2019 Symposium Keynote & Plenary Speakers

Dan ClarkOpening Keynote:
Dan Clark

DAN CLARK is founder and CEO of Dan Clark and Associates - an international high performance communications and training firm;  University Professor;  an Award Winning Athlete who fought his way back from a paralyzing injury that cut short his football career;  a New York Times Best Selling Author;  Adventurer;  Gold Record Songwriter/Recording Artist;  and one of the most sought after speakers on the platform today - delivering customized, cutting edge keynote speeches and transformational programs on leadership, building winning teams, relationship selling, and creating a culture of excellence to entry level employees, emerging leaders, and seasoned executives.

Since 1982, Dan has spoken to more than 5 million people, in over 5500 audiences, in all 50 states, in 60 countries, on 6 continents, to clients including 200 of the Fortune 500 companies, Nobel Laureates and world leaders gathered at the ‘Festival of Thinkers’ in Abu Dhabi, NASA, Super Bowl Champions, Million Dollar Round Table, the United Nations World Congress, and to our combat troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, throughout Europe, Korea, Latin America and Africa.

In 2005, Dan was inducted into the National Speakers Hall of Fame, and both Achievers Global and eSpeakers have named Dan one of the Top Ten Speakers in the World.

Dan is a primary contributing author to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, and the author of 31 of his own best-selling books, including Puppies for Sale, which was made into a film at Paramount Studios starring Jack Lemmon.

As a master storyteller, Dan has been published in more than 50 million books, in 40 languages worldwide, has appeared on more than 500 TV and radio programs including Oprah and Glenn Beck, and has been the feature article in Mayo Clinic, Entrepreneur, Performance, and Millionaire Magazines.

Clark’s inspiring life includes soaring to the edge of space in a U2 Spy Plane; flying fighter jets with the Air Force Thunderbirds; racing automobiles at Nürburgring and dogsleds in the Arctic; serving on the Olympic Committee and carrying the Olympic Torch in the 2002 Winter Games; serving on the International Board of Governors of Operation Smile; and serving with the Secretary of the Air Force on her National Civic Leaders Board, where Dan has received the United States Distinguished Service Medal and the American Spirit Award – the highest awards given by the Department of the Air Force to a civilian. Most significant, in 2012, Dan was named Utah Father of the year.

Justin Yopp Picture to useFriday Plenary:
Justin Yopp, PhD

Justin M. Yopp, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Dr. Yopp directs the pediatric psycho-oncology consultation service at the N.C. Cancer Hospital where he also specializes in working with patients with advanced cancer who have children at home.

In 2010, Dr. Yopp and his colleague at UNC started a support group for widowed fathers who had lost their wife/partner and were raising grieving children at home.  This effort led to the creation of the Widowed Parent Program.  At this time, the program offers support groups for both mothers and fathers, conducts research to learn how to best serve grieving families, has published numerous academic manuscripts, and runs a website resource for widowed parents as well as the counselors and health professionals who support them: www.widowedparent.org.

Last year, Dr. Yopp and his colleague published a book with Oxford University Press, entitled The Group: Seven Widowed Fathers Reimagine Life.  This eminently readable book weaves in contemporary thinking on grief, adaptation, resiliency, and post-traumatic growth with the deeply compelling story of the seven men from the first support group.  The authors partnered with the fathers to write the book and are donating all proceeds back to the Widowed Parent Program.  Since it's publication, The Group has been featured on the Today Show, NPR, People, and Time magazine.

Prior to joining the faculty at UNC, Dr. Yopp worked at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

Allison Gilbert Author Photo webClosing Plenary:
Allison Gilbert

Allison Gilbert is an Emmy award-winning journalist and one of the most thought-provoking and influential writers on grief and resilience. The author of numerous books including the groundbreaking, Passed and Present: Keeping Memories of Loved Ones Aliveher stirring work exposes the secret and essential factor for harnessing loss to drive happiness, spark creativity, and rebound from adversity.

Allison’s other books include, Parentless Parents: How the Loss of Our Mothers and Fathers Impacts the Way We Raise Our Children and Always Too Soon: Voices of Support for Those Who Have Lost Both Parents.

She is also co-editor of Covering Catastrophe: Broadcast Journalists Report September 11, the definitive historical record of how broadcast journalists covered that tragic day. The landmark book was turned into a documentary by the U.S. State Department and distributed to embassies and consulates around the world.

Allison is the official narrator of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum’s primary audio tour and her voice is introduced by Robert De Niro on the Museum’s “Witnessing History” tour, the only female journalist to be so honored.

Allison started her career in TV news, covering most every major news story in the last 20 years — including 9/11, when she was on the job and nearly killed by falling debris. At CNN, Allison connected broadcast and digital audiences by producing high-profile TV segments and writing stories for CNN.com. Before CNN, she was a special projects producer at WABC-TV and an investigative producer at WNBC-TV, both in New York. She was also part of the original launch teams for New York 1 News and MSNBC. Allison currently serves as Senior Advisor to Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, the preeminent national organization providing grief support to families of America’s fallen heroes.

Allison graduated from Georgetown University and lives outside New York City. She and her husband have a son and daughter – a college freshman and an 11th grader. You can learn more about her here: www.allisongilbert.com.