Meet the 2018 Class of FRESH Speakers

November 13, 2018

Colored portraits of FRESH Speaker's new 2018 class

What do an astrophysicist, rural revitalizer, and religious scholar have in common? Besides the fact that they’re all making incredible contributions to the world, FRESH Speakers is thrilled to welcome them as our 2018 class.

Let’s face it, 2018 has been an unusually intense year. The threats and injustice we face these days can make us feel serious despair. But there is light in the cracks, and it is in the form of human beings tirelessly working to change the status quo. Here are some of the thinkers and doers that give us hope that a brighter, better world is possible:

Nikki Webber Allen is carving out safe spaces for honest, unapologetic conversations about mental health in communities of color.

Whitney Kimball Coe is quietly, steadily slaying inaccurate and dangerous stereotypes about who rural America really is.

Minda Dentler is an athlete, speaker, polio survivor and advocate, a mom, and a force to be reckoned with. In 2013, she was  the first female wheelchair athlete to complete the Ironman World Championship.

Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison are inspiring over 100,000 black women to commit to a daily habit of walking, transforming their health, their hope, and their hometowns in the process.

Rodney Foxworth believes that an economy that works for everybody is possible;by revitalizing neighborhoods and helping local businesses thrive, we can bring everyone along in the process.

Dr. Jedidah Isler’s work explores the physics of blazars and supermassive black holes, and wakes audiences up to the vast equity, inclusion and diversity gaps here on Planet Earth.

Franklin Leonard has revolutionized the way Hollywood identifies screenwriting talent and seen extraordinary results in helping their movies get made.

Melissa Lozada-Oliva, through her spoken word poetry,  interrogates and redefines the intersections of Latina identity, feminism, misogyny, nihilistic humor, and what it means to belong.

Susan McPherson is the cupid of corporate responsibility—inexhaustibly connecting good people with one another so they can do great things.

Pat Mitchell is a media trailblazer (the first woman president of PBS, in fact) and an activist warrior, powered by the urgency she feels about the status of women throughout the world.

Ai-jen Poo is ensuring access to affordable care for the nation’s aging population and quality jobs for the caregiving workforce.

Anna Sale is the guest you’re afraid to invite, but secretly crave, at the dinner table; her chart-topping podcast, Death, Sex, and Money explores questions about “the things we think about a lot and need to talk about more.”  

Simran Jeet Singh is an activist and scholar who speaks regularly on issues of diversity, inclusion, religion, race, equity, and hate violence.

Joah Spearman is one of the few Black tech founder-CEOs in the country to have raised more than $5 million in startup funding.


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FRESH Speakers, Inc. is a next-generation speakers bureau, uniquely representing women and people of color--two groups historically left off the public stage. Our speakers range from business leaders to artists, scientists to athletes. They have given ground-breaking TED talks and written best-selling books, but, more importantly, their wisdom comes from real world, lived experiences. FRESH speakers routinely grace the world's biggest thought leadership stages, host nonprofit benefits, and keynote Fortune 100 corporate retreats, university lecture series, leading tech conferences, grassroots organizing convenings, and countless other venues, the world over.
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