2016 Opening Keynote Speaker: Simone N. Sneed
Simone N. Sneed is a writer, organizer and professor whose work centers on environmental conservation, racial justice and gender equity in the arts. Over the course of her career she has used her skills to raise and deploy $25M in philanthropic capital, develop and lead high performing social impact teams and influence the next generation of non-profit leaders.
Currently, Simone is the Board Liaison for the Environmental Defense Fund where she ensures the effective governance, engagement and strategic relationship management of the c3 and c4 boards. In addition, she is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Service at the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Prior to EDF, she was the Chief Relationship Officer for Van Jones’ social enterprise, Dream Corps where she helped to launch a campaign based social enterprise working to close prison doors, open doors of opportunity into a green economy. Simone has also worked for The Astraea Foundation, Community Access and Inwood House.
As a writer and public speaker her work has appeared in Blavity, The Huffington Post, CNN, Stanford Social Innovation Review, The Journal of Governmental Finance and Public Policy. Levo League, Policy Mic and Cosmopolitan Latina. She has presented at the Center For Non-Profit Management, New York University’s Social Enterprise Bootcamp, SoapBox Feminist Camp, The NYS Society of CPAs and the New Leaders Council. Simone has also received numerous awards and fellowships including the University at Albany’s “30 Under 30” award, NYU Wagner’s IGNITE Fellowship, New Leaders Council Fellowship, Center For Women in Government Fellowship and participated in the George Washington Graduate School of Political Management Semester in Washington program.
In her personal life, Simone spends her time developing Uptown Upstate Arts Exchange, a regional arts advocacy organization working to advance the influence and appreciation of female visual, literary and performing artists from New York City to the Catskills. She also sits on the board of the Ms. Foundation and Be:More America.
Follow Simone Sneed on Twitter @UptownUpstate.
2015 Opening Keynote Speaker: Keith Boykin
Keith Boykin is a CNBC contributor, MSNBC commentator, BET columnist, and New York Times best-selling author. He is also the former editor of the online news site, The Daily Voice.
Educated at Dartmouth and Harvard, Keith attended law school with President Barack Obama and served in the White House as a special assistant to President Bill Clinton. He is a veteran of six political campaigns, including two presidential campaigns, and he was named one of the top instructors when he taught political science at American University in Washington D.C.
Keith starred on the 2004 Showtime television series American Candidate and later became a co-host of the BET-J TV series, My Two Cents. A founder and first board president of the National Black Justice Coalition, Keith has spoken to audiences, large and small, all across the world. He was an associate producer of the 2007 feature film, Dirty Laundry, and appeared as an actor in the 2014 BET drama series, Being Mary Jane.
Keith's most recent book, "For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Still Not Enough", won the American Library Association Stonewall Award for Nonfiction in 2013. His third book, "Beyond the Down Low", spent four weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Keith won the Lambda Literary Award for his second book, "Respecting the Soul", and his first book, "One More River to Cross", is taught in colleges and universities throughout the country.
Keith has lived in 12 cities, visited 48 of the 50 U.S. states, and traveled across 4 continents. In 1997 President Clinton appointed him, along with Coretta Scott King and Rev. Jesse Jackson, to the U.S. presidential trade delegation to Zimbabwe. He currently lives in New York.
Follow Keith Boykin on Twitter @keithboykin.
MSNBC Commentator, BET Columnist, New York Times Best-Selling Author