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Keynote Speaker

Desmond Meade

Presenting on Saturday, Aug. 13

Presentation topic: Voting Rights and Criminal Justice Reform

Desmond Meade is a formerly homeless returning citizen who overcame many obstacles to eventually become the President of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC), Chair of Floridians for a Fair Democracy, and a graduate of Florida International University College of Law.

As President and Executive Director of FRRC, which is recognized for its work on voting and criminal justice reform issues, Desmond led the FRRC to a historic victory in 2018 with the successful passage of Amendment 4, a grassroots citizen’s initiative which restored voting rights to over 1.4 million Floridians with past felony convictions. Amendment 4 represented the single largest expansion of voting rights in the United States in half a century and brought an end to 150 years of a Jim Crow-era law in Florida.

Recognized by Time Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World for 2019, Desmond presently leads efforts to empower and civically re-engage local communities across the state, and to reshape local, state, and national criminal justice policies.  His work has resulted in being named Floridian and Central Floridian of the Year 2019.

A sought-after speaker, Desmond has made numerous appearances on radio and television, and has spoken before national organizations such as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Bread for the World. Desmond has testified before Congressional members and staffers and was a part of a delegation to the United Nations where he gave testimony regarding disenfranchisement in Florida. Desmond orchestrated a historic meeting at the White House between returning citizens and the President Obama’s administration. He has appeared on numerous shows such as Al-Jazeera, Democracy NOW, MSNBC with Joy Ann Reid, FOX News with Dana Perino and Tucker Carlson, Samantha Bee, and All In with Chris Hayes. He is a guest columnist for the Huffington Post in which one of his articles about the death of Trayvon Martin garnered national attention. Desmond has been featured in several newspaper and magazine articles and was chosen as a “Game Changer” by Politic 365, as well as being recognized as a “Foot Soldier” on the Melissa Harris-Perry Show on MSNBC.

Desmond is married and has five beautiful children.

Learn more about Desmond and his organization here: https://floridarrc.com/.


Featured Speakers

Dana Tippin Cutler and Keith A. Cutler

Presenting on: Friday, Aug. 12

Presentation topic: Real Talk: Implicit Bias and Microagressions & Other Work Missteps

Award-winning trial attorneys Keith and Dana Cutler are partners in the law firm of James W. Tippin & Associates in Kansas City, Missouri, practicing in the areas of civil defense litigation, education law, and small business representation.

Dana has served in several positions of bar leadership during her career, including being the first woman of color elected as President of The Missouri Bar, in 2016.  Her numerous bar-related awards include the 2020 Eighth Circuit Richard S. Arnold Award for Distinguished Service; three President’s Awards from The Missouri Bar; a President’s Award from the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association; the Ronda F. Williams Spirit of Diversity Award; and the Sly James Diversity and Inclusion Award, just to name a few.  She has been recognized as a Missouri Super Lawyer since 2014 and was honored as the 2018 Woman of the Year by Missouri Lawyers Weekly at their Annual Women’s Justice Awards Luncheon.  Dana’s practice is concentrated in Education Law with a focus on charter schools and general liability defense.  She has tried more than twenty bench and jury trials.  Dana received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English, with honors, from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, and her J.D. degree from the University of Missouri at Kansas City.

In more than 30 years of practice, Keith has first-chaired over 80 civil trials in addition to arguments before the Courts of Appeals in Missouri and Kansas, the Missouri Supreme Court, and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.  He is also very active in the Bar -- he has served as president or chair of several bar associations and bar committees, is an Adjunct Professor of Trial Advocacy at University of Missouri at Kansas City (UMKC) School of Law, and is a frequent seminar speaker on trial practice, ethics, and professionalism.   His awards include the Lewis W. Clymer Award from the Jackson County Bar Association, the Decade Award from the UMKC School of Law, and the prestigious Lon O. Hocker Memorial Trial Award, given annually to three lawyers across the state of Missouri under the age of 36 who have demonstrated unusual proficiency in the art of trial advocacy.   Keith received his Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, and his J.D. degree from UMKC.

When not practicing law, Dana and Keith are co-judges on the two-time Emmy-nominated, nationally syndicated daytime television courtroom show “Couples Court with the Cutlers,”  which features couples who are having conflicts, complications, or disagreements in their relationships.  The show airs daily on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), the Bounce Network, and on television stations across the country.

The Cutlers have been married for over 30 years and have three adult sons.

Featured Speaker

Dr. Tiffany Bowden, M.A, Ph.D. 

Presenting on: Thursday, Aug. 11

Presentation topic: Rebranding the War on Drugs

Entrepreneur, Business Consultant, Coach, and Corporate Diversity Expert, Dr. Tiffany Bowden, MA, Ph.D. has devoted her life’s work to transformation at the level of the individual, interpersonal, and social. Through the pathway of communication, she has sought to understand and heal how we communicate with ourselves and each other as an emancipatory work. Dr. Bowden has a Ph.D. in Communications with a specialization in Diversity and Inclusion. She holds a Master's and a Bachelors from the E.W Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University specializing in Cultural studies and Advertising Management. She has been featured in Ebony, Time, Vice, TED, Washington Post, Black Enterprise, Reuter’s, Bloomberg, High Times, CNN, and more. She has academic publications at the intersection of gender, identity and ethnicity.

Cannabis Industry

Dr. Bowden has been named as a top 100 Professionals in cannabis and the top 6 women in cannabis. Dr. Bowden is the founding President and Co-Founder of the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) and Comfy Tree Enterprises. The MCBA is the first non-profit dedicated to the needs of minorities in the cannabis industry. ComfyTree was the first Black-owned traveling cannabis education company dedicated to creating entry-level education for market entrants where Dr. Bowden coached several start ups and entrepreneurs and assisted with many capital raises.She has served on the Board of the National Diversity and Inclusion Cannabis Alliance (NDICA). She has been an advocate for social justice by elevating the need for cannabis record expungement, access to opportunity, and social equity. Dr. Bowden also is a mental health advocate frequently elevating the need for culturally informed therapy, coping skills but also explores cannabis at this intersection. As a board member of This is Jane Project she elevated women who had experienced trauma in their path to healing through cannabis. She is a supporter of hemp farmers and served on the Michigan Black Hemp Farming Association which aims to elevate minority hemp farmers. 

Tech Industry

Dr. Bowden has served as a mentor for Built By Girls, AfroTech, and several BIPOC and women empowerment initiatives in the tech industry. She has supported Global diversity initiatives at companies such as Amazon, Groupon, Apple, and Barefoot Proximity. She is on the Amazon Games Creative Council for empowering diverse representation in gaming.  Dr. Bowden is an Amazon Web Services POC and Women's startup mentor. She has lead multiple high-level discussions and diversity training in Big Tech discussing topics ranging from racism to body positivity to accessibility. 

Diversity

As a Ted X speaker on diversity and inclusion and a performer, she has been awarded a Top 5 People’s Choice Award. Dr. Bowden has been working within diversity for 20 years. She manages www.antiracismforbeginners.com as a starting point for those seeking to do anti-racism work. She additionally offers an ally training program and a trauma-informed coaching program for women seeking to navigate corporate spaces and a separate coaching plan for Black women within these spaces.