AMY GOLDSTEIN– Pulitzer award-winning author and Washington Post Reporter.

KERYL MCCORD– President and CEO of Equity Quotient (EQ), and recently retired Director of Operations from Alternate ROOTS.

CAROLYN ZELIKOW-  Associate Director of National Programs, The Aspen Institute; Founder of the Hometown Summit, TomTom Founders Festival and BRAD STEPHENS- Director of the CoLab; Lead Planner of CityWorks (X)po in Roanoke, VA.

AMY BROOKS– the Program Director and Dramaturg for Roadside Theater; a part of Appalshop of Whitesburg, Kentucky.


FRANCESCO MANCA Deputy Director (ret.) for the Political and Civil Affairs office of United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL )

MAHIR ZEYNALOV– Turkish journalist and analyst based in Washington, D.C

JEANETTE ABI-NADER -Founding Member, Growing Food and Justice for All Initiative; Executive Director, City Schoolyard Garden and KIM NIEWOLNY -Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural Leadership and Community Education, Virginia Tech

RAMON ZEPEDA  Student Action with Farmworkers (SAF) program director

ANTHONY FLACCAVENTO – Organic farmer, innovator and sustainable development pioneer from Abingdon, Virginia

ETHAN KENT – Senior vice president of the nonprofit Project for Public Spaces

RICK CAVEY – Former US Navy Diver, now owner and operator an organic vegetable farm in Southwest Virginia


DUST IN THE BOTTOMLAND – Composer Nate May and bass vocalist Andrew Robert Munn combine contemporary opera and passions for environmental and economic justice in Appalachia

PATRICIA PARERA – Economic and Social Development Consultant for The World Bank

ELIZABETH STREB – Artistic Director, STREB Extreme Action Company


TRACY KUNKLER – Principal at Social Profit Strategies

LISA JO EPSTEIN – Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Gas & Electric Arts

LIZ LERMAN – Creator and Director of Healing Wars

TAY KEONG TAN – Fellow at the Institute for Policy and Governance at Virginia Tech

FRANCESCO MANCA – Deputy Director (ret.) for the Political and Civil Affairs office of UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon)


JOHN FERGUSON – Executive Director of American Voices


BEN KNAPP – Director of the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT) and Professor of Computer Science at Virginia Tech

PENNY FRANKLIN – local and national union leader and civil rights activist from Christiansburg, VA

BOND STREET THEATRE – Joanna Sherman (Artistic Director) and Michael McGuigan (Managing Director) of the Bond Street Theatre in New York, NY

FRANK DUKES – Director of the Institute for Environmental Negotiation (IEN) at the University of Virginia


JACK HINSHELWOOD – Executive Director of The Crooked Road

THENMOZHI SOUNDARARAJAN – Digital Storyteller, writer, director and singer

KATHIE DENOBRIGA & MELANIE HAMMET – Mayor & Mayor Pro Tem of Pine Lake, Georgia

PAM MCMICHAEL – Director, Highlander Research and Education Center

JOHN DREYZEHNER, MD, MPH – State Health Commissioner, Tennessee

TAL STANLEY – Director, Appalachian Center for Community Service, Emory & Henry College


CRAIG T. RAMEY, PHD – Distinguished Research Scholar, Human Development, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine

AVILA KILMURRAY – Director, Community Foundation of Northern Ireland

BOB SUMMERS – Founder, TechPad; Entrepreneurial Evangelist

WOODY CRENSHAW – Founding President, SustainFloyd

BRIAN WHEELER – Executive Director, Charlottesville Tomorrow

NORMA WOOD – Western Region Independent Living Consultant with Project LIFE

NANCY AGEE – President & CEO, Carilion Clinic


BETH OBENSHAIN – Founder, New River Land Trust

DUDLEY COCKE – Artistic Director, Roadside Theater

ANTHONY FLACCAVENTO – Founding CEO, Appalachian Sustainable Development; Candidate for Virginia 9th Congressional District