2017 Conference Information

General information, Schedule, & Speakers



2017 Conference Information

General information, Schedule, & Speakers



FEBRUARY 18th 2017


9:00 AM - 5:30 PM


* Buses will depart from Phelps Gate to West Campus at 9:00 am **
* Buses will depart from West Campus to Phelps Gate at 5:30 pm **



Morning & Afternoon Schedule


Morning & Afternoon Schedule

Morning Session

9:00 AM

9:30 - 10:00 AM  

10:00 AM - 10:45 AM

10:45 AM - 11:30 AM


11:40 AM - 1:25 PM

1:25 PM - 2:15 PM

Afternoon Session

2:15 PM - 4:00 PM


4:10 PM - 5:00 PM

5:00 PM - 5:30 PM

5:30 PM



Meet our Civic Leaders


Meet our Civic Leaders

Eric Liu: Host 

 Eric Liu Oct 2016.

Eric Liu is an author, educator, and civic entrepreneur. He is the founder and CEO of Citizen University, which promotes and teaches the art of powerful citizenship through a portfolio of national programs, and the executive director of the Aspen Institute Citizenship and American Identity Program. His books include the national bestsellers The Gardens of Democracy, and The True Patriot, co-authored with Nick Hanauer. Eric’s most recent book is You’re More Powerful Than You Think: A Citizen’s Guide to Making Change Happen (March 2017). Eric served as a White House speechwriter for President Bill Clinton and later as the President’s deputy domestic policy adviser. After the White House, he was an executive at the digital media company RealNetworks. In 2002 he was named one of the World Economic Forum’s Global Leaders of Tomorrow, and in 2010 he was awarded the Bill Grace Leadership Legacy Award by the Center for Ethical Leadership. Eric lives in Seattle, where he teaches civic leadership at the University of Washington and hosts Citizen University TV, an award-winning television program about civic power. In addition to speaking regularly at venues across the country, Eric also serves on numerous nonprofit and civic boards. He is a regular columnist for, and a correspondent for

Twitter:  @ericpliu

Jonathan Holloway: Host 

Jonathan Holloway is Dean of Yale College and Edmund S. Morgan Professor of African American Studies, History, and American Studies. He specializes in post-emancipation United States history with a focus on social and intellectual history. He is the author of books such as Jim Crow Wisdom: Memory and Identity in Black America Since 1940 (2013).

Holloway won the William Clyde DeVane Award for Distinguished Scholarship and Teaching in Yale College in 2009 and the Before Columbia Foundation’s American Book Award in 2014. Prior to serving as Dean, he served as the master of Calhoun College from 2005-2014, and was Chair of the Council of Masters from 2009-2013. He began a three-year term as Chair of the Department of African American Studies in 2013.

He has held fellowships from the W.E.B. Du Bois Research Institute at Harvard University, the Stanford Humanities Center, and the Ford Foundation. He was an Alphonse Fletcher Sr. Fellow in 2011-2012. Currently, he is a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians.

Lynn Barendsen - The Good Project

Lynn Barendsen has been a part of the Good Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education for 20 years.  The Good Project is a large scale effort to identify individuals and institutions that exemplify good work – work that is excellent in quality, socially responsible and meaningful to its practitioners – and to determine how best to increase the incidence of good work in our society.  Lynn and colleagues are working to envision and ensure the legacy of 20 plus years of work:  its impact on educational research, in the classroom, within the broader conversation about developing responsible, caring and balanced youth.  Early in 2014, Lynn became Executive Director of The Family Dinner Project.  As one of the founding members of this movement – about food, fun and conversation about things that matter – she now has the opportunity to encourage and support families to consider some of the same questions considered by the Good Project, encouraging reflection and, in the process, enabling families to make the most of their mealtimes together.

Rachna Choudhry - POPVOX

Amanda Slavin photo.jpg

Rachna Choudhry is co-founder, a nonpartisan platform that connects people with their lawmakers. After ten years of advocacy and lobbying for several national nonprofit organizations, she realized that there is a huge disconnect between people and our lawmakers in Washington. Instead of offering petitions or impersonal form, POPVOX offers a direct connection with lawmakers. Users can track each bill pending before Congress and then write their own letter to lawmakers about an issue they care about. Rachna holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from UCLA, and a Master’s in Public Policy from Georgetown University’s McCourt School. She is based in Washington, DC and hails from the San Francisco Bay Area.

Jennifer McFadden - Practice of Entrepreneurship at YSOM

Jennifer McFadden is Associate Director and Lecturer in the Practice of Entrepreneurship at the Yale School of Management. Additionally, she serves as an advisor to the Yale Landscape Lab on Yale’s West Campus, which supports synergistic projects in health science, food systems, ecology, energy systems, and entrepreneurship. Prior to joining Yale SOM, Jennifer worked in media and tech. She was an adjunct professor at the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the City University of New York, where she also conducted research at the intersection of media, tech, and entrepreneurship, and worked with start-ups in the news space.

Jennifer is a 2008 graduate of Yale SOM. While at Yale, Jennifer helped co-found and was the original program director for the YEI. She is a co-founder and advisor at Skillcrush, an online education company that focuses on teaching women technical skills. Jennifer graduated cum laude with a B.A. in economics from The University of Cincinnati.


Sanjli Gidwaney - Design for Change


Sanjli Gidwaney is the National Director of Design for Change USA, part of a global initiative (DFC World), empowering young people to do good in extraordinary ways. Through DFC, young people learn how to use the principles of design thinking to transform their schools and communities, while transforming themselves.

Sanjli manages a national team of designers, educators and technologists and has forged partnerships with Teach for America, Class Dojo, City Year, Future Project, IDEO, Harvard and Stanford. She travels state-to-state fundraising, delivering hands on professional development courses, and giving speeches. Sanjli has spoken at the National Association of Independent Schools, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Ashoka, SXSWEdu and the United Nations International School.

She received her Masters in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education with a focus on service learning and non-profit management. When she is not working, you can find her traveling, baking, or choreographing hip hop routines. Sanjli lives in Boston with her husband Vinay and their two children, Leela (5) and Niam (2).

Charles Vogl - The Art of Community

Charles Vogl is an author and executive consultant. He works with leaders in tech, finance, media, government, and social change organizations to make meaningful change. He draws from the realm of spiritual traditions to understand how individuals build loyalty, strengthen identity, and live out shared values. These principles apply to both secular and spiritual leadership.

His book The Art of Community: 7 Principles for Belonging (Berrett-Koehler 2016) will be translated into Chinese this year.

Charles worked on rural health care access and human rights as a US Peace Corps volunteer in Zambia. He went on to found Broken English Productions in New York City. His PBS documentary work has won many international awards and touched on subjects from genocide education, school reform and civil rights advocacy.  He then formally studied leaders in political and social movements and spiritual traditions at Yale University.

He guest lectures at the Yale Leadership Institute and Yale School of Management. He has a BS from the USC Annenberg School and a Master of Divinity from Yale University where he studied ethics, religion, philosophy, and business.  In one year he also survived a plane crash, a spitting cobra attack, and acute malaria.

Ben Berkowitz - SeeClickFix

Ben Berkowitz is the CEO and founder of SeeClickFix, a New Haven-based start-up that aims to create stronger neighborhoods by enabling community residents to proactively report non-emergency problems and augment awareness of community issues.  Problems are publicly reported and sent on to those accountable for the public space via “watch areas” in the SeeClickFix solution.

The company’s take on improving the community through technology-enabled community engagement is turning plenty of heads, as government at all levels grapples with how to become more effective using tools that have now become commonplace in our society.

Adeline Medeiros - Civic Engagement at Barnard College

Adeline Medeiros is the Associate Director of Civic Engagement at Barnard College, where she has overseen the New York City Civic Engagement Program since October 2014. Through her work at Barnard, she provides opportunities for students to learn about social issues and to create change using varied methods of engagement and service. Additionally, Ms. Medeiros is an adjunct lecturer at the Columbia University School of Social Work, where she teaches courses on integrative, cross-systems social work practice and proposal development to masters-level students. She is also the founder of ideaRISE, a boutique social impact coaching agency that assists individuals in building meaningful nonprofit careers.

Prior to joining the staff of Barnard College, Ms. Medeiros served as the Director of Brooklyn Initiatives for the Center for Community Leadership at JCRC-NY, training Brooklyn-based professionals to become more effective leaders. Previously, she has worked in an adult day program with individuals suffering from dementia, an elementary school overseeing individual education plans and social skills groups, and a domestic violence program helping women to rebuild their lives as they transitioned out of the shelter system. She is an active member of European Dissent, a white anti-racist group that is part of the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond. In December 2016, she was recognized by the National Association of Social Workers – NYC Chapter with the Emerging Leadership Award.


Nadeem Mazen - City Councillor in Cambridge, MA

Nadeem Mazen is an educator, entrepreneur, and community organizer. He was elected to Cambridge City Council in 2013 after an energetic grassroots campaign, winning by just 6 votes – being returned to office in 2015, receiving the most votes across all 23 candidates for City Council. In his first two terms, he has worked to make city government more accessible to the public and is building coalitions that address Cambridge’s most pressing issues. He has also focused on social justice issues and greater equity for all members of our community. You can read his civic updates at Nadeemtron or learn more about his campaign at VoteNadeem.

Nadeem first arrived in Cambridge to study Engineering at MIT. After graduation, he founded two community-oriented businesses in Central Square: Nimblebot, a creative agency, and danger!awesome, a makerspace that brings creative expression and tools to the masses. He is a natural collaborator and problem-solver, dedicated to bringing fresh, progressive voices into community leadership. Over the past three years, Nadeem has organized a team of volunteers and community organizers who are proving that a truly progressive Cambridge is possible.

Aquil Charlton - Urban Gateways

Aquil “AQ” Charlton is a cultural entrepreneur who leverages his skills in visual art, education, and organizational leadership to help shape a more just society. A bandleader, DJ, rapper, songwriter, and virtuoso electronic musician, Aquil draws from a rich history of involvement in the Chicago hip hop and activist communities. He is currently an Urban Gateways teaching artist, director of the ALT New Music Ensemble with Chicago Public Schools All City Performing Arts, and a Citizen Artist Fellow with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. During his 2015-15 residency with University of Chicago’s Arts Incubator, Aquil built the Mobile Music Box, a traveling production studio and instrument workshop. He has been invited to present on his innovative approaches to civic leadership through the arts and education at the Kennedy Center’s Arts Summit and Aspen Institute’s Aspen Ideas Festival in 2016. He performs as AQ, writing and rapping both as a solo artist and a member of the band Black Flower Movement. AQ also plays electronics and produces live mixed media works with experimental mixed-media trio, Wheat Paste Viaducts, and live PA quartet, The Present Elders.