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Featured Sessions at the 2017 Ready by 21 National Meeting


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Every year our keynote sessions feature inspiring presenters who are leading minds in the fields of youth development, program quality and collective impact efforts.

2018 Ready by 21 National Meeting Featured Keynote Speakers:



Ruby Nell Sales
Raquel Hatter, Ed. D.

Civil rights leader Ruby Nell Sales will speak about racial equity and healing. As a preview into Ruby Sales' thinking and connections to our shared work, check out Karen Pittman's recent blog, "Why Does it Hurt? Reflections on Pain, Identity Politics and the Need for Healing."

A public theologian, historian, activist, social critic, and educator,  Ruby Nell Sales looks at her work as a calling rather than a career. She answered the call to social justice as a teenager at Tuskegee Institute where she joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and worked on voter registration in Lowndes County, Alabama.

Sales received a Masters of Divinity degree from the Episcopal Divinity School where she was an Absalom Jones Scholar. While there, she developed a reputation as a preacher and has preached at churches and cathedrals around the nation.  After divinity school, she founded and still directs a national nonprofit organization, the SpiritHouse Project.   


Raquel serves as deputy director of the Human Services Program at The Kresge Foundation, which supports the advancement of human services organizations to accelerate social and economic mobility for people with low income.

She has made it her personal mission to find and leverage leadership opportunities in public administration, policy and philanthropy to change the odds for children and families. Raquel's reflections on what it takes to make change happen are guaranteed to inspire each of us to do more within our individual spheres of influence.











2017 Ready by 21 National Meeting Keynote Sessions:


Opening Plenary, March 30th:
Equity, Opportunity, Readiness – Changing the Odds Together
Afternoon Plenary, March 30th:
Racial Healing in Schools and Communities
Karen Pittman

The Forum for Youth Investment
CEO & President




Dr. Shawn Ginwright

Cesar Chavez Institute for Public Policy
Senior Research Associate

San Francisco State University
Associate Professor of Education

Author, “Hope and Healing in Urban Education” and “Black Youth Rising, Activism and Radical Healing in Urban America” 






Morning Plenary, March 31st:
Committing to Quality, SEL and Equity: Progress Reports from School District, OST, and State Education Leaders
Closing Plenary, March 31st:
Funding Brighter Futures: Local Governments Enhancing Investments in Kids


Moderator: Merita Irby
The Forum for Youth Investment

Co-Founder & Executive Vice President
Managing Partner, Big Picture Approach Consulting

Michael Funk
California Department of Education

Director, Expanded Learning Division

Suzette Harvey
Prime Time Palm Beach County, Inc.

Executive Director

Edmund Oropez
Austin Independent School District

Chief Officer for Teach and Learning


Moderator: Elizabeth Gaines

The Forum for Youth Investment
Senior Fellow 

Sean Boyle

Children's Services Council of St. Lucie County (Florida)
Executive Director

Sheila Capestany

King County (Washington)
Strategic Advisor for Children and Youth

Todd Patterson

Public Progress