Meet Our Awesome Conference Speakers

May 2, 2012

We are pleased to have an incredible lineup of speakers at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service this June. Attendees will have multiple opportunities to join important dialogues with key influencers, innovative thinkers and other leaders making an impact through service and volunteering. Take a look at just a few of our amazing speakers who will join us in Chicago.

Kevin Bacon, actor, musician, founder of

Opening Session 3112 A New Generation of Service

Kevin Bacon is renowned for a hugely diverse acting career in a wide range of film genres. At the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, Bacon launched, a website that builds on the popularity of the “small world phenomenon” to create a charitable social network and inspire giving to charities online.

J.R. Martinez, veteran, actor and winner of Dancing with the Stars

Opening Session 3112 A New Generation of Service

J.R. Martinez is widely recognized for his mirror-ball winning performances on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.” Martinez joined the 101st Airborne Division of the Army in 2003 when he was deployed to Iraq. He received burns over 40 percent of his body when his Humvee drove over a landmine and he was trapped inside. After 33 surgeries and while recuperating in the hospital, he experienced a turning point when a nurse asked him to speak to another burn patient who had just seen his body for the first time.

Barbara Bush, Former First Lady of the United States, founder, Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy

Opening Session 3112 A New Generation of Service

A tireless advocate of volunteerism, Mrs. Bush helped countless charities and humanitarian causes during her years in public life. Mrs. Bush’s primary cause through the years has been promoting literacy. In 1989 she founded the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy which supports family literacy programs where parents and children can learn and read together.

Bryan Anderson, veteran, author, actor

Session 3136 All the Way Home: The Blueprint for Meaningful Community Response

Chicago native and Purple Heart recipient, Bryan Anderson lost both of his legs and left hand as a result of an improvised explosive device explosion in Iraq in 2005. He is one of the few triple amputees to have survived his injuries in Iraq. Anderson is the national spokesperson for Quantum Rehab, a division of Pride Mobility Corp., and delivers his message of perseverance and determination in major rehab facilities. He is also a spokesman for USA Cares, which focuses on assisting post 911 veterans in times of need.

General George W. Casey, Jr., Former Chief of Staff, U.S. Army

General George W. Casey, Jr. is one of the most accomplished soldiers in U.S. history and an authority on strategic leadership. As the 36th Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, General Casey led the world’s largest and most complex organizations during one of the most extraordinary periods in military and global political history. He is widely credited with restoring balance to the war-weary U.S. Army, modernizing and leading the transformation necessary to defend our nation in the 21st Century, and ensuring the current force deployed in the war on terror was the best this country has ever fielded.

Carol Cone, Global Vice Chairman, Edelman Business + Social Purpose

Session 2512 Celebrating Excellence – Business Track Opening
Session 3115 Civics Service: Helping Drive Economies Through Action

Carol has over 25 years of experience creating substantive public-private partnerships that advance solutions for social issues. As founder of Cone, Inc., she led the development of initiatives for Avon; ConAgra Foods; Chevrolet; ITT; PNC Financial Services; Procter & Gamble; Reebok; Western Union; and the American Heart Association, helping raise awareness and more than $1.2 billion for causes.

Merri Dee, AARP Illinois State President and Broadcast Legend, Civic Fellows Leadership Exchange: Israel Idonije (2900)

Merri Dee was recently appointed through the Pentagon as an official U.S. Army Ambassador, has been appointed to the Mayor’s Council on Women’s issues, is State President of AARP’s 1.8 million members and serves on the Serve Illinois Commission. For her 38 years with Chicago’s WGN-TV, she was inducted into the NABJ National Journalism Hall of Fame and honored by the National Women In Film.

Joshua DuBois, Special Assistant to President Barack Obama and Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships

 Session 2758 Faith and Neighborhoods In Action: Addressing Problems with tangible Solutions

Joshua DuBois helps direct the Obama Administration’s engagement of faith-based and other nonprofit organizations around the country. DuBois is a noted expert on the intersection of religion and public life, and his work has been profiled in The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, CNN and elsewhere.

Sec. Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education

 Session 3117 Celebrating the Power of Service in Education

Arne Duncan was named U.S. secretary of education by President Barack Obama and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Jan. 20, 2009. Prior to his appointment, Duncan served as the CEO of the Chicago Public Schools from June 2001 through December 2008, becoming the longest-serving big-city education superintendent in the country. Before joining the Chicago Public Schools, Duncan ran the Ariel Education Initiative (1992-1998), a nonprofit focused on advancing educational opportunities in economically disadvantaged areas.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Honorary Co-chair and Speaker

 Opening Session 3112 A New Generation of Service

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is the 55th mayor of Chicago. A native with three terms representing his district in Congress, he is a strong, effective voice for the city’s neighborhoods. Emanuel most recently served as the White House Chief of Staff in President Barack Obama’s administration. During his tenure, he helped orchestrate the passage of key milestones such as the economic Recovery Act, Wall Street reform, and health care reform — increasing access and decreasing costs for millions of Americans.

 Stay tuned for additional featured speakers in tomorrow’s post. Register for NCVS soon to take advantage of this amazing opportunity!

 Who are you most looking forward to hearing from? Let us know in the comments below!