Navigate Up
Sign In

General Session Speakers

Miss a general session speaker? Fear not! Read articles about the dynamic presentations or view the vibrant graphic recordings. Simply click on the links below in the bios.

 General Session Speakers

  • Lyn Heward

    Lyn Heward

    Thursday, February 27, 9:30-11:00 AM
    The Spark: Igniting the Creative Fire That Lives Within Us All

    Read an article about Heward's general session.

    Graphic recording of Heward's general session

    Watch an interview with Heward.

    Montreal's Cirque du Soleil is one of the world's most innovative companies and Lyn Heward is a major reason why. She shapes its performers, designers, and technicians into an artistic and commercial juggernaut. Go behind the scenes at Cirque as Heward reveals how to ignite the creative spark in all of your employees.  Heward was director of creation, president and COO of the Creative Content Division—she managed the creative fire during much of the company's history. She draws on her unparalleled experience to show you how to make creativity a part of everything you do. During her time as president and COO of the Creative Content Division, Heward helped guide Cirque masterworks such as Varekai, La Nouba, 'O,' Dralion, Zumanity and KA. Heward authored the critically acclaimed book The Spark: Igniting the Creative Fire That Lives Within Us All.  Heward was also an associate producer for a segment of the closing ceremonies of the 2006 Olympic Winter Games.

  • Steve Pemberton

    Steve Pemberton

    Thursday, February 27, 3:00-4:30 PM
    Independent Matters: Dare to Explore

    Read an article about the Independent Matters general session.

    Watch the video of Steve Pemberton at the Independent Matters general session. 

    Graphic recordings of the Independent Matters general session
    Watch an interview with Pemberton.
    A ward of the state for much of his childhood, Steve Pemberton has made opportunity, access, and equality pillars of his personal and professional life. As chief diversity officer and divisional vice president for Walgreens, he is recognized as a leader on matters of diversity and inclusion and their importance to the growth of the U.S. industrial complex.  He directs activities to help serve diverse markets and populations, including customers in medically underserved areas, food deserts, and urban areas, as well as strengthens relationships with diverse suppliers and communities.  His memoir, A Chance in the World: An Orphan Boy, a Mysterious Past, and How He Found a Place Called Home, chronicles his difficult path through foster care and his determined search for his family. Pemberton’s relentless journey to overcome his setbacks, find his biological family, and right the wrongs of his parents' past is a model for all families to follow. It is a true testament of faith, fortitude, and forgiveness.  Pemberton currently serves on several boards including The Home for Little Wanderers and UCAN. The Pemberton Fund for the Future has been established at The Home for Little Wanderers to assist children aging out of the foster care system.
  • Jay Shuster

    Jay Shuster

    Thursday, February 27, 3:00-4:30 PM
    Independent Matters: Dare to Explore

    Read an article about the Independent Matters general session.

    Graphic recordings of the Independent Matters general session


    Watch an interview with Shuster.

    What's it like to work at one of the world's most creative companies? Jay Shuster, production designer at Pixar Animation Studios, can tell you. How has Pixar managed to stay consistently creative over the years? What keeps it motivated to be the best? And, ultimately, what techniques and processes are used to transform a creative approach into quality work? Shuster is both a product of, and a contributor to, Pixar's unrestrained creative culture. Whether he's sharing anecdotes from the making of some of his favorite films, or explaining the business sense that makes Pixar a box-office monster and critical darling, Shuster helps unveil the mystery of Pixar's tremendous success. As a key member of Pixar's award-winning creative team since 2002, he joined as a sketch artist contributing character and environment designs to the films Cars and Wall-E. His Pixar work can also be seen in 2011's Cars 2, where he served as a character art director. Currently, Shuster is an art director at Pixar and continues to work on their upcoming projects.

  • Mae Jemison

    Mae Jemison

    Thursday, February 27, 3:00-4:30 PM
    Independent Matters: Dare to Explore

    Read an article about the Independent Matters general session.

    Watch an interview with Jemison.

    Graphic recordings of the Independent Matters general session

    Mae Jemison, the first woman of color to go into space, served six years as a NASA astronaut, flying aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour mission in September 1992 and was NASA’s first science mission specialist. She is the founder of the technology consulting firm, The Jemison Group, Inc., that integrates the critical impact of sociocultural issues with technology. An international voice for science literacy, in 1994 Jemison founded the international science camp The Earth We Share™ for students 12-16 years old from around the world, chairs the Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence and serves as national advocate for Bayer Corporation’s award winning Making Science Make Sense program. In Find Where the Wind Goes, she writes for teenagers about growing up on the South Side of Chicago, cultivating her aspiration to be a scientist, her experiences as a medical student in Africa, and her history-making journey into space.

  • John Quiñones

    John Quiñones

    Friday, February 28, 9:30-11:00 AM
    The Power of Education

    Watch an interview with Quiñones.

    Read an article about Quiñones's general session presentation.

    Watch the video of Quiñones's general session.

    Graphic recordings of Quiñones's general session

    John Quiñones is the Emmy Award-winning co-anchor of ABC Primetime and the sole anchor of What Would You Do? He has been with the network nearly 30 years. Having grown up in a poor family of migrant workers to eventually become ABC’s first Latino correspondent, Quiñones shares his powerful story with audiences around the country, encouraging them to pursue their dreams regardless of socioeconomic barriers. He particularly emphasizes the role education played in his success. In 2010, he was the first reporter to get an exclusive interview with one of the survivors of the Chilean Mining Disaster. Previously, Quiñones anchored the critically acclaimed ABC News special Latin Beat.  He has received numerous awards for his global reporting, including many several Emmy awards, a World Hunger Media award, and a Peabody award. The 2005 Smithsonian Museum’s exhibit, "Our Journeys/Our Stories: Portraits of Latino Achievement," named Quiñones as one of the 25 most prominent Latinos in the US. He received the 2010 Outstanding Alumni Award from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

  • Eric Whitacre

    Eric Whitacre

    Friday, February 28, 3:00-4:00 PM
    Creativity and Connection

    Watch the video of Eric Whitacre's general session.

    Graphic recordings of Eric Whitacre's general session.
    Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir merges the voices of thousands of international singers into a global choir that transcends geography, class, and background. His Virtual Choirs have won plaudits for awesome emotional power and technical accomplishment and have been seen and heard by millions of people around the world. Now, Virtual Choir 4, the most recent installment in this astonishing project, features more than 8,400 voices from nearly 6,000 singers representing 101 countries. It premiered in July 2013 at Buckingham Palace in the presence of Queen Elizabeth II. In today's diverse but interconnected world, it's important to embrace technology's potential for bringing people together and fostering collaboration. Whitacre shares with you the spirit that motivates this kind of collaboration as well as strategies to manage a networked group. He is a catalyst, not a director, and as such, his approach is inclusive and encouraging. In spring 2012, his album Light & Gold won a Grammy for best choral performance. His current album, Water Night, hit No. 1 in the classical iTunes chart on the day of release. Whitacre has been a composer in residence at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University, UK. He currently lives in London.

 Highlighted Sponsor


 From Twitter...