Keynote Speakers

Marc FreedmanMarc Freedman

Purpose, Passion, and a Paycheck—How Encore Careers are Producing a Human Capital Revolution
10,000 Americans move through their 60s every day, a rapidly growing phenomenon that's often portrayed as a paradox -- a boon in longevity good for individuals and bad for society. 

But there's a new story to be told.   

In this keynote, Marc Freedman will describe how encore careers — second acts for the greater good — hold the promise to transform the graying of America into a win-win of vast proportions, a source not only of more meaningful lives, but at once a windfall of talent for the things that matter most. 

Marc Freedman, founder and CEO of, is an award-winning social innovator, thought leader and author – one of the nation’s leading experts on the longevity revolution and the transformation of retirement.
A Visiting Scholar at Stanford University during 2014-15 and formerly a Visiting Fellow at King’s College, University of London, Freedman is a member of the Wall Street Journal’s “Experts” panel and a frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review and other outlets. He is regularly called upon as a media source and public speaker. Freedman is the author of four books, including most recently, “The Big Shift: Navigating the New Stage Beyond Midlife.” His numerous accolades include recognition as a 2014 Social Entrepreneur of the Year from the World Economic Forum and the Schwab Foundation, the 2010 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship and an Ashoka Senior Fellowship. Fast Company magazine named him as one of the nation’s leading social entrepreneurs three years in a row.
Originator of the Encore career idea, Freedman played a central role in establishing Experience Corps – now AARP Experience Corps – mobilizing thousands of individuals over 50 to improve the school performance and prospects of low-income elementary school students in 22 U.S. cities. He also spearheaded the creation of the Purpose Prize, an annual $100,000 prize for social entrepreneurs in the second half of life, and the Encore Fellows program, a one-year fellowship helping individuals translate their midlife skills into second acts focused on social impact.
A high honors graduate of Swarthmore College, Freedman holds an M.B.A. from the Yale School of Management. He resides in the San Francisco Bay area with his wife, Leslie Gray, and their three boys.


William SymondsWilliam Symonds

Reimagining the Role of Career Development
In many schools and colleges today, career development is often little more than an afterthought.  William Symonds, director of the Global Pathways Institute and primary author of Harvard’s Pathways to Prosperity report, argues that we need a total paradigm shift.  In his view, career guidance should become a central, defining mission of our schools and colleges. In this keynote, Symonds will discuss how such a shift could help transform the culture of education.  He’ll also describe the work the Global Pathways Institute and its partners are doing to elevate the importance and quality of career guidance through a collaborative approach to counseling: one that engages teachers, administrators, business and the broader community in this vital mission. 

Bill Symonds is director of the Global Pathways Institute, and Professor of Practice at Arizona State University.  The Global Pathways Institute was created in 2014 to help lead a national movement to find effective solutions to our national failure to prepare many young people to lead successful lives. GPI believes that providing young people with high-quality multiple pathways is the best way to help them develop their potential and achieve economic independence. One of the Institute’s major goals is to elevate the importance and quality of career development. GPI is active both in Arizona and nationally in forming working groups of guidance professionals, educators, business leaders and others committed to this vision.

Prior to coming to ASU, Symonds helped launch the Pathways to Prosperity Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2008, and served as its director through June, 2013.  While at Harvard, he was the primary author of the seminal report: Pathways to Prosperity: Meeting the Challenge of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century.  Since the report’s release in 2011, Symonds has been invited to speak about the report in 40 states, as well as in New Zealand and Canada.  In March, 2013, Symonds organized a national conference at Harvard University, “Creating Pathways to Prosperity.”  The conference attracted more than 400 leaders from education, business and government, and demonstrated the need for a national movement aimed at improving career guidance, among other reforms.

Symonds helped create the Pathways Project while he was a senior fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government in 2007-08. Prior to that, he spent 25 years as a senior correspondent and bureau chief for Business Week Magazine. During his career at Business Week, he led bureaus in Pittsburgh, Denver and Boston, and spent nearly a decade abroad, in both Italy and Canada.  He also served as Business Week’s chief education correspondent for many years.  He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Oxford University, England.  He is proud father of three children, each of whom is passionately pursuing a distinct career pathway.

Carol VecchioCarol Vecchio

The Time Between Dreams
Change happens. Some of us turn away in denial. Others welcome new opportunities and horizons. Regardless, change comes to us all no matter our age … in our careers, our relationships, throughout every aspect of life. Carol Vecchio and the faculty at Centerpoint Institute for Life and Career Renewal have developed a practical and proven approach that has helped thousands upon thousands of people reframe and navigate these periods of ambiguity. Learn how to clear the fog hovering around change so we can listen, understand, and manage our own transitions as well as support the shifts of those with whom we live and work.

Carol Vecchio, a career counselor since 1981, founded the nonprofit Centerpoint Institute for Life and Career Renewal in 1992. Centerpoint offers lifelong tools to navigate uncertainty, build meaningful careers, and design courageous lives. It provides a full-range of career development and renewal services for individuals and organizations so that everyone can Look Forward to Monday Again. It also offers a professional training program to spread this unique approach so that more in the world can better navigate change and design their lives.

Her pioneering programs have positively impacted thousands upon thousands of people — many of whom couldn’t pinpoint their need at the time, but are now designing and living lives they love. Carol created the renowned Natural Cycles of Change, which is the foundation for her book, The Time Between Dreams: How to Navigate Uncertainty in Your Life and Work as well as the guiding force for many of the workshops at Centerpoint.

In addition to her book, Carol has contributed to many articles and blogs, is a sought after speaker/keynoter internationally, and launched her own radio hour, Design a Life You Love. Carol’s passion for life design counseling and for mentoring others earned her the 2010 National Career Development Association (NCDA) Outstanding Career Practitioner Award. She is currently honored to be an elected Trustee to NCDA’s Board of Directors.

Despite her many accolades, of which the mentions above are just a few, Carol remains down-to-earth, full of wit, and passionate about connecting and helping those facing transitional challenges. She too experienced the journey of finding one’s calling, listening to one’s wants, and—lucky for us—she has open-heartedly shared this roadmap.


Mark your calendar:

2016 Conference Logo

2016 NCDA Conference

"Fostering Well-Being Through Meaningful Work"
June 30 - July 2, 2016
Pre-Conference Sessions:
June 29, 2016
Hyatt Regency Chicago
Chicago, Illinois


2017 NCDA Conference

June 30 - July 2, 2017
Pre-Conference Sessions:
June 29, 2017
Marriott Orlando World Center
Orlando, Florida


2018 NCDA Conference

June 21 - 23, 2018
Pre-Conference Sessions:
June 20, 2018
Phoenix Convention Center & Hyatt Regency
Phoenix, Arizona