Speakers & Panels

Breakout Panels


Panel schedule, moderators and panelists will be announced in the coming weeks. Panels are subject to change. Attendees will have the opportunity to attend up to five of the following panels, in addition to the keynote address and other social and networking events during the Summit.

Race, Trauma and Education 

From microaggressions to ethnic slurs to outright racism from both fellow students and teachers, just going to school can be traumatic for black and brown students. How does that contribute to the disparities in outcomes like reading proficiency? And what can be done about it?

Women's Wellness: The Internal and External Impact

Disparities in health and wellness for women of color have deep and lasting effects on families and children. In fact, African American babies born in Wisconsin die before age 1 at a higher rate than any other state in  the US. Listen to health care experts lay out what needs to happen to work toward equity in health care for women of color.

The Power We Hold: The Impact of Our Local Elected Officials

Local governments -- city councils, county boards, school boards -- do a lot of the work that affect our daily lives, often without much recognition. Hear from elected leaders of color serving in these roles about the challenges they face and opportunities they find to do some real good in their communities throughout the state of Wisconsin.

Who Tells Our Stories? Representation in Local Media

Who tells our stories? Local media often set the narrative in our communities. Join media and mass communications experts to discuss how people of color are represented in the local news and what that means to your work.

The Bridges We Build and Burn: How the Generational Gap in Civil Rights and Social Justice Pushes Us Forward and Sets Us Back

Activists from an older generation do things one way, while the next generation often has different ideas and employs different tactics. We're all going the same direction -- how can we bridge the gap between the Civil Rights generation and Millennials?

Together We Stand: Building Community Across Ethnic Lines 

How can Black, Latinx, Asian, First Nations and other groups work together and support each other? Why are we so often at odds? Our panel of activists will grapple with how we can get past the "divide and conquer" tradition to work together.

Incarceration to Occupation

This panel will examine the many challenges individuals face when moving from incarceration to occupation, finding community and home and a sense of self in the workforce. 

Women of Excellence 

Women of color face more barriers than anyone. Hear the inspiring stories of several who are thriving and shining.

Beyond Forward, Part 1: Have Community Colleges and Tech Schools Prepared the Next Generation for the Workforce Our State Needs?
Beyond Forward, Part 2: Have Four-Year Colleges and Universities Prepared the Next Generation for the Workforce Our State Needs?

Are our colleges and universities giving our young people of color the tools they need to really thrive in the workforce of the future? Are we creating a talent pool that can support a thriving, inclusive economy? What are our higher education institutions doing to create a more inclusive and equitable economy ten years from now? Two separate panels will address how our community colleges and four-year universities are tackling these questions.

Finding Home: The Importance of Cultural Centers on the College Campus 

When a young person goes off to college, it's more important than ever to find a home where they can be themselves and maintain their own cultural identity. The campus cultural center movement aims to provide that home away from home. Our panel of those doing the work on campuses across the state will discuss the importance of these centers and what they'll look like in the future. 

The Socially Conscious Brand: How to Put Forward an Authentic Brand Story

Brands work hard to stay relevant and culturally aware -- but how authentic are their branding and marketing efforts? How can brands convey a socially aware and inclusive message without pandering or appropriating? Our panel of experts has some thoughts.

Backing the Culture: Investing in Diversity and Inclusion Beyond the Mission Statement 

Corporate culture comes from the top. A company dedicated to diversity and inclusion within its ranks needs a CEO and leadership team who are all in. Our panel of D&I executives will discuss where their commitment comes from and how it works in their day-to-day.

Claiming Our Seats at the Table: Ensuring Greater Diversity in the Nonprofit Boardroom

Nonprofit organizations can say they're dedicated to diversity and inclusion, but too often, their boards of directors tell a different story -- even when those nonprofits serve minority populations. Our panel will look at why diversity in the board room is critical to success and how to achieve it. 

Crossing our Ts and Dotting our Is: What's Working in K12?

Teachers, principals and others in the education sector will share success stories and best practices that have helped all students succeed.

Wisconsin's Emerging Leaders

Who are the next generation of most influential leaders? Get to know some up and comers in entrepreneurship, government and more.

Our Experience in Our Words: College Students Speak Up

What do college and university students need from their communities, their colleges and their prospective employers to entice them to stay in Wisconsin? Hear from them directly in one of last year's most popular panels.

The Silent & Invisible Workforce: the Importance of Civil Servants

Public servants working in every level of city, county and state government affect the day to day lives of people across the state. How do they work to ensure all are served?

Collaborate or Compete? How Nonprofits Can Work Together to Succeed

Too often, nonprofit organizations compete for scarce resources. How can more collaboration lead to better, more efficient outcomes?

Ethnic Chambers of Commerce: Why We Matter and How to Use Us

Whatever your ethnicity, there's probably a chamber of commerce that exists solely to help your business thrive. Learn how these organizations operate and what they have to offer.

Staying Centered: Health and Wellness for Leaders & Professionals

All too often, people of color in leadership positions or demanding careers pour all their energy into their jobs or obligatiions to others and neglect their own health and wellness. Learn how to strike a balance, lean on your squad, and take care of yourself as well as your community.

Before the Launch: What You Need to Know to Start Up

Whether you're starting a new business or nonprofit organization, there are a few things you absolutely must know before you make the leap. 

The View from the C-Suite: How People of Color Rise to Executive Management and What They Do When They Arrive

How do people of color overcome barriers to get to those top leadership roles in the corporate sector? And how do they make the most of the power that comes with those positions? Hear directly from some of the most successful people in the state.

Building Wealth, Transforming Communities: Development as a Way Toward Equity

There is real power in building neighborhoods, and that power is now in the hands of more and more people of color. Hear some of them discuss their intentional efforts to create long-term wealth and equity through real estate development.

Addressing Disparities in the Health Care System

Access to health care remains one of the areas of deepest disparities affecting communities of color. In this panel several of Wisconsin's health system leaders will discuss what their organizations are doing to address this critical issue.

Your Master of Ceremonies


Brandon Williams, former Wisconsin Badgers and NFL wide receiver, will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the entire conference. Brandon is on the front lines when it comes to motivating, educating and empowering athletes, entrepreneurs and executives on the importance of creating a winning culture. Through his experiences as a NFL player, Entrepreneur, Author and Sports Commentator he has learned how to succeed and thrive despite the interceptions that life often deals unexpectedly. His purpose in life is to share the principles that have helped him build a successful post-NFL career. Distinctive excellence defines all Brandon sets out to do. Brandon earned a communications degree and an entrepreneurship certificate from the University of Wisconsin. In the NFL, he played for the Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, and St. Louis Rams. Upon leaving the NFL in 2010 Brandon began a broadcasting career with the Big Ten Network and ESPN radio. Brandon has worked with and interviewed hundreds of Athletes and Entrepreneurs to find out what it takes to build transformational leadership qualities. As an entrepreneur himself he successfully runs Madison Noteworthy, a video based website that captures the stories of noteworthy Entrepreneurs in Madison. His book, Millionaire Mindset – 7 Principles Athletes Need to Gain Financial Freedom, is enhanced with essential principles to give aspiring professional athletes, and current professional athletes, the tools to create a blueprint for financial freedom. Brandon’s success formula? Passion + Purpose = Success.