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Equity Speakers 

Our equity speakers are international authorities in this international conversation. Offering incredibly comprehensive and diverse perspectives on the state of equity today—especially in the realm of education—they share their expertise on what we can do to enhance it, and lift each other up.

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Khalil Gibran Muhammad

Professor of History, Race, and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School | Co-Host of Some of My Best Friends Are | Author of The Condemnation of Blackness

Widely known as one of the most influential authorities on racial justice in America, Khalil Gibran Muhammad is redefining our understanding of diversity. Former Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and Harvard Kennedy School Professor of History, Race, and Public Policy, he explains how “bias education”—race ed.—can help individuals and institutions reconcile past with present and move toward greater equity. 
Anthony Jack

Assistant Prof. of Ed. at Harvard University | Author of The Privileged Poor

A student from a low-income background attends an elite university on scholarship, and finds herself burdened by that status. This is the paradox of the privileged poor student, says sociologist and speaker Anthony Jack. In the ongoing dialogue about race, inclusion, and social justice, Jack’s talks provide a firm foundation for that conversation. 
Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman

Editor of The Black Agenda | Co-Founder of The Sadie Collective | Speaker on Diversity and the Future of Work

Economists have been answering questions that shape our world for centuries. Unfortunately, Black women have historically been excluded from the profession, absent among the decision-makers who bear incredible power over the world’s economy. Working hard to address the diversity problem in the field is Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman: the co-founder of the only non-profit organization tackling the pipeline and pathway problem for Black women in economics, finance, and policy. In her eye-opening talks, she reveals how empowering Black women is an essential step in creating economic agency for everyone. 
Waneek Horn-Miller

Olympian, Activist, and Speaker on Indigenous Health and Reconciliation

At the age of fourteen, Waneek Horn-Miller was stabbed in the chest by a Canadian soldier while protesting a condo development on traditional Mohawk lands. A photo of the event launched her into the public eye as a symbol of Indigenous struggle, but Horn-Miller battled the very real trauma and PTSD that followed. On stage, she traces the path from the pain depicted in that picture to the strength depicted in her iconic TIME cover as the first Canadian Mohawk woman to compete in the Olympic games.
Heather McGhee

Author of New York Times Bestseller The Sum of Us

What if, in the middle of your live TV appearance, someone called in and asked for advice in overcoming racial prejudice? For public policy expert Heather C. McGhee , the response was natural: she helped. In the wake of that exchange (viewed over 8 million times), Starbucks approached her to institute a company-wide anti-bias training program. From the personal to the corporate, McGhee kickstarted a much-needed cultural effort towards putting systemic repair into action—with urgency, the latest research, and sensitivity to all involved.
Sarah Kaplan

Director, Institute for Gender and the Economy at Rotman School of Management | Author of The 360° Corporation

Rotman professor Sarah Kaplan is helping us understand gender inequalities in the world of business and beyond. As the founding Director of the Institute for Gender and the Economy at the Rotman School, she investigates the hidden mechanisms that fuel gender inequality, and considers how we can engage both business leaders and policy makers to close the gender gap, advance careers, and create economic prosperity for all.
George M. Johnson

New York Times Bestselling Author Of All Boys Aren’t Blue & We Are Not Broken | LGBTQIA+ Activist

For George M. Johnson, whose body of work on diversity and queer identity inspires readers across the world to “be themselves unapologetically,” writing has the power to change lives. Their New York Times bestselling memoir All Boys Aren’t Blue, a powerful recounting of George’s adolescence as a young Black Queer boy in New Jersey, is “an exuberant, unapologetic memoir infused with a deep but cleareyed love for its subjects” (The New York Times).
Nikole Hannah-Jones

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Creator of The 1619 Project | Executive Producer of the 1619 Project Hulu Docuseries | MacArthur Genius

Nikole Hannah-Jones was named a MacArthur Genius Grant Fellow (one of only 24 people chosen, globally) for “reshaping national conversations around education reform” and for her reporting on racial re-segregation in our schools. This is the latest honor in a growing list: she’s won a Peabody, a Polk, and a National Magazine Award for her story on choosing a school for her daughter in a segregated city.
Salman Khan

Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Khan Academy

Sal Khan is the founder and CEO of Khan Academy, a nonprofit with a mission of providing a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. Khan is also the founder of Khan Lab School, a nonprofit laboratory school in Mountain View, California, where he teaches seminars in the humanities and sciences.
LaToya Ruby Frazier

Award-Winning Photographer | Associate Professor at School of the Art Institute of Chicago | MacArthur Genius

One of the nation’s most acclaimed photographers, LaToya Ruby Frazier’s work depicts the stark reality of today’s America: post-industrial cities riven by poverty, racism, healthcare inequality, and environmental toxicity. By featuring voices and perspectives traditionally erased from the American narrative, MacArthur “Genius” Frazier not only captures our cultural blind spots—she teaches us how art is a powerful tool for social transformation.
Jelani Cobb

New Yorker Staff Writer | Columbia Journalism School Dean | Speaker on Race, History, Politics and Culture in America

Historian and Peabody Award-winning journalist Jelani Cobb emerges as a clear voice in the fight for a better America. A PBS Frontline correspondent for two critically acclaimed documentaries, Cobb explores the enormous complexities of race and inequality, while offering guidance and hope for the future. A long-time writer for The New Yorker, and editor of its recent anthology collection The Matter of Black Lives, Cobb’s work is described as having the “rigor and depth of a professional historian with the alertness of a reporter, the liberal passion of an engaged public intellectual and the literary flair of a fine writer.”
Paul Tough

Bestselling Author of The Inequality Machine

Paul Tough challenges the belief that intelligence, endlessly measured by test scores, is the sole predictor of how well a child will do in school and in life. In his bestselling book How Children Succeed, he ushered in a tidal change in thinking with his argument that curiosity, conscientiousness, optimism, self-control, and grit are better indicators of success than IQ.
Bill Strickland

An Extraordinary Business and Community Leader

Bill Strickland created an empire by stoking genius in those who believed they had nothing. The Founder and Chairman of Manchester Bidwell—an arts and training center with a $10 million annual budget—Strickland fuels hope, generates jobs, and empowers underprivileged citizens to become experts in any field. With his company tied with Apple for most Harvard Business Review case studies (four), Strickland confidently shows us how to pursue social restoration and profit with a conscience.
Raj Chetty

Economist and MacArthur Genius studying economic inequality

Is the American dream attainable anymore? A MacArthur “Genius” and one of the top economists in the world (The New York Times and The Economist), Raj Chetty tackles the core issues of American society—education, equality, and government policy—through the powerful lens of economics. Drawing on his “Opportunity Atlas”—a visualization of his paradigm-shifting research—he urgently addresses how social mobility and childhood environment affect future success, and presents predictive tools and practical tactics for taking action. 
Ashton Applewhite

Anti-Ageism Activist | Author of This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism

Aging isn’t a problem or a disease. Everyone’s doing it, and more of us are doing more of it: there are more healthy adults than ever before in human history. Why is this remarkable achievement often depicted as a “gray tsunami” of incapacitated olders? Because of ageism—discrimination on the basis of age, a prejudice against our future selves. “Solve for ageism,” says activist Ashton Applewhite, and we also address sexism (aging is gendered), ableism (we’re afraid of losing our physical or cognitive capacity), and racism (which denies to multitudes the chance to age at all).