Check out the talks on YouTube.


Mwende Katwiwa is a spoken word artist who goes by FreeQuency when performing. A senior at Tulane University majoring in Political Economy and Africa & African Diaspora Studies, Katwiwa is also a producer for Tulane University’s Vagina Monologues and is Chair of the Black Arts Festival on campus. A native of Kenya, Katwiwa is interested in pursuing a career in community and international development with a focus on women’s empowerment. She is also a blogger with Winnovating, a site that profile women innovators, and with The Anna Julia Cooper Project on Race, Gender and Politics in the South. In her spare time, Katwiwa can be found performing her poetry around the city at various events and venues in the WhoDatPoets scene.

Ophir Haberer

Ophir is a senior in Tulane University, studying Economics and International Development, with an interest in sustainable development. During his freshman year he founded the Tulane Hope Gardens Project, introducing students to urban agriculture and sustainable practices. He has also created a group for Freecycling at Tulane, where students lend, borrow, and trade goods in order to reduce waste and consumption, and Swipe Me!, which links underclassmen and upperclassmen with a meal exchange. Currently, Ophir is an intrapeneur for CELT, initiating the Green Wave Community Market for students; a market geared towards building a stronger off-campus community and enhancing student access to fresh, local produce and goods.

Nick Sarillo

Nick Sarillo is the founder, CEO and “primary keeper” of the Purpose and Operational Values of Nick’s Pizza & Pub – the sixth busiest independent pizza company in per-store sales in the United States. Founded with the purpose of providing the community with an unforgettable place where families could relax and have fun, Nick’s Pizza & Pub has margins nearly twice that of the average pizza restaurant and boasts an 80 percent employee retention rate in an industry in which the average annual turnover is nearly 150 percent. Nick credits his company’s success to his purpose-driven culture, which is the focus of his new book, A Slice of the Pie: How to Build a Big Little Business (Portfolio; 2012). His insights have been featured in The New York Times, The Economist, Inc., Fast Company and Investor’s Business Daily.

Sonny Lee

Bivian (Sonny) Lee III, 31, is the Founder & President of the Son of a Saint Foundation, an organization that enhances the lives of fatherless males through mentorship, education, sports and mental health.  Lee, the son of a former New Orleans Saints defensive back, lost his father at a very young age and the impact of that loss in his life fueled his passion to provide direction and opportunity to these youngsters. In 2011, Sonny Lee was selected to Gambit Magazines’ exclusive 40 Under 40 Club, a distinction awarded to high achievers for their accomplishments and contributions to the City.  Recently he created and produced the ‘Son of a Saint Code Of Conduct’, a guide that provides specific life practices to young males.  Lee is also in the process of authoring Son of A Saint book based on his life and the organization. His passion is speaking to young males about the importance of education, community service and making quality decisions.

Sonny Lee is available to speak to your community or organization. Please email with your requests and for more information.

Todd Shaffer

Todd Shaffer has worked with Young Audiences of Louisiana since 1995 as a teaching artist, site administrator, summer program director, visual arts supervisor and Arts in Education Specialist. For 10 years, he was director of the Modern Primitive Art Gallery in Atlanta, GA, one of the nation’s leading galleries for outsider art in the south.  Todd was responsible for gallery operations as well as corporate sales to the House of Blues Collection, the largest public art collection. With Young Audiences, Todd has taught workshops at schools across Louisiana focused on accessing math, literacy, and science through the visual arts as well as Asian art, Outsider art, and Abstract Expressionism.

Jerry DeWitt

Jerry DeWitt is an author, public speaker, secular minister, V.P. of Dogma Debate LLC, and loyal Louisiana resident. His Christian ministry began at age seventeen as he evangelized the United States and assisted in three Pentecostal churches. Later he held the pastorate of two fundamentalist congregations. After more than twenty-five years of ministry he realized he had become an Atheist. Jerry is currently engaged in two projects. First, building a Secular “church” community in Lake Charles Louisiana named Community Mission Chapel and second,  touring with his memoir ‘Hope After Faith‘, which was release in June 2013 by Da Capo Press. He also sits on the board of both The Clergy Project and The Foundation Beyond Belief.

Sally Kenney

A native of Iowa, Sally J. Kenney earned her a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Iowa, a B.A. and M.A. in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics from Magdalen College, Oxford, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Politics from Princeton University. In 2010 Kenney joined Tulane University as the first Newcomb College Endowed Chair, the executive director of the Newcomb College Institute, and a Professor of Political Science. Her research interests include gender and judging, judicial selection, feminist social movements, women and electoral politics, the European Court of Justice, exclusionary employment policies, and pregnancy discrimination. Kenney has also served on the Minnesota Supreme Court’s Gender Fairness Implementation Taskforce and co-founded of The Infinity Project to increase gender diversity in the state and federal bench. Her latest book is entitled “Gender and Justice: Why Women in the Judiciary Really Matter.”

Roxanne Heston

Roxanne Heston is a freshman at Tulane University passionate about helping those most in need. Roxanne’s focus on the general reduction suffering, regardless of its source, lead her to find the effective altruism movement this past winter. Effective altruism (EA), a growing initiative based on impact analysis of charitable work, offered her a unique crossover between the “head” and the “heart.” Now a member of Giving What We Can, Roxanne has pledged to give a portion of her income to the causes that “can most effectively help people in developing countries.” After attending the EA Summit this summer, Roxanne is eager to spread the word about this innovative approach to service through direct work within the movement and outreach to others.

Shira Abramowitz

Shira completed a Bcom with a dual focus on International Business and Neuroscience, and co-founded her first social enterprise, Campus Swaps while a student at McGill University. After sailing to 13 countries as the Associate Director of the global accelerator, Unreasonable at Sea, Shira has now joined the team at Summit where she works in content and partnerships while building community on top of a mountain.

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