Keynote Speakers


Meet the 2021 conference keynote speakers below!

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Derek Francis

Manager of Counseling Services, Minneapolis Public Schools
Keynote: Addressing Racism in Schools to Heal our Country

Derek Francis began his counseling career at North High School in Minneapolis which was set to shut its doors the year prior due to declining enrollment. In four years, Derek and the North High team supported students from the lowest graduation rate in 2012 to them highest graduation rate in Minneapolis Public Schools. While at Champlin Park, Derek honed his skills for discussing and addressing major racial incidents with students and staff.

He currently serves as the Manager of Counseling Services for Minneapolis Public Schools and professional development consultant for Hatching Results. Derek specializes in helping students and staff build trusting cross cultural relationships and has presented at state and national conferences around the country. Summer of 2020, Derek lead a webinar for over 25,000 counselors and educators on “Proactive School Counseling After a Major Racial Incident.” Some of Derek’s published work includes contributions to Contemporary Case Studies in School Counseling, published blog “This Is Not A Fire Drill – Supporting students after George Floyd” and July/August publication articles for American School Counselors Association and American School Board Journal. Derek was quoted in a recent Time Magazine article titled “You Can’t Be Silent, Brace for Presidential Election.” Derek’s belief is that school counselors are key for bridging our country's racial divide. Spending time with his daughter, eating and traveling are Derek’s favorite hobbies.

Keynote Speakers

Tony Hoffman

Founder, Tony Hoffman Speaking
Keynote: Breaking the Stigmas

After paroling prison on December 13, 2008, Tony Hoffman started living out his dream, with his addiction behind him. Tony is a Former BMX Elite Pro and placed 2nd at the 2016 World Championships in Medellin Colombia in the Masters Pro class. Tony coached Women’s Elite Pro, Brooke Crain, to a 4th place finish at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Brazil. His story is full of redemption as he has seen some of the highest highs, and the lowest lows.

Tony has presented on the prestigious TEDx stage and his Goalcast video that went viral in February of 2020 has been viewed more than 10 million times. He is the Founder and Director of The Freewheel Project, a non-profit organization that mentors thousands of youth through action sports. Today, Tony is one of the most requested substance abuse speakers in the country, traveling over 200 days a year to share his inspiring story with various audiences. In 2021, he will be finishing his highly anticipated autobiography, “From Prison To The Olympics- The Tony Hoffman Story."

Tony’s future goal is to open the Tony Hoffman Wellness Center where he hopes to redirect the lives of those struggling with addiction onto the path of sobriety and purpose.


Amit Sood

Executive Director, Global Center for Resiliency and Wellbeing
Keynote: Cultivating a Resilient Mindset

Dr. Sood is the creator of the Resilient Option program. He is one of the world's leading experts on resilience and wellbeing, and executive director of the Global Center for Resiliency and Wellbeing. He was also professor of medicine, and Chair for student life and wellness at Mayo Clinic.

Dr. Sood has authored or co-authored over 70 peer-reviewed papers and is the author of several books including, The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living, The Mayo Clinic Handbook for Happiness, Mindfulness Redesigned, SMART with Dr. Sood, The Resilience Journal, and Build Your Immune Resilience.

Dr. Sood has presented at some of the highest impact forums like, TEDx, Lake Nona, Forbes Under 30 Forum, Conference Board, Beckers, YPO, NPR, NAMI, NBGH, NASA, keynotes for Fortune 500 companies, universities, foundations, and others.

He has received numerous awards including the 2010 Distinguished Service, 2010 Innovator of the Year, 2013 Outstanding Physician Scientist and 2016 Faculty of the Year awards, all from Mayo Clinic. He was selected as one among top 20 intelligent optimist in the world (Ode Magazine). Dr. Sood was also selected by RWJ Foundation as one of the health care pioneers.

Dr. Sood serves as the member of the Everyday Health Wellness Advisory Board.