SLI 2017 Speakers and Keynotes

Sam Glenn

Thursday General Session Speaker
In 1995, Sam Glenn took ownership of a successful company that his grandfather had run for more than 30 years. It seemed like a lucky break, until the warehouse that stored and assembled his products burned to the ground. Just about everything Sam Glenn owned, including his pride, went up in flames. For two years, he lived on the borrowed floor space of friends and family. But one day, a friend invited him to have a cup of coffee and said these words which he never forgot: “Sam, you don’t have a hard-knock life problem, you have an attitude problem.” At first, he was offended by this statement. People are very protective of their attitudes; his was miserable, and he was recruiting. He wasn’t open to change. Sam began to volunteer working with teens and was asked to teach Sunday school. He agreed, only reluctantly, because of his huge fear of public speaking. It was a rough start, but the message of encouragement came through strongly. Soon, teens were asking Sam to speak at their clubs and schools, and his calling was revealed. About a year and a half later, he was speaking for the Billy Graham Evangelical Association and eventually to audiences as large as 75,000. Today, Sam gives close to 100 speeches a year and loves it! He has a passion and purpose to drive him. He has authored 16 books, all of which have a strong emphasis on attitude. Sam and his wife and two girls currently reside in Carmel, Indiana, but are originally from Minnesota.

Marisa Rivera

Friday General Session Speaker
Marisa Rivera is the president of Mpowerment Works, a training and human development consulting firm designed to impact global change by empowering people to become agents of social change. Marisa Rivera is a social entrepreneur, a motivational speaker, executive coach, column writer, and leadership and empowerment consultant. Her extensive work experience in the education, nonprofit, government and private sectors have always been used to resolve justice and equality issues facing the world today. She is a champion for education and has developed national leadership programs for the youth and provided leadership, empowerment and engagement training programs to board members, administrators, staff, parents and students in some of the largest school districts in the country, including some of the most isolated classrooms in our youth correctional centers.

Marisa is originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico. She has a BA in Communications from American University and a Master’s degree in Education Administration from Western Illinois University. She is also a graduate of the Harvard University JFK School of Government Executive Program, the Center for Creative Leadership Institute, the Gallup Leadership Institute, the HACR Harvard Business Executive Program on Corporate Governance, and the Mexican American Solidarity Foundation, and is a Certified Gallup StrengthsFinder coach.  

She has been a recipient of many awards and honors over the years, including the Cesar Chavez Community Service Award given by the US Hispanic Leadership Institute, and being named one of the 21 Leaders for the 21st Century by Women’s eNews.

Marisa will energize you and inspire you to achieve your dreams. She is a strong advocate for women’s equality and leadership, youth empowerment, women entrepreneurship, and global activism. Marisa feels that education is everyone’s responsibility and that all children should have an opportunity to be educated and succeed, regardless of where they come from, their zip code, or their family’s income level.

Alex Sheen

Saturday General Session Speaker
Regardless of your age, gender, ethnicity, or profession, we all understand the importance of a promise. A promise is elemental to humanity. Alex Sheen would come to realize this after a tragedy in his life. On September 4, 2012, Alex would hold his father’s hand as he passed away from small cell lung cancer. Alex was asked to deliver his father’s eulogy. His father’s best quality was being a man of his word. When his dad promised, he delivered. At his father’s funeral, Alex spoke about the importance of a promise and delivered a eulogy titled “because I said I would” that sparked an international social movement. He encourages people to make commitments on “promise cards” that the organization sends to anyone anywhere in the world at no cost. Since the day Alex’s father died, the organization has distributed over 1.3 million “because I said I would” promise cards to over 105 different countries. Alex believes in leading by example and makes his own promises to help others. He raised money to send 100 kids with cancer to Disneyland; he drove through the night to New York City with disaster relief supplies to help those in need during Hurricane Sandy; and he even walked over 240 miles across the entire state of Ohio in 10 days as part of a promise he made to raise funds for the three Cleveland women who were held captive for 10 years. Alex delivers passionate and thought-provoking speeches about the importance of keeping promises to audiences across the country. He is a two-time TEDx speaker, and his work has made national headlines on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, CNN, TODAY, The Los Angeles Times, Steve Harvey, NPR, and many other programs.