Featured Speakers

Roberto Rivera

From Surviving to Thriving: Creating an Ecosystem where Everyone can Flourish

In this talk Roberto speaks to educators, community members, and students in what they can do to make education more rigorous and transformative both inside and outside of the classroom. Making the call for authentic relationships between staff and students, cultivating cultural competence, and enhancing teacher/student voice; Roberto will remix his research with storytelling in a way that is sure to illuminate minds and motivate action.

Roberto Rivera is an award winning artist, educator, and change agent who specializes in applying best practices in engaging youth using practical and relevant methods. Roberto Rivera received his undergraduate degree at UW-Madison where he created his own major entitled “Social Change, Youth Culture and the Arts”. He received his Master’s Degree at UIC in Youth Development with a focus on Social Justice, Urban Education, and Hip-hop. He currently is the President and Lead Change Agent of the Good Life Org., an organization that publishes multi-media educational tools and trains educators, youth workers, and parents in connecting positive youth development to community development. Roberto’s presentations are unique in that they not only include scientific based research, but that they also include his own story of transforming from a dope dealer to a hope dealer, to incorporating stories from his work with communities around the nation. His unique ability to code-switch from sharing research and data to stories and poems leaves audiences standing with enlightened minds and moved hearts.

Andre Koen

Beyond Diversity: An Infusion with Inclusion

In this session, we will look beyond diversity, build on equity and develop the skills necessary the create inclusion in our organizations. As we challenge paradigms, examine our attitude and interact in thought-provoking dialogue we will engage in a process of modeling inclusion. Inclusion is not just a concept but must be purposely infused in every aspect of our organizations.

Andre Koen is a highly skilled community leader, public speaker, mentor, and activist. He has become well known for his highly acclaimed creation of innovative and behavioral changing courses, both for the classroom and online learning. This unique curriculum includes diversity education, cross-cultural competence, sensitivity training and team building. Additionally, Koen has extensive experience in educating others regarding anti-racism by sharing skills that diffuse tense or stressful situations, which can arise in anyone’s personal or professional life. Koen’s approach moves people's behaviors not by pushing them or making them feel guilty but by teaching them to dissect, analyze, and make meaning of the issues that challenge us. Audiences are motivated to create positive change regarding diversity and inclusion in their organization and community.

WTCS New North