Astronaut Mae Jemison, M.D., is a leading voice for science, social responsibility and education. Now, she’s paving the way for human interstellar travel.
Audacious and pioneering, polymath Dr. Jemison is at the forefront of integrating the physical and social sciences with art and culture to solve problems and foster innovation. Today, she leads 100 Year Starship®, a global initiative seed funded through a competitive grant from DARPA to ensure the capabilities for human travel to another star within the next 100 years while transforming life on Earth.
Jemison served six years as a NASA astronaut and was the first woman of color in the world to go into space aboard a joint space shuttle mission with the Japanese space agency. Trained as an engineer, social scientist, and dancer, Jemison, a medical doctor, was the Area Peace Corps Medical Officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia. An entrepreneur, she founded two technology companies including the Jemison Group. As a leading educator she started the non-profit Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence, which designs and implements STEM education experiences. A member of Fortune 500 companies’ boards, the National Academy of Medicine, and the National Women’s Hall of Fame, Jemison was voted as one of the top seven women leaders in a presidential ballot national straw poll and was the first astronaut to appear on Star Trek.
Laura Ipsen is President and Chief Executive Officer of Ellucian™, the leading provider of software and services built to power higher education. She joined the company in 2017, building on more than 25 years of success as a technology leader in Silicon Valley, where she worked to drive transformation in the public and private sectors and spurred adoption of comprehensive solutions in high-growth industries. She previously held leadership roles at Oracle Corporation, Microsoft, and Cisco Systems.
Ipsen is a member of Ellucian’s Board of Directors and previously served on the Board of Monsanto from 2010 until 2018, when it was acquired by Bayer. Among many accolades for her work in information and communications technology, sustainability, and gender diversity, she is most proud of having received a Women Making History Award from U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer.
Ipsen holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and studied Arabic at Yarmouk University in Jordan. She received an honorary degree from Bryant University in 2019.
Laysha Ward is Executive Vice President and Chief External Engagement Officer of Target Corporation, a Fortune 50 company. She joined the organization in 1991, rising through the ranks by demonstrating an ability to lead through rapid change, solve problems, build innovative community programs, and collaborate with key stakeholders to support the company’s goals and objectives.
In 2008, she was nominated by President George W. Bush to serve on the board of directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the nation’s largest grantmaker for volunteering and service. She continued to serve as board chair during President Barack Obama’s administration.
Ward serves on the Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Advisory Board and the Stanford Center on Longevity Advisory Council. She is a member of the Executive Leadership Council, the Economic Club of New York, the Economic Club of Chicago, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, and The Links, an international women’s service organization. She also sits on the for-profit board of directors for Denny’s Corporation.
She holds a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University, a master’s degree from the University of Chicago, and an honorary degree from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
2020 Power Plenary Speaker
Susan David, Ph.D., is one of the world’s leading management thinkers and an award-winning Harvard Medical School psychologist. Her new #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling book Emotional Agility, based on the concept Harvard Business Review heralded as a Management Idea of the Year and winner of the Thinkers50 Breakthrough Idea Award, describes the psychological skills critical to thriving in times of complexity and change. Her TED talk on the topic went viral with over one million views in its first week of release.
Susan is a frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review, New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and guest on national radio and television. Named on the Thinkers50 global list of top management thinkers, she is a sought-after keynote speaker and consultant, with clients that include the World Economic Forum, EY, United Nations, Google, Microsoft, NASDAQ, and many other national and multinational organizations. Her focus is on defining and executing effective strategy, especially in the areas of engagement, high-performance leadership, and culture change.
Susan is the CEO of Evidence Based Psychology, on the faculty at Harvard Medical School, a cofounder of the Institute of Coaching (a Harvard Medical School/McLean affiliate), and on the Scientific Advisory Boards of Thrive Global and Virgin Pulse.
She lives outside of Boston with her family.