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Keynote Speakers | Annual Convention

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Keynote Speakers

Dr. Robert Ballard, Renowned Undersea Explorer, Archeologist and Best-Selling Author

Best known for his 1985 discovery of the TITANIC, Dr. Robert Ballard has succeeded in tracking down numerous other significant shipwrecks, including the German battleship BISMARCK, the lost fleet of Guadalcanal, the U.S. aircraft carrier YORKTOWN (sunk in the World War II Battle of Midway), and John F. Kennedy's boat, PT-109.

While those discoveries have captured the imagination of the public, Dr. Ballard believes his most important discoveries were of hydrothermal vents and "black smokers" in the Galapagos Rift and East Pacific Rise in 1977 and 1979 along with their exotic life forms living off the energy of the Earth through a process now called chemosynthesis.

In addition to being a National Geographic Society Explorer-In-Residence and a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, Dr. Ballard is the president of the Ocean Exploration Trust (OET). An explorer, discoverer and historian, Dr. Ballard's fascinating journeys can teach us a great deal about our past, and they have encouraged others to take tremendous strides in the survey of the undiscovered mysteries of the deep sea.

Colin Jost, Head Writer, Saturday Night Live

Colin Jost serves as a head writer for Saturday Night Live, televisions longest running and most successful sketch and comedy show now heading into its 46th season. Colin joined the show as a writer in 2005 and became a co-head writer in 2012. Colin has co-anchored “Weekend Update” alongside fellow cast member Michael Che since 2014.

Colin has won five Writers Guild Awards, two Peabody Awards and has been nominated for 13 Emmy Awards for his writing on Saturday Night Live. He and Che have hosted special editions of “Weekend Update” on MSNBC during the 2016 Republican and Democratic national conventions as well as the primetime “Weekend Update Summer Edition” in 2017. In 2018, they co-hosted the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards.

This summer, Colin debuted his memoir, A Very Punchable Face. The memoir is a series of essays, which documents pivotal moments in Colin’s life, including growing up in Staten Island in a family of firefighters, commuting three hours a day to high school, attending Harvard while Facebook was created and more.

Photo Credit: Bryan Derballa

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, President and CEO, Society for Human Resource Management

As a global leader on the future of employment, culture and leadership, Mr. Taylor is a sought-after voice on all matters affecting work, workers and the workplace. He is frequently asked to testify before Congress on critical workforce issues and authors the weekly USA Today column, "Ask HR."

Mr. Taylor's career spans over 20 years as a lawyer, human resources executive and CEO in both the not-for-profit and for-profit space. He has held senior and chief executive roles at IAC/Interactive Corp, Viacom's Paramount Pictures and Blockbuster Entertainment Group, McGuireWoods LLC, and Compass Group USA. Most recently, Mr. Taylor was president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

In 2020, Mr. Taylor received the Distinguished Executive of the Year Award from the Academy of Management, and in 2021 was named Professional Society CEO of the Year by CEO Update.

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Get updates on the Annual Convention as we develop this year's program. Contact Traci Leiva if you have any questions.