Speaker Series

Danville Pittsylvania Chamber of CommerceDRF began the Speaker Series in 2009 by bringing innovative thinkers to the Dan River Region as part of DRF's endeavor to transform the regional economy and create a prosperous and healthy culture benefitting all of the region's citizens. A benefit of the Speaker Series has been the development of confidence within the many residents of the region. Attendees take the speakers' messages home with them and the spark grows, encouraging them in turn to create positive change.

Upcoming Speaker Series Presentations

John Hope Bryant
When: 10/25/2011 at 7:30 a.m.
Where: Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR)

John Hope Bryant

A Young Global Leader for the World Economic Forum, an Oprah's Angel Network award recipient, a TIME Magazine 50 (Leaders) for the Future (94'), John Hope Bryant is an entrepreneur, the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Operation HOPE now operational in 70 U.S. communities and South Africa. Operation HOPE has served more than one million individuals and raised approximately $900 million in economic activity for the underserved.

Mr. Bryant is also the author of Love Leadership The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass), which has made the Inc. Magazine/CEO READ business best seller list for 12 months since publication, advisor to the last three sitting U.S. presidents and recognized by the last 5 U.S. presidents, a thought leader, public speaker, and an innovator in the business of empowerment. Mr. Bryant serves U.S. President Barack Obama on the President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability, and prior to that Mr. Bryant served U.S. President George W. Bush as vice chairman of the U.S. President's Advisory Council on Financial Council, and chairman of the council Committee on the Under-Served.

With the publishing of Love Leadership, Mr. Bryant became one of the few African-American business bestselling authors published in mainstream business leadership in the country. 

Courtesy – The Brightsight Group

When: 3/6/2012 at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR)

Majora CarterMajora Carter is a visionary voice in city planning who views urban renewal through an environmental lens. The South Bronx native draws a direct connection between ecological, economic and social degradation. Hence her motto: "Green the ghetto!"

With her inspired ideas and fierce persistence, Carter managed to bring the South Bronx its first open-waterfront park in 60 years, Hunts Point Riverside Park. Then she scored $1.25 million in federal funds for a greenway along the South Bronx waterfront, bringing the neighborhood open space, pedestrian and bike paths, and space for mixed-use economic development.

Her success is no surprise to anyone who's seen her speak; Carter's confidence, energy and intensely emotional delivery make her talks themselves a force of nature. (The release of her TEDTalk in 2006 prompted Guy Kawasaki to wonder on his blog whether she wasn't "every bit as good as [Apple CEO] Steve Jobs," a legendary presenter.)

Carter, who was awarded a 2005 MacArthur "genius" grant, now serves as executive director of Sustainable South Bronx, where she pushes both for eco-friendly practices (such as green and cool roofs) and, equally important, job training and green-related economic development for her vibrant neighborhood on the rise.

"We could not fail to be inspired by Majora Carter's efforts to bring green space for exercise to the South Bronx. We need more ideas like these to bring solutions to minority communities."

Courtesy – All American Speakers Bureau

When: 4/24/2012 at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR)

Hill HarperHill Harper, star of hit television show CSI: NY, also serves as spokesman for Big Brothers, Big Sisters. He recently launched the nonprofit, Manifest Your Destiny, that is dedicated to providing underserved youth a path to empowerment and educational excellence through academic programming, college access skills and personal development.

Hill knew early on that education is the key to unlock potential and open doors. He pursued his education with a passion and determination that resulted in him graduating Magna Cum Laude from Brown University. But not satisfied with that success, he went on to earn graduate degrees in Law and Public Administration from Harvard University.

After achieving his goals in higher education, Hill began to pursue his career in acting with the same dedication and discipline he exhibited in the classroom. His hard work paid off- as he is now seen in the hit CBS drama, CSI: NY. His appearance on the show has earned him two NAACP Image Awards.

Prior to his current series Hill appeared in the CBS series' City of Angels and The Handler and he made numerous guest starring appearances in top shows such as Soul Food, The Sopranos, ER, NYPD Blue, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Of course, Hill is also an accomplished and acclaimed film actor- he recently starred in the HBO movie, Lackawanna Blues and received critical acclaim for his performance in the independent film, The Visit. Again, Hill's film credits are numerous and include appearances in In Too Deep, Beloved, He Got Game, Get On The Bus, Zooman, and One Red Rose [which he co-wrote for Showtime.]

In addition to all of the attention Hill receives on screen he was also recognized off-screen as one of People Magazine's Sexiest Men Alive.

But Hill Harper always knew that personal achievement was only part of success; to be trul
y successful meant he had to help others accomplish their goals. That is why Hill has been a volunteer and now is the spokesman for Big Brothers, Big Sisters- it's why he takes time to speak at public schools and why he is here today. He knows how hard it is to stay on the straight path; he knows our youth don't always have the tools to do the right thing – even when they want to – so he became a bestselling author.

In 2006, Hill wrote the New York Times bestselling book, Letters to a Young Brother, to provide encouragement and guidance to young Black men who are still trying to find their way. He didn't preach or scold; he spoke to brothers, through his book, in a language they could relate to with advice they could put into practice. The book provides examples of perseverance in the face of struggle and hope for a better future. After the success of the first book it was only natural for Hill to put together the companion book, Letters to a Young Sister, also a New York Times bestselling project where he has engaged some of the strongest female voices of this generation to help him convey a message of hope, education and commitment for young sisters. He has been awarded an additional three NAACP Image awards for his literary accomplishments: Outstanding Literary Work: Youth/Teens (2007, 2008) and Outstanding Literary Work: Debut Author (2007). Most recently, Hill has authored his first book for adults: The Conversation: How Black Men and Women Can Build Loving, Trusting Relationships.


John Hope Bryant is a thought leader, founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE and Bryant Group Companies, Inc. Magazine/CEO READ bestselling business author of LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass), and a Member of the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability for President Barack Obama.  Mr. Bryant is a co-founder of Global Dignity with HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and Professor Pekka Himanen of Finland. Global Dignity is affiliated with the Forum of Young Global Leaders and the World Economic Forum.


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