Featured Speakers and Panelists

Opening Keynote

Dr. Steve Perry

#1 Education Speaker and Daytime TV Host
PLENARY: Opening Keynote Address, Tuesday, October 22

Dr. Steve Perry is one of the most sought-after Nationwide Motivational Speaker in America. Widely respected by grassroots community members and internationally renowned leaders as an educator, social worker and public speaker, his charismatic and compelling voice is an inspiration.

He is the educator Oprah Winfrey, Sean “P-Diddy” Combs, Bishop TD Jakes and Steve Harvey call on to offer insight to parents and children. A diverse array of politicians and groups, from the Urban League to ALEC, have reached out to Dr. Perry to better understand what matters to parents.

Dr. Steve Perry opened his third school, helped Steve Harvey write his new book “Jump,” has spoken in over 79 communities and completed his sixth book “Transparanting” in the beginning of 2018 and for 2019 is working on his fourth school with Sean “Diddy” Combs as an investor pledging 1 million dollars to fund the school for local youth. His impact is profound and varied and showing no signs of slowing down.

Learn more about Dr. Perry

Closing Keynote

Dikembe Mutombo

Chairman and President, Dikembe Mutombo Foundation, Inc. and NBA Legend
PLENARY:  Wednesday, October 23

NBA Legend Dikembe Mutombo was born in the capital city of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mutombo is the seventh of ten children born to Samuel and the late Biamba Marie Mutombo. He arrived in the United States in 1987 on an academic scholarship to attend Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. In his second year at Georgetown, Coach John Thompson invited the 7’2″ Mutombo to try out for the university’s renowned basketball team.

After joining the team, Mutombo re-directed his pre-med ambitions and graduated from Georgetown with dual degrees in Linguistics and Diplomacy. He is fluent in nine languages, including five African languages. He played professional basketball for 18 years before retiring from the Houston Rockets in 2009.

Giving back has always been a trademark of Mutombo ever since he entered the NBA in 1991. As a former spokesman for CARE, the international relief agency, Mutombo visited the Somali refugee camps in Northern Kenya in 1993 and traveled with NBA Commissioner David Stern and Georgetown colleagues Patrick Ewing and Alonzo Mourning to Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Learn more about Dikembe and the Foundation

Featured Speakers and Panelists

Dr. Karl Alexander

John Dewey Professor Emeritus Sociology Academy Professor and NSLA Board Member

Dr. Alexander’s research tries to understand why some children, and some kinds of children, are more successful in school than others and how this affects them later in life. He is particularly interested in the role schools play in society’s system of stratification, and how youngsters perform in school is an important part of the picture.

His work generally adopts a social-psychological, life-course perspective. In broad terms, it explores how aspects of personal development that are relevant to school success respond to influences at home and school, and to the intersection of experiences across these two institutional contexts.

Rich Berlin

Executive Director, DREAM and NSLA Board Member

Executive Director at DREAM since 1997, Richard Berlin is also a founding member of DREAM Charter School. Mr. Berlin began his connection with DREAM as a volunteer baseball coach in 1994. Under his leadership, DREAM has grown from a seasonal recreation program with one staff member to a thriving community-based organization recognized locally and nationally with numerous awards for programmatic and operational excellence.

Mr. Berlin holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and attended a Master’s Program in Political Theory at the London School of Economics and Political Science in London, England.

Carlos Duran

Grants Manager, New York Life Foundation

Carlos Duran is the grants manager of the New York Life Foundation and assists in managing the grants and operations budgets for the Corporate Responsibility Department. In his 11 years at New York Life, Carlos also handled accounting issues in the Corporate Services Department. Carlos earned a BBA in Accounting degree from St. Bonaventure University.

Aaron Philip Dworkin

Chief Executive Officer, NSLA

Aaron joined the National Summer Learning Association as Chief Executive Officer on June 3, 2019 having most recently served as President of the After-School All-Stars National Network – a non-profit organization providing free afterschool and summer programs to 90,000 low income students in more than 450 Title I schools in 20 major cities across the United States.

Aaron is a frequent presenter at national education conferences, a graduate of Tufts University, a former Coro Fellow in Public Affairs and holds master’s degrees from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

Elizabeth Fowlkes

Senior Vice President, Program, Training and Youth Development, Boys and Girls Club of America.

She is responsible for leading Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s program strategy and design, as well as the development of a Club Impact/Program Model that reflects our collective learning and experience about how Clubs provide extraordinary opportunities for our members to succeed. In her previous role, as Senior Vice President of Planning & Measurement, she played a key role in the development of the Great Futures 2025 Strategic Direction. Elizabeth also led the design and development of BGCA’s National Youth Outcomes Initiative, an unparalleled system built to measure the impact of Boys & Girls Clubs.



Leslie Gabay-Swanston

Director of Program and Systems Building, NSLA

Leslie translates NSLA’s strategic priorities into services, projects, and partnerships that strengthen summer learning programs and build capacity for providers, intermediaries, and communities.

Jodi Grant

Executive Director, Afterschool Alliance

Since 2005, Jodi Grant has been Executive Director of the Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization working to ensure that all children and youth have access to quality, affordable afterschool programs. As Executive Director, Grant oversees all aspects of the Afterschool Alliance’s work – setting its goals and strategies for reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, working with the field to help programs tap into federal funding streams, and supervising research to help national, state and local afterschool advocates and providers support, create and expand quality afterschool programs.

Rachel Gwaltney

Vice President, Policy and Research, NSLA

As Vice President of Policy and Research, Rachel leads NSLA’s efforts to improve federal and state policy conditions for summer activities; and to develop, steward, and share research related to summer opportunities.

Audrey Henson

Founder & CEO, College to Congress

Audrey was inspired to create College to Congress after her own experience landing and navigating her first congressional internship. She works directly with C2C’s partners, mission investors, and mentors our interns.

Audrey frequently speaks on the importance of diversity and inclusion initiatives within government at venues such as The US Congress, American University Women & Politics Institute, WeWork Creator Awards Events, as well as various student organizations and advocacy groups. Audrey has been recognized as on DC Inno’s Founders on Fire and the Most Influential Leaders Under 40 by Washington Life magazine.

Jack Jessen

Regional President Northeast, Clear Channel Outdoor

As Regional President of Clear Channel Outdoor  (CCO)-Northeast, Jack Jessen has direct responsibility for New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Salisbury and Atlanta markets. He oversees all areas of sales, real estate, public affairs, operations and finance across the region.

Jessen has over 25 years in the media industry. Prior to his current role, he served as President and General Manager for CCO-Atlanta through 2016. And prior to joining CCO, Jack held several senior sales leadership roles with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) across their digital and print platforms as their Advertising Sales Director.


Jason D. King

Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications, Clear Channel Outdoor

As Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications for Clear Channel Outdoor, Jason D. King oversees and executes communications and media relations strategies for Clear Channel Outdoor North America’s 38 markets plus Clear Channel Airports.


Katie Landes

Director of the Georgia Statewide Afterschool Network (GSAN)

Katie Landes is the director of the Georgia Statewide Afterschool Network (GSAN), a public-private collaborative dedicated to advancing, connecting and supporting quality afterschool programs to promote the success of children and youth throughout Georgia. Katie joined Voices for Georgia’s Children, the home of GSAN, in 2013 in this role and prior to that, served as the project coordinator for the Georgia Afterschool Investment Council, the former home of GSAN. She previously taught kindergarten and third grade in Atlanta Public Schools as a Teach for America corps member. She earned a Masters in Social Work at Georgia State University and her Bachelors of Arts from Washington University in St. Louis.

Milton Little, Jr.

President, United Way of Greater Atlanta

Milton J. Little, Jr. became the first African-American president of United Way of Greater Atlanta, the second-largest in the national system, in July 2007. Altogether, Little has helped raise more than half a billion dollars for local community needs and priorities.

Before joining United Way, he served as chief operating officer and interim president and CEO of the National Urban League. He graduated magna cum laude from Morehouse College with a B.A. in sociology and earned an M.A. in urban sociology and social policy from Columbia University.

Reggie Love

Vice President, Transatlantic Energy Group

Reggie Love is a unique witness to history, whose introduction to Washington was working in Senator Barack Obama’s mailroom. As “body man” to Obama during his first presidential campaign, Love’s job was to stay one step behind the candidate but think and act three steps ahead during a typical eighteen-hour workday.

As President Obama’s personal aide during that momentous first term, Love sat yards from the Oval Office and often spent more time with the President than anyone else. While his experiences were unique, the lessons he learned during his tenure with the President are universal. Persistence. Responsibility. Passion for a cause greater than yourself. In short, maturity.

Ericka Miller

Partner, Isaacson, Miller

Having served as a partner at Isaacson, Miller from 2005 to 2007, Ericka rejoined the firm in 2016. Her education-focused practice is broad, mirroring her wide variety of experience. Her clients are located around the country and include preK-16 education nonprofits, education advocacy organizations, foundations, scientific research societies, historically black colleges and universities, and social justice research institutes. Ericka leads the firm’s preK-12 education and education improvement practice, and she serves on the firm’s Executive Committee.

Jim Quinn

Chairman of the Board of Directors, NSLA and President, Tiffany & Co. (retired)

Jim Quinn retired as President of Tiffany and Company in 2012. He began his career at Tiffany in 1986 as a Vice President in the Business Sales Division. He was promoted to Executive Vice President in 1992, joined the board of directors in 1995, was named Vice Chairman in 1998 and President in 2003. Jim was principally responsible for Tiffany’s global expansion over the last 2 decades. During his time at Tiffany, the company grew from a small, privately held retailer with sales of $200M and 7 stores, all in the US, to a global enterprise, doing business in more than 50 countries with sales now in excess of $4 billion.

Jim was elected chairman of the Board of Directors of NSLA in 2019. In his role, Quinn will lead the implementation of NSLA’s new strategic plan and support the organization’s new CEO Aaron Philip Dworkin in fundraising, advocacy and community initiatives to expand and sustain summer learning, meal and job opportunities for our nation’s most vulnerable youth.

Dax-Devlon Ross, J.D.

Principal, Dax-Dev/Third Settlements, Founding Executive Director of After-School All-Stars New York and New Jersey

Dax-Devlon Ross has led a career as an educator, non-profit executive, equity consultant and journalist with a focus on social justice. After receiving his Juris Doctorate from George Washington University, he joined New York City Teaching Fellows where he taught in middle and high schools in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Dax is the author of five books and his journalism has been featured in Time, The New York Times, The Virginia Quarterly Review and other national publications. He was the winner of the National Association of Black Journalists’ Investigative Reporting Award for his coverage of jury exclusion in North Carolina courts. He is currently a investigative reporting fellow at Type Media Center, an alumnus of Coro Leadership New York and a member of NationSwell Council.

Lorna Smith

Chief Executive Officer, Horizons National

Lorna Smith has served as CEO since 2007. Under her leadership, Horizons National has become a vital resource for its affiliates, sustaining a network with strong organizational identity, stability, and consistency. Lorna has shepherded the organization through a period of unprecedented growth and built a national presence for Horizons. She brings market research expertise, extensive client service in several industries, and has co-owned two businesses, both of which experienced substantial growth and enjoyed excellent reputations under her management.

Lorna holds a B.A. from Wellesley College and an M.B.A. from Cornell University. She is a founding board member for the National Network of Schools in Partnership, an organization comprised of public-private partners who share a common goal of expanding educational opportunities for all young people.

Johan Uvin

President, Institute for Educational Leadership

Johan E. Uvin became IEL’s president in February 2017. Prior to his IEL leadership, he served as the Acting Assistant Secretary for the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) at the U.S. Department of Education. While at the Department, he also served as the acting director of the Policy Research and Evaluation Services Division of OCTAE and the co-chair of the Interagency Forum on Disconnected Youth, a multi-agency federal collaboration to improve the outcomes of disconnected youths.

Uvin holds a doctorate in administration, planning and social policy and a master’s degree in international education from Harvard University. He also holds a Master of Arts in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) from the School of International Training in Brattleboro, Vt.