Diversity Leadership Conference 2015 Keynote Speakers
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Benjamin Todd Jealous is the immediate past president and CEO of the NAACP. He stepped down from his post at the end of 2013. The youngest president in its history, he began his career at age 18 opening mail at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Jealous has been a leader of successful state and local movements to ban the death penalty, outlaw racial profiling, defend voting rights, secure marriage equality, and free multiple wrongfully incarcerated people. Under his leadership, the NAACP grew to be the largest civil rights organization online and on mobile, experienced its first multi-year membership growth in twenty years, and became the largest community-based nonpartisan voter registration operation in the country. A builder of robust coalitions, Jealous's leadership at the NAACP included bringing environmentalist organizations into the fight to protect voting rights, and convincing well-known conservatives to join the NAACP in championing the end of mass incarceration.
Prior to leading the NAACP, he spent 15 years serving as a journalist and community organizer. While at Mississippi’s Jackson Advocate Newspaper—the most frequently firebombed publication in the US during the late 20th century—his investigations were credited with exposing corruption at the state penitentiary at Parchman and proving the innocence of a black farmer who was being framed for arson. While at Amnesty International, he led successful efforts to outlaw prison rape, expose the increasing trend of children being sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, and draw attention to expanded racial profiling in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. When he was still a college student, Jealous helped lead a successful campaign to stop the governor of Mississippi from turning a public historically black university into a prison.
A Rhodes Scholar, he is a graduate of Columbia and Oxford Universities. He has been named to the 40 under 40 lists of both Forbes and Time magazines, and labeled a Young Global Economic Leader by the World Economic Forum. He is #1 on TheRoot.com’s 2013 list of black leaders under 45. Jealous lives in Maryland with his wife and two children.
Kimberly Dark is the author of five award-winning solo performances, three educational theatre performances and a wide range of interactive lectures and workshops that use storytelling, humor and spoken word performance to help audiences address issues they may think they don’t want to discuss. In particular, Dark’s writing focuses on the body in culture – and on the contours of privilege and oppression in our everyday lives. Whether in print, on stage or in the classroom, her themes include LGBT lives, feminism, fat and body image, race, class and the social construction of gender. She is a regular contributor to Ms. Magazine blog and writes a monthly column (Mommy Queerest) for mamablogger365. Her quarterly newsletter, including the advice column on confronting stereotype and oppression titled “What do I say when…?” is read by thousands. Her poetry and prose appear in a variety of publications, most recently Hot and Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion (ed. Tovar, Seal Press 2012), So to Speak: A journal of Language and Art (2012), The Whistling Fire (2011), Ragazine (2011) and others.
Her work has been discussed and reviewed by numerous scholars and recently merited a full chapter in Radulescu’s Women’s Comedic Art as Social Revolution (2012). Her poetry and performance scripts have also been published in academic journals such as User Driven Healthcare (2012) and Journal for Lesbian Studies (2010).
Dark teaches in a graduate program in Sociological Practice at Cal State San Marcos and occasionally in the Sociology Department at University of Hawaii, Hilo. She coordinates courses for the California State Summer Arts program, including courses in solo performance and memoir. Her shows have been twice named on Curve Magazine’s top ten performances of the year. Campus Pride listed Dark on the top 25 best-of-the-best college artists and speakers in 2010 and The Advocate newsmagazine profiled her in 2011 as one of the six best campus speakers on LGBT issues in America.
Joshua Fredenburg is a National Speaker, Author, Leadership Expert, and Generation Y Television Commentator that is on a mission to empower at least 1 BILLION LEADERS WORLDWIDE with effective leadership, career, relationship, and success strategies that will enable them to make a positive impact in their community, nation, and world and become one of America’s Next Top Leaders! For the past seven years, Joshua has appeared as a television guest on BET, the Wayne Brady Show, the KTLA Morning Show in Los Angeles, the Daily Buzz Nation Morning Show, and many other familiar radio and television programs throughout the country. He has also served as a dynamic Keynote Speaker in 42 different states for lectures, leadership conferences, retreats, and trainings at high schools, colleges, and different corporate events.
In addition to his successful speaking and television career, Joshua has published four books and has developed an annual national leadership conference, Circle of Change Leadership Conference, that prepares student leaders in college for executive-level leadership positions after graduation and connects student leaders with executives from companies such as Pepsi, Columbia Pictures, Hewlett Packard, CNN, Fox Searchlight Productions, UPS, VH-1, Nestle, and American Airlines, to name a few. He also mentors and coaches student leaders throughout the country, writes a popular monthly newsletter on issues that revolves around leadership, career, and relationship success, is pursuing a PhD in Organizational Leadership at Nova Southeastern College, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Lois Swan Leadership Center at California State University, Long Beach.
As a Keynote Speaker, Joshua has been well received by audiences for his amazing energy, inspiring and engaging messages, insightful wisdom and knowledge about leadership, and strong commitment to helping emerging leaders become great leaders for the 21st Century. He has also been very popular among high school and college audiences because of his positive attitude, exciting presentations, authentic message, and strong ability to connect and make his message relatable to diverse audiences throughout the country.