Keynote Speakers

Suneel Gupta

Monday, February 20

Bestselling Author of “Backable”; Expert on Well-Being and Performance in the Changing World of Work; Visiting Scholar, Harvard Medical School

Suneel Gupta

As the founding CEO of RISE, a breakthrough wellness company, Suneel Gupta helped thousands of people build better habits for life and work. Now, as a bestselling author and Harvard Medical School visiting scholar, Gupta helps organizations prevent or correct exhaustion and reach sustainable peak performance by bolstering their people’s emotional resilience. He challenges our reliance on grit and hustle, and instead offers new, science-based ideas for beating burnout and boosting long-term creativity, innovation and productivity.

Gupta is a business survivor and the author of the international bestselling book “Backable” (2020), which reveals the mindset shifts and hidden habits of people who are extraordinary at pushing new ideas forward. The book is rooted in his inner journey from twice-failed entrepreneur to a leader behind two IPOs and being named “The New Face of Innovation” by the New York Stock Exchange. He has partnered with The Second City comedy theater to teach students and executives how to innovate "on-your-feet'' during times of rapid change, and is currently the host of Business Class, a docuseries produced by American Express, where he showcases leaders who embody struggle and resilience.

As visiting scholar at Harvard Medical School, Gupta researches and teaches the interconnection between inner well-being and outer leadership. His next book, which will unveil the habits of high-pressure performers, is slated to be released in 2023.

Nyle DiMarco

Tuesday, February 21

Deaf Activist & Winner of America's Next Top Model and Dancing with the Stars

Nyle DiMarco

Winner of Dancing with the Stars and America’s Next Top Model, Nyle DiMarco, empowers audiences to believe they can do and be anything they want in life, no matter the obstacle. Following his early television success, he is now winning over audiences as an influential leader and ambassador for the Deaf community.

His debut book, "Deaf Utopia: A Memoir and a Love Letter to a Way of Life" (April 2022), recounts his upbringing and the positive impacts of being born into a fourth-generation Deaf family. He was an executive producer on Netflix's Oscar-nominated short documentary, "Audible" (2021) and produced the 2018 return to Broadway of "Children of a Lesser God," starring Joshua Jackson and Lauren Ridloff. DiMarco is an honorary spokesperson for Language Equality and Acquisition for Deaf Kids (LEAD-K) and founder of the Nyle DiMarco Foundation, which works to improve the lives of Deaf people around the world. He was also a creative collaborator on The ASL App, created by native Deaf signers to teach conversational American Sign Language.

DiMarco shares his barrier-breaking story as a Deaf man who has risen above stereotypes to take the world by storm. Believing that his deafness is "an asset rather than a limitation," he builds a bridge between the Deaf and hearing, and shows audiences that with a sense of community, commitment to your goals, and belief in yourself, you can accomplish anything.

Erin Gruwell

Wednesday, February 22

Inspirational Educator & Author of #1 NYT Bestseller, "The Freedom Writers Diary"

Erin Gruwell

Erin Gruwell is a teacher, author and activist who has been fighting for social justice for over two decades. She first gained national attention in 1998 when she and her students appeared on an ABC special, "PrimeTime Live with Connie Chung." Gruwell’s students came from backgrounds of poverty, gangs and violence, and many were at-risk of dropping out of school, but under Gruwell’s guidance, all 150 students — affectionately called Freedom Writers — graduated from high school and pursued higher education. In 1999, Gruwell and the Freedom Writers published their book, "The Freedom Writers Diary," which detailed their journey from hardship to hope. The book became a #1 New York Times bestseller and was adapted into a major motion picture, "Freedom Writers," starring two-time Academy Award-winner Hilary Swank.

Gruwell has used her widened platform to continue her fight for equity and inclusion with her nonprofit, the Freedom Writers Foundation. In 2022, Gruwell and the Freedom Writers Foundation released their latest book, "Dear Freedom Writer." This critically acclaimed book combines heartfelt letters written by the next generation of student authors with deeply personal responses from the original Freedom Writers. She also hosts The Freedom Writers Podcast with guests who are authors, activists and civil rights icons. Gruwell’s powerful message of hope and possibility encourages everyone "to stand up, speak up and speak out."