2024 "Can't Miss" Keynotes



John Hodge, Ed.D.

Be The One

The education of America’s youth is a challenging prospect when one considers the many burdens faced by impoverished children and their families. Research indicates that poverty need not be a barrier to academic excellence. As co-author of the book Standing in the Gap, Dr. Hodge states, "Across the nation, schools are demonstrating that it can be done: That students can reach high standards, that all children can succeed, that the gap between white and minority students, poor and affluent, can be closed." More often than not, one caring adult can make all the difference in the world. Today’s presentation will encourage all of you to BE THE ONE!

Dr. John W. Hodge is president and co-founder of Urban Learning and Leadership Center (ULLC), an organization focused on student achievement and reduction of the achievement gap. Dr. Hodge has over 28 years of experience in education, and is a nationally recognized consultant. During his career, Dr. Hodge has provided training and support to educators in over 300 rural, urban and suburban school districts that serve over a million students in the United States, Canada and South America. His work and expertise are particularly focused on the areas of leadership, student achievement, equity, student resilience, poverty and high academic achievement despite the presence of risk-factors.



Tiffany Yu

The Anti-Ableist Manifesto

While the disability community has had many of their rights protected in the workplace since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990, the unemployment rate for disabled Americans has remained the same since then. There is a pressing need for both policy and hearts and minds to change in order to create systemic change and more inclusive workspaces. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives have not included a disability lens for far too long. This talk takes an interactive approach to better understanding ableism and how pervasive it is in our society and what we can do to be a better ally to the disability community. Tiffany shares her personal experiences with being a disabled woman of color and the lessons that she has learned along the way, leaving attendees with an empowering and motivating message on leadership.

Tiffany Yu is the CEO & Founder of Diversability, an award-winning entirely disabled-run and led social enterprise to elevate disability pride, and a content creator with 200k+ followers across platforms. She is a 3x TEDx speaker and has been named a TikTok API (Asian & Pacific Islander) Trailblazer, a LinkedIn Top Voice in Disability Advocacy, and a Well+Good Changemaker. Her first book, The Anti-Ableist Manifesto, will be published by Hachette Go in 2024.

Tiffany has helped to invest over $170,000 in disability initiatives through the Awesome Foundation Disability Chapter and the Disability Empowerment Endowed Fund at Georgetown University. She has been featured in Marie Claire, the Guardian, and Forbes. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and a master's from the London School of Economics. At the age of 9, Tiffany became disabled as a result of a car accident that also took the life of her father.



KM DiColandrea

Amplifying Our Students' Voices: The Power of Speech & Debate

Speech and Debate is a powerful tool for students to become advocates for causes that matter to them. Join DiCo as they share their amazing journey from being a student of Speech and Debate to a teacher taking students to competitions beyond their wildest dreams. They will share the positive impact that being a member of their high school’s club had on their ability to cope with post-traumatic disorder, as well as the joy and heartbreak of teaching and coaching inner-city debate teams. Learn how the Brooklyn Debate League was founded, the impact it’s had on so many teens, and how a Humans of New York Facebook story launched them into fame.

From 1999-2003, KM DiColandrea (DiCo) competed on the Stuyvesant HS Speech & Debate Team, where he was a state finalist in Extemporaneous Speaking and a national finalist in Congressional Debate. After graduating with a B.A. in Philosophy from Yale, he joined Teach for America and started debate teams at the Frederick Douglass Academy and Achievement First Brooklyn High School. DiCo is a recipient of several teaching prizes including the Teach for America Alumni Award for Excellence. He has been named a Master Teacher by the Achievement First charter school network and a First Diamond Coach. In 2022, he was honored to receive the Brother Sterner Lifetime Service Award by the National Speech and Debate Association.