Each year at Fall Meeting we work to bring keynote speakers and experiences that help our participants think more deeply about their own practice, learn new skills, and ultimately to be inspired to move into action for the students you serve. This year, we are honored to announce the following keynote speakers:

Taiwo Demola

Taiwo Demola is a senior at Classical High School and represents CHS as a delegate for the Providence Student Union, a youth-led education advocacy organization in Providence, RI. As part of PSU, Taiwo advocates for the implementation of student voice in the classroom by actively shedding light on the importance of youth empowerment. Steadfast in her effort, Taiwo has assumed numerous roles as a representative on the Superintendent’s Student Council, a Teen Ambassador for Trinity Repertory Company, a Member of the Principal’s Inner Circle as well as the Providence Public Schools Ethnic Studies Task Force. In addition, Taiwo is the Co-founder of Diversity Talks, an alternative student-led approach to project development that strives to assist educators in their journey to create meaningful connections through conversation.

She is a graduate of Sophia Academy, a small nonprofit all-girls middle school based in the Providence area that aims to provide women from low-income families a quality education with a curriculum rooted on the foundation of social justice. During her time at Sophia Academy, Taiwo attended numerous educational conferences, fostered connections with local community organizations and participated in Sophia’s seminar class in which she won the Sister Mary O’ Riley Justice and Gender award for her outstanding performance.

Fearless Dialogues

Fearless Dialogues is an Atlanta-based grassroots movement that creates unique spaces for partners to engage in hard, heartfelt conversations that see gifts in others, hear value in stories, and work for change and positive transformation in self and other. Fearless Dialogues bridges the gap by creating spaces to see the invisible, hear the silenced, and work for change for self and other.

Greg Ellison, Ph.D. is the founder of Fearless Dialogues. Greg is a product of the Atlanta Public School System and a proud alumnus of Frederick Douglass High School. He is a professor at Emory University, where he has received multiple awards for teaching. He is the author of two books and is an ordained Baptist minister. Since founding Fearless Dialogues in 2013, Greg and his team have traveled extensively both domestically and internationally and gathered nearly 6,000 partners at churches, universities, and public schools to engage in heard, heartfelt conversations.

Fearless Dialogues sessions are led by teams of educators, artists, activists and healers – that they call animators. They explain their work by talking about the term ‘Fearless’.  Fear + Less not Fear-less. It is nearly impossible to hold a hard, heartfelt conversation with an unlikely partner about a difficult subject without fear.  Therefore, we conceive “fearless” as a compound word (“fear+less”) and not as a root word and suffix (“fear -less”).  We believe in a uniquely structured environment where fears are acknowledged, unlikely partners can take courage, fear+less, and engage in hard, heartfelt conversation.

Several Fearless Dialogues animators will help us open and close our conference, and will also be providing a learning experience on Friday. Click here to learn more about their organization!