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General Session Speakers

Marc Kielburger
Opening General Session - Tuesday, September 11th - 8:00 am

Dr. Temple Grandin
General Session - Wednesday, September 12th - 8:00 am 

Marc Kielburger
Co-Founder Free The Children
Co-Founder and co-CEO Me to We
Opening General Session Keynote Speaker
Tuesday, September 11th, 8:00 am 

Marc Kielburger is the co-founder of Free The Children, an international charity and renowned educational partner that empowers youth to achieve their fullest potential as agents of change. Free The Children delivers innovative programming to more than 4000 youth groups and hundreds of thousands of young people in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. As the world’s largest network of children helping children through education, the organization has worked in 45 countries and built more than 650 schools and school rooms in developing regions, providing education to more than 55,000 children every day.  Free The Children has a proven track record of success, having formed successful partnerships with top school boards and leading corporations—including Oprah’s Angel Network, KPMG and Research In Motion.

Marc is also the co-founder and co-CEO of Me to We. An innovative social enterprise, Me to We provides people with better choices for a better world, including socially conscious and environmentally friendly clothes and accessories, as well as life-changing international volunteer trips, leadership training programs and materials, a speakers bureau and books which address issues of positive social change. In addition, half of Me to We’s net profit is donated to Free The Children, while the other half is reinvested to grow the enterprise and its social mission. 

Each year, both Craig and Marc Kielburger organize Free The Children’s We Day, the organization’s signature domestic event, which reaches 90,000 students from 3,000 schools in person and more than 5.4 million through televised broadcasts. We Day now has the largest facebook following of any charitable cause in the world. They share the stage, and their voices, with Nobel Peace Laureates, heads of state, celebrities, rock bands, actors and pop icons, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Former President Bill Clinton, Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Sir Richard Branson and many more.

Marc graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, completing a degree in international relations. He won a coveted Rhodes Scholarship and went on to complete a law degree at Oxford University. Marc has also received six honorary doctorates and degrees for his work in the field of education and human rights. Along with his brother Craig, Marc writes Global Voices, a weekly column about the pressing issues of our time, syndicated in the Vancouver Sun, Halifax Chronicle Herald, Calgary Herald, Winnipeg Free Press and the Huffington Post and Huffington Post Canada online. Also, the Kielburgers are weekly Globe & Mail columnists for a weekly advice column called “Ask the Kielburgers”. Marc is also a New York Times bestselling author who has written five books, including Me to We: Finding Meaning in a Material World. His latest, to be released in April 2012, is called ‘Living Me to We: The Guide for Socially Conscience Canadians’. Marc is the recipient of many honors, including the Order of Canada and selected by the World Economic Forum as one of 250 Young Global Leaders. His work has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN, BBC, as well as many other news and print media.

Learn more about Craig and Marc Kielburger, Free the Children, and Me to We 

Dr. Temple Grandin
Associate Professor of Animal Science, Colorado State University-Fort Collins
Autism Educator
General Session
Wednesday, September 12th, 8:00 am

Dr. Temple Grandin was born in Boston, Massachusetts.  Temple’s achievements are remarkable because she was an autistic child.  At age two she had no speech and all the signs of severe autism. Fortunately, her mother defied the advice of the doctors and kept her out of an institution.  Many hours of speech therapy, and intensive teaching enabled Temple to learn speech.  As a teenager, life was hard with constant teasing.  Mentoring by her high school science teacher and her aunt on her ranch in Arizona motivated Temple to study and pursue a career as a scientist and livestock equipment designer.

Dr. Temple Grandin obtained her B.A. at Franklin Pierce College in 1970. In 1974 she was employed as Livestock Editor for the Arizona Farmer Ranchman and also worked for Corral Industries on equipment design. In 1975 she earned her M.S. in Animal Science at Arizona State University for her work on the behavior of cattle in different squeeze chutes. Dr. Grandin was awarded her Ph.D in Animal Science from the University of Illinois in 1989 and is currently a Professor at Colorado State University.

She has done extensive work on the design of handling facilities. Half the cattle in the U.S. and Canada are handled in equipment she has designed for meat plants. Other professional activities include developing animal welfare guidelines for the meat industry and consulting with McDonalds, Wendy’s International, Burger King, and other companies on animal welfare.

Following her Ph.D. research on the effect of environmental enrichment on the behavior of pigs, she has published several hundred industry publications, book chapters and technical papers on animal handling plus 63 refereed journal articles in addition to ten books.  She currently is a professor of animal sciences at Colorado State University where she continues her research while teaching courses on livestock handling and facility design.  Her book, Animals in Translation was a New York Times best seller and her book Livestock Handling an Transport, now has a third edition which was published in 2007. Other popular books authored by Dr. Grandin are Thinking in Pictures, Emergence Labeled Autistic, Animals Make us Human, Improving Animal Welfare: A Practical Approach, and The Way I See It.

Dr. Grandin has received numerous awards including the Meritorious Achievement Award from the Livestock Conservation Institute, named a Distinguished Alumni at Franklin Pierce College and received an honorary doctorate from McGill University, University of Illinois, and Duke University. She has also won prestigious industry awards including the Richard L. Knowlton Award from Meat Marketing and Technology Magazine and the Industry Advancement Award from the American Meat Institute and the Beef Top 40 industry leaders and the Lifetime Achievement Award from The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Her work has also been recognized by humane groups and she received several awards.  HBO has recently premiered a movie about Temple’s early life and career with the livestock industry. The movie received seven Emmy awards, a Golden Globe, and a Peabody Award. In 2011, Temple was inducted into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame.

Dr. Grandin is a past member of the board of directors of the Autism Society of America.  She lectures to parents and teachers throughout the U.S. on her experiences with autism. Articles and interviews have appeared in the New York Times, People, Time, National Public Radio, 20/20, The View, and the BBC. She was also honored in Time Magazines 2010 “The 100 Most Influential People in the World.” In 2012, Temple was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame. Dr. Grandin now resides in Fort Collins, Colorado. 

Learn more about Dr. Grandin and her work with animals and autism