past speakers - 2014  -  2013  -  2012   -  2011   -   2010    

Jul 24, 2014
Joe Burt


topic: TBA

Joe Burt graduated from Florida State University magna cum laude in 2007 with a B.S. in Physical Education. He is an American College of Sports Medicine Health and Fitness Specialist and a certified Functional Movement System practitioner. He has committed the past eight years to giving his clients the safest, most effective pathway to reach their fitness goals. Driven by a constant desire to expand his knowledge base and skill set, Burt has enveloped himself in the latest research, techniques and applications thereof from the most respected experts in the industry.

Burt’s emphasis on proper movement through all ranges of motion is a means to prevent injury and unlock the body’s immense potential. A combination of mobility, strength training, conditioning, and stability work, Burt’s unique approach ensures balance in the body by obtaining optimal posture, cutting body fat, building muscle, and feeling mentally and physically strong.

As a lifelong multi-sport athlete, Burt has found that training for movement quality and efficiency improves all aspects of life, from competitive sports to simply walking up the stairs. With a firm belief in the human body’s remarkable adaptivity, Burt embodies and prescribes specific modalities to achieve specific results at all levels - from high school athletes to the older adult population.

After working for six years in a traditional gym environment, Burt opened up his own private personal training studio, The Fitness Office, on the Upper East Side in early 2013. It is there that he continues to teach the importance of human movement and strength in achieving a well-rounded body and mind.


Jul 31, 2014
Naomi Brockwell


topic: TBA

Naomi Brockwell is an opera singer, film maker, and actress, originally from Western Australia. She studied Commerce at the University of Western Australia, and received a Bachelor's Degree in Acting with a Minor in Business from Curtin University. She trained at the WA Academy of Dance and Drama for an Advanced Diploma in Musical Theatre, completed the Musical Theatre program at the WA Academy of Performing Arts, and studied Classical Music at the WA Academy of Performing Arts, majoring in Opera Studies. She is currently continuing her Opera training in New York City where she is working under the direction of world-acclaimed sopranos and voice specialists, Ruth Falcon and Beth Roberts.

CEO and founder of Rainsworth Productions, Naomi works with her company on an extensive portfolio of feature films, short films, documentaries, webseries, as well as casting for other production companies and facilitating external projects.

In 2012 Naomi was Co-Executive Producer and Casting Producer on the feature film Audition. She directed, produced, and starred in the short film Let Live, Let Love, Let Go, and produced and co-starred in the short film Yes, Happy with award winning director/writer Jeffrey Jay Fowler and award winning film-maker Francisco Aliwalas.

She is part of the fellowship program at the Moving Picture Institute, where she has received a preliminary grant for her next feature film, Skirting Authority.

Naomi had her off-Broadway debut last year in the musical Man With A Load Of Mischief, playing the role of "Louise" under the direction of Jen Thompson and musical direction of Bryan L. Wade, working alongside Broadway stars PJ Benjamin, Stephen Buntrock, Rachel DeBenedet, Nancy Johnston, and Robert Petkoff. This year she debuted with the New York Lyric Opera in Suor Angelica.

Naomi is fluent in English, French, German, and Italian, and speaks conversational Russian. She plays piano, guitar, drums, percussion, recorder, and ukulele, and has performed in orchestras, jazz bands, concert bands, and acoustically throughout Australia. She is a state gold medal-winning Irish Dancer, and is highly trained in many other forms of dance.

Naomi is a proud member of the Golden Key International Honour Society for Academic Excellence.


Sep 18, 2014
Chad Bissonette


topic: Commumity-Driven Development and the Crucial Role it Plays in Ensuring Global Development

Chad W. Bissonnette, Co-founder and Executive Director of Roots of Development holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from American University in Washington, DC, and in 2014 was selected as the School of International Service’s Alumnus of the Year. Before graduating from American however, Mr. Bissonnette spent a year at Emerson College in Boston, MA studying PR/Marketing, and two years in Spain teaching for the Spanish Government and achieving a diploma in Hispanic Language and Culture Studies from the University of Salamanca. Mr. Bissonnette began traveling to Haiti in 2005 and co-founded Roots of Development in 2007. He currently serves as its Executive Director, and is responsible for the creation and implementation of the organization’s unique approach to development. When in Haiti, Mr. Bissonnette spends most of his time on the island of La Gonave, where his organization works with a set of communities determined to manage their own development. With the motto “Development without Dependency”, Mr. Bissonnette speaks regularly about empowerment and community-driven development and his work in Haiti, at high schools and universities along the East Coast. He has also written several articles on those subjects in the Huffington Post. Mr. Bissonnette grew up in Connecticut, and has traveled and lived a substantial amount of time overseas (Spain, South Africa, Brazil, Haiti, etc.). He speaks English, Spanish and Haitian Creole. Mr. Bissonnette currently resides in Washington, DC.


Oct 9, 2014
Richard J. Deckelbaum, M.D.


topic: TBA

Richard J. Deckelbaum, MD, CM, FRCPC is Professor of Pediatrics, a Professor of Epidemiology, the Robert R. Williams Professor of Nutrition, and Director of the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University Medical Center.

The major focus of Dr. Deckelbaum's laboratory is to determine regulatory mechanisms for cell-lipid particle interaction, cell cholesterol and triglyceride metabolism, and lipid-related gene expression. Dr. Deckelbaum also coordinates programs related to the effects of varying nutrient intakes on expression of cardiovascular risk factors in children of different genetic backgrounds in both national and international studies. Overall, an important objective of Dr. Deckelbaum's program is to develop investigators who can translate basic nutritional questions into basic lipid and cellular biology.




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