2015 National Conference Plenary Speakers

Confirmed Speakers for The Corps Network's 2015 National Conference

Julie Chavez Rodriguez - Deputy Director of Public Engagement, The White House 
Julie Chavez Rodriguez serves as Deputy Director of Public Engagement. Over the past two years, Julie has served as the White House’s primary liaison to the Latino community and on immigration related issues. In this role, she has coordinated the White House’s efforts surrounding commonsense immigration reform and outreach to the Latino community on the Affordable Care Act, jobs and the economy, and education reform, among other Presidential priorities. Prior to joining the White House, Julie served as the Director of Youth Employment at the Department of the Interior and the Deputy Press Secretary to former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. Before joining the Administration, Julie served as the Director of Programs at the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation.

  • Plenary: Closing the Opportunity Gap
    - Monday, Feb. 9, 12:30 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.


Jonathan Jarvis - Director, National Park Service 
Jonathan (Jon) B. Jarvis officially became the 18th Director of the National Park Service on October 2, 2009. He began his career with the National Park Service in 1976 as a seasonal interpreter in Washington, D.C. Jon Jarvis moved up through the National Park Service as a protection ranger, a resource management specialist, park biologist, and Chief of Natural and Cultural Resources at parks such as Prince William Forest Park in Virginia, Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas, Crater Lake National Park in Oregon and North Cascades National Park in Washington. His first superintendency was at Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho and he later served as the Superintendent of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska from 1994 until 1999. He became the Superintendent of Mount Rainier National Park in August of 1999. In 2001 he completed training in the Senior Executive Service Candidate Program of the Department of Interior and in September of 2002, became the Regional Director of the Pacific West Region.

  • Plenary: The National Park Service Centennial - Looking back, assessing the present, and planning for the future
    - Tuesday, Feb. 10, 8:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.


Karol Mason - Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice 
Karol Mason was nominated to be Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs by President Barack Obama on February 13, 2013. Her appointment was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on April 25, 2013. As head of the Office of Justice Programs, she oversees an annual budget of more than $2 billion dedicated to supporting state, local, and tribal criminal justice agencies; an array of juvenile justice programs; a wide range of research, evaluation, and statistical efforts; and comprehensive services for crime victims. Ms. Mason previously served the Department of Justice as Deputy Associate Attorney General. At DOJ her primary responsibilities were to oversee the grant making components: the Office of Justice Programs, the Office on Violence Against Women, and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. In a cross-department initiative to address criminal justice issues in New Orleans, she led a team of representatives from each of the Department's grant components, as well as the Civil Rights Division, the Office of U.S. Attorneys, the FBI, the DEA and the Community Relations Service. She led Attorney General Holder's Defending Childhood Initiative, and helped create its Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence, bringing in the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services as partners. Ms. Mason was responsible for the implementation of the Combined Tribal Assistance Solicitation (CTAS), which consolidates all of the Justice Department's tribal grants under a single solicitation.

  • Plenary: Tackling America's Greatest Challenges through National Service
    - Monday, Feb 9, 9:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.


Clint Smith - Teacher, Poet (Keynote Speaker) 
Clint Smith is a teacher, poet, and doctoral candidate in Education at Harvard University with a concentration in Culture, Institutions, and Society (CIS). He serves as a resident teaching artist in Boston Public Schools and a creative writing instructor at Bay State Correctional Center in Norfolk, MA. Previously, he taught high school English in Prince George’s County, Maryland and served as a public health worker in Soweto, South Africa. His research interests includecritical pedagogy, mass incarceration, the intersection of art and activism, how literacy shapes the formation of adolescent identity, and youth civic education.In 2013, Mr. Smith was named the Christine D. Sarbanes Teacher of the Year by the Maryland Humanities Council. He has been featured in the Washington Post, Huffington Post, The Root, NBC News and is profiled in the book,"American Teacher: Heroes in the Classroom" (Welcome Books, 2013). As a poet, he is a 2014 National Poetry Slam champion, an Individual World Poetry Finalist, and has served as a cultural ambassador for the U.S. Department of State conducting international workshops on cross-cultural understanding and youth empowerment. His poetry has been featured on TED.com, Upworthy, TVOne's Verses & Flow and at the IB Conference of the Americas, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

  • Plenary: Opening Plenary - Tackling America's Greatest Challenges
    - Sunday, Feb. 8, 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. 


Michael Smith - Special Assistant to President Obama and Senior Director of Cabinet Affairs for the MY Brother's Keeper Inititiative, The White House 
Michael is Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director of Cabinet Affairs for My Brother’s Keeper at the White House. In this role he manages the president’s initiative to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and ensure that all young people can reach their full potential. Prior to joining the White House team, Michael was an appointee in the Obama Administration, serving as director of the Social Innovation Fund (SIF), a key White House initiative and program of the Corporation for National and Community Service that combines federal and private investment to help scale and replicate evidence-based solutions to complex social challenges. Michael reinvigorated and expanded the initiative, managing its largest funding competition, introducing its first Pay for Success grant program, and overseeing a portfolio of more than $700 million in public-private investments, supporting more than 200 impactful nonprofits nationwide. Before joining the Obama Administration Michael served as Senior VP of Social Innovation at the Case Foundation, where he oversaw the Foundation's giving and program strategy, and guided numerous sector-building initiatives and public-private partnerships, such as Startup America.

  • Plenary: Closing the Opportunity Gap
    - Monday, Feb. 9, 12:30 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.

Invited Speakers

E. J. Dionne
Journalist, The Washington Post

Secretary Anthony Foxx
U.S. Department of Transportation

Secretary Sally Jewell
U.S. Department of the Interior

Julie McEvoy
Deputy Associate Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice

Wendy Spencer
CEO, Corporation for National and Community Service

Blair Taylor
Chief Community Officer, Starbucks Corporation

Secretary Tom Vilsack
U.S. Department of Agriculture