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  • I talk to three facilitators of the BizKids Club held through the Orange County Library System, which introduces kids to business and entrepreneurship.

    Michael Linden is a Technology Trainer for the Orange County Library System, where he's served the public for 15 years. He delivers in-person and online classes with a focus on accessibility, adaptation, and personal safety in computer applications and on mobile devices. He also provides one-on-one assistance for library visitors during scheduled Open Lab classes.

    Oliva Okolue is a Casual Technology Trainer for the Orange County Library System, where she has served part of the BizKids Program for 1.5 years. She is also the Owner and Designer for Livi Simone Designs, an online handmade accessories business. She assists in the BizKids Program by utilizing her experience as a business owner.

    Tony Orengo is an Instructional Technology Specialist at the Technology and Education Center. He has been a part of the Orange County Library System based in Orlando, Florida, for 17 years and is responsible for the design and development of classroom training and e-learning programs that integrate current and emerging technologies.

  • Jennifer Ledford, PhD, BCBA-D, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Special Education in the Early Childhood Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) programs. Dr. Ledford has expertise in single case research design, response prompting procedures, and classroom-based peer-mediated instruction. Her current research relates to improving use and synthesis of research in special education, treating food selectivity and increasing imitation for children with autism, and improving the use of evidence-informed practices by practitioners. She was recently awarded the Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children’s Award for Mentoring. Dr. Ledford is the author of more than 50 peer-reviewed articles and two textbooks related to single case design and instruction for young children.

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  • David Dotson is currently the CEO of The Dollywood Foundation. During his 20 year tenure at The Dollywood Foundation, he has led the expansion of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. The program works with 2000 local partners to gift a new book each month to over 1.4 million preschool children in 5 countries. The Imagination Library has gifted 130 million books since the program’s inception.

    The Foundation also provides $100,000 for scholarships each year to local high school students.

    In November of 2016, he was asked to spearhead the effort to create The My People Fund to provide $12,000,000 of direct assistance to 900 families who lost their homes to the fires which swept through Sevier County, Tennesseee just after Thanksgiving.

    In addition, he coordinated the publication of several books by Dolly including Dream More, Dixie Fixins, I Am a Rainbow and the new edition of Coat of Many Colors. Other projects include the production of Dolly’s children album I Believe in You; oversight of Dolly’s museum, Chasing Rainbows; and he is part of the team that developed and now maintains her website, Dolly Parton.com

    Mr. Dotson was previously the Executive Director of Associated Catholic Charities of East Tennessee and the Field Representative for the Appalachian region for The Youth Project.

  • Award-winning journalist, professional speaker and author of We Need To Talk: How To Have Conversations That Matter, Celeste Headlee, released her latest book, Do Nothing: How to Break Away from Overworking, Overdoing, and Underliving, in March 2020. A timely, actionable and illuminating manifesto, Do Nothing, reveals that despite our constant search for new ways to “hack” our bodies and minds for peak performance, human being are working more - not less, living harder - not smarter, and becoming more lonely and anxious. Celeste shines a light on a new path ahead with a call to institute a global shift in our thinking so we can stop sabotaging our well-being, put work aside and starting living instead of doing. She shares the keys to embracing what makes us human: our creativity, our social connections (Instagram DOESN’T count), our ability for reflective though, and our capacity for joy, and unveils strategies that allow us to regain control over our lives and break our addiction to false efficiency. Celeste is a globally-recognized journalist and expert in conversation and communication. She’s a regular guest host on NRP and American Public Media, and co-host of the new series Retro Report on PBS. Celeste’s TEDx Talk sharing 10 ways to have a better conversation has over 23 million total views to date and she serves as an advisory board member for ProCon.org and The Listen First Project. She received the 2019 Media Changemaker Award.

    WE NEED TO TALK. They are, perhaps, the most dreaded four words in the English language. But in her timely and practical book, WE NEED TO TALK: How to Have Conversations That Matter (Harperwave), journalist and public radio host Celeste Headlee makes the case that they are urgently needed. Today most of us communicate from behind electronic screens, and studies show that Americans feel less connected and more divided than ever before. The blame for some of this disconnect can be attributed to our political landscape, but the erosion of our conversational skills as a society lies with us as individuals. And the only way forward, says Headlee, is to start talking to each other. In We Need to Talk, she outlines the strategies that have made her a better conversationalist and offers actionable steps anyone can take to improve their communication skills.

  • Entrepreneur, investor, business leader, rocket-scientist. Passionate about building, scaling and leading market transitions. Startup mindset; global outlook. Devout believer in the power of transformation and disruption to change and improve lives, communities, organizations – and the world.

    Author of Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist, which details Sylvia’s personal journey from the dirt streets of Las Cruces, New Mexico, to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the top executive tiers of Apple, Dell, IBM and other U.S. technology leaders.

    Most recently served as CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA. One of the most enduring non-profits in the world, Girl Scouts supports more than 2.5 million girls worldwide and generates more than $800 million annually through its iconic cookie program to support local Girl Scouting.

    Committed to STEM as a critical platform for providing girls with the skills they’ll need for entrepreneurship, coding, cybersecurity, robotics, and leadership. Strong believer in mentoring, with a focus on encouraging the rising generation.

    Chair of President Obama’s White House initiative for Educational Excellence for Hispanics in early childhood leadership. Driver of the Administration’s Early Childhood Dual Language Education Policy.

    National speaker on Education, STEM, cybersecurity, demographic trends and leadership.

    “There’s more to life than being a passenger.”
    -- Amelia Earhart

  • Zibby Owens is a CEO, author, influencer, podcast host, and media personality. She is the creator and host of award-winning podcast, “Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books,” in which she conducts warm, inquisitive conversations with authors as wide-ranging as Alicia Keys and Lena Dunham to Delia Owens and Jennifer Weiner. Before the pandemic, Zibby ran a literary salon, hosted her own book fairs, and was a frequent bookstore event moderator. During the quarantine, Zibby hosted a daily Instagram Live author talk show and launched an online magazine with original author-written essays called “We Found Time.” She also started Zibby’s Virtual Book Club. Zibby has recommended books in the Washington Post, Good Morning America and Real Simple and has appeared on Good Morning America, Good Day LA, Good Day DC, Good Day Dallas, and NY1. She has written for Marie Claire, Redbook, the New York Times online, and many other publications. Zibby currently has a two-book deal for children’s books with Penguin Random House. A graduate of Yale University and Harvard Business School, Zibby currently lives in the New York area with her husband and her four children.

  • Bill Isler is President Emeritus of Fred Rogers Productions and a long time educator and advocate for children. He began his career as a teacher and administrator, and later joined the Pennsylvania Department of Education, where he served as Executive Assistant to the Secretary of Education, Commissioner of Basic Education and Senior Program Advisor for Early childhood Education before joining the Fred Rogers Productions in 1984. In 2005 he was named the Executive Director of The Fred Rogers Center, a position he held until 2008.

    In addition to serving on the Board of The Fred Rogers Productions, he is a board member of the Grable Foundation, the Forbes Fund, the Jewish Community Center

    of Pittsburgh and he Co-chairs the Governors Early Learning Council. He is an honorary member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, served as Treasurer of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, Chairperson of the Council of Great City Schools, board member of the Jewish Health Care Foundation of Pittsburgh, and he was a board member of The Pittsburgh Public Schools for sixteen years, serving as President for five years.

    He received the Pittsburgh Foundation Isabel Kennedy Award for child advocacy, was named person of the year in 2007 by the Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern Pennsylvania, the Green-Gardner Award as Urban Educator of the Year in 2015 for the Council of Great City Schools, the Colman Award from the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute of Politics, and the PBS Be More Award for Excellence in Children’s Media.

    Bill Isler holds a B.A. in English from Saint Vincent College and completed post-graduate study in child development at the University of Pittsburgh. He is married and has a son and two grandchildren.

  • Arthur Sims is a graduate of Morehouse College (B.A., magna cum laude, 1990). He completed his law degree at Cornell University Law School (J.D., 1994). Subsequently, he was involved in further study at University of Central Florida and the Rosen College of Hospitality Management (2001-2002, 2004-2006).

    Mr. Sims has diverse legal and business experience in the areas of general corporate, sports and entertainment, media and technology, hospitality and gaming as well as intellectual property law and hospitality related real estate development transactions. He has represented Fortune 500 corporations; resort developers, owners and operators; cruise lines; casino owners and operators; and gaming equipment manufacturers and owners in structuring and negotiating venture capital transactions, strategic alliances, franchise agreements, membership agreements, mergers, acquisitions, and joint ventures.

    Working with professional sports franchises and athletes, entertainment companies, entertainers, producers and production companies, publishers, and managers, Mr. Sims has developed and negotiated lucrative opportunities for his clients. Mr. Sims has experience representing issues in Major League Baseball and the National Football league as well as negotiating player and endorsement contracts for first round draft choices and hall of fame athletes. He has negotiated domestic and international multi-million dollar licensing, distribution, production and multimedia agreements for renowned entertainers; music, film, and television entities; video game designers; museums; management and publishing companies, including, but not limited to serving as general counsel for famed entertainment manager, Johnny Wright, and the Wright Entertainment Group.

    Mr. Sims has represented emerging and established domestic and international biotechnology, applied science, pharmaceutical and engineering companies in corporate, intellectual property, product development, regulatory and governmental matters with an emphasis on aggressive licensing and the formation, structuring and financing of such companies. Additionally, he has prepared patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret license agreements and advised litigation teams on proprietary rights. He has also served as arbitrator and mediator for domain names dispute issues and Internet piracy.

    Mr. Sims is a member of the Entertainment Management Faculty at the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida and a Partner at the law firm of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP. He is admitted to The Florida Bar and is a member of the Bar’s Business, Entertainment and Intellectual Property Sections.

  • Mr. Harris Rosen, the president and owner of Rosen Hotels & Resorts, and Dr. Chuck Dziuban, Director of the Research Initiative for Teaching Effectiveness at the University of Central Florida, discuss the Parramore and Tangelo Park programs. These programs benefit the children, families, communities and the public at large. They stress that not only are these philanthropic programs to help those communities, but they have a significant positive economic impact far beyond the level of investment in these programs.

    More information can be found about these two programs, and other philanthropic efforts by Mr. Rosen, at tangeloparkprogram.com and rosengivesback.com. Rosen Hotels & Resorts information can be found on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/rosenhotels/ and on Instagram at @rosenhotels.

    Dr. Dziuban can be contacted at Charles.Dziuban@ucf.edu, for more information on the impact data that has been gathered on these programs, and he can be followed on Twitter at @papuga.

  • Dr. Julie Wei is an internationally recognized award-winning Pediatric Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeon, speaker, creator of online courses for parents, and author of A Healthier Wei and co-author of Acid Reflux in Children. She currently serves as the Division Chief of Pediatric Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, and Audiology. Dr. Wei is a Professor of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Central Florida’s College of Medicine and serves as the Chair of Otolaryngology Education.

    A passionate children’s health advocate, Dr. Wei has been highlighted on TEDx “The Hidden Dangers of the Milk and Cookie Disease” and on The Doctors TV Show teaching audiences about how diet and dietary habits lead to acid reflux, which negatively impact children’s health. She has appeared on various national and local news outlets including Fox News Online. A prominent peer-reviewed author, Dr. Wei’s research has been published in scientific journals including Laryngoscope and the International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology. She is currently a board member and contributing author for ENT Today.

    As a result of her more than 15 years of clinical experience and applied research, Dr. Wei believes that many children suffering from runny noses, allergy symptoms and sore throats are being misdiagnosed and overmedicated. She learned what is not taught in medical and surgical training: diet and dietary habits of children and the adults that feed them are responsible for many of these symptoms. In 2018, Dr. Wei launched the Healthy Kids Movement, a national campaign based on her core commitment to create a paradigm shift in how medical professionals and parents prevent, protect, and restore children’s health. She is singularly focused on sharing her observations and treatment successes with all who care for children, including parents, teachers, physicians and healthcare systems.

  • Dr. Amanda Wilkerson is an Assistant Professor of Urban Education at the University of Central Florida in the College of Community Innovation and Education. Wilkerson has written educational materials and coordinated forums on significant social, educational, and community matters. Emerging social justice advocate and scholar, Dr. Wilkerson serves as the guest editor for the Urban Education Research and Policy Annuals Journal-Hillard Sizemore Special Edition. Wilkerson seeks to build a better world through cooperation, collaboration, and community action. As a part of her passion for higher education, Amanda is enhancing how students seize the promise of post-secondary education through access. Specifically, she creates and manages collaborative partnerships that provide important services for underserved student populations. As a passionate supporter of civic engagement, Amanda continues to work on community development projects, charitable missions, and advocacy initiatives for nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies. Her twitter handle is #DrAVWilkerson

    Dr. DeShawn Chapman has positioned her work at the intersection of educational research and practice. Beginning as a middle and high school classroom teacher, DeShawn honed her core skills in curriculum and instruction by working in general and special education at both suburban and urban schools. Roles such as Department Chair, Faculty Advisory Committee Chair, Program Developer and Research cultivated Dr. Chapman’s expertise as a teacher leader. Currently, she is an instructor of classroom management, diversity, and teaching methods courses in Valencia College’s Educator Preparation Institute, as well as, the Director of First Star Central Florida Academy – a college and career preparation program for high school youth in foster care, housed in the College of Community Innovation and Education at the University of Central Florida. Dr. Chapman uses her research and experience in traditional and non-traditional educational spaces to encourage the development of learning environments that result in equitable educational outcomes for underserved students, particularly students impacted by poverty and trauma.

    Dr. Shalander Samuels is currently a high school English teacher and adjunct professor. Her research interests include: English Speakers of Other Languages’ (ESOL) achievement and gaps in learning as well as creating unique literacy intervention programs in majority minority communities. She is keen on developing varying opportunties through the concepts of intersectionality whilst connecting higher education and grades k-12 research, especially in urban areas. Dr. Samuels has written several educational materials and presented at national and international conferences as well as she has coordinated research forums that focuses on literacy. Her instagram is the.teacher.corner

  • David Lawrence Jr. retired in 1999 as publisher of The Miami Herald to work in the area of early childhood development and readiness. He chairs The Children’s Movement of Florida, aimed at making children the state’s top priority for investment. He has served on the Governor’s Children and Youth Cabinet and twice chaired the Florida Partnership for School Readiness. In 2002 and 2008 he led successful campaigns for The Children’s Trust, a dedicated source of early intervention and prevention funding for children in Miami-Dade. In 2002-3 he chaired the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Child Protection, and in 2011 chaired a similar panel for the Department of Children and Families. In 2002, he was a key figure in passing a statewide constitutional amendment to provide pre-K for all 4 year olds. He is the founding chair of the Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade and Monroe. The David Lawrence Jr. K-8 Public School opened in 2006. An endowed chair in early childhood studies is established in his name at the University of Florida. In 2015 he was appointed by the Governor as a trustee of Florida A&M University. His memoir, “A Dedicated Life: Journalism, Justice and a Chance for Every Child,” was published in 2018.

  • Paul H. Dworkin, MD

    Paul Dworkin is Executive Vice President for Community Child Health at Connecticut Children's Medical Center and professor of pediatrics at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. For 15 years, he served as physician-in-chief at Connecticut Children’s and chair of Pediatrics at UCONN. Dr. Dworkin’s interests are at the interface among child development, child health services, and child health policy and he has authored more than 150 publications. Dr. Dworkin’s honors include teaching awards, visiting professorships, and named lectureships. He was the editor of the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics from 1997-2002 and was a member of the first entering class of the Academy of Distinguished Educators at the UCONN School of Medicine. In 2003, Dr. Dworkin received the prestigious C. Anderson Aldrich Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics in recognition of achievement in the field of child development. His vision led to the creation of Help Me Grow, a Connecticut statewide initiative to promote the early detection of children at risk for developmental and behavioral problems and their linkage to programs and services that is currently being replicated in more than 25 states. He currently is chair of the board of directors of the Urban League of Greater Hartford. Dr. Dworkin received his bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University and his medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He completed his pediatric training at Boston Children's Hospital. He also received a certificate in policy analysis from the University of North Dakota.

  • D.J. Eagle Bear Vanas is a husband, father, internationally-acclaimed motivational storyteller and a leadership and personal development expert. He is also the author of the celebrated book The Tiny Warrior: A Path to Personal Discovery & Achievement which is printed is six countries. His latest book, Spirit on the Run, is his first novel. D.J. is a tribally-enrolled member of the Odawa Nation and a former military officer. He shows organizations how to practically apply the power of the warrior spirit to perform at their best, stay resilient and thrive in tough, changing environments. For twenty years, he’s delivered his dynamic programs in 49 states and overseas to over 7,000 audiences including Walt Disney, NASA, Intel and hundreds of tribal governments, communities and schools. He’s also been invited to the White House to speak – twice. He holds a B.S. from the U.S. Air Force Academy and an M.S. from University of Southern California and has served on the Board of Directors on the National Board of Certified Counselors. After serving ten years as an Air Force officer, he is now the president of his own company, Native Discovery Inc. D.J.’s mission is to "build the warriors of tomorrow...today".

    Quick Stats

    Hobbies: reading, drawing, working out, martial arts, hiking, gardening, cooking

    Favorite music: old school hip-hop, Motown and 70’s-90’s R&B

    Favorite TV shows: The Office, Vikings, Top Chef

    Favorite books: The Lakota Way, 1491, Lord of the Flies, Game of Thrones

    Favorite authors: Bill Bryson, Joseph Marshall III, Bernard Cornwell, Barbara Kingsolver

    Favorite movies: Avatar, Gladiator, October Sky, Shawshank Redemption, Saving Private Ryan, Raiders of the Lost Ark

    Favorite places: New York City, Venice, London, Bruges, Australia, Taipei, Traverse City, Rome, El Yunque Rain Forest, Turks & Caicos Islands and Alaska

    Weird facts:

    Can do a perfect impersonation of a goat Learned to fly airplanes before learning to drive a car Saw a meteor enter atmosphere and break up under a full moon Had a great conversation with Bill Gates Sr. Have jumped out of an airplane five times
  • Jennifer P. Goldfinger is both a children’s book author/illustrator and a fine artist. She has been writing and illustrating children’s picture books since 2001. Her most recent book, Hello, My Name is Tiger, was published by HarperCollins Publishers.

    Her fine art has been shown in museums and at various shows from New England to New Mexico, including juried shows at The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA and in a solo show at The Danforth Museum in Framingham, MA. Her fine art is represented by the Rice Polak Gallery in Provincetown, MA.

    Children’s book website: www.jennifergoldfinger.com

    Fine Art website: https://www.jennifergoldfingerart.com/

    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jengoldfinger/

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/jengoldfinger

    http://jennifergoldfinger.blogspot.com/

  • Marie Tourell Soderberg is a Danish actress, born in Copenhagen. She is a rising star of Nordic Noir whose credits feature stage, TV and film, including a leading role in historical epic 1864. She is a hygge enthusiast and her first book on the topic has contributions from everyday Danes and experts.

    Hygge is a Danish concept and has no English translation but is all about focusing on the little things in life that bring you warmth and happiness, whether it's spending quality time with loved ones or creating a 'hyggelig' atmosphere in your home.
    https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/298940/hygge/
  • Dr. Hébert-Magee is an Associate Professor of Pathology at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine and Director of Academic Pathology at the Florida Hospital Center for Interventional Endoscopy. She was previously an Assistant Professor and Associate Scientist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehesive Cancer Center. Dr. Hébert-Magee is a reputed cytopathologist with advanced training in translational pathology from the National Cancer Institute. http://www.underthescopefoundation.org/

  • Anna V. Eskamani is lifelong Orlando Native and daughter of immigrants who has worked relentlessly her entire life to protect all members of our community through effective advocacy, bold leadership, and strategic management. Anna currently serves as the Senior Director of Public Affairs and Communications for Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida. She manages a team across 22 counties and is known in the legislature and across the nation as an advocate for women’s health and equality. Anna is also a PhD student in Public Affairs at the University of Central Florida and has served as an Adjunct Professor teaching Intro to Women’s Studies.

  • Dr. Hill M. Walker is the co-director of the University of Oregon's Institute on Violence and Destructive Behavior (IVDB). Walker’s research interests include social skills assessment and intervention, violence prevention, early intervention, school safety, and longitudinal research. Hill Walker received the Council for Exceptional Children Research Award in 1993, and the University of Oregon Presidential Medal in 2000. Walker is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Oregon Social Learning Center and is a consultant to the Citizens Crime Commission, an affiliate of the Portland, Oregon, Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

  • Dr. Rick Kubina (B.A., Youngstown State University; M.A., The Ohio State University; and Ph.D., The Ohio State University) is a Professor of Special Education at Penn State University. After completion of his Masters program, Kubina taught special education in a private schools specializing in post acute brain trauma rehabilitation for three years. He is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Doctoral level and serves on a number of editorial boards for behavioral and special education journals. He was the editor of the Journal of Precision Teaching and Celeration.

    Dr. Kubina is one of the founders of Chartlytics. A comprehensive discovery, progress monitoring, and intervention software company that allows users to precisely define behaviors, measure them, and make decisions to effect accelerated outcomes.

    http://www.chartlytics.com/