All times Eastern

We hope you'll join us for this inspiring and insightful lineup of speakers.

2022 General Sessions

Baratunde Thurston

Baratunde Thurston

Wednesday, March 2, 5:00-6:00 PM ET
Baratunde Thurston holds space for hard and complex conversations with his blend of humor, wisdom, and compassion. Thurston is an Emmy-nominated host who has also worked for “The Onion,” produced for “The Daily Show,” and advised the Obama White House. He is the author of The New York Times bestselling book How To Be Black and the executive producer and host of the award-winning podcast “How To Citizen with Baratunde.” In 2019, he delivered what MSNBC’s Brian Williams called “one of the greatest TED talks of all time.” 

Thurston is unique in his ability to integrate and synthesize themes of race, culture, politics, and technology to explain where our nation is and where we can take it. He is a frequent contributor to such news and entertainment outlets as Fast Company, The New York Times, NPR, HBO, and Comedy Central. He has hosted shows, stories, and series on NatGeo and Discovery’s Science Channel and the Spotify/Mic series “Clarify.” In 2006 he co-founded Jack & Jill Politics, a black political blog. From 2007 to 2012, he helped bring one of America’s finest journalistic institutions into the future, serving as director of digital for The Onion, then did something similar as supervising producer for digital expansion at The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. He has also served as an advisor to the Data & Society Research Institute and a director’s fellow at the MIT Media Lab.

In the NAIS’s podcast New View EDU, Thurston explored what it means to be a citizen of this world, and the role of schools in growing citizens.

Sponsored by ATOMS Placement Services
john a. powell

john a. powell

Thursday, March 3, 12:30-1:30 PM ET
john a. powell is an internationally recognized expert in the areas of civil rights and civil liberties. He will provide the Annual Conference attendees rich context on a wide range of issues including race, structural racism, ethnicity, housing, poverty, and democracy. In addition to being a professor of Law and of African American Studies and Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley, powell holds the Robert D. Haas Chancellor’s Chair in Equity and Inclusion. He also serves as director of UC Berkeley’s Othering & Belonging Institute, which works to find new ways to identify and eliminate the barriers to an inclusive, just, and sustainable world. 

Formerly, powell headed up the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at The Ohio State University. Under his direction, the Kirwin Institute emerged as a national leader on research and scholarship related to race, structural racism, racialized space and opportunity. He has been a leader in developing an “opportunity-based” housing model that provides a critical and creative framework for thinking about affordable housing, racialized space, and the many ways that housing influences other opportunity domains including education, health, health care, and employment.

powell has written extensively on a number of issues including structural racism; racial justice and regionalism; concentrated poverty and urban sprawl; opportunity-based housing, voting rights; affirmative action in the United States, South Africa and Brazil; racial and ethnic identity; spirituality and social justice; and the needs of citizens in a democratic society. He is the author of several books, including his most recent work, Racing to Justice: Transforming our Concepts of Self and Other to Build an Inclusive Society.
Mary Helen Immordino-Yang

Mary Helen Immordino-Yang

Thursday, March 3, 4:00-5:00 PM ET
Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, EdD, is a professor of Education, Psychology, and Neuroscience at the University of Southern California and director of the USC Center for Affective Neuroscience, Development, Learning and Education (CANDLE). She studies the psychological and neurobiological development of emotion and self-awareness, and connections to social, cognitive, and moral development in educational settings. She uses cross-cultural, interdisciplinary studies of narratives and feelings to uncover experience-dependent neural mechanisms contributing to identity, intrinsic motivation, deep learning, and generative, creative, and abstract thought. Her work has a special focus on adolescents from low-SES communities, and she involves youths from these communities as junior scientists in her work. 

A former urban public junior high-school science teacher, she earned her doctorate at Harvard University in 2005 in human development and psychology and completed her postdoctoral training in social-affective neuroscience with Antonio Damasio in 2008. Since then she has received numerous awards for her research and impact on education and society, among them an Honor Coin from the U.S. Army, a Commendation from the County of Los Angeles, a Cozzarelli Prize from the Proceedings of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences editorial board, and early career achievement awards from the AERA, the AAAS, the APS, the International Mind, Brain and Education Society (IMBES), and the Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences Foundation (FABBS). 

Immordino-Yang was a 2018-2019 Spencer Foundation mid-career fellow. She served on the U.S. National Academy of Sciences committee writing How People Learn II: Learners, Contexts and Cultures, and on the Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional and Academic Development.
Matthew Barzun

Matthew Barzun

Friday, March 4, 12:30-1:30 PM ET
Matthew Barzun has always been fascinated about how we can stand out and fit in at the same time. He helped countries do both when he served as US Ambassador to the United Kingdom and to Sweden. He helped citizens do both as National Finance Chair for Barack Obama by pioneering new ways for people to have a stronger voice in politics. And he helped tech consumers do both as an entrepreneur when he helped  start CNET Networks in the early 90’s.

In his book The Power of Giving Away Power: How the Best Leaders Learn to Let Go, Barzun explores this idea, along with a new organizational shape and mindset: Constellations. Organizations designed as constellations are dynamic and flexible networks of distinct yet interwoven individuals. Each member of the team feels like a singular star and is also connected to others to form something greater. That is how Visa reimagined how we pay for things, how Wikipedia beat the richest company in the  world, and how Barack Obama and his grassroots team revolutionized political campaigning. These leaders did what most leaders dread–they gave away power. Through these examples and others, he encourages readers to consider "the power we can create by seeing the power in others.”
Sheena S. Iyengar

Sheena S. Iyengar

Friday, March 4, 4:10-5:00 PM ET
Sheena S. Iyengar studies how we make choices, from trivial to profound, and how we feel about these choices. Author of the award-winning book The Art of Choosing, her research informs markets, businesses, and individuals around the world. It is regularly cited in news sources such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Iyengar has also appeared on television, and her TED Talks have collectively received almost four million views. 

Growing up in New York City as a blind Indian American and the daughter of immigrants, she began to look at the choices she and others had, and how to get the most from choice. She first started researching choice as an undergrad at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She then received her Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Stanford University. Iyengar received the Presidential Early Career Award in 2002, and in 2011 and 2019, she was named a member of the Thinkers50, a global ranking of the top 50 management thinkers. 

Iyengar is the inaugural S.T. Lee Professor of Business in the Management Division at Columbia Business School, where she won the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Core Teaching and was named one of the World’s Best B-School Professors by Poets and Quants. In a groundbreaking course called “Think Bigger,” Iyengar created a six step method for teaching people how to take advantage of lessons learned from neurological and cognitive science to put our minds to work when generating our best ideas. At Columbia she is also director of the Global Leadership Matrix, a research and education initiative that aims to disseminate, collect, and create a body of information on global leadership.

Sponsored by A.W.G. Dewar
A.W.G. Dewar