Opening General Session Keynote Address

“Leveraging Emotionally Intelligent and Culturally Relevant Practices for Thriving Families and Youth”

Dena Simmons, EdD, Director of Education, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence

SimmonDena_Headshot2015cropped.jpgAn activist, educator, and student of life from the Bronx, New York, Dena Simmons writes and speaks nationally about social justice pedagogy and creating emotionally intelligent and safe classrooms within the context of equity. Her keynote address will provide participants with a brief introduction of the five key skills of emotional intelligence: recognizing, understanding, labeling, expressing, and regulating emotion. Through narrative, Dr. Simmons will highlight the importance of connecting emotionally intelligent instruction to culturally responsive practices to ensure that all families and youth have the opportunity to thrive.

Capstone Luncheon Keynote Address

“Humor: The Lighter Path to Emotional Resilience and Health”

Paul McGhee, PhD, President, The Laughter Remedy

Paul_Laughing_2_close_up_2.jpgWith a PhD in developmental psychology and as an author of 15 books and many scientific articles, Paul McGhee is internationally known for his contributions to the field of humor research. Humor is an often-forgotten piece of the puzzle when it comes to supporting social and emotional development, but there are close links to humor and interpersonal competence. There are differing opinions on exactly how to define emotional intelligence, but there is pretty common agreement that a key component is the ability to learn to manage your own emotional state. His keynote address will draw attention to the importance of having a range of tools to manage your emotions on a daily basis.