Opening Keynote

Thursday, November 15, 2018 | 1:30–2:30 pm

Disrupting Success

Jeff Dess, Trill or Not Trill

Traditional outlooks on leadership end here. This keynote will provide you with insight on the basics of leadership then crash through those theories to enhance your understanding on how to better serve those around you. Success is more than what you make it, it's a PROCESS. Trust this Disruptive Process! Whether you are a new leader or experienced, this presentation will help you dissect leadership through self-examination and motivational techniques.

Learning goals:

  • Develop strategies on enhancing leadership skills
  • Create a critical outlook on leadership development
  • Develop alternative takes on success and motivation

Know Your Presenter:
Jeff Dess is a dynamic public speaker, author, emcee, and professor. Of Haitian descent, the native New Yorker known as the Disruptive Educator is also the co-founder of the educational platform Trill or Not Trill. The company bridges the gap between popular culture and student development. Dess is the author of five books, including Trill Motivation, which through imagery, poetry, and commentary tackles leadership and motivation from a contemporary perspective.

After studying at St. John’s University and earning a BA and MA in English literature, he worked in student affairs for more than 10 years. He has delivered lectures at more than 25 universities including Columbia and Princeton University, has performed globally in Indonesia, Italy, and South Africa. He’s been featured in Ebony Magazine, The Root, and Urban Cusp Magazine.


Morning Keynote

Friday, November 16, 2018 | 8:30–9:30 am

Leader-ish Level-Up: How to Gain Respect, Influence Others, and Get Results

Brandi Baldwin-Rana, Millennial Ventures

There's a big difference between having the title of a leader and having the character of a leader. Learn how to level-up your leadership, earn the respect you deserve, and influence others so that your organization can get to the next level. Dr. Brandi, an author and college professor turned serial entrepreneur, will guide you through a series of high-impact activities to help you strengthen your leadership muscles. Leave with a clear understanding of what it means to be leader-ish.

Learning goals:

  • Identify the gaps in their leadership brand
  • Learn how to attract the right followers for their organizations and campus groups
  • Create an action plan to help them level-up their leadership

Know Your Presenter:
After spending over six years in higher education as a psychology and business professor, Baldwin-Rana turned in her grade book and started a new career as an entrepreneur. Today she is a highly sought after workforce engagement consultant and owner of Millennial Ventures Holding Company, a firm that manages a growing suite of brands focused on developing today's workforce. She is recognized as a leader in helping companies design employee development programs to develop, engage, and retain their top talent. She wants to level the playing field for millennial professionals so they are positioned to have success in their lives and careers.

Baldwin-Rana speaks at over 30 corporations and conferences annually to teach on various topics related to millennials, employee engagement, entrepreneurial leadership, and talent development. She was recently appointed from a pool of over 400 professionals to Mayor Jim Kenney's 2017 Millennial Advisory Committee, and was formerly featured as a part of the Philadelphia Business Journal's "People on the Move" campaign in 2015. She is the author of "Put in Work: Gain Respect, Influence Others, and Get Results as a New Leader, " available on and Kindle.


Afternoon Keynote

Friday, November 16, 2018 | 4:15–5:15 pm

NCSL Speaks! Student Speaker Series

This time the stage belongs to students!

Are you a dynamic young leader with a message about leadership, cultural diversity, or motivation? If so, we want to hear from you! At NCSL Speaks! you’ll take the main stage for 5–7 minutes to present about leadership, motivation and more!

It’s your chance to be a keynote speaker at a national conference plus you’ll receive free conference registration!

 Submit today!

Directions: It’s easy. Write a short description of your topic, including why you are the leader everyone should hear from. Film a 2-minute version of your presentation. Fill out the online registration including a link to your video. Submission deadline is September 15.

Closing Keynote

Saturday, November 17, 2018 | 3:00–4:30 pm

Insights to Goals, Goals to Actions

Joe Urbanski, Collegiate Empowerment

The sessions are great. The learning could be transformational. The experience is a memory you’ll never forget. So what’s the problem? People are used to doing nothing after class, trainings, motivational speakers, and learning new things. But you already knew that: what do you do afterwards? Maybe you go check your email and social media. Perhaps you have a meeting to scramble to get ready for. Maybe it’s another session you’re going to. In some way, it’s likely that you’re going to do something completely unrelated to what you just learned, and if history and research show us anything, it’s that if you don’t review what you learned within 24 hours and begin applying it, it goes away pretty quickly. That’s what this experience is for: to support you in making the most of your time and commitment here at the conference. Learning is simply taking what you just discovered and associating it to what you already know. Welcome to the wrap-up, a high-energy, interactive, and engaging closing where we will wrap up what you’ve learned so you can turn insights into goals and then goals into actions!

Know Your Presenter:
Joe Urbanski is committed to helping people find purpose and meaning in their personal lives, relationships, and careers. As director and master facilitator with Collegiate Empowerment (CE), he has re-engineered the What Every College Student Needs To Know® Seminar Series and authored Preventing A Miserable Career Journey to reflect this mission. Urbanski is the directorforCollegiate Empowerment where he leads the development of 60+ seminars, retreats, and conferences and trains and coaches a cast of 15 performers and facilitators. CE presents at more than 150 colleges and universities across the country to impact more than 30,000 students and professionals every year. Starting in college with the Leadership Development Program in college and for two decades since, Urbanski has honed his electrifying facilitation style performing for as many as 2,400 participants during full-day trainings, three-day retreats, and multi-year leadership development programs. He has designed and delivered more than 560 seminars and workshops for more than 420,000 participants over the years. Urbanski’s genius and passion for delivering high-energy, empowering experiences is at the core of his appeal and success, while his entertaining style and simple approach make him a favorite at seminars and conferences across the country.


Register for NCSL