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Speakers for 2014

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Bruce Cryer

Global Director, HeartMath Healthcare

bruce-cryer Bruce Cryer has spent the past thirty years researching and teaching innovative approaches to maximizing health and organizational performance. He was named President and CEO of HeartMath LLC in 2000, having helped launch the non-profit Institute of HeartMath with founder Doc Childre in 1991. For eight years prior, he served as Vice President for a biotech company. Bruce is the key architect of programs that incorporate HeartMath’s innovative biomedical research into practical tools and strategies to enhance health, performance, creativity, innovation, and productivity for both the individual and the organization.

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Randy Taran

Founder, Project Happiness

960105_10151752112206637_1785588917_n copyRandy Taran is the founder of Project Happiness, a non-profit that specializes in emotional resilience-building programs that are used by people of all ages and endorsed by public schools, private institutions and universities around the U.S. and the world. Randy is also co-author of the Project Happiness Handbook, an interactive journey that illustrates best practices in promoting social and emotional learning.


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Teresa Goines

Old Skool Cafe, CNN Hero 2013

Teresa-GoinesTeresa Goines is the founder and CEO of Old Skool Café – a supper club run by at-risk youth in San Francisco, which provides training, jobs and a second chance at life for youth coming out of incarceration and foster care.

Teresa’s experience working with gang-affiliated youth, as a juvenile correction officer, impacted her life in a way that changed her forever. Their stories gave her an in-depth understanding of how many young people end up on such a destructive path and compelled her to find a solution to the hopelessness she saw in the lives of incarcerated and forgotten youth.

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Soul Shoppe

Vicki Abadesco

Vicki48An expert educator and program consultant with over 20 years of leadership work with schools and organizations throughout the United States and abroad. Her extensive work with a wide diversity of thousands of youth and adults allows her to have a constant pulse on what people need to be launched into lifelong success and growth.

Her expertise and training includes individual and group level counseling, conflict resolution, crisis intervention and accelerated learning techniques. She has written, created and produced several life skills curriculum manuals and activity card decks, includingLeadership: Truth or Dare and Mentor Magic. Vicki is also the developer for the companion curriculum to the College Life 101 internet radio talk show for students, distributed to First Year Experience educators from more than 50 schools across the nation.

Joseph Savage

joseph_headshotA California credentialed teacher who has been working in education for over 20 years. He believes that educating the whole person and creating a safe environment are imperative to having successful learning experiences. In addition to his classroom teaching his educational accomplishments include directing student generated plays, training conflict resolution skills for youth and adults, conducting school wide assemblies on peace and creating practical curriculum.

As a teacher, Joseph is known for crafting nurturing and academically focused atmospheres for his students. As a teacher coach/mentor he is supportive and inspiring. In addition to his educational experience he has written, performed, and directed theater productions throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Mary Cortani

Operations Freedom Paws -Top 10 CNN Hero 2012

Mary-CortaniMary Cortani grew up in Santa Cruz, CA. When she wasn’t sailing, swimming or fishing she was with dogs. One of her neighbors had a guide dog, and as Mary learned how the dog had been trained to help its master navigate a world he couldn’t see, she became interested in training dogs herself. She joined the Army, and was one of the last of the US Army’s WACs (Women’s Army Corps); she served from 1975 to 1984. Mary became a certified Army Master Instructor of Canine Education as well as an American Kennel Club Certified Canine Good Citizen© Evaluator. When she left the Army, Mary felt lost, and quickly learned how difficult it is to get out of the military and not know what the next step should be. She attended college in Boston, earned a degree in computer science and returned to California. Still training dogs on the side, she worked in high tech for several years, eventually owning her own information technology consulting company. In 2007 she decided to return to her first love and opened K9 Coach Plus as a full-time private dog trainer.

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Crystal Lameman

Protecting Our Land, Old Beaver Lake Cree Nation, Treaty No. 6

Crystal feels it is her obligation as a mother to protect her land, water and culture for her children and future generations.  Currently, Crystal is the Climate and Energy Campaigner for Sierra Club Canada and is a fellow of the Indigenous Environmental Network. She utilizes her formal academia – Two University Degrees; but above all her Indigenous ways of knowing and being to articulate the impacts of the direct exploitation of the tar sands. Whilst addressing the environmental racism the Government of Canada imposes on First Nations people in the name of resource extraction.
“We have come to a point where we have no choice left but to lift up our inherent treaty rights – our birthrights. The Crown and this Government do not get to pick the pieces of their law it likes and which one’s it does not, they made their laws thus they have to abide by them. As First Nations people, we abide by natural law, and there is nothing natural about a people dying from cancer and suffering from respiratory illnesses” she exclaims.

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Samantha Berg

The Orca Project

Samantha Berg grew up in Great Neck, New York and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science from Cornell University, in Ithaca, NY in 1989. Sam was hired at SeaWorld of Florida six months after graduating from college when she was 22 years old. Sam worked at the Orlando park from 1990-1993, and she was working at Shamu stadium when Tilikum—the killer whale responsible for the deaths of three people—arrived in Orlando from Sealand of the Pacific.  Sam is one of the former SeaWorld trainers featured in Gabriella Cowperthwaite’s 2013 award winning, Sundance selected documentary, “Blackfish.”

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Ashel Seasunz Eldridge Too

A Green Community

AshEl Eldridge aka Seasunz, originally from Chicago, now residing in Oakland, is a frontman emcee, vocalist, producer, and the founder of Earth Amplified, a multimedia collective and spiritual activist movement dedicated to social justice, equity, and environmental stewardship. For five years he served as the Northern California Education and Leadership Manager with the Alliance for Climate Education and a Green For All Fellow. He is a co-founder of United Roots – Oakland’s Green Youth Arts and Media Center and the founder of SOS Juice. S.O.S (System out of our System) Juice is a monthly urban culture and health event series and a revenue generating non-profit that sells juice, smoothies, and tonics creating health, sustainable agriculture, and green jobs. Currently, he is building Urban Fx (Farmacy), a vegan café/store, supplied by its own commercial kitchen/distribution facilitie(s) that create community resiliency through an infrastructure that sells locally sourced foods and healing products.”

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Jenny Phillips

Dhamma Brothers

In 2002 Jenny founded The Finca Vigia Foundation to support the work of the Cuban government in preserving the Cuban home, library and documents of Ernest Hemingway. Jenny’s grandfather, Maxwell Perkins, was Hemingway’s editor and close friend. With her husband Frank Phillips, State House bureau chief for The Boston Globe, she has traveled extensively throughout Cuba researching and collecting oral history and artifacts about Hemingway’s life in Cuba.”

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David Wing-Kovarik

CNN Hero 2012, Families Like Ours

David Wing-Kovarik and his spouse founded Families Like Ours in 2000 to reduce barriers facing pre-adoptive and foster families, and provide a network of resources, support, education and advocacy. Today, Families Like Ours, Inc. is a national independent adoption exchange assisting a wide diversity of families, and professionals throughout the United States and other countries.”

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Dr. Jaques Van Dam

Conquer and Thrive

Jacques Van Dam arrived in the United States in 1953 an infant in the arms of his parents. Jacques grew up on the East coast and embarked on a well-trodden academic journey including advanced degrees in science and medicine. He kept busy dividing his time between patient care, primarily in the field of gastrointestinal cancer, scientific research and award winning teaching/mentoring. His research has been published in the nation’s top scientific journals, and he is regularly an invited speaker at international symposia. ”

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