Main Stage Speakers
Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin, Lake Buena Vista, FL

Nyle DiMarco

Monday, June 5 | 4:30 – 6 p.m. ET

Nyle DiMarco

Winner of America's Next Top Model and Dancing with the Stars; Advocate for the Deaf; New York Times Best-selling Author, Deaf Utopia: A Memoir―and a Love Letter to a Way of Life; Philanthropist and Founder, Nyle DiMarco Foundation.

Nyle DiMarco empowers audiences to believe they can do and be anything they want in life, no matter the obstacle. He won the mirror ball trophy on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars (Season 22) and was the last model standing on The CW’s America’s Next Top Model (Cycle 22). Now Nyle is winning over audiences as an influential leader and ambassador for the deaf community. Born into a multigenerational deaf family, he is an honorary spokesperson for Language Equality and Acquisition for Deaf Kids (LEAD-K) and founder of the Nyle DiMarco Foundation, which works to improve the lives of deaf people around the world. Nyle produced the 2018 return to Broadway of Children of a Lesser God starring Joshua Jackson and Lauren Ridloff and was also a creative collaborator on The ASL App, created by native deaf signers to teach conversational American Sign Language.

With a passion for language, literacy, and advocacy within the deaf community and beyond, Nyle shares his barrier-breaking story as a deaf man who has risen above stereotypes to take the world by storm. Believing that his deafness is “an asset rather than a limitation,” he builds a bridge between the deaf and hearing by shining a light on not only the struggles, but also the triumphs of the deaf culture. Above all, Nyle shows audiences that with a sense of community, commitment to your goals, and belief in yourself, you can accomplish anything.

Nyle’s debut book, Deaf Utopia: A Memoir and a Love Letter to a Way of Life (April 2022), tells of his upbringing and how it was utopian in that he was born into a fourth-generation deaf family.

Sponsored by

Northrop Grumman
Steve Pemberton

Tuesday, June 6 | 1 – 2:15 p.m. ET

Steve Pemberton

Best-selling Author; Philanthropist; Acclaimed Speaker; and Senior-Level Executive for the likes of, Walgreens Boots Alliance, and Workhuman.

Steve Pemberton’s story is about defying seemingly insurmountable odds to become a trail-blazing corporate executive, enlightened diversity leader, visionary youth advocate, and acclaimed speaker. His best-selling memoir, A Chance in the World, recounts his triumphant life journey and drive to become a man of resilience, determination, and vision. Now an upcoming major motion picture, A Chance in the World further amplifies Steve’s highly motivational messages: Believe in your dreams, rise above obstacles, create opportunities for others, and most of all, persevere.

Steve has never forgotten the chances that bent the arc of his life. That is why he has made equality, access, and opportunity pillars of both his professional and personal life. From his participation on several non-profit boards to establishing A Chance in the World Foundation, Steve remains a relentless champion for those who have often been left in the shadows. His commitment to others and his refusal to accept things as they are, has earned him national recognition, including the coveted Trumpet Award and the prestigious Horizon Award by the United States Congress.

Steve currently serves as Chief People Officer for Workhuman. Previously, he served as Global Chief Diversity Officer at Walgreens Boots Alliance, the first global pharmacy-led, health and well-being enterprise in the world. He was the first person in Walgreens’ 100-plus–year history to hold the position of Chief Diversity Officer, overseeing the company’s global efforts to create and maintain a diverse and inclusive environment that reflects the culture, people, and perspectives of the many nations in which they do business. Before his post at Walgreens, Steve was the Chief Diversity Officer for where he helped the company achieve all-time growth in applicants.

Sponsored by

Radhika Dirks

Wednesday, June 7 | 10 – 11:15 a.m. ET

Radhika Dirks, Ph.D.

Forbes' 30 Women in AI To Watch, Quantum Computing Expert, CEO & Co‑Founder of XLabs and Ribo AI

Companies want to aim for moonshots, ideas that can change everything, but landing moonshots isn’t easy. Radhika Dirks is an expert in taking moonshots from start to finish. She does it by using artificial intelligence, and she helps companies and organizations use AI’s great potential. Radhika has a practical framework for how you can form an AI strategy and make your moonshots a reality. This is why Heads of States and Fortune 500 executives seek out her advice, why Forbes named her one of its 30 Women in AI to Watch, why she was named one of the 30 most inspiring women in AI, and why she’s been in Fast Company, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.

Radhika’s artificial intelligence leadership includes co-founding Seldn, an AI start-up that accurately predicted the rise of ISIS two weeks before the New York Times coined the term, and her work as CEO and co-founder of XLabs, a moonshot factory for artificial intelligence innovations that is already solving huge problems—like getting closer to the cure for cancer. Her latest AI has found potential cures in 11 cancers within 1.5 years of launch.

Radhika was also a founding member of Shell Corporation’s $500 million dollar venture capital group and was COO of Rotary Gallop, a game theory–based fintech firm. She is a regular contributor to Singularity University, her work on quantum computing and artificial intelligence has been cited hundreds of times, and she holds a Ph.D. in Quantum Computing and an M.S. in Nanotechnology from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Main Stage Speaker | Virtual

Dr. Nasser H. Paydar

Wednesday, June 28 | 10:30 – 11 a.m. ET

Dr. Nasser H. Paydar

Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education

Dr. Nasser H. Paydar serves as the Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education. Prior to joining the Biden-Harris Administration, Dr. Paydar served as chancellor of Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and executive vice president of Indiana University (IU). An IU faculty member for more than 36 years, he has held various administrative and executive leadership positions at the university. Paydar joined IUPUI in 1985 as an assistant professor of mechanical engineering. From 1989 to 2003, he held several positions in the school, including chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, associate dean for graduate programs, associate dean for academic programs, and executive associate dean. From 2004 to 2007, he served as vice chancellor and dean of Indiana University–Purdue University Columbus. Paydar was appointed chancellor of Indiana University East in 2007, serving in that role until he returned to IUPUI in 2012, when he was named the campus’s executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer. He became IUPUI’s fifth chancellor in 2015. As an IUPUI faculty member, he has served as principal and co-principal investigator on research grants from federal and state agencies and private companies, including Cummins Electronics, DePuy, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Army, and the U.S. Naval Air Warfare Center. His research in solid mechanics, with applications in biomechanics and electronic packaging, has been published widely in scientific journals. Paydar earned bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in mechanical engineering from Syracuse University.

Ellen Bennett

Wednesday, June 28 | 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. ET

Ellen Bennett

Founder and CEO, Hedley & Bennett, Author, Entrepreneur

At 25 years old, Ellen Bennett was a cook at a 2-Michelin-Star restaurant in LA; yet she was still tying on the same $5 apron found in every diner and pub along Hollywood Boulevard. So, she took her modest $300 savings and turned it into the largest gourmet apron manufacturer in the world. The same go-getter attitude that helped her launch Hedley & Bennett—a multi-million-dollar brand beloved by the likes of Martha Stewart and Momofuku’s David Chang. In her inspiring, actionable talks, as well as her new book, Bennett reveals what you need to get out of your head and launch into action.

Dream First, Details Later is Bennett’s forged-in-the-fire guidebook on how to quit overthinking and make things happen. Alongside her honest, encouraging, and hard-won advice, she shares her own personal journey, starting with the 2012 New York Marathon where she realized that she and her fellow restaurant workers were athletes, and like athletes, they needed a uniform—functional and beautiful. With little more than a unique idea and a personal constitution to “wake up and fight,” Bennett swapped cooking for sewing to complete her first order. By the time she was 30, she had transformed a “better apron idea” into the culinary lifestyle brand Hedley & Bennett.

From candidly breaking down her self-starting attitude— “If the front door isn’t open, climb in through the window”—to opening up about the “non-sexy parts of being an entrepreneur,” Bennett pulls the veil back on what it means to grow your own business in her colorful, funny talks. Audiences will walk away with a renewed motivation, passion, and perseverance for pursuing their goals, no matter the obstacles in the way.

Today, Bennett’s must-have aprons are found in thousands of restaurants, and her line includes chef coats, work shirts, and kitchen linens. Hedley & Bennett is stocked everywhere from Williams Sonoma to Whole Foods, and Bennett’s success story—and entrepreneurial insights—have been featured in Fast Company, Forbes, and The Today Show. Bennett also serves as an investor and Creative-at-large for The Fire House Hotel, an independent boutique hotel and has been signed as an in-house creator for Tasty, the Buzzfeed-owned viral video food series boasting nearly 17 million subscribers.