2019 Speakers

Click here for the 2019 NSPA Conference speakers.

Featured Speakers

Keynote Session

October 1, 8:30-9:30am

Vinh Giang

Entrepreneur | International Keynote Speaker | Magician

Magic is the art of the impossible, but the very nature of magic shows us that the seemingly impossible can be accomplished by anyone – with the right perspective. Your Conference journey will begin through an engaging experience in mastering perspective. Through several powerful and magical exercises, Vinh will illustrate how to break down the barriers which hold us back from accomplishing truly amazing things. See the possible in the impossible. Feel the magic in the metaphors, open your mind to new perspectives, and find solutions to set success in motion.


Vinh is one of the world’s top keynote speakers, presenting to over 100,000 people annually. His clients include Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn. As an experienced keynote speaker, Vinh knows that what transpires on stage is not about him. It’s 100% about the audience. It’s about the life-changing lessons he’s been so fortunate to learn along the way and sharing them in a manner that transforms people. That’s where magic happens.

Learn more on Vihn's website.


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Monday Pre-Conference Session

Adopting a Holistic Mental Health Scholarship Program Culture: What Providers Can Do

September 30, 11:30am-3:30pm

Dr. Kristen Lee, Ed.D.

Lead Faculty for Behavioral Science | Northeastern University

In this “Age of Anxiety” and era of campus and global mental health crisis, there is an increased need to not only understand the trends impacting student well-being, but to identify the types of evidence-based interventions that can be implemented to help mitigate the effects of today’s hyper-competitive landscape. This interactive workshop provides a toolbox of practical, evidence-based strategies to cultivate resilience and generate collective impact.


Dr. Kristen Lee, Ed.D., LICSW, known as “Dr. Kris”, is an internationally recognized, award-winning behavioral science professor, clinician and author from Boston, Massachusetts. As the Lead Faculty for Behavioral Science at Northeastern University, Dr. Kris’s research and teaching interests include individual and organizational well-being and resilience, particularly for marginalized and under served populations. She operates a clinical and consulting practice devoted to preventing and treating burnout and is the author of RESET: Make the Most of Your Stress, Winner of the Next Generation Indie Book Awards Motivational Book of 2015, and Mentalligence: A New Psychology of Thinking. She is a regular contributor for Thrive Global and Psychology Today. Dr. Kris’s work has been featured on NPR and CBS radio.

Learn more about Dr. Kris here.


Wednesday General Session

October 2, 8:30-9:30am

Dr. Anthony Jack

Assistant Professor of Education at Harvard University | Author of The Privileged Poor

When Anthony Jack arrived at his first year of university—amongst peers talking about their travels abroad, and their lavish summer homes—he wondered: “where are all the other poor students?” Since then, he’s made it his career to study the effects of being a poor student on a college campus. An Assistant Professor of Education at Harvard, Anthony breaks underprivileged students down into two categories—the “privileged poor”, low-income students at upper-crest academies; and the “doubly disadvantaged”, those studying at public, typically distressed schools—and how both groups experience a distraction from learning. In this talk, Anthony addresses how it’s not just enough to get in to school: he covers the costs of social exclusion lower-income students face, and offers some new, nuanced insights on what excellence and equity in schools actually looks like.


Anthony Jack is a junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows and assistant professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. His research has been cited by The New York Times, the Boston Globe, The Atlantic, The Huffington Post, The National Review, The Washington Post, American RadioWorks, WBUR, and MPR. His book, The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges are Failing Disadvantaged Students, was released by Harvard University Press in 2019.

Learn more on Anthony's website.


Thursday General Session

Moving Beyond Completion: Getting to What Matter

October 3, 8:30-9:30am

Dr. Karen Stout

President and CEO, Achieving the Dream, Inc. | President Emerita, Montgomery County Community College

Today, more than ever, the success of every student matters. The opportunity for a new generation to achieve academic, financial, and personal goals depend upon the central role community colleges play in helping students gain skills and credentials. Through evidence-based, student-centered strategies, Achieving the Dream has worked to close achievement gaps and accelerate student success nationwide. Join Dr. Karen Stout to learn from their 15 years of experience - working with nearly 280 colleges, strategic partners and philanthropies - to ensure your investments are impactful for the students, families and greater communities you serve.


Since 2015, Dr. Karen A. Stout has served as president and CEO of Achieving the Dream, leading the nation’s largest movement to improve success for all students, especially low-income students and students of color. Dr. Stout leads, through ATD, a network of institutions in whole-college transformation using a coaching process that is constantly informed and improved by its longstanding partnerships and practice in the field. ATD anticipates future needs and issues, leveraging knowledge through collective learning. She has received national recognition for her achievements at ATD and accomplishments as a community college president for 15 years, including American Association for Women in Community College’s Woman of the Year and Washington Monthly’s 16 most innovative higher education leaders.

Learn more about Karen on the Achieving the Dream website.