2020 Keynote Speakers

Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem is a writer, lecturer, political activist, and feminist organizer. She is a frequent media spokeswoman on issues of equality. She is particularly interested in the shared origins of sex and race caste systems, gender roles and child abuse as roots of violence, non-violent conflict resolution, She has just finished a book detailing her more than thirty years on the road as a feminist organizer.

In 1972, she co-founded Ms. magazine, and remained one of its editors for fifteen years. She continues to serve as a consulting editor for Ms., and was instrumental in the magazine’s move to join and be published by the Feminist Majority Foundation. She has produced a documentary on child abuse for HBO, a feature film about the death penalty for Lifetime, and been the subject of profiles on Lifetime and Showtime.

@GloriaSteinem on Twitter

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Liz Murray

Formerly homeless, Liz Murray transformed her life of despair into an inspiring journey of determination, hope and hard-won success.

The child of drug-addicted parents who routinely ate from dumpsters and sought refuge at all-night subway stations to survive, Liz Murray was homeless at age 15—and fending for her life. Determined not to be defined by her circumstances, she recognized education as the key to a fresh beginning and a whole new way of living. She earned her high school diploma in just two years and won a scholarship to Harvard University that would turn her bleak circumstances into a future filled with limitless possibility.

With sincerity, maturity and graciousness, Murray takes audiences along on her personal journey from street smarts to classroom triumphs, instantly becoming an inspiration to both student groups and business audiences alike in need of the motivation to overcome their own obstacles. The subject of Lifetime Television’s Emmy-nominated original film, Homeless to Harvard, Murray graduated from Harvard in 2009, and went on to receive her Masters in the Psychology of Education at Columbia University. Today, as co-founder and Executive Director of The Arthur Project, Murray is a passionate advocate for under served youth, working to end generational poverty through relationship-based learning

Liz Murray on Oprah


Dr. Monique W. Morris

Monique W. Morris, Ed.D. is an award-winning author and social justice scholar with three decades of experience in the areas of education, civil rights, juvenile and social justice.

Dr. Morris has written dozens of articles, book chapters, and other publications on social justice issues and lectured widely on research, policies, and practices associated with improving juvenile justice, educational, and socioeconomic conditions for Black girls, women, and their families. Dr. Morris was a 2018 TED Women speaker and is an executive producer and writer for a documentary film exploring how exclusionary discipline impacts Black girls in the United States.

Dr. Morris is the Founder and President of the National Black Women’s Justice Institute (NBWJI), an organization that works to interrupt school-to-confinement pathways for girls, reduce the barriers to employment for formerly incarcerated women, and increase the capacity of organizations working to reduce sexual assault and domestic violence in African American communities.

@MoniqueWMorris on Twitter

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Mary Marx

Mary Marx is the President & CEO of Pace Center for Girls, Inc., and in her tenure as CEO has led the organization through a transformational period of growth. Marx's 2009 appointment as CEO marked a new era for Pace, which now has $38 million in annual revenue and a combined staff of more than 400 people across 20 locations. She implemented a growth strategy that has increased the number of girls reached by Pace by 61%, increased revenue by more than 80% and significantly advanced the organization's programs, services and reach across Florida. Under Marx's leadership, the organization significantly enhanced capacity in the areas of leadership development, technology and resource development and her proudest accomplishments include uniting all 19 Pace Centers behind a common agenda. Marx has led large, multi-site nonprofit agencies focused on the well-being of children for more than 25 years. She currently serves on numerous boards and commissions focused on juvenile justice reform, girls and women and the well-being of children. A graduate of Reed College in Portland, Oregon, she is a member of Class XIX of Leadership Florida, and the 2005 class of Leadership Jacksonville, as well as a Paul Harris Fellow with Rotary International.


Yessica Cancel

Yessica Cancel is the COO of Pace Center for Girls, In. She joined Pace Center for Girls, Inc., in November 2011, bringing more than 13 years of varied experience in human resource and organizational development leadership as part of start-up as well as international private organizations. She holds a bachelor's degree in multilingual/multicultural education as well as a master's degree in human resource management, and is certified as a Compensation Professional (CCP) and Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR).

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Thresa Giles

As Chief Business Officer since 2011, stands at the forefront of business and operation processes for PaceCenter for Girls, Inc. She has been a finance and operations professional for more than 17 years. Most recently completing the Wharton School of Business -Strategic CFO Executive program. She leads and oversees Information Technology, Finance, Risk Management & Facilities and Business Intelligence, ensuring that limited resources are strategically used to support Pace's mission - believing in the empowerment of girls.

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Teddy Thompson

Teddy Thompson is the Chief Advancement Officer of the Pace Center for Girls where he oversees the development and execution of Pace's marketing and fundraising strategies. Under his leadership his team works to secure the critical financial resources needed to support the Pace mission to empower girls to find their voice and achieve their full potential.

Thompson joined Pace in 2018 bringing over 17 years of sales, marketing and leadership experience in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors most recently as Vice President of Resource Development at Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta where he was responsible for leading the board development and fundraising for one of the largest Boys & Girls Clubs organizations in the country. He also served as a National Director of Corporate and Cause Partnerships with Boys & Girls Clubs of America where he was a responsible for a corporate development team in the Eastern United States that secured over $50 Million in revenue under his leadership.

Thompson earned a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education & History from Mt. St. Mary's University in Emmitsburg, MD in 2000.