Conference Keynote Speakers

Shawn Ginwright, PhD, Flourish Agenda

Dr. Shawn Ginwright is the Jerome T. Murphy Professor of Practice at Harvard Graduate School of Education. His groundbreaking work on trauma, healing, and the empowerment of African American youth has earned him a reputation as an innovator, provocateur, and thought leader in the field of education. His research has been instrumental in reshaping the discourse surrounding youth development. Dr. Ginwright’s introduction of the concept of "healing-centered engagement" in 2018 has revolutionized the field, providing an asset- based approach to addressing youth trauma and fostering resilience. His work has been cited in the New York Times, and he is a highly sought-after speaker on topics ranging from civic engagement and youth activism to the transformative power of healing.

Dr. Ginwright's contributions extend beyond his academic work. He is a seasoned non-profit leader, serving as the co-founder and chief executive officer of Flourish Agenda, Inc., a pioneer research lab and consulting firm dedicated to unlocking the power of healing and empowering youth of color, as well as their adult allies, to drive transformative change in their schools and communities. In addition, Dr. Ginwright has written numerous highly acclaimed books, including "The Four Pivots: Reimagining Justice, Reimagining Ourselves" (North Atlantic Books), "Hope and Healing in Urban Education: How Urban Activists and Teachers Are Reclaiming Matters of the Heart," "Black Youth Rising: Activism and Radical Healing in Urban America," "Black in School: Afrocentric Reform, Urban Youth, and the Promise of Hip-Hop Culture," as well as co-edited the influential volume "Beyond Resistance! Youth Activism and Community Change: New Democratic Possibilities for Practice and Policy for America's Youth."

Dr. Shawn Ginwright resides between Boston, MA and Oakland, CA and continues to drive transformative change in education. His relentless dedication to empowering marginalized youth and creating inclusive spaces for healing and growth is truly inspiring. To learn more about his impactful work, please visit

Phillip W. Graham

Phillip W. Graham, DrPH is a principal scientist in RTI’s Health Practice Area and former director of the Center on Behavioral Health Epidemiology, Implementation and Evaluation Research. For more than 25 years, Dr. Graham has conducted community-based research and evaluation to address the impact of substance use, violence, and inequities on youth and their communities. He has led evaluations of varying size and complexity at the federal, state, and local levels. He has investigated the effects of witnessing community violence, the development of ethnic identity among African American male adolescents, the effectiveness of science-based interventions to reduce youth substance use, and the impact of comprehensive school-based interventions and services to promote healthy child development. Dr. Graham has served as the PI for five national cross-site evaluations of SAMHSA/CSAP-funded prevention strategies developed to prevent and reduce substance misuse and related consequences. Evaluation activities included a review of the risk and protective factors related to prescription drug and opioid misuse; collaborating with federal staff, external experts, and grantees to develop cross-site measures to collect data on intervention activities, costs, and outcomes; providing evaluation-related training and technical assistance to 70 grantees and over 600 communities. 

He serves as the PI for the NIDA-funded HEAL Prevention Coordinating Center (HPCC). The HPCC supports 10 research projects designed to prevent opioid misuse among older adolescents and young adults and works to generate shared insights by collecting, analyzing, and reporting data across research projects. He also serves as the PI on two CDC-funded research projects. The first is a grant that examines the efficacy of prevention strategies to reduce community violence in Milwaukee, and the second is a cooperative agreement examining the effectiveness of a family-strengthening intervention to mitigate the impact of ACES on opioid use among families in New Jersey.

His methodological focus includes mixed methods approaches, including implementation science and data integration. These approaches and their application are especially meaningful when they emphasize the importance of community context, culture, and diversity.

He is a former board member of the Society for Prevention Research and a current founding board member of the National Prevention Science Coalition. NPSC advocates for prevention science and developing preventative interventions to address negative outcomes.

Kym Laube

Kym Laube is the Executive Director of Human Understanding Growth Services, Inc., HUGS, Inc., in Westhampton Beach, NY. In this position, she brings over 33 years of knowledge and expertise in substance misuse prevention. Since she became Executive Director in 2002, she has been leading the organization to provide a full array of multidimensional prevention services and recovery supports, all while ensuring she is advocating for the field all along the continuum of care. Kym is a national trainer and speaker, working with notable leaders in prevention, including CADCA, various state associations, and corporate businesses.

Having participated in the HUGS, Inc. Teen Institute program in 1986 as a high school student, Kym understands firsthand the profound impact, lifelong influence, and workforce development the Teen Institute program provides to young people. From student leader to Executive Director in 2002, Kym’s mission has been to empower others to seek their full potential and become agents of change in the world. Kym offers dynamic, passionate, and interactive keynotes, trainings, and workshops for large and small groups, with an uncanny ability to talk with people and not at people. Annually, Kym presents to over 25,000 individuals, young and old, across our great country.

Kym’s unwavering commitment to improving the lives of young people extends beyond her executive office and can be seen in her many leadership roles. She is active on various local, state, and national boards and task forces. She served on the NYS Governors Opiate Task Force, creating statewide policy changes in prescribing laws and increasing treatment stays and policy and practice to help NY families find hope and heal. Most notable is her personal recovery and commitment to pushing individuals to make the space better wherever they are. Her greatest joy is watching her two adult sons create and live a life of choice as they forge their own course. She lives in Westhampton Beach with her husband and way too many dogs.

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