General Session Speakers

An internationally recognized authority in creativity and innovation in education and business, Sir Ken Robinson is also one of the world’s leading speakers. Videos of his famous talks to the prestigious TED Conference are the most viewed in the history of the organization and have been seen by an estimated 300 million people in over 150 countries.

Sir Ken works with governments in Europe, Asia and the US, international agencies, Fortune 500 companies and leading cultural organizations. He led a national commission on creativity, education and the economy for the UK Government, was the central figure in developing a strategy for creative and economic development as part of the Peace Process in Northern Ireland, and was one of four international advisors to the Singapore Government for a strategy to become the creative hub of SE Asia.

Called “one of the world’s elite thinkers on creativity and innovation” by Fast Company magazine, Sir Ken has received numerous awards and recognitions for his groundbreaking contributions.  He was included in Thinkers50 list of the world’s leading business thinkers and has been named one of TIME/Fortune/CNN’s Principal Voices. In 2003, he received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for services to the arts. His 2009 book, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, is a New York Times best seller and has been translated into 21 languages. A 10th anniversary edition of his classic work on creativity and innovation, Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative, was published in 2011. Finding Your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life, was published by Viking in May 2013 and is also a New York Times best seller. His latest book, Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education (Viking, 2015), written with Robinson’s trademark wit and engaging style, includes groundbreaking research and tackles the critical issue of how to transform the nation’s troubled educational system.

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the world's largest HR professional society. He previously served a two-year term as Chair of the SHRM Board of Directors in 2005 and 2006.

Mr. Taylor is the immediate past President and Chief Executive Officer of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, which represents nearly 300,000 students attending public Historically Black Colleges and Universities. In this role, he became a prolific fundraiser, amassing over $100 million in grants and gifts. As an influencer in his field and community, he was named one of the Ebony Magazine "Power 100" in 2011.

Previously, he held positions at IAC/Interactive Corp, first as its Senior Vice President of HR and then as President and Chief Executive Officer of one of IACs operating subsidiaries. Mr. Taylor's career also spans nearly 15 years in the practice of law and HR, including as Litigation Partner and President of the HR consulting business of the law firm McGuireWoods LLC; Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Compass Group USA; General Counsel and Senior Vice President of HR for Viacom's Paramount Pictures Live Entertainment Group; and Associate General Counsel and Vice President of HR for Blockbuster Entertainment Group.

In a 2018 White House ceremony, President Donald Trump appointed Mr. Taylor Chairman of the President's Advisory Board on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Additionally, he is currently serving on the corporate board of Gallup, the leader in organizational consulting and public opinion research, a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Miami and an Adviser to Safe Streets & Second Chances, an initiative to reduce the high rate of recidivism in America.

Mr. Taylor holds both a Doctor of Jurisprudence and a Master of Arts with honors from Drake University. He obtained a Bachelor of Science with honors from the University of Miami. He is licensed to practice law in Florida, Illinois and Washington, DC. 

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