General Session speakers

First General Session: John Maeda

John Maeda is an American designer, engineer and creative leader. An internationally recognized voice at the intersection of design and the technology industry, Maeda works with early-, mid- and late-stage start-up CEOs as design partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers  in Silicon Valley. A celebrated author and speaker, his books include The Laws of Simplicity, Creative Code, and Redesigning Leadership. Maeda’s talks on design, technology and leadership for TED.com have been seen by over 2 million people to date. He has also give well-regarded talks to audiences around the world from Davos to Beijing to São Paulo to New York City. As a contemporary artist, Maeda’s work has been exhibited in solo exhibitions in Paris, Los Angeles, Tokyo, London, San Francisco, and New York – and he continues to make art design, and write software codes.

Also featuring special guest speaker
Edward James Olmos, Actor/Director

Second General Session: Michael Eric Dyson

Michael Eric Dyson is a best-selling author, scholar, and cultural critic. Dyson, named by Ebony as one of the hundred most influential black Americans, is the author of sixteen books, including Holler if You Hear Me, Is Bill Cosby Right? and I May Not Get There With You: The True Martin Luther King Jr. A popular professor of sociology at Georgetown University, Dyson bridges gaps between generations, connecting civil rights identity to hip-hop culture, while forging links between older and younger Americans. As a cutting-edge historian, he educates the general public on the significance of hip-hop, not only in understanding the black community, but general American culture, as well. With his powerful voice, Dyson reaches beyond race, addressing the universal commonality of American concern including public education, achievement for all students, urban school districts, equity and adequacy.

Don't miss this year's Third General Session!

Prepare to be inspired at this year’s third general session. Our unique two-part format will explore the intersection of STEM, space and the future of education.

First, Christopher Emdin will provide thought provoking insight on the importance of empowering our youth with innovative STEM education programs. Emdin is an associate professor in the Department of Mathematics, Science and Technology at Teachers College at Columbia University. He was recently honored as a STEM Access Champion of Change by the White House and has written on issues of race, culture, inequality and education for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.


Second, join CSBA’s Executive Director and CEO, Vernon M. Billy, in a lively panel with retired NASA astronauts José Hernández and Mae Jemison, and current NASA astronaut Victor Glover. Hernández, a California native who grew up working alongside his family in the fields throughout California, earned a place as a NASA astronaut on the 14 day STS-128 mission. Jemison became the first African-American woman to travel in space when she went into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour. Glover was selected as a NASA astronaut in 2013 and may potentially be one of the first Americans on Mars. Hear the inspiring stories of how these exceptional leaders forged their own pathways to reach new frontiers.