General Session Speakers

General Session

Saturday, March 21, 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

 Arianna Huffington headshotArianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington is the chair, president, and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, a nationally syndicated columnist, and author of fourteen books.

In May 2005, she launched The Huffington Post, a news and blog site that quickly became one of the most widely-read, linked to, and frequently-cited media brands on the Internet. In 2012, the site won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting.

She has been named to TIME magazine's list of the world’s 100 most influential people and the Forbes Most Powerful Women list. Originally from Greece, she moved to England when she was 16 and graduated from Cambridge University with an M.A. in economics. At 21, she became president of the famed debating society, the Cambridge Union.

She serves on several boards, including HuffPost’s partners in Spain, the newspaper EL PAÍS and its parent company PRISA; Onex; The Center for Public Integrity and The Committee to Protect Journalists.

Her 14th book, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder was published by Crown in March 2014 and debuted at #1 on The New York Times Best Seller list.

General Session

Sunday, March 22, 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

David Pogue headshotDavid Pogue

David Pogue is the founder of Yahoo Tech, having been groomed for the position by 13 years as the personal-technology columnist for the New York Times. He’s also a monthly columnist for Scientific American and host of science shows on PBS’s “NOVA.” He’s been a correspondent for “CBS Sunday Morning” since 2002.

With over 3 million books in print, David is one of the world’s bestselling how-to authors. He wrote or co-wrote seven books in the “for Dummies” series (including Macs, Magic, Opera, and Classical Music); in 1999, he launched his own series of complete, funny computer books called the Missing Manual series, which now includes 120 titles.

David graduated summa cum laude from Yale in 1985, with distinction in Music, and he spent ten years conducting and arranging Broadway musicals in New York. He’s won two Emmy awards, two Webby awards, a Loeb award for journalism, and an honorary doctorate in music. He’s been profiled on “48 Hours” and “60 Minutes.”

Un-general Session

Monday, March 23, 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

McComb headshotSean McComb – 2014 Teacher of the Year

Sean McComb is a 9-12th grade English teacher at Patapsco High School & Center for the Arts in Baltimore, Maryland. He is currently completing his eighth year as an educator and has been at Patapsco since beginning his teaching career. “A strong teacher-student relationship facilitates the opportunity for deeper learning and more critical thinking,” says McComb. He firmly believes that public education is the foundation for opportunity and success for any child. In addition to his role as an English instructor, McComb helped develop, and continues to spearhead, Patapsco’s Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program which boasted a 98% college acceptance rate for its last two graduating classes. He was recognized by Baltimore County for his outstanding leadership of the AVID program.

Svita headshotAdora Svitak

Since the age of four, Adora has been exploring what she can do with the written word: everything from championing literacy and youth voice to working with the UN’s World Food Programme to raise awareness about world hunger. Hoping to instill her love of writing in others, she taught her first class at a local elementary school the year her first book, Flying Fingers, debuted; since then, she has spoken at hundreds of schools, classrooms and conferences around the world. 

In 2010, she delivered the speech “What Adults Can Learn from Kids” at TED. The speech received over 3.3 million views on alone, and has been translated into over 40 different languages.

She is a 2011 recipient of the National Education Association Foundation's Award for Outstanding Service to Public Education, an honor previously bestowed on luminaries ranging from Bill Clinton to Billie Jean King. This year, she served as a Youth Advisor to the USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, DC.

David Zach headshotDavid Zach

David Zach is one of the few professionally trained futurists on this planet, having earned a master’s degree in Studies of the Future from the University of Houston. Of course, this was way back in the 1980s, so it's pretty much history by now. Since then, Dave has worked with over 1500 associations, corporations and colleges offering insights on the personal and professional impact of strategic trends. In other words, he gives funny and thought-provoking keynote speeches on the future of technology, economics, business, education, demographics and society.

He reads a lot – and he reads a lot more about the past than he does about the future. He knows that change is vital but it's also overrated and in this time of tumultuous change, it's far more important that we find the things that don't change and shouldn't change. Tradition and change are really choices, and we are only prepared to choose wisely when we look far and wide for causes, implications and lasting value.

Closing General Session

Monday, March 23, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Montel Williams heashotMontel Williams

Montel Williams earned his media celebrity status as a riveting Emmy Award® winning television personality. He is a decorated naval officer, inspirational speaker, author, wellness entrepreneur and health advocate.

Williams hosted The Montel Williams Show, a nationally syndicated talk show distributed by CBS Paramount Television, for 17 years, taping over 3,500 shows and interviewing more than 30,000 guests focusing on key social issues involving ordinary people coping with extraordinary circumstances. He received a Daytime Emmy® Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host; and later his show was nominated for Outstanding Talk Show two years in a row. 

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