Joel Sartore
Award-winning Conservation Photographer and Head of The National Geographic Photo Ark Project

Joel specializes in documenting endangered species and landscapes around the world. He is the founder of the Photo Ark, a 25-year documentary project to save species and habitat.

“It is folly to think that we can destroy one species and ecosystem after another and not affect humanity,” he says. “When we save species, we’re actually saving ourselves." Joel and the Photo Ark are the subjects of the television series RARE, in which he documents some of the most endangered creatures left on Earth. ...(See Full Bio).

President Barack Obama
44th President of the United States (2009-2017)

Barack H. Obama is the 44th President of the United States.

 

Few presidents have walked a more improbable path to the White House. Born in Hawaii to a mother from Kansas and a father from Kenya, Obama was raised with help from his
grandparents, whose generosity of spirit reflected their Midwestern roots. The homespun values they instilled in him, paired with his innate sense of optimism, compelled Obama to devote his life to giving every child, regardless of his or her background, the same chance America gave him.

After working his way through college with the help of scholarships and student loans, Obama moved to Chicago, where he worked with a group of churches to help rebuild communities devastated by the closure of local steel plants. That experience honed his belief in the power of uniting ordinary people around a politics of purpose, in the hard work of citizenship, to bring about positive change. In law school, he became the first African-American president of
the Harvard Law Review, then he returned to Illinois to teach constitutional law at the University of Chicago and begin a career in public service, winning seats in the Illinois State
Senate and the United States Senate....(See Full Bio)

 

Doris Kearns Goodwin
Pulitzer Prize-winning Presidential Historian and New York Times #1 Best-Selling Author

Doris Kearns Goodwin is a world-renowned presidential historian, public speaker and Pulitzer Prize-winning, New York Times #1 best-selling author.

Her seventh book, Leadership in Turbulent Times, was published in September 2018 to critical acclaim and became an instant New York Times bestseller. A culmination of Goodwin’s five-decade career of studying the American presidents focusing on Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Baines Johnson, the book provides an accessible and essential road map for aspiring and established leaders in every field, and for all of us in our everyday lives.

Goodwin’s career as a presidential historian and author was inspired when as a 24-year-old graduate student at Harvard she was selected to join the White House Fellows, one of America’s most prestigious programs for leadership and public service. Goodwin worked with Johnson in the White House and later assisted him in the writing of his memoirs...(See Full Bio).

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Jay Leno
Legendary Host of "The Tonight Show" and "Jay Leno's Garage"

Acclaimed TV late night show host, admired stand-up comedian, best-selling children’s book author, much-in-demand corporate speaker, TV and movie voice-over artist, pioneering car builder and mechanic, and philanthropist…Jay Leno is widely characterized as “the hardest working man in show business.”

 

Jay Leno’s late night television ratings domination included two decades as the host of the #1-rated “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” – he never lost a ratings year in which he served as host...(See Full Bio)

Dr. Kathy Sullivan
NASA Astronaut & 10th Administrator of NOAA

Dr. Kathryn Sullivan has a long career as a distinguished scientist, astronaut and executive. She was one of the first six women to join the NASA astronaut corps in 1978 and holds the distinction of being the first American woman to walk in space. Her submersible dive to the Challenger Deep in June of 2020 made her a triple Guinness World Record holder, as the most vertical person in the world, the first person to both orbit the planet and reach its deepest point, and the first woman to dive to full ocean depth.

 

Sullivan has held a variety of senior executive positions since leaving NASA, including Presidential appointments to the National Science Board and as Chief Scientist, Deputy
Administrator and Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)...(See Full Bio).

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