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2018 SEACAA Conference - Keynote & Guest Speakers

General Opening Session - Opening Speaker

Jeff Barnes, Disney Author & Motivational Speaker 

Jeff Barnes is the best-selling author of The Wisdom of Walt: Leadership Lessons from the Happiest Place on Earth and Beyond the Wisdom of Walt: Life Lessons from the Most Magical Place on Earth. Known as Dr. Disneyland, he teaches the only accredited college course on the History of Disneyland. He is an international Disney motivational speaker, higher education administrator, university professor, and leadership/success coach. He has more than thirty-five years of professional speaking experience and nearly twenty years’ experience leading teams in higher education and teaching more than twenty different college courses. He attributes his passion for Disney parks to his love of history, story, and success. He believes the parks teach us some of life’s greatest lessons—as long as you know their history, know what to look for, and you are willing to connect it all to your own story. Jeff lives in Riverside, California with his family. When he is not speaking, teaching or writing, Jeff enjoys spending as much time as possible in “The Happiest Place on Earth.”      

General Opening Session - Keynote Speaker

Scott Shellstrom, Creativity & Innovation Speaker 

Modern Day Davinci of Creativity 

What if you could hire Leonardo da Vinci as your next keynote speaker?


Scott Shellstrom is the modern day da Vinci, and inspires teams everywhere to rediscover their own ability for creativity and innovation.

As a former advertising executive, Scott knows that creativity is more than an art, it’s a skill. His skills have placed him on some of New York City’s most prominent improv comedy stages, and his paintings on some of the most prestigious gallery walls. He knows how to perform, both as a television host on the Travel Channel, as well as the first white guy on Soul Train.

Scott’s presentations will unite and excite your team as they collaborate and support one another using proven techniques of improvisational theater. He ignites productivity and inspires unique solutions to everyday challenges. He teaches how to prosper from perspective and see more than what the picture first portrays. (And if that wasn’t enough, just wait for his masterpiece painting… done in four minutes… upside down.)

Plenary Session Speaker

David Bradley, Co-Founder & CEO, NCAF

David Bradley, Co-Founder and CEO, National Community Action Foundation, gives a voice to the voiceless. For nearly three decades, he has been the preeminent advocate in Washington, D.C. working closely with the Congressional leadership and with numerous Administrations, to ensure federal policies related to major social service programs make a difference in the lives of low-income Americans. Mr. Bradley is the principle author of the Community Services Block Grant, which provides the core funding to the nation’s CAA network and has been widely praised by leaders of both political parties. His nearly unrivaled access to powerbrokers in Congressional leadership gives him an insider’s perspective of the political climate in Washington that is gleaned directly from political and party leaders.

Plenary Session Speaker

Steve Gutzler, President, Leadership Quest

Steve Gutzler is a dynamic speaker who engages audiences everywhere on leadership, emotional intelligence, and personal transformation. He has an exceptional ability to communicate clear leadership and business solutions with humor, clarity, and insight. Most importantly, Steve provides strategies on how to self-manage those 17% moments in business and life. Through his programs, Steve inspires greatness for individuals at every level. He believes every keynote presentation should transform a life and inspire leadership, and he presents with passion and conviction. His clients include Microsoft, Seattle Seahawks, LinkedIn, Pandora Radio, Starbucks, and Ritz Carlton. Steve is also an executive coach to many CEOs, business executives, and leading entrepreneurs.

Partners Update Speaker

Dr. Deborah Bergeron, 

Director, Office of Head Start

Known as "Dr. B" to former students and teachers, she has spent three decades in pre-K–12 public education as a classroom teacher and elementary and high school administrator. In the course of her career, Dr. B also started, grew, and ultimately sold her own educational services company. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas State University. She earned a master’s in education leadership and doctorate in education policy from George Mason University.

During her tenure as a school administrator, she specialized in school improvement. Her focus was on academic achievement and school climate. Dr. B will use her experience as an elementary principal and her strong background in pre-K–12 instructional leadership to provide unique insights into how Head Start can support our most vulnerable children to become school ready. Dr. B most looks forward to spending time with all of the children, teachers, and program directors who are her inspiration!

Partners Update Speaker

Denise Harlow, CEO, Community Action Partnership

Denise Harlow, CCAP, was named the Chief Executive Officer of the Community Action Partnership in December 2014. She has been with the Partnership since 2011 and served as Senior Director of Training and Technical Assistance and Interim Chief Operating Officer. Ms. Harlow has more than 28 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, has served on several nonprofit boards of directors, and was an appointee to the Governor’s Early Childhood Advisory Council in New York State. She has a Masters Degree in Social Work from the University at Albany where she was also a Fellow on Women and Public Policy at the Center for Women in Government and Civil Society and holds a Bachelor Degree in Social Work from Valparaiso University.

Featured Speakers

Dr. Teresa Hardee



 i50 Consulting Services, LLC

Keith Hundley


Carr, Riggs, & Ingram

Dr. Bahby Banks


Pillar Consulting, Inc.

John Edwards

Principal Consultant

The Edwards Group Florida, Inc.

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