Virtual Summit Speakers

Baratunde ThurstonBaratunde Thurston

Opening Keynote: 
“How to Deconstruct Racism One Headline at a Time”

Time: 9:10 a.m.

Baratunde Thurston is an Emmy-nominated host who has worked for The Onion, produced for The Daily Show, advised the Barack Obama White House, and wrote the New York Times bestseller How To Be Black. He’s the executive producer and host of two podcasts: “How To Citizen with Baratunde” and “We’re Having A Moment.” He’s also the creator and host of the weekly pandemic show, “Live On Lockdown.” In 2019, he delivered “How to Deconstruct Racism One Headline at a Time," which MSNBC’s Brian Williams called “one of the greatest TED talks of all time,” and upon which his keynote is based.

Thurston’s mind, forged by his mother’s lessons and polished by a philosophy degree from Harvard, has found expression in the pages of Fast Company and the New York Times; the screens of HBO, Comedy Central, CNN, MSNBC, and BBC; and the sound waves of National Public Radio and podcasts such as "Pivot," "WTF," and "Hello, Monday." He has hosted shows and stories on NatGeo and Discovery’s Science Channel and earned a Daytime Emmy nomination for hosting the Spotify/Mic series "Clarify."

Right now, the writer, activist, and comedian is using his powerful voice to help people understand this revolutionary moment with his unique blend of insight, humor, and empathy. Thurston serves on the boards of BUILD and the Brooklyn Public Library and lives in Los Angeles.


Helen FaganHelen Fagan, Ph.D.

Closing Keynote:
“Flying a Plane While Remodeling It: How Inclusive Leaders Rise to the Challenge Called 2020”

Time: 2 p.m.

With expertise in developing inclusive leaders, organizations, and communities and over 25 years’ experience in the human resource field, Fagan’s expertise ranges from local work and teaching in Nebraska to many national and international presentations. Through her work she defines inclusive leadership and explores actionable steps leaders can take as they create effective teams of people from various backgrounds and experiences for the sake of team innovation and personal growth.

A leadership and diversity scholar and practitioner, Fagan shares her award-winning leadership expertise with several organizations in her local community as well as groups nationally and internationally. Her work includes individual, team, and organizational development and coaching.

Fagan has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Resource Management and Economics from the University of Nebraska and a Master’s in Management with emphasis in Leadership from Doane College. She studied International Economics and British Political Economy at Oxford University and holds a Ph.D. in Human Sciences with emphasis in Leadership Studies, also the University of Nebraska. She is a Certified Diversity Trainer through the Society for Human Resource Management in 2001 and is qualified to administer the Intercultural Development Inventory.

By sharing her expertise and experiences openly with others, Fagan helps local and national organizations launch or enhance their diversity efforts.