SHRM Diversity & Inclusion Conference


2012 Keynote Speakers

Leymah Gbowee

Leymah Gbowee
Nobel Peace Prize Winner and Columnist, Newsweek Daily Beast 
Monday, October 22 | 1:30 p.m.–3:00 p.m.

Mighty Be Our Powers
As a young woman, Leymah Gbowee was broken by the Liberian civil war, a brutal conflict that tore apart her life and claimed the lives of countless relatives and friends. Years of fighting destroyed her country—and shattered Gbowee’s girlhood hopes and dreams. As a young mother trapped in a nightmare of domestic abuse, she found the courage to turn her bitterness into action, propelled by her realization that it is women who suffer most during conflicts—and that the power of women working together can create an unstoppable force. In 2003, the passionate and charismatic Gbowee helped organize and then led the Liberian Mass Action for Peace, a coalition of Christian and Muslim women who sat in public protest, confronting Liberia ’s ruthless president and rebel warlords, and even held a sex strike. With an army of women, Gbowee helped lead her nation to peace—in the process emerging as an international leader who changed history. Gbowee will share her journey from hopelessness to empowerment that will touch all who dream of a better world as well as the lessons she learned along the way to help transform both communities and societies and the critical role that diversity played along the way.

About Leymah Gbowee
2011 Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee is a Liberian peace activist, trained social worker and women’s rights advocate. She is Founder and President of the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa, head of the Liberia Reconciliation Initiative and Co-Founder and Executive Director of Women Peace and Security Network Africa (WIPSEN-A). She is also a founding member and former Liberia Coordinator of Women in Peacebuilding Network/West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WIPNET/WANEP). Gbowee’s leadership of the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace – which brought together Christian and Muslim women in a nonviolent movement that played a pivotal role in ending Liberia’s civil war in 2003 – is chronicled in her memoir, "Mighty Be Our Powers," and in the documentary, "Pray the Devil Back to Hell." In addition, Gbowee is the Newsweek/Daily Beast's Africa columnist. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Gbowee Peace Foundation USA, Nobel Women’s Initiative and the PeaceJam Foundation, and she is a member of the African Women Leaders Network for Reproductive Health and Family Planning. She holds a M.A. in Conflict Transformation from Eastern Mennonite University (Harrisonburg, VA). She is based in Monrovia, Liberia and is the mother of six. 



 Candi Castleberry

Candi Castleberry-Singleton
Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Tuesday, October 23 | 8:30 a.m.–9:45 a.m.

The Journey to Inclusion: From Corporate America to a United America
For many with a passion for inclusion, our journey began long before we ever carried the title of diversity practitioner. Our passion, skills and expertise have been nurtured over a lifetime of experiences. Learn how one chief inclusion and diversity officer moved from sales to practitioner, from a focus on diversity and inclusion to dignity and respect, from the responsibility of building the business case to championing a national movement.

About Candi Castleberry-Singleton
Candi Castleberry-Singleton is the chief inclusion and diversity officer at UPMC, a $10 billion, 20-hospital global health system and health plan. She is responsible for developing UPMC’s inclusion strategy, including its Dignity & Respect Campaign and Cultural Competency Initiative, as well as for overseeing progress toward system-wide goals involving 55,000 employees. In 2008, she launched the UPMC Center for Inclusion.

An experienced strategist, Castleberry-Singleton created The Integrated Inclusion Model, a systems integration model that helps companies transition from compliance-driven processes led by human resources, to integrated activities that shift the responsibility for achieving an inclusive culture to every employee. The model is featured in Crossing the Divide: Intergroup Leadership in a World of Difference (Harvard Business School Press, August 2009). Her inclusion initiatives have been implemented at Motorola, where she was vice president of global inclusion and diversity, and at Sun Microsystems, where she led the Global Inclusion Center of Expertise.

Recently, Castleberry-Singleton was named a 2010 Top Woman of Substance in Healthcare by Heart & Soul Magazine, one of the 25 Influential Black Women by The Network Journal, Top 100 African Americans in Corporate America by Savoy Magazine and a Woman of Humility by Point Park University in Pittsburgh. In 2009, Castleberry-Singleton was named one of the 50 Women of Excellence by The New Pittsburgh Courier and recognized by Diversity MBA Magazine as a Top 50 under 50 Executive Leader.


Dr. John J. Medina

Dr. John J. Medina
Developmental molecular biologist and research consultant
Tuesday, October 23 | 1:45 p.m.–3:00 p.m.

Brain Rules: Principles of Thriving at Work
Your brain is an amazing thing. Join Dr. John Medina as he shares his lifelong interest in how the brain sciences influence the way we work. He will describe two of his 12 brain rules—what scientists know for sure about how our brains work—and then offers transformative ideas for our daily lives. Medina will talk about Rule #4: We don’t pay attention to boring things and what this means when engaging employees as well as getting the most out of our own work. Multitasking is not a good thing! Walk into any office and you’ll see people sending e-mail, answering their phones and on Facebook—all at the same time. Research shows your error rate goes up 50 percent and it takes you twice as long to do things. What’s different about males and females? That is what Medina will talk about with Rule #11: Male and female brains are different. Males exhibit more antisocial behavior. Females have more anxiety. Men and women handle acute stress differently. Men and women process certain emotions differently. Emotions are useful. They make the brain pay attention. Medina’s fascinating stories and infectious sense of humor breathe life into brain science. In the end, you’ll understand how your brain really works—and how to get the most out of it.

About John Medina
Dr. John J. Medina, a developmental molecular biologist, has a lifelong fascination with how the mind reacts to and organizes information. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School—a provocative book that takes on the way our schools and work environments are designed. Medina is an affiliate professor of bioengineering at the University of Washington School of Medicine. He is also the director of the Brain Center for Applied Learning Research at Seattle Pacific University.

J.R. Martinez

Jose Rene "J.R." Martinez 
American actor, motivational speaker and former U.S. Army soldier
Wednesday, October 24 | 11:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m.

Paying It Forward: The Return Is Priceless
All of us have the power to make an impact on a life, either positively or negatively. Our words, our actions are powerful. How we treat others not only affects them, it shapes us. And, frankly, why should we do something for someone else? The payoff is bigger than you can imagine. When you use the unique power and gifts you have inside to help others, not only do you benefit, but the person you help can teach you things about yourself in a positive light. J.R. Martinez will share his journey and insights into how you can pay it forward in this inspirational session.

About J.R. Martinez
2011 turned out to be a banner year for Jose Rene “J.R.” Martinez. Not only did he and his dance partner Karina Smirnoff take ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” season 13 coveted mirror ball trophy, he was also named the 2012 Tournament of Roses Grand Marshal. He is an actor, spokesman and retired soldier. Martinez played “Brot Monroe” on the Emmy Award-winning daytime drama “All My Children.”

After high school he joined the army. Martinez was proud to serve, as a way to give something back to a country that had already given so much to him and his family. In March 2003, Martinez was deployed to Iraq, and on April 5, less than a month into his deployment, he was serving as a driver of a Humvee in Karbala when his left front tire hit a landmine. Three other soldiers with Martinez were ejected from the burning vehicle, but he was trapped inside and suffered smoke inhalation and severe burns to more than 40 percent of his body. Martinez travels the country to spread his message of resilience and optimism. He devotes himself to showing others the true value in making the most of every situation.


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