Meet the Changemakers

Our Speakers are the dreamers, builders, makers, problem solvers and wizards among us. These changemakers share insights about the world around us, help us move forward thoughtfully, strive to solve big problems, bridge the distance between us, and lift us up, one story at a time.

Lynsey Addario

MacArthur Genius Grantee.
Pulitzer Prize Winner.

Why would anyone willingly plunge headfirst into the war-torn areas of Afghanistan, Darfur, or Libya? For this Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist, the simple answer is also the title of her memoir: It’s What I Do.

Sheila Ardalan

Bridge Builder.
Rule Breaker.

The answer “No” is merely a rejection of the status quo and an opportunity to reinvent your world.  This is one of the many lessons that fleeing Iran as a young girl during the revolution taught Sheila.

Thomas Crowther

Trillion Tree Campaign Advisor.
Problem Solver.

Our natural ecosystems are the best technology we have to help cool the planet.  This British scientist, in partnership with the World Economic Forum, has a plan we can all get behind.

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Documentary Filmmaker.

Born in Zimbabwe, raised in Australia, and based in Istanbul and NY Michael brings a global perspective to documentary filmmaking. His work for Nat Geo has earned him some filmmaking's highest honors.


Adventure Writer.

One of the top adventure/travel writers today, Kevin brings to life--in his books and the pages of National Geographic and Outside magazines--the wild places we share and the adventurers who find their solace in nature. 



Spoken Word Artist.

One of Oprah’s Super Soul 100, US Grand Slam Poetry Champion and multi-platinum songwriter, IN-Q believes sharing your story can change the world.

Andy Katz


Photography has taken Andy around the world multiple times, from the skeleton coasts of Namibia, through Eastern Europe and its ancient Jewish cultures, deep inside the most exclusive wineries in the world, and through the heart of Rock & Roll.

Jesse Katz

Master Vintner.
Cult Winery of the Year Founder.
Forbes 30 Under 30.

At 24, Jesse became America’s youngest lead winemaker. When a bottle of his wine, The Setting, went for a record $350,000 at the Napa Valley Wine Auction, the world took note.  Today he makes magic at his own Aperture Cellars.

Me Ra Koh

Risk Taker.

Find out why Oprah, Kelly & Ryan, and Disney can’t get enough of Me Ra Koh.  Through photos, stories and laughter, Me Ra pairs creativity with the guts to thrive despite failure and rejection, inspiring her audiences to achieve the impossible.

Marvi Lacar

Community Builder.
Visual Storyteller.

Marvi turned her journey through depression into 1in20, an online mental health initiative aimed at destigmatizing mental illness through creative storytelling. Lately, she's been celebrated for interpreting the world through the eyes of her two boys.

Ben Lowy

Visual Storyteller.

The grandson of Holocaust survivors, Ben always wanted to understand the hate that leads to war, so he got as close as he could, embedding alongside soldiers in Iraq. Today he channels that passion into documentary work and storytelling for brands from Apple to Adidas.

David McLain

Blue Zones Documentarian.
Brand Wizard.

In his longest-running project, David travels alongside author Dan Buettner to discover and document what diet and lifestyle habits the longest-lived people in the world share – oceans apart – that help them live active, healthy lifestyles past 100.

Jill Meyers

Aerospace Engineer.
USAF Veteran.
STEM Champion.

Whether managing AWACS for US, UK and NATO fleets, engineering solutions for Boeing, or developing comms systems for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter jet, Jill has always reached one hand back to light the path for young girls.

Ben Moon


Ben’s breakout short film Denali--a love letter to the dog that explored the planet with him as he worked and played, then laid by his side through his battle with cancer--chronicles one perfect afternoon as the film’s namesake neared the end of his life.

John Moore

Pulitzer Prize Winner.

Getty Images Special Correspondent John Moore brings us balanced, eyewitness reports from the most sweeping stories of this moment--from immigration reform to the frontlines of climate change, to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chad Pregracke

Environmental Hero.

If you see a problem, fix it. If that problem grows, scale-up. If that solution creates a new problem, innovate. Meet CNN Hero of the Year and the founder of the world's only "environmental-strength" river clean-up organization.

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Serial Entrepreneur.
Brand Accelerator.

Moms are the original multitaskers, this is why former attorney and Brown grad, Jill Salzman decided to build her third company as an accelerator for this untapped juggernaut of talent.

Terry Virts


Commanding multi-national crews on the ISS for 200 days during a period of intense geopolitical tension on Earth showed Terry Virts that anything is possible with diplomacy, constant innovation, and a willingness to disrupt the status quo.

Shaesta Waiz

Afghan Refugee.

What if the first Afghan woman to earn a commercial pilot’s license went on to break the world record as the youngest woman to fly solo around the world in a single-engine plane?  Meet the 2018 Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum Trophy Winner.

Michael Yamashita, by Ira Block

Far East Expert.

The world is changing fast--especially in the Far East.  Michael has trained his lens on Asian cultures for more than 40 years. His body of work is a photographic time capsule and a portal into the cultural understanding we need to navigate the path forward.

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©2020 by Deborah Benson.