6 Points of Light Conference Speakers You Don’t Want to Miss

Jun 12, 2023

This week kicks off the much-anticipated Points of Light Conference 2023. While we’re getting ready behind the scenes, changemakers from all over the world are gathering in Chicago for this power-packed event.

The Points of Light Conference is an annual gathering for changemakers who are passionate about civic engagement. The event includes over 50 workshops with actionable takeaways led by industry experts, as well as the opportunity to connect with 1,000+ fellow changemakers in the nonprofit, business and government spheres from all 50 U.S. states and nations around the globe.

This year’s preconference, which starts today, will feature two engaging days of networking, learning sessions and activities, for Points of Light Global Network affiliates including:

  • Member-led discussions on cutting edge strategies.
  • Engaging talks by dynamic speakers.
  • Reflective sessions on building healthy, sustainable and impactful organizations.
  • Networking opportunities to spark new collaborations.
  • Failure Night, where we connect with each other and turn failure into triumph.

The main conference will start June 14, and here are some of the speakers you can expect to hear from if you’re attending, or if you choose to subscribe to On Demand, you can catch the main stage sessions plus special content recorded especially for on-demand access starting June 20. Points of Light is proud to partner with these experts in social impact and corporate social responsibility (CSR) to present inspiring, educational and timely content that will help equip you and your organization to continue creating change.

Sheryl Lee Ralph, Emmy-Award Winner, Singer, Producer and Activist

From bringing characters to life on screen, performing on Broadway, producing, landing the title of national bestselling author with her literary debut, and her deep-rooted philanthropic endeavors which touch lives across the world, Emmy Award Winner, Tony Award nominee, NAACP Image Award nominee and Independent Spirit Award winner Sheryl Lee Ralph has become a staple in the entertainment industry, with an acclaimed career spanning over three decades. Sheryl can currently be seen starring on ABC’s smash hit comedy series Abbott Elementary opposite Quinta Brunson. Read more about Sheryl’s unique use of the arts in HIV/AIDS activism and other efforts.

Johnny Cupcakes, CEO & Brand Hysteria Expert

At the age of 19, Johnny Cupcakes was the founder of the world-renowned t-shirt brand, Johnny Cupcakes. Today, he is known for helping companies create blueprints for building brand loyalty, creating memorable experiences and inspiring innovation. With stores across the globe and high-profile collaborations with giants such as The Simpsons, Power Rangers, and Nickelodeon, Johnny was named America’s #1 Young Entrepreneur by Business Week, Top Innovator in Retail by The Boston Globe, and featured in INC magazine as the CEO of one of the world’s fastest growing independent businesses. Read more about how Johnny is helping some of the world’s largest companies rally toward real, sustainable change.

Neil Bush, chair, Points of Light

Neil Bush is an international business expert who is active in service. He serves as chair of the Points of Light board of directors, where he expands the vision of his father, President George H.W. Bush, to inspire, equip and mobilize people to action that changes the world. This work increases capacity for vital social services and for innovative solutions that lift individuals, strengthen families and renew communities. Read more about Neil’s involvement with Points of Light and other philanthropic efforts.

Michael D. Smith, CEO, AmeriCorps

Michael D. Smith is the eighth CEO of AmeriCorps. He was nominated by President Biden and confirmed by the United States Senate in 2021.  CEO Smith has dedicated his career to social justice and public service focused on reducing barriers and expanding opportunity for underserved children and communities. Before taking the helm of AmeriCorps, CEO Smith served as executive director of the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance and director of Youth Opportunity Programs at the Obama Foundation. He also served in the Obama White House as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director of Cabinet affairs. Read more about how Michael is elevating unity through service at AmeriCorps.

Nikki Clifton, president, Social Impact and The UPS Foundation

Nikki leads UPS’s global philanthropy, social impact and community affairs efforts as part of the UPS Corporate Affairs, Communications and Sustainability team. She oversees the company’s efforts to respond to the world’s most pressing social, humanitarian and environmental needs. Nikki has been instrumental in UPS’s response to human rights and social justice issues, including spearheading and coordinating UPS’s anti-human trafficking awareness and education. Her Ted Talk, “3 Ways Businesses Can Fight Sex Trafficking,” has garnered more than 1.5 million views. Read more about how Nikki is helping to dismantle systemic racism through strategic internal and external engagement.

Shermann “Dilla” Thomas, Co-Founder, Chicago Mahogany Foundation

Chicago historian Shermann Thomas, or Dilla, as he is affectionately called, is a fascinating blend of modern historian, cultural worker and public employee. Dilla has become a Chicago social media sensation by going viral on TikTok. His 60-second history videos on everything Chicago have been viewed over 8 million times, and he has amassed a following of 150K followers across all platforms. Dilla has been featured on all manner of Chicago media and has also appeared nationally on both The Today Show and The Kelly Clarkson Show. Dilla is a proud lifelong resident of Chicago’s South side. Read more about how Dilla is exemplifying Chicago’s vibrant history and culture through media.

The Points of Light Conference starts on June 14, but you can still register for On Demand, which allows you to watch the main stage sessions and specially curated workshops beginning on June 21! Head over to the Points of Light Conference page to learn more and sign up.

Points of Light

We are champions of civic engagement with a mission to inspire, equip and mobilize people to take action that changes the world.