Conference Keynote Speakers

Conference Day One Keynote Dr. Dena Simmons

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Thursday, June 27, 2019

Dena Simmons, Ed.D., is an activist, educator, and student of life from the Bronx, New York. She serves as the Assistant Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and an associate research scientist at Yale Child Study Center.

Dr. Simmons writes and speaks nationally about social justice pedagogy and creating emotionally intelligent and safe classrooms within the context of equity. Her TED talk, “How students of color confront impostor syndrome,” which pushes for creating learning environments where all young people can learn in the comfort of their own skin, has received over a million views. Dena has been profiled in Education Week, the Huffington Post, the AOL/PBS project, MAKERS: Women Who Make America, and a Beacon Press Book, Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists. Dena’s research interests include teacher preparedness to address bullying in the school setting and the intersection of emotional intelligence and culturally responsive pedagogy—all in an effort to ensure and foster justice and safe spaces for all.

Conference Day Two Keynote Dr. Peter Senge


Friday, June 28, 2019

Peter Senge has been at the forefront of organizational learning since publishing his classic text – The Fifth Discipline – in 1990. The Fifth Discipline provides the theories and methods to foster aspiration, develop reflective conversation, and understand complexity in order to build a learning organization. In 1997, Harvard Business Review named the learning organization as one of “the seminal business ideas of the prior 75 years.”

Peter is driven by the desire to understand how we can work together to live in harmony with one another and with Mother Earth. He continues to push the boundaries of our understanding of organizational learning- teaching his principles in workshops and seminars across the country. Peter describes his process as “sharing” rather than “teaching”, in an attempt to “help people see not just what has been done before, but sharing what has been done, by suggestion, surfacing or eliciting what new might be possible.” Throughout his career, Peter has been asking, “how do we create the best conditions, including the tools and methods, for enabling learning communities?” Since the publication of The Fifth Discipline, Peter has shared the driving principles of organizational learning with business, education, health care, and government. Through his work, Peter strives to foster learning communities around the globe in order to improve our world. Considered by the Journal of Business Strategy as one of the 24 people who had the greatest influence on business strategy in the 20th Century; Peter is the founding chairperson of SoL and a senior lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.