2024 Keynote Speakers

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Khaliah O. Guillory

The creative mind behind Nap Bar is Khaliah O. Guillory. As a previous C-level executive at a Fortune 100 company that oversaw a $1 billion-dollar book of business and over 220 employees, she knows a thing or two about handling stress.

An avid napper, Guillory is obsessed with sleep so much, she founded Nap Bar™, the first of its kind, white-glove, self-care napping experience in the world. Nap Bar offers communities and companies onsite and en-suite rest sanctuaries to help reduce sleep deprivation, increase mindfulness and alertness.

Nap Bars’ social mission is to turn sustainable rest into sustainable productivity for the health-conscious professionals, entrepreneurs, stay-at-home parents, and travelers. Simply put, the vision is to cure sleep deprivation one nap at a time.

Nap Bars’ beta test added over 2,000 users to the platform. Guillory has secured strategic partnerships with but not limited to Mercedes-Benz, William-Sonoma, and WNBA.

Guillory’s vision for Nap Bar is to partner with International Airports, Sporting Venues, Hospitals and Corporations to provide rest experiences all over the world.

In 2015, Guillory founded KOG & Co., a boutique firm that partners with corporations to transform human emotion through inclusion, equity, culture, wellness, and employee engagement experiences. Guillory is an award-winning speaker chosen to deliver the 2018 MBA Commencement Speech at the University of Houston-Downtown. She has been featured in a plethora of national media outlets including Forbes, Huffington Post, Essence, Houston Business Journal, Fox News, ABC and NBC, respectively.

In 2011, Guillory founded The Cynthia A. Guillory Foundation (CAG) to pay homage to her mother, Cynthia, who lost the fight against ALS also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease in 2002. Guillory promised her mother to continue her legacy through the gift of giving and increase ALS awareness. Despite the global pandemic, in 2020, CAG hosted the 9th Annual Giving Tree; partnered with Walmart and District J, raised nearly $16,000 in one night and paid off over 130 layaways for underrepresented families in Houston, TX. In 2021, CAG hosted the 10th Annual Giving Tree, partnered with District D and Lockhart Elementary School taking 40 deserving students in an underrepresented community in Houston, TX on a holiday field trip. Each student was gifted $500.00 to shop!!!

Guillory was born and raised in Port Arthur, Texas. She is a lover of 80s music, travel junkie, vinyl collector, obsessed with socks, sunglasses, and watches! She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and a recipient of the prestigious Houston Business Journal 40 Under 40 Award. Based on her philanthropy work in the community, Mayor Sylvester Turner declared October 29 as Khaliah O. Guillory Day.

Keynote: Unleash Your Dopeness

Khaliah has curated “Unleash Your Dopeness”, a talk that will ignite your superhero capabilities and spark thought-provoking questions. She will explore the benefits and positive impact of owning your truth, making wellness a priority and generating a new ecosystem of innovative ideas and collaboration from a leadership lens. Khaliah’s engaging approach will explore ways to improve communication, ways to make the organization better, and how to blaze the trail your legacy will thank you for.

Khaliah will share her playbook on achieving radical self-love, managing expectations and boundaries with others, and how to combat burnout by reverse engineering our approach to sleep.

Attendees will leave empowered, educated, challenged, and equipped to crush their manifested dreams and desires and contribute to humanity like never before. Participants will walk away fired up with 1-3 takeaways in their toolkit for immediate implementation. Trust us, you will have FOMO (fear of missing out). Register today and bring your digital pen and pad to capture Khaliah’s cheat code for not only work but an abundant life!

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Adar Cohen

Adar helps people have big conversations. He united gang leaders and police officers to prevent homicides in Chicago. He supported Protestants and Catholics in planning for a shared future in Belfast following generations of violent conflict. He helped a hospital system nearing collapse during the Covid pandemic to find the way forward.

Adar's work has been featured by the New York Times, MSNBC, and on the TED stage. He holds a Ph.D. in conflict resolution from the University of Dublin and has taught at Harvard University, the University of Chicago, and -- at the invitation of the King of Bhutan -- at Sherubtse College, the Himalayan Kingdom’s first institution for higher education. He lives in an 1850 farmhouse in New Hampshire where he and his wife are raising two tough little negotiators.  

Keynote: Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures: Alternative Mediation Strategies for an Era of Not Listening

In his latest book How to Know a Person: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen, David Brooks cites Adar and his alternative mediation strategy involving "gem statements." The session will explore this and other tools useful to mediators, ombuds, and anyone else trying to help people find ways to move forward together.  

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Mary Rowe Keynote 


Hector Escalante

Dr. Hector Escalante is the University Ombuds at UC Merced. He was previously the inaugural ombuds for the University of the Pacific and continues to offer ombuds services to small non-profit organizations. Hector specializes in conflict resolution, healthy communication, and learning and development that promotes inclusion, healthy communication, and conflict resolution. Hector's passions include treating all with fairness, equity, dignity, and compassion.


Keynote:  Ombudsing in a Polarized World: An Exploration of Impartiality

Given that the world is in an unprecedented state of polarization, can the Organizational Ombuds ever truly be "impartial"? If not, what is the Organizational Ombuds Role when addressing highly charged issues. Furthermore, should the OO remain impartial? This session will attempt to answer these questions.

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Noam Ebner

Noam Ebner is a professor at Creighton University and former chair of Creighton’s online graduate degree program in negotiation and conflict resolution. For over twenty years, he has taught negotiation and conflict topics at academic institutions around the world. His research on conflict, negotiation and their pedagogy can be found here.

Outside of academia, Noam has practiced as an attorney, negotiator, and mediator; trained mediators for practice in court systems and other environments; helped establish community mediation centers; and conducted hundreds of workshops on negotiation and conflict resolution. But long before that, he was a kid in a movie theater watching a ship getting pulled in with a tractor beam.

Together with Prof. Jen Reynolds of the University of Oregon, Noam established the Star Wars and Conflict Resolution Project with the goal of sharing the knowledge of the negotiation and conflict resolution fields with Star Wars fans across the Galaxy. The project has published Star Wars and Conflict Resolution: There Are Alternatives to Fighting, a book written for the general public of Star Wars fans of all sorts, whether they’ve seen a single movie or have all members of the Jedi Council tattooed on their arm. Whether you’re looking for aggressive negotiations or diplomatic solutions, this book has got it all (and if it doesn’t, check out Star Wars and Conflict Resolution Episode II: My Negotiations Will Not Fail, coming out in May 2024)

Keynote: "Star Wars and Conflict Resolution" 

Join us for a fun evening with Noam Ebner, co-editor of Star Wars and Conflict Resolution: There are Alternatives to Fighting. Unlock your inner conflict and space opera geek, as we watch lots of Star Wars, identify characters’ conflict styles, crown the saga’s best negotiator, and give heroes and villains alike helpful advice for managing their conflicts. Along the way, we’ll get a sense for how pop culture can help us in our real-world work. [No prior Star Wars knowledge required!]

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