Keynote Speakers

Monday, June 17, 2019
8:30 a.m.

General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.)

For over 50 years, General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.) has devoted his life to public service. Having held senior military and diplomatic positions across four presidential administrations, Powell’s deep commitment to democratic values and freedom has been felt throughout the world.
 
The son of Jamaican immigrants, Powell was born in Harlem in April 1937 and was raised in the South Bronx. He was educated in the New York City public schools and attended the City College of New York where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology. It was not until he joined the Army ROTC program at CCNY that he discovered his calling and launched his military career. He received a commission as an Army second lieutenant upon graduation in 1958 and went on to serve in the United States Army for 35 years, rising to the rank of Four-Star General.
 
From 1987–1989 Powell served as President Ronald Reagan’s National Security Advisor. He served from 1989–1993 as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for both President George H.W. Bush and for President Bill Clinton, and was not only the youngest officer and first ROTC graduate to ever serve in the position, but also was the first African American to do so. During his time as chairman, he oversaw 28 crises to include the Panama intervention of 1989 and Operation Desert Storm in the victorious 1991 Persian Gulf War.
 
Under President George W. Bush, Powell was appointed the 65th Secretary of State and was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. As Secretary of State, he led the State Department in major efforts to address and solve regional and civil conflicts.  He used the power of diplomacy to build trust, forge alliances and then help transform these unstable regions into areas where societies and cultures have the potential to prosper. He also worked at the forefront of American efforts to advance economic and social development worldwide.
 
Among the many U.S. Military awards and decorations Powell has received are the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Army Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Soldier’s Medal, Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart. His civil awards include two Presidential Medals of Freedom, the President’s Citizens Medal, the Congressional Gold Medal and the Secretary of Energy Distinguished Service Medal. In addition, he has received awards from over two-dozen countries to include a French Legion of Honor and an honorary knighthood bestowed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
 
Powell is the chair of the Board of Visitors of the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership at his alma mater, the City College of New York (CCNY), which was inaugurated in May 2013. He also has nine elementary and middle schools named after him. He is the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the America’s Promise Alliance, dedicated to forging a strong and effective partnership alliance committed to seeing that children have the fundamental resources they need to succeed.
 
Powell is a strategic adviser at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the renowned Silicon Valley venture capital firm. He serves on the Board of Directors of Bloom Energy, an alternative energy company that provides unique on-site power generation systems utilizing an innovative new fuel cell technology. In March 2014, he joined the Board of Directors of Salesforce.com, the world’s largest provider of Cloud-based customer relationship management software.
 
He was previously on the boards of AOL, Gulfstream, Howard University, the United Negro College Fund, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. 
Powell serves on the Museum Council of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. 
 
His autobiography, My American Journey, was a New York Times best seller and has been published in more than a dozen different languages. Powell's second book, It Worked for Me:  In Life & Leadership
(May 2012), was an instant New York Times best seller as well and reveals the lessons that shaped his life and career.
 
Powell is married to the former Alma Vivian Johnson of Birmingham, Alabama. They live in McLean, Virginia and have three children and four grandchildren.

 

Tuesday, June 18, 2019
No General Session - Please click here for information on Game Changer Sessions


Wednesday, June 19, 2019
8:30 a.m.
The Honorable Molly Spearman
State of Education Address

Molly Mitchell Spearman was elected as the 18th South Carolina State Superintendent of Education on November 4, 2014. Native to Saluda County, Mrs. Spearman’s childhood laid the foundations of family, faith, and hard work that transcended into her professional career as an educator and civil servant.

Superintendent Spearman’s career has spanned 18 years as a public school music teacher and an assistant principal. In addition to teaching and administration, she has served four terms as a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, six years as Deputy Superintendent of the South Carolina Department of Education, and ten years as the Executive Director of the South Carolina Association of School Administrators. She holds a B.A. Degree in music education from Lander University, a Master’s Degree in education supervision from George Washington University, and an Education Specialist degree from the University of South Carolina.

As the South Carolina Superintendent of Education, Mrs. Spearman has the experience and relationships needed to move South Carolina’s education system forward. Superintendent Spearman strongly believes the foundation for student success lies in effective classroom teachers and principals who facilitate personalized learning for every student, every day. Her vision is for every South Carolina graduate to be prepared for the next step after graduation. Superintendent Spearman is excited to keep a positive and forward-thinking approach to South Carolina education to promote better schools and brighter futures.

Dr. Adolph Brown

Born in the heart of the inner city, while spending summers in rural Virginia with his grandfather, Adolph was reared to be very hard-working and reflective. Having had a single parent mother in the housing projects, having been a Head Start student, having been the first of his family of five to graduate high school, and having had his oldest sibling and only brother murdered when he was only 11, Adolph’s life and work have been a voyage of discovery beyond anything he could imagine. Adolph is a recovering middle school special education teacher, university professor and dean, and corporate project manager.  He is an educational and clinical psychologist, master teacher, humorist, author, and philanthropist. As a philanthropist, Adolph donates 1/3 of his consultation fees to support his vision of creating a million dollar scholarship endowment for hardworking young people. He has served as a legislative advocate, Virginia Head Start Association President and President of the Virginia Association of Black Psychologists. He brings his experience, focus, and sense of humor to each of his endeavors. Adolph is a man of virtue and simplicity. He is a deep thinker, an active listener, and a very engaging presenter. Adolph has a strong appreciation for the virtues of teaching, research and leadership, as he became the youngest full tenured
university professor in the United States at the age of 29 with the help of a supportive family, encouraging teachers and a supportive community. His research focuses on elements of Teaching Excellence, Servant Leadership, Classroom Management, Best Self /Positive Mindset and Customer Service. He also quite often gives talks to today's youth on yesterday's life lessons. He has a "head" for adults and a "heart" for kids as he facilitates over 100 youth focus groups a year. Many still affectionately refer to him as "the U.S. Secretary of Inspiration" following his days with "America's Promise" founded by General Colin Powell.