2024 Annual Conference Keynotes

We are excited to introduce our two keynote speakers for the 2024 GCC Annual Conference in Philadelphia, as they help us reflect on elements of our conference theme "Love the Work you Do" through their different lived experiences and perspectives.

2024 Keynote Speakers

Wednesday 26th June

Susan Francia, MBA/MS
2008, 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist

Talk title: Winning at Biotech from an Olympic Perspective

Susan Francia learned the definition of perseverance and teamwork in her quest to become an Olympian. She first picked up an oar at the University of Pennsylvania during her sophomore year. Rowing in fast boats on the Schuylkill River under the majestic Philadelphia skyline, she was instantly hooked. After graduating from Penn with a BA in sociology and an MS in criminology, she decided to put her law career on hold as she pursued her dream to row for the US team. As part of the USA Women’s Eight person boat, she successfully fought for an Olympic Gold Medal in both the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics. Susan also won 5 World Championship titles before retiring in 2014 to pursue her MBA degree from UCLA. She currently uses her degree and sports experience to work in business development at a biotech in San Diego. Susan loves to inspire people with her Olympic stories of success and failure as well her mother's journey to winning the Nobel prize.

Thursday 27th June

Dr. Elaine Richardson aka Dr. E
Professor of Literacy Studies, The Ohio State University

Talk title: Doing the Work You Love When Institutions Do Not Love You Back

Elaine Richardson (aka Dr. E) is a community-engaged scholar and performing artist. She is Professor of Literacy Studies in the College of Education at The Ohio State University. Dr. E’s work focuses on the empowerment of Black women, girls, gender-expansive people of color, and overall community wellness. Her projects are anchored in afterschool and community-based contexts, employing music, poetry, storytelling, theatre, dance, visual arts and popular culture, as evinced in Empowering Young Voices Mentoring for the Arts (founder and co-director) and Columbus Women&Girls’Fest (founding director). These initiatives provide a platform to empower diverse women and girls, and honor Black and Brown community literacies. Dr. E is the founding director of the HipHop Literacies Conference, bringing together stakeholders to dialogue on pressing social issues of concern to the Hiphop generations. She is author of numerous books, articles, and recordings. Dr. E is an internationally recognized award-winning speaker, scholar, author, and performance activist.

Select awards include:  The 2024 Women of Achievement Award by the YWCA of Central Ohio for determination, generosity, courage, and fight for equity.  The 2023 National Council of Teachers of English Leadership Award for Advancement of People of Color for her work with communities of color in and outside of the profession for promoting equity and dismantling racism. The 2023 Ohio State University, College of Education and Human Ecology Rudine S. Bishop for Diversity Enhancement Award for dedication to leading and sustaining diverse relationships with the community and connecting the college with the community. Richardson was recognized in 2022 as an outstanding Community Engaged Scholar by The Ohio State University; She was honored in 2019 by The Conference on Community Writing, with the Community Engaged Scholar Award.

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